Saturday, February 14, 2015

Frosty Felicitations!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!


This little vintage valentine says it all about my hubby and I.  I think I turned Bill's eye originally because of the '78 Camaro I was driving - LOL!

STITCHING 


I continue to work on Poinsettia House by Little House Needleworks but am rapidly approaching a finish on this one.  I decided I did not want the wording on my piece so I removed the wording and moved the little banner with the birds over to that location.  I will begin stitching the border tonight with a small adjustment.  As the border is not very involved, I'm hoping for a finish this week.  

After this is finished I must get back to stitching on pieces to enter in the Iowa State Fair for 2015.  I've narrowed my next start down to a piece by Lilli Violette.  I'm in the process of pulling colors and picking fabric for it at this time.  I will be making a few alterations to it as I've a desire to add some beading.

FRAMING



I finally found time this week to go to Stitch n Frame to pick out framing for my 2013 and 2014 Advent SAL pieces by iStitch.  Red is usually a very difficult color to match with a red frame but the first frame I picked up was a perfect match.  I expected to spend an hour trying to come up with a frame for the 2014 piece but it was done in SECONDS!


 The 2013 piece is being a bit more difficult.  I decided against the bell pull as could only find one option of hardware in as small of a size as I would need.  I pulled 2 framing options off the wall.   This led to Vicki pulling a smaller profile piece from the back room which in turn led her to thinking she has a piece of moulding at home in a better red in the smaller profile.  As I trust her 100% with my framing, I have left it with her and she will proceed to making it look fabulous with whatever she thinks works best.  Needless to say we are headed in the red direction as the green leaves it feeling a bit lifeless.

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER


As usual when I'm in Stitch n Frame, one thing leads to another.  1)  While looking for frames we find a small pre-made frame on the wall that is delightful.  2)  Must then find the perfect overdyed floss to compliment frame.  3)  Purchase of said items.  4)  Leads me to peruse hundreds every pattern I currently have in my possession to find the pattern that will fit perfectly in the opening of the frame.  5) Find perfect pattern that with a few alterations to the design will fit perfectly.  6)  Picking a fabric to use (count determined by the design stitch count).  I will be stitching the design on 45 count fabric.     Whoops - not an Iowa State Fair piece.

BITS AND PIECES


I was out shopping the other day for a new handbag (no luck there) but stumbled upon this "so me" bowl that is the perfect size for holding my sponges/drain stoppers for the kitchen sink.  


I spent Wednesday and Thursday cleaning house and changing several of the vignettes in my home.  This is my new one on my kitchen island.  Periodically I pull things from my storage in the basement and create new displays and put some things back in storage just to have something new at which to look.  Oh, how I love sitting in a freshly cleaned house with new pretties to enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Beauty in Snow!

We had a foot of snow in 24 hours here in Iowa and after shoveling it all out of my drive - yes shoveling as it drifted so deep and was so wet it was too much for the snowblower - I grabbed my camera and walked to the park for a few photos. 










Here it is 2 days later and with the below zero temps there were still many beautiful photos to be taken.  I took my camera while running errands and stopped at another favorite park to snap a few more photos.








 





Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Few Finishes!

FINISHES


I am pleased to report that I did finish the 2013 Advent SAL by iStitch in the 24 days I allotted myself (I did not start until January 1, 2015).  The original intent was to stitch starting December 1, 2013 and finish December 24, 2013 (missed the boat there) so I decided to start on January 1, 2015 and complete on January 24, 2015.  This is an equally special day as it would have been my mom's 80th birthday.  I think she would have liked that I finished this project on her special day.

I stitched this on 36 count Natural Raw Linen using DMC white, CC Balsam Fir and CC Cupid.  I started this project using 1 thread over 2 but I did not like the coverage at all.  I took my start out and then stitched the entire piece with 2 threads over 2.  So much happier with the coverage I got.  

Thanks to Robin for her suggestion on finishing this into a bell pull.  I had thought about this myself and after finding a couple of tutorials I am going to do this.  I am on the hunt right now for bell pull hardware that 1) will look great with the design and 2) is the right size.  Smaller hardware is difficult to find but I love a challenge.

I'm hoping that Carol does another SAL in the future in which to participate as the two Advent SAL projects were so much fun.



This is the 2014 Advent SAL by iStitch.  I did go back and add a red border around the white border as my white border was fading into my fabric.  I really think it was what this piece needed on my fabric choice.  I've narrowed it down to two ideas for finishes.  One would simply be to finish into a pillow.  My other thought is to finish on top of a box to store my Christmas scissors, fobs, etc.  


