Friday, January 31, 2014

Closing in Quickly on Another Finish!

I've downloaded a new app on my computer to make photo collages and I'm having so much fun learning how to use it.  I have taken a photo each and every time I stitch on a project.  As my current project is such a small project, it seemed the perfect candidate to learn the new app using those photos.  This is Fond Hearts by Blackbird Designs.  I have used the photos from my first five stitching sessions.  I used a photo in the background of some fabrics I had purchased on a road trip.     

Today I figured out how to change the size of each photo as well as the orientation of the photo on the page.  Can't wait to see what I figure out next.

You wonder why I like to take photos after each stitching session.  Let me tell you on a project as big as this one was (Village Sous la Neige buy A Mon Ami Pierre 255W x 118H stitched on 28 count 1 over 1) it was the only way I could tell I was making any progress at all.  I would work on it a couple of hours and think I did not get much done until I looked at the previous day's photo and could really see the difference.  
I will say to date this has been my most challenging and rewarding project.  I honestly wish I could find another big project like this that would provide such satisfaction.  Never fear I'm searching!
I am quickly approaching a finish on Fond Hearts.  Unfortunately, we are attending a hockey game tonight and am thinking I won't get a minute to work on it this evening.  Unless, of course, I forego sleep tonight.   I want to be wide awake when I start stitching the words on the right.  The words on the right do not line up well with the words on the left so I am going to have to adjust their location for the quote to flow smoothly.  It is not something to attempt when you are sleep deprived!

Still reading Making Piece by Beth M. Howard.  Yesterday I started reading the third in the Veronica Roth trilogy called Allegiant.  Making Piece is just not the compelling read I was expecting so need something to break up the monotony of it.  Still determined to finish it before book club early February.

Yesterday I decided to do a major clean to the house.  It seems I was in the mood for Spring cleaning early.  Even went so far as to take down all the curtains and launder them.  It was a tremendous amount of work but I did so enjoy relaxing in my stitching chair in such a clean house last night.  Next on my list - purging out all the things in the house we no longer use.  Clothes, dishes, knick knacks.  If it isn't nailed down and we don't use it,  IT GOES!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Last Stitches - First Stitches!

 I put the finishing stitches in One Soul One Earth by The Primitive Hare on Friday night and was so excited.  It stitched up very quickly and I enjoyed every stitch of this piece.  

I was looking sorting my fabric stash last week and came across a lovely grouping of fabrics in red I had purchased on a road trip.  It is what inspired me to get One Soul stitched up so quickly as I think this has the makings of a beautiful pillow.
 On Saturday I started stitching Fond Hearts by Maggie Bonanomi for Blackbird Designs.  This is an older design that I had forgotten I owned until seeing it on the newsletter from my local stitch shop.  I am so glad I chose to change all the threads from the called for ones that were more purple and brown in color.  The red/pink/greens are just so much more ME.
Don't you just love these carrots!  Keith and I decided to stop at our local craft store after picking up our vanilla chai at Rich's Brew on Saturday.  I saw these carrots and knew they would make a great addition to my Spring/Easter display this year. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Can Still Find the Beauty in a Frigid Cold Morning!

It is a bitterly cold day here in Iowa as you can see by the lock on the inside of my storm door - YES I said inside the storm door.  Wind chills again put temperatures in the -25 to -30 degree range again.  Lots of schools including my son's vocational workshop were running late just to allow time to get the buses started this morning.  
After hubby and son were both gone for the day I again brought my camera out to capture some of the beauty of one of these bitterly cold mornings.  I even found a little natural rainbow coloring in the frosty ice crystals on the glass. 
I managed a trip to my local stitch shop (StitchnFrame) yesterday and spent some quality time with Vicki and Cheri.  Their last newsletter featured among other things a design by Maggie Bonanomi called Fond Hearts which motivated me to pull my copy from my stash and head to the shop to pick out threads and fabric.  Those of you who know me well will not be surprised to hear I changed every single color as well as the fabric used for this one.  These are the colors I've chosen to stitch with along with the fabric.  Photo is not giving a very good representation of the color in the fabric as there is a soft green as the overdye base.  I'll try for better pictures later.
I also walked out of there with 3 older patterns as well that I can't wait to start stitching.  I've pulled all the DMC threads and am ready to select fabrics from my stash to stitch them on.
When I find time to stitch, I am making excellent progress on One Soul One Earth by Primitive Hare.  I laugh at myself today as I had thought I could finish it up last night in the time I had to stitch.  Well you know how it goes you don't factor in things like getting son a drink of water, tucking son in for the night, putting on pajamas, getting distracted by show on tv, looking up things on iPad for hubby, and so on and so on.  Let's just say I always think I can get more done that I have time for.

