Monday, December 31, 2007

WIP Confession Time

What a wonderful week we have had! Christmas was fantastic and very busy and the past week has just flown by far too quickly. I can't believe this is the last day of 2007!!!

The house has gotten back to normal today, the decorations have all been taken down and stored away for next year, and I have decided to take a cue from a few of the blogs that I have had time to take a peek at and do my own WIP review.

No New Year's resolutions for me this time around, except I have decided that next year is time to finish a few things. Of course I will always need to make room for some new starts, but I'm going to try to keep them on the small side, so they don't end up collecting dust like some of the ones I dug out today.

So here they are, although I do think I have forgotten one or two UFO's that haven't seen the light of day for far too long. Sorry for the not so great pictures, what sunlight we get these days seems very, winter!

Sampler Gameboard by Drawn Thread, on 32 ct Willow Green linen. This is such a fun piece to work on, I wondered when I laid out the fabric to take the picture why did I stop working on this one?

Sampler 4 Saisons by Anagram Diffusion, on 32 ct Antique Cream linen. This one is so pretty and I'm using Gloriana silks, a different colour for each season. I love working on the seasons themselves, but the tree really got to me......
Houses of Hawk Run Hollow on 40 ct LL Pearled Barley. Again, I really love working on this, but I have no set goal in mind, so its doubtful the end of 2008 will see this one finished off.

Carriage House Samplings Alphabet Sampler on 40 ct Cream Linen. Now this one I really would like to complete in the next year. I think I should work out a schedule to keep myself on track with this one.
And my poor Chatelaine MysteryX. I think I finally finished up the 3rd month, which was horrific and really put me off track. It took me months to get through it all, so by that point I was so far behind the group, I thought what was the point? I have sneaked a peek at the finished design though and it is stunning. I really need to get back to this one and play again with all those lovely silks.
But what's the new year without a new start?
Long Dog Sampler's Paradigm Lost....scheduled restart on January 2nd, with my brand new fat 1/2 on 40 ct Light Sand linen.
And I have to sneak in my latest obsession with Little House Needleworks. I bought the Home of a Needleworker pattern at the Toronto Creative Festival in the fall and its just begging to start. So I have a lovely piece of 32 ct cream Belfast and some very pretty GAST threads, waiting for the first few stitches tomorrow.
Hubby is calling as we're headed off to an early dinner. Happy New Year everyone!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I finally got caught up on all my shopping, the gifts were finally all wrapped, and ready to go under the tree...or nearby as its become quite crowded. Kelly and Chris arrived safely on Saturday evening, and we are all headed out shortly to enjoy Christmas Eve dinner at Carrie and JF's place.

I haven't had a chance to update my blog but I did want to get in my wishes to everyone for a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spirit of Christmas

I can't believe I forgot to get this picture out and hang it up on the wall! I was thinking something was missing around the house after we had finished decorating and it took me 2 weeks to finally remember. And it was ~ one of my favourite Christmas pieces ~ Spirit of Christmas! So hubby dug him out of hiding for me and now he is hanging on the wall. I feel embarrassed to have left him hidden away for so long because I truly love this Santa. I had him framed with a red suede mat, so it really brings out the gorgeous reds in the Santa.

Only 1 week left until Christmas! I finally started my present wrapping on Sunday but was very uninspired to get much done. We were in the middle of a blizzard which poor hubby spent the better part of the day trying to dig us out from. And I finally came up with the most amazing Christmas gift for him - a snowblower! But he's not impressed. Its as if admitting that he needs a snowblower is a blow to his manhood, admitting that he no longer has the strength or vivre to do his manly duty and dig his family out from under tons of snow. We'll see how far I can get with my cajoling....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas ornament and an almost finish

My package from the SBEBB ornament exchange arrived and wow - I was thrilled to see the lovely little stocking stitched by Donna of Daisy Stitches. I need to find her blog/e-mail so that I can thank her personally for all the wonderful goodies she put into this package. It made opening it up feel like Christmas! She also included a Just Nan chart called 'Tie One On' with the Whimzi frame (first time I have seen one of these in person and they are wonderful) and a Bent Creek chart called 'Sleigh Ride' with the fabric to stitch it on, as well as a package of tea and chocolate and a beautiful handmade card. Thank you Donna! Please leave me a comment so I can trace you back to your blog!!