This little finish is a freebie called Miss Mushroom by The Little Stitcher.  I stitched it on a scrap piece of Desert Stone Jobelan.  I'm pleased to report it puts me closer to my goal of stitching 2 ornaments this year as I am planning to finish this into an ornament for my tree.

WIP


I've now picked up a WIP that I started quite awhile ago (Poinsettia House by Little House Needleworks).  So long ago in fact I had to sit and think about it for a few minutes.  Why you wonder - well I had decided to change the design just a bit and I had to figure out exactly what I was thinking a couple of years ago when I crossed things off the design and showed arrows moving things around.  I think I have figured out what I had in mind.  If not, I have at least developed a plan for what I'm going to do now.


I also picked up my WIP called July by Prairie Schooler.  I started this fairly recently (after this past Iowa State Fair).  I'm looking forward to getting this one done as it will meet my goal of finishing something from my stash.

A QUICK ROADTRIP


I went on a quick road trip over to Omaha yesterday with my friend, Cathi H. to visit a framing and stitch shop I had never been to before.  Several of the ladies here in the local area go there quite often for stitching and stash enhancement but to date I had not managed a trip there.

It is a small but delightful little shop with such friendly and helpful staff.  I liked the way they had the shop set up.  Quite efficient use of space and easy to find what you are wanting.


My intent for this trip was to add some 45 count fabrics to my stash as I've been stitching so much on the smaller count fabrics.  I came home with 2 large pieces of 45 count fabric as well as a nice size piece of 52 count fabric.  I've never stitched on 52 count and am looking forward to the challenge.  I was delighted to also find a piece of 32 count blue with petite dot that I was wanting.  

I also picked up 4 small designs I had on my wish list plus a freebie they had on a display.  I'm looking forward to working on these while working on bigger projects.  I get bored sometimes working on the same thing so they are nice take a 2 day break projects.

IT ARRIVED!


Just picked up my asymmetrical pink coat this morning and am excited we are having a cold spell and snowstorm this weekend so I will have a chance to wear it before Spring arrives.  I was getting worried as......


yep, my Spring flowers have popped up through the ground in January.




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fashionable? Me?

I can't believe I'm actually going to do a post on fashion.  

Fashionable is not a word that I would use to describe myself.  It occurred to me over the past couple of months at some point over the past few years my "style" of clothing has become anything but fashionable.  I don't tend to wear the latest trends but tend to hang out in the more casual look of jeans and sweaters in the winter and capris and sleeveless tops/t-shirts in the summer.  

My working out and eating "cleaner" has resulted in the loss of inches which in terms of clothing is an entire size.  As I've been replacing my clothes in a smaller size, I have been purchasing things that are -  do I dare say it - a bit more stylish and fashion forward.  

My recent purchases have been for winter coats.  I will admit my first purchase was a practical Columbia coat in black. 


See I told you it was practical.  However, it is more form fitting that it appears on the hanger and not a "puffy" coat which is my norm.  It does have a hood and is great for those cold snowy winter days when shoveling snow.

Next I went in search of a wool coat to replace my maxi length coat.  I like a longer wool coat that is a bit dressier for going out to lunch, date night, etc.  When I went to actually buy, I had my eye on a lavender toggle coat.  You can see I did not come home with that coat.


I ended up with this wool coat (almost feels like felted wool).  I loved that the closure on the coat was off center and it has one showing button at the top and has hidden snaps the rest of the way down behind the flap.  The coat is more form fitting at the top and flairs out a bit at the bottom.  The hanger really doesn't show off the true cut of the coat.  I added one of my vintage brooches to the lapel.

I had also tried on another off center zipper closure coat at the same time as this one.  It was also in black and figured another black coat is not what I needed.  


I was looking at the online selections for this store and low and behold they had the zipper closure coat in a beautiful raspberry color.  It has been ordered and should arrive mid week.  


I wonder if my recent purse purchase will be complimentary to it.  It is hard to tell until you have the items together.


Now I am considering purchasing a pair of fashionable boots (gasp).  What next?







Friday, January 23, 2015

Stitching Update!


I just put the last stitch in the 2013 Advent SAL piece from iStitch.  I decided to start on January 1 and finish on January 24.  Who knew that even with specialty stitches I would fly through this one and complete 2 days ahead of schedule.  

It is stitched on a piece of 36 count natural raw linen using DMC Blanc, Cupid (CC) and Balsam Fir (CC).  You can see by the paper and coin money that the finished size is not very big.  It measures       2 1/8" x 11 1/2".  I've been asked how I plan to finish this piece and at this moment I have no idea.  I'd be happy to consider any suggestions you all have.


