Monday, December 19, 2011

My IHSW Report

My hermit plan was to stitch on my 2011 Santa and finish that last Christmas gift.  One out of two ain't so bad . . . .

I finished the ornie, never touched the Santa.

Considering that I didn't have a single stitch in the ornament until Friday evening, I think my hermitting went okay.  And here it is, a Christmas tree freebie from Aliolka:

Isn't this the cutest little tree?  It's so whimisical and fun.  It reminds me of something out of Dr. Seuss's 'The Grinch' (my favorite Christmas program).  I love the way it turned out.  It's a good thing it's going to a really good friend.  Otherwise, I might be inclined to keep it.

And I am done with my gift stitching!  WooHoo!! 

Note to self:  Don't wait until mid-November to begin Christmas gifts .... duh! obviously! never again!


Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stitching has gone to the dogs

I haven't been doing much stitching since my last post.  The dogs have been taking up most of my time recently.  Spider has a new puppy foundation class once a week -- so that makes 3 nights a week of doggie classes.  And this past Sunday, I entered Stormy and River in a Teacup Agility Trial.  River needed 2 more Games 3 legs to finish his title and Stormy only needed 1 leg to finish his Teacup Agility Championship, aka, TACh.  River was successful and completed both of his games legs -- yay!  Stormy, however, was not.  Sigh.  Maybe next time .....

I took some time away from the dogs and Christmas stitching to complete the next part of the Heart Note Alley SAL ... plus I filled in the circles in the 3rd band from the bottom, making it more visible:

I also spent some stitchy time on the Advent Calendar SAL -- finishing 3 more parts:

And here's my whole Advent Calender sampler to date (the upper right ornie is still under construction):

It's coming along nicely --- I'm only 4.5 parts behind.

Last Saturday, my EGA chapter held our Christmas party.  I participated in the ornament exchange by stitching (what else!?) another tree -- don't you just love the little 'tree skirt'?    I think that's so funny.  What can I say, I'm a little odd.

Unfortunately (duh!) I forgot to take a picture of the ornie I received.  I will do that asap and post a pic -- it's really cute!

That's about it, except to say this weekend is a hermit kind of weekend.  The dogs, the laundry, my stitching and I will be spending some quiet, quality time together.  I'm planning on getting my 2012 Santa mostly finished and one final gift finished.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 down . . . . 3 more to go

I worked diligently Friday through Sunday morning to finish 5 Christmas ornaments.  One of which I forgot to take a picture of before sending it off in the mail Saturday morning.  Bummer!  The other 4 are here for your enjoyment.  And all I have to say is, thank goodness for those little pre-finished pillows.  Yes, I cheated and used them to finish my ornies.

The Christmas Trees are freebies from Alexandria and the gifts are my own design, I needed a break from trees.

Thank you, dear followers, for the kind comments on the tree from my previous post.  The interior decoration is a type of embroidery called Wessex stitchery.  I bought a book (I love books) about it a couple years ago called Wessex Stitchery by Gay Eaton just out of curiosity.  It is such a fun thing (at least the way I do it) because you just kind of make things up as you go along -- no cumbersome pattern to hold while I'm stitching.  I don't do many of the more complicated designs (at least not yet) because I have so much fun with the simpler stuff.

The Embroiders' Guild has a beautiful example of this type of stitching.  Nordic Needle has a nice tutorial of a few stitches in case you just want to try it.   Notes from under the Mountain also has a lovely example of it.

I use it to make borders:

Or to add a decorative line:

And now I'm filling in objects.  It's a fun, easy technique -- I highly recommend giving it a try.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Another month gone by

It's hard to believe today is December 1.   It'll be Christmas in no time now . . . sigh . . .  and I'm not prepared at all.

Anyway, here's a brief update of my Sticklounge Advent Calendar SAL -- 3 more completed:

And here's a lousy picture of the whole thing so far:

I had such a good time decorating the little tree that I decided to stitch another one last night.  Only this time I'm stitching on 28 ct over 2 threads instead of over just one on my sampler.  Isn't it cute?  I may have to do a couple more . . . and add some beads and shiny threads.

Happy December!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Woops! I forgot about this yesterday ......

I received 2 beautiful squares from my Fair and Square partner this last round.  This is a pattern from Barrick Designs called Five Birds Sampler (aptly named, don't you think?)

The main thread is a Needle Necessities lovely (currently called Cherry Cola at Threadworx).  I love it!  When I showed this to my dad, he looked at it intently for a few minutes.  He was checking to make sure all the letters of the alphabet were there -- he thinks it's funny that some samplers exclude a letter or two.

