Sunday, November 24, 2019

Santa's Tree Farm finally finished

Well, this certainly took a lot longer than necessary.  I should have stitched it on 40 ct. like the other series of Brendas that were shown on the top of the same paper mache box, but of course, I just had to wing it.  Never wing it....a lot more work and mistakes go into winging it.  In trying to get the same elements in this piece I moved elements around a little and I forgot about the snowflakes.  Fortunately, I think it's alright,  I did stitch extra deer and left off one large snowflake, but the important thing's finished.  I stitched it on 36 ct. PTP linen, and used the recommended threads.  And, of course, attached it to the approx. 3" x 5" paper mache box.  I painted the box black first and then covered it with the Christmas plaid scrapbook paper, after which I glued the stitched piece to the top and box finished.  

 Now on to cooking for Thanksgiving.  We do Thanksgiving at Sara's house and Christmas at my house, but I like to pitch in with the cooking for Thanksgiving just to lighten Sara's load.   Therefore my mission for the next 3 days is grocery shopping and cooking.  Today I start with the cookies, since I have those ingredients.  Not much stitching will be going on here for the next 4 days...UGH!  On the plus side, there will be food.  Not sure I'll get back to blog again before Thanksgiving so I want to wish everyone a really wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with friends, family, food and a little stitching should you be able to fit it in.  If you are traveling, be careful so that you reach your destination safely.  If you come to Ocean City, I hope we will see you in Salty Yarns.  We will be here each day, Friday thru Monday from 10-4 p.m.

Thursday, November 21, 2019 doesn't fit!

WTH...I've been thinking Santa's Tree Farm wouldn't fit on the paper mache box, but kept putting the box lid on top and it seemed like it might until tonight.  I got the Santa done and everything to the right of him, and I can see that the 2 trees to the left as well as the 2 reindeer won't fit.  Crap!  After damning myself for not paying attention to my inner voice, I checked to see what I could do to still use the piece.  I first thought I'd just purchase a bigger oval box, but after the panic eased I realized I could still use the same box, just by adding the reindeer into the already completed right side where there are spaces large enough to do it and I could even add a small tree I think.  First I'm going with that plan and if that doesn't work I can always put it in a tray or purchase a larger oval box.  I hate it when a plan doesn't come together.   On the brighter side, Sara stopped by yesterday afternoon to bring her shopping from the Attic as well as her Merry Cox class pieces and charts so I could drool over it.  (She spent last week in Arizona and attending 3 classes at the Attic.)   And included with that was a gift for me....

I love her.  I can't wait to dress a few thoughts running around my head, especially after seeing Jackie DuPlessis' peddler doll.  She was a real distraction for me last night as I tackled Santa's Tree Farm, but today I'm calmer and ready to get back to the work at hand.  But Thank You, Sara, for thinking of me and especially bringing me the Merry Cox doll.  But after Christmas, I might just get on this.  Meanwhile, Sara had to purchase a small piece of luggage in Arizona because she didn't have enough room in her suitcase for all the stash she purchased and her class stash.  She is going to be really busy trying to get all her purchases fact I'll bet some of it never sees the light of day again, but she was thrilled and she purchased some lovely sampler patterns from The Attic that will be treasured if she can get to them.  If she can't she's got more stash to look at and enjoy.   And she was inspired by Jean from The Attic to purchase and start stitching on the higher count linens, so she brought back several of those..on my, 46 and above....I can't see it let alone stitch it.  Oh, how I wish I had access to those back in the day.  Anyway, I'd say Sara's week in Arizona was a trip that will live on in her memory bank as one of the best week's she's ever had.  But I'm glad to have her home.  I really don't sleep well when my children aren't at home each night.  Although last night everyone was at home and I woke myself up from a dead sleep as my heart was pounding and racing so much it sounded like someone was hammering.  When I got up and did some deep breathing to calm my heart down and get it back into a normal rhythum, I realized the hammering I heard was my heart, so of course, I was up for the rest of the night thinking about that.  Like I have time for that.  I have stitching which needs to get done.  So I'm going to get back to it....hope you are finding time to get some stitching done as well.  Have a great weekend.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I'm officially done trying to find the pedestal frame for now....

