Monday, September 2, 2019

Late but still appropriate....

Yes, I was hoping to have this in the shop on the 1st, but since I didn't start it until last night...well, anyway, better late than never I think...just one day late.

September-Year of Celebration
I'm so excited to have finished 9 of these projects stitched, finished and in the shop.   I'm up to date and only have 3 more to finish the series.  I'm sensing a trend here...I did the entire Scary Apothecary Series (9 total)  and now I know I'll be finishing this series....I've become a series stitcher.  First let me say these are fast and fun to do.  And secondly I have only done one a month so I didn't try to get all 12 done at once so it was really easy to stay on track.  I also use the Hornbook to model them so I just take the prior month stitched piece off and put on the latest month so you don't have to purchase frames for each or anything else to display them.  One and done!  Then I don't have a lot of finishing to do on them, so that's an easy finish.  Fabulous! And now I move on to more Halloween and Christmas stitching.   Hope you had a safe and fun holiday weekend and now for our children in Ocean City, it's back to school time.  Izi spent time with me today playing games knowing that our summer of fun has come to an end.  Although we do have weekends and he reminded me that he gets half days sometimes and. then a whole day off, so I'm sure we will be having some game days in the future, but I know it won't be long before he won't really want to hang out with his grandmother anymore.  And he's my last one.  The other boys have already moved on to friends.  They grow up too soon.  I'm trying to focus on the positive, this gives me anywhere from 3-5 more hours in the day to stitch!  Hmmm, so it's not too tragic is it?  Have a great week.  Sara, Mary and I are busy preparing for the Jackie DuPlessis classes this weekend.  And after that  we have the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild retreat, followed by Stitchers Jamboree...whew...we are going to be working like dogs here for the next 6 weeks.  But we're up for it so bring it on!  Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Scary Apothecary Series Done!! Have a Wonderful Labor Day Weekend...

Yes, Scary Apothecary by Hands on Design is done and I couldn't be happier and more proud that I plowed through and did all nine designs (I've started many  series and I don't think I've ever completely finished one, so this is a personal accomplishment.)  Wouldn't you know, While thinking I was on the final push on Cackle, I found I made a counting error and had to frog the word Cackle...ugh.  I found it amusing that this one piece was the one chart of the entire project that had a frog on it.  I refused to go to sleep until I had finished it, but by 2:30am said screw it and finished the final stitches this morning  I also decided to switch out the green cording I hung the designs on originally for display.  I took a second look at the Halloween Garland I purchased last year from Michaels or Hobby Lobby, and after attaching one Sara and I both decided it was the perfect ending.  So the final design, Cackle Lozenges,  is complete, shown below along with the previous 8 which are already on the Halloween garland, shown 2nd.

Today I hope to start and finish September-Year of Celebration.   While I'm disappointed I didn't get anything, other than the small Year of Celebration done for September specifically, I'm going to definitely be ready for Halloween.   Now I can get on with my challenge project and the Brenda Gervais Halloween pieces, oh, yes I can't forget the Sampler Santa which I started a month ago.  Well, now I'm ready to proceed.  Since Labor Day marks the end of summer for us, I took time to reflect on my summer.  2019 summer has been my best ever since I was given so much time off.  In fact even as we go into Labor Day weekend I'm only on the schedule for 1 day...Saturday.  So thank you, Sara, for giving me so much time off, especially since I was disabled due to the broken ankle from February and only got the boot off at the end of April which meant I wasn't working at all during the months I'm on the schedule 4 days a week.  I promise to be more careful starting after Thanksgiving when we go on Winter schedule.    Yes, this summer was the best time ever!  We are also having the best Labor Day weather this year than I can remember having the last few years.  Not a rain cloud in sight and the temps are in the high 70's, low 80's and although the humidity is high, I've turned off my a/c and I'm using just a fan.  It's heavenly and the crowds (it's crowded down here as hotels are booked solid) are relatively quiet.  Last night, Saturday night, you could hear a pin drop after whooping and hollering going on which is almost unheard of on holiday weekends.  And of course, tomorrow it will be a ghost town until the following Thursday when the town fills up again, and of course, we have Jackie coming for classes so we will be working it.  By the way, in case you haven't seen the notice, we've gone to winter hours, open 10-4 although we are still open 7 days until Thanksgiving and then we go to 4 days.  95% of our foreign staff have returned to their home countries and the few remaining at this point will be leaving soon, so Sara decided to close at night (I'm not sure if this is a lack of employees or Sara's need to get some rest, but since we're dealing with the passing away of a close cousin, it's been tough this week and will be tough next week so I think she needs some break to deal with it.)  I feel guilty talking about our lovely Labor Day when so many of you are suffering from the anticipation as well as what comes before and after hurricanes.  I'm keeping all in my prayers and since I've lived through many I do know what you are dealing with. Stay strong, stay indoors and if you can leave, perhaps you should.  Better be safe than sorry.  Don't forget to take your stitching with you.  

