Monday, July 21, 2014

perfert weekend

I've had a great week of stitching.  I stitched on the train and even some at home at night.  That's the habit I want most to get back into - stitching at night rather than just rotting in front of the tv.  Talk about a waste of time.  I don't feel nearly as bad when I have something in my lap that I'm working on.  :-) 

I made good progress on my IsaV Marquior.  Here is the close up of the nine blocks of part five completed. 

This photo is pretty close to what the color looks like in real life.  In this photo, only six blocks to go.  But I really only have four to go to got so much finished over the past week.  :-)  I didn't take an updated photo after the weekend of stitching.  I might actually finish this puppy in July!  Yeah!
I also worked on my Floral Glove for a couple of hours yesterday.  I'm officially finished with Lesson One and almost have Lesson Two complete.  I can see improvement in my stitching from when I first started this piece.  My outline stitching (which you can't see) is much more even and I'm loving how my long and short stitching turned out.  I only have to finish up the silk flower in the middle of the piece.  Then it's onto the medal threads.  That will be an adventure. 
I'm having a hard time loving my current setup with my Needlepoint System 3 stand with my stitching.  No matter what I do I just can't get comfortable and end up hunched up all over the piece I'm working on.  I really think I need a different stand.  Ugh. 
And in true Margie fashion I went into the rabbit hole in the past week.  Several years ago I made a pirate costume for a trip to Disney World that I took with my family.  We all wanted to dress up as Disney characters for the Trick or Treat night in the Magic Kingdom.  I ended up dressing as Elizabeth Swan from Pirates of the Caribbean.  I love how it turned out and was planning on wearing it again this Halloween when we all go on a Disney cruise for that Trick or Treat night.  I'm also going to the local Renaissance Faire in a couple of weeks with friends and we are all planning on dressing up for that.  So I found all the pieces in storage and got them out so I can wash and iron them.  Now I have gained a few pounds (apparently more than a few) because when I tried it all on, nothing fit.  Not even close.  :-(  So I needed to make new stuff.  I always wanted a "real" Renaissance style dress so I thought this would be a good time to start working on a couple of pieces for it.  And here is what I did over the weekend.  It's a Renaissance style corset.  It's boned with medal stays and even has a wooden busk down the front.  I sure hope this fits ok.  I'm rather busty and you won't be able to really get a good feel for the fit until all the stays are in and that means it will be almost totally complete by then.  I can't even add up in the head all the $$ I've sunk into it but I'm having a blast putting it all together.  I already bought a new white shift from eBay for much less money than I could have made it and I found a beautiful gold silk for the overskirt in the discount rack at Joanne Fabrics.  So it looks like I'm making a wench costume that can double as a pirate costume for Disney.  If this corset doesn't work ok I'll still have time to make a much more conventional one. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

I can feel the end

I can really feel I'm getting close to finishing up this piece.  Only three blocks to go and I'm finished with the fifth set of nine.  And because I have already completed three blocks of the sixth and final section, I'll only have six to go there.  I can smell it.  :-) 

I broke down and purchased the released parts Shepherd's Bush pieces for Shepherd's Fold.  I'm hoping that will be my next start.  Hopefully it won't come too fast.  Next week or even the week after would be perfect.  And I'm still waiting for my supplies to come for the drawn thread class.  I have to admit, that's kinda irritating.  I understand running out of supplies.  But it irks me that the class as started and I have nothing to work on.  I was so looking forward to it.  Oh well, patience grasshopper, patience.  :-)

Monday, July 07, 2014

great weekend!

