Thursday, April 21, 2016


I turned my needle roll into a needle roll today!  :-)  I filled it full of emery and it weights about a half a pound.  It's just what I needed.  The ruler case is all hooped up but I haven't started stitching yet.  Hopefully tonight. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

what a streak!

I finished stitching up my Shepherd's Bush, Shepherd's Fold needleroll on Saturday.  And it's almost finished in it's final form!  I ordered white emery to fill it with as I needed a needle sharpener and as soon as it arrives, I'll totally complete it.  Next up - the ruler case.  :-)  I still have the first piece to start also, it's the lid of the pretty wood box but I'll just buy a paper mache one and paint it purple like the wood one.

I spent most of my weekend working on my koi pond.  It was so nice outside!  I started working on it last year from March to July and managed to get all the guts in and the koi rehomed from my parents house and about a month ago, my loving Lab, Ben ate three huge holes in the liner - non reparable holes. 

To replace the liner, everything needed to be removed.  That included two tons of pea gravel that made up the bog and two tons of boulders that made up the waterfall.  It's a good thing I hated how the waterfall turned out.  I was planning on redoing it no matter what this year.   

Oh the mess! 
Here is the temporary home for my koi as I replace the liner - a 1,000 gallon kiddy pool in the garage.  In a perfect world they will only be in there 24 to 72 hours.  Hoping I have no huge issues.  I don't have to replace all the guts I removed over the past weekend, just enough to start the some of the filters again.   I will pull the liner this Friday or Saturday depending on the weather.
Here is the lab himself - Benito.  I foster labs for Chicagoland Lab Rescue and this guy crossed our paths last September.  He's from Puerto Rico.  Isabelle fell in love with him and we kept him.  Unfortunately....  Not only has he eaten my pond liner, but also my $3,000 couch and all my outside cushions.  He's lucky Isabelle loves him so much...
So that was the start of my spring home repairs.  Also up this year is replanting my entire backyard with grass.  It got so messed up with the digging of the pond and I've made this my priority.  The mud since the fall has been so bad.  I'm going to hire someone to come in and level out the soil so I can replant it with a mix of northern hardy grass, clover and northern super short wild flowers.  Hoping to also find some cash to work on all the pavers I want to put around the outside of my pond.  But that's $$$.  I need to work on my deck also so we'll see what happens. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Loving this stitch!

I so loving stitching this little needleroll.  This is what gets me, I love the stitching so why can't I just do it?  I shake my head and feel that the pressure I've put on myself to start work on my casket is holding me back.  I fellow stitcher had some sage advice for me. 

She said "One foot in front of another, Margie. It's a matter of one small problem to solve, followed by another small problem. It's looking at the over-all picture that leads to paralysis. What the casket taught me is that I could solve one problem-just one. After that, just one more small problem. It's amazing how that starts to add up, and pretty soon, the whole thing is completed. Just one small problem after another. Don't think of the entire thing or it overwhelms you."

Now to take her advice!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

and poof! It's done

It only took a little time last night to finish up my Berry Bandit by Barbara Jackson last night and even less time today to finish it off.  It's a cute little thing and I turned mine into a frame weight by adding shot to it.  This was a fun project and it was good to try my hand again at crewel embroidery after so many years off.
Here is the entire piece before finishing.
A nice size for a frame weight!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

not sure where the time goes

I was totally going to work on these two projects and get them done super fast.  The somehow I get derailed.  Not sure how that happens.  :-)  Liking my bullion flowers.  I practiced a couple before I started them for real.  I want to get some better needles.  I've been using milliners like it was recommended on a couple of websites but I'm still not liking the feel of them.  I think I saw somewhere once there are actually bullion needles.  I think I'll go look for them.   
I'm still plugging away at my Shepherd's Bush Shepherd's Fold Needle Roll.  These little things go so fast. 

Looking forward to real spring - I've go so much to do in my yard this year.  The koi pond needs some upgrades and the lawn in the back is a mess.  It's a combination of the dogs and the construction of the pond that I never finished last year.  I swear it will never been the same. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

strawberry work

I've finished up the strawberries on my Berry Bandit strawberry frame weight.  I'm happy with how it's looking - it's been such a long time since I did any crewel work I wasn't sure how I would do.  Just the little bees and the blue flowers left.  The flowers are bullion stitch and I haven't done those in years.  I'll do some practicing for sure before I start those. 

