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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Day 6 of 2016 Advent Calendar

Welcome to day 6 of Advent Calendar Blog Hop Serendipitous Stitching's 2016 Online Advent Calendar.  Advent Central can be reached by clicking the link, hop on over so you can catch up with all the previous posts.

Before I do my post, I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister, Nancy and niece-to-be niece-in-law-to-be? Michelle.  There are a lot of birthdays in my and my husband's families between October and December and I really do appreciate Michelle sharing one as it is much easier to keep track of and besides she and Nancy are guaranteed to have at least one birthday wish each.

So onto the reason you hopped over here.  Jo asked us to talk about a favorite decoration.  I will admit that I have never seen a Christmas decoration I haven't fallen in love with.  Fortunately, I am very picky about what I add to the collection, so you won't be seeing my on Hoarders or at least not for Christmas decorations.  All that means is that I have lots of favorite ornaments, but the one that goes on the tree first every year is this Santa:


I honestly don't know too much about him.  My Mom gave him to me, but I don't remember if it was from her family or if it's a first generation heirloom. 

Also, the holidays can't start until this wreath:


And this Santa:

are hung.  My Mom made the wreath sometime in the 1980s.  It's not as crisp as it used to be and it takes a bit more twiddling to get it to lay just right, but it isn't Christmas without it.  The Santa is Gift of Peace by Lavender and Lace.  I finished him in 1990 and he was one of the first pieces I framed myself.  I remember thinking it rather daring to use a blue mat.

Thank you for stopping by and don't forget to check out the other days.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Small TUSAL post

 FINALLY!  I have something to show for the Smalls SAL check-in. The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus and is a wonderful low-stress SAL.  All you have to do is stitch a small, you define what is small, and post on the last Thursday of the month. As last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the US, Heather was a wonderful host and thought some of us would be a bit too busy to post and so pushed it off a week.  I can usually keep up with this SAL, so I can count on 12 finishes a year, but this year has not been a good small year.  I have not finished a small since March.  Pitiful!  But I have two finishes, Tenth and Eleventh Day, and good progress on a third block, Twelfth Day for this month.

Stitched on 40-count Vintage Autumn Gold with Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe threads

This photo is the closest to the actual fabric color of any of my previous photos.  Now that I have the cards and all the other paper-crafting items for Christmas finished, I should be able to sit down and work on this.  I am aiming for a finish in the next couple of weeks.  Heather has said she is going to continue the SAL for 2017 and will have sign-up information sometime around the 5th of December.  I have a bunch of smalls lined up for next year, so I was very happy to read that she will be continuing the SAL.

The next SAL is TUSAL.  TUSAL is hosted by It's Daffycat.  It doesn't help you finish anything or stitch a piece, or work through a problem, but it does give you a SAL that is super easy to participate in and if you stitch, quilt, sew or do anything that requires trimming, you have all the materials you need.  Save all those little bits of thread that you would normally have sticking to your clothes, rug or pet throw away and put them in a container of some sort - clear is preferable as you want to see all the pretty colors - and post a picture on the new moon.  Here's an example:


Most people are a bit more artistic with their photos, but I'm just so thrilled to be almost on time with my post that I took a picture in my jar's natural setting.

And one last picture.  We had a weather front roll through a week or so ago and it got very cloudy and dark; however, there was a brief moment when the sun poked through the clouds and I snapped this:


We live in a bit of a gully, so the setting sun only hit the tops of the trees, but against the dark cloud backdrop they glowed.  No filters or retouching - just right place at the right time.   I did about break my leg tripping over the cats trying to get outside to take the picture, but I am so glad I did as just a few minutes later and the clouds closed up and it was dark again.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

At least it wasn't a full month

No, it hasn't been a full month since my last post, but I am darn close.  Since my last post I steadily stitched away on a piece I can't show you right now as it's a gift.  I finished it last week and got it to the framers the same day as (1) they were having a lovely sale and (2) I wanted it back before Thanksgiving.  After I finished that piece, I pulled out an almost oldie, but definitely a goodie and finished:


Tenth Day from Plum Street Samplers.  I think I may focus on this piece as I would very much like to have it finished for this Christmas.  I really do need to work on my color balance as the fabric is Vintage Autumn Gold from Lakeside Linens and is by no means this washed out.

