Monday, January 16, 2017

January Gifted Gorgeousness

The problem with frequent posting is there often isn't a lot of progress to show and that certainly is true today, BUT it is time for Gifted Gorgeousness and I am determined to match last year's posting success.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching (I have learned to spell both gorgeous and serendipitous because of her) and is a way to say "thank you" to everyone that has given us stitching bits and bobs for gifts and to show what we are stitching as gifts.  Each of the pieces I showed in my last post were gifts of some kind - either from Internet friends or designers or, in the case of To Have and To Hold will be a gift.

Despite having a four day weekend, I didn't get as much stitching in as I had hoped.  I did; however, get the taxes all drafted out and ready to file, finally got the DVD player hooked-up in the den (my stitching area) and had a totally clean house for about 10 minutes.

The stitching that I did do resulted in a finish.  To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler is complete. 

The original design was done in teals and green, but the wedding colors are lilac and green so some changing was necessary.  The most difficult part was switching out beads, but I think I found suitable replacements.  It took much longer than I expected to finish off the backstitching at the bottom.  The beads were a bit fiddly as the stitching didn't fall in nice neat blocks, but it lines up well enough.  Just have to wait for a nice sale at the framers.  And as I'm looking at the photo, I realized I forgot an entire line of beading - so much for that happy dance.

I'm going to count it as a finish as it will be complete within the hour and then I can put Sentimental Heart on the frame and get it started it needs a few more changes than this one, so I'm glad I have until October to have it finished.

Friday, January 13, 2017

After the Storm

We got the promised snow last weekend.  We ended up with 4" to 5" here at my house and then it got COLD.  When I left my house Monday morning it was 1 F.  Any readers in the colder climes of the world are thinking "yeah so it's winter", for central Virginia that's crazy cold.  To make up for it, yesterday afternoon it was 71 F.  We've moderated into the 50s today but it is much warmer than usual right now.  My heating bill likes it, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. 

I got back into my stitching rhythm last weekend and had quite a bit of progress.

My The Sampler Life SAL piece went from here:

to here:

Santa and the Mouse had some more window added and went from here:

to here:

Still stitching the background on Shakespearean Fantasy

I added another 300 stitches in that column and should get down into the colors soon.

I had a wonderful session with To Have and To Hold and am so close to a finish. 

All that is left is the green backstitched section and the beading.  I should be able to finish it up this weekend.

We are forecast to have freezing rain, sleet and rain late tonight and into tomorrow, so I did the grocery shopping this morning (it's my Friday off) and am all set to stay inside this weekend (even though they're only calling for the sloppy stuff tomorrow morning) and stitch there may be some housework thrown in but it will be as little as possible

Friday, January 6, 2017

Before the Storm

I have been remiss in thanking everyone that stops by and reads my blog.  I appreciate you taking the time to click over, read and comment.

So my blog title, refers to the snow "storm" we're supposed to have.  Well, what passes for a snow storm here in my little corner of Virginia.  The forecast is for 2" to 4" of snow between late tonight and late tomorrow - which means, the road crews have been out on the highways applying the liquid salt stuff (I assume it works, but mostly it just makes great white clouds after it dries), and the grocery stores are crazy. Part of the grocery stores could be a normal Friday, but it seemed a bit busier than usual.

We're all set for weather and had no plans to go anywhere this weekend, so we can settle back and enjoy it.  I have almost crossed everything off my vacation to-do list.  All that is left is laundry (again) and house cleaning (again).  Oh yes, I do put things like that on my list as it gives me a major sense of accomplishment to cross things off the list.  I've been known to put something on the list that I just finished so I could cross it off.

One of the things on my list was to start Enchantment of Winter from Dimple Designs.  I had planned it as a January 1 start but didn't get it on the frame until later.  Here's where it is today:

This is done on 28-count Wintered Marble from Stitches and Spice with the called for DMC, Access Commodities' Soie D'Alger  and Kreinik.  The fabric has faint traces of blue and pink on it, rather like the glint of sun off the snow.  I am trying out a new technique (to me) with the blending filament.  Rather than making it a blend while stitching, I am stitching it separately and only going over the crossing stitch.  It takes a little longer, but it shows up better and besides you only see the bit on the top anyway.

Not (originally) on my list was Winter Wonderland from The Silver Needle.

My first finish for 2017!  The finishing kit came with the painted snowflake, bumpy yarn, mounting board, backing fabric (a glitter felt), quilt batting and a pre-tied bow.  The bow covered up too much of the stitching, so will put it away and use it on something else.  It is stitched with perle cotton and Fuzzy Stuff (fluffy thread with bits of sparkle in it).  Fuzzy Stuff is so much easier to use than Wisper.  It would look super in Santa's Magic as the opalescent fiber would give that little bit of extra sparkle - because Mirabilias are so dull and colorless ;-).  I probably wouldn't use it to replace animal fur, but depending on the context of the animal maybe...