Monday, August 26, 2019

When last I wrote, I talked about my next project being, Hands on Design's "Apothecary Series", and I have had my issues with this series (operator error), but I have loved each finish. I've not finished the entire series yet, as you can see, but I'm hoping to finish the final 3 before next Friday and will have it hanging in the shop.  Love It.  I started with "Bitter Brew".  I had picked a fabric, but when Sara saw it she had a different one in mind so I decided to go with her decision.  Since I really felt as long as the fabric color was light all the designs would pop.  Sara picked 32 ct. Pale Lilac linen.  I pulled the Classic Colorworks fibers recommended as I was going to do it exactly as shown on the charts, however, I didn't have the called for Kreinik threads so I pulled threads that closely matched the called for colors (or I just liked them).  So I instantly decided instead of Zach Black I'd just use the DMC black as it popped more on the fabric.  After that,  I used the called for flosses for the rest of the piece.  I failed to note that I was supposed to use a specialty stitch on the bottles, and instead did the cross-stitch in Kreinik and then satin stitched over that with the Kreinik.  It really makes the bottles stand off the linen.  I also used the #4 black Kreinik to make all the spiders on the series.  Then after I finished the stitching I decided to do the finishing as well right away.  A couple at a time would be easier than doing all of them at once (I thought),  After looking at different options for finishing, I finally settled on the following for all pieces.  I cut 2 mat boards for each piece, glued scrapbook paper to the back of one piece, put a piece of batting on the front piece, attached the stitched piece to the batting mat board, cut 2 two-inch strips of the orange/black ribbon and made 2 loops for each piece which I glued to the back piece of mat board on the side that would be glued to the front mat board.  Yes I glued the two mat boards together.  Then I decided to have 2 colors in the cording and for Bitter Brew it was orange-DMC #922 and black-DMC #5 pearl cotton...3 strands of each color.  I always have the same issue with cording and that is figuring out how to join the ends without it showing.  I improved by the 6th finish, but it was a rough go.  Anyway, I was pleased with the process from start to finish.  The complete finish by the 6th piece was taking me approx. 1 hour start to finish.  In the beginning, with the first one, it took me a day because of the cording issues. The stitching took anywhere from 2 days to 2 1/2 days start to finish.  I chose to stitch on this project rather than switch on the weekend to my challenge project (Shores of Hawk Run-(I think you can see why it's not getting finished this year.)   

Next came, "Broom Stick," which was one of the quickest to stitch.  With the exception of Zach Black, and Frog Legs, I used the recommended colors.  Zach Black is substituted in every chart to DMC Black.  On this chart, I also substituted Frog Legs as it didn't show up as nicely on my linen so I used Hickory Sticks to highlight the broom satin stitched the part of the broom which surrounds the broom stick.  For the cording I used Weeks Gold and DMC Black. 

Next came "Bat Balm."  Another fast stitch and here again I didn't like the brightness of the Finley Gold and substituted Weeks Gold in its place.  For some reason, I didn't change the bat color to black and should have as they don't show up as well on the gold (they would have shown up beautifully on the Finley.  This piece is also where I began using a deep rose metal body and the bats the rose eyes.  I did change the green beside Bat Balm lettering because I didn't even look at the chart symbol and just for some reason did it in green.  Since I thought it looked O.K., I stuck with it. 

Next up-"Snail Slime."  Again, it would have been lovely if I bothered to read, instead of looking at the from of the chart because again, I didn't notice the bubbles were supposed to be a specialty stitch and I just did cross-stitch, but I loved it enough anyway to leave it.  On this finish, I used a lime green DMC #734 with the black.  During the making of the cording my cord spinner broke and I then had to finish the next two with cording done the old way with a pencil...UGH!  Sara was going to drop a new corder off on her run to the grocery store but that would be 2-3 days away and who can wait? Now, I so appreciate my little corder so much more than I ever did.  

Next came "Skeleton Polish".  On this one I changed the Finley Gold on the bones to WDW White Lightening which is a gray white.  For that cording, I used DMC #3041 with Black. I was so upset about my corder during this one that when I went to cut excess cording off, I also cut the ribbon in half in one side.  Since the back was already on and the glue dried I then had to repair the ribbon loop....honestly what a moran I am.  But after driving myself crazy repairing the darn thing, I walked away and when I came back the glue was dry and the ribbon was connected.  

Next-"Cauldron Cleaner"-Here I did use Zach Black but for lettering and the main color on the cauldron, but used Black on the cats and darker colors associated with the cauldron.  I used the Kreinik as the orange color under and around the cauldron acting as flames.  I also left off the recommended Smyrna crosses on the cauldron and added Frog Legs satin stitch to represent whatever cooking in the cauldron is  bubbling over.  That cording is orange and black.  

While there are 3 more designs to stitch, I wanted to show you how cute these are and how I intend to display a Halloween pennant banner, with Halloween characters holding the ends of the banner.  I'm excited!