I sent my partner these 2 squares from Blackbird Designs called The Pink House:

I adjusted the pattern a little to make it fit within the parameters of the Fair and Square regs and used DMC floss on tea stained 32 ct linen.  Tea stained fabric is fast becoming my favorite -- I love the old look it gives a project.  Now if I was just brave enough to tea stain something after it was stitched ..... maybe someday.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Not much stitching ...

Well, I didn't get much stitching done over the holiday.  I planned to get more time in but unfortunately, it didn't happen.  I got 3 more of the ornaments done on the Sticklounge Advent Calendar SAL:

And now here's the whole thing so far:

I was hoping to get some more done on my 2011 Santa but no such luck.

On Sunday, the dogs and I went up to Edinboro for an AKC agility trial.  Stormy and Willow were entered while the other dogs just came for the ride.  Stormy ran okay, even though we didn't qualify.   He got all his contacts, held his stay at the start, and finished all the weave poles -- no problem.  I think his problem was me.  I wasn't feeling that great so he ran a little tentatively and we ended up with some refusals (mistakes that aren't allowed in his class - Excellent).  By the afternoon, when Willow ran, I was feeling better.  She did well in her runs also and actually qualified in both.  She finished her first AKC title -- Novice Agility -- and got her first Jumper With Weaves novice leg.  This is not her first title, just her first AKC title.  She (and Stormy, too) has titled in both TDAA and CPE agility.  For those of you that aren't dog agility people (probably most of you *grin*) , these are different organizations that also hold agility trials.  Anyway, all that matters is that we had a good time and the dogs did well.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a brief note to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Eat lots of turkey but remember to save room for my favorite, the pumpkin pie.  Mmmmmm!

And don't forget that all important nap after dinner.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My first International Hermit & Stitch Weekend

Last weekend was a stitchy-kind of weekend so I decided to join other stitchy hermits.  And here's what I worked on:

First I finished the Noel block on the bottom and the Holly block on the top of my Sticklounge Christmas Sampler.

Then I finished part 10 of the Heart Note Alley SAL.

The third project is my Santa for 2011.  I finished the chair legs, the calendar on the wall and his sack.

And the last project (Old European Sampler) involved lots of reverse stitching because I was off 1 row (ggrrrr!) on the hexagonal row.  After ripping it out I got some of it done ... again.
And there you have it, my first IHSW.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gone to the dogs ....

I do have one stitching related update before this whole blog goes to the dogs.  I made this heart for one of the moderators of the Sticklounge yahoo group for her 50th birthday.  Since it was included in a wonderful birthday quilt full of hearts and given to her recently, the surprise is over. 

I have been stitching but keep forgetting to take pictures - duh.  I did take some pics of my pups on the occassion of Spider's 6 month birthday and, without further ado, here they are:

I took about 4 of these before Firefly
would look toward me and not
the door.  It was a chilly day out and
they all wanted back inside -- and a
perfect opportunity for this group photo was born.

Neither River nor Stormy want to share the limelight.

Mainly because they don't like the other dogs.
Here are the kids pestering, er, playing with mom.

Stormy loves his deflated soccer ball.
At the age of 12, he's not allowed to play
with it very often, mainly because he's an idiot
and can't  play unless it's 100%. 
Resulting in a visit to the doggie chiropractor
because he puts his back out.
I'll try to remember to get some stitchy photos for my next post.  Until then .... arrooo!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back from the framer!

I picked up these pieces from the framer's the other day.

Friendship Heart
Can you believe it?  I forgot to sign and date this one -- duh!

Purple Garden
I'm going to call this my Sunshine Garden instead
Lotsa  P O P ! ! !

Tree of Stitches
Not only is black hard to stitch on, it's hard to get a good picture.
The original picture is awful, this has been photoshoped
 significantly to make it look better
(and it still doesn't look as good as real life)

And here is a new project.  It's a Sticklounge SAL with 24 tiny parts -- like an Advent Calendar.  Many of the stitchers are making ornaments.  That's too much finishing for me.  I'm making one large sampler with all the tiny ornies and calling it "A Sticklounge Christmas".   And as for finishing, I plan to make it into a banner.  This is the first installment -- isn't it sweet?

The pattern calls for traditional Christmas colors but I'm not going in that direction.  Mainly because I really dislike what happens when red and green are next to each other -- either you get brown or they visually fight each other, which drives me crazy!  So I'm going with burgundy, pink, teal, brown and gold -- a calmer color palette.

And now to totally change the subject, my Spider was officially 6 months old on Monday.   It doesn't take long for them to grow up.  Hmmmmm, maybe I should take a more recent photo of him?

