Monday, December 31, 2018

Why am I never ready for Christmas? This blog never got posted so it's outdated but I'm posting it anyway.

Today, 12/17, is the last day we are open until after Christmas at which time we will open Friday, 12/28 through Monday until the middle of April when we go to regular 7 days a week.
Every year I think I'll be ready, and yet here we are just a week out and I'm still in a frenzy.  It's not like it crept up on me...I was complaining about stores having Christmas decorations out before Halloween, so how does this happen year after year.  Plus as the children have gotten past the little kid age, gifts are harder to find.  Two of my grandchildren still don't know what they want.  Exactly how do I shop for that?  One only wants money....I hate that and when I said to Michael, "How are you going to feel on Christmas if I just hand you an envelope with money in it?"  And he said, "Oh, I thought you would give me other stuff too." it.  Mary has no list, they are going to Disneyworld in February for Izi's birthday so she wants money.  Sweet Jesus, I'm baffled.  On the plus side I've been cleaning the house so that should be ready.  I mean a hard clean too so that's a good thing.  However, I've been out of the stitching mood for a few weeks now so I've done very little.  However, I did start Brenda Gervais, Candy Cane Wishes and that seems to have kicked me back into it.  I love her small boxes and have managed to stitch every one of them at this point.

With any luck I should have it finished by Wednesday...God willing and then I should have it finished by Christmas. (update: stitching is done, not to assemble it)  Since the person I made it for has received it for her birthday, here was a finish I had earlier this month.  It's Blackberry Lane Designs, Christmas Memories

So much fun to stitch, but I ran into a bit of trouble with it.  Life would be so easy if I just stitched things the way they were shown on the charts, but noooo...I have to use colors I like and in this particular chart, I didn't understand something so I made a decision to replace those items which I already stitched so that mean I had to rip out and redo.  Because there were several of them on this  tree that meant more than one revision, plus I didn't do it immediately I waited until after I had already stitched quite a bit of the tree so then I had to replace them with things that fir in their space.  It's like cutting off the table leg.  I'd think a branch was done but after adding something on one side I'd think I'd need to add something more to the other side and this happened over and over again.  But let me say, These trees are fabulous that Marie designs, so far I've done the Freedom Tree, Halloween Tree and now Christmas tree.  I've also managed to do bases that go with the trees.  Just paint and scrapbook paper and a cute gift.  Stitched on 32 ct. linen using DMC.  Easy to stitch when you stay on the reservation, easy to finish and you can finish as an ornament as well.  During Tangles retreat, Vera Means was in and brought her show and tell, which was fabulous so I wanted to show that to you.    The first picture shows 3 of Nancy Ree's, Needle Delights,  canvaswork Halloween pictures which Vera then combined  into a triplex.  Then Vera added a few embellishments to the overall piece.  For those coming to Salty Yarns in 2019, Vera kindly allowed us to keep it until next October 2019, so you can see it in the Halloween room.

The next picture shows her Christmas Village which Vera stitched as one piece and then found the perfect frame for it.  This we don't have on display so enjoy it here.  The Tangles retreat ladies come twice a year and spend a lot of time in the shop so we thank the attendees for allowing us to share the weekend with them.  Always a fun time.  Also thanks to Judy and Kathy who were here to help me while Sara sunbaths in Jamaica.  I couldn't do it without Judy and Kathy.  They do all the heavy lifting while I just sit in Sea Trader and talk to the attendees.  

Some of you will already have seen the pictures of our Stitch 'n Bitch Christmas dinner which we have every December at Fager's Island Restaurant.  This we year we had a record of number of  attendees and it was a wonderful full night of goodie bags, I swear I took home an endless supply of goodie bags filled with wonderful treats and I also was gifted many fabulous gifts by the ladies.  I have to thank Judy and Debbie who tried to keep me straight all night, but I have to admit I was a bit over served, but had a wonderful time on Tuesday going through all the goodie bags (I'm telling you almost every stitcher who comes brings a goodie bag for everyone..amazing).  I'm posting this since it's already past due.  Have a safe and fun night tonight as you celebrate New Year's Eve.  I'm taking my normal position for this night....on the sofa with a cold soda and my T.V.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

