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.  

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Having good days again, but in a stitching hole....

Yes, I'm feeling much better as long as I take pain meds, however my stitching is being hampered because I can't seem to finish the block on my Shore of Hawk Run Hollow (my challenge piece).  This is so tragic as I loved working on this piece when I started it years ago and I'm sure if I hadn't lost it I would have finished it in good order.  But several years later, half finished I'm not so thrilled anymore and there are so many projects piled up on my table that I want to  do now and yet I have to plow through this.  Well maybe since I'm feeling better I'll get more done.  In the meantime, I did finish several pieces, some that were sitting here for a few months.  So a big Whoppe for finally getting these off my table.

This is called Easter Sampler and comes in a kit.  I absolutely love the designer, Kelly Clark who I only knew her from her needlepoint designs, as I have a couple of canvases from her.  So I was thrilled when she came out with counted cross stitch.  This was from 2018 which is the first time she came out with a line.  This year she came out with the cutest Easter Eggs, but I felt i had to start here.  While I normally stitch on linen, I decided to stay true to the kit so no one would be confused on what's in the kit.  The kit includes 18 ct. linen, floss, chart and a needle.  When the stitching was done framing became an issue because I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted.  The model is shown finished in a country white frame so I asked West End Frames for a basic white frame which they questioned because I seldom if ever go there...but I held on to just basic white.   However, when I got it home I just couldn't deal with so much white, aida and frame.  So then I was going to embellish the frame, but couldn't come up with anything I liked with it.  I was creating the tags for the event next weekend so I was in scrap paper hell, when I took the frame and started testing different paper on it and voila....I found the perfect solution for this piece.  I decoupaged scrapbook paper on to the frame and it really is so cute.  So I'm sure I'll be doing this again with something.  Once I was done with that it was game on for the other pieces.  Next up was a Shamrock piece that was suppose to be done for St Patrick's Day.  Again, I thought I was going to finish it as a small pincushion, but couldn't make up my mind.  Then I was going to hang it on the front of a basket filled with shamrocks.  But I waited to long and gave the basket to someone filled with Easter candy.  But I came up with a perfect solution anyway.  
I like using hornbooks because it's an easy finish plus it gives you height in a display so your display will have pin cushions down low and then for height hornbooks...different levels always makes displays look more interesting, I think.  Anyway, this is "Basket o' Luck" from the Pineberry Lane's, "Little Shamrocks" chartpack.  Needless to say it was a quick stitch and a quick finish using just a green/white check fabric and Lady Dot rick rack.  Initially I was going to finish this more permanently but when I was testing the hanger length I decided to just hang it and that way the hornbook  becomes reusable for the different months or occasions.  Here I used the colors shown on the chart.  Fabric was a scrap piece of antique white colored linen.  And then since I was working with hornbooks, I decided to finish the 

"Year of Celebration" June, from Hands on Design.  At this rate I have faith I will actually finish the entire series (something I think every time I start a series and seldom ever complete).   This has been my favorite so far.  Love the blues and reds (something tells me I'm going to love July's as well) however, I did make a couple of changes in color.  I wanted more of a red, red so I used WDW Liberty, and then I thought the sandcastle was a little dark for our sand in Ocean City, so I used WDW Sand for that and I used the Terra Cotta for the starfish in place of the white.  In my bead stash I had the turq. starfish which I used on the magnet.  I had considered using a real starfish since we sell them in the Shell Stocked, but they are also delicate and sometimes my models in the shop get bumped and fall on the floor and the real starfish will break. The final finish for the week and month is another piece done for over a month, With Thy Needle & Thread's "Quaker Sewing Tray"

