Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Well that was a fast year...

Clancy O'Shay, momma's little boy - July 4, 2005 - January 7, 2016

Where do I start?  First I can't believe it's been a year since I last blogged.  Stitching and dogs took a back seat to the yard.  It seemed like I had a good start in the year but lost my ju-ju really early.  I started work on a new koi pond for my yard in February.  Lot's of planning and the actual building started in March.  I didn't even get any koi in until May.  And I put it to bed in November with still a ton of work to do and things still left to buy.  What a huge money pit.  And I don't even have a nice photo to share.  :-(  How did that happen? 

I only have one finish to show - and that was from last week.  Shepherd's Bush Goodness and Grace pin cushion.  I made a start from that series on the pin keep also. 
I signed up for a crewel work class from the Shinning Needle and I've been making good progress on that.  It's going to be a giant strawberry - I'm filling mine with shot to make a frame weight.  
 Isabelle and Benny sharing.  :-)

I adopted another lab in September.  I started fostering for Chicagoland Lab Rescue back in the summer and the fourth dog I fostered for them was Benny from Puerto Rico.  I knew within 30 minutes of his being dropped of, I couldn't let him go.  Isabelle loves him also so it's a huge plus.

My 2016 started out very sad.  On the 7th of January my beloved pug Clancy died in a tragic accident while I was away on vacation.  He will never be replaced and always remembered.  It's been so hard without him.  I love all my dogs but it was different with Clancy. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Not much progress

Not much stitching of any kind has been going on lately.  I've been working from home more often than not and I've been very lazy at night.  That all adds up to little or no stitching.  Below is my progress on my Shepherd's Bush.  I really don't have much left if I would just get to it.  :-)

I have been working on a bit of decorating.  My sister gave me the below cabinet for Christmas and I've had a blast filling it with my American Redware collection.  I've only been collecting for three years and I have 35 pieces (all reproductions).  Here I have about half of it.  The rest are in the kitchen in various places.  Makes me happy.  :-)
I also love botanical prints and have been purchasing a set of a series of prints called the Twelve Months of Flowers by Robert Furber.  They were first published in 1730.  My prints are reproductions of course but are hand tinted.  They are very true to the originals.  I finally had all 12 framed and are all hanging in my bedroom. 
Now I really need to figure out some window treatments other than the wood shades I have up.  It's hard to believe I've been working on my bedroom for three years now.  I also did some more work on my bathroom and now all the plumbing is finished.  I still have to put up the new trim work and a little more painting before I can start to decorate that.  But I am getting closer to being done with both. 
Here is my pretty Isabelle.  I've had her four years now (can't believe how time flies) and she is such a beauty.  She is always with me just like the pugs.  I never knew Labs could be so clingy.  :-)  But I love it. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

something new

 I've put a little more time into my Shepherd's Bush piece.  Love the colors.  I think I'll buy the matching pins for this one. 
I put in a couple of more rows on my Drawn Thread Sampler.  My plan is to do all the pre-work before I start the new lesson plan which is different from Gay Ann's.  After all the pre-work is done, that means all the pulled work from the top to the bottom.  The pre-work is good tv work as it's pretty no-brainer. 
I purchased another SNS piece - Goldfinch and Chickadee Sewing Essentials.  I want more experience with stumpwork and the two pieces each have a lovely bird on them.  All the cross stich is over one.  Yuck.  But I'm done with the Goldfinch piece and should be done with the Chickadee piece in the next day or so.  Then I can start the stumpwork.  Yeah!  Of course I should be working on one of the other stumpwork pieces I have but you know how that goes.  :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Year, New Starts

I've been making progress on my Shepherd's Bush Goodness and Grace pin cushion.  It's been my main train project - not have I've been on the train much lately.  I've been sick since Christmas and working from home when I can.  And I was on vacation last week and I didn't put a stitch in.  I don't know why I even travel with stitching - I haven't stitched in years while on vacation.  :-)  I'd like to get caught up with these SBs before more come up.  I don't have a chance at that of course.  I'm still sleeping on the way into work when I do get on the train.  I need to fix that.  :-)