The weather was perfect here in Northern Illinois - so perfect I sat outside more than planned playing with the dogs and putting around the yard rather than sitting inside stitching.  Isabelle had a so-so 4th.  I stuck to my plan and she did ok with the fireworks and wasn't as frantic has she has been in the past.  I received a comment asking if I had ever tried a Thunder Shirt on her and yes, we own one.  It worked great the first year and for thunder for the rest of the year.  But she is a smart girl, now she knows what it means when I pull it out and gets frantic because she knows what's coming so I don't pull it out anymore. 
I finally finished up the prework portion of Scott Lee!  I've been plugging away at this Jean Hilton needlepoint for several years now but the worst is now behind me.  While is there some counting left, it's nothing like the first six steps of prework.  Each step should fly by now that I'm in the meat of it.  Of course that is until I start the 100's of Jessicas!  That stitch really eats the time away.
I've almost managed to finish the first lesson of my Floral Glove.  Five years after receiving it?  :-)  It's funny how this one seems easy compared to what I have ahead and all the apprehension I had over this piece just went away (the reason it got tucked away in the first place).  I see an improvement in my long and short stitching as I progress so I'm really glad I decided to finish this before starting on my mirror frame. 
As for stitching plans for the next week or so, I'm going to continue on my Grand Marquior in the train, finish Lesson One and Two of my Floral Glove and I'm hoping to pick up my Scott Lee now and again.  I really love counted needlepoint.  My drawn thread class is supposed to start tomorrow but I don't have any supplies yet.  So many people joined the class there wasn't enough supplies to go around and they are coming from France so it will be a while longer.  That's not really a bad thing I suppose but I would love to work on some of the prework for it.  I'm planning on doing both samplers at the same time so it will take a while to get through it all and it's not something I can do on the train so it has to be at night at home and that cuts into my oversized work which is all my at home projects right now.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Long weekend!

I've been making pretty good progress with my IsaV this week.  Stayed awake for five whole train rides so far!  :-) 
 Here is a photo of most of the stash I've received so far with my Casket classes. Yes, except for the medal threads, it's all silk. And really nice silk also. I can't wait to start using it for my stumpwork. 
 I was planning on starting work on my CoC frame over the weekend.  But I remembered that I had an old class hanging around from Thistle Threads - the Floral Glove.  And it has a lot of instructions about the techniques that I needed work with.  Like long and short shading and couching.  So I pulled it out and sat down and worked on it.  I think I'll do this before I start working on my frame.  I want to be in top form before starting it.  I also pulled another (free!) online tutorial from Nora Corbet on long and short stitching and I might even work on that for a while also.  Just reading the lessons helped with what I did on Sunday while working on the glove. 

I've got a four day weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July!  Part of the plan is to spend as much time playing with Isabelle the lab to tire her out.  She is so afraid of the fireworks and I live in a neighborhood where the kids are loaded down with the crap.  Her cave is already set up in the house and starting at around 6:00pm Friday I'll have the windows all shut and the music blasting to help drown out the noise.  Poor baby - I hate this time of year.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

First Steps

Again, it sure has been a long time.  At least I've been stitching some.  That makes me feel marginally better.  :-)  I'm almost finished with the seventh row of my IsaV Marquior.  Two rows to go - been working on this since forever, since 2009 maybe?  But I can see the end at last.  If I would work on it everyday it would be complete in a couple of weeks.  Trying really hard to stay awake on the train because I really miss my old finis rate.    I'm doing mine on 35 count Weeks Dye Works Havana with HDF Imperialosity. 

 That and the Shepherds Bush Twined Heart have been my train projects.  I really enjoy working on the smallish SB projects.  I REALLY love the new one - the box with the sewing smalls.  But $50.00 for the first one!  Ouch.  So I don't have it.  :-)

 I've been spending most of my time thinking about starting my casket (there is actually someone finished already).  But haven't been able to do a single thing on it expect spend money on it.  I'm currently over $3,000 in class fees and supplies.  My monthly payment is over $160.00.  $110 for the casket and $55.50 for the stumpwork class.  You would think that would be enough to get me to do something, anything, but I just keep making more excuses.  I need this, I need that, need more time, more money or more skill.  So I got tired of all of that because I really miss stitching and the pressure of this just project is just killing me.  So I decided if I can't start the big project, let me at least start the smaller project that is optional for the second class - a framed mirror.  Of course, that one is mostly our cost (frame is $300) and it did cost me a buttload to get it started but here is the first step.  I transfered the pattern to the linen.  It's a 40 count and I like it so far.  If I like how it stitches up, I'll use it for the base of my casket.  I'm not going to use a ton of silk threads we have been sent so far for it but use DMC and Vicki Clayton silks.  I've already bought a ton and I'm actually ready to start putting needle to thread - maybe today even.  The first step is to couch a gold thread to all the large flower motifs that surround the center motif.  I think I can handle that.  :-)  It's a bigish project - 14 x 15 and I'm going to follow the instructions to the letter rather than go off by myself.  That will also take a ton of pressure off me. 

