Saturday, January 28, 2017

Let's catch up

Hi everyone!  Sorry I haven't been around, but I've started working again for the first time in 11 years.  My hours have been crazy and my energy has been...well, there's just not much of it right now.  

But let's catch up!  :0)

First off, I never shared pictures from my Christmas exchange with my friend.  We had decided to do a pattern, needleminder, and stitched bookmark exchange with each other.  This was really great.  It was fun and really enjoyed both stitching her bookmark and receiving the one she gave me.  It made me want to do more of them.  :0)

So here is what she got me...



This is The Village by Kathy Barrick and it was on my wishlist.  The other pattern is part 4 of the Sing a Sampler series from Silver Creek Samplers.  She had purchased me parts 1-3 and gave them to me in October.  At the time part 4 was on back order.  So now I have the whole thing.  :0)

Here's a close up of the needleminder she got me.  She knows how big of a Harry Potter fan I am, so this is perfect for me.  It's been getting a lot of use.


And here is the bookmark she stitched me.  This has been getting a lot of use too.  The funny thing is, without even knowing what the other was stitching, she stitched me one that starts the story...


And I stitched her one that ends it...


Is that too cute or what, lol?

Next, moving on to what I've been stitching.  I did have a finish in the very last days of 2016.  I finished Doxology by My Big Toe Designs.


I love this mix of fabric and pattern.  The fabric is Fathoms Below by Hand Dyed by Stephanie.

For January, all I've worked on is the big dragon and a pillowcase pair. I did meet one of my big goals for the dragon. I finished one of the wings.


And with my son holding it for size scale...


I'm really enjoying this piece more than I thought I would.  It started out I was only doing it because my son asked for it.  Dragons are his thing, not generally mine.  But this has been such an enjoyable stitch, I'm giving serious thought to doing the other in the series, the Fire Dragon.

I've also worked on my current pillowcase pair ~


Hopefully I'll have these done soon.

That's it really.  I'm squeezing in just a bit of reading here and there, but other than that, it's pretty much work, sleep, repeat these days.  But hopefully by my next update, I'll have even more of that dragon coming to life to share with you.

Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mid-December catch up and WIP progress

Hello Everyone!
It's almost the middle of December and I can't believe that this month has gone by so fast.  2017 will be here soon and I think I just recently caught on to write 2016 when dating something, lol.  We haven't been doing anything major around here, just normal day to day stuff.  We've got our trees ups and have started watching some Christmas movies.  The kids and I have really been enjoying playing board games in the evening.

Oh wait!  Yes, we *have* had something major going on!  I spent many years homeschooling my kids and they are both now **DONE**!!  They passed all their exams and did great and I'm so proud of them.  Now onward and forward to the adulting, lol.

I've managed to get some stitching in, which is great.  Let me share my progress with you.

The last time you saw my Mira, The Rain Queen, she looked like this.

Now she looks like this:

I have to say, all of those leaves falling around her have not been fun to stitch at all and they're still not done.  After that, they also get beaded.  It has definitely been a labor of love with this as of late.  But I'm pretty far along on her, so hopefully it won't be too much longer before she is done.

Next, on to the dragon wall hanging I'm working on for my son.  The last time you saw it, I was working on the tail.

I have now finished the tail and moved on to a wing:

I really love watching this come to life.  Here is another picture, with it help up by my son so you can get a sense of the scale.  He's over 6' and is holding it up above his head and it ends below his knees.

One more close up that I took a couple of days ago.  Do you see how some of the squares are wanting to fade a bit as the fabric gets used, touched, and generally handled over time?  I don't think they will fade to the point that it presents a huge problem for getting it finished, but it is definitely giving me some motivation to not let this piece languish for too long!

Now, on to 272 Words by Primrose Needleworks that I'm stitching as a SAL in the Patriotic Stitches group on FB.  I started this on it's official start date of October 29.  But my husband and I were in the mountains that weekend, so I only got to work on it a tiny bit.

I tried to work on it some more in the car on the drive home, but it's a 32ct fabric and between all the bumps in the road and my eyes not being happy, I had to give up.

I worked on it a bit more after getting home but had to stop because the called for fabric I was using was stiff as a board, coarse to the touch, and I just couldn't stand the feel of it.

So at this point, I took it off the snaps and washed it and ironed it.  Much better.  Softer and more manageable.  It still won't win any awards for being soft and cuddly, but it's now good enough to handle without wanting to crawl right out of my skin.

I'm working on finishing up page one, which is why the words cut off at odd places.  But I'm going to work it page by page.

One last thing I wanted to share with you is a tiny bit of haul.  I forgot to share these earlier.  They are fabrics I purchased at the big trunk show in Kentucky I went to in October.  I didn't buy this with specific plans in mind, but rather simply because they appeal to my taste and I know I'll be able to use them for something.  I'm thinking about using them for back fabric on pillows, pin cushions, things like that.