So much has gone on here at Salty Yarns.....exciting

Since my last blog post we've had 3 events, first was the  Delaware Valley Sampler Guild, and this is a Guild retreat, we just have the location so we host it,  but we have such fun with this group of women, plus we consider them locals as we see many of the stitchers all year long so they hold a special place in our hearts, especially since the Jersey coalition brought me a giant eclair from Rosenfeld's Deli.  Yes ladies, thank you for that, it made a great dessert on Friday night and an even better breakfast on Saturday.  I loved it!  So appreciate your kindness.  But I need to get back on topic.  As a sampler guild you would think it would be all about samplers, which is a focus of theirs and we see  great stitching going on with samplers, but they also like the smalls and fun projects.  Last year we gave them, (goodie bag project),  the Brenda Gervais, Spirits & Spells, as a kit with everything included, as I had just finished the model for the shop and loved it.  Sara was concerned because it is a Sampler Guild, but I told her we were doing it anyway because I liked it so much and according to Stacy Stinson, who is an officier of the Guild, they also loved it, so this year we gave them Brenda Gervais, Autumn in Baltimore because I finished it this summer and loved it, as well.  Same size as Spirits and uses the same papier mache box which we already carry so Sara kitted it with everything they would need and that went into the goodie bag.  I'm not sure anyone has finished it yet, but I'm sure many will stitch it.   Anyway, this is a great group of stitchers and a lot of fun to have in the shop.  Best of all is their show and tell.   Somehow while I'm oogling their projects and commenting on them I never remember to take a darn picture. So you will have to take my word that this group has fabulous show & tell.   They had several newbies with them this year so it was exciting to see all our old friends, plus make new ones. So a big Thank You to the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild.  Slightly off topic, however  Someone came into the shop and we talked about retreats and they wanted to know what was the purpose of a retreat.   So I began my long version of what happens at retreats and now I want to tell anyone who has never done a retreat.....this is where you learn lots of information, tips, time saving hacks, finishing ideas as well as getting help when you are stuck on something or just would like an opinion...mercy we certainly have plenty of them.  Now if the event also has classes, even better.  Here you are learning from teachers of the art, plus getting all the supplies for a special project.   So if you are lucky enough to have a shop in your area, or there is a retreat being held in your area, please take the time to sign up and go.  You will not regret it.  Even after stitching for 61 years (my first sampler was finished and framed age 9).  I am amazed when someone gives me a tip that I haven't heard before.  And believe it or not I'm still learning.  And I learn new techniques by the stitchers retreating here and get wonderful finishing ideas from them.  These are women (in our case mostly) who become life long friends in stitching.  If you aren't lucky enough to have a local group, then look for retreats and go to one.  You will not be sorry.  Most shops have them now so they are all over the country.   Anyway, thank you to all the lovely stitchers who came to the event....we love you and appreciate you more than we can say.  It's always a good feeling to walk into a room of stitchers.   Three weekends ago  was our big year end Salty Yarns Jamboree which was a fun filled exhausting weekend for one and all.  Since there are 3 classes during Jamboree, you are either running to a class, eating before class, between classes and after class, so I don't get as much time to talk to everyone, but I'm thrilled to report this year we had decent weather for both retreats.  The hurricane, Michael (and I don't mean my grandson) came through at night so we barely knew it came at all.  The next day was gorgeous, sunny, bright and almost bikini weather.  So the ladies began arriving Thursday and claiming their seats in the lobby. .  As always there was a  little glitch in our system...someone forgot to mention something and this year was no different.  Mary decided to close the hotel starting the Sunday before the event and reopen for the event with the first  stitchers and teachers arriving on Thursday, unfortunately Beth had e-mailed Sara that she would be flying in on Wednesday and Sara never checked her e-mail.  Oops (believe it or not this is not the first time this has happened.) Anyway, it was no big deal because we were ready on Monday, so when Mary  found out she wasn't disturbed by it at all and was back at the desk working on event goodie bags,, food etc.  I was busy at home working on Hands on Design's Halloween short stack, Put Your Hat On and the ornament for the challenge.  Neither went well in case you were curious.  I measured twice before cutting the top and bottom for the short stack and still got it wrong, and ran out of ideas for the ornament bubble challenge so while I got it done it was an embarrassment compared to the others.  I'll be stepping up my game if we ever do another.  Anyway, Beth from Heartstring Samplery arrived on Wednesday as well as a few of our stitchers and Thursday,  Sharon Verbos (Purple Thread) came aboard as well as several more of our stitchers.  Friday the rest of the crew arrived including Kathy Rees (Needle Delights) who arrived Friday afternoon as she lived in the area of Florida that received damage from the hurricane so we were lucky she was still able to come at all..  While we normally have only female stitchers, Everett, whose wife, Sara,  usually attends decided to come as well and take part in the event.  He began stitching last year to prepare for it and he has become a really good stitcher.  He finished his 40 ct. project and it was perfect. He's as concerned with the back of his project as well as the front (unbelievably), so I can attest that he is a neat, clean and exact stitcher. This year's projects were wonderful (although I could say that every year as they always are).  Beth (Heartstring Samplery) sent a pre-stitch project to the attendees sometime in August and I didn't see it until Debbie came for Jackie's class in September and she was working feverishly on it (she didn't get the project until the end of August or early September).  When I saw it was 40 ct. I said, "Yikes, but you are almost 1/2 done, so you can get it done in the next 2-3 weeks," but then she told me there was a 2nd piece with alot of stitching as well (turned out to be the strawberry) so I became doubtful she would get it done in time due to all the over one stitching on 40 count and such a short time frame.  Glad to report she got it done...Yea Debbie!!!  Of course our over achiever Stasi Buhrman had both pieces completed in August (there is always one in every crowd).  Good for you Stasi....knew you would do it.  Many of the stitchers got their class projects finished and they are fabulous.  It's great when you have pre-stitch and actually take home a finished project...isn't it?   We also had wonderful trunk shows from each of the designers.  I've only done a couple of canvaswork projects but I loved doing it...just the different stitches you use is so interesting and it gave me a chance to use some of the beautiful fibers you just don't get to use in counted cross stitch.  And Sharon has started a Winterthur Collection that started with a piece done in class that is interesting in design as well as color and history.  I thought I took a picture of this project but can't find it on my phone.  As soon as I do I'll post it.  
And here's Bernadette's finished Heartstring Samplery project.  Ort container, Strawberry and the pins as well.  A good time was had by all! So pretty...the container was metal and the pins were glass....a fabulous project.  Thank you Beth for the time and effort that went into this.  I know the stitchers really appreciated it.  Everyone likes to take a project home finished.    

