Friday, April 15, 2022

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2022

 I'm a little too old to be scrambling around looking under bushes and up trees for eggs and candy, but I can take part in Serendipitous Stitching's Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop.  It's hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Jo's done all the hard work, you just have to hop around to participating blogs and collect all the letters to this year's mystery phrase. Once you've visited all the blogs, collected all the letters and decoded the phrase, hop over to Jo's blog and pop the answer in her Hop post comment box. 

Here's my little bit of spring/Easter decorating to peruse: 

The framed typography is a gift from my sister.  She printed one for each month and gave them to me with the frame - great gift idea - yes?  The little bunny is from my mom and the slightly damp frog is from The Silver Needle's Secret Needle Night from several years ago.  All Secret Needle Night projects are done on large count material so they stitch up fast and use fun threads.  I purchased the optional finishing kits and they came with everything you needed to finish your piece just like the model (no glue, but the bows are already tied, you just have to fuss with them a bit).  Not affiliated in any way, just enjoyed stitching them.

I'd love to show you some more recent stitching, but in truth, there hasn't been much of any done since the Valentine's blog hop.  Maybe someday soon. But you didn't come here to see stitching anyway, did you?  You're here for the letter! Mine is:

Your next stop is Enjoy your visit there and the rest of your hop!!

Monday, February 14, 2022

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop

 *click* and *creak* can be heard as a door is pushed open... Me, looking around, "it's a bit dusty and musty in here, but nothing that a little activity won't cure" and begins dusting things off and airing out, so I'm presentable for:

The Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Hop on over to her blog to see the list of everyone that is participating and click around to see all the wonderful Valentine's Day themed stitching or just something that a stitcher would love.

My Valentine is this gorgeous crazy quilt heart:

I have always admired this style of needlework for its beauty, but oh my! the work that goes into the planning (see that fussy cut bit in the middle?), and all the embellishments - LOVE the spider and web and the pearls and the heart button and, and, and...  So very beautiful.

I'm off to check out all the other participant's blogs.  I hope to be back before the next blog hop... 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Day 5 of the 2021 Online Advent Calendar

 Welcome to day 5 of the 2021 Online Advent Calendar and the second Sunday of Advent.  If you were just cruising around looking for dusty, neglected blogs, the Online Advent Calendar is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  For previous days' postings and more information you can go here.

I am very much a holiday/Christmas stitcher.  I, before being possessed by a knitting demon, always had a holiday piece on the frame.  I still have one on the frame, it's just not getting too much love right now (that's not strictly true, as it's a Christmas stocking, I'm now frantically stitching on it ;-)).  Here are the last two Christmas pieces I finished:

The one on the left is Vintage Baubles by Shannon Christine Designs.  The one on the right is Candy Nutcracker by Barbara Baatz for Kooler Design Studio.  These were made for my great-niece Cassimera and my great-nephew Grady.  I have one Christmas stocking on the frame for Cassie's new brother, Beckett and one for Grady's baby sister, Ellidae is in the wings.  

Jo always provides us with a question or theme for discussion and this year's is to tell you about my tree.

While I love real trees, I have had various artifical ones for probably 30 years or so.  I don't honestly remember why we switched over to an artificial one, but clean-up is easy and I'm not finding needles in April.  Despite having an aritifical tree, I am not one that puts their tree up right after Thanksgiving (American).  The tree goes up, typically, a couple of weeks before Christmas and stays up until Epiphany. And that statement may be why we have an artificial tree.  As people pushed back the start of Christmas to Thanksgiving, the supply of real trees was greatly diminished by the time we went to get one.  Rather then buy a real one that was not going to be at its best by the time we put it up and completely dried out by the time we took it down, we decided an artifical one would be best.

I'll start from the top down - we have an angel.  It was The Hubs'.  It's seen better days, but the season is also about memories and she has plenty.  Our tree is now pre-lit but I am a Christmas light lover, so it was always the more the better.  I don't have a color, or any, theme for the tree.  I have glass and stitched and handmade and glitzy, tacky and whatever catches my eye at the time ornaments on it.  I add a couple new ones each year.  Ever since the dog walked past the tree and came away covered with it (gotta love static and fluffy dogs) we have not added tinsel.  I'm not sure if tinsel is the same world-round, but for me, it's thin strips of shiny metal foil, usually silver and it looks like icicles on the tree.  I do use a shiny beaded garland.  And last, but definitely not least, I use the same tree skirt every year.  My sister made it for me and I treasure it.