It's funny, the second I decided to work on something related but not the casket a lot of the decisions about the casket design started to flow in my head.  I'm not going to make a traditional one but a modern interpretation of a casket.  I love the designs of Jane Nicholas and another designer from the UK, Alison Cole. And I'm almost done purchasing things that I think I need for the casket work.  However, yesterday when I was done mounting the linen for the mirror on my new Needle Needs Millennium frame, I realized that this thing is a beast.  No way will it work with my Needlepoint System 4 stand.  So I need one more expensive thing - a needlework trestle table.  Needle Needs sells one that works perfect with the frame and it's 112 UK Pounds but it's out of stock right now.  So by the time I pay for shipping I figure almost $200.  Until I get it, I'll just prop the frame up on the couch somehow. 

 Since I had my new light table out, I transfered the design for a Thistle Threads kit called Lady Catherine's Slipper.  It super small and should go really quick.  I think I should be all about small wins right now.

And since I was starting new things, I signed up for the Shining Needle Drawn Thread Sampler course.  I love drawn thread and I'm thinking of adding some to my casket so it seemed like a good idea at the time.  After almost $200 though, maybe I should have passed.  :-)  The class start soon.  They ran out of materials it was so popular and had to order more!

Thanks for stopping by - I'm going to try my darnest to keep this blog current.  And stitch more!

Monday, January 27, 2014

back in the freezer

Here is my progress on my IsaV Marquior.  Each of the six sections is made up of nine blocks.  One and three quarters done of this section.  Now to decide how much I want to complete.  A good girl would do an entire section.  Not sure how good I feel this week.  ;-) I was having more fun with my etui. 
Other wool project in the finis column.  I hooked this little pillow last year and finally pillowized it.  I actually have quite a collection now of pillows completed - eight or so with several more waiting to be hooked.  I think it's time to move onto a rug but I can't afford an entire rug all at once.  I wish I could find a store that does what quilt store do with blocks of the month.  Then I could afford it. 
And speaking of blocks of the month, here is my current block of the month project up to date (as of today anyway - I expect month four tomorrow).  Seven inch blocks - 12 out of 52.  These are all civil war prints. 

Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I finished up the Ellen Chester side of my etiu last night.  This side is my favorite and not because Ms. Ellen herself has been gracing my blog with her comments.  This is my favorite needlework saying of all the saying out there that I have found. 
 I don't think I ever posted a good photo of the first side I completed last month. 

So pretty!  I love that I'm making good progress on this one.
I'm going to put the etui down a bit and work on another WIP.  I think the IsaV Marquior is up next - I only have two sections (out of six) to go and I'd love that put that one if in the finis column this year.  I'll post a photo with progress soon.
I've always been a lover of Judith Leiber bags.  My sister is a HUGE fan and owns many.  She surprised me last week with this cute pug bag.  Not in the usual pug colors but cute nonetheless.  The bag is surround by some of the little Judith Leiber scent boxes she has been buying for me. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

chilly and snowy

So far this winter has been snowy and really cold!  Like the winters used to be.  Here is my progress on my Etui.  I love how this side is shaping up.  I wish I was farther but a combination of weather and opportunity has allowed me to work from home more than usual.  And I've only been stitching on the train. 
 Speaking of working from home, here are my coworkers gathered around the space heater in my office.  Seriously, it's not that cold in here!  LOL!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A couple more little finishes

