Monday, January 15, 2018

January Gifted Gorgeousness

I held off a little doing this one as I wanted THIS one to be seen by the central Atlantic folks.  Anyway, today is the first Gifted Gorgeousness post for 2018.  If you haven't heard of Gifted Gorgeousness, it's hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way for us to thank the people who have gifted us stitching wonderfulness or to show things that we are gifting someone or whatever you can shoehorn into "gift".  If you're interested in stitching along, click on over and join.

I am only working on three pieces this year and they all fit Gifted Gorgeousness' parameters.

The first is a gift to my MIL and her husband (or will be). 

This is Goldie Christmas stocking as charted by Heaven and Earth Designs.  It is stitched on 25-count Antique White lugana with DMC threads. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I don't need a magnifier with this one, even though it is over-1.  Yes, I still need my glasses but not the extra help that I need with my 28-count, over-1 HaEDs.  She's back on the frame but I have yet to put a stitch in her tonight - see "Plans", "best laid" and see the results and you'll understand. :-)

My second piece is Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine and it is a gift for my son:

Not a lot more done since my last photo, but progress.  I am stitching this on 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan with Martina's DMC conversion except for a couple of variegated silks that had no conversion number and the Petite Treasure Braids.  Despite my lack of progress I am loving working on a Chatelaine again.

My third piece is a gift to me, The Sampler Life SAL from a couple years ago:

The hosts at The Sampler Life contacted designers and asked them to donate a 50X50 design to the SAL  As these were donated, I am calling them a gift to me and shoehorning them into the SAL.  This is stitched on Vintage Autumn Gold from Lakeside Linens (yes really!) with the called for fibers - usually DMC.  This particular block is Fountains by Rainbow's Daughter.

And those are the three pieces I am stitching this year and the three pieces that you will see, hopefully with lots of progress, on February 15th for next month's check in.


What is it they say about the best laid plans?  Yeah, my weekend has been just like that.  MIL and her husband sold their home and are moving (well are moved) into a senior housing community so I took Thursday off to help them with cleaning, all that last minute stuff and to be another set of eyes and hands while the movers were there.  I figured one day was fine as I had FOUR more for my weekend - yes four.  Friday was my scheduled Friday off I think I've said before I work an alternative work schedule that compresses 10 days of time into 9 so I have every other Friday off and today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and a federal holiday so four more days for stitching and relaxing.  Now you've heard the plan, the reality...

I get to my in-laws.  The movers are there.  My in-laws are still packing things into boxes and haven't even started on the kitchen and there are clothes in most of the closets and we won't even start on the garage.  So pick a room and start working.  MIL and FIL are both stressed and are not concentrating well so they're flitting around like hummingbirds. Go into the garage and notice one of the dogs isn't doing well (the garage was converted into a kennel for their dogs and birds), so deal with that (he did die over the weekend - he was 15 and had a long, happy life so while sad, not traumatic).  While in the garage, MIL mentions that they don't know what they're going to do with their cats. Wait - WHAT?!?!?!  My mind is well and truly blown at this point.  The moving truck is in the driveway and you don't have a place for your cats (they couldn't take the cats and their dogs they have 3 dogs (well 2 now) and they are elderly and would not be able to be placed easily).  Turns out the rehome they arranged fell through.  So, I spend chunks of time for the rest of the day trying to find any help for the cats none of the normal rescue places are taking cats right now - apparently a large group was just brought up from another state due to a hoarding situation and everyone is trying to home them.  Did find a group that could put the word out on their network but they don't have a physical place to keep them.  So, with the hope that it's a shot-term visit before they can be rehomed, I have two cats in my guest room.  I love cats, I have three of them but that's just it, I have three of them and we're just not ready for five.  So....  If you're in the Virginia/Maryland/northern North Carolina area and are looking for or know someone that is looking for an older cat or cats let me know. 

They are both, as far as I know, around 10 years old and are spayed.  The brown one (we're calling her Molly but she's been "Brown Kittie" for years) is declawed in the front only.  Other than purrs I haven't heard her make a sound yet. She was a little reserved at first but is quite a personality once she warms up to you.  The yellow one (yes, she was called "Yellow Kittie" - we're calling her Emma) is a little more vocal but not a lot.  She is a bit more standoffish than Molly but loves to be pet and played with. Both girls were kept in catteries - they were in the same room but in separate cages.  They are free roaming in my guest room and while they've found their own places for sleeping there haven't been any territorial issues and no fights.  They have been exposed to dogs but have not been around them full-time or in a free roaming environment, so I don't know how well they would do with them.  My in-laws have had health issues the last few years and neither cat was cared for as well as they should have been.  Emma was recently partially shaved due to matting, but she still needs a good grooming and dematting (I've been hesitant to do it as she's been through a lot the last 3 days). 
They don't have to be placed in the same home.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hello 2018

In addition to trying to keep The Hubs comfortable after his shoulder surgery, 2018 started with snow and cold.  I figured having to deal with those 100+ degree days in the summer was a fair trade off for moderate winter temperatures - 16 F is not moderate.  We're not having to deal with it for weeks or months on end, but just the time we are is plenty for me.  When I moved from New Hampshire one of the things I was looking forward to was thinking 32F was cold - I have reached that point!!.