We have it temporarily up on the counter until I have it completely finished.  I'm thinking about adding something in-between each stitched design to keep them anchored, but we are still debating on whether to do it or not.  Anyway, I highly recommend this project for those of you who have Halloween on the brain.  Fun, Fun, Fun!  Can't wait to finish because my next projects are already kitted and are waiting patiently for me to get to them.  Have a great Labor Day weekend, stay safe.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

OMG....I don't know how anyone is standing this heat....

but I'm O.K., so far, since I rarely leave my apartment.  I go into the office once a week to pay bills, etc., and then I scoot home and don't reappear until the following Friday.  So I was thrilled when I got home and knew I was not going out in the 90 degree heat again!  And then I got the text from Sara, that not only is Judy out, due to her brother's death, but now Vickie, who works Sea Trader, is in the hospital for a few days, so I've been called in to work 3 days in Sea Trader (ugh)!  I'm ready since I kitted up a couple of quick stitches when I thought I was going to go on the schedule last week, because of Judy's time off, but was so thrilled then when I got the news that Sara was able to work around that I stitched those two projects already, but Vickie in the hospital has put me back on the schedule, so I'll have to kit up something before I go.   I won't complain since the girls have managed to keep me out of their hair, and off the schedule, since the Betsy Morgan class.  (I'm really not sure if keeping me home is a gift to me or a gift to them...but I don't care I love it.) Anyway, I'm back in action.  On the stitching front, I am still working on the Shores of Hawk Run Hollow (I know that's a shocker)....since it's the weekend, but this past week I was able to complete two new pieces for the shop.  First up..."Needle and Thread"  from Heart in Hand.  This was designed to rest in their Heartware bowls, but of course, I decided to stitch it over one and then finish it on the top of the metal boxes, which have become my obsession, since I did the first one.  Now I'm trying to do one monthly...and I really love finding the right pattern to stitch and who doesn't love an easy finish.   I love the hunt of finding the ribbon, or in this case, twill tape to wrap the box and then a charm or button to attach.  I have fun going through my boxes of "stuff" and discovering what I feel will be the perfect piece.   I used the color fabric they recommend, only changed from 32 to 28 ct. in order to fit better on the box,  and used the fibers recommended, although I did change out the red fiber which was CC Barn Red and used WDW Louisiana Hot Sauce as it showed up better, for me.  I stitched first with the Barn Red, but my skein matched in darkness to the green at the top of the tomato that you could barely distinquish where the leaves left off and the red started, so I switched to a brighter red.  I used the tiny rick rack from Lady Dot and wrapped the box with Lady Dot Vintage Ruler Twill Tape.  Then I glued a silver spool on the front cover where the two ends of the ribbon come together. Perfect gift for a stitcher when stuffed with needles, pins, thimble, small pair of scissors, spool of thread, etc.  Then after emptying it the stitcher can use it as an ort collector.  Total time from start to finish-3 days tops....others have taken 2 days, so it's a quick stitch and easy finish.  (Secret Santa gifts)

Then, of course, since August hits next week I spent a couple of days getting my Year of Celebration-August from Hands on Design done.  8 months down, I can say without a doubt I will be stitching all 12 months.  I really enjoy these fast stitches and again, trying to figure out how I can add a little something to make it pop.  I stitched on 32 ct. PTP Pampas linen.  The green is so pretty and the overdyed look was perfect for August and the fibers really worked well with the linen.  I did use the colors shown, however (and you knew there was going to be a however) I did use black beads for the ant's body.  I stitched the legs as shown, but then attached 3 beads for the body.  Not a big difference, but they do now pop off the linen just a little bit more.  I also used WDW s Collard wool as the backing to compliment the green linen.  Such fun and again a 2 or 3 day project.  
So now I'll spend a couple of days on Shores of Hawk Run before I find the next project to start, although I've been eyeing up the Halloween banners from Hands on Design, I've got the Sampler Santa started, Blackberry Snowman is 3/4 done, and I'm thinking about Erica Michael's stitching strawberry.  Choices, too many, not enough time.  Then Sara asked if I could help one of the designers out by stitching a piece which I would then return to the designer and she's assemble it for a class here.  Since this has to be done first, I will be doing that first as soon as Sara has the Gloriana for it.  Apparently Sara is still mulling it over...ugh...I need it ASAP or I'll panic.  In any case I can't reveal that so I'll just mention it in passing.   Anyway, my plate is full so how's your stitching coming along?  Hope you are getting something done....I'll keep you posted on my to you soon.  Have a great week!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Sara sent me a text 2 days ago alerting me to the possibility I was going back on the schedule as one of our employees has to have some time off for a family issue.  I really don't mind because I haven't worked since the Betsy Morgan class in June and have enjoyed my privilege of staying home and stitching all day and night, with the exception of 3 hours in the afternoon when my Izi comes over to visit and play games.  I'm so glad he's taking a break from the You Tube video's with Dan playing games...I kept falling asleep during those things and kept trying to get Izi to play a game.  Since they are tech games he wins every time without even trying.  But it does keep me awake.  As for my stitching....well I'm still in the sailing ship hell I've been in for 2 months...yes 2 months and I'm still here.  Of course I only work on it a couple of days per month so that could have something to do with the lack of progress, but  I'm working on it today and I've got 3 smaller sails left to do and then I'm done with the sails.  I'm hoping to get them done today and hope to never see a sailboat again.  I got the threads and linen ready to go on Year of Celebration-August...can't believe I'm still stitching this series as I don't think I've eve gotten through an entire series before, so I'm excited.  And Brenda Gervais just posted her next releases which include the next Holiday Hoopla...we know I'm going to do that.  But she posted sever
al more projects and I think I'm going to end up stitching all of them.  One of them on 20 ct. over 2, "Gone Batty"