I mentioned previously that I was considering adding a red border to the 2014 Advent SAL piece from iStitch.  I really felt I needed a color to border the white to pop it off the fabric a bit.  Thanks to Harriet and Teresa for their advice.  I started adding the red border yesterday and I definitely think it will help keep it from blending into the fabric so much.  I must also think about a finish for this one as well.

I am starting to feel a bit like Teresa (Atwillowtreepond) with my pile of things to finish.  At least Teresa does pull her pile out and actual do some finish work.  She is my motivator this year.    I'm thinking I will schedule myself a week of finishing in July as we know my goal list indicated I would do the finish work on Christmas ornaments by July 31.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Christmas Exchange/WIP/Recipe/Mug

CHRISTMAS EXCHANGE

My dear friend, Harriet and I finally found some time to get together for our Christmas exchange before she headed off to Arizona.  We had a delightful time drinking chai, exchanging gifts, catching up, laughing and lunching. 


Harriet and I started stitching something for each other somewhere around 2002 or 2003.  This year my stitched gift for Harriet was a design by Abby Rose Designs called Bless this Home.  I stitched it on a piece of 48 count linen using 1 thread over 2.  I used a mix of the overdyed and DMC colors listed in the following combination.

Symbol           Color
#                     Piney Woods (GA)
3                     Avocado (CC)
2                     Shaker White (GA)
/                      DMC 407
6                     Cherry Bark (GA)
0                     DMC 3802
%                    DMC 3021
$                     Antique Rose (GA)
*                     Picnic Basket (GA)
4                     DMC 611
1                     DMC 310
+                     DMC 451

When gathering the colors together, I thought it was an unusual combination of colors.  They look so good stitched together I wanted to be sure and list them for future reference.  I see myself using them on another project.


I ended up finding the perfect fabric and finished it into a small quilt hanging for this table top quilt hanger that I purchased 2 or 3 years ago waiting with the tag still on it for the perfect piece.  It seemed like the moon and stars was meant to hang over the house on this piece.  


You all know how my Christmas tree has a collection of ice skate ornaments and a few ornaments with ice skaters as well.  Imagine my delight that Harriet had stitched a skater from a JCS Ornament Issue (I had been admiring this one).  Lucky for me it doesn't reference Christmas at all so I can display for a bit longer during the winter months.


I thought it was quite a coincidence that I had pulled out my pattern a week ago to make one of these project rolls and to receive one made by Harriet's husband, Dan.  Thankfully I can put that little project on the back burner for me at this time and enjoy using this one.  Blue is my favorite color so having this with some many shades of blues/teals is delightful.

WIP 


I am making really good progress on the 2013 Advent SAL I purchased in 2013 from iStitch.  I am really hoping to have it completed by January 24 so I will have stitched it in the 24 days like it was intended.  It will be close!  I am so glad that I chose to use the specialty stitches Carol provided with this design.  I've always wanted to try some specialty stitches and as the bands are so small if felt like a good way to initiate myself to them.  It was a goal for 2015 and am pleased to have accomplished one for the year.

RECIPE

I have added the Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe to my cooking blog.  Just click on the recipe to be taken to the blog.

MUG



I was out shopping at the the book store the other day and happened upon this mug on the clearance table.  I loved the design on it, the shape and size so purchased it and brought it home.  It is my most favorite mug at the moment.







Sunday, January 11, 2015

STITCHING/YEAR REVIEWED/GOALS 2015!

STITCHING


I put the finishing stitches in the 2014 Advent SAL (iStitch) or maybe not.  I am so pleased with how it turned out and thoroughly enjoyed being able to complete a block of it on a daily basis.  The best part was 24 days later I had a lovely finished piece.  Well - let's be honest - it took me a bit longer.  I had 3 blocks left to stitch but did not have time to work on it.  I did, however, finish all 3 blocks in one session when I did get back to it.  I've yet to do the finish work on it as I'm still trying to decide if I want to stitch an all red border around the outside to make the white pop a bit more.  I'm thinking yes!


I enjoyed the SAL so much that I decided to start the 2013 Advent SAL that I had purchased from iStitch in 2013 but never got around to stitching.  It is a lovely design and Carol provided the option of stitching all in cross stitch or some specialty stitches she provided.  I'm being adventurous this time around and am using the specialty stitches.  I'm so glad I made that decision as they really add to the design.  I'm stitching on a piece of 36 count natural raw linen using DMC white, Cupid (CC) and Balsam Fir (CC) for my colors.  I'm hoping to finish this one by January 24th.  It is a special day and would like to finish it on that day.  


