Thursday, April 30, 2009

it's raining again

It's raining today. While that is not an unusual event here in Northern Illinois, it has rained 13 out of the last 14 days. I'm growing quite tired of it. I am NOT a duck. :-) So far the forecast for the weekend is on the coldish side but no rain.

Here is my progress on Two Hearts. Not as much progress as I would have liked mostly because napping has been just lovely on the train this week. :-) I worked on HoHRH last night but forgot to take a snap. I only finished one side of the house. I will not make my goal this month but I'm not concerned yet. May is a long month and I'll have a long weekend tossed in there for good measure.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My new start

I started Two Hearts from Blackbird Designs yesterday. It was the last Loose Feather. I never got around to doing it because I had to finish the mystery first and then something else came along. :-) But I liked the look of it and I figured now would be a good time. I chatted with Drema yesterday and she gave me all the details on the new Loose Feather. It should be out soon! The small in this one is a pin cushion that rests on top of a wooden stand. I have of course pre-ordered the stand and I can't wait to see it. Why did I call Drema you ask? Well I really needed the chart from CHS called Mrs. Pearson. The one with the lady with the bird on her head! I saw it completed at the International Quilt Show a couple of weeks ago and I could not get it out of my head - I must stitch it. So I ordered all the NPIs for it and the chart. I'll figure out what sort of Silkweavers linen to use when I see the silk in real life.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Petites Lettres Rouges finis and some exchanges

Petites Lettres Rouges design by Blackbird Designs
32 count Silkweaver Cocoa
Vikki Clayton Mermaid Blue 2327

What a quick little stitch this was! And such a pleasure. I managed to send it off to Alma for inclusion into the BBD contest. :-)

I started back with House #4 from HoHRH and I realized that I don't have a chance in hell of finishing it by the 30th as all the windows plus the house needs to be filled in. Oh well, May is a long month. :-) I should be able to finish this month and #5 without any difficulty (if I actually sit down and stitch it that is!).

I also have a couple of exchanges to report on. First is what I sent out to Ellen S in Kentucky for the HoE Valentine's Exchange. I forgot to take a photo and Ellen kindly posted one on the HoE blog. I made her a box with a JBW design on it.

As fate would have it, Ellen had me in the Woodland Exchange that just went out. This is what she sent me.
I was lucky enough to get Edgar as a recipient. I've been on the receiving end of some of his kindness and it was great to give a little back. :-)

I stitch a BBD design called Country Garden and dedicated it to his recently departed dog, Hunny. As usual, I forgot to take a photo before sending it off so I took this from the HoE blog.

Monday, April 27, 2009

a couple of Blackbird finis :-)

Peacock Pinkeep - design by Blackbird Designs
Recommended 28 count Gingham Linen Weeks Dye Works
Gentle Arts Overdyed floss

This baby is big. :-) Somehow six inches round didn't seem so big when I read the instructions but in real life it's the largest pinkeep I own. :-) I finished it up yesterday afternoon. Very easy to finish but lots of hand work so it took longer than I first thought it would. Love it though!

I also had time to finish up the needlecase. I like this technique a lot and I'll be using it again.
Peacock Needlecase - design by Blackbird Designs
Recommended 28 count Gingham Linen Weeks Dye Works
Recommended overdyed floss
This was a much quicker finish - maybe an hour or so. I'm also very happy with how it looks. I'm wondering if all the sewing smalls this year will match. I guess I'll find out next month or so when the new Loose Feather chart comes out. Of course I can't wait.
I had a piece of dark green hand dyed wool for the inside.

