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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The last Gifted Gorgeousness check in for 2017

Even though I have been talking about holiday preparations and 2018 stitching plans, it is hard to believe that there are only a couple more weeks left in 2017.  I am really not sure how the end of the year sneaks up on my like this every year.

As I am typing I am looking out the window and watching a pair of tufted titmice at the feeders.  They are very happy that I put out some shelled peanuts and chopped apples I found one at the back of the crisper drawer that wasn't so crisp earlier.  I think they're eating the apples and hoarding the peanuts.  If you're not in the eastern part of North America, here's what they look like:

Tufted Titmouse wallpaper #3617  Not a colorful bird but so very cute.  I did not take this picture, but this one is a bit chilly as they aren't normally that fluffed up.  I can also hear a cardinal calling but haven't seen it at the feeder yet.

So today is the check-in for the last Gifted Gorgeousness for this year.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way for us to say "thank you" to those that have gifted us with stitching things, show things we're giving as gifts or anything else we can shoehorn into the subject.  It is a stressless SAL as you post as you can and Jo gives us plenty of leeway in our shoehorning.

Since last month's post I have been a stitching fiend for me anyway!  I had one finish that was a gift - A Glimpse of Santa -

and two finishes and a start, Kari's Snowflake, Snowgirls and Holly Bows (photos below in that order) that I am shoehorning.  Because I finished my obligation stitching this year, the stitching time freed up is a huge gift to myself so I'm counting these pieces

as part of the SAL.

 This weekend is also an  weekend, so grab a project and stitch.  Another no stress SAL that only requires that you stitch and post.  I haven't been too good about it this year, but I plan to give it a go again in 2018. 

I have pretty well pulled my 2018 stitching plans together and have a list of SALs that I am interested in for next year, but will probably take until midnight on January 1 to have it finalized.  My plan for the weekend is to finish Holly Bows and then start Goldie and/or Japanese Zen Garden.  See you Monday with an IHSW update.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A tired camel

After the last few years, I didn't think I'd every say it, but the Screaming Camel of Happiness is tired.  Yes, I have another finish!  Those that may be new to my blog, please do not think this is normal!  I typically go months and months without progress never mind an actual finish.  I will be back to that pattern soon enough but am enjoying this while I can.

Here is my completed Just Nan's Kari's Snowflake:

It's stitched on 28-count opalescent Desert Sky evenweave from Silkweavers with DMC, Kreinik and the embellishments that were included with the pattern.  I like the design, but oh my aching head, I had more frog visits on this piece than any in recent memory.  The design is less than 3" square so it's not like I had to count to much more than 5...  Anyway it's done and will soon be moving in with the other several dozen unfinished finished pieces.  Someday I need to sit down and figure out what to do with all of them.

After finishing the snowflake, I pulled out Just Nan's Holly Bows and got it to here:

This is stitched on 32-count Stone Grey Belfast.  I love how the colors pop on this fabric.  If you look closely you'll see something very unusual in this picture.  Yes, it's in a hoop.  I seldom use a hoop for smaller pieces but my hands were protesting after I finished the snowflake so I pulled the hoop out and clamped it in my lapstand.  My hands are happier and it is so much nicer to use both hands for stitching.  Fortunately the design fits within the opening so I don't have to move the hoop or really worry about marks.

Before I started stitching this weekend, I pulled fabric and threads for the two projects that will be my focus pieces next year Goldie a special order stocking charted by Heaven and Earth Designs and Japanese Zen Garden from Chatelaine.

I was heart sore to hear the news of Martina Rosenberg's passing this last week so when DSon picked a Chatelaine for me to stitch for him I was thrilled. What better way to remember a wonderful designer.  Unlike Goldie, Japanese Zen Garden was not a planned start, but sorting through my stash, I have most of the fiber (I'm using Martina's DMC conversion) and a large enough piece of fabric (32-count Summer Sky Jobelan) that I should be able to start in the next couple of weeks. 

I will be starting both Goldie and Zen this year as I want them on my WIPocalypse list for next year, so Holly Bows will be my last finish for this year and probably a while

Because the two new pieces are large and detailed (each in their own way) they will be the only two pieces in my rotation next year.  I may have to take some time out to stitch another wedding piece and am reserving Sunday mornings for small stitching just so I can have some finishes next year but you will be seeing mostly Goldie and Zen next year. 

So remember a couple of weeks ago I showed you this? 

Well the same yard looked like this
on Saturday.  Yes, winter has arrived in central Virginia.  It's all gone today but it was very pretty outside this weekend made all the prettier by the fact that I didn't have to go out in it.  No snow forecast for the rest of this week, but it is supposed to be very cold on Wednesday almost cold enough to pull out my New Hampshire winter coat and then warm by the weekend again.  I don't think I'll see the dandelion again until spring but with the weird weather we've been having I'm not sure I'd count it out.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017 Online Advent Calendar

Welcome to day 6 of the 2017 Online Advent Calendar hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Before I talk about Christmas, I want to wish these two ladies very Happy Birthdays!  Yes, my sister and my new niece share a birthdayIt was very nice of my nephew to find someone that shares a birthday with his mother - two very special St. Nicholas Day gifts.

 And speaking of St. Nicholas here's an Americanized version of him:
Christmas Presence charted by Heaven and Earth Designs
Jo asked us to share how we celebrate Boxing Day in our family.  Here in the US, Boxing Day tends to fall into category two of Jo's 21st Century Boxing Day traditions which is "going mad in the Boxing Day sales or being forced to work to serve those mad people".  What I do on Boxing Day depends on where I am.  If I'm visiting my family, we tend to hit the after Christmas sales and then just relax and enjoy being together  That is changing a bit as my niece and nephew have both married and have homes of their own, but they do visit often.  If it is just The Hubs and me here in Virginia, there's a better than even chance that I'm working unless Boxing Day falls on a weekend.  No, I'm not one of those forced to serve the mad shoppers, but Christmas Day is the official holiday, so the office is back open bright and early on the 26th (Sounds like something Scrooge said to Bob Cratchit). Fortunately, we have had enough people that don't mind working the week of Christmas that most of us have been able to take time off.  I will be taking the week after Christmas off, so I will be doing a stitcher's Boxing Day which consists of stitching while working out a plan of attack on my stash and/or WIPs for the coming year.  That doesn't mean that I won't go out to torture the poor folks that have to work retail at some point that day.