Monday  I worked in Salty Yarn...well working is an activity I did very little of and shopping for my personal stash is much more accurate.  Anyway, as I was grabbing as much as I could, without Sara's eyeball following me around and the constant nagging, "like you don't have enough already, or did you take it out of inventory, or worse, please don't take that as we only have a couple left in stock."  Yes, there was no one to monitor me and I shopped, stole, call it whatever you want but I did it all day, charts, fabric, fibers, yes I was drunk on stitching supplies.  One of the things I snagged was a round box for my Brenda Gervais, Holiday Hoopla-Christmas.

 I love these Hoopla's and yet have not used a hoop for framing yet.  These boxes come in three different colors, Antique White, Black, and a Pecan color.  They were originally for many of the Shepherd's Bush round designs from a few years ago.  I stitched about 6 of those...loved it and the finish was fast so these are "go-to's" for me when it's a 3" round piece.  I opted for the white because I was thinking snow, but seeing now I think I'm going to switch it out for either black or pecan or maybe not.  I'll try all three and see which is better, or perhaps I'll find the pedestal frame during the Great clean up of 2019.   I stitched this on 32 ct. Vintage Blue Whisper linen. I did use Mill Hill black beads for his eyes, buttons, and mouth.    It's the perfect color for snowmen even though it doesn't pop as much as I'd like in the picture,  it does look better in person.  Anyway, I'm pleased to have it finished and now it's ready to go to the shop.  I used the recommended threads, almost..I didn't have the Ruby Slipper so I substituted GA Schoolhouse Red.  But in my binge yesterday I picked up a skein, or two, of Ruby Slipper and it is very similar to the Schoolhouse Red.  So now I'm moving on and have been working on another Brenda Gervais, "Santa's Tree Farm."   I already know how I'm going to finish this (half the problem with finishing is not knowing what to do with a piece), so I should have rushed through this, but I didn't have a couple of the recommended floss colors so I dragged my feet.  I don't have a problem substituting fibers if I don't have the ones called for, but in this case, I was having an issue with the greens.   So yesterday in my burglary of Salty Yarns I got the correct greens so I'm  back in business.  I'm on my second go-round with this as I started stitching it over 1 on 36 ct thinking it would fit on the 3 x 5 papier mache box.  But I had trouble stitching one of the elements as I couldn't get it to look right so I re-examined the chart and discovered I should have been stitching over 2...darn it.  So I started it again and of course, it's going much faster so I should have it done by the weekend...yea!  It looks so much bigger than the box lid, but I keep measuring it and I think it's going to fit....I'm making sure it does cause I'm not starting over.  As I said earlier, with Sara gone I was called into work.    Meanwhile, Vickie was working Sea Trader and informed me about what a great weekend they had and they had several stitchers come from out of town.  I was shocked because the weather was not great and I had given some thought to closing.  Thank God I didn't.  Monday was cloudy at times but the temperature was in the high 40's, but we barely saw anyone, hence my shopping extravaganza.  While I would have loved to see stitchers, imagine being alone in a needlework store for 6 hours and being told you can grab as much as you want before going home.   Needlework is my drug of choice and I love to binge on it.  Yes, there are moments I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I look at some of what I grabbed days later, but at that moment I was flying high.   I was like a kid in a candy store.   I'm proud to say at the end of the day I did relinquish a couple of patterns and put them back (but only because I think I took them home once before.) So I'm stitching like crazy, cleaning not like crazy but trying to set goals each day and see progress being made.  Must get back to my stitching.  Have a great day and I hope you find time to stitch.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Stitching like crazy as Christmas looms ever closer............