My PL fabric arrived and I am in love with the colour - no more tea-dying needed here - but I decided to hold off on a fresh start until the New Year. And I am so close to finishing my little Prairie Schooler christmas sampler, I want to keep at it. Its looking like a finish might be in the works for this weekend and then I might try to finish it into a pillow. All that's left is for Santa and his sleigh!
My Christmas cards went out in the mail - yeah, one thing off my list. Packages have yet to be wrapped though. And I'm still wondering what on earth am I going to get hubby for Christmas? I have asked him so many times and he doesn't even know what he wants, other than the usual month long vacation some place warm, which is a little out of our reach at the moment.

Physiotherapy is going for the shoulder....or should I say torture sessions? Because it is unbelievable to me that my shoulder stopped doing all kinds of things without me realizing, and now the therapist is trying to make it go into these positions again. I'm doing stretches at home 4 times a day, to try to maintain some of the gains she makes. But on the upside, it actually is feeling better the rest of the time, not nearly as painful as it was. And stitching is much more comfortable again :-D I better not let hubby know that, or he'll make me start doing all the grocery shopping on my own again!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Ornament Exchange

Julianne let me know that she received her Christmas ornament for the SBEBB exchange. I stitched the Quaker Reindeer, a design from The Workbasket from the 2006 JCS ornament issue. This was the first thing I had stitched from this issue! I used my 36/40 ct tea-dyed linen so the poor reindeer may be a little too fat or a little too tall, depending on which way the count went. Luckily sweet Julianne is happy with this slightly off reindeer anyways.

I love this time of year with Christmas so quickly approaching....but I also hate it because the days are so short. I mean really, its 4:30 in the afternoon and its so dark that we have to turn all our lights on! And we haven't even hit the winter solstice yet. And should I mention that I'm feeling a little Christmas-stressed? Hubby and I did a lot of our Christmas shopping on the weekend which is great, although our bank account is much much lighter and emptier as a result. And the pile of gifts waiting to be wrapped has increased significantly. Christmas cards are waiting to be written and addressed. And Christmas baking.... well I shudder to even think about it. But I did manage to finish off a couple of ornaments that are also waiting to be packaged up and mailed.

And I almost PL fabric arrived...finally!!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December is here!

December is here and already speeding along! Hubby and I decorated our house on Sunday, and everything looks very festive and cheery. I love decorating for Christmas. It makes me wish I had done more Xmas stitching!

Still no PL fabric in the mail for me....although I have been diligently checking every day! That is when I can get my mail box open. Winter seems to think its time to arrive and we have been hit with ice storms and snow....brrrr! It seems awfully early to look outside and see so much white, and have to bundle up with boots, scarf, gloves and hat to go out! Of course Nick is loving it as that means money to be made shovelling snow from driveways for him and of course snowboarding season has opened.

Not much stitching to show from me except a Prairie Schooler piece I have been working on a piece of Fiddler's cloth. Its from Christmas Samplers Book 63 and I'm hoping to be able to stitch it before Christmas. Stitching is slow these days as my shoulder has been troubling me a lot. I finally gave in and and saw my doctor and have started seeing a physiotherapist for a 'frozen shoulder'. I'm sure its from work, nah, couldn't be from stitching or quilting at all! But unfortunately I can't stop working .... :-(

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Secret Santa Strikes Again!

I have been actively stalking my mailbox, I really hate this superboxes as they are called, they are grouped together in random sections, and ours happens to be down our street about 6-7 houses, on a curve of the road, so you never know when or if the mailman has been by yet. I am so anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new Paradigm Lost fabric and with it, hopefully also my stitching mojo, but instead yesterday afternoon, something very mysterious arrived in a very small envelope with a Belgium stamp.

The Secret Santa has made an appearance in Canada too! I have been reading about these mysterious envelopes making their way in various spots around the world and imagine my delight and surprise when I found one in my mailbox too, accompanied by this lovely skein of floss and card stamped from a friend!

So no PL fabric for me yet but something better arrived instead! Thank you, Secret Santa!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lucky Stars Quilt

Not too much stitching from me the past few days....I guess I'm in a bit of a slump right now. My Paradigm Lost replacement fabric is on its way to me and hopefully when that gets in, my stitching mojo will be revved back up to swing back into full speed again.

