I love it all: embroidery, canvaswork, quilting, crochet. So much to do, so little time.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Start and 2013 Year in Review

Hey Blog Buddies,

Hope you all had a marvy holiday.  Ours was very enjoyable.  I got some time to stitch on my new start over the past week, and the theme was:

and more Beer
Yes, of course, I'm working on Ink Circles' 99.
The top shelf is done:
So it's 11 down and 88 to go!
The bottles are cute and colorful,
and I love the way they pop
against the Ale linen.
I'm thinking that this is one project
that DH will be inquiring about.  A lot.
I finish-finished a Christmas ornament, too,
but the recipient has not yet seen it,
so that will be a reveal in the new year.
I'm close to finishing LHN's Warm Winter Woolens,
and hope to get it done before year-end.
As for my 2013 goals, I had an overly ambitious list--
I knew that going in--but did manage 45 finishes.
The majority of them were small:
ornaments, seasonal smalls and such,
but I finished one or two larger projects as well.
If you're interested in photos,
just pop over to my 2013 Goals page,
the link for which is at the top of the blog.
Since I have a frightful amount of
projects all kitted up but not started
(they scare me every time I look at them),
I'm making a serious effort to buy
no new charts and very few threads/linen in 2014!
Can I do it?  Time will tell.
I've joined the Stitch from Stash SAL hosted by
which should help to keep me focused.
Sign-ups end on January 2nd.
Of course, there's the little matter of the
four workshops that I've signed up for in 2014!
But according to the Stitch from Stash rules,
they don't count if you keep stitching on the pieces
during the year.  Alrighty then!
Of course, I haven't forgotten my WIPs,
so just for fun I've joined the
2014 Turtle Trot SAL hosted by Claudette at BAP Attack.
Each participant picks 10 WIPs that he or she
wants to make progress on during the year,
and posts regular updates.
Many of mine are projects that
regular readers of this blog have seen in 2013,
but I'll also be trotting out (heheh)
some Oldies but Goodies, too.
That's it from here.
Have a fun and safe New Year's celebration,
and I'll see you all on the other side.
Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

To all my Blog Buddies
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanzaa
and Happy Solstice, too.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December IHSW

Hey Blog Buddies,

Are you all ready for Christmas?  I am, finally, so I was able to devote a little time to stitching this past weekend.  Winter Logs got a little love.  Here is the before photo:

And here is what it looks like now:
(indoor photo w/flash because of nasty weather)
I'm now caught up with this phase of the SAL.
Next, I worked on a "new" piece that I started this week.
I was pawing through my stash
and found a seasonal chart that I forgot I had
which had been gifted to me from my friend Anne (no blog).
Here is LHN's Warm Winter Woolens:
After having stitched my last Halloween ornament
on 40-count linen, I was looking forward to
working on a lower count.
The directions called for
Lakeside Linens Vintage Exemplar
and I was happy because I knew I had that fabric.
Surprise:  40-count!  oh well...
It's turning out well--I really like that sheepie!
No, I didn't do all of the above stitching this weekend!
I had had a good start on both pieces
and wound up working a little on both
on Saturday and Sunday.
And last night I started (cough) another new piece from stash.
I'll show you that when I have a little more done on it.
That's it from here.
Check out what the other Hermitters did
by clicking here.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Hey Blog Buddies,

Yes, the weather outside is frightful.  Yesterday we got about six inches of snow, and today it's very cold and windy.  And we're right smack dab in the middle of December, snow and cold, Christmas, the Winter Solstice -- and what am I doing?

Halloween in December

Yes, that's right, I still had one more ornament to do for the 2013 Halloween Ornament SAL...

