Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Belated Holiday Wishes - End of Year Finishes

A belated Merry Christmas to all! I never expected to be away from here so long. I just got so wrapped up in the holiday, and it's still not over for us. We have more family to celebrate with.

I hope you had a lovely holiday. We certainly did! Great food, lots of family and friends, and way too many gifts - who could ask for more? The kids said their favorite part was giving the gifts they purchased or made, and watching the recipients' faces when they were opened. I can honestly say that they put a tremendous amount of thought into their gifts, as they were absolutely perfect for each person. I am also surprised that they would say giving instead of getting - and that was probably the best gift they could have given me!

My brother loved "Late Knight Snacking". I framed it in a brushed silver frame with a double mat - green for the main and black beneath. I was pleased with the results. I forgot to take pictures before giving it to him, so I need to take the camera up next time. DH wants to make a frame for "Bluebird of Happiness", so it will be a bit before he gets framed (ohhhh - did I say that?!). I gave my aunt a towel I did a bit ago. She collects chickens. I sent the "Garden Needleroll" with my aunt to give to my Godmother. She's out of town for a bit, and I didn't want to send it to her, not knowing when she'd be back home.

Everyone was so generous this Christmas, so I won't bore you with the list of goodies, but there is one thing to really brag about. DD bought me 2 of the 3 leaflets I'm missing to complete my PV collection!!! How's that for a real sweetheart?!! Like I said, she really put effort into her gifts.
With only one left, I'll be ordering the last leaflet soon. After working on the collection all these years, what am I going to do now that it's completed? Wonder if there's another designer out there that will "call" to me like PV did... LOL

Pam Kellogg's "Cupid's Garden Mystery SAL" started on the 26th. I got the first installment, and it looks like it's going to turn out quite pretty. I'm about half way through the first part. Love doing the blackwork that is in this one!

I've been doing a bit of stitching late at night, and have a couple finishes to share. These will probably be the last finishes of this year. First is Lizzie Kate's "January Flip-It"

It was stitched on an unknown piece of 14 ct. aida that I had in my stash using all the recommended GAST.

Next is a lovely freebie from Passione Ricamo called "Winter Postcard" and is part of their free postcard series:

I stitched it on 14ct. Dove Grey aida and used all the recommended DMC threads but DMC 5272 (because I had it in my stash) for the Rainbow Gallery Petite Braid PB10. Although it came out OK, I would not use the DMC in place of the PB10 again.

Friday, December 17, 2004

A Small Finish and A Pending Model

Question of the Week:
Obligation Stitching: Yes? No? Maybe?

Always! I love doing round robins and exchanges, and I seem to always look for stitching to do as a gift for someone dear to me. I've done model stitching on and off for a good 10 years now, starting out with the LNS's, and branching out into some major designers. I have a model that is on it's way right now, and have been contacted by a designer to do a large piece. We are in negotiations about that one right now, as it will take quite a long time to do, and I'm not sure I'll be taking it yet. It will depend on the final details and the complexity of the design. I enjoy obligation stitching, but I've learned how to say no to prevent burn-out.

Have you looked at the wonderful free French designs that are available? I've found quite a few mysteries, and one that is called a puzzle mystery that looks really neat. The designer has you grid your fabric, and then gives a chart that is numbered like a map (ie: A1, B2, C3....) and then she posts 10 pieces of the "puzzle" that are numbered to tell what part of the grid it fits into. Really neat way to do a mystery!

While browsing the mysteries, I came across a nice design by Anne Les Petites Croix that I had to do. It's called "Carré Noël " and was a nice quick stitch.

There's a number of nice freebies on the site. Definately worth the look around!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I want to thank you all for your feedback on "Bluebird". I'll be pulling out the lettering and recentering it - but then again, I really love Ann's suggestion to add to it. I'm going to have to think on that a bit. You guys are such a great help and inspiration!

I have another small finish to claim for this year. I'm in the mood to do winter themed things, so The Trilogy's "Winter Spots" demanded that I stitch it.