With the start of a new year, it's time for the first 2018 WIPocalypse posting.  Melissa at Measi's Musings is hosting WIPocalypse again this year.  If you click on the badge it should take you to the information page.  If it doesn't try clicking on the badge up top on the left. The nice thing about this SAL is that it is just that a SAL and not a contest except maybe with yourself.   You pick the pieces you want to finish or see progress on and post about them on the last Sunday of each month.  This posting is early just so everyone can introduce themselves.  Melissa also gives us blog prompts or questions each month so we have something to talk about.  This month's is:  Introduce yourself, your projects and any goals you have for this year.

I'm Susan.  I live in northern central Virginia those you that know the area or just want to look on a map, I am almost exactly half way between Richmond and Fredericksburg and about 6 miles north of Kings Dominion amusement park  in the middle of not a lot.  It's just The Hubs, me and three cats here.  I have one son that lives in Michigan along with just about all of the rest of my extended family.  I work for the US Department of Agriculture as a senior loan officer assisting small, rural communities by financing water and sewer systems.  It's not glamorous work, but it is fulfilling especially when you realize that someone will have safe water in their home and won't have to haul water from miles away yes, that still happens in the US.  My office is in Washington DC so I have a bit of a crazy commute about 2-1/2 hours each way counting all the driving, walking, waiting and riding.  I take the train most of the way so it's not as horrible as it might sound.  I used to stitch on the train, but it's become a very popular form of commuting and the trains have gotten crowded so I mostly read now.  Because of the commute, my stitching time is very limited and I don't stitch as fast as I think I do so I have a lot of WIPs. I am a rotation stitcher although I have been known to go OAAT (one at a time) when something needs to be finished.  This year, I am rotating between two pieces Goldie (a gift for my MIL and her husband) charted by Heaven and Earth Designs and Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine (a gift for my son).  I would love to finish both of these to give for this Christmas.  I plan to spend Sunday mornings stitching on smalls so that I have some finishes through the year.  For my smalls I am planning on finishing up The Sampler Life SAL from a couple years ago, start and hopefully finish the four The Drawn Thread patterns my parents gave me for Christmas and then start the Joyful World's SAL from a year or so ago.   To help with my stitching goals, I am participating in Gifted Gorgeousness, Smalls SAL, Stitch from Stash and International Hermit and Stitch Weekend in addition to WIPocalypse.  If you're interested in any of these, click on the badges on the left at the top and you should get taken right to the info pages.

I didn't get any more stitches into Zen my family got together and bought me a Cricuit Explore Air 2 for Christmas and I spent a lot of last weekend reading, You Tubing and playing with it so my stitching was waylaid a bit so here's where it was on January 1st.

The fabric is really a light blue it's showing splotchy white on my monitor and is my go to fabric - Summer Sky Jobelan.

I worked from home this last week didn't want to go back to the office until after The Hubs' first post-op check up so had much more time for stitching than usual.  Goldie was on the frame and went from here:

To here:

I have the rest of today and tomorrow on her and then Zen goes back on the frame.  I am thrilled with my progress so far.  I have had to keep reminding myself that this was not a normal stitching week and past performance is not indicative of future progress. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Good Bye 2017

2017 was a year of big occasions in my family.  The year started with a surgery (my gallbladder removal) and ended with one (The Hubs had his rotator cuff repaired on Thursday).  In between, my parents celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary, DSon moved from Vermont to Michigan and started a new job, DNephew and DNiece were both married, DSis and DBIL celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary and The Hubs' niece announced her engagement.  Phew! I'm ready for a bit of a rest.

As it's the end of December as well as the end of the year, it's time for the final WIPocalypse check-in for 2017.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a personal challenge, not a contest, to stay on goal and finish some of those WIPs that most of us have hanging around.  She gives us topics each month for discussion and December's is to recap what we've done through the year.  This is going to be long and picture heavy.  

So for 2017....  I had the same number of finishes, 12, that I had last year.  You can see all my finishes in the tab labeled "Finishes" but I am going to show them here too.  You can see all my small finishes in my last post those I'm not going to reshow.

