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.

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


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.