Happy 6 Months, Spider!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just in case the world ends next year ......

I want to finish one or 2 of my WIP's that have been wasting away on my shelves. I am only going to commit to 2 at this time, though I hope to add more as the year progresses.  The first is this hardanger tree began in 2008:

It's mostly done.  If memory serves me correctly, I just need to finish the eyelets and do the cutting -- I don't think there's much more to go with it.

The second is my Celtic Sampler (which I began in 2008):

It too is almost finished -- just 3 or 4 more bands to go. 

I really would love to get these 2 finished before the world ends next year.  I think I have until December before that is supposed to happen -- plenty of time.

If you would also like to finish a favorite WIP before the earth goes down in a ball of flame, visit Measi's Musings and sign up for this fun, no pressure SAL.

The rules are few and simple:

1)  Go to her blog to sign up

2)  Before 2012 begins, make a list of the project(s) you want to work on.  If, at a later date, you decide to add another project -- that's okay too.

3)  Then on the full moon, post pictures of  your work (as much or as little as you managed to get done).  Label that post WIPocalypse so Measi can find it easily.

4)  When you have that done, go to Measi's full moon post and leave a comment that you have updated.  She will then create a check-in  list of URLs for each month's updates so everyone can find them easily.

And if, like me, you  have no idea when the full moons for 2012 are, here's a list:

 January 9
 February 7
 March 8
 April 6
 May 5
 June 4
 July 3
 August 1
 August 31
 September 29
 October 29
 November 28
 December 28

Doesn't this sound like fun?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Egads! It's been a month since I last posted. My excuse -- I've been sick and had a house guest.

Even though I was sick as a dog for about three weeks with some kind of upper respiratory ickyness, I did manage to finish the Tree of Stitches:

I love it -- it's pink, has lots of glitter, a bunny and a butterfly -- what more could I want??  It's at the framer's right now.  I found a lovely gold frame that makes the whole thing pop.  Gotta love things that pop.

I also managed to finish my "Purple" Garden while near death's door (and no! I will not point out the errors made while stitching sick):

It too is at the framer's where I found the perfect bright yellow frame (can you believe it?).   POP * POP -- lots of that wonderful pop-factor :)

I have no idea where to hang this piece.  In case you were concerned, my house is not decorated in these bright colors.  Since I grin everytime I look at the thing, I'll probably take it to work, where grinning and POP are in short supply.

As I was recovering from my near fatal sinus infection/bronchitis, an old college friend came to visit for a couple weeks (she had her wooden floors refinished and kitchen remodeled and was asked to leave her home for a few weeks by her contractor).  We had lots of fun plans but since I was still sick, we didn't get to do much but spend some quality time watching movies, chatting, and eating.  Toward the end of her stay I started feeling better and did a little stitching on the Golden Cat (which hasn't been touched in months).  Kitty is almost finished -- unfortunately I got bored with the same color thread and put him away again.

After my friend went back to her practically new home, I decided on Halloween that I needed to get stitching on my 2011 Santa.  You may (or probably don't) remember, I started this back in January as one of my crazy challenge pieces.  Isn't he adorable?

I'm not really happy with the beard.  It's really nice in the original picture but my interpertation lacks something.  Right now, I'm just going to live with it as I stitch the rest of this piece and hopefully, I learn to like it better.  If not, I'm a firm believer that french knots fix many beards and will just add a few to the beard to make it better. 

Of course, I'm just using threads from my stash instead of the wonderful Rainbow Gallery threads listed.  I'm trying a couple new threads (to me).  One is a linen thread (the french knots on his cuffs) from Thread Gatherer called Flax N Colors.   I've never stitched with a linen thread before and probably won't do much with it in the future.  This thread is stiff and kind of scratchy.  It made okay french knots but I like the look of the ones in Santa's hair better.  I picked the linen for his coat cuffs because I thought it would look more like wool -- and it does, but I really don't like the feel of it.  And since, for me, stitching is very tactile,  I didn't enjoy the experience of the linen thread.

Another new thread-type I used is made from bamboo -- go figure.  I used Rainbow Gallery's Mandarin Floss (a 6-ply strandable thread) and The Pure Palette's Luster Solids (a thicker thread like Perle Coton 12).  I love this stuff!  It's soft and has a lovely sheen to it.  I used the Luster Solid for Santa's hair, beard and mustache (a great thread for french knots).  The Mandarin Floss is in Santa's coat, his mittens, and the ginger bread men.  I like both brands and types of the bamboo thread and will be using more of it in future projects.