I am making Enchantment of Winter a WIP and will pull out Santa and the Mouse for this afternoon's stitching and then Shakespearean Fantasy for tonight and To Have and To Hold for tomorrow and Sunday.  Back to work on Monday.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

An Introductory WIPocalpse

A new year with all its bright, exciting possibilities!! 

I didn't finish the landscape small piece that I showed in my last post, but it will make a wonderful first 2017 finish.  I have hit a bit of a wall on my to-do list crossing off.  The bobbin winding is taking longer than anticipated isn't that always the way?.  I knew I kitted up a lot of HaEDs last year, but it didn't really hit me until I sat down to organize the floss sooooo glad I found the Stitch from Stash Facebook group - I don't normally have a problem with not buying, but after letting myself stray, the support will be nice as I get back on the "wagon".  I am set for the next century decade few years.  I have four more patterns worth of floss to bobbinate.  There's a Hobbit marathon on this afternoon which should be enough time.  If not, I will finish it up tomorrow.  I am determined to finish this before moving along on the list.  Because of this decision, I probably won't start Enchantment of Winter today, but I am on vacation this week, so it will get a few stitches at some point before I start my regular rotation back up.

So, besides my "resolution" to post more regularly this year, what prompted this sudden flurry of posting?  It's the first day of 2017's  WIPocalypse Button and time to introduce ourselves and our plans.  I'm Susan and I live in northern central Virginia (as opposed to southern northern Virginia which ends a few miles up the road - the people that live here swear there's a difference).  I work in Washington DC, so the majority of my week is consumed by work - actually being there or going and coming.  I used to stitch on the train but it has become a popular way to get into the city and is now too crowded to comfortably wield needle and thread but I did read 187 books last year - the majority of them on the train, so my stitching time is limited to Thursday and Friday evenings (I work from home those two days) and Saturday and Sunday.  I work a compressed schedule at work (meaning I work 8 - 9 hour days and 1 - 8 hour day) so I also have every other Friday off.  I tend to stitch large projects, so it takes me ages to finish anything.  I do try to stitch a small piece each month.  It fills the need to start something new and it gives me the satisfaction of a finish.

My 2017 stitching plans can be summed up by one word:  marriage.  My nephew and niece are both getting married this year, so I am busily working on wedding samplers and a Christmas stocking for my niece to be (nephew to be got his this Christmas).  Although two of the pieces aren't started yet, I'm going to count them as WIPocalypse pieces because once I start them, they become WIPs right? :-)  Once I finish those pieces, I will get my rotation started up again.  You can read my whole stitching plan in the tab up top called "WIPocalypse Project List and 2017 Project List".  Other than the three "must finish" pieces, I am aiming for a page finish on each large HaED and a finish for Santa and the Mouse.  I will be very happy with progress on any of the others

If you haven't participated in WIPocalypse, click on either badge and it should take you to the guidelines page.   The SAL has been hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings since 2012.  She started it as a way to meet the end of the world with no WIPs!  Well, the world didn't end and I would have left it with WIPs anyway, but people enjoyed it so much that she has continued with it.  All you need to participate is a work in progress and a desire to finish it.  Take a picture of it the end of the month and blog about it.  Have a hard time coming up with things to say? Melissa provides us with blog prompts each month.  Today's was:   Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year. The first official check-in is January 29th and its question is:  What SAL’s are you participating in this year? this is a very dangerous read for me as I always find one to join and I really do not have the time, but I am weak, weak, weak.  

Friday, December 30, 2016

December Smalls and TUSAL and a bit of a recap

Right up front, I have the BEST brother-in-law in the world!!  He set up the most wonderful surprise for all of us by flying my son in from Vermont.  I hadn't seen him in about six years and was not expecting to see him until my nephew's wedding this summer - best Christmas present ever.

We are halfway through the twelve days of Christmas -  I hope you are enjoying yours.  Our weather is much more like the 12 Days of March, but I suppose that's not all bad.

I put together a to-do list for my two week vacation thinking I wouldn't get through even half of it - I have managed to cross seven things off the list already.  I suppose I will just have to stitch if I cross everything off the list before the end of my time off. :-)

I did a little stitching while I was at my sister's.  This is Winter Wonderland from The Silver Needle's Secret Needle Night.

These are great kits that contain everything you need to stitch the design, including needles.  If you buy the finishing kit, it too has everything you need, except glue, to finish the piece.  I hope to finish it before the end of the year.

Now that the gift is delivered, I can show you the piece I finished back in November.

This is She Feeds from The Scarlett House.  It's done on 40-count Vintage Cedar Plank by Lakeside Linens with their DMC conversion.