The weather was so freaky all weekend. On Friday it was 75 and sunny. Beautiful! I left work early so I could enjoy some of it. Saturday morning started out the same and I had time to get the grass cut for the first time this year but by noon it had started to storm and the temps dropped until it was in the low 40's by the end of the day. Hence hardly any outside time and a ton of stitching time. :-)

Weather was the same on Sunday until much later in the day when the temps rebounded a bit but by that time I was fully into stitching mode. I've almost finished up the the Blackbird Designs first ever contest! Barb and Alma are in France and they say they have picked up some goodies for the winner. The rules are very simple, stitch the piece, include a bird, add your name and email a photo to Alma by April 27th (those were the rules as I understood them last week but I don't see that bit on the blog anymore). That's today. It's not a design contest - they are going to draw a name from the finished photos they receive.
You can see I added an entire bird family! I have just my name to finish and I have to figure out what I want to put in those two empty spaces. I'm thinking a heart in the upper one and maybe USA in the bigger of the two. I'll just make the deadline as I'll be finishing this on the way home from work and emailing the photo around 7:00pm tonight after I iron it. :-)

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Needlecase stitching finished

I finished up the needlecase on the way in to work this morning. And I even had a few minutes to put a couple of stitches into Beatrix Potter. :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

moving on

Yesterday I started the BBD Needlecase and I'm already almost finished! It's a very quick piece. When this is done I have to put some time into my Beatrix Potter for the month. The plan was to totally finish this piece and the pincushion over the weekend but the weather forecast is already calling for nice temps. So that means no stitching or sewing while I play in the backyard with my pugs. :-)
Here is the band for the pincushion. Talk about a hard piece to photograph. :-) But you get the idea.

Monday, April 20, 2009

fast weekend

The weekend flew by. I finished up the top of Peacock Pinkeep on Friday evening. The plan had been to work on the side band piece on Saturday and to turn it into the finished product on Sunday. Well I got up on Saturday and it was sunny with a forecasted high of 70 degrees plus. So all stitching plans went out the window. Saturday was also the first day of my new running program with Weight Watchers. They partnered with a fitness coaching company and set up a "run a 5k in nine weeks" program and it's free for WW members. What wonderful timing it turned out to be, I've been wanting to start running again for some time and I even gave it a go once or twice on my treadmill over the past few months, but never could make it stick. My group meets on Saturday mornings at 9:00am at the nicest park about 15 minutes from my house. Perfect! And I've even completed this program eight years ago when I started running back then so I know what to expect. It all cumulates with an optional 5k on June 13th with one of the Skirt Chaser races. Not sure yet if I'm going to do the 5k but it's a nice goal to work toward in any case.

When I got home it was late morning so I grabbed my neighbor to help me trim a way out of control apple tree that is on the edge of both our yards. That literally took the rest of the day and when I was finished I was just too tired to stitch. Tree looks good though! :-)

On Sunday the weather had turned and it was cold and rainy so I decided to drive out to the Quilt Show for inspiration. I was disappointed I didn't find much. Nothing jumped out to me. I really dislike a lot of the current quilt fabric trends and I spent most of my time there looking for things I can use for cross stitching. I did pick up a couple of great scissors and a couple of really cute pincushion patterns but that was all. When I got home most of the day was over and I only had time to start the band of my Peacock Pinkeep. I ended up with a pinkish color that is lighter and has less of a salmon tone to it. I think it will look ok with the other piece.
All for now - have a great week!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Almost the weekend!

In an effort to save money, I have probably been penny wise and pound foolish. I'm over three quarters of the way done with the top piece of the pincushion and I realized this morning that I probably won't have enough of either main color of floss to complete the alphabet portion that goes around the piece on the sides. If I would have purchased the entire kit from Drema I would have more than enough because the Belle Soie skeins have so much more thread on them. So unless I use a second pinkish color for my sides, not only will I need two more skeins of floss but the gas to my LNS as well. Bummer. I had planned on driving out in any case tomorrow to look for buttons but then I realized yesterday that I didn't have button money this week. Maybe in two weeks. So stay tuned to see what I end up doing! LOL! I'd love to finish this over the weekend.