I've been busy working on finishing up old projects.  I managed to get to the quilt store for the border fabric for my 36 inch wall hanging.  I love how it turned out.  It will be a while though before it hits the quilting machine - my sister did a ton of work on her house and the sewing room is still a mess.  I have to go and get it all together again before I can start working on quilts in there.
This is a little 12 inch quilt who's kit I purchased last spring or the winter before even.  Super quick - I did it in just two days.  The plan is to have a ton of these little quilts so I can change them out monthly.
This little pin cushion was a test block of a quilt that I've been working on for years.  I have to be in the mood to work on paper piecing and the wall hanging quilt has been just sitting in a box.  But I saved the first test because I knew it would make a great little something.  And it did!
This pin cushion is a kit from Just Another Button Company.  I've had the kit for a couple of years but the instructions had an error and I never got around to emailing them for the correction.  Well I finally did on Monday and finished this up last night.
And lastly and hard to see what it is, is a table runner I quilted on the quilter two Christmases ago.  I need a quick gift for my nephew and niece so I made them each a table runner.  I did a test first using metallic thread but it didn't work out that great so I redid theirs using cotton but hung onto the test.  And finally bound it.  As long as you don't look to closely you can't tell that the thread broke a million times. 

I've also been stitching on my Etui but no current progress photos and working on finishing up more blocks from blocks of the month quilts.  I really have a bunch.  :-)  And I finally looked in my quilt kits box.  Oh boy, do I have the projects to get to.  :-)

Friday, January 03, 2014

Quilting time

 Since my last update I've spent my crafting time quilting.  And I've been very productive!  Below are three little paper pieced pictures that I've completed.  It's a series of six but so far I've only acquired three.  Now I want to buy the other three.  I pick these up at quilt shows so I might resort to an online order if I can't wait that long. 
 I also finished the piecing of a small quilt for my wrought iron mini quilt holder.  I actually cut this out around 13 months ago planning on it being on display two Christmases ago.  Didn't make it again this year but will no doubt be in place this year.  I've got a ton of mini quilts to do and I'll put them on the machine quilter all at the same time some time this summer. 
Lastly I finished piecing another smallish quilt 36 x 36.  Love this one - its from the book, Civil War Legacies - Quilt Patterns for Reproduction Fabrics.  It's still missing the last 3" border though, I bought a kit from my favorite quilt store way over a year ago and it was missing from the package.  Bummer but a good excuse for a trip to the store today. 
I've also been doing a little more but no photos yet.  I'm working on a quilt of the month quilt called Hampton Bridge.  Another reproduction fabric quilt and so far I'm keeping up with it.  Well actually I just got caught up as we were just sent month three.  :-)  Before going back to work on Monday, I hope to do some work on a log cabin that I've had in the works for way over two years.  It's made up of random light and dark reproduction fabrics cut into super small logs.  Each log will finish at a half an inch!  And I hope to piece month five of another block of the month I got way behind on called Civil War Tribute.  I haven't worked on this one since April 2010. 

What are my craft plans for the year?  I want to finish things.  I've got a ton of stitching WIPs plus even more quilting WIPs.  I want to complete a ton before I invest more $$ on new stuff.  There a are several wool rugs (all pillow size still at this point) I want to finish - love rug working but I never purchased a frame I really like yet and it's still hard to settle in.  I also need to get going on my Cabinet - the second online class starts in March and I'm in this so deep in regards to money at this point I need to keep going - way over $2,000 I estimate at this point with at least $3,000 to go. 

Also have a ton of travel planned for this year.  A short cruise in Caribbean, a longer Disney cruise in April to Mexico with my sister and her kids and grand kids but the big trip of 2014 is a cruise and some land travel in May to Asia with my sister!  I'll start planning that soon so stay tuned for that.  We thinking adding on a three day Beijing land tour to the cruise.  And of course maybe Africa again in early winter - just a mission trip this year.  My nephew Larry and I plan on taking more climbers to Kili in 2015.   My attendance on that depends all on if I can raise the funds again.  I won't need as much as my trip in 2013 but I don't want to ask too much from friends and family if I want to try again in 2015. 