I'm also working on the two Drawn Thread pieces from Gay Ann Rogers.  I signed up on the Shinning Needle online.  My progress on these as been dismal.  But not a lot of that has been my fault.  The supplies took forever to come in and I lost whatever enthusiasm I had to the project while waiting.  And I'm finding the "extra" instructions sent by the new instructor not to be a single bit helpful and there have been lots of "I'll be posting a lesson next week" and then nothing gets posted.  I was going to work on the Doodle piece first to learn the stitches but those have been even more slow in coming so I started the big piece and I'm now working on both at the same time.  And pretty much doing what I want to do rather than following the new instructions.  I can only work on these at home as they are in large frames and some nights I just feel like stitching so I do easy stuff saving the harder newer stuff for when I feel like stitching with a book next to me.  The class runs to the fall and I hope I'm done around then.  The one on the top is the sampler and the one below the doodle piece. 
I've also been trying to get caught up on some quilting.  I wanted to do something sorta easy so I started with Blazing Star from Primitive Gatherings.  The instructions are so poor and as far as I can tell incorrect so the entire quilt seems to be screwed up.  Now I'm trying to fix it and it's just not working.  Talk about a waste of $180.  The quilt is a huge Texas Star with very large pieces (the fast part) and it was illustrated so poorly nothing is coming together.  And because the pieces were so large, a mistake can't be fixed.  So I might have a pile of scrap.  Nothing has been done in weeks there.  I guess I should work on it some more and see if by some miracle it actually comes together.  Doubt it though. 

So that has been my last several weeks - trying to something going and having nothing but issues.  :-(  Hopefully that will be a thing of the past soon so I can get back on easy street. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Done with time to spare!

All finished with plenty of time to spare!  I'm super happy with how they turned out.  Two boxes have a green base coat and two have a red base.  All four have different trims and all the linens are different.  I lined all of them with a hand made marbled paper in green.  I also went to a glass artist and made a glass ornament to put in each box.  :-)  I'm confident that my family will love it.  I'm sad however, two of my siblings are saying they are done with our tradition.  We've done this for over 20 years and it's been a lot of fun.  We decided we would take a vote on Wednesday but I'm pretty sure I'll loose but we did agree to circle back in a year and take another vote 

I had a question last week regarding the waxing of the paper mache boxes.  I follow the steps from a box that Blackbird Designs did in 2006 called Secret Garden (it was a Loose Feathers).  I take a paper mache box and paint it with two coats of a base acrylic paint then give it a third (and maybe fourth) coat of the top color.  After it's all dry I buff off enough of the top color so the base color shows through.  It also gives it a nice smooth finish.  The I wax it all with brown shoe wax and buff it until is shines.  I use Kiwi Wax.  You can see in the photo below, it totally enhances the final look of the box. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New start

I started on one of the new Shepherd's Bush kits this week.  This one is Goodness and Grace.  It's a good start for only a couple of train rides this week.  I'm still working on getting my boxes completed for Christmas - I should be totally finished by the end of the weekend.  I have all my supplies in hand and it's going well.  The boxes are painted and tonight I'll stain and wax them.  I'll post photos when they are complete.

Friday, December 12, 2014

All done! Blackbird's Winter Delivery Finis

Blackbird Designs - Blackbird Delivery
Recommended floss
Silkweaver's 32 count Solo

I just finished up my fourth Blackbird's Winter Delivery.  I've ordered the hand marbled paper for the interior and I'm hoping it comes in the mail today.  I'll get the boxes painted and waxed and I'd love to have the boxes completed by the end of the weekend.  Yeah!  I'm going to finish in plenty of time and I won't have to stress about anything but getting them wrapped in pretty Christmas paper. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Three down! Blackbird's Winter Delivery finis

Blackbird's Winter Delivery
Blackbird Designs
Recommended Floss
R&R 32 count linen
Number three is in the books!  Now that I'm close to having four finished, it seems unlikely that I will stitch one for myself.  Very bored with this design.  :-)  So far this is my favorite but the last one will be up there also as I found a Silkweavers Solo that I loved and really like how it is turning out. 
I picked up the paper mache boxes from Hobby Lobby over the weekend and will start to paint those this week.  I should be done by the end of the weekend!  That is if I go with fabric for the interior rather than paper as I haven't purchased the paper yet.  I'm leaning toward just doing it in fabric so I can be done. 

Here are the three completed deliveries. 