(I've already done the other 2 in the series so I think Sara may talk me into doing latest release for Halloween  Over a year ago, Stasi Buhrman gave me a frame with chicken wire in it  and said  "I'm curious to see what you can do with this frame."  I've had a few charts in the crosshairs but never committed and I think it was my inner self telling me to wait, because the perfect piece was coming.
I think "Hickety Pickety" will be perfect so I'm sure this is also going in my todo bag.  
And the next one which I dearly love as well is 
"Boo to You", I just love a pumpkin head character.  Don't know what I'm doing with it, but I'm doing it.  So cute!  And the final release I'm also probably going to do is "L. Genders~1875"  I love a roll up and I like alphabets, so this is a marriage made in heaven, don't you think.  
Anyway, they aren't in the shop yet but coming soon, so in the meantime, I have plenty to keep me busy until they arrive.  I know we are dealing with extreme heat, so stay in the a/c and get your stitch on. 
 UPDATE: Sara called to say she got the shifts covered so once again I'm not working this week, and I got the sails done last night.  The block isn't done obviously, but at least the sails themselves are.    But before I sign off I wanted to let you see my progress on Shores of Hawk Run and the Sampler Santa which I work on a little every week...
I'm really embarrassed at my lack of progress on Shores of Hawk Run (remember I started this years ago and put it away, pulled it out in June and I've done nothing but work on the sailing ship block which hopefully I'll finish this weekend-but at least the sails are done.)  This is the challenge piece which I have to show progress on by October or have to pay Jan $25.00.  

 This is the Sampler Santa which is being stitched on 20 ct. linen over 2 so he's going to be a big one.  I'm more excited about this, but forcing myself to stitch a couple of days on Shores before I can go back to this one.  But a couple of days next week and then I have to take a break to get August Year of celebration done.  My, My, my days are filled with stitching.  
Have a great weekend, and I hope your days may be filled with stitching as well.  Stay cool and hydrated.  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Up to my old tricks...

Went into the office to do bill paying, and of course, I slipped over to the shop for supplies for my santa...he is eating up the pearl cottons like crazy, but his potential is going to be amazing (hopefully).  I went online to order his beard material...hopefully it will be usable when it arrives, but since I haven't worked with it before not sure what I've gotten myself in for.  But the vision in my head is amazing(and we all know that often that vision isn't quite realized- but at the beginning stages I'm always feeling confident).  Before I even shopped for the santa supplies though I got distracted by the new charts, particularly Erica Michaels "Stingy Jack & Friends."  I realize many of you aren't as thrilled with Halloween stitching as I am, so you may not find this as exciting, but right now this is high on my list of things I've got to do.  (it would be very helpful if my vision and my reality would meet up and fight it out, because my vision picks out too many things my reality can't get done.)  Anyway, after working on my challenge piece for 3 days (and I'm still not off the ship...WTH is the matter with me?), I decided to pick out a quick stitch just so I don't get too depressed without having a finish this week.  I know I talked about August's theme models before, but I got hung up on an October piece and decided to just stitch it.  My vision here was to stitch it exactly as shown....

My first stop in getting this done was to go to the shop, as I had very specific ideas of what to use.  While Heart in Hand used 32 ct. Vintage Autumn Field linen,  I wanted to use Winter Brew which is a white with grey, perfect for an all black project.  I picked up the black scalloped metal tray,  which I had envisioned using with this design but that's where the first turn in my thinking happened.  I was looking through the fabric cuts bin and found a gorgeous PTP overdyed green fabric, so I picked that up along with various other fabrics in the white or off white family.  I never did look for Winter Brew because I was being overwhelmed with color choices.  The 32 ct. is perfect for the metal tray I picked out so I started the project.  I did well, things were going smoothly, but I began to have stinking thinking about the color.  First instead of going with white or off white,( remember my vision) I kept going back to the green from PTP, Pampas.  So I finally decided that this design would work in a different way with the fabric so I stopped obsessing and started stitching.   After stitching the 2nd row of the alphabet my mind started wandering...never a good thing, and that's when I hit upon the idea of adding color in on the vine, including the leaves and flower buds.  The entire time I'm remembering how much I loved the piece just done with black, but I couldn't help myself and pulled out WDW Tobacco Road, vines, Moss, leaves, then of course I had to color the pumpkin and chose Persimmon for the pumpkin.  After stitching the flowers on the vine with carrot (originally had that out for a possible pumpkin color and was to lazy to look for any other color),  but in the end I took them out and restitched with CC Ye Old Gold.  And of course, I stitched the Smyrna Crosses and decided without stitching the entire thing in black, I needed to rethink those and decided to stitch the leaves in their place.    This was a fun stitch and while I should have finished it in a couple of days, I kept getting distracted by the changes I kept making.  Here is the end result....the tray comes in many colors and the bottom is 5" x 5" so there are a lot of designs for that size and this is the perfect stitching accessory especially if you take the time to stitch and finish a little fob, a needlebook and a pincushion.  But I did use it as a stitching tray holding the supplies for the piece itself.  Anyway, now I'm back to the Santa and the Shores of Hawk Run Hollow (I'm going to finish that ship if it kills me.)