I have also been collecting ideas and supplies for my holiday crafting and baking blitz.  It will take place the week of November 28th and I am looking forward to spending the entire week creating.  Of course, the collecting ideas part of this brings us to the other reason I haven't been reading or posting as I should - Pinterest!  It really is an evil place and should be banned!!  I have found so many wonderful ideas there.  Of course whenever I see one of those wonderful ideas, the chronological challenged part of my brain says "of course you have time to do this" and the rest of me just goes along with it and I spend hours planning and searching the craft room and house for things to us to make it and suddenly it's midnight and I have lost an entire evening day hour.  I will say there are some amazingly creative and talented people out there and thank them for sharing their talents with the rest of us (even if I do end up chasing rabbits).

I've even done some stashing!!  Christmas Baskets - Cross Stitch Pattern and .  The first is Christmas Baskets by The Drawn Thread and the second is Halloween on the Farm by Kathy Barrick.  The fabric for Halloween is a mocha color so much richer than shown.  In addition to stitching Halloween, I may steal the cat to use in my attempt to finish a series.  Lisa Roswell of The Primitive Needle designed two pieces Cape Cod`s Girls and   (if you can't read them, they are Cape Cod girls they have no combs, they comb their hair with codfish bones and Cape Cod boys they have no sleds, they slide down hill on codfish heads), based on the sea shanty Cape Cod Girls or Bound for Australia.  There is an additional verse of, "Cape Cod cats ain't got no tails, they lost them all in Cape Cod (or nor'east) gales". I am going to try to use bits and pieces of the first two to do the third, but I need a primitive style cat, which Halloween has.  Stay tuned for the next ten or fifteen years for the results.

There are two SAL check-ins coming up, WIPocalypse and Gifted Gorgeousness so I might as well be early for them.

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measie's Musing and has been going strong since 2012.  This has been a wonderful, low-stress SAL that provides the encouragement needed to work through those works-in-progress so many of us collect.  Hmmmm, that's an idea, I could call it a collection and then nobody would really expect me to finish them would they?  I mean, nobody asks a stamp collector when they are going to use their collection!  While I am thinking on that, I will continue stitching.  Looking back at my October WIPocalypse post, I have had no progress on my chosen pieces.  Sad, sad, sad.  Fortunately, Melissa does give us questions each month to liven things up a bit and this month's is:  What pattern (or designer) is on your must-try-to-stitch bucket list?  For sheer size, Sistine Chapel as charted by Heaven and Earth Designs is my pattern.  Given that I am lucky to do two or three pages a year and there are 55 or 60 pages in the pattern - well I'll let you do the math.  For designer, anything Teresa Wentzler. Not that her pieces are complicated but they do require some concentration and determination.  I have many of her patterns in my stash with Holly and Ivy Sampler at the top of my list to start.  If you're interested, Melissa has said she is going to continue WIPocalypse into 2017, so keep your eyes on her blog for more information.

Jo at Serendipitous Stitching hosts Gifted Gorgeousness so that we have a place to thank those that have gifted us with stitching bits and bobs or to show things we are stitching as gifts.  I, again, have no update on the pieces that were gifted to me and I can't show the one I am gifting, so while it's a check-in, it's not a very exciting one.

One more load of laundry to finish and then I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon cruising Pinterest stitching on either another 12 Days block or maybe Santa and the Mouse. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

A MONTH?!?!

How in the world did a month go by without a blog post?  WOW!  Funny how the blog in my head is up to date and filled with photos and witty posts while this one languishes.  Ah well, let's forge ahead and I'll see if the photos remind me of anything.

First is this one:

For the first time in ages, I took a TUSAL photo.  TUSAL is hosted by Daffy Cat at It's Daffycat and requires you to save all those bits and pieces of thread that you would normally throw out.  I'm using an old Yankee Candle jar to hold mine.  I have had to tamp this down a couple of times but I should be good through the end of the year.

The next photos are for my Gifted Gorgeousness and WIPocalypse check-ins:

It's About Time.  I finished another column and started the next since my last post.
Turns out that bit of gold in the lower right corner I mentioned in my last post is part of a bird
I am stitching a bit faster now that I have modified my key to this:


I took the three pages of the original key and cut out only the bits that were important to me: symbol; color number; and, color name and taped them onto one page and put it in a page protector.  I am surprised at how much time this simple change saves me.  I just have to do the same thing with my other HaEDS.