And number four on the Silkweavers 32 count solo.  Love it.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 05, 2014

a slight delay

I was hoping to have number three done a couple of days ago.  However I was sidelined by a case of food poisoning the entire long weekend.  I went to lunch with a friend on Friday and by dinnertime was down until Monday.  :-(  Bummer.  I'm hoping to get this one finished up by the end of the weekend - if would be great to get these four done by mid-December.  Then I can breath and move onto something that I really want to be working on. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

two down and three to go - Blackbird's Winter Delivery finis


Blackbird's Winter Delivery - Blackbird Designs
32 count Silkweaver's Linen
Recommended Gentle Arts Floss

I finished up Winter Delivery number two today.  And I've already started number three.  I hope to have that one finished by mid-next week.  I have to go out and buy the paper mache boxes, sure hope I can fine some with Christmas crafting in full swing.  :-)
Here are the first two together. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2014

One down... Blackbird's Winter Delivery finis

Blackbird's Winter Delivery
32 count Silkweaver Linen
Recommended Gentle Arts Floss

I finished up my first Winter Delivery last night.  I'm stitching five of these before Christmas.  YIKES!  Am I ever running behind.  I started stitching this one in July with a plan of doing one a month.  That would still give me plenty of time for the finishing work.  As a refresher, it's my year to make something for all my brothers, sister and parents for Christmas.  But the count of five does include one for me (I want one too!).  Now I have to do one a week.  :-)  And in true fashion to my personality, now it's a job and no longer a pleasure and I have SO MANY other things I want to be working on right now it's torcher to work on it.  I want to be finishing my stumpwork project or getting a few more lessons completed on my Drawn Thread Sampler (more on that later).  In fact I promised myself that I would work on it at least an hour every day starting last Monday.  Didn't pick it up until Thursday.  :-(  I know I can get at least three done before the week of December 22nd but now the fun has been sucked out. 
Here is number two - I'm stitching this one on a really pretty Silkweaver's green.  But of course I take crappy photos and you can't see it's a piney color.  Each one will be on a different background and since I'm just winging the personalization, each will be a little different.  I'm thinking of making the little snowflakes on each one a little different also. 

I'm going to make each one the top of a little 5" x 5" x 5" paper mache box.  I still need to order the hand made papers from Hollander's.  I want to line each one with hand made marbled paper.  I'd also like to put something in it.  Any suggestions?  I could go buy an hand blown glass ornament (thinking a bird) or candle or something like that.  I wish I had time to make something but I really am out of time. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Floral Glove Finis

I finished up my Floral Glove today!  I had no idea when I started this project it would not take months but years.  :-)  I guess that is the way it turns out sometime.  I'm pleased with the overall look of it but I do see room for improvement in my goldwork.  I'm looking for a class as we speak. 
Here is the inside.  There is a needle holder, three little pockets for tools and a pair of scissors fits in between the two pieces in the ultrasuede.  Love it. 
I spent the last two days attending a Jane Nicholas stumpwork class.  What it ever amazing!  Jane is a wonderful teacher and I learned so much.  I actually made a lot of progress on my piece and I hope to finish it up in the next couple of weeks.  This was an important step in being able to complete my casket and it really helped my confidence a lot. 
I didn't mean for three months to go by between posts.  I was really on a role with stitching and posting but then I really had to get down to business with my eighteen costumes I agreed to do before my families Halloween cruise.  And here are photos of some.  I'll post more in the days to come as they are scattered all over the place as well as some are still in hard copy and need to be scanned. 
I did nine pirates.  These were my favorites and we'll be able to use them for every Disney cruise we go on.  Only the three kids will need to be replaced every year - the adults will just get upgrades and I feel like it.

The evil queen turned out to be my favorite costume.  People stopped my nephews wife in the halls to be photographed with her is was so good.  I think my Elsa was one of the better ones there.  There were dozens of little girls dressed up like Anna and Elsa. 

Of course we had our own Elsa.  Here she is with Cruella and Mary Poppins (my niece, great niece and sister).

I'll post the group photos as soon as I have them.  It was a blast and so worth the hundreds of hours I put into them since June. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stitching complete

 I've finished up the stitching on my floral glove.  Do I ever need some classes on goldwork.  It's a hot mess.  :-)  But now I know it's not the piece of cake I thought it would be so I'll go find some books and in person classes on it.  I would like to get really good at it as I love it.  I'm already working on the finishing and I would love to make some progress here but I have a pretty full weekend with quilting a quilt that I need to give away next Friday - nothing like waiting to the last minute. 

Here is the first part of the Cruella DeVille costume that I'm making for one of my great nieces.  Next for this one a black and white cocktail style dress. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014


So close to finishing up the stitching on my floral glove.  It's been harder than I thought it would be.  In theory, it's just couching but getting it just right is more difficult.  I really need to take an in person gold work class.  Thistle Threads still offers an online course but I really want in person.  And I already send them so much $$ a month for my stumpwork, I can't bare sending more!  LOL!