While Jen and I have changed the challenge end date to 2020, we do have to show progress so my challenge now is I have to have the first 2 rows completely done before Jamboree.  And now if I do not, I'm paying Jen the $25.00.  I'm hoping that thought will kick my cheap side into gear.  (but I can't promise that...this is the year I may have to pay.)  Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  It's hotter than hell down here, but I noticed that it's hotter almost everywhere else.  Thank God we are living so close (any closer and we'd be in it) to the Atlantic Ocean.  Of course when northeasters are coming or hurricanes are in the forecast I sometimes wonder about moving inland, but at this point I'm here for life.  I've ridden everyone of them out here so don't see myself leaving for any reason.  Have a great weekend and I'll try to give you an update on my santa.  So much fun!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

I didn't make the deadline, however, I did finish...

"Suffrage Act" from Little House Needleworks is now history as I completed it early this morning.  It certainly took longer than I had hoped and I ran into a glitch or two, of my own making, but now my patriotic stitching is complete for July so I shall now move on to other things.  I'm thinking August should be about beach, ocean, mermaids, but then I've got everything ready to do the stand up Santa so I'm torn, to say nothing of working on my challenge piece and Blackberry's snowman.  Oh, mercy, I'm not sure in which direction I should to go.  But today it's about the finish work to be done on Suffrage Act and cleaning up and putting away fibers, etc. that are all over the place.  I suppose I should tell you my glitches on the piece, don't want you thinking it was a problem with the piece, chart or anything else which was somebody else's fault.  No, I'm afraid everything that went south was my fault (hurts to even adfmit it).  First, I had a fresh skein of each floss but after starting it I was afraid I would need more of the CC Cherry Cobbler and Black Coffee.  However, apparently Cherry Cobbler has been on backorder for a while so we didn't even have any in the shop (I had the one skein of each in my stash).  I thought perhaps if I actually stitched with half cross I could manage to eek out what I had, however, as I stitched the lettering I knew it wouldn't last so I started searching for matches in Weeks Dye Works. (I'm a stitcher who works from right to left so that the back of my pieces are fully covered with floss.  It gives it a little padding and puffs out the stitching, but it uses twice the amount of floss.)  I did find a good match for Cherry Cobbler with WDW and used it for the brick work at the bottom of the piece, but Black Coffee was another thing and since I had stitched the first word before I came to the conclusion that I'd have to use another skein, I had to have Black Coffee.  I went in to do office work on Friday and there were 12 skeins of Black Coffee, but still not Cherry Cobbler.  So Friday night and Saturday my mission was to complete the project, which I did.  Incidently I had 3 strands of the Black Coffee left from the last 18" cut I had, so the one skein was enough.  Now I got out the frame which I had ordered and was delivered to me the same day, and it turned out to be a little big.  Needless to say I was cursing West Side Frames until I went back and looked at the test I sent them with the measurements and after measuring it found that they had cut to the dimensions I had given them (I hate when that happens) so I ended up cursing out myself.  So today it's all about figuring out how to salvage this.  While West Side Frames offered to cut a new size for me, I'm determined to make lemonade out of this lemon.  I love the frame as it is perfect for patriotic pieces.
I tried a couple of different matting options and decided the hell with it, using the frame as is and I still love the piece.  Now I'm ready to move on to August stitching, whatever that may be.  We had a fabulous 4th here.  Sara loves to do a 4th of July dinner for all the employees and she did a fabulous job, fried chicken, potato salad, broccoli/cauliflower salad, and rum cake for desert (not sure that was typical picnic food but it was typical of Sara and it was delicious)...I hope you and your family had a great celebration and you were able to stitch a little bit before returning to work.   Have a great week, and I'll be talking to you.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Whoppee....Not only am I about to celebrate the 4th...but I've got a long overdue finish to show

I try to clean up around my stitching seat, when I finish a project, get the fibers put back in their drawers, any left over fabric goes back in the fabric drawer, embellishments returned to their homes, etc.  While I was doing that last finish I came across Drawn Thread's "Pastoral Pocket" fob & sampler.  I had completed the stitching, but still had the beading (wasn't called for but I love dimension to my projects) and finishing to do.  Beading, of course, came easy and done with quickly and then the daunting finishing.  Drawn Thread has actually given the finishing directions in the chart pack, unfortunately I'm too stupid to understand one part and after 2 weeks of reading it, putting it done, reading it again, putting it down, and finally last week I decided it was time to get my butt in gear and at least try.  So I did.  I started off following directions and knew something couldn't be right after step 4.   So I went out of the box and decided to finish it my own way as that seemed more important that struggling to do it her way.  Then it was a matter of just sewing things together.  Now, if you have followed me before, you know I love a lot of design on a project and when it comes to pockets, etui's, needlebooks, I have to have extras over what the designer calls for.  Pastoral Sampler pocket shows a pocket which forms at the bottom with a piece of felt and the name and date on it.  Then at the top of the pocket are 5 threads rings.   I know many of us, including myself, stitch these pieces without any intent of actually using them.  These are display only things for me, however, I still want it to be something I could pick up and use if I ever felt like it.  So, it is necessary for me to have more than 5 thread rings as I'm usually using many more colors than that.  So I decided to take a ring and attach it with wool to the top of the pocket, so that I could add my threads as they come, such as Weeks Dye Works, with the headers so I know which thread is which.  Then I added a wool scissor sheath and added a beautiful pair of Gingher Scissors which I think were called "Sarah" at the time and then I also added a wool pocket for things like the charms or buttons or whatever is called for on the project and last I added a pocket for a needle threader.  Since they were constructed using Weeks Dye Works wool it was an easy thing to do, but, of course, I couldn't leave them bare so I got out my silver bead collection to see what I could find.  I then added silver beads to all pockets, etc.  In the end, this is a favorite pocket of mine as I have loved the design since I saw it.  It can also be made into a sampler (chart in the chart pack) which is also fabulous. Pictured below is the outside of the pocket and then the inside showing the layout of pockets,etc.

then you see the inside with the supplies in use.

now the finished folded pocket,front, back and inside after folding the bottom half.