I didn't have the Summer Khaki that the pattern called for, so I subbed with what I had in stash - 32ct. Parchment Jobelan. It's just a bit too light, but works. The primitives aren't normally my style, but I picked up some "cute" ones here and there, and for some reason, I'm really enjoying stitching them lately. I have LK's "Winter Sampler" and HIH's "Wee Winter" pulled to do soon. I'm now working on Passione Ricamo's freebie "Winter Postcard", and should have that done in a couple of days.

Today is UFO Tuesday, and you'll be happy to know I've dusted off my oldest UFO "North Woods Christmas" and am now going to be working on that every week. My goal is to put in 20 sts. every Tuesday. That is a very, very realistic goal, and normally when I put in that many, I continue on. It's one of those baiting methods for me. Twenty stitches is no sweat and I will do at least that many every week. But if I tell myself I'm going to put so many hours in, I avoid that project like the plague. (I'm a basket case, aren't I?!!) Here's a what it looks like now:

Look closely, as it won't be the same after today! LOL

As many of you know, I'm a collector of Paula Vaughan's leaflets. I'm so very, very close to having them all now. Today, the mailman brought me my lastest and probably most exciting find. I got "PV in Miniature" in a bunch of leaflets that were posted on ebay. I received a bunch of charts, hoops, kits, and the PV book for an enormous bid of $9.99!!!! That leaflet was one of those I had written off because it always went out of reach. Imagine my total delight when I found it in this lot of XS! The amazing part is, the booklet looks like it was never even opened. It is yellowed with age, but has that crisp feeling when you open up a new leaflet! That was the last OOP that I needed. I have only 3 more to purchase to make the collection complete. DH has those 3 on a list of things I gave him that I wanted for Christmas, so maybe....

Again, a huge thank you to all of you - your help was such an inspiration, and just what I needed!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Two Finishes Yesterday.... Need your feedback

Even with DH staying up and cutting into my stitching time, I still finished Bluebird with time to spare. Last night he was watching to see what I was stitching, but when I didn't appear to be doing something worthwhile, he went off to the other side of the living room to work on bills. He kept glancing though, and watching to see what I was working on. Yup - he knows. :-)

And here is my little bird with 'tude:

I would like some feedback on something if you have the time. I followed the instructions on where to center the words, and it said to center them in the center. That's what I did, and to me, they look "off" - too far to the left. So I move them more towards the middle of the stump? I know the center takes in account for the bird wing and the grass - but it just looks lopsided to me - because the bulk of the design is off center. Now, I know sometimes it's just me... But I'd love another opinion or two.

My second finish was a small one. Had to work on something while DH was watching me. Here's Dragon Dreams' Christmyth Pegasus. I'll finish it into an ornament to give for my brother's tree.

It's stitched on 28 ct. Bridal White Alma. I did a slight change to it. I used 1 strand of Rainbow Gallery's Whisper W88 on the stocking's cuff. It made it nice and fuzzy and looks more like my brother's stocking when we were little kids.

My thread order that I needed to do the designs I picked to work on in January came yesterday from Needlecraft Corner . While I was at it, I ordered a couple of extra so that I could work on the Trilogy's "Winter Spots" if I had some time. Since Bluebird was done quicker than I had expected, I started it last night. I didn't have any 32 ct. Summer Khaki Belfast in my stash, so I'm doing it on 32 ct. Parchment Jobelan. I toyed with the 1-over-1, but chickened out and did my normal over 2 stitching. The smallest I've done over one is 25 ct. and now is not the time to attempt anything smaller. I'm in need of a new eyeglass prescription, so maybe after that :-)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bluebird Update

DH didn't go to bed until late again last night. So, after he went to work this morning, I let the kids sleep in a bit and I stitched. I'm happy to post a progress pic:

DD really loves him! She says he looks just like her dad - "fluffy and with a 'tude". What a kid. LOL Now she say we should put "BUG OFF" for his caption, because that is the attitude her father has been coming home from work with these days. He's been under a lot of stress at the office, and the kids really pick up on it.

We are taking the kids to their last class of the semester tonight. They will be doing "Christmas Around the World - China". They will learn how China celebrates the holiday, and will experience food, crafts, lore, etc. Should be a fun time for all (it's a family night).