I'm not real happy with my GA Pomegranate - its a little brighter than I think it should be. I like the GA Chamomile however. And I'm happy with the touch of WDW Fawn that I added for the thread color, it was charted to be the same color as the peacock but I like how it stands out now.

Today is the first day of the International Quilt Festival which is held every year in Rosemont, Illinois. This is the first year in five that I'm not going today. I don't have any money this week!! Waa-waa-waa for me. :-) Over the past couple of years I've picked up some great things for stitching and some great quilting things also. The fabrics and trims are to die for. And the things are kitted up are amazing. But since I'm not quilting much it's hard to justify spending a lot of money on that particular hobby right now. In fact I don't think I started anything I purchased from last year's show and I know I didn't finish anything to completion from the show I attended two years ago. Maybe I'll drive out Sunday morning for a few hours. If nothing else it's great for inspiration.

That's all for now, have a great weekend! And thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments - they are always fun to read. :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My new start

Yesterday I started on the new Loose Feathers - Peacock Pinkeep. It's going to go super fast. I'm using cotton floss rather than the Belle Soie Silk recommended on the chart. I'm trying to save money where I can. :-) I love the linen and I think I'm going to buy a little more for future projects while I can. I'm sure Drema still has some. Last year I've finished a pinkeep in this style. It's super easy and at that time I said I wanted to do one of these for me but never got around to it. So now is my chance. Actually the hardest thing is find wool this time of year. The wool makes up the body of the pinkeep and last year I could not find any because like this year, it was already put away for the year. If I can't find any, I'll use felt like I did for the other one. I'm sure it works the same.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Big Zipper Finis

The Big Zipper - design by the Bent Creek
32 Count Purely Primitive by Silkweavers
Overdyed fibers by Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colours and Gentle Arts

Well it's all done now but the shouting. Which means I still have to go buy all the buttons for it. I should have time to drive the hour each way to my LNS and select them on Saturday. That should be fun.

I'm making great progress with House #4. I have noticed that I like to do outlines where ever I can so then I can fill in without looking at the chart. It makes for great lazy stitching when I'm tired after a hard day and I want to watch tv and not pay much attention to my work. :-) I do have to buy several NPIs for House #5. Good thing Drema has a good sale going. I might as well go ahead and purchase all the NPIs I need for the entire project as I only need 10 skeins to complete the set.

I've also started to think ahead to Shores of Hawk Run Hollow. I was indifferent to the piece when it first came out but I did purchase the chart and the 32 count Vintage Autumn Gold when it became available. I went with the 32 count because that is the linen count that I started the series with and I figured I should stay the same for all the Hawk Run Hollow pieces. I wish now I had at least started with the 36 count but at the time I stitched the Village I had never used anything smaller than 32 count. Anyhow, several fellow bloggers have started their pieces and I'm really loving it. So I guess at some point I need to start buying the silk for that one also. I want to change the saying in block #8 to match the other saying that runs through the piece but since I won't even put a needle to this piece for at least a year, I don't need to really start to think about that yet. :-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

back to the grind

Back to work today and I had to come in on time to boot. It was sure hard getting up at 4:30am when I had been getting up at 6:30. :-) I had a great week off work and I got done some things that weren't even on my list like fixing my koi pond. That was a biggy and it feels great. I did finish my needlecase and my exchange piece which gets mailed on April 24th or so. I also managed to make a start on House #4 but it was not much of one because on Friday I had a great mail day. Everything I had on order with Drema came in. And you can see I didn't waste a second to get back to the Big Zipper! I only have the fence and trellis to complete and I'm finished! Yeah for me. :-) Aren't those two little frogs cute? And how about that Garden Gnome? I didn't notice either one in the big picture because it was so small and all the details were lost.

I did list my complete kits on eBay on Saturday. Here is the URL if you are interested. As said before, I listed them for half off. I'll see if I have any interest. I know I would have jumped on something like that.

I'm planning on putting the year in the top empty space and my initials in the space on the left.