As for stories of the trees over the years, I could tell you about the foster kitten that scaled it, or the cat that picked all the ornaments off, or the dog that used the water reservoir as his drinking bowl but every year there is a story added to the tree.  This year, even though I'm in Virginia and they're in Michigan and will probably never see my tree, we're adding Ellidae and Beckett to the tree's story.

Happy Christmas and Season's Greetings if you celebrate a holiday this time of year.  I hope you have a wonderful day if you don't celebrate.  I wish all of you peace in the coming year.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Let's try this again

 Ahhhh, another Friday off.  The extra hour during my work day does sometimes seem unending (I work 8 9-hour days, one 8-hour day and have every other Friday off) but having a 3-day weekend every other week is so nice.  Today, in my craft rotation, is a sewing day so once I get this all written and posted, I'll be sewing/making something with fabric (probably storage or project bags - either knitting or stitching).

I've missed a lot of check-ins but am only late for  this month.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  This is a wonderful SAL that gives us a chance to thank people that have gifted us stitchy goodness, to show things we're making for someone else or whatever else we can make fit.  It's a wonderful no pressure SAL that only requires you to post and link-up on the 15th of each month (or there abouts, Jo leaves the check-in open through the end of the month).  This has been an easy SAL for me the last few years as just about everything I've stitched has been for someone else.  The last month, I finished Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush:

and started Baby Bug Ball also by Shepherd's Bush:

These are both gifts for the new littles.  I need to finish the satin stitch border and add an alphabet and lots of do-dads on this.  There are also some beads and small buttons.  I'm optimistic that I'll have a finish this weekend.  I think I'll use the alphabet - it's very quirky, but fun -  and put the baby's name and birthdate under the satin stitch border and make this into a pillow.  My other thought was to finish it as a drum and put the baby's name on the "back" - his name on one side of the seam and birthdate on the other, with some sort of decorative stitch over the seam.  

I've mentioned my new rotation the last couple of posts.  In order to give myself time to get a few of the other WIPs I have finished and to just take some of the pressure off myself (in the past I've scrambled the last minute to get things done or finish things up and it's just not fun), I came up with a crafting rotation.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday are stitching days, Tuesday is papercrafting, Wednesday is knitting, Thursday is crochet and Friday is sewing.  These are general and I don't get too upset if I feel like doing something on the "wrong" day - as long as I'm seeing progress on things.

Monday, I cut and stamped and now have a stack of cards to put together.  Tuesday, I finished Elli's hat:

This is the Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure in Licorice by SplashofColorYarnsUS on Etsy.  I had enough yarn left that I decided to give baby socks a try.

This is the first pair of socks I've made using double pointed needles (and yes it is a bit like how wrestling a hedgehog would be).  It's getting a bit easier as there's more fabric, but these are VERY fiddly. I think I started them three times. I'm using the Cozy Little Toes pattern by Judy Kaethler - it's a free download on Ravelry and making the 3 months size.

Last night I crocheted:

This is the baby blanket for the new great-nephew.  The pattern is Tiny Basketweave Baby Blanket in Bernat Baby Blanket Tiny "Pebble Path".  The pattern was free on the Bernat website (I think).  This is that wonderfully soft, chenille-style yarn but in a worsted weight.  It's a really simple pattern and once past the first couple rows is only front- and back-post double crochet.  I like this so much that I'm going to rip out what I have on The Hubs' blanket and restart it in this pattern.  So easy but very dramatic.

As I mentioned, sewing today. 

And before I forget again

This was our sunflower patch a few weeks ago.  These are all volunteers and grew from seeds the birds scattered from the feeders. The flowers are all gone now and the seed heads have been stripped by the gold finches but it was very pretty while it lasted.  The house is actually grey - it's been so humid this summer that we're having an awful algae/mildew problem on the siding - definitely need to wash it this fall.

I'm off to sew.  Hope you're all well and safe.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

My solution wasn't great...

 In my last post, I said I wasn't sure if I would be posting my next scheduled day.  I didn't and my solution was to just not post at all for two!! months.  We are well into summer and zooming to autumn.  We have trees starting to drop their leaves, but I think it's more stress from lack of water (although today should help a lot, it's been raining since early this morning) rather than seasonal change, but one can hope (I am not a lover of summer).  

So, grab a cuppa and hang on, this one's going to be long...