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Two Nights No Stitching on DH's Present

Here it is, only a few days left until Christmas, and I swear that man knows I'm stitching something for him. Last night, instead of going to bed early, he decided to stay up and watch "Judging Amy" with me and then work on bills. He NEVER watches "Judging Amy"!!! So after realizing he wasn't giving in, at 11:45 I went to bed, with him following just a couple of minutes later. Hmmmmmm...... Now tonight, it's almost 10, and he's finding things to do again. I've been trying to get a few stitches in during the day time, but with housework, cooking, and homeschooling, there's really not much time. As for progress, I have most of the bird's head done. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have enough of it done to post a progress pic.

Well, I bit the bullet and went back to owning an online group. I used to have one a few years ago that traded leaflets and other unwanted stitching items, for wanted ones. The group was a huge success. We got so large and had so much fun, until the group slowly started to change. Looking back on it, I know where the problem was, but at the time, I had no clue. I had to leave for a while because of family matters, so I gave the group to a moderator, and when I came back, the group was not the one I left. So, after a while, I just decided it was time to move on, and had the group over to the moderator. I had it for a couple of years, and then it went through quite a few people, and then was deleted. I've joined and left a number of pattern trading groups, because of the attitude that came with them. People really didn't want to swap things - they wanted you to "buy" their used stuff with either a gift certificate or send them new stuff from a LNS. Quite defeats the purpose of a trading group, doesn't it?

Well, DH said, if you don't like it, then do something about it. ok - so I did. I started my old group again, under it's old name. With just starting it a couple of hours ago, there's already 4 members. Old members of the old group. All with the same problem with the other groups I had. We used to swap our gently used charts, or unwanted fabrics, etc. for someone elses - you know recycle. And boy did we have a good time. They are already chatting about doing the old secret sisters, exchanges, round robins, contests.... Like putting an old glove back on, it feels good!!! I think the thing I missed most, that I didn't find in the other groups, was the sisterhood we shared. When we traded, we usually tucked in more than the trade. One never knew what surprises they would find. And Secret sisters was so much fun - the $ amount was set, but everyone always went over it. One had a fire at her house, and the others gathered stash and sent it to her, one gave her a place to stay for a while. Things that I don't see anywhere else. And I don't know if I'll see it again, but I'm hoping with starting with a few of the old group, that we will succeed to be as good or better than before...

Now, off to go brood, while DH finds other things to watch on tv - UGH!!!!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bluebird of Happiness Progress

Bluebird is starting to take shape and look a bit like a bird now.

I got the pattern out of Jeanette Crews "Omnibook of Winged Things". The chart is pretty small though, and I'm having a time following it. I should copy and enlarge it, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. With the bird about half way finished, it almost seems silly to do that now.

Misty's bread cloth went out in today's mail. I hope she likes it. It was a fun pattern, but I got hung up with my stitches not being very even because of holding the cloth in my hand, instead of using a frame. I'm a bit AR when it comes to stitching (just stitching? LOL)

I stopped by the TIAG website yesterday, and there's still no freebie for this year posted. I love Marilyn's freebies - they're so pretty. I hope she hasn't decided to discontinue them.

DH and DS are out hunting again today. So far this season, they have only seen deer during the "non-hunting" times of the day. But they still keep trying - Monday, Friday, Saturday, and today they have sat diligently outside in the freezing cold. Not my idea of fun, by no means. Today we are getting our first measurable snow - so I bet the guys will be happy to come home to a nice warm house and a hot bowl of soup or chili.