This is where I'm at with my House #4. I've started on the roof of the main house. The plan, as usual, is to work on this every evening until it's finished, hopefully by the 30th.

I also received the latest Loose Feather from BBD. I purchased the custom dyed linen from WDW and it is really going to make the piece. I'm planning on starting that as soon as I finish the BZ. I also purchased the little Loose Feather's charm for the needlebook and it's so cute. The last piece in my package was the latest hen from Twisted Oaks Designs - Penelope Penhen. Drema made a mistake and sent me the silks for this but I'm glad she did, they are very pretty. I have already made the first one Coq Au Pins and the two will look so cute sitting in my craft shelves together.

So goals this week are very straight forward, finish BZ and get a great start on the new Loose Feathers. And get caught up on sleep! LOL!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My last day

Today is my last day of vacation. Talk about quick! I need at least another week to get my list even partially started. :-) Over the last two days the weather has been wonderful - for mid-April that is. Almost 60 degrees both days and totally sunny. So I ended up doing yard stuff for the entire two days. I had to fix a major problem in my fish pond and that took an entire day by itself. I had a piece of pipe come apart late last fall and it was too late to fix it as it was already snowing outside. Since my pipes are three feet under the ground, it took a lot of digging to get to the problem and then of course I had to replace the section of pipe and put in a new joint. I bet you didn't know I could do my own plumbing. :-) As a result, I have only had a couple of hours to stitch and I can't show what I stitched because it's for an exchange. I haven't even managed to put a stitch into my HoHRH! I'm really behind with that now and I've got to get going before Nicole breezes past me. :-) We are both doing one block a month but she is also on vacation this week so my only hope of keeping up with her is if she didn't bring Houses with her. :-)

The pugs are way short of nap time because of all the time spent outside over the past few days. This is what they were up to yesterday at 4:00pm.

Who is who? This is my Aoife and her sister Seven. They really do look alike. Seven is on the right. I still want to keep her but I'm sure her mom Peggy won't let me. Bummer, Aoife and I are really going to miss her when she goes home tomorrow.
Here is Mikey. He didn't move all night. :-)

And Clancy, he didn't move much either.

Lucky for them, the weather is not going to get out of the high 40's/low 50's today because it's going to be mostly cloudy all day so they will be able to get caught up on naps. And I'm going to also try to get on track with other tasks. I still want to clean out my craft cabinet and start my House #4. And finish my exchange piece. It will be tough however because tomorrow the laminate floor I bought for my parents for Christmas is being installed in the living room. One of my brothers is coming over to help me and since the living room is 19' x 16' it will take all day.

Until next time! Have a great weekend! :-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Gilded Dragonfly Finis and a great mail day :-)

Gilded Dragonfly Scissor Purse designed by Just Nan
28 count cream linen
Recommended AVAS silks

I finished the work on my Gilded Dragonfly Scissor Purse yesterday and even got the scissor fob done! I changed my scissor fob a bit, I used the Renaissance Gold metallic cord for the scissor loop rather than the green silk the pattern recommended. I filled it with emery and I love how it turned out. I love it when something that has been hanging around forever is done! Especially when it cost a fortune to buy it.

As far as the finishing for the scissor case goes, it turned out ok and I'm hanging onto the instructions in case I want to use this technique again. The lining did turn out nice and smooth using the sewing machine method. But to those of you who still need to finish their piece two tips. First the directions say to cut 1/2 salvage at the turning point on the scissor case and the rest of it trimmed to 1/4 of an inch. Don't forget to do this! Especially if you use silk lining like I did. I forgot to do this and the silk shredded so much from the stress of turning it right side out I didn't think I would be able to close off the opening. But I manged and you really can't tell how much I needed to adjust the silk. Second, put the snap on the body of the case on before you stitch it all together. The directions say to do this after you stitch the case closed (this part is by hand) and I don't know about you but my hands and fingers just aren't that small and I had a devil of a time getting the snap in once it was closed. I tried twice and both times it came out a little off center. Also make sure it's in right place before you sew it on. I didn't close the top of the case over to test it's position before I put mine on and it's too high so I had to either stitch it in for the third time or put the second piece of the snap on the needle holder wool. I put mine on the wool. I now have three Just Nan treasures and they look so cute together.