I'm surprised the photo turned out --
it was so windy, the branch and ornament
were bobbing up and down.
Yes, the Nut was out without a coat,
taking photos of a Halloween ornament
in the snow and cold.
Here is the "Official Portrait"...
This is Knotted Tree NeedleArt's Little Owl Sampler
from the 2012 Just Cross Stitch Halloween Issue.
I had purple and orange #5 pearl cotton for the cording.
I asked DH the question:
Purple, orange, or both?
He said to go with solid orange, and I'm glad I did.
It brightens up the whole piece.
Stitchers are The Most Generous People
A little while ago I won Anne's giveaway at
It was her Third Blogoversary,
and she offered to stitch three small pieces,
for three different people.
The winners got to pick out their prizes
from an assortment of patterns selected by Anne.
I chose a Prairie Schooler fall pattern,
a crow on a pumpkin.
How cute is that?!!
I just love the way she finished it!
But that's not all...
These items were also in the envelope,
clockwise from top left:
small note pad, 3 skeins of floss, cute piece
of red-and-white fabric, lovely card,
Russian Earl Grey tea, cute hemstitch/eyelet piece
from Victoria Sampler, her stitched piece,
and a length of black rick rack.
This did not make the above photo:
A packet of the cutest seasonal buttons.
I was just about to go out searching
for snowflake buttons when her package came.
Thanks again, Anne!
Stitch from Stash 2014
It's the end of the year,
and the new 2014 virtual Stitch Alongs
are now gearing up on various blogs.
(No more Halloween ornaments for me next year!)
What I haven't mentioned here is
that I went on a new stash diet in the middle of October
(two months and counting).
I had told certain of my stitching buddies
that as of January 1st, all bets were off, but...
Mel at Epic Stitching is hosting Stitch from Stash,
and it sounds like it will be right up my alley.
If it sounds interesting to you,
click here to check it out. 
That's it from here.
Hope you had a great weekend.
Thanks, as always, for visiting!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hare's Christmas, Revisited

Hey Blog Buddies,

If you've been reading this blog for a while and have a good memory, you might recall that I stitched Plum Street Sampler's Hare's Christmas during last year's holiday season. I finished it right at the end of December 2012... there was absolutely no reason to
finish-finish it immediately, right?
It languished in my to-be-finished pile
all year long--until yesterday.
I was procrastinating because
I wanted to finish it as a pillow with ball fringe,
a technique that I had never done before,
and had no clue how to attempt.
I searched the Internet and found this tutorial,
and decided to give the finishing a try.
(I was on the verge of
outsourcing the finishing up until that point.)
I really had no expectation of a good outcome
since this was my very first time doing ball fringe,
but I followed all the instructions,
including using the zipper foot on my machine
and, of course:  pin, pin, pin
and voila..
I'm pretty happy (and relieved)
with the way it turned out.
Even DH pronounced it "cute."
If I can do this, anyone can!
But I couldn't have done it without that tutorial.
I used crushed walnut shells as a stuffing.
They can be found at pet supply stores
here in the United States.
The crushed shells are very fine, so I  thought it best
to sew a muslin lining into the pillow, too.
(Another first, a lined pillow!)
That's it from here.
(Still haven't finished
all my Christmas stitching,
have you?)
Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ornament Exchange

Hey Blog Buddies,

My EGA Chapter had its annual Christmas party this week, and we had an ornament exchange.  This is the ornament I brought:

This is one of the Lizzie*Kate Jingles designs,
stitched on 36-count natural linen.
Here is the ornament which I received,
stitched by Barb:
There has been some further progress
on Cool Cardinal:
You can see that I've gotten the
white sorted out.
Don't worry:  the bird is supposed to be
two shades of red!
Last but not least,
I received this great prize from Jo
for winning her
Awesome Autumn giveaway:
The bag itself is awesome
because everything except the border
is stitched over one.
On black.
And there was a delicious chocolate spider
tucked inside.
Thanks, Jo, I love it!
That's it from here.
Hope you have all your
holiday stitching done.
(I don't.)
And thanks, as always, for visiting! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stitching Disaster

Hey Blog Buddies,

How's your weekend going?  Swimmingly, I hope.  Mine--not so much.

This past week I had a couple of finishes (more on those later) and decided to start a new project.  It's nothing new, I've been stitching from stash recently, and this project is on my 2013 to-do list.  It's Harper in Stitches - Cool Cardinal.  Charley Harper was an American Modernist artist best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations.  Many of his designs have been adapted to cross stitch.