Because the other two classes didn't have pre-stitching, we didn't have a finished project from anyone yet so I'll show you part of their trunk shows...(Since I wrote this I now have Needle Delights class project below)

Purple Thread

Needle Delights

Wow, Candi brought her Needle Delights class project in this past weekend so here is Candi's Needle Delight version of the class project.  Love the colors.  Thanks Candi!

Heartstring Samplery

Of course you can't see everything but you can check out their designs on their web sites.  Always worth the time to take a look.  Google Purple Thread or Sharon Verbos...for Purple thread as I've seen it on Pinterest under her name I think.   She has just started designing for Winterthur and the class piece was the first kit from that collection.  A lovely interesting piece with is sure to excite the sampler crowd.  I do have a picture of her class project, but haven't located it on the phone yet (I am definitely IPhone challenged-but eventually I get there and when I do I'll post it.) 
 We also had the 2 challenges this year.  First is my challenge with Jan Hartman, we each work on a project that has been sitting in a bag and we must complete the project by Jamboree.  The one who doesn't finish must pay the one who did finish $25.00.  We've done this for 2 years and so far not a cent has changed hands.  A great way to get stash moved from a pile to a wall or wherever.  Next year may be different as I've chosen to finish Shores of Hawk Run Hollow.  UGH...I don't even know where I've put it.  I was really moving along on this piece and then took it into the shop during an event and didn't see it again for several years, only to look it again when I came across it a couple of years ago.  But I swear I'm going to find it and get it long as I don't get distracted.  We'll see what happens next October.  This year we both worked on the same Hands on Design kit, Dreaming of the Sea, which has been released as a chart only as "Wild Salt Air."  Anyway, I'm thrilled to say we both finished stitching and also each piece had to be finished in it's final form.   Then we had the bubble challenge.  I loved Vonnie's Bubble ornament and had Sara order the bubbles so I could try to do one.  We got the bubbles (clear plastic orbs which you can fill with anything and snap the 2 sides together to form a globe ornament) right before a class in the the spring.  I was talking about them with Stasi when one of the stitchers came over and asked what we were talking about so I handed her a bubble and asked if she'd like to try it.  Then each person that walked over and expressed an interest I handed her a bubble, and on and on until I ran out of bubbles.  I thought it would be an easy challenge.  I found I struggled with a design.  Stasi also was part of the bubble ornament challenge, also did a cute snowman over 1 on 40 count for the bubble.  .  

She got the design from Just Cross Stitch Christmas issue and it was so cute...did I mention over one on 40 ct.   (ugh-I need to step up my stitching game)  It actually looked painted on the linen the stitching was so tiny and the detail was amazing.   She used beads for her snow.   Fabulous job!   Last time I was suppose to do 40 ct. over 2,  I switched to 20 ct. over 1)  It was so cute.    And Debbie not only got her pre -stitch done but then did an amazing job on her bubble ornament which was a take off of a Little House Christmas ornament with the red truck (she did her truck blue since that's her grandson's favorite truck) w/tree....and she had added lights, that operated on a battery, in the windows of the house..beyond amazing..I mean who would have thought to do this.  The bubbles were approx. 2".  I thought I got a

picture of each ornament by itself...I was apparently wrong!   When I was looking at another over 1 on 40 I was amazed because she made it 3 dimensional with the truck shown sitting by itself with the house stitched separately as the background.  ..Sweet you see why my attempt was a little embarrassing. But it's obvious that Stasi and Debbie brought their A game here.  And they were not alone... Crystal  did a double sided ornament inside the full bubble (the rest of ours were in half bubbles), amazing designs - 2 designs, another over achiever!  The more I see all the work everyone did, the more embarrassed I am at my failure to perform.  I'll know better next time...I'll bring my A+ game.  