So first up was wedding samplers. I finished To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler and Sentimental Hearts both by The Sweetheart Tree.  There are changes made to both samplers - mostly color changes on To Have and To Hold  but a little bit of chart reworking as the names were a bit longer than would fit.  A verse and names were added to Sentimental Hearts.

To Have and To Hold
Sentimental Hearts

After the wedding samplers, I moved onto a Christmas stocking, A Glimpse of Santa from Stoney Creek:

And around those finishes, I also had Winter Wonderland from The Silver Needle which was my first finish of the year and Snowgirls from Country Garden Stitchery:

Winter Wonderland


I had progress on my Heaven and Earth Design projects.

Shakespearean Fantasy
January 1, 2017

December 31, 2017

Santa and the Mouse
January 1, 2017

December 31, 2017
and It's About Time

January 1, 2017

December 31, 2017
The Enchantment of Winter was a new start:

And Santa's Magic made an unexpected appearance in December.

January 1, 2017
December 31, 2017
I finished his beard with about 5" of Wisper thread left - if anybody is keeping track it will take more than two cards of Wisper White to finish this piece.  Rather than put in another order for a thread that I didn't really like stitching with, I made an executive decision that any other areas that were charted for Wisper would be done in plain old DMC white.  If I were to do it again, I would probably use B5200 for the charted white and white for the charted Wisper.  I think that would give just enough shade difference to keep it from looking flat.  I got my order of Kreinik in today's mail, but I won't be pulling this one out until I finish my two obligation pieces.

After putting Santa away, I pulled out Japanese Zen Garden.  Yes, it's a little early to start my 2018 rotation, but it kept calling.  It went from here:

To here:

I needed the green border to hold those gold swirls in place.  As they are off center I kept thinking I was off on my count.  Now that everything is neatly contained it is going much better.  I had planned to work on this all day today, but my phone's battery has been acting up (not holding a charge, heating up while charging, etc.) and today was the first appointment I could get.  Word of advice - do NOT go to an Apple store at anytime around Christmas - it was mobbed.  Between the waiting and the fixing and the grocery store my afternoon was shot. I am not planning on going anywhere tomorrow so there should be more swirly bits by tomorrow night.

So those are my finishes and progress for 2017.  I will be participating in WIPocalypse in 2018 and will be back in a week or so to post my goals and hopefully show some progress on Zen and Goldie.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Small December check-in

Before I forget, I found this post on the 123 Stitch message board regarding the AMAZING piece I showed in my last post:   it was stitched by Kathy Meyers, and this is what she wrote:
"This is my Christmas cross stitch that I made by combining several cross stitch patterns from Lavender & Lace, Teresa Gil and Country Cottage Needleworks and various other designs I had in my stash. It has been framed by Jill & Amber of Rensel studios and I couldn't be happier with it! It is being shipped home to me in time for Christmas decorating!" Someone asked if the framed bell on the wall was from Sweetheart Tree, and Kathy replied that it was. So the mystery is solved.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday - ours was quietI got some stitching goodness this year.  My parents gave me these: 

The ones on the left are The Drawn Thread's Simply Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall with the threads for one of them (can't remember which one) but the colors are repeated in the others.  The one on the right is a Dimension's kit called Maggie the Messmaker (I'm assuming it's referring to the cat in the middle of the design and not me!).  I am going to stitch the seasons as one piece and have found a piece of Vintage Pearled Barley from Lakeside Linens in my stash that will work very nicely.  The Hubs gave me well, we gave me a stitching trip to Camp Stitchalot Stitchers Retreat hosted by Stitches 'n Things in March.  The timing worked out perfectly as The Hubs should be just about healed from his shoulder surgery all is a go for tomorrow and I will NEED the time away anyone that has spent any time with him when he's not feeling well will understand ;-).  I am already planning which pieces to take with me and am very excited as I've never been to a stitching retreat.  When I lived in New Hampshire I went to Celebration of Needlework but it was always a day trip - I've never been to "sleep over camp".

Today is the last check in for
I started out the year gang-busters with this SAL but July came along and I fizzled out and didn't post again until November. I did manage to finish seven smalls this years:

Just Nan - Florentine Floral

Just Nan - Holly Bow

Just Nan - Kari's Snowflake

Purple and Gold Corner


Tiny Tiger


I am hoping to get back into a rotation in 2018 and that will include a small stitching slot.  I have my pieces picked out and everything ready to go see at the top about The Drawn Thread pieces.  If you're interested in Smalls SAL click on the badge here or the one up top on the left and it will should take you to Stitching Lotus' page and all the information you need.  As I am focusing on two large pieces, I am looking forward to this SAL as it will give me some variety and hopefully finishes.