As you can see, it's a rather plump cardinal
sitting out a blizzard, while snow piles up on his head.
When I saw the stitched model at
a local needlework shop a couple of years ago,
I loved the cardinal and I was hooked.
I like this design despite the fact
that it depicts a snowstorm
(I hate snow).
But I'm really not too fond of
stitching the scores of "snowflakes."
They are 12 stitches each and are
spaced far enough apart
that I have to start and end a thread
for each one.
Tedious, to say the least.
Here is my progress so far:
Can you believe that I didn't notice
the difference in color until
I went outside to take the photo?
It's so obvious.
I couldn't either, until I took the piece
back inside and started to "unstitch."
I use a 21-bulb LED light with magnifier
that I absolutely love.
It really illuminates my work.
But this is how the piece looks under that light...
Believe it or not, I actually felt better
when I saw this (not as dumb).
The light absolutely does not differentiate
between the two whites.
So I have come up with an explanation for the goof.
I was using (or thought I was using) DMC blanc.
I believe that I inadvertently put a strand or two
of B5200 in with the blanc.
I do know that B5200 is a much brighter white
and I always keep it separate from the blanc.
Or so I thought.
I will dig out my B5200 and make sure
that it matches the bottom five rows
before I rip out the top 4 rows
plus one snowflake.
And once I start to restitch the snowflakes,
I'll make frequent trips outside
to check that the white is still
all the same shade.
Because now I'm paranoid.
Let's move on to happier topics.
Here is a design from Prairie Schooler's Nordic Holiday:
Stitched 1 over 1 on
25-count white Lugana
with DMC 815 and 500.
These are darker colors than the model photos.
I like so many of the designs in this leaflet
that I'm planning to stitch several more.
Last but not least,
I'm still keeping up with the
The theme this month is Candy Corn.
I adapted a design from
BBD's 'Tis Halloween booklet.
It was a stocking covered with candy corn,
and I didn't want to "finish" another stocking,
so I used BBD's chart for the candy corn
and made the ornament in the shape of a candy corn, too.
Some may see a Christmas tree.
That's it from here.
May all your stitching go without a hitch.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 18, 2013

November IHSW: Tornado Warning, Power Outage and a Finish

Hey Blog Buddies,
Here in Illinois we had some pretty severe weather yesterday.  There was widespread property damage, some injuries and even some deaths due to the storms, and my thoughts are with those families.   A little before 1:00 yesterday afternoon the sirens went off here and the loudspeaker told us to "take shelter NOW."  Evidently there was a tornado on the ground nearby.  We had one heck of a storm for about a half hour, lots of rain and high winds but no tornado here.  We lost power right away, though, and didn't get it back until 9:00 this morning.  (Many people are still without power.)

Well, before the power outage I had been in the middle of trying to finish-finish my little Tudor Tassel ornament.  When DH went out to get some spare batteries for our emergency lights, I found the window with the most light coming through and continued where I had left off on the ornament.  It wasn't what I would call "stitching light," but beggars can't be choosers.  When he came home and saw what I was doing, he told me he thought I had a Problem.  I quite agreed.  At around 4:00 I was this close (picture a thumb and forefinger a hair's width apart) to finishing, but what little light remained was almost gone, so I reluctantly stopped.  After the power came back on this morning, I was able to finish it and take photos, so without further ado, here is the saga of the Tudor Tassel.

I started stitching this ornament back in August and posted this progress pic:

The above piece, finished, looks like this:
This is a Victoria Sampler design,
from the 2010 JCS Christmas Ornament issue.
It's very, very cute, but I think of it as
a product of the Evil Genius of Thea Dueck.
First off, I don't like doing wrapped bars.
I know, they give a more delicate, lacy
look than woven bars, but still.
And this is only one of three sides to the ornament,
so three of these need to be made.
I've had this kitted up for three years.
I was reluctant to even start it
because I thought the finishing would be very tricky.
For those of you contemplating making (and finishing)
this ornament, I highly recommend getting this publication:
This leaflet had two pages of finishing instructions,
complete with photos, which left
nothing to the imagination.
I believe there was only a short paragraph on
how to finish the ornament
in the 2010 JCS Ornament Issue.
And of course, there are directions for
three more adorable tassels here!
Once I had read and reread the finishing instructions,
I actually was encouraged to try finishing it myself.
So I had my three sides stitched and
was ready to cut out around the hardanger bottom.
Oh no!
Oh yes.  I was careless and the first thing I did
was cut into the blanket stitch.
But it's nothing that a little ripping,
Fray Check and restitching won't fix, is it?  (sigh)
The whole project was very fiddly from start to finish,
and cutting into the blanket stitches didn't help.
So, blanket stitch repaired,
here are my three stitched pieces.
I flipped one over face down to show you the
fusible interfacing called for in the instructions.
Not certain that the fusible interfacing would stick,
Thea also recommended that you sew it down.  (I did.)
By the way, the seams have an overlock zigzag,
per the instructions.
On to the finished product...