DH brought a 4-drawer filing cabinet home from his Great-Aunt's estate, and was so thrilled about the find. He had all these plans of putting hanging files in them and all he needed to do was buy the hangers to convert the cabinet. Last night, after we got the cabinet put into it's place, and filled the drawers with regular files, I pulled out some of my hanging files from my small cabinet, and oops - the drawers are too narrow for the hanging files. DH was not happy, and said he was going to toss this cabinet and get a cabinet that uses the hanging files. NOT! This cabinet has now been adopted by me, when the new one comes in. I will now be able to store my patterns in a nice and orderly fashion inside this cabinet. Oh, wouldn't that be nice!!! He doesn't care - he wanted to toss it, so as soon as he breaks down and gets the new cabinet, I'll finally have a nice place for my patterns. Right now they are stored in computer paper boxes, and although it works, it doesn't keep my charts as nicely as I would like them to be kept.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Breadcloth finish

First - thank you all for your comments about the dragon. I am just going to have to stitch another for myself, someday. I love Jennifer's dragons - they are just so adorable! I want to add a few more to my collection, and "Dragon Garden" is probably going to be the next one.

I'm saddened to see that others have had bad deals as well. Such a shame, because the exchanges and swaps can be so much fun! I'm still involved in them (they are addictive) no matter how many times I say that it's not worth it and this is the last one. LOL.

Yipee!!! The breadcloth is done - and it is as adorable as I hoped it would be. (IMHO)

Now all it needs is to be packed up and mailed on Monday. I hope Misty likes it.

I'm in the process of making "Bluebird of Happiness" from Jeanette Crews Designs for DH. It's been really difficult finding the time to work on it, as most of my stitching time is at night, so the process has been slower going than I would like. After finishing up my the breadcloth, I pulled out a Pam Kellogg kit "Winterlude" and started on that until he went to bed, then pulled out Bluebird. Here's my progress as of this morning:

He's being stitched on 28 ct. Bridal White Alma using the recommended DMC threads. I'm now up to putting color on the bird's breast.

Yesterday, DD and I went Christmas shopping. Sure did make that old credit card smoke, but we had loads of fun doing it! This is the first year since we got married (14 years ago) that I went shopping and bought what I wanted without tag shopping. I bought things I know the recipient would like. It sure put the fun back into shopping again. And for the amount of people that we purchased for, we really didn't spend a whole lot on each.

I then went to the LNS that is near the stores I went to. I never get up in that area except during the holidays, and had to make a point of stopping in to finger the threads and fabrics. Oh, what a treat!! I took a list of Mill Hill beads that I still needed for Mirabilia's "Blossom Harvest" with me. I love that design, but when I purchased the pattern, I didn't realize just how many beads were on it. There's over $40 worth, so I've been getting a pack at a time. I was talking to one of the internet shop owners, and she told me that Mill Hill was purchased by Wichelt, and the orders that normally take days to come in, are now weeks behind. When I tried getting the beads that I wanted for Blossom Harvest, she said they didn't have them, but could order them for me, but at this time, there were no guarrentees when they would be in. So at the LNS, I got all but 2 packs of beads for BH, and that was only because they were out of those. With Mill Hill being sold, I want to make sure I have those beads to do this design. I know how things change and get discontinued when companies change hands.

While I was at the LNS, they had a clearance table. I wasn't going to look - honest, but.... And boy am I glad I did!! I let all my XS magazine subscriptions go a couple years back due to cash flow (or should I say lack of) and there on the table were back issues of Stitcher's World, Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly, Just Cross Stitch, and Stoney Creek Cross Stitch all at 50 cents each!! I came home with 23 magazines for less than the cost of a year of the cheapest xs mag on the market!! All the magazines were new and in perfect condition. DH laughed when he saw them all remarking that I really blew my pattern diet. Yah - well, I'm going back on again - for another year. I've got a feeling of being overwhelmed with new projects I want to do. I will be kept busy for quite a while :-)

And speaking of more stash... I got my shipment from Needlecraft Corner today. My first Jeanette Douglas Design came! I can't wait to start that one. I hope it looks as good as it did with the original threads, though. I'm questioning the suggested substitutions. I'll have to look at things closer, though. In my package was also the threads I needed to do the Just Nan "Seasonal Gems I & II".

Last but not least, I finally got my progress update of TW's "Under the Evergreen". I'm in the SAL, on the TWBB, and our day was Nov. 27th to work on it. I didn't get much done, but a few stitches in. Now I'm a few stitches closer to being done.