Santa and the Mouse is moving right along. 

This is a very messy stitch.  I do need to figure out a better way to start a round piece
 and finally Shakespearean Fantasy.  More black, more greens and almost another column finish.

I am looking forward to getting to a "clean" page as all this filling in stresses me and my hobby should not be stressful.

Oh yes, I mentioned Gifted Gorgeousness and WIPocalypse.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and gives us an opportunity to thank everyone that has been so generous with stitching gifts or to show something that will be a gift.  The patterns for It's About Time and Shakespearean Fantasy were gifts from Kate at A Kowgirl's Stitchin and Pull the Other Thread respectively.  Santa and the Mouse is a double entry as it was a freebie from Heaven and Earth Designs (now retired) and it has Santa giving a gift (or will once I get a few more columns over).

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is an incentive to tame the WIP monster.  I've been participating since 2012 and have cut down my list from 25 to 18.  I know, that doesn't sound like a lot, but given my limited stitching time and the fact that the majority of my pieces are BAPs, I'm very pleased.  Melissa provides topics each month and this month's is: What online stitching communities do you enjoy?  I remember my first foray into the online needlecraft world, it was RCTN.  It was slow and clunky by today's standards but oh my, I found people from all over the world that stitched and a few in my own backyard.  I was, and am, a fairly solitary stitchery because of location so to be able to talk about various designers and problems was amazing to me.  From there fancier bulletin boards came into being and I was able to see photos of others work - that was probably not so good for my wallet and it introduced me to the concept of STABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy), but a huge step forward.  I still read several bulletin/Yuku/Yahoo boards but most of them seem to have migrated to Facebook.  I do belong to two or three Facebook groups, but it is not my preferred platform, so I am not as active as I used to be on the bulletin boards.  My most used social media is my blog roll.  I can get lost for hours, clicking on not only my but others blog rolls. I enjoy seeing what others are stitching or crafting and I like that I is all in some order.  Facebook seems to one long stream of conscience and I have difficulty following one conversation.  I suppose that's a factor of being old and in the future, I'll pine for Facebook's simplicity.  I have also watched Floss Tube videos when I'm learning a new technique but I don't follow anyone.

A few more household chores and I'll be free to stitch through the weekend.  And just maybe I will get the post that is already composing itself in my head onto the blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Good Stitching Week

Before I get to the stitching, I have to say "hello" and "thank you" to my new followers and a "thank you" to those of you that have been following for a while.  I appreciate that you take time out of your day to read whatever it is I am rambling on about.

First, the epilogue for some already finished pieces.  Friday was the opening day of the Virginia State Fair, so The Hubs and I headed out bright and early so we could start the annual junk food feast with breakfast, but also to see how my entries fared in the competition.  I'm thrilled to say:

Christmas Presence placed first in its division (cross stitch on other than Aida) and

Secret Victorian Garden placed second in its division (needlework other than cross stitch - if your piece is more than 50% specialty stitches it goes in this division).  First place went to a very pretty The Common Thread Sampler from Jeanette Douglas Designs.  Things were set up very differently this year, so I am not sure what piece took Best in Section, but there were some very beautiful and beautifully done pieces this year.  Lots of sunshine, lots of food and lots of walking made up the rest of our time there.

Now on to the current pieces.  Thursday evening I put It's About Time on the frame.  I didn't have a lot of time for stitching but I did finish a couple of blocks:



 After the fair on Friday, I worked on Santa and the Mouse for a while

I finished 3 blocks and a few stitches more.  This one is really messy due to having started in the middle and working out.  The circular shape is already forming.

Saturday I took a bit of a break from my rotation and worked on Shakespearean Fantasy for two NOVAs and The Fellowship of the Ring.  I put in right around 1,000 stitches and had another column finish. 


I finally put some decent time into the tiger head from The Sampler Life's SAL (The Two Towers).  I am, once again, not going to have a finish for the Smalls SAL this month, but I am happy with the progress and I think I fixed the error I found last time around.