I have to say, this ornament
is much cuter in person than any photo.
I got a little carried away with the bead strands--
they turned out quite a bit longer than I thought they would.
It's hard to see, but there are three strands.
The ornament is hanging from a pencil,
and I'm standing in front of my garage door,
taking a photo with my free hand.
If my neighbors thought I was nutty before, they're sure of it now.
I tried out many spots in front of, and inside of, the house,
before hitting upon this one.

Yeah, I know, not as good.
That last one is on my Halloween tree,
cleared of ornaments on one side to showcase The Tassel.
Yes, it's still up, and yes, I have a Problem.
Can you tell I'm really excited about this finish?
And no, just in case you were going to ask,
I'm not going to start any of the other tassels
any time soon.
That's it from here.
To check out what the other Hermitters
were doing this weekend,
click here.
Hope you all had a great weekend,
with better weather than we had in Illinois.
Thanks, as always, for visiting! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two Finishes and a SAL Update

Hey Blog Buddies,

We've had three gorgeous days in a row here in the Chicago area, but it sounds like that will all come to an end on Monday with much colder temps and that 4-letter word that begins with an S.   Snow.  What did you think I was referring to?

On the stitchy front, I've had two small finishes recently.  The first was a gift for a friend:

This is The Primitive Jewel's Gem Keep.
The pocket is for small scissors
and the floss bow is meant to
tie around the finger holes.
I had purchased this little kit months ago,
but did not actually make it until
about a week before my friend's birthday!
She loves it--and has several scissors
which will fit into the pocket.
The second finish is Just Nan's Turkey Lurking.
I love the disheveled turkey peering around corners,
looking for a chopping block, perhaps?
(He won't find one here because we don't eat turkey!)
The beautiful frame was ready-made
and was a real steal at my local frame shop.
I think it's a little too formal for this piece,
but it's hard to find frames for something that's 3 inches square,
so this is where the turkey will live this month.
The turkey will easily pop out of the frame
after November, and I just realized
that I have the perfect piece for it (the frame) in my stash.
It's a delicate little heart by Sweetheart Tree
which has been languishing in a project bag
in one of my drawers for the past eight years.
Now I have the incentive to
stitch it up and pop it into a frame!
Finally, I am keeping up with my Winter Logs SAL.
Here is where I left off last month:
And here's where I'm at now:
I'm a quarter of the way through this project!
Here's a close-up:
This photo is probably the truest, color-wise.
It's a very fun stitch,
and I can finish the monthly stitching
in only a few days.
I'm bad at estimating hours--
maybe 8 to 10 hours?
That's it from here.
Hope you've had a wonderful November weekend,
with maybe some stitching thrown in.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quilters Plus Boutique

Hey Blog Buddies,
This weekend was the Quilters Plus Holiday Boutique, and from the amount of shoppers that I saw there, it was a great success.  On Saturday, my GF Shirley came down from The City with her hubby who is a ham radio operator just like DH.  The guys had tons of things to do and talk about, so Shirley and I were free to do blogging stuff (she is in the process of launching her own blog) and then go shopping at the Boutique!

I did not get photos of the items Shirley purchased, but of course I was able to photograph my new acquisitions!  So without further ado, here they are:

These are very versatile little angels.
They come with a hanger, so they can be an ornament;
they can sit on a shelf, as in this photo;
and the skirt is made of a firm material and they
have no bottom, so they can be a tree topper, too.
One for myself and one for a gift.
Don't worry, the recipient never visits here.   :o)
These were labeled as hot pads,
but they are very firm
(made of fabric-wrapped clothesline I would imagine)
and I will be using them as trivets.
I saw these small tree skirts on Friday
but waited until Saturday to get one.
I was lucky--I got the last one!
Perfect for my 3-foot tree!
A great tote bag/purse at a great price.
Dimensions are approximately 10" by 15"
with two large pockets outside and seven inside!
And how cute is this?
Needle Artisans of NW Indiana was a vendor at the Boutique,
so there was a nice selection of hand-embroidered items, too.
I couldn't resist all the cute holiday motifs on this tree
stitched by Chris R--I had to have it.
I happen to know Chris and I'll have to thank her for making this!
After our shopping spree we were hungry,
so we instructed the boys to go to a local Asian eatery
and met them there for lunch.
It was a wonderful fall weekend.

The photo gallery for this year's Boutique is already up on the Quilters Plus website, so if you want to see how they transform an empty room into a fabulous Boutique with thousands (yes, thousands) of hand-made items for sale, click here.

That's it from here.
Hope you had a great weekend (with an extra hour here in the US).
And thanks, as always, for visiting!