That's all I've got for now.
Happy Stitching Everyone!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

My intentions for Stitch from Stash 2017

I'm in the Stitch from Stash 2017A group on FB.  I just wanted to go ahead and publicly put my plans out there for how I plan to participate in the group.  

I don't feel that I have over spent on my stash.  I have a ton of stash, but about half of it was gifted to me by a few different people.  Up until about 3 or 4 years ago, I probably only spent about $30-$40 per year on stash!  I'm not kidding.  I did project by project and only bought what I needed.  I was working on a couple of larger kits, so they took time but didn't take much money.  Then I made the deliberate decision to take a year or two and purposely purchase a lot to create a much larger stash.  My main purpose was to end up with a full set of DMC because I was tired of needing a color and not having it on hand.  So for a year or two, I bought a lot.  Threads, patterns, and kits.  But it was on purpose and planned.  Then about that time I ended up with a bit of a windfall of stash from three separate people and all of a sudden my stash was huge.  At this point I decided to stop spending on charts and kits, with a few guidelines.  I made a rule for myself that I could spend whatever I wanted stitching related at thrift stores.  Because truly, at my thrift stores I can spend $3 and end up with an armload of stuff.  I knew that would in no way hurt my budget.  I also let myself spend whatever I wanted when I was on vacation (going to an LNS) or when I was at a retreat.  Both times when my spending would be planned out anyway.  So for two years, I worked this plan and it worked out great.  I got some new stuff, but not so much that if felt overwhelming or messed with our budget.

This past year I decided to just spend what I wanted to spend.  I did and it wasn't too bad.  I even managed to get a few pricey things I had really been wanting during sales and they were half off.

So I don't feel bad about my spending.  But I do have a ton of stash and there's not a lot of room or reason to allow it to grow uncontrolled.  That's where Stitch from Stash 2017A comes in.

I want to share my intentions here for how I plan to work the concept of this group and make it work for me.  I'm doing this because when I do purchase something, I generally share about it here on my blog and on my Flosstube channel as well.  So I don't want folks who see me in the group and then see something here or in my videos that doesn't seem to add up with Stitch from Stash thinking mistaken things.

First of all, if you follow the guidelines of the group to a T, there is a nice give away at the end.  This involves using a group spreadsheet, keeping exact track of spending, etc.  But lots of the members are opting to not use the spreadsheet and thus, are not putting ourselves into the running for the give away.

So first thing ~ I'm not going to use the spreadsheet.  So I will not be entering the give away.

I will keep track of my spending, but if my figures get off by a few cents or a dollar here or there, it's not hurting anyone.

I don't plan - at this time - on giving myself a, "credit," for finishes because honestly, finishes are not going to put money in my bank.

I will not be including spending on gifts for others in this challenge at all.  What I spend on gifts for others is personal and not something I would ever share publicly.  And if you have read my blog, you know that I have a friend I exchange with quite regularly and I share about these exchanges here and on my Flosstube.  That will not change.  So when you see me sharing what she gave me or if you see her sharing what I gave her (I won't link her here as I'll let her address this on her own blog if she chooses, but many of you know who she is (wink)) then please don't get upset or think we're cheating on the Stitch from Stash.  Because I'm going into this with the full intention of not including these exchanges and I'm being honest about it by posting here.  I also commented in a thread this morning on the group saying the same.

So there you have it.  :0)  My Stitch from Stash plans for next year.

Happy stitching everyone ~ keep those needles flying!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finishes

I finished the model stitch.  :0)



The designer is Anna Chern and her Etsy shop is Serenita's Designs.  She already has pictures of my finish on her listing for this pattern.  It's neat to see my stitching in someone's shop.

This piece ended up taking me four full weeks to finish.  The top and bottom borders were more time consuming than you would think.  I recently heard a stitcher say that large sections of white stitches make any mistakes or uneven stitches just jump right out at you.  And she was so right.  Believe it or not, this piece takes three full skiens of white plus a bit on a fourth.  Lots of white, stitched blocked together and I could see every single imperfection in my stitches. But I got it done and I'm happy with it.  Now that the designer has the pictures she needs, I plan to stitch my name down in the corner and add a red Rudolph nose to one of the reindeer.  My plan for finishing this is to turn it into a pillow.  I know I won't do that before this Christmas, but I plan for it to be done for next year.  The trick is going to be finding a nice coordinating fabric for the design.

I also have an FFO to share.  This is one part of the three part pumpkin needle accessory set.  I chose a coordinating wool for the back.