No major home improvement plans on tap this year - my travel plans this year will take all my extra funds so no big money available for that and I need to pay down my debt to get ready for a home equity loan I want to take out for the roof and siding I need.  I'm putting in a new hot water heater for sure and I'm hoping to purchase more hardwood for my floors (just to have on hand, no money for installing it this year) and changing out windows starting with my bedroom.  It's still cold in there despite my gutting the room and putting in insulation in the walls, getting insulation in the attic and putting in an all new heater and ducts!  Like five degrees colder than the rest of the house so at this point it can only be the bad windows.  I'm also (even though I swore I wouldn't do this) planning on cosmetic work on my kitchen.  I didn't want to spend money twice but I just can't stand it anymore and it's going to be at least a decade I'm thinking before I can do what I want to do with the kitchen.  I purchased an island several months ago and I love it.  I've already purchased a kit to paint the cabinets a cream color and plan on antiquing them darker.  I'll put in new counter tops and a back splash in slate tile.  If I can find the cash, I'll put in a new sink (I really want a hammered copper farmhouse sink and can use in the new kitchen someday so I really won't be wasting the $$) and a new oil rubbed bronze faucet as it's the only piece of metal left in  the house that doesn't match.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Actually making progress!

I'm very pleased with the amount I've actually stitched this week.  :-)  Making great progress with this side of the etui.  Just the first border and quote left and it's in the books.  I'm working from home a bit over the next two weeks as I'm not taking any time off during the holidays.  I'm hoping to keep my momentum going by finishing this side of the box and finishing off my current casket project.  I'm also hoping to get some quilting in.  I have a ton of quilt WIPs and kits that are collecting dust in my sewing room and I want to make room for more!  :-)
Enjoy the weekend! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Queen Stitch Blues

I finished off the first side of my A Petit Sampling Etui last week.  Between the Queen Stitches and the over one lettering, I thought I would never be finished!  :-)  But I'm super happy with how it turned out and I've already started on another side. 
Making great progress on the second side (by Ellen Chester I think).  This one has no Queen Stitches and only a little over one lettering.  Normally I love over one stitching but it's too hard for me to see on the train now that I need to wear glasses to stitch.  Not enough light so I have to wait until I get home and have my Ott Light to help me see. 
I also worked a bit on my current project from my ongoing casket project.  It's the pin cushion and I'm almost at the point of this project where all I have left is, yes, Queen Stitches.  :-)  We are done with the first 18 months worth of classes and so far disappointed with what I have completed.  Nowhere close to designing my piece and even farther away from being able to do the stumpwork required.  The second session starts in March and that is dedicated to the stumpwork skills.  Hoping that will inspire me to get going on the skills needed to complete my casket.  I'm planning on taking some of my income tax refund money to buy some of the materials needed to complete the casket.  Like the foundation fabric and lining fabric and papers and a ton more of the silk threads.  I have all the tools I need at this point, lamps, wood frames and stumpwork tools so I'm good there. 
In other craft news, I started making jewerly again after I got inspired from a bracelet I puchased while in Africa from the Maasi (top crystal one).  It turns out it's done in the style of bracelets by Chan Luu.  Way cool but way out of my price range.  So I got creative and made a couple.  Way cool and super easy.  :-)  I did the blue stone one and the wrap one.  I think they would make great gifts.
Over the weekend I picked up a new dog bed for the pugs.  Isabelle has a huge one that they love but they just get swallowed up by it (even when all three are on it) so I've been on the hunt for an affordable, smaller one for Molly especially because she is getting up there in age (she is 10) and when the floors are cold in the winter, she has a hard getting moving when she is sleeping on the floor.  Within minutes of putting it down, Molly planted herself and stayed there for hours.  Clancy got in a little while later and the two of them are now happly sharing it (Aoife doesn't like to share and wanted nothing to do with it).  Late last night I looked down and what do I see?  Isabelle trying it out.  Silly dog. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Cross one off the bucket list! I made the summit!