A true joy to have it and especially to have it finished after 3 years of sitting there staring at me.  Love the details, from the specialty stitches forming the wings on the butterflies and the bees, to the white button which resembles a floral blossom  button being used for closing, and its sitting on a flower stem...perfect.   Last week, in whatever daze I was in, I informed West Side Frames I needed a patriotic molding frame for the Little House Needleworks, "Suffrage Act Proclamation," which I had just started, thinking I had a week until the 4th.  He called me on Monday, July 1st, to say I only had 4 days before the 4th and he still didn't have the dimensions.  It was then I realized I had missed a week, how time flies when you are retired (I haven't worked one day in 2 weeks...thank you Jesus).  Well, I gave him the dimensions praying he wouldn't get it done in time since I didn't think I'd have the piece done in time since I was taking a lot of time with the finishing of the Pastoral Sampler pocket.  Crap...he showed up at my door about 5 hours later with the frame in hand.  Yikes.  So now it's a mad dash to get the stitching done so I can get it framed in 2 days.  I've been hampered a little (I have to find someone to blame) as Izi has become bored with summer and has decided to come to my house every afternoon while his mother is upstairs taking a nap (she has early morning duty at the hotel, and comes home mid day to take a nap before she goes back to work after dinner.   Izi loves You Tube bloggers so I watch those while we eat popcorn and drink ice tea.  The last hour he likes to play games which I'd prefer and I don't mind if I don't win, however the last couple of days I've been winning on games, ( he usually dominates) so I'm afraid it's back to You Tube (I can't believe people pay these people to do this).  Anyway, he usually leaves around 6:00 and while we haven't done anything strenuous, I then tend to need a nap after which I don't feel like stitching for some reason.  Now you see why I haven't been able to finish Suffrage.  But now that the pocket is done I will be dedicating the next 2 days to it and since I'm about 1/2 way done I should be able to get it completed.  Fingers crossed.  Then it's back to the Shores of Hawk Run (I know you are as tired of hearing about it as I am of talking about it.)  I did get on a roll with it and was so thrilled but that was only for a few days and then it was on to Pastoral Sampler.  But after Suffrage I plan to work on it and hopefully make some progress.  I could still lose the challenge, which has changed from having to be completed to having to show progress.  I'm still on the last mast on the ship.  So the only thing I'm completed is 1/2 a block (in my defense it is a double block), but that's not much of a defense.  And then I hope to finish Blackberry Lane Designs "All Dressed Up for Winter."  Boy, there are just not enough hours in my day.  That's all for now as I have some serious stitching to get done.  

Have a safe 4th of July as you celebrate our independence, freedom and our pursuit of happiness. Hope you find time to stitch.....I'll keep you posted on my progress 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Welcome to summer stitchers...

I could only wish summer was like today, Friday,  June 21st...the breeze here is lovely and the temperature is moderate, of  course the sun is behind a cloud, but I wouldn't care if it was warmer and sun was out as long as the breeze remained.  The shop is picking up and we are now open from 10 a.m. until 9:45 p.m. and I went back on the schedule for 2 days last week.  Since I'm on the down side of the ankle injury I'm able to hobble around the shop with no cane, although I have it with me just in case.  I need to work on my stamina for Salty Yarns however, as I was fading fast after a day of cutting fabric.   Asked Sara what my schedule is for the next week and I don't have one.  Whoohoo, I'm on vacation again.  Love it!   But with all the time home I did get 2 new finishes.  I love 4th of July and have somewhat just skipped over the month of June as far as stitching models goes as I've done red, white and blue so much I'm thinking I'm even about over it.  In fact today I start Suffrage from Little House Needleworks....and this will be my end of red, white and blue.  But before I end, Seaside Sparrow just got in the shop a little over a week ago and I snatched one up and stitched it on 20 ct. white linen and changed the colors of the sparrow to red, white and blue (as if I had to say that.)  Now having said that, unbeknownst to me Judy Brunclik showed up and she was stitching the same thing only she went by the pattern and stitched on the suggested linen using the threads shown.....and I loved the suggested colors which would have gone more with the June theme...darn it!  But I went out of the box and I love mine too, but I think I love the recommended colors a little bit more.  Judy's is finished on  an Adam's Original zippered box and it's so cute.  I should have taken a picture...damn it next time.  Perhaps Sara will post it on the facebook page.  Anyway, I stitched the sparrow first in counted cross stitch and then satin stitched over the blue of the hat, the tie around the neck, and the wings.  It was a fun stitch though and then on to the finish...stand up.  Love him....