The mail came very late yesterday. In my stack were two packages with international postage on them. I'm not expecting anything so I was quite surprised. The first package was from Karen V in the UK. A while ago, I sent her some rings to make some floss holders and she stitched me a thank you. And what a thank you it is! :-) She made me one of her wonderful travel bags for stitching and the prettiest Quaker pinkeep in my favorite shade of blue. And she even tossed in a nice piece of Purely Primitive because it's my favorite linen to stitch on. I am quite overwhelmed by her generosity.

Karen's blog was the first I ever read a couple of years ago. I had just gotten back into cross stitch after an almost twenty year gap and she had just finished up An Open Heart by The Drawn Thread and posted a photo of it on the Legacy Embroiderers Guild Board that I had just joined. I didn't know anything about Drawn Thread and I did an internet search for the chart and for Drawn Thread and one of the websites that came up was Karen's blog. Her work has been an inspiration for me for quite a long time now. And to be the proud owner of some of her work is a real trill. :-) If I were a stitching stalker, I would stalk Karen for sure. :-) The next time I make one of my infrequent trips to the UK, I'm going to ask her to tea.

My second package was from Anna in Belgium. Remember the Stitching Blogger's Birthday Group I joined last year? Well it was my birthday package! Anna said on the card that it was a replacement for a gift that never arrived. Late or not, it is much appreciated. I was feeling pretty miserable when I thought my partner didn't bother with a gift. Anna sent along a beautiful piece of linen, some fibers, chocolate (yummy) and a chart from my wish list, Inspiration by Rosewood Manor as well as a few finishing items. Thanks so much Anna!

My vacation is already half over! How times flies when you are having fun at home. What's on tap for today? I'm going to work on an exchange piece, clean out my craft cabinet - yesterday I needed something and had to go through five boxes to find it so it's long overdue! And I think I want to find a new book by Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser called Master Your Metabolism. I love that show and the push I get from it every week to keep to my diet is enormous. This book sounds very interesting, it's all about how hormones effect your metabolism and I need all the help I can get - I'm at the 50 pound gone mark now and just have around 8 pounds to go. I've started to buy new clothes and they are all smalls - imagine that, me in a size 6! :-)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

onto the finishing

I'm all finished stitching the Gilded Dragonfly Scissor Purse so onto the finishing! The lining silk I'm using is the background of the photo. The instructions are very different from what I've done before. The finishing instructions are from Pamela from Pamela's Final Touch and I'm going to give it a whirl. Part of me just wanted to finish it by hand like I'm used to doing but I figured I would give this technique a try. It's mostly done by machine and while that makes for nice sturdy seams, I don't think you end up with as much control. But I'm already committed to following the instructions provided in the kit so I'll make the best of it. Stop by tomorrow of the results! :-)

This is how I finished off my Earth Sampler. I just purchased a nice black frame and popped it in. Simple but I can swap out the other two (Halloween and Christmas) when the season is right with no effort. I guess that means I need to do those over one also! :-) That just occurred to me. :-)

Thanks to all who have been stopping by and making comments! I'm in the process of making sure that I have all your blogs on my list and I'll be returning the favor soon.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Earth Sampler Finis

Earth Sampler designed by The Primitive Needle
32 count Purely Primitive by Silkweavers one over one
Recommended fibers

I finished up Earth Sampler yesterday. Today I'm going to drive to Hobby Lobby and look for finishing ideas. I'm thinking box or a oversized black frame. If I can't find anything like that that I like, I'm going to finish it as a pin keep. It's less than 4" square. I'm hoping to have it totally complete in the next couple of days.