I mentioned I was planning to go to Michigan the end of June for Cassie's birthday.  I made it!!  I had a wonderful time and it was so good to see everyone again.  Here's the "card" I made for her and a picture of a one year old eating cake:

To save space, I made up collages, some things were cropped a bit but think you can see everything.

When I got home, I did a lot of sewing and knitting.

I saw a YouTube video on these bags and decided to give it a try.  I love them! The size is perfect for large gifts (I used the animal one for a baby shower (more on that later) gift), and storage (the other two have sweater quantities of yarn).  I have fabric ready for a few more that I will use for general yarn storage. The nice thing about this bag is that it takes minimal supplies - 2 fat-quarters for the outside, some interfacing, a zipper and lining fabric.

I enjoyed sewing so much that I did some rearranging in the guest room and brought my sewing desk up from the basement, so my machine is now out  all the time and my sewing things are all in one place again.  When I decide to work on papercrafts, I just move my sewing machine to the floor and have the desk for my work surface - it's so much better than the dining room table.

The majority of my knitting was on the blanket for my niece's baby (my other niece texted that she was going to host a baby sprinkle the same weekend as the family reunion so I needed to get it finished).

Here's the finished piece and a close up of the bubbles:

I needed a card and made this:

So July 23rd, I bundled the blanket into the animal bag and took the card and headed back to Michigan for the family (my dad's side) reunion, a baby sprinkle and to see everyone again.  I had a wonderful time and it was so good to see the extended family again.

The baby sprinkle was not a minute too soon as on July 31st, Miss Ellidae (Elli) Louise was born.  

She was 10 days early, but she seems pretty happy to be here:

She's named after a maternal great-great-grandmother (her nonno's grandmother) and shares her oma's middle name (which is my dad's mother's name).  Everyone is doing well and settling into being a family of four.

I am hoping to get to Michigan over Labor Day weekend to meet her.

With the arrival of Elli, my focus changed to her birth piece.  Here is the finished Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush

and a close-up of the hearts:

There is hardanger (lower left), pulled thread (upper right), and cut work (upper left) in the piece.  It is stitched from the kit on white Belfast using Au ver a Soie and white #12 perle cotton.  I'm going to finish as a wallhanging, but need to get a few more specifics from my niece before starting.  

So after getting things finished up for Elli (well, except for the hat I'm knitting for her for Christmas), I started on things for the next baby (my nephew and his wife are expecting a boy the end of October).  I started a blanket (crochet this time, I'm not sure I'll knit a blanket with a time limit again), but there's not enough for the pattern to appear, so will show it next time.  I also started:

This is Baby Bug Ball by Shepherd's Bush.  It's stitched on Light Sand Belfast with the silks and beads from the kit.  I'm waiting for the fabric so I can get started on his Christmas stocking.

In the few minutes between sewing or working on baby things, I've been knitting.

This is the Neutra shawl by SweaterFreak.  I started the make-along, but I'm rubbish at them so didn't keep up, so am just doing a bit when I can - this is all of part 1 and a bit of 2 (the slanted ribbing).  This is not as dark as it's showing up here.  It's also hard to tell, but the blues are a gradient set, I think they will show up better in later parts.  While I do have to pay attention to what I'm doing, this one is only knits and purls.  I'm very tempted to do another one with a light gray main color and a burgandy gradient.

With all the different knitting projects I have started and planned, I have a small but growing needle collection.  To keep them all separated, I made this:

This is the Flip Pocket Portfolio by comfortstitching.  When you open it, there are six zippered pockets:

I had some difficulty with the binding as the directions were very different from what I'm used to.  I'd never stitched with vinyl before, so I'm sure that didn't help the process any.  This wasn't a complicated sew but it did take good chunk of an afternoon and evening.

We were notified that we won't be called back to the office until at least October 1st, most of us are thinking it will be closer to the end of the year, and that my boss is pushing for either remote or maximum telework for her staff, so I finally felt comfortable enough to start a craft rotation.  While I'll be crocheting and stitching to finish up baby things, I'm making time for other crafts.  I don't know how long I'll keep it up but it's nice to be able to get some other things started and finished.  That announcement also helped me realize that I don't have to save up all my housework for the weekend, so I've finally started spreading it out during the week so that my weekends are usually fairly chore free and truely relaxing.