After finishing him I decided to finish Year of Celebration by Hands on Design- July.  This is exciting in that I've been able to actually finish 7 of these so far January thru July.  I might actually get all 12 done....personal best!  Anyway, this of course had to be red, white and blue, and I stitched it on the same fabric I stitched June on since it's a lovely lightly mottled blue which made it look like clouds were floating by to me.   When I was done I wanted to incorporate the colors in the finishing so I found a patriotic bag of finishing pieces that Lois (Lady Dot) made up and it contained not only the red, white and blue suede like fabric,  but also rick rack, both 1/2 " and smaller, as well of a couple of trims (which I'll use on othe projects).   I was going to use the patriotic ribbon to hang it but I've learned that I need to step back periodically and then remove one element or I've gone gaudy and tacky.  So I used plain blue instead.  Fun, fast and I'm 4th of July ready.  And, of course, used my favorite finishing right now - the olde hornbook.  Again, the hornbook is reusable as I didn't attach the piece to it.  Win Win!

Since I don't have to work this week this means I have to do some work at home.  So I'm blogging and pulling out some pieces which have been laying around stitched for over a year and never been finished.  First one up....a Shepherd's Bush scissor fob, 
This was a 2008 Shepherd's Bush limited edition kit which you could only get thru them.  I've checked the web site and it isn't listed any longer, but their fob kits are fabulous and most stores stock them.  They are suppose to be stitched over two, but I love these fobs stitched over one.  They are so cute and look wonderful over one.  They are a bit more fidgety to finish, but it's worth it in the end.  I haven't finish a fob apparently in a while and I struggled with the Betsy Morgan tassel....I got the cording right, but the tassel I had to give up on...but I intend to keep at it until I once again am able to get it right.  But I feel so much better having one finish from 2018 (year I dated this as having finished the stitching) off the pile, and in the showcase (also called my corner cupboard).  I also am thrilled to announce I'm moving right along on two other wip, Blackberry Lane's snowman and my Shores of Hawk Run Hollow piece.  I could have had Blackberry Lane's done but I ran into the same problem working bottom up as I did when I worked from the top down on this one.  There are 4-5 reds involved, grey and white and then green.  I got the snowman stitched and then started on the scarf from the bottom up since originally I was working top to bottom and confused myself working on the scarf around his neck.  But I'm determined now, so last night I stitched row by row instead of working on one color at a time.  I also blew up the picture and am coordinating the color of the stitch with that.  It's taking way to long for my taste but I love her pieces and will stitch this or die trying.  I'm so close to being finished.  

At the same time I'm also working on my challenge piece, Shore of Hawk Run Hollow...yes Jan I haven't worked on it all since our meeting and moving the deadline, but knowing I have to show some work has been done I'm back on it.  I am thrilled to announce I finally got the first sails done on the piece and I make myself stitch a couple hours a day on it so I'm praying I have the first 2 rows done before October.  As I told you the first row has 4 scenes and I have 3 3/4 done on that row.  2nd row has 2 scenes regular size and one scene that takes up 2 I had done approx. 1/4 of the first scene and of course I can't match up whatever colors I picked so I'm going to have to start over on that.  I am now down 1/2 of the double in the center and that's it.  So I have a long way to go just to get my 2 rows completely done, but I'm plugging along each day and think I can do it.  In fact I almost enjoyed the stitch last night...a whole lot of white on those sails.  I, of course, changed colors and since my mother's ashes were thrown out to sea by one of the local boat captains, I've decided to dedicate the 3nd block on the 2nd row to her to I will be changing the name on that which shouldn't be too difficult, but I'm also thinking of changing the last block on the third row by putting sea gulls in there.  There's a good chance that by the time I get to that I say the hell with that idea and just stitch the block as it so it will be done.  That's a long way off so right now I'm trying to focus on the ship block.  Just one block at a time so I'm not overwhelmed  I haven't let myself start Suffrage Act which I need done before the forth, but I believe in the next day or two I will just have to take a break from wip and get it started so I can get it in the shop.  So many projects....and I'm getting older each day.  But I'm willing to try to finish them all before I go.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Great Weekend with Betsy Morgan....

Yes we are in Betsy Morgan mode today with our annual finish class taking place right now and then the new classes start tomorrow. (obviously this posted started last week.)  My dear friend Paola arrived on Monday at 2:45 and we've been hanging out since.  So much fun and she brought me a birthday present....whoppee .  First picture is the back of this dear sweet needlebook....

then you see the front of the needlebook and the little doll tucked inside the box with it

The inside

then the box it all came in....a small candy box that looks like a little book...a gift within a gift

Thank you Paola for such a lovely gift....stitched on 52 ct. linen (can you imagine?)  Paola's stitching is unbelievable, especially as she stitches on 52 ct. a lot, in fact I feel safe in saying she using stitches on counts above 40 ct.  Beautiful stitching and beautiful finishing.  Just a pleasure to have her here and just so much fun to be with.  