I barely got one design done, and to be truthful mine was half done since I started it last year and never finished it for a pin cube,  so I stole it from that.   Jan did a snowman using her full bubble as the bottom and a styrfoam ball as the head....really cute even thou there was no stitching still a cute ornament and a great idea. 
Cute right?  She filled the bubble with artificial snow.  So it wasn't stitched but she got a cute ornament done and there really weren't rules regarding stitching so she is in the boundary of the challenge.    Stacy Stinson did a Little House Needleworks design ornament which was really cute done over one,   She picked out elements from the original design and she also added artificial snow...cuteness!  Now with all the designs that we have all collected over the years it was amazing that my Sarah and Stacy picked the same design without knowing they did it until Stacy came into the shop one day before the event and said she had finished her ornament and told Sara what it was.  While Sara had finished stitching hers and it looked different because she used the total design, she never finished it, so I don't show it because her ornament never made it on the tree.  (Note-it is now finished.  This is Stacy's version of the Little House Needleworks ornament.  

Donna Cook finished her half moon santa using specialty stitches.  I have always loved the half moon santa and have stitched a few in my time, Donna then used little snowflakes as the snow.  OMG...cuteness.  Everyone did such a fabulous job of finishing their ornament with scalloped backings, etc.  Yes these ladies showed me how it should of been done.

And while I would love to leave my ornament out of the pictures, it wouldn't be fair to the others who did such a fabulous job so I'm going to take the hit, and show my sorry excuse.  I love the reindeer, don't get me wrong.  I love Just Nan designs, but I didn't do her justice by using it here and I certainly didn't display my best work in the finishing.  So I'm ashamed of my lack of effort and promise to do better next time.  Below you see my embarrassment.  For all the ladies who participated...Thank You for taking the time and putting in so much effort.   It was fun, although embarrassing for me and I would do it again. 

Now I'm thinking we ought to throw the challenge out next year (I can only get better so I'm not afraid to challenge) and throw it out to all attendees.  I can't imagine what fabulous ornaments I'd see.  It really does give you inspiration for doing them and it would give you a leg up in getting stitching done for Christmas.  So if you are interested in doing this let me know.  I'm sure Sara will want to kill me, but I'm always up for a challenge. The weekend was fabulous, the food was fabulous, Thank you Sara, and the stitchers were fun to be around.  Here again, we had new stitchers join us so we want to thank them for joining  this year.  We had a few glitches in the system but all in all a wonderful weekend that I needed 4 days at home to get over.  And then last weekend we had our C.A. Wells Memorial weekend. 

 Again, all about the food and sitting with stitching friends and stitching projects and remembering how the original CA Wells experience was so horrific but has led to many years of memorializing it and now it's a fun weekend to celebrate the experience.  Sara informed me that she wasn't decorating this year, which is part of the fun for me because it's so much fun to be sitting in the midst of Halloween and since the hotel is almost 100 years old it's like being in a haunted hotel.  However, since the elevator men have not shown up to repair the elevator she would have to walk the 5 cartons down from the attic herself and she wasn't doing it.  But Wednesday or Thursday  morning I got the call that John and Chris (men working at the hotel) heard our  tale of woe and they up and got the boxes, so we are back in business.  I'm thrilled because it would not be the same without the decorations no matter how hard we tried to act like it was.  Debbie's came in Wednesday night and Stasi got here Thursday but I was in the weeds as usual with goodie bags and birthday gifts to get done so I didn't arrive until Saturday for the fun.  We weren't sure if Stasi would make it since Rich cut his hand chopping wood and ended up with over 20 stitches in his finger.  But he was a trooper and told her he was alright on Thursday and she come.  We are so glad she did.  Debbie spent Thursday decorating her apartment with Halloween lights, etc.  It is amazing that she brings all this stuff from home and decorates the apartment she's staying in....really puts one in the Halloween mood.  The rest of the original registered CA Wells participants arrived on Saturday and the fun began.  As usual everyone else stitched for 2 days while I ate and talked.  The food ...oh my, it is all about the food.  Everyone brings stuff and then Sara does several things.  I do my cookies (chocolate dipped peanut butter and my leak and potato soup).  I'm telling you its 2 days of grazing, stitching, laughing and talking.  And this year we had a new member join us, 4 month old Jace, Candi's son.  I haven't held a tiny baby in so long, I just loved it.  And on the stitching front, I started and stopped on the Thankgiving Notes by Shepherd's Bush, as I made a mistake I cannot live with and must tear out one side(crap).  However I did finish for Jamboree..Fabulous Fobs-Beehive Edition before Jamboree

As with the previous Fabulous Fobs piece I stitched (Seaside) shown earlier, I stitched not individual pieces but stitched them together as a small sampler on 32 ct., over one.  I intend to do the entire series this way, they are just too cute.  I did have one problem with this piece due to the fact I stitched it on antique white linen.  The white wings of the bee would't show up, so I took Balger #32 pearl blending filiment (I know I said I would never use this again...but it was perfect for this)..and Satin stitched over the white floss to give the wings a see through effect...very nice look I have to say.  I would do this again even if the white showed up on the color of linen just because it's glistening and see through so you see the bee's legs in the large bee and the wings become 3 dimensional.  Next on my list the Turkey for Thanksgiving Fabulous Fobs.  