I keep thinking it's only November, haven't had Thanksgiving yet so I shouldn't panic over Christmas yet.  But, I can feel that I'm getting nervous about it.   As I said before, I've begun the clean up of the house, my recipes are sitting on the table waiting to become dinner (over a month away-this should be fine, and I'm excited.  But I always get nervous about the stitching I need to get done.  So that's the panic I'm feeling, plus I'm going back to work 4 days a week and that gives me less time at home working on stuff.  But, today was a good day.  This week I completed the stitching on a couple of pieces, Erica Michael's "St. Nick's Berry", and  Brenda Gervias, "Holiday Hoopla-Christmas".  At first, I brought home the linen berry but decided I really wanted the detail shown on the silk berry so I took back the linen and brought home the silk.  Then I decided I didn't have the patience right now to do the gauze berry, so I changed the project to 28 ct linen, (this way I don't have to stitch the background like you do on silk gauze), and I still have all the detail that is on the silk version of these berries, and stitching over 1 on 28 ct. still keeps it smaller than the linen.  The stitching went smoothly, once I figured out where to start on the linen, and although I usually change things a bit on projects, I tried to stay with Linda's vision.  I almost made it too, but in the end, I decided to add some dimension by satin stitching the hat cuff and the beard.  The mustache was done laying threads across his mouth (which I added by just putting a line of red between the beard and mustache), and securing them in the center and then clipping the two ends of the mustache until they were sized correctly for his face.  Other than that, I added beads for the holly berries to each set of holly leaves.  That was all I did.  This design is fabulous.  I love Linda's berries and have almost all of them in my stash.  And now that I've decided to use 28 ct. for some of them, I'll be able to get a few of these done now.  I still struggle with the finishing of the berries, but with all of the finishing I do now each year I'm getting much better so I just grit my teeth and pray for the best. Today was no different.  I started first thing this morning getting my finishing supplies together.  I interfaced the berry, as I use lizard litter for stuffing, and then stitched up the back seam (easiest part to do).  It's nice to have the easy part to get you started and then on to the stuffing and gathering of the top...also pretty easy.  In fact, I think the hardest part is just getting started and figuring out how to finish the top.  Linda does hers differently depending on the project, so I tend to do the same thing.  However, as it's a strawberry, I only finish with leaves.  This time I started with a circle cut of WDW wool to put over the top to cover the gathered top.  Then I cut leaves to use, this time I decided to use the shape of the holly leaf.  I then attached the holly leaves to the red circle, which covered it and then cut a small red circle which I sewed to the center to cover where the leaves come together.  Finally,  while initially, I had planned on using a fancy bead I purchased for this project, it just didn't work for me.  Too fancy for this piece.  Soooo, I got one of the bead caps I keep on hand, ran pearl cotton through for a hanger, sewed the bead cap to the center red wool circle and the ornament is now finished.  Fabulous.  You will see on the picture I stuck a red pin through each leaf...I'm trying to train the wool to sit a certain way.  Hope you enjoy my finish.  I recommend everyone who hasn't done a berry...try one.  And they really aren't that hard to put together either.

I also finished Brenda Gervais', Holiday Hoopla-Christmas, however, I can't find what I did with the pedestal frame so I can't complete the finish until I find it or chose another way to finish it.  Again I stuck with Brenda's recommendations, although linen was Vintage Blue Whisper and I added red berries to the holly leaf branch and black beads for eyes, teeth, and buttons.  Easy stitch so a delight to do.  I've only missed one Holiday Hoopla and that's Thanksgiving.  Sara didn't bring it to me so I'm hoping to remember it tomorrow as I work in the shop.  Exciting!

Anyway, that's what I've been up to since I last blogged.  I hope you have been able to put a needle in linen or Aida this weekend.  If not, better get to it, after all, Christmas is about 6 weeks away.  Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We had snow....for about 3 minutes at most...........................

Other than that, we've had a day of rain.  Sara and Vernon left at 4:00 a.m. to fly to Arizona for classes at the Attic (Sara not Vernon)this weekend,  so Mary and I are left here to hold down the fort.  Mary's holding it down since I refuse to go into the hotel at this point.  I just have a couple more weeks of retirement and then I'm back 4 days a week.  Since I had some Merry Cox kits Sara was unaware of, I thought I should let her know what I had so she wouldn't buy any of them, should they still be available.  This meant I needed to start cleaning out the stitching room to find them.  At this point, this room is a dumping site for all things Scrapbooking, and stitching.  I usually do a clean up at Christmas but needed to start earlier this year and I've found things I forgot I ever had.  So I'm going to spend the next few days showing you what I have done in the past which became buried.  Just looked outside and it's snowing again...mercy!  I'm sure it will be over before I end this blog, and there is so much water on the ground it will only melt anyway, but it's nice to see.   Now as I was saying, before Sara was born, over 40 years ago, I saw patterns in Family Circle or Good Housekeeping for crochet baby booties.  At the time I don't think I even crocheted, but just wanted to do something for the baby I was carrying, so I got the recommended crochet cotton and began the task.  As I progressed I got more and more excited and I had 4 booties and 1 sandal done by the time she was here.  I carried them to the hospital with me along with a gown to take her home in.  I remember so well the nurse bringing her into me dressed in the white gown with little rosebuds, but her feet were bare.  When I looked at the nurse she said, "I'm so sorry but none of the booties fit her."  I have to say I knew Sara was a large baby at the time.  Everyone commented on what a big baby she was, 9 lbs. 15 oz.  Back then most babies were between 7-8 lbs.  I can't tell you how disappointed I was but also thrilled that she was finally here.  I packed the booties away and waited.  6 years later my Mary came along, out came the booties only to be told this way that baby's feet will fit in those...she was 10 lbs. 12 oz.  Damn..that was it for me.  I put the booties away and forgot about them.  But today stuck underneath a pile of DMC floss was a small gold box and inside that box were the baby booties.  As I look at them I wonder where I found the patience to do these.  They are less than 3" long and so tiny.  Today I knit, rarely crochet and never with cotton, always with yarn.  So these I will hold onto and pray one of my grandsons produced a sweet baby girl who is small enough to wear them.  Of course by then God only knows where I will stick them and forgot where they are.  Anyway, I have to get back to cleaning up...I hope you are having more fun than I am and have a wonderful stitchy night.  

