Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Queen of Procrastination and Princess of Perpetual Projects

Anyone who knows me at all, will tell you that these titles are richly deserved. I excel in both areas, as my son is so quick to point out. So in typical fashion, these charts are not really finished - they are works in progress - and I will continue to work on them, but in the meantime, I thought I would post them "as is." I would love to see what all the creative stitchers out there can do with them - they cry out for buttons, beads and embellishments! Crowns for the Queen, tiaras for the Princess?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Humming Along Scissors Fob

Something really quick to stitch and although it is very simple, I have always really liked it. I meant to post it last summer but never managed to get that done.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Overtime, Piglet Flu and Fashionable Footgear

This year has been completely ridiculous! How can so many things go wrong? Becky's death left us shorthanded at work just as we hit an especially busy time, so I averaged 75 hours a week for about a month - leaving no time or energy for anything else. I managed to catch the flu. I didn't go to the doctor so I don't know if it was "swine flu" or one of the others going around so I'm calling it "piglet flu," because I had a fairly mild case, but