  I then finished Blackberry Lane's Halloween Tree, which I absolutely love more than the Freedom Tree because the finish was easier this time. 

Have you ever worked on a project and think you like the finish, but then after a couple of hours you look it over again and just feel like it's not quite right yet.  That's was  my story the day I finished this.   I thought I was finished, in fact put the picture on the blog, but by 2:00 p.m. after picking it up I felt it needed to be more stable.   While it did stand up on it's own,  it just didn't feel as stable as it should.    So I looked for a larger base to attach it to, and found nothing.  I needed a round disc, I was thinking wooden, but didn't want to go to Michael's for just that so I went about making one out of mat board, which I painted and then decided I wanted to use scrapbooking paper for the top of the base so I cut that out (thank God for circle cutters.  I have 2 and I can't live without them when it comes to finishing.)  Anyway, originally I wasn't going to use the ribbon because I made feet out of a silver rondelle bead and big round orange and black bead (which I set into the inset in the silver bead) and then glued it all together and glued to the bottom of the mat board.  Then I wanted something to run along the edge to dress up the disk after trying black lace and the Trick or Treat ribbon, the ribbon won out.  So here is the new and improved (I hope)  Hollow Eve Tree Finish.  The 3rd picture shows the beads being used as feet for the stand.  You don't see them but you know they are there so they have to be unique.    

Marie did a fabulous job designing these trees, and I've loved stitching each one so far, Freedom Tree for the 4th of July and now the Hallow Eve's Tree.  I did finish each differently as I  stuffed the Freedom tree and I finished Halloween like a flat fold would be done, before inserting the stick.  I used black rick rack while the designer used orange and I used black beads on the end of each branch in place of orange which is Marie's choice.  I did this because I had black and didn't want to have to go to Michael's to get orange.  Then I mounted it in a large spool which I had painted black, then covered the middle with scrapbook paper and tied Trick or Treat ribbon around the pole to hid a glue mistake.  I had as much fun finishing this one as I did stitching it. And next I finished Hands on Design's,  Put on the Hat short stack.  These are too fun to stitch and I've gotten the short stack finishing down so it's easy to do now, although I do tend to panic the minute I think,  "now I'm going to do the finishing." 

As I reported earlier this should have been at Jamboree since the stitching was finished but I made the mistake (I did measure twice and still got it wrong) of cutting the circles too small.  I cut them the size of the mat board circle which they had to cover...oops...anyway, I finally finished it and love it.  I'm also thrilled to have caught up on the short stacks.  I've finished everyone so far even though I think Harvest and Hat came less than 4 weeks apart (or close to that).  I'm thinking Thanksgiving and Christmas short stacks can't be far away!  Well Ive  moved on the another Fabulous Fob-Harvest Edition.  Since it's got a Turkey showing it will be perfect for our Thanksgiving display...then perhaps I'll move back to Thankgiving Notes....that's the plan.  Have a great Halloween and I'll be talking to you later.   

Friday, September 28, 2018

Event season is upon us...everyone is too busy for words....

Mary is not only manning the front desk, but she's also housekeeping as well, when our 2 final housekeepers are overwhelmed, taking care of the office...etc, etc, etc.  Sara is going nuts ordering, mail orders, shop schedules, etc,  now that we've lost so much of our shop help and of course taking shifts while fitting in food prep on items that can be done early and frozen.  The men are busy staying out off our way, and helping out when we need them and what am I doing to help?  I'm staying home so I'm not in anyone's way.  I have been feverishly trying to get models stitched and finished along with a few other fun items I love making.  But it is a mad house all over.   My dining room table isn't even visible as I have cutting mats, ribbons, fabric, craft supplies strew across it....honestly even I can't wait to put all this stuff back where it should go.  Now I'll show you some of what I've been working on.   First of all I finished Erica Michael's, "Scary Berry" done on linen (I used PTP Helix).  Many of you have seen the adorable 40 ct. gauze Scary Berry Stasi Buhrman stitched which is seriously detailed, a lot more than the linen one and while I love it...I didn't have the stamina or time to get it done before the events.  My hope is that Stasi gets hers finished and brings it with her for show and tell,  because if I had the time to choose I would have chosen the gauze piece because of the detail, however, that being said, I do love all the berries and will enjoy seeing mine now that's it together.  Linda put cute BOO charms on the top of hers, but I didn't have those so I put a black ribbon on the top to hang my berry and I brought the ribbon through a small pumpkin I had, just to give it that little extra (shown on top of the berry in the second picture.  Can't wait to do another one.  Looking at the second picture I noticed it looks like an ice cream cone with a little pumpkin on top instead of a cherry.  Or maybe not!