Getting to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  And I thought completing a marathon was hard.  That was easy compared to this!  It was both a mental and physical challenge from start to finish.  And totally life changing.  Here I am at the summit with our head guide and first assistant guide.  Without their help, I don't think I could have made it.
 My climbing buddies - my nephew Larry, one of Larry's best friends, Scott, me, my nephew Mark and our good friend Bill - taken on our safari to Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
 I was amazed at the wildlife we saw while on safari - I could have reached out and touched the elephants and they strolled by our truck.
 Almost above the clouds on day two.
And the moutain herself.  I can't wait to go back.
And I'm looking for a new adventure. :-)  Where will I go next?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

feeling good

I've actually made some progress on my first panel - almost finished with the first color of the Queen Stitch.  Two more rows on each after this but I feel good about just picking it up again.  It's funny, I was bitching about Queen Stitches and how it holds me up and I looked over at the pin cushion that I'm making for my casket (photo posted in last blog update) and I'm almost at the point where all the remaining stitching is Queen Stitch!  Yikes!

 I also did a couple more steps in my long term project - Scott Lee.  Scott Lee was a class piece that the late Jean Hilton did many years ago.  I'm almost finished with the "prework".  Then the hard stuff starts.  Like this was a piece of cake... Not!  The amount of counting that had to be done to line up the light tan wavy border with dark tan wavy border was amazing.  Took forever and many pulls and recounts.  And of course I once again saw the note that said "you must pay Kelly for the chart"!  Sorry Kelly!

I started a blog for my climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro.  We are going to have 24/7 tracking and hope to upload photos and videos everyday.  Tracking will be turned on the 14th when we leave for Africa - our climb starts on the 17th.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's been a while!

I can't believe it's been six months since I last blogged.  I can't believe it's been six months since I really stitched anything!  I've been trying, really I have, but I just can't seem to put together more than a day or two at a time to stitch.  I know some of it is because on the project I wanted to work on the most, I'm at a point where I have nothing left but Queen Stitch and I HATE those so I've been putting off  working on it.  I started back on A Petit Sampling Etui several months ago and made great progress on the first panel of the box.  But now I'm at the point of nothing left but those damn Queen Stitches and a bunch of over one letters and I just haven't wanted to pick it up.  I was doing so good until that point!  Still having issues with staying awake on train and stitching at night.  And my new glasses didn't help as much as I was hoping they would.  But here it is in any case. 

I've also been trying to put some work into working on my Casket materials but can't seem to get anywhere with that also.  I started payments for my double casket early in the summer - $110 a month for 24 months and as soon as I can get the cash together I need to put the deposit down on the second class of the series (the first class is complete as of this month).  This one is all about stumpwork.  I've put so much money into this and I'm frozen.  Only one panel is designed and I haven't even started to try to learn the stitches I need to despite the several kits I have purchased.  It's driving me crazy.  Here is the start of the pin cushion.  It's tent stitch over waste canvas.  It looks pretty crappy now but it should look ok when the waste canvas is pulled off.  The stitches will look all puffy.  At least that is the plan anyway. 
Not much else going on - I did my usual it's summer I don't want to work on the house routine so nothing has happened there. 
But my biggest news is I'm going to Africa in two weeks to attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro!  How about that!  It's 19,430 feet to the summit.  It's a fund raiser we came up with to benefit an orphan school in Moshi Tanzania.  Before my brother-in-law passed away last year, he asked that we help out his favorite nurse with her mission work and one thing lead to another and well I'm climbing a mountain.  :-)  Pretty cool huh?  Lot's of photos will of course follow so wish me luck. 
Thanks for stopping by after all this time!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scissor Case Finis

I finished up my scissor case over the weekend.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  Two down and ?? to go.   :-)  I really don't know how many little treats are coming with our casket class (I have instructions for four or five at this point).  I laced up the next one and started stitching - it's a little pin cushion.  I'll take a photo the next time I work on it. 
 Here are my two little treasures together.  These will have a home in the casket someday. 
This is a set of hand made needlework tools I purchased from the UK.  They are made of English Yew and are all hand turned.  I'll need them for the stumpwork that I'm doing on the casket.  Of course I don't know how to use them yet but that will come in the second 18 month course.  I can't wait.