And finally, I worked on To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler.  Here's where it was before I started adding the names:


I completed DNephew's name and found it was one block off AGAIN!  Maybe The Return of the King isn't the best movie to have on while working on something that takes some concentration This time I put a pin in the starting spot, frogged his first name and restitched it then moved on to the rest of his name.  It is now centered.  I have finished the "and" between their names and part of his fiancĂ©'s name and feeling so much better now that the names are pretty much behind me.  They were much more of a chore than I expected.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A gifted WIPocalypse check-in

I am a few days late for the
and  the

check-ins, but given my track record the last few months, I am very happy with a few days late.

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings for some reason I can't get to her site today to link the address but will keep trying.  It started in 2012 as a tongue-in-check nod to the end of the world and an attempt to leave with as many WIPs completed as possible.  I've been trying ever since to complete mine.


Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way for us to thank all those folks that have gifted us with something stitching related or to show our progress on something that will be a gift.


I have two pieces that fit into both categories that I have progress on since my last post.  The first is Shakespearean Fantasy



This pattern was a gift from Pull the Other Thread.  I completed the small strip I think it was three stitches wide up to the blue line.  I know I've mentioned how I don't see the picture developing on these until I sit back, well with this one, I completely missed it.  Leonore and Justine both commented about the fairies in my last post.  I really could not see what they were talking about.  I kept seeing tree leaves, but kept staring at it with squinted and crossed eyes it always worked with those magic eye pictures that were all the rage in the 90s but still was not seeing it/them.  I'm not sure why but after stitching the last bit of that tiny little column, I sat back and they jumped out at me.  There is half, or so, of one at the bottom and you can see just a bit of wing forming there on the edge. NOW the weird color changes make sense!! After consulting the map/guide to the piece, this section represents A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

Fortunately, It's About Time doesn't have a lot of hidden bits and pieces. This pattern was a gift from Kate at A Kowgirl's Stitchin Blog. 




I am very happy to say that this is a page finish.  I'm looking forward to seeing what that blob of yellow/gold in the lower right corner turns out to be.

I spent a bit of time working on To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler, but I had to frog most of it as I miscounted and the name wasn't centered.  No photo as I was a bit frustrated with myself and just set it aside, but I have now run a basting line down the center and will be stitching the names from the center out rather than thinking I've counted correctly to the edge. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jo's Big Birthday Blog Hop

Jo of Serendipitous Stitching and Gifted Gorgeousness fame is celebrating a big birthday today.  A blog hop was organized to celebrate and I have 2009!  To read the rest of the years of her life, click on over to Serendipitous Stitching for the links to the other blogs and to see some of her gorgeous stitching.

On to 2009 - Jo was 43.  The Small Boy arrived early in the year, weighing in at nearly 10lbs it was not an easy birth.  He was unwilling to arrive and eventually came "out through the sun-roof" as they say.  The Large Boy was not keen on this new arrival at first but once he realised that babies come bearing Lego he was resigned to the situation.  Plus he got a great new bedroom with a midsleeper bed complete with slide.  Jo continued to run her Toddler Group, now with a qualifying baby, and also help with the PTA.  Three new PTA babies were born that year so there was often a "nurse-in" at the meetings.  Stitching was pretty non existent although Jo did complete one piece for a friend.

For me, 2009 was a year of ups and downs.  As this is a celebratory post, we'll leave out the downs.  The highlight of the year was a week long trip to Hilo on the big island of Hawaii.  It was a work trip but The Hubs was able to go with me and we had a really good time.  He would scope out all the neat places to see during the day and then when I got out of work we'd rush around to see them before they closed.  We even got snorkeling gear and were able to swim with sea turtles.  It is an amazingly beautiful island and definitely worth the jet lag to visit. 

Unlike Jo's baby, The Hubs gave me time to stitch during the year - except for the week before his leg surgery when he was pretty much bedbound - and I think I had a pretty productive stitching year that year.  I stitched the center of Chatelaine's Hawaiian Mandala while sitting on the balcony of our hotel room in Hilo, so that piece is doubly meaningful.  Jo has definitely made up for lost stitching time.  This year she's been doing a lot of Christmas and Just Nan stitching but she also does a lot of Hallowe'en stitching.  I don't do a lot of Hallowe'en stitching but this piece



has the look of one of the pumpkins in Just Nan's Counting Bats which Jo recently completed and I think is one she'd like.

Many Happy Returns on your Big Birthday Jo!!!