I read a few blogs last night and was thrilled to see several ladies doing what I did last year which was stitching as much as possible from my stash.  I won't say that I didn't make a few purchases over the year but actually was very successful in my desire to use my stash.  I am really focusing again this year on stitching up several of my smaller stash projects and using up threads and fabrics in my stash whenever possible.  I saw on one blog where someone has actually created a group called "Stitch from Stash Challenge 2014".  I was a very small individual group last year although my dear friend, Mary decided to keep me company and it became a group of two.

Well, time for the guys to start arriving home so off I go.  I put together a manicotti for supper tonight and it is ready to pop in the oven.  YUMMY!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Final Christmas Exchange!

Yesterday was finally the day my dear friend, Harriet and I had our day of gabbing, laughing, stitching and Christmas exchange.  It was such a fun and relaxing day.  She is one of those rare friends that no matter how much time passes between visits as soon as you are together the conversation picks up just like you left off the day before.  The day ended far too quickly.

 This is the piece I stitched and finished for Harriet.  It was a free design I got on  As of today, it is the second post down on the blog.  I know how much Harriet loves designs with houses, trees, birds and this one definitely met the criteria for which I was looking.  I wanted something wintery to remind her of home when she is wintering in the warmer climates.  I knew it should have a house and this house has so much charm.  I liked that it not only had an evergreen tree but another type of tree without the leaves.  Sprinkle in a couple of birds, a snowman and a few flakes and it seemed just perfect to me.  I really enjoyed stitching this one.  I will admit to there being 1 mistake in there but don't think anyone will find it.

I decided to finish it into a cube using Vonna's (TwistedStitcher) tutorial.  Her tutorials really are wonderful as they explain every step in detail and with photos.  This was actually my second cube and I think it turned out pretty good.  It has given me the confidence to try a flat fold next.  

I received such a thoughtful gift from Harriet.  She combined my love of all things ice skating with my love of all things Prairie Schooler and stitched the 2009 Prairie Schooler Santa and finished it on top of this lovely jewelry box.  I'm not sure if I will be using as a jewelry box - I'm thinking it would be a lovely box for holding stitching supplies.    
There were also a few other little goodies tucked in my bag.  I was so pleased that she bought me a piece of pottery in Arizona for my snippets of thread.  I've given several pieces of pottery to friends from a local potter for that same purpose but have yet to buy one for myself.  I was delighted to have one of my very own.  Notice the spool of silk thread from HDF.  It is called Rubbed Quartz and was a color I had admired in her collection back in the Fall.  She tucked that little tidbit of information away and now I have one of my very own.  I have a project in mind for it already.
I'm making fast work (considering how little time I actually find to stitch) on One Soul One Earth by Primitive Hare.  I did have to change the color used for the crown, shoes, snail, etc. as the called for color would not show up on the fabric I chose.  What can I say - it happens!  I already have planned out how I want to do the finish work for this design.  It will be a new challenge for me.  Actually it will be my third challenge project for the year when I get it done.  I have two other's ahead of it to do - you see they all involve sewing.

The men in my house are very happy these days as their football team (the Denver Broncos) are going to the Super Bowl.  February 2 will either be a really good day in our house or a really bad day!

Last night I finally started February's book club selection which is Making Piece by Beth M. Howard.  I'm just barely into to it but it has my interest so am thinking it will be a quick read.  I've set myself a modest goal this year of reading 36 books during 2014.  I'm hoping I surpass this mark by the time July rolls around.  Of course, that could be just wishful thinking!

Lastly I'm thinking about updating/freshening the look of my blog.  I do love the neutral colors but some days it seems a bit dull to me so am thinking of giving it some life.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Start!

Well I thought I was going to start 2 new projects yesterday but I was enjoying this one so much that I just stuck with it.  This is a Primitive Hare design called One Soul One Earth.  I have provided a link to Isabella's Etsy Shop as she has some lovely designs.  I find there is something "magical" about them that just begs them to be stitched.  At the rate I'm going on this one it too might be done in just a few days.