I love this piece and I want to stitch the Halloween and Christmas sampler. If any one wants to trade Earth Sampler for one of those two charts, let me know.

I also finished the stitching on my Gilded Dragonfly Scissor Purse. I'm all set to start beading today and I should finish that by the end of the day. I'd like to start on the needle bob today also. So I'm on track to get this one totally finished by the end of my vacation.

First day of vacation and the weather sucks. It's snowed last night but not nearly as much as the forecasts were predicting (3 to 5 inches). There is about a 1/2 of an inch of the white stuff and it should be gone by today. But the temps are predicted to be low for the bulk of my time off so I won't be able to do any of the yard work I was hoping to. This is the first year since I've been taking an at home vacation that I didnt' have amazing weather.

I need to work on an exchange piece this week and I'm all set to go with that. And get my start on house #4. I think I do that tonight while I'm watching TV.

The company pugs have settled in very well and we are all having a blast.

That's Aoife on the back of the couch, from the left, Seven (Aoife's sister), Mikey, Molly and Clancy.

Aoife, Clancy and Seven. Seven and Aoife really look alike and when I see them from their backsides outside playing, I can't tell them apart. They are having so much fun. I'm going to tell their Mom that Aoife and I are keeping her. :-)

And finally Mikey, his tougue is too large for his jaw and it always sicks out. :-)

They don't have as many toys at their house as we do at ours. This is what my floor looked like before I went to bed last night. And this is just the area around the toy box. You should see the rest of the house! :-)

Friday, April 03, 2009

My new start

Here is my new start - Gilded Dragonfly Scissor Purse by Just Nan. I'm stitching mine with the Au Ver A Soie as charted with the Gilt Sylke Twist. If you haven't had a chance to check out this new fiber, it's amazing. I tried to take a close up of it (below) but I don't have a good macro setting on my camera. It's very stiff because of the gold wire wrapped around the silk but the finished look is so worth it. It's also pricey but a full spool will go a long way because it's only used as an accent. I know Needle in a Haystack sells it if you want to check it out.

Today is my last day at work! I'm taking a week off and having an at home vacation. I'm pug sitting a couple of pugs so I'll have five at the house for a whole week. I can't wait, it's going to be a blast.

I'd like to complete the stitching and finishing for my dragonfly purse, get a good start on house #4 of HoHRH, finish my Quaker Turtles and a new start of some sort. I think that's a good list for now. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

IsaV Grand Marquior Part Two finis

I finished up part 2 of my IsaV Grand Marquior last night. This will get put up until the next release comes out. I thought I had at least a month before that happens but I think it's some time in April so that would make me just caught up! :-) I'm doing mine on 35 count Weeks Dye Works Havana with HDF Imperialosity.

I also made a small start on my Gilded Dragonfly Needle Purse. It sure is a change to work with really bright colors when I'm so used to more muted shades. :-)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beatrix Potter for March

I managed a lot more in March on Beatrix Potter then I did in January and February combined! Yeah for me. And I finally got a photo that almost shows the true colors of the piece.
I've only have two blocks to go with IsaV Grand Marquior Part 2 and I'll finish those two out by the time I got to bed tonight. And I'm still not sure what to start on next. :-) I'm torn between starting something that I have had laying around for a while. Several come to mind - Celtic Band by Homespun Sampler, I have converted it into overdyed floss and I'm stitching it on 36 count Days Gone By from Silkweavers. Also I'm eyeing my Gilded Dragonfly Scissor Case and Fob by Just Nan. I've had that since last year's new releases. I even purchased the Au Ver A Soie silk for it. My Designing Ladies Needle Casket is also calling to me. I have the one from Olde Willow Stitchery. And it's also complete with the finishing kit. Oh, I just don't know. Maybe I should just start one of the six panels that I need for my Etui. :-)