While I haven't done it yet, I'm going to do a fob, needle keep and perhaps a couple of other pieces to go with this by taking motifs out of the sampler.  It was an easy stitch which I did on 32 ct. Wren linen using the recommended threads.  The glitch for me on this was the painting of the tray, which is sold as a three pack of trays, this is the smallest, then the next size would need a 6 1/4  x 6 1/4 design and the largest would take a 7 1/4 x 7 1/4 swaifn.  So  While it may be daunting to find that the trays are only sold in a pack of 3, the other sizes will be easy to find designs that fit, plus you can always do a smaller design and use wool as a mat under a smaller design and it would still look great.  Anyway, I didn't have the called on Barn Red for painting but I had red and black.  I must have about 5 coats of paint on this as while I only used a few drops of blackpaint in the red it was always too dark.  In the end, the last coat I just added red and called it a day.  But I think it looks good with the mix.  After it was done and the design inserted I realized one corner was a little too red and thought I'd fix it,  only I got the red on the stitched piece so I sad the hell with it.  Looks good enough and when I get the smalls int here I'll make sure they are in the corner so it doesn't show, plus the mark on the linen in down on the side so you really don't notice it.    Since I was on such a roll, this morning I pulled out the Pastoral Sampler by Drawn Thread which was finished (stitching only) in 2016.  I attached the wool, sewed on some beads and was very impressed with myself and then I goofed when I read the directions for finishing , which makes no sense since I had blocked this out according to the directions, and when I went to cut off excess linen on the top and bottom read three times before cutting and then the sides I read 16 threads out from the last stitch, only I think it meant not from the stitch but from the  basted line so I think I've cut too short on the sides.  I have 1/2 inch on each side so I know I can finish it, but it's taken the wind out of my sails now and I'm on the computer whining about it.  I'll pull up my big girl pants eventually and finish it.  I just need time to get over my mistake.  Or course I'm also working on a few pieces  My most recent is Festive Fobs- Americana Edition.  I should have it done in a few days and I'm loving it, as I have all of these Festive Fobs.  I've also worked on the Plum Street Heritage Sampler, but it's no where near completion.  Perhaps I'll be able to show it in 2020.  As for my October challenge piece, I've gotten a reprieve.  Jan Hartman was in Ocean City about a week ago and we met at the hotel and discussed our pieces.  When I asked how she was doing, She's working on A Summer Place by Cross Eyed Cricket.  She too is struggling.  So after deliberating, after all this is suppose to be fun, challenging at times, but still enjoyable, we decided to move our finish date to 2020, however, the challenge is still on somewhat in that we know where each of us is at this point and by October 2019 we have to show progress, so I'm still working on mine as is Jan, but it's not a life or death stitch so I can somewhat enjoy working on it when I do.  I plan to stitch on it a couple of times a week and perhaps I can hopefully finish at least 8 of the blocks, out of the total of 12.    Now I had 3 all done, 1which is 3/4 done, one I have to rip out as it was half done but I don't remember what the colors were and I don't see anything that matches it in the bag of threads I found, so I have to begin this block again.  I'm working on the 2 center blocks in the middle of the 2nd row and there is one other block to do there and the 4 blocks on the bottom, one of which I'm changing, have to be done.  So there is plenty to do here.  Fingers crossed I pick up speed.  We both had the complaint of too much of white needs to be done.  I'm working on the sails of a ship and her beach cottage is all white.  So I have the better part of the white battle, but ugh, it doesn't make me feel any better.  I love monochrome designs, but just blocks of white is so uninteresting.  But if I do a little everyday I shall finish this once and for all and what a good feeling that will be.  I've been geariug up for the next event, Betsy Morgan's weekend, next weekend, so tags are ready and now I just have to do the cookies.  I haven't turned on my a/c yet so I've been holding off dealing with that, but today could be the day I give in.  I've also been resting my foot so hopefully I'll be in better shape to help out at the shop.  I've been worthless there up to this point and Sara isn't very excited about me being there getting in the way, so I've gladly stayed home and rested my ankle.  This is the first week where I've experienced several days of relatively pain free moments.  I've slowly let go of the meds and at this point since I've run out of Motrin I'm only taking Tylenol's once or twice a day.  I'm so excited to be getting better, although a big help I think is the fact that I still use the wheelchair at home.  And of course to get to the shop I have the mobility scooter which I love.  So I'm going to end here and see what the day brings.  Hope everyone has a lovely weekend and I pray you get to put a few stitches into your projects.  Talk to you soon.