Meanwhile I did get a quilt top sandwiched. I think I have 4 quilts tops pieced and ready to go, dreadful huh? This one is called Lucky Stars and I think it was originally started almost 5 years ago. I actually did get one Lucky Star quilt finished, because it was a fat 1/4 quilt, and being a beginner and very enthusiastic 5 years ago, I bought far too many fat 1/4's. So I weeded through them all, and picked out the golds and greens and finished those into a very nice twin sized quilt. I decided to keep all the blue and purple fat 1/4's and make a matching quilt.

Which kind of fell by the wayside for quite a long time, all the pieces nicely cut, until finally last year I sewed it all together, and now at long last its sandwiched together. Its still laying out on the floor of our extra bedroom, waiting for some kind of inspiration as to how I'm going to machine quilt this one. I keep thinking if I look at it long enough, some kind of magical inspiration is going to hit me, but I realize that I'm really only looking at it on my way to bed at night and the only kind of inspiration to hit me then is how comfy my bed and pillow are going to be. I hope it doesn't take me several years to quilt this one!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks and a finish

I've calmed down since my Paradigm Lost fiasco of last week. Thank you so much for your encouraging comments! Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate reading your comments, they really are so heartwarming and touching and bring a smile to my face, each and every one of them!

I'm going to take the advice of Sweet Pea, Tannia, Barbara, Kendra, Monique and Annemarie, and use the motif that I've finished in something else, and scrap the fabric for some other use. And as Old Yankee Stitcher (sorry, I don't know your name) said, I learned a new technique in tea-dying, so nothing is ever a total loss. I've taken the plunge and reordered a fat-half in 40 ct linen. I debated for a while over fabric counts for PL, but I really do like stitching on 40 ct linens, so I stuck with that. This time though I ordered a huge piece and I'm not cutting this baby down...just in case :-D I really don't think I want to restart it again.

So to soothe my ruffled feathers over the weekend, I calmed myself with some gentle stitching on 28 ct and finished off my JBW stocking:
There is a wee bit more to the design on the lower left hand side, it didn't all fit into the scanner!

And I dug out my CHS alphabet and finished up H is for Horse.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Paradigm is Lost

Well a lost cause that is.....see my lovely motif above? I finished that last night and as I was happily stitching away, thinking, wow I'm really getting a lot done tonight, I may even get this motif completed, but hmm, its just not looking quite right, now is it? I pulled out my picture of PL and looked again at the chart and no its definitely not right, this motif is supposed to be square, not oblong-ish looking. Hmm, again. Time to start counting linen threads. So I started to count linen theads, not the easiest to do, at night, on 40 ct fabric and lo and behold I started to realize my problem! This is a 40 count from I count from left to right and but only a 36 count when I count from top to bottom!!! No wonder my motif came out with such a wonky shape!

Definitely not Zweigart fabric here, which made me remember the mysterious unmarked bag that it came in. All the linens were marked Zweigart or Permin, except for the odd mysterious random piece that were just marked with the size of piece inside the bag. Well you can imagine my choice of language here, not blog-worthy at all.

I'm so disappointed, not that I have so much stitched, but this was the fabric that I had so lovingly tea-dyed and was so pleased with the outcome....and meanwhile what am I going to stitch my PL on? At first I thought, oh well, what does it matter, its PL and the motifs don't have to be square to matter. But then I started looking at my size of fabric and got out the measuring tape again and calculator and since I started 2 1/2" down from the top, I don't have a long enough piece of fabric for PL with 36 ct from top to bottom. And yet more choice unblog-worthy words......

So I'm giving up for the moment, checking out, crawling under a rock and feeling very sorry for myself. PL has got the best of me right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

RR's, F&S's, and stash

I finished my section on Nicole's Round Robin! Another one is ready to put in the mail and send off to Carissa. I'm really happy with the way my section turned out. I used patterns from two different designs from Elizabeth's Garden and I managed to squeeze a couple more sheep in there because I thought they looked so cute! Here is a scan of most of Nicole's RR, not the entire piece, it didn't all fit in my scanner, so the last section with Leslie's house I had to leave off.
And yesterday's mail brought Ulla's squares for me from the Fair and Square exchange, all the way from Sweden. Look how sweet they are, hmm, she doesn't mention but looks like a Prairie Schooler house to me?!?
And here are the squares that I stitched for her (I remembered to take a picture this time around). She commented that she liked redwork and quaker designs so I chose this for her, which is actually part of one of The Workbasket tree freebies. I thought the red and white were a good choice, since they were the colours of the Canadian flag, which is a coincidence, since Ulla stitched the Swedish flag on her block.