Hmmmmm - maybe I should take that attitude with my oldest ufo. I used to have a UFO day, so maybe I should go back to that again. I would put in at least 20 stitches every week. The 20 would turn into 50, or 100... and my ufo's would get finished in no time. Sounds like a plan :-)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Dragon Dreams Finish

"Late Knight Snacking" is finished and he's going to be hard to part with! It's so darn cute!

The scan doesn't show the silver metallic on the knight's armor. It's too bad, because he really sparkles!

The breadcloth for the exchange is almost finished. I ended up having to rip out a deer, because I turned the cloth to stitch it and my top thread ran the wrong way. The deer is about half filled in, and then I just need to do tails and antlers plus the backstitching, and the cloth is done.

As most of you know, I have been on a pattern diet for a year. Last year, DH bet me that I couldn't go a year without a new pattern - and that was any kind of pattern - XS, crochet, knitting... He said I could keep my automatic for Paula Vaughan and the JCS Ornie issue, and he would continue getting me the "Heel & Toes Gazette" but that would be all I could have. Oh, and he said if I came across any of the OOP PV's that I was missing, I was allowed to get them. There was one more exception, and that was I could get a pattern if it was to be stitched for a gift, and that needed to be done as soon as it came in. That would prevent me from putting more things in my pattern stash. So, the rules weren't bad and kept me mostly working from my stash.

Well, out of the blue, DH asked me what I wanted for my reward for sticking to my pattern diet. He let me loose and I had a ball shopping online. I purchased my first Jeanette Douglas design, "A Home in the Woods" with all the sub threads. Sadly the original threads used in the design are no longer available. I bought a couple of DMC Perle and a couple of Caron threads that I needed to stitch some of the Just Nan's I have in stash, and a JN snowflake charm. I also joined in Pam Kellogg's new mystery SAL that starts on the 26th of this month. I've been wanting to do one of her mysteries, and this one sounds like fun. I pulled the threads, and the colors are so soft and pretty. I have aida in a size that will work, but I would much prefer evenweave. I will probably just make do with the aida.

I have to take the kids to class this morning, so I will sit outside in the car for 2 hours, instead of driving back home. I have a book to read, and my needles and wool to start a new pair of socks. I'm going to use worsted weight wool for this pair, because the guys like heavy socks for outdoor use. I like doing socks in it, because it goes so quickly. My favorite is the beautiful patterned sock wool that I get from Germany. There is nothing that compares to the gorgous colorways and patterns that are produced, but it's so very expensive. I love Opal yarn, but it runs between $15 - $17 for a ball of yarn that makes one pair of socks. Because of the price, I haven't purchased it in a couple of years. PT Yarns used to have a Sock of the Month Club that used Opal - oh they were gorgeous socks! I was a member for a bit, but the club was cancelled when they went to a being a supplier for stores and stopped selling retail. Is the price as expensive in Germany or is it all the importation tarrifs that has driven up the price?

Warning - a bit of a rant...... I'm a bit frustrated with an arranged trade. It will be 2 months ago on the 7th that I entered a trade. I made arrangements to send a piece of fabric out for a kit that had some floss used from it. I sent my fabric right out, and never heard if it was received or not. I emailed and finally after posting on the board that I emailed, I got a response. Yes she got the fabric, she likes it, but hasn't had time to send out the kit - will do it in a coule of days. Never a word about the extras I sent or anything. I still haven't received anything. So a couple of days ago, I emailed and asked if it was sent yet. No response as of yet. It seems like when I get involved in the larger trades, those people get what I send, but don't send back. I had done a trade where I sent a TW Millennium kit for a couple of small JN kits. I never got the JN's. Another that I did was I sent a sweater kit in trade for some Lorna's Laces yarn to make DD a pair of socks she really wanted. The yarn never came either. In all cases, I know the people received what I sent, as they replied to my emails. In all cases, what I sent was more valuable than the trade - but it was something I really wanted to make someone else, so the trades were worth it. In all cases, all said they would post, but they were busy, and then stopped responding to my emails. If I ever did something like that, I could never bring myself to using the item - I'd feel so guilty that I'd just have to send them the item back or my original trade, plus something else for them waiting so long.