And in case you're curious, the yellow in the border is Rainbow Gallery Fiesta (a rayon thread -- wonderful shine-factor), the green is a Rainbow Gallery silk thread, Santa's skin is DMC, the green afghan is a Caron Watercolour, the chair is a Caron Wildflower and Santa's socks are a Needle Necessities overdyed floss.

And last, but not least, I finished the next part of my Heart Note Alley SAL:

I have a mild dilemma here .... how should I continue with the flowers?  Should the remaining two make a symmetrical pattern (light, dark, white, dark, light) or a sequential pattern (dark, light, white, dark, light)?  Another thought is to make those flowers 2 entirely different colors.   One could be the light peachy-pink thread from the first row.  I haven't used this color any place else yet and maybe this would be a good place to add it again.  Now the problem is I would have to introduce a  new color for the fifth flower and it's kind of late in the game to be adding a new color here.  However, I really like the idea of all the flowers being different -- it breaks the strong symmetry of  the bands in this lovely piece.  What I'm toying with is to add the new color to the third band from the bottom -- the light colored thread I chose is kind of wimpy and is getting lost between the 2 strong flower bands.  I could fill the knots with the new color or even alternate the fill-in colors (since one is already filled in).  Or I could rip that entire row out and put in the new color.  So many decisions .....

Isn't this what makes stitching samplers so much fun??

Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lotsa stitching updates here

I have a finish I can show now that it has reached it's destination.  And she likes it :)  I stitched this for my partner in the current  Fair and Square exchange:

It's by Blackbird Designs.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out and, of course, now I need to stitch one for myself.  I used DMC threads on linen that I tea stained.  It was my first attempt at staining linen.

More gift stitching is these Halloween ornaments for my nephews:

I may add more to the spider before assembling it into it's final ornamental state.  If I can find my glow-in-the-dark thread, a web behind the spider would look really cool.  Even if I can't find it, a web would still look kinda cool in black.  The pattern for the spider can be found here.  I love the expression of the 'fraidy moon on the Prairie Schooler ornie -- that's one nasty owl!  Stitching Halloween ornaments is so much fun -- I love all the creepy things and fun colors.  Normally, I would never stitch on this green fabric but for All Hallow's Eve -- it's a must do.

Speaking of fun colors, I worked on my Tree of Stitches and am getting near completion.  I love this thread on the black fabric AND I love being able to stitch it on the black fabric.  When I started this on black, I didn't know if I would be able to finish it and now I'm almost there -- woohoo!

Unfortunately, the gold thread doesn't show up well in the picture.  Maybe if I didn't use a flash it would look better.  Hmmmm, something to try next time.  I picked out some beads last night to go with my tree and maybe tonight I'll be able to get some attached.  (Though I really need to get those Halloween ornies done for my nephews so I can mail them.)

I started a new Sticklounge project over the weekend.  It's called Adriana and is designed by Nolda van Hezewijk.  It doesn't look like much right now but if you check out her website, you can see what it will look like when finished.  It's a gorgeous pattern.  I'm stitching it on 40 ct linen over 2 using DMC threads.  The linen color is sand and since I'm using one thread, it appears to make the thread colors look soft.  If I had used 2 threads, I'm sure the threads would come out stronger.  Usually, I prefer the heavier coverage of 2 threads but when the fabric has a nice warm feel to it, I like the lighter effect of only 1 thread.  However, I do need to adjust one thread color so far -- a pale yellow that doesn't show up well on the sand colored fabric.  Anyway, here's the pic:

The last project is the Berlin Work Sampler -- the first one I tried with a lighter thread coverage.  I love the way the tassles look like a faded painting -- very cool.

I've fallen behind on these last two Sticklounge projects because I've been busy stitching gifts.  Now that most of the gifts are done, I should be able to get caught up with them .... and get started on my Santa for 2011.  He is one of my Crazy 2011 Challenge pieces and he will get done before the year is over.  I'm thinking it will be the last one of my crazy challenges to get done.  

Hmmm.   Note to self -- I need to do a recap on my 2011 crazies to see where I am with it.

I think I have a little over half of them done (mostly all the smaller ones).  I do not plan on doing the 2012 crazy challenge.  Instead, I will finish the unfinished 2011 crazies in 2012.  I love the other patterns I started in January and don't want them languishing for years as UFO's.

I actually learned something about myself  by doing this challenge.  I enjoyed starting all those new projects but after about a week, I found it frustrating to keep starting something without finishing something.  Apparently I am goal oriented -- I like the journey, but also like to reach the journey's end. 

And if you could see all the finished projects on my walls, you would say to yourself  "Well, Duh!"