I am using the called for colors and am stitching it on a scrap piece (otherwise known as ornament cut) of Lakeside Linen in 36 count.  I call it a scrap piece as I usually stitch BAP so this is just a small project for me.  No idea what the color is as there were just an array of pieces in a package sold at this shop.  

I was reading comments yesterday about my little Pa and Ma (design by Nathalie) and I have to say I agree with Teresa that stitching on 32 count over 1 can be difficult.  I find my favorite over 1 stitching for a big project is 25 count but I can get through it on 28 count if I need to for the perfect fabric color.  However, on a project this small (stitch count 57H by 57W) I find that I can stitch over 1 on any count up to 45.  Truth be told I would have stitched this on 45 count had I been able to find my 45 count fabrics.  Me thinks it might be time to do a little organizing in my stitching stash.  

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with stitching 2 threads over 2 threads and on some projects I prefer it but there is something about the look of 1 over 1 that I find very appealing. I think it is the dainty feel to it not to mention my stitches have a more even tension to them over 1.  It also saves me a ton of money when it comes to framing my big projects.

I have spent the entire winter season this season looking for a new black turtleneck in a sweater version.  It has seemed like this is the year they forgot to manufacture black turtlenecks in any form let alone a sweater version.  I was walking through a store yesterday and guess what caught me eye on a clearance rack - yes the elusive black turtleneck in sweater form.  A true stroke of luck as not only was it on clearance but was in my size.  I had actually given up looking for this season.  Funny how that works!  

Housework calls.  Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My First 2014 Finish!

I just couldn't resist sharing this photo of a bird eating seeds from my birch tree on my back deck last week.  Funny how my neighbors all have bird feeders out but they still prefer the seeds from my birch trees.  Amazing the number of varieties we get.

I will finally get to reveal the project completion on Monday.  It is the day my dear friend, Harriet and I are finally getting to have our holiday gabfest exchange.  She winters down South where it is a bit warmer and miss her greatly when she is gone.  Makes the time spent together all that more special.
I stitched this little beauty up in just 3 days (which considering I spent Sunday afternoon/evening cleaning up after/taking care of a husband sick with the stomach flu was a small miracle).  This little primitive is another design by Nathalie (nathaliepoppy/THE BLUE ATTIC) entitled Pa and Ma (another in her Laura Ingalls series).  I decided to stitch it on 32 count using 1 thread over 1 thread and love how "dainty" it looks.  I put a quarter in the photo for a size reference (thank you Belinda for that idea a couple of years ago).  I used all the called for threads with the exception of the flesh tone.  The called for color would not show up on the fabric I chose so changed it to 948.  I had it all worked out how I wanted to finish it but could not find a 2 1/2" square bezel to create what I wanted.  I am now looking for new inspiration for a finish and with that in mind I wandered the aisles of a fabric store and hobby store today.  I will admit to it being difficult to give up what I had in mind but I did find a little inspiration and am considering another idea.  I want to ponder the idea a bit more before I commit.

Lastly I could not resist sharing this little funny.  The photo on the left was a hot pad made by me in August of 2012 from a pattern gifted to me by my friend, Mary for my birthday that year.  On the right is a photo of what I found hanging on a shelf in my local hobby store.  It looks like I am a trendsetter - LOL!

Off to start stitching a new project - well actually two new projects.  I'm going to put the first stitches in the free SAL piece by Jardin Prive' titled La Pensee' Positive as well as a piece by Primitive Hare titled One Soul One Earth.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Finally I Get To Share A Completion!

I think one of the worst things about the holidays is having completed projects but have to wait to share them with everyone until they are opened by the recipient.  Makes it seem like I'm doing nothing in the creative department.  It is time to reveal another gift I stitched.

This piece is called Remember Well A Constant Friend is Hard to Find - A Laura Ingalls Sampler by Nathalie (Nathaliepoppy/The Blue Attic).  Just click on the link to her Etsy shop to discover her lovely line of primitive designs.  I happened upon these designs purely by accident when browsing through Etsy and am so happy I discovered them.  As soon as I saw this particular design, I knew I had to stitch it for my BFF, Allison, who is a HUGE Laura Ingalls Wilder fan.  Let's be honest who in the midwest didn't grow up watching Little House on the Prairie and fall in love with "half pint".  It was a delightful and quick stitch.  I used the called for DMC colors and stitched it on a piece of 32 count overdyed fabric I had in my stash.

I decided to finish it into a block so it could be displayed on a shelf or a table.  My only regret is I didn't attached something to hang it by on the back in case she wants to hang it instead.  I will know better next time.