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Just a quick note...

Sara just stopped by and picked up her pumpkin and delivered my copy of Inspirations, "Willing Hands".  This is such a well-done book,  so many of our favorite Betsy Morgan projects.  Plenty of pictures and directions, I just can't wait to start something.  Although, perhaps I'd be better off finishing the fabulous "Toy Chest Etui."  I started it years ago, after taking the class, and I had great intentions, however, you know how that goes.  I completed the stitching and finished the Toy Chest itself.  I was so proud, as Jennifer Humphries and I worked one weekend together and we both finished that piece.  Of course, Jennifer went further and finished the entire series. (I'm embarrassed to say I didn't.)   My thinking was that if the largest piece of the project was done I would definitely get the toys done to put in it.  I have one toy done, which we did in class, 3 more stitched but not finished, and the rest is just a twinkle in my eye.  But since that project is in the book, I think I'll get it back out and finish some of the toys already stitched and get more done.  I'd love to get this project finished before Betsy comes back for the very last time before she retires.  A very sad day for all the stitchers as we already lost Sherri Jones to retirement (well I know she has another class or two, but she won't be back to Salty Yarns again.)  While we know how much each of us loves retirement, my retirement affects no one, but Sherri and Betsy's affects so many.   Mercy, what a double loss.  Both retiring after 2020.  Anyway, while the first printing of these books is flying out of shops, there will be a second printing due around the first of the year.  This is a must-have for any stitcher.  So check your local shop to see if they have any left, or get on the list for next printing.  They retail for about $36.95.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Finally finished with Halloween....

Halloween may have been over a few days ago but I was just getting started with the "Day of the Dead" pumpkin by Noteworthy Needle and since it was for Sara, not the store (although I suspect she'll just leave it there until next Halloween) I needed to finish it.  On Halloween day I gave her a basket filled with Day of the Dead items but let her know that her real gift would arrive late.  As I reported last blog post, I punched the first pumpkin incorrectly and my drill went through at one point so I had to begin all over again with a 2nd pumpkin.  Anyway, here's the result of my toil on Day of the Dead....
I still made a couple of mistakes, ran out of WDW Onyx which I was using to stitch the design (and I wasn't sure we had any more in the shop, but even that didn't deter me.  Instead, I used the WDW everywhere but the eyes to see how far I could get with it.  I left the eyes until last as I thought that would be a good place to switch to DMC black.    I still had a small amount of WDW  left so I stitched the 3 rows on the outside of one side of each eye, one row on the bottom, and 2 rows on the top and then switched to the DMC as I didn't have enough to finish the eyes.     It really doesn't show that I switched blacks,  which doesn't bother me at all.  I am not a Day of the Dead person, so it wasn't a project I  loved to stitch, however since it was for Sara it became a labor of love.   I'm thrilled to have it done even if it is a little late.  Now on to my final pumpkin of the season, Autumn's Blessings.  And I am also working on Erica Michael's latest strawberry.  I'm actually stitching the silk gauze strawberry, however, I chose to work it this time on 28 ct. over one so it's a tad larger than the 40 ct. gauze piece but it's still got all the detail and none of the background to stitch,  I realize Linda has a linen strawberry for Christmas as well,  but they don't have the detail of the 40 ct., so that's why I decided to do that one.  I started to stitch it over 2 on 28 count so it would be larger but decided to tone it down a little for this one, and stitched it over 1 instead.  But I still intend to do an oversized strawberry and might even do it over 2 on 18 ct.   That would be the granddaddy of all strawberries, but I thought it might be a cute idea for a strawberry display.  Linda had one large one done on her display in Nashville the first year she introduced the strawberries and I've been dying to do the same ever since I saw hers.  Well, that's what has been happening here since I last spoke with you.  Still straightening up the apartment getting ready for the holidays.  UGH, I do hate that.  Takes time away from my stitching.  Sara leaves on Tuesday for the Attic so I'm in charge for the week she's away which means I'll be in the office or in a shop.  But this will get me ready to start my winter shifts, working every Friday through Monday until April.  It's hard to believe I have to start working again after I've had so much time off, but since I can stitch while I work I guess it won't be too bad.  But I sure will miss my stitching spot and T.V.   In case I have nothing to add for the next few days, have a wonderful weekend and hope your needle gets a little use before I talk with you again.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