This is my start of The Little Stitcher's freebie, Miss Mushroom.  She has the most adorable designs available in her Etsy shop.  I'm stitching this on a piece of 28 count Desert Stone using DMC colors 869, 938, 945, 3031, 3371, 3777, 3865.  I'm using 28 count on this piece as it is the piece I'm currently taking while my dad is in his radiation therapy appointment.  

It promotes conversation and I spend a few minutes chatting with a fellow stitcher while she waits to go in for appointment.  In fact, she has recommended a lovely design that would be a good wedding/house warming sampler.


I'm still waiting to exchange Christmas gifts with my dear friend, Harriet so this is all you get of the completed piece for her.  Unfortunately, with it being the time of year for illness we have not yet been able to get together.  We laugh as we may start of new tradition this year of Christmas exchange with our birthdays in June/July.

YEAR REVIEWED



I pulled out my book in print of my blog for the past year to review where the year had taken me, goals I had set.  It made me smile when I discovered at this exact same time last year I was shoveling/blowing snow in bitterly cold and windy conditions.  I still enjoyed it as it was our first "real" snowstorm of the year and I LOVE THE SNOW!  I just put on my Carhartt bibs and leather mittens in the bitterly cold and go about clearing the walks and driveway with a song in my heart!  Isn't my husband sweet helping get pictures of me for my blog (one of my goals as I'm usually operating the camera) from the warmth of the house.


The holidays for my family were very loving and relaxed.  We really enjoyed each others company.  Although at the end of Christmas day my grand nephew was just about done....


....but my son was full of energy and ready to get on with the taking down of the Christmas decorations.  Sigh!  I did manage to get him to wait until December 26th but it was the first thing we got started on after breakfast.  He was right though - it was lovely having the house back in order.


GOALS

In reviewing my 2014 goals I have this to say....

1.  I did get many more photos taken of myself to use in my blog and family Christmas card.  A couple of them were even good photos.

2.  I did continue to live a more healthy lifestyle.  I continue to workout at the Y on weekday mornings.  I have continued with my treadmill workouts and the Body Pump Class and have added the Pilates Class to my workouts.  I also continue to try and eat "cleaner".  It seems to be paying off as I realized in December that I've gone down an entire size in clothing.  Yippee!  The best part is that it is a gradual lifestyle change as opposed to a drastic diet and exercise regime all at once.  It is something I know I can continue on a long term basis.

3.  I continued to spend my year stitching quite a bit from my stash although not 100%.  Let's face it who can resist a new pattern every now and again.  I have, however, managed to be able to use fabrics and fibers from my stash which is great.

4.  In the stitching ornaments for my tree goal I'm afraid I did not do very good.  The ornaments I stitched in 2013 are still in my pile to be finished.

5.  I set a goal of reading 36 books during 2014 and I did accomplish this goal.

MY GOALS 2015....

1.  I will continue to ask my family and friends help to get photos of myself to use in my blog and family Christmas card.  Hoping for more than 2 good ones this year!

2.  I am going to continue living a more healthy lifestyle.  I will continue working out at the Y and my goal for this year is to try one or two new classes.  I'm thinking cycling and Pi-Yo if I can find classes in the morning.  I will continue to strive for eating "cleaner" and keeping the processed foods to a minimum.

3.  I am still stitching from my stash and am going to streamline my stitching this year to stitch several of the patterns I purchased from Etsy as they are mostly PDF's.  I am also going to spend some time really sorting and organizing my stash and sell the designs I know I am not going to stitch.  My criteria for this purge will be "am I going to stitch this for my home or will this be the perfect gift for someone".  If it does not meet one of the two, it is gone.  Teresa, I have one box ready for shipping I will be in touch soon!

4.  This is a new goal for me.  I am going to try some other form of needlework this year.  My Aunt Nanc gifted me with the pattern for the needle nook which is all needlework I am unfamiliar.   I ordered the kit that goes with the pattern and it is my goal to make one needle nook before the end of the year.


5.  I don't know why the stitching ornaments for my tree goal seems to evade completion each and every year.  I think I will make this goal a bit more specific for me.  I will stitch two ornaments for myself and I will finish these into ornaments no later than July 31st.

6.  I set a goal to read 50 books this year.  It might be a bit high but I can read/listen to a book while walking on the treadmill so I have hopes to get somewhere close.

COOKING


I did finally manage to bake a batch of Sour Cream cookies.  I missed the holidays completely this year but they sure were tasty on the snow day.  

I also tried a new recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup that was delicious and so easy to make.  I will put it up on the blog as soon as I decide if I'm going to keep my cooking blog or just create a subsection on this blog for recipes.