This was actually supposed to be a biscornu but you can see it turned out a regular pin cushion.  I don't really know what happened.  I do know that it was difficult to get the top delicate linen stitched together with the bottom thick wool, all the while making sure that the outside black stitched ruffle didn't get sewn into the middle of the whole thing.  There was just a lot going on there.  So I forgive myself for lack of biscornu finshing.  It's not perfect but I'm happy with it and and it pleases me.  That counts for something, right?

There will be two more pieces to this set when I'm done.

I'll be back soon with some update pictures on my more regular WIPs.  I've been working on my Mira, the dragon, and also some butterflies for a charity piece.  More on those later...

Happy stitching everyone ~ keep those needles flying!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Still stitching along...

I'm still working on the model stitch.  I'm definitely in the home stretch with it.  Technically, today is the deadline to be finished.  But I think the designer underestimated exactly how long these borders take.  I've kept in touch with her though, and she knows where I'm at and is fine with it.


I will be glad when this is done though, because I'm ready to get back to my daughter's Mira and my son's dragon.  While stitching this week I started listening to Updraft on my Audible account.  I've been enjoying it so far and it's nice to be able to stitch and "read" at the same time.

One other little tidbit, I forgot to share some gorgeous thread with you that my friend Laura got me in our recent exchange!  She got me this gorgeous skein of Bradley's Balloons by Threadworx.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I'm in love with this thread.  


I keep thinking of a using this in a blackwork styled Easter Egg pattern.  Wouldn't that be beautiful?  I just might have to take the plunge on that soon after finishing the model stitch.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekend getaways and stitchy stash!!

I've had a lot going on lately.  It's been busy.  

A couple of weeks ago I had a fun weekend getaway with my friend Laura.  We try to have a few weekends a year where we meet and stitch and do fun things.  

We started out our weekend at the famed Whistle Stop Cafe.  We had such fun looking around in all the little shops and boutiques in the area.


This year we had tickets to hear Jenny Doan speak.  She's the owner of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  

On our way to hear Jenny Doan speak.

We also had tickets to go on a dinner train.  Neither of us had done this before, so it was exciting. 


Here's the train before we boarded.  They keep the shades pulled until the passengers start to load.  The inside was beautiful and restored to it's original 1940s style.


Laura did a really detailed post of our train ride that you can see here.  It was a really lovely evening.

We also usually do a gift exchange and this time was no different.  :0)  


We both read a lot, so we usually exchange some books or book related items as well as stitchy stuff.  There is another book mark, but it's currently in use.  :0)


Patterns and fabrics!!  :0)






This past weekend my husband and I had a getaway to the Smoky Mountains.  This was the first trip away we've had since our kids have been, "grown," and we could simply leave them at home to hold down the fort and not worry.  They did great and we had fun.

We took the tram up to Ober Gatlinburg, just so we could see all the Fall foliage.



We stayed in a quiet little hotel in Severville and had a lovely view out the back door.


I did some stitchy shopping as well.



On the stitchy side of things, I have been working on a model stitch for a designer.  I'm almost done and hope to be finished by the end of this week.



I also started the Gettysburg Address pattern that is being done as a SAL in my and Laura's FB group ~ Patriotic Stitches.


I didn't get much done because the lighting in the hotel was really bad.  Then on the way home, the roads weren't great.  Lots of bumps and this fabric has the teeniest holes ever.  I had to give up until I could tackle it at home.

I found fabric to do the finishing on my pumpkin needle accessory set.


I really love this and can't wait to go back and do the beading on the two pieces of the set I have done.  The third and largest piece is the needlebook and it's on hold because 123 was out of stock on this orange fabric.  But I hope to go ahead and do the finishing on the scissor fob and biscornu soon.

I bought a couple of needleminders for the first time in forever.  I make so many of my own, I rarely purchase them anymore.  But these came from an Etsy store in Australia.  Shipping was really inexpensive and I got the smaller of the two for free because the seller said it had some tiny imperfections.  Truly, it looks great to me.


So that's what I've been busy with!  No more weekend getaways planned until next year.  I'll be *so* ready by the time the next one comes along!

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Wee Beastie

Since last Saturday, I've been working on my Terrance Nolan pattern.  It's part of the "Professor Fizzby's Wonderous Strange Collection of Wee Beasties" series.  This is the Mother of Pearl Morpho Butterfly.

It was at this point when I started.


These are my progress pics from this week.




There is so much kreinik going on in there, you just don't know.  But I have a method of threading my needle and then knotting at the eye of the needle that basically takes away any fraying, etc.  So it takes away most of the "issues" kreinik can cause.

I got a package from 123Stitch this week that looked like it had really been through it.  But luckily the contents were ok.


Part of what I ordered was my fabric for the Gettysburg Address SAL.  If you would like to join in on the SAL, please join Patriotic Stitches on FB.  :0)

And, just because ~ here's my 16 year old best girlie ever.


Happy Stitching everyone!!