I've redeemed myself............

In the last post I spoke about my operator error in cross-stitching the pumpkin, well not in the stitching, but in the pre punching of holes.  For those who missed it, I was pushing too hard on the handle of the hand drill and the drill went right through the pumpkin.  Meanwhile, Debbie, Stasi, and Michelle had absolutely no problem with theirs, punched the holes and starting stitching them last Sunday.  Debbie got quite a head start on her Day of the Dead pumpkin, anyway, I was a bit mad that I had made the mistake and left the hotel on Sunday with another pumpkin, this time a small one which I was certain I could do in one sitting.  I had to redeem myself and I'm thrilled to say, mission accomplished!
When I first saw the pattern in Janice's "Pumpkin Palooza" I didn't understand why it was there either.  But once I said it out loud, "why did she put Pi on a pumpkin" I got it and thought it was brilliant.  So when my Mary asked why I did it I told her and she just looked at me like I lost my mind.  I love it and have it proudly displayed, or did until Sara came by and took it back to the shop as a model.  It was the perfect one day project, start to finish.  Now I've also retackled the Day of the Dead pumpkin and I got it repunched and now I'm waiting to get it back from Sara as I needed her husband to cut off the top so I can start stitching.  I started to tackle cutting the top off with Pi, but I chickened out and took it to Vernon to do.  He does it in no time and never has an accident.  I'm not willing to mess up the pumpkin after I've punched out the pattern.  So even though it's after Halloween I'm still punching, and next up, Autumn Blessings which I hope to have done by Thanksgiving.  Of course, this isn't the only thing I'm working on, Christmas is approaching so I'm working on those projects and also I have my year-long project, "Year of Celebration" which I've religiously kept up with.  November was done on time and in the shop on display.   I love that I only have one more to stitch which means I will have completed the series of 12 projects.  December here I come.  This series has been a joy to stitch.  Each one takes no more than 2 days so I was able to get them done on time and in the shop.  Since I hang the model over a hornbook, finishing is also easy.  When you are a model stitcher for a shop it is imperative that you get things done on time. It isn't helpful to get a November model done in January (which is not to say I haven't had that happen, but I try to stay current.)

Well, now we're into November, temperatures have cooled down considerably, so it's feeling a little more like fall.  Things have slowed down considerably here and our events are over the season.   Of course, like many of you, I'm concentrating on the holidays, both Christmas and Thanksgiving.  I also found a new knitting project so I'm keeping busy as I get ready to go back to work 4 days a week UGH!  Yes, the ladies who work the shops take off for the winter right before Thanksgiving weekend, so Sara and I man the shops.  It really isn't a big deal, after all, I use to work 7 days a week in the shops, but I've had the pleasure of a summer in which I worked only about 4 days total so I had the feeling of being retired and I found I loved it.  And when I broke 2 bones in my ankle in February, I didn't work at all until May....sooo that means even more time at home.  But I'm better now and I'm going back.  Thankfully I still love being among all the fibers, linen, charts, etc.  Hopefully, I'll see you there.  Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to turn your clocks back.  (I never reset my clocks when the time jumped forward so I'm already ready to go.)