The next picture is "The Cat and the Moon" by Brenda Gervais.  I started this on 40 count Italian linen (40 ct. is what was the suggested linen) however after 15 minutes of stitching on the Italian linen, which seems really dense to me, I said the hell with it and was struggling to figure out what I could do with it if I stitched on a larger count.  I was thinking a tart pan, ornament and then it hit me.  I decided to use 20 count linen and stitch over much easier and it comes out the same size.  Since it was over one, I used 2 strands of the floss called for and had it finished in no time.  Love it!  I was a little concerned about the finishing of this however.  So I started gathering supplies.  I knew I wouldn't use crepe paper but felt I could use ribbon or fabric, and then saw someone else on Facebook used ribbon so off to Michaels I went.  They had all their Halloween merchandise out and 40% off so it was a win for me.  It took me forever to pick a ribbon and wasn't sure I would like it until I put it on the pot.  While she called for a peat pot to be used, but I walked into my laundry room and was searching for something (I didn't find that), but looked up and saw a 3" clay pot from who knows where, I simply can't force myself to throw stuff away because I am certain I will use it someday....and this proves my point (that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)  When I finally sat down to finish, I started with the double stick tape on the inside of the pot.  I  gathered the ribbon by pulling on the wired edge on one side and it worked perfectly.  So wire on the bottom which I left alone and gathered the fabric on the top on the wire.  The double stick tape didn't work and I was too lazy to get the hot glue gun so I used the thick white glue that was already in the dining room.  Worked fine.  Then I got out Brenda's directions and realized I had cut the fabric short on part of the circle of fabric....why God do I do this just about everytime.  I never learn.  She gathered the linen after stuffing the piece and used a rubber band around the bottom which wouldn't show as it would be inside the pot.  I gathered the bottom and used my carpet thread wrapped around the bottom and then stuffed it in the pot.  At first it was just to see how much smaller I needed to make it....but after looking at it I said, DONE!!  So it's just stuck in there.  The only thing about my finishing is I can never get all the creases out of this type of finish. If I gather around a matboard circle I cut, I can get a perfect finish, but if no matboard is used directly under the stitched piece, it's a crap shoot.  And the matboard on this piece has quite a bit of polyfil on top so it can be used as a pin cushion.   But I love the piece, think the finish is cute and believe it or not, I can enjoy it without stressing too much over the creases.  So the second picture gives you the view from the side and the clay pot.  I did not make a handle, because I think it's so cute without it and although I was in Home Depot, I decided my version doesn't need the handle.  I topped it off with a couple of specialty pins. a Jack-O-Lantern and a pumpkin, which you can see on the top right corner of the picture and I've shown them at the end of this blog for a good look.  


The next project was  already stitched but I wasn't able to put it together until I painted the spool. This is the Hands on Design "Wild Salt Air:"  I showed the tray, etc. in my last blog .  As is often the case with my do-it- myself projects, this didn't go well.  I purchased two different blues which were the only 2 at Michaels that I thought would come close.  Neither of them did!    Sara suggested I just take navy and white, mix them and go with that, but that would not have worked because the blue of the tray actually has gray in it I think.  So I decided to take midnight blue, add it to a little white to get a gray and then add that to the blue.  I gathered my paints and when I went to add the white it was just a solid mass, but not hard yet.  So I dug a blob out, got some warm water and started the process of slowly getting it liquid enough to add it to the midnight blue and then added in the lightest blue.  Finally it was close enough I could finish the spool.  While I'm certain I could have done better, I wasn't able to get to Michaels and of course I was ready to finish the project come hell or high water.  Project done....close enough.  White paint on my list for my next Michael's run.

After finishing the Cat and the Moon pin cushion, I thought about pins for it.  Every pin cushion needs fabulous pins to anchor it.  I happy to have just made a couple of pins using small jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins and deemed them perfect for this piece.  Yeah!  

