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