Sunday, December 24, 2017


I took a big sigh Thursday at 4:45 PM when I signed off my work computer for the last time this year.  On Friday, I had an enjoyable lunch with one set of in-laws, went to the grocery store and finished all my errands.  I am determined to stay home as much as possible this coming week.  I will be out and about on Tuesday as I have to have my car inspected Tuesday morning and on Thursday as The Hubs is finally having his shoulder surgery, but other than that I'm planning to be in and stitching or crafting.

Before I get into my normal blah, blah, blah stuff...

I was reading through my blog list and was scrolling through Jill Rensel's (of Rensel Studio fame) blog and saw this:

WOWSA!!!  There was no information on who stitched it but I am in awe of whoever did.  They combined two Lavender and Lace patterns Celtic Christmas (the lady in the red dress) and Oh Christmas Tree (the two children and the tree) along with bits from other patterns or maybe designed them themselves.  I can't even begin to estimate the amount of time it took to design, never mind stitch this - I would count it an accomplishment to finish one of the two larger pieces that were used.  Pop on over to Jill's blog to see this and many more beautiful pieces and if you know who did this piece, tell them "Congratulations."

So on to my inadequate pieces :-)...

I have been enjoying my hummingbird rotation (flitting around from piece to piece) of the last few weeks.  Last weekend I pulled out Enchantment of Winter by Terrence Nolan and spent a few hours with it.  I loved working on it but it is kitted with silks and my hands are very dry so it kept snagging.  I'm going to have to do some major softening before I pull out a silk piece again.  Despite the snagging, it went from here:

to here:

This is stitched on 28-count Wintered Marble from Stitches 'n Spice there are very subtle splashes of light grey and blue  with the called for threads.

After my time with Winter, I decided a Santa fix was needed so out came Mirabilia's Santa's Magic. He looked like this when he was last out:

And today he looks like this:

He's stitched on 32-count opalescent Ametrine from Silkweavers.  I do wish the photograph could show you how sparkly he is but the camera keeps adjusting and unsparkling it.   I think I've mentioned it before but if you have an older pattern mine is from right around 1996 it calls for #8 Kreinik braid - don't do it!!  Order the #4 and save yourself a lot of headache.  I'm using #4 and don't see how you could get the heavier braid through the fabric without distorting it.  Also and this is soooo irritating, my pattern says that you'll need multiple skeins/spools of 085 and 202hl without saying how many more.  I am almost through my second spool of 085 and nowhere near done, so an order was sent to 123 Stitch and should be here by the end of the week.  My plan for today, tomorrow and maybe Boxing Day is to finish his beard and the Wisper parts of his sleeves so that I can get to the other Kreinik in the design.

And before I forget because I have forgotten almost every month this year here is my December TUSAL photo:

TUSAL is hosted by It's Daffycat and is the easiest SAL ever to participate in.  Collect all the snips and bits from your crafting, put them in a container of some sort and post a photo on the new moon each month.  I'm good at the saving the bits part, but not so good at the posting picture part.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A finish, two starts and IHSW

After the grocery shopping and housework, I had a very productive

First up, the finish. 

This is Just Nan's Holly Bows.  It's done on 32-count Stone Grey Belfast with DMC and the beads from the bead pack that came with the pattern.  I really do like this fabric color and have a few patterns that would look really nice on it.

After I finished Holly Bows I put Goldie on the frame to put a few stitches in so that I could put it on my WIPocalypse list for next year.  The stitching was so easy that I did a bit more than a few stitches:

Goldie is my in-law's German Shepherd.  I took a puppy photo of her and put in an order with Heaven and Earth Designs for a special order stocking.  If you look really carefully, you can just see an outline of her ear to the right of the large stitched area.  I worked on this Saturday evening and Sunday morning and then put Japanese Zen Garden from Chatelaine on the stand (again to just put a few stitches in).

It was nice stitching a Chatelaine again.  This is stitched on 32-count Sky Blue Jobelan (after looking at the pattern there aren't areas of solid beading so the hand-dyed 32-count should be okay).  I am using Martina's DMC conversion for all the fibers except for a couple she didn't list a conversion for.  There are lots and lots of sparkly stitches that are charted in this bit, but even with all the PTB (Petite Treasure Braid) I have, I didn't have any of the ones called for.  I have an order in for the PTB, the two silks and the bead pack.  Not sure when they'll all show up but will carry on with the DMC I do have and fill in once I get all the goodies.

Goldie and Zen are the two pieces that I will focus on in 2018 as I would really like for them to be Christmas gifts next year - boring blog with just the two pieces - you have been warned.