And now I must move on to finish more projects.  I'm almost done with another Heartstring Samplery  piece, Festive Fobs-Beekeeper Edition.  Can't wait to show you and I picked up the latest Halloween Short Stack from Hands on Design....oh, yes I'm very busy in anticipation of our events.  Today I'm going in to the shop to see the stitchers from The Tangles Group who are having their own retreat this week in Ocean City right down the boardwalk from us (so they can walk here anytime they feel like it).  So Vera will be in the house today....we welcome all the stitchers and love to see what they are all working on.  I'll be busy meeting and greeting during the day and working feverishly on stitching for the Delaware Guild who has their retreat next weekend at the hotel and the weekend after that is our Fall Retreat here so I don't have a minute to lose.  Have a great weekend and I hope you area able to put needle to linen or aida too.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

To my southern friends, stitchers and shop owners,

I have been thinking of you for days, praying that you come through the devastation of Florence and emerge on the other side of it victorious, a little wet perhaps, but moving forward, getting the clean up behind you and opening the doors to a new week of sunshine.  You have a lot of friends praying for you and cheering you on as your get your homes and businesses put back in working order.  So keep you head up and know we are there in spirit if not in person wishing you the best. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Well another fabulous weekend with Jackie DuPlessis

A huge Thank You to all the stitchers and Jackie DuPlessis for the fabulous weekend we had at Salty Yarns.  It's always exciting for us when events are coming up.  There is such a flurry of activity with Mary getting the rooms and apartments ready (with a real lack of workers as most of the foreign staff have returned to their home countries), so Mary has to help housekeeping and of course Sara has been on high alert for a month getting supplies for goodie bags, making sure the shop is fully supplied and the men....well they are on stand by in case we need them.  And then there I am, home stitching like there is no tomorrow and finishing to get new models in the shop.  Friday finally arrived, with temperatures in the 90's making it hard to breath and function, but the stitchers started arriving in high spirits because they knew Jackie was going to be teaching them fabulous new projects.  While I was told to stay home, I wasn't needed (this was just a tad hurtful, since I have been at every event working we have ever done) Shiela Fitzhugh and Bud were here all week (she was not an attendee for the event) and she sent me a text asking if I  was going to be at the hotel at all as she wanted to see me and show me what she had been working on.  She always does such beautiful work and large projects...I wouldn't want to miss seeing what she had completed,  so I told Sara I would be there on Friday but not to work just to see Shiela and then I'd go home.  So Shiela and I rocked on the front porch and I wish you could have seen her projects, well as a matter of fact I'll take a picture of 2 of them because she left them for us to display in the shop.  Thank you are a gem.  But the project I'm most fascinated by is her Heaven and Earth Nativity.  Over one on 25 ct., the detail on this piece is unimaginable.    I seriously don't know how she deals with the constant color changes.  Forget parking the threads you would never be able to untangle it from the back to stitch.  This is a masterpiece if ever there was one.  I started a Santa a few years ago and gave up after about 1 day.  It's making me rethink that and I plan to tackle it again this winter.  Anyway, Shiela informed me that Sara told her she wished I would show up so that the stitchers could see me as they were asking for me. (Thanks ladies...otherwise I'd be sitting home all weekend wondering what you were doing.)  So I came up Saturday and Sunday.....stayed out of the shop so I wasn't bothering anyone and chatted with the stitchers.  I love to see what others are working on and hearing their stories.  I didn't get a bit of stitching done at all during the entire weekend.  Anyway, Thanks to one and all who came to support the shop.  we  love you all!  Now, for my show and tell....first thanks to Cathy, Hands on Design, for deciding to do a general release of Wild Salt Air (formerly an exclusive called Dream of the Sea.)  The original kit came with an aqua scalloped tray that is no longer being made but Sara researched this and found they still made the scalloped trays in other colors and there was a light blue and a white one which would go with it.  So here is my finish using the light blue is missing the spool because I have to paint it to match the tray, but the stitching is done so now it's just finishing before it joins the rest of the project.

Sorry this is so dark but you still can see it a little

Front of the piece and the stitched pin cushion.  She does give you directions for making the wool pumpkin shown on the chartpak, but I haven't made it yet.  I also did a fob with the flower you see in the center of the vase, but I haven't actually assembled it yet.  

This is the back, obviously, and while there is still blank space it doesn't seem to bother me plus it would have been hard to do a design in that space for me.  I am so use to transferring her designs to 18 or 20 count over 2 to make pillows and banners it was strange at first to be working on 28 over 1, but I loved it and will now start on Summer in Baltimore. 
And the final show and tell which I had ready for Jackie DuPlessis weekend were  3 of the Stranded Jacks, a nautical set of Halloween ornaments from Plum Street Sampler (actually released in 2012 but I just got around to it).  
I found the mini fall milk can at Michael's and had an excuse to assemble the ornaments on dowels.  Such a cute way to use an ornament if you don't have a  year round tree.  I had seen a Halloween mini milk can just like this but decided I had spent enough at Michael's but when they went to 70% I decided I could afford it and went back.  By then the Halloween was gone but the fall was still there so I went for it.  The ornaments were stitched on 36 ct. Weeks Confederate Grey using the suggested fibers.  Since I've already done 8 of these types ornaments for Noah's Ark Christmas by Plum Street I can whip them up quickly, thank God!  So that's my show and tell for now.  I'm busy working on more fall for the Delaware Guild retreat.  I'll keep you posted.  Hope those of you who are in the path of the hurricane stay safe inside and have lights to stitch.  I've made sure I've got batteries in my clip on lights so I'm covered and hopefully we are all safe and this bugger just knocks itself out.  Now back to stitching for the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild.  I think I have enough time to do a few more smalls.  Fingers ctossed!  Have a great week, and for those of you anywhere near the path of Florence, keep your head down, stay inside, I'll be praying we all stay safe while she swings by.  Don't forget batteries for you clip on stitching lights.  