My latest toy came in the mail all the way from England last week.  It's the Necessaire Floor Stand from NeedleNeeds.  Two years ago I bought their Millennium Frame and I love it but it just didn't work with my Needlepoint System 3 stand.  So I thought I would give this one a go.  I'm hoping that is my last large purchase of things I need to buy to work on my casket efficiently.  Of course I just remembered I want to put a Swiss musical movement in my casket.  The one I like is $1,000.  I'd love to find one at an estate sale.  I need to start looking for one.  And I need to find it used and much less expensive.  :-) 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I did the finishing of the scissor keep and needle book for the Shepherd's Fold series.  They are super cute.  My finishing skills are a little rusty but all and all I'm happy.  :-)  I started the needle roll yesterday but not enough done to share yet.  Hope to get back to the Berry Bandit this weekend.  I'd love to get that one finished.  I have so many projects I want to get back to.  :-)  A nice place to be.

Monday, February 22, 2016


I did a little shopping during the Silver Needle Super Bowl sale a couple of weeks ago.  I loved this Shepherd's Bush kit Gather Moments and it's box.  It looks like it's part of the Shepherd's Fold series (but it's not).  I didn't really look at the size of the box when I ordered it and when it showed up it's a little smaller than I was hoping for.  Note to self, read the details!  But it will hold some of the Shepherd's Fold pieces.  I love the round box but because it's covered you really cant put stuff in it if you want to display it all together.  So the plan is to put some of the pieces in this open wooden box.  And I couldn't resist the tiny box also.  It has a magnet it in and I plan to finish it as a pin keep and have it stuck on my frame holder to hold my threaded needles. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

things to show :-)

I'm so excited that a week after my last post, I actually have things to share.  :-)  I'm making good progress on my Shinning Needle crewel work class, Berry Thief.  I didn't think it would be very popular but I'm seeing an lot's of blogs.  I was hoping to be done with the stitching by now, but I've been busy doing other things at night and I haven't taken this one to work because of the size.  Crossing my fingers I can get a little more done this weekend.  I'm enjoying the crewel work.  This is the first stitching technique I learned when I was kid.  I was 11 or so when I taught myself with a kit my grandmother gave me.  Some sort of mushroom design if I recall.  In harvest gold and avocado green no doubt.  :-)  I wish I still had it, it would be good for a laugh.
I've also almost finished up Cherish Life from the Shepherd's Fold series by Shepherd's Bush.  This is one of the monthlies they released last year.  This will finish up as a needle book.  I also finished up the scissor bob last weekend and just need to get that one together also.  Super disappointed in just how much they are cutting corners these days with kits.  There is barely enough thread to finish each one and they are cutting really short lengths.  I like to stitch with a longer thread.  And the linen they put in the kits and in this one in particular only gives an extra inch all around.  I had to sew fabric around all four side just to get it in a hoop.  I understand the costs of stitching are rising and they need to be passed on, but an inch of extra linen?  Eight / nine inches of fiber?  I'm going to start on the needle roll next and will only have the ruler case and the big round one left. 

I moved some furniture around in my living room last weekend in a effort to make myself a comfortable place to stitch.  Since I moved into my house almost five years ago, I just haven't been able to find a place to sit and stitch that is just right.  I think I finally found it.  I have a large chair that seems to be working out well and I've been able to set up my frame holder and magnifying light in a workable position in view of the TV.  While I don't need the stand and extra lights for cross stitch, I really need it for my crewel work and stumpwork.  And I think my lack of a "correct" place has hindered me with my progress on some of my projects.  Only time will tell of course, but it's nice to have a stitching corner again with all my tools in arms reach and a light when I need it and where I can glance up at TV now and again. 

Thanks for all the kind words and emails about my Clancy.  It really warms my heart.  The nights are the hardest - the two of us had an evening routine that started when he was a puppy and because it's no longer there, I get sad every night I go to bed.  I would call Clancy to bed (not that I had too really) and he would wait for me at the foot of the bed to get into my place.  Then he would come up next to my head and make his bed for the night next to my pillow.  I would pet him for a little every night.  I always found it relaxing.  I still call him up at night and tell him I miss him.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop.  :-(   

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.