And one more picture, bear with me! I got some long awaited stash in the mail yesterday, my birthday stash which only took 6 weeks to get here! Well we can all guess where I ordered from :-D

And for some reason this one particular design has absolutely caught my attention. Its called 'Of Female Arts' by The Primitive Needle. I'm in love with it and its just one of those that I'm dying to start.

Of course there are only like 9 or so Christmas things I really really want to do in the meanwhile....but I just really have to do this too. If only I didn't have to work for a living! And the kids didn't have to eat!! Meanwhile I'm envisioning fabric choices and floss choices....and getting myself started to work.....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pretty Scissor Pocket

I've been a bad blogger and not updating as much as I should....the days seem to be flying by right now. Kristy's stomach bug got passed on to me last week but luckily it didn't last too long. Nick's asthma warranted a middle of the night trip to the hospital for more treatment but he is much recovered now. Kids do get over things so much faster then us olde folke!

We had a birthday lunch for my sister's 60th birthday on Saturday, it was just a girlie thing, mothers and daughters, and so much fun. There were 12 of us, sisters, nieces and cousins , hosted by my other sister . I recently was able to entice my quilting sister Karen over into the wonderful world of cross stitching so I thought it was time for her to have a lovely pair of snips to go with this fabulous new hobby (or, obsession LOL) . So I picked up a pair of pretty scissors and made this scissor pocket and scissor fob to hold them. This is from a Lori Birmingham kit.
Back view:Rachel (Willing Hands) let me know that she received my PIF for her. This was a fun little freebie put out by Plum Street Samplers and she said she was very happy with it. Hope your week starts out great!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Stitching Update

Its been almost a week since I've updated and I don't know where the time has gone! Its time for some long overdue stitching updates and since the camera isn't cooperating with me today, its scanner time:

Here is my Paradigm Lost start from November 1st, not much to see but its a beginning :-D
Paradigm Lost by Long Dog Samplers, on 40 count tea-dyed linen, using Gloriana silks

Here is a link to the SAL to see all the other lovely starts on PL and Cirque-des-Cercles: Snowbirds SAL. Its not too late to join us if you want to get in on the fun!

My JBW Stocking is moving right along, what a nice little design this has been to work on.

JBW Stocking, on 28 ct Graziano white/celery linen, using DMC

And finally I started Nicole's Neighbourhood RR. I'm using an Elizabeth's Design cottage and I'll fill up the space with some other trees and flowers. So far, so good, I think. I love how the little sheep came out, I'm thinking about adding another one....

I've had 2 sickie kids, Nick's asthma is kicking up and Kristy had a very bad stomach. Something tells me working at McDonald's has its downside - eating too much food there, combined with Hallowe'en treats! Of course a 16 year old will never admit to that!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Thank you so much for the great comments on the table runner! Really these things are not hard to make, I use a sewing machine and quilt with the sewing machine also. No hand sewing for me! I used the charm pack so the pieces are already cut into 5" squares, so it really feels the work in organizing the fabric and preparing it is already done. And of course it all coordinates beautifully since its all from the same fabric line. What could be easier? I love these charm packs and have a couple more in my stash! I can't wait to tackle my jelly rolls, I bought them because they were a great price, $32 each, and I think I will use them in a split rail design to make a quilt top.

Tea anyone?

I found myself with a free morning yesterday ~ work has been very stingy lately, its either feast or famine. But it gave me time to play with my glaringly white fabric which I have to start Paradigm Lost, which is {gasp} starting tomorrow! November 1st is almost here!! I'm really not a white-white kind of person, I really much prefer warm colours and earthy tones and I have a gorgeous selection of Gloriana purple silks that I have been saving (ahem, hoarding) for PL. I didn't think I liked the way the silks looked against the white linen but since this is such a honkingly large design 363 stitches x 354 stitches, I need a huge piece of fabric. And dear Marg gave me a full yard of 40 ct linen that she had mistakenly bought at a craft sale we were at a few weeks back. So it was time to try my hand at tea-dying.

I used 2 bags of a black tea and 2 cups of water with a smaller piece of fabric to see what I would come up with. And wow, it turned this white linen into a gorgeous shade of amber! I was really pleased with the results. But actually I thought probably a wee bit too dark for PL with my purple silks. So I added a bit more water to the mixture and then took a deep breath and added my PL fabric. This piece came out much lighter, more of a tan shade, I guess between a cream and tan, and actually more of what I was looking for. I guess it was a little lighter than what I wanted, I played with the idea of darkening the mixture with another tea bag, but then I chickened out and thought I could end up something too dark. Besides it was time to take the kids to their dentist appointment.