Hope everyone is well.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Summer has started

 We haven't officially started summer, but the last few days have certainly felt like it.  It's been hot and humid and just not nice to be outside.  It's also been raining - enough that most of central Virginia seems to be under flood or flash flood warnings.  So glad I don't have to go anywhere this weekend.

No new species of birds at the feeders but there are new birds.

The one on the right is baby woodpecker (these are downy woodpeckers).  I haven't been able to get a picture of the baby cardinals (there's one sitting in the bushes looking in the window keeping the cats attention) or house finches.  Honestly there could be lots of babies out there but if they come in alone it's hard to tell.  If they come in with a parent, they sit in the bushes or on the feeder and flap their wings and beg for food.  We've also had a doe with twin fawns come through the yard.  I don't like living so far away from things, but all the wildlife (I've seen a red fox, a grey fox and a coyote the last couple of weeks) is fun to watch.

Along with the heat and humidity and young animals a sure sign of summer is my stitching slump.  I am having a hard time getting myself going with my stitching (but not knitting, all I want to do it seems is knit - which doesn't seem right with all the heat).

Despite the slump, I have been stitching almost every night the last couple of weeks - I try to put a length of any color in each evening.  All I've worked on is Winter Hearts.  It went from here:

to here

Lots of little filler bits in those gaps over the flowers to put in but it's getting there. The picture is really distorted - I had to unroll the fabric from the scroll rods so it's sagging there in the middle.  Hopefully, the next time you see this, the border will be done and I'll have started on the hearts.  Speaking of next time, I may (leaning more towards will) be gone my next scheduled posting day.  I am hoping to be in Michigan that day. Hard to believe, but Cassie will have completed her first trip around the sun the end of the month and there's going to be a party.  Looking forward to the party, but more looking forward to seeing everyone.

Other crafting, mostly knitting but a little crochet has happened but not enough of either to really speak of (and besides, I forgot to take pictures).

This is the shortest post I've done in a while but one-at-a-time and slumps don't make for newsy posts.  

Hope everyone is well.


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Even less this week

 Once again, not my usual posting day.  I went to the optometrist and ran errands Friday morning (and a good chunk of the afternoon - I forgot how long it takes to do the grocery shopping when you actually go into the store) and then cut out things and sewed the rest of the day and well into the night.  I made two sock project bags   and two  shawl/sweater sized bags.  If I make the larger bags again I will need to get a stiffer interfacing (maybe the fusible fleece) as they are a little droopy.  I also forgot to write down the final dimensions (I was making it up as I was cutting and sewing) so another thing on my "don't forget to do list."  

Saturday I got started on the housework that didn't get done on Friday and did some more sewing.  I finished DSon's pillow .  The photo does not capture how vibrant the stitching fabric is.  Rather than the comic strip style/color backing fabric I used this:  .  This fabric and the blue scales in the shawl bag came from Spoonflower.  I could easily go crazy on their website, but I have enough fabric in my "quilting" stash to make many, many more bags.

Today is the May   check-in.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings.  No sign-up, just post about your WIPs and link up (either on her blog or the Facebook group) on the last Sunday of the month. Since I changed my stitching plan, I have stitched nothing from my original WIPocalyse list. I hadn't even factored in there would be baby stitching this year when I made my list.  Fortunately the rules allow for new starts and additions and subtractions from your original list, so I added  Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush:

This is done with all the kit materials - white Belfast linen, Au ver a Soie and white 12 perle cotton. I did stitch a bit more after this picture was taken and have finished to the center of the border.  It is taking a lot longer than expected (story of my stitching life) as while the leaves are all one color, they aren't large so lots of starting and stopping (that and I've been watching FlossTube while stitching and everytime someone shows a project or chart, I have to go look for it - fortunately I haven't been buying just looking).  The flowers and leaves will be connected by a vine.  As I am all caught up on everything, I plan to spend the rest of today and a good chunk of tomorrow (Memorial Day) working on this.  In addition to posting our progress, Melissa gives us questions each month.  This month's is:  What was the first project you ever stitched? (whether you finished or not).   My first cross stitch project was a Santa face.  It was a kit and came with everything - hoop, fabric, thread and needle.  The hoop became the frame for the finished piece.  I remember finishing it, but I'm not sure what happened to it.  I seldom get rid of Christmas decorations, so I imagine it's in a box somewhere in the basement.  

I think that's about it.  I have done some knitting on the baby blanket but as that's just rows of baubles that look like all the other rows of baubles, there's not too much to show.

Hope you are all well.