And two new finishes for the week....
Festive Fobs-Americana Edition from Heartstring Samplery
As many of you are well aware (sometimes I do go on too much), I love this series of which there are many.  But this is one of my favorites to date (I think I've said that before as well.)  Anyway, I stitched it on 32 ct. Antique White linen...over 1.  I did use the recommended threads (shocking I know), and instead of finishing it as a pincushion and a fob, as I have done in the past,  I'm crazy right now for the hornbook finishing (so easy) so I decided to finish it that way.  And I had the decorative ribbon in my stash and hadn't been able to use it before so I threw that in.  I just think these little samplers are too cute for words, even if that isn't what Beth  designed them to be.  In case you aren't familiar, Beth designed these motifs to be used on pinkeeps, fobs, strawberries, everything but a sampler.  But she shows them all together in a square which when I saw one of the charts, for the first time trying to decide which pieces I was going to stitch,  decided they looked cute all together...hence my mini samplers.  Takes no time to stitch, just a couple of days and of course an easy finish.  

Now the second finish is also an over 1 piece...Brenda Gervais, With Thy Needle and Thread's Holiday Hoopla-4th of July

This is a picture of the metal box which I wrapped with a patriotic ribbon and then glued the American flag to the front (thrilled to be able to use that ribbon again)

This is the design on the top of this box,  which I framed with red rick rack.  Stitched over 1 on 32 ct. Vint. Blue Whisper linen,  using threads recommended,  except I stitched the 4 in Balger Blue Metallic #4 Braid and the fireworks on the top are done in Balger #4 gold braid.  An easy 2 day stitch and an easy finish.  Love it.  The beard on the original was done with Rainbow Gallery Wisper, but stitching this over 1 wasn't sure that Wisper would have worked, I don't think, so I just satin stitched the beard.  I have loved both of these Holiday Hooplas.  Easter was so cute with a little bunny I have this in my stash but didn't have time before Easter to get it done...I'll get it finished for 2020 though.  And I have become obsessed with the tin box I attached it to.  Brenda had kits made up for Nashville which I showed finished a blog post or two before.  I'm so obsessed with them I'm going to be doing these for every holiday and then some.  The designs only have to be 59 stitches or less to fit.  Anyway, not only do they make a cute ort box, but for a little gift box for a stitcher filled with packs of needles, needle threader, little pair of scissors, etc.  Or perhaps a gift card to their favorite store.  Anyway, expect to see more and more of these.  And we carry the tin boxes in the store so I can do one whenever I want.  

It just feels great to completely finish the projects as I get them done.  I ordered a carton of Crescent mat board for backing so I never run out and I have a case of the tin boxes at home, so I'm good to go there, I've ordered a point setter so I don't have to get to the shop to use that if only I could find the bolt of interfacing I purchased several years ago so I would never ran out....I should have known sooner or later I'd lose it (an entire bolt so it's not little but leave it to me to do it.)  Anyway, I'm having a good time this week.  I rested up all last week and my ankle is finally feeling better.  The sharp pains are a thing of the past and as long as I keep off it a day now I can bounce back with just an ache in the ankle.  So I'm well on the road to recovery....Thank you Jesus!  Renee on the other hand had a much tougher road than I did, and was in the hospital for several weeks but finally came home about 10 days ago and was in the shop soon after.  She looks a little weaker but other than that she looks great.  (I was home resting but Sara called me to let me know she's up and walking.)  So I was thrilled with that news.  I can't believe these are the golden years....but at least I'm on this side of the dirt.  Anyway, hope you are all well and stitching on vacation.  For those of you who have to work....I feel your pain (now that we are going to 2 shifts Sara has called me in.)  I'm much better off, of course, because I can stitch at work, but I'll be thinking about those of you who can't.
There was one more finish which I forgot to show you in the last post....With Thy Needle & Thread Thread, "Strawberries & Stripes".   While Brenda designed this to be used with a peat pot, I found this cute 2" round opening flower pot which was  than 3"tall in my laundry room, which I used (not sure why I purchased it since I don't garden, but I was thrilled to find a use for it    Stitched the design over 1 on 28 ct. linen and as the design was small, approx. 54 stitches by 54 stitches it became a fast stitch and the finish is relatively simple.  While Brenda added a handle to her pot, I think it makes a cute pin cushion without any handle.  Looks like a flower to me.  Love it!

And I can't sign off without giving you another update on my ankle injury.  I am thrilled to tell you that I am now well on the road to recovery.  I rested the foot, ankle, leg for 4 days prior to Paola's arrival hoping I'd be able to join Paola several times.  The Wednesday before she arrived I was not in the best of shape so I was a bit concerned how I would do.  However, when I got up the morning of her arrival I was thrilled to see that the pain was greatly relieved and I was able to get around O.K. this whole week.  The fact that I can get around without excruciating pain is so thrilling for me and for a while I thought I was never going to get free of it.  But, I'm slowly giving up the wheelchair at home (don't use it anywhere else) and trying to get rid of the canes...but baby steps, baby steps for now.  Renee is also out of the hospital, finally, and while she's a little weaker at the moment, she did come up to the shop a couple of weeks ago and Sara said she looked amazing.  So we are both doing really well.  Sara helped me home last night, all though I was on my scooter so I told her not to bother, but anyway, when I was preparing to park the scooter in the garage she got a little too close and I ran over her foot, so now Sara has an injury.  Unfortunately she can't take time off so when I checked this morning she informed  me it hurt but she was out and about getting things done.  Oops, sorry Sara.  Have a great week, stay hydrated, out of the direct sun as much as possible and try to get a little time working on your projects.