  I also did a quilt as you go table runner to compliment the quilted placemats I designed and made for her last year (you will find the tutorial for the placemats in the December 2012 posts). I used the same color palette but different fabrics.   To go with this I stitched a bread cloth. 

Now off to pull my supplies for the valentine primitive I just purchased from Nathalie.

Oh, before I go I will be posting a new recipe on my cooking blog for a new soup I made last night.  It is called Stuffed Pepper Soup and it was DELICIOUS!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Greetings from Brrrrrrr!

I took my camera and trudged through the cold and snow last Friday into the park that adjoins to my backyard for some winter pics.  People thought I was crazy as it was cloudy, really windy and a feels like temperature of -2 out.  Little did they know that I was smart enough to take this little trip in the warm balmy weather as today we started out with a temp of -12 with a feels like temp of -40.  Even I am not sure there is a picture worth braving those temps.  Let's be honest if I thought my camera would operate in that kind of cold and there was something I really wanted to photograph I would probably put on my Carhartt coveralls and go for it for a short time.  As I've grown up hearing, I'm from Iowa and come from good sturdy stock - LOL!

 Of the 100 plus photos I took on Friday I would have to say this one of the covered bridge is a favorite.  I can actually see this bridge from my kitchen/dining room during the winter months as there is no foliage on the trees.  
This is the little boathouse on the lake.  I always get over to the park in the Fall for photos but this is actually my first trip over with snow on the ground.  Next snowfall I'm hoping for warmer temps as I think a picture of the bridge with actually snow falling would be super.

 Last Thursday Belinda and Mary and I finally managed our holiday exchange/gab fest/laugh fest lunch.  Laughing started early as the first thing I managed to do was knock my tea over on the table.  I can't believe it didn't soak Mary who was sitting across from me.  Somehow it managed to miss her, her coat and the gift bag sitting on the seat next to her.  I used my cloth napkin to wipe it up and when Mary told the waiter I needed a new napkin I got the cocktail paper napkins.  I didn't behave myself well enough to get a second cloth napkin.  

I finally get to share a couple of items I made for gifts for my friends.  I know it doesn't seem very original that they are both the same but I had limited time for making gifts this year as I got such a late start.  They both received quilted table runners and stitched bread cloths.  The one on the left was for Mary and the one on the right for Belinda.  Belinda received my first ever binding and Mary received my second.  I know these ladies would never be critical of my efforts and only encourage me to improve.  Belinda had a great idea and that was to take a photo of my binding (which I did anyway) and then in a year compare it to my binding at that point.  She thinks I will see improvement.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

I too received something handmade from each of my friends and could not have been more delighted.  Mary stitched A Friend Indeed which was a complimentary chart from 2006 that was designed by Belinda (Blue Ribbon Designs).  How special that this gift had a little something from both of them in it.  Belinda who never ceases to amaze me with her talents designed and created this pillow for me.  She used Blackbird Designs fabric for Moda in some of my favorite colors and it looks awesome on my dark brown sofa.  These gals always make me feel like someone special and I love them for their friendship and encouragement!
I still have two stitched items out there waiting to be opened by recipients so you still have to wait to see the finishes and the designs.  I'm thinking one of them should arrive today at its' destination and will be opened this evening.  I'll keep you posted!
I took the time this morning to have the last six months of my blog published into a book (this is the one for Jan-June 2013).  I started doing this December of 2011 after the second instance of losing all my blog posts completely earlier in the year.  I decided upon publishing every six months for a couple of reasons.  First I just didn't relish the thought of possibly losing an entire year of posts again and secondly it keeps the cost pretty reasonable.  Today is the last day that you get 15% off your book so it was time.  Surprisingly I find I do refer back to these books on a fairly regular basis.  I've a pretty good memory for month and year when I have done something and just pluck the book off the shelf to remember thread colors I used in a project I want to use again.  I pulled the one from a year ago off the shelf just to see how we rang in the New Year last year to discover my husband had been terribly sick with a cold and rang in the new year in bed asleep.  Keith was up all night watching the celebrations on t.v. and I rang in the new year stitching.

Well it is time to fix my son his lunch!  Kept him home as it was so cold and he is on his bus so long and with the door opening and closing at every stop I just didn't see how they could possibly keep the bus warm.  Bill went to work at his usual 5:30 AM but was home by 7:30 AM as they closed the building in which he works - only one other guy showed up so the two of them went home.