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wow, I almost thought I was retired...

I'm back at work after working only 3 days in the past 2 weeks.  Apparently I've become so confused on what day it was because I thought Sunday was Monday and idiot that I am I thought my phone and my computer were wrong when both informed me it was Sunday  I then send a text to Sara who confirmed it was Sunday and I had yet another day off.  OMG, it was like I'd been given a snow day, even though the last thing I needed was another day off.    So I thought I'd be ready for work when I came in on Tuesday, but I found I really wasn't ready to deal with people yet.  First of all, we are asked at least 10 times a shift about renting a bike and that requires a long answer so by the 10th person I'm personally exhausted with the subject but certainly can't say leave me the hell along please...even the please doesn't help the situation.  So I grin, smile, get through it and as soon as they are out the door text Sara with a few choice words.  And even as I type this I feel guilty because there is no way for visitors to Ocean City to know that bikes aren't allowed on the boardwalk after 11 a.m. so it's perfectly normal to ask and since I'm in front of the bikes that Greg leaves out all day and night as advertising, obviously they are going to come in here.  But God give me strength to get through the 10 bike questions today because I'm less than excited to hear the questions any more.  I've been stitching non-stop but only have one thing to show this week.     Hands on Designs latest short stack, "Live Within Your Harvest" turned from this

to this.  

These short stacks are really fun to stitch, took a couple of nights to stitch and one night to finish.  I stuff mine with lizard litter to begin with for weight and then stuff the remainder with polyfil.  I forgot to check supplies when I picked up the chart but was lucky to have  all but one of the fibers.  So I did substitute since I didn't want to go to the shop to get just one fiber- I replaced the French lilac with Gentle Arts Red Plum.  As for stitching I kept true to the designers vision....almost.  I couldn't help myself when it came to the girl's hair.  I did satin stitch on the back of the head and added a braid down her back.  I do believe I made it just a tad too long, but I couldn't help myself and didn't want to cut it because once I start trimming it could end up too short.  But just pleased to be finished.   So far there have been 3 short stacks and I've stitched them waiting for another.  I do believe I will be stitching every one of them.  While I did finish 3 of the Plum Street ornaments from "Stranded Jacks", I have yet to assemble them...hopefully Thursday if Izi doesn't visit.  And of course I've already picked my next three projects. 

 The first thing I'm working on  is "Autumn in Baltimore"by Brenda Gervais.  While I do a lot of her pieces on 16/18 ct. linen, I'm actually stitching this on the suggested linen, 28 ct. over one and I am loving this piece.  I'm a little concerned about the finishing, but I'm willing to give it a try. She has actually encased a papier mache box with fabric and stitching.  At first I thought it was the same box used on her "Here a Peep There a Peep" which is a small oval box, but Sara informed me that it's a little bit bigger than that, but still small at 5", so this is going to be so darn cute I can't wait to finish it.  

 Up after that is Erica Michael's, "Scary Berry"

Thread and linen are all ready to go as well as is the final pick for stitching,  Brenda Gervais, "The Cat & the Moon".  I have everything ready to go with this but I'm thinking of using one of the Rusty Bucket instead of her peat pot and it's just a tad bigger so instead of using 40 ct., I'm thinking of 36 ct.  But I could change my mind before I actually put needle and thread to linen.  Obviously I'm getting the autumn displays ready to go up in September, which is sooo close.  


Oh, my no matter how much  I stitch my "to do" pile just gets higher and higher.  But I'm having the time of my life.  We had a surprise visit from a designer yesterday, so thrilled to be working to meet her,  which is always unexpected and exciting.  Lila Umstead was vacationing with her family at one of the beaches in Delaware and took a trip down to see us.  Designers are our rock stars so it was exciting to speak with her and have a visit.  Her "Halloween Quaker" design is one of our number one designs this year.  While I have it in my stash (no surprise) I haven't started it yet, but perhaps this will motivate me to get on it.  Her "Siena" arrived here last week, I think, and it's an underwater mermaid that is a must.  Her treasure trunk is filled with threads, etc.  She's one of us.  This is a beautiful design and of course has been added to my stash.  Well, I need to get some work done, so I'll end here.  Have a wonderful weekend, hopefully you will have a chance to work  on your projects.