It's time for the final Smalls SAL for 2016.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts the Smalls SAL.  If you're interested in participating for 2017, click here to see all the "rules". Don't let that word scare you off, this is a very low stress SAL.  I had a 6-month break but managed nine small finishes this year.  You've seen my final three but I'll show it again to make it official for the check-in:

Days four, eight and twelve were finished in December.  The top photo is the complete finished piece.  I think I found a frame for it too.  Michael's had "Christmas" frames on sale for $5.99 USD.  I'm not sure what is Christmas about the frame I picked out, but for that price I'll call it Christmas.  I haven't done any measuring so not sure it will fit, but will find something to do with the frame if it doesn't.

It is also time for the final TUSAL .  Daffycat at It's Daffycat hosts the group.  It couldn't be simpler, just save all those little bits and pieces of thread or what-have-you in a container, take a picture and post.  Simple right?  Lots of people are very artsy with their photos - me?  I set my jar next to an irritated cat (this is Trouble) and hope she doesn't knock it over.

In case you're interested, Jo at Serendipitous Stitching has posted the sign-up page for Gifted Gorgeousness.  This group provides a place for us to thank the people that have given us something stitching related or to show things we are stitching for gifts.

My last post has the majority of my 2016 recap, but I thought I would wait until closer to the end of the year for my SAL recap.  I signed up for four SALs for 2016: Gifted Gorgeousness; WIPocalypse; TUSAL; and, Smalls.  For two of them I was perfect and pretty good respectively.  For two of them, not so good:

Gifted Gorgeousness - 12/12
WIPocalypse - 9/12
Smalls - 5/12
TUSAL - 5/12

I also hermitted with IHSW twice this year.

My vague stitching plans have solidified and are listed in the WIPocalypse Project List and 2017 Stitching Plan tab.  They aren't too different than the vague ones I posted in my last post.

My plans for the next couple of days is to bobbinate all the threads for my kitted Heaven and Earth Designs projects, straighten up the craft area and stitch a bit.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness, WIPocalypse and stuff

All the cookies and nibbles are baked, packaged and delivered. All the packages are wrapped.  All the decorating I'm going to do this year is done, so all that is left is to pack up the truck and drive to my sister's on Saturday.  Yes, I made the semi-last minute decision to spend Christmas with my parents, and my sister and her family this year.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.

In case you're suffering from Christmas let down already, don't worry, Valentine's Day is not far away if thisis any indication.  My son is a butcher/meat department manager and saw this box in the grocery warehouse the other day.

It's time to take stock of 2016 and start planning for 2017.  The WIPocalypse question will take care of the taking stock part and strangely enough for me, I haven't started planning my 2017 stitching.  Usually, I have everything planned out already, but not this year.  I have some vague thoughts, but haven't not made a definite plan yet. 

Before I get to WIPocalypse, let me post my Gifted Gorgeousness update.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  It is a way to thank those that have gifted us with stitching lovelies or to show items that we are going to gift.  I have two to show this month.

The first is 12 Days from Plum Street Samplings.

Yes, it is finally finished.  These were freebies from the designer, so I am counting them as gifts.  I put the final stitch into Fourth Day last night.  The fabric is Vintage Autumn Gold from Lakeside Linens and the threads are from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.

The second is To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler:

I also finished-finished the stocking I completed last month:

Jo is hosting Gifted Gorgeousness 2017, so pop on over to her blog for all the rules - well they're more like guidelines and there aren't many.

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings.  This is another low stress SAL, as all you have to do is stitch on work-in-progress and post about it on the full moon.  She also gives us blogging questions if you're in need of something to talk about.  WIPocalypse is going to continue into 2017 with one change - the check in will be the last Sunday of each month rather than the full moon.  You can find out everything you need to know here.

For this month, the blogging question is:  Recap your accomplishments for the year.

I had nine projects on my WIPocalypse tab.  I had two finishes, Christmas Presence and Secret Victorian Garden

and progress on three additional pieces:

Shakespearean Fantasy

It's About Time:

and Santa and the Mouse:

It's About Time and Santa and the Mouse were new starts this year, so there is no "before" photo.

I had some framing done over the last couple of months too.

This is Lizzie*Kate's Holly and Hearts Sampler. 

And this is Holly by Mirabilia:

I told the framer I wanted something holiday/icy feeling and she came up with this combination.  I love how the silver mat sets off the beads and sparkles in the fabric. 

It wasn't my best stitching year as far as finishes is concerned, but I am happy with what I did accomplish and there is still time to finish a small piece or two.

I started by saying that I had no stitching plan for next year, but I do plan to continue with these two SALs and Heather at Stitching Lotus has posted the information for the 2017 Smalls SAL, so that is three.  I just found a link to a Stitch from Stash Facebook group on Melissa's blog and may give that a run too.  If you're interested in quilting, Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville's Quips and Snips is currently running a mystery QAL entitled En Provence .  I have been downloading the directions and plan to give quilting a try again.   I also have plans to make one or two Christmas cards a month rather then do them all in a few days in November or December (I say that EVERY year, but maybe this will be the year I actually do!!).  And finally, I am planning a January 1 start, Dimple Designs' Enchantment of Winter.

So those are my "vague thoughts for a 2017 stitching plan".

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.