I'm still planning on getting this puppy done by tomorrow night.  Then (gasp) I can start the finishing! 

Here is my progress on my third panel for my Etui - not as much as I've been hoping for but I haven't had many train rides over the past two weeks and this is my current train project.  I ordered the Shepherd's Bush Shepherd's Fold pieces and I was really hoping to finish this before the pull of that makes me put this aside.  :-)  We'll see how strong I am.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fun at the Faire

 I totally had a blast at the Renaissance Faire on Saturday.  And I even managed to get some stitching and quilting done.  I have started on the medal work on my floral glove.  And I'm officially finished with Part 3.  Only one more stitching section to go and the I get to start finishing this one.  It's going to go fast now and only couching of medal threads and more of the medal overlays.  I can actually see myself finishing the stitching by the weekend if I keep at it at night. 
 Here is my start of my first Amy Mitten casket toys.  This will be a needle case when it's complete.  Amy's instructions are so complete and I'm going to learn and practice many skills that I need for a successful casket.  I'm getting happy with how my long and short stitches are progressing.  I still have room for improvement but I'm so much better than my first attempts. 
 I also managed to complete month six of my Civil War Tribute quilt (four 12 inch blocks).  To be honest, I really rushed this as my heart wasn't in it and the seems are so wonky it's embarrassing.  I'm not going to start month seven because it will be more of the same attitude.  Just because it's not my favorite right now, doesn't mean that I can rush to get it over with - way to much money is invested not to do my best work.  I'll go back to my Hampton Ridge BOM for the time being.  But in any case, I still have seven Halloween costumes and several more pirate outfits to get done before October 31st.  I really won't have time to quilt!
Here I am at the Ren Faire with my friend Susie.  We had so much fun!  And I loved dressing up in my corset and new skirt.  Susie of course looked divine in her red harem girl outfit but then she looks good in a paper bag.  :-)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Quilting too!

 As you can see, I'm still over the place with regards to current projects.  Here is my floral glove progress.  I've started couching other things!  :-)  I'm hoping by the end of the weekend, I'm actually laying some of the medal threads.  Way cool.  :-)

 In between Halloween costumes and pirate costumes, I decided I needed to get some piecing done.  These are the four 12" blocks of month five for the Civil War Tribute quilt I started four or so years ago.  It was a block of the month quilt that will fit my king size bed.  The sad part is, I no longer really like it.  It's a little too civil war for my tastes now with it's super muddy colors and lots of pink.  But I'm going to finish it - it was way too much money in fabric not to.  Over $250 I think with the backing fabric.  And to add a little insult to injury, I think this one is too big for my machine quilter.  I can handle up to 90" and I'm pretty sure this one finishes off more than that.  So I have to send it out.  But I'm pushing on regardless.  I'm about half way with month six even as I write this post - I wish that were half way but I still have the biggest piecing months ahead - month seven is eight 12 " blocks and month nine is the center medallion and it's huge with a ton of set in seams if I'm not mistaken.  I'm also going to try to find time for the Hampton Ridge BOM also.  I only did the first three months and I have seven months sitting on my quilting table.  I think they are sending me month ten this week - I was determined to stay current with this one too.  HA!  Fat chance of that happening.  I haven't purchased any quilting stuff in over a year (except for Hampton Ridge) thank goodness.  In addition to these two quilts, I think I have about 10 or so quilt tops totally ready to be cut out and pieced. 
Here is Halloween costume #1 - Elsa!  My great niece Claire is dying to be her and this one turned out so sparkly.  I still think I might find a way to add sequin or crystal snowflakes to the overlay.  And a crown of course.  Claire can't be a snow princess without a crown. 

Next up a series of villains.  My nephew Larry, his wife Shelley and their daughter Morgan all want to be Disney villains.  So bring on Gaston, the Evil Queen from Snow White and Cruella DeVil.  Then Claire's brother is going to be Kristoff from Frozen and no idea yet what their parents (my niece and her husband) want to be.  My sister keeps saying she doesn't want to be anything but I'll try to talk her into something.  Or she would be the only person not in costume.  I think she would be great as a queen of some sort also.  I'll do mine last (Merida).  Then bring on the pirates!  :-)  It's a good think I like working on costumes or I'd be feeling overwhelmed.  :-)

Have a great weekend!  Renaissance Faire for me.  :-)  I can't wait.