So here is my final result~ the picture doesn't show the true colour of my final piece which is in the foreground of the picture above - its much nicer in RL. And I'm all set for our PL start tomorrow, my working copy has been made, and my needle is ready. Although I think a couple of the others have cheated and have started or are starting today. Well no Hallowe'en treats for them!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shopping Stash

Here is a picture of some of my stash from the Toronto Needlework show. I didn't get too much cross stitching stash....but I did buy LHN's Home of a Needleworker, which I have coveted for along time! Mostly I bought quilting goodies, lots of fat 1/4's in lovely greens/peaches which were a great price, a pattern for tablerunners to make using charm packs, and of course a charm pack in some pretty fall prints, 2 jelly rolls in lovely dark fall fabrics, and a great kit to make a roly poly Santa. I took a picture of this cute little kit, and somehow lost the picture on my computer somewhere....??

I couldn't resist trying out my new pattern yesterday with the charm pack. The charm pack is a package of 5" squares of fabric which come from one fabric line. I think this one was called Autumn Bounty. All the fabrics of course coordinate beautifully so it makes putting something together so easy. So for dinner last night, we had this lovely tablerunner to grace the table:

We celebrated hubby's birthday Friday night and then on Saturday went to a surprise birthday party for my oldest sister! And Autumn has hit with a vengeance ~ the temperatures dropped to 0 degrees last night! Time to start on a new quilt I think!!

Only a couple of days to go until the Paradigm Lost / Cirque-des-Cercles SAL starts!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A very sweet gift

I am so loving my mailman these days, or mailwoman? I don't really see him or her, so I don't even know who delivers the mail. But look what he/she delivered to me from Annemarie ~ one of her wonderfully amazing floss fobs. This delightful fob is amazingly stitched with the tiniest of stitches. I am in awe of her stitching as I can barely see them, so I cannot imagine how she made them! She stitched our initials together on the back, and attached a skein of Gloriana silk in the prettiest of colours, called Autumn Arbor. Am I not incredibly lucky to receive such beautiful gifts from such amazing stitching friends!!!

I'm working at my finishing finishing of my PIF gifts, Monday/Tuesdays are always a wash-out for me because of work in the day and classes at night. Tonight daughter Carrie is bringing her Hallowe'en costume over for some fixing and added touches. The entire crew at the Cancer Centre are dressing up at pirates for Hallowe'en and she also has a party to go to this Saturday night. I hope to get these PIF's done and in the mail soon......I really want to get a couple of Christmas ornaments started.

On Friday, I'm taking the day off work to go to the Toronto Needlework Festival with my sister Karen. Of course there is absolutely nothing that I need, but when does that ever matter? I'm hoping to bring a little something back home with me. Its full of so much creative wonder ... cross stitching, quilting, knitting, scrapbooking.... it will take me the weekend to recover!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hallowe'en Exchange from Amy

I love a good mail day, I have been hunting down the mail man lately and all he has been bringing lately is junk mail, the kind that goes straight into the recycling bin....or bills, the kind that goes straight into the look at it later bin. But today is Friday and he blessed me with a sweet little package - my Hallowe'en exchange! This came from Amy (Amy Stitches), who I confess to not knowing before now, which is really another great thing about these exchanges, they introduce you to some wonderful stitchers that I would not otherwise have gotten to know.

And look at the most wonderful sweet little pillow she made for me! Its a design by Heart in Hand and she stitched it on a piece of natural banding and used this to finish into an amazing little pillow. Isn't it wonderful! I really love to see the way people come up with finishing things. Its truly inspiring and always wants me to push my creative limits to try more and more things.

And as usual, stitchers are the most generous people. Inside the cool little Hallowe'en baggy, were an assortment of gifties that only stitchers would squeal over - Piecemaker needles, a skein of Vikki Clayton silk called Pumpkin, a skein of Carrie's thread called Harvest Brew and some cute stickers!

Sorry, no stitching pictures from me! I've been hard at work, slogging away at the last of my PIF gifties and hopefully will be able to finish them up this weekend. Then I need to work on my Fair and Square blocks. Then its back to the Neighbourhood RR. I'm afraid my own stitching has fallen way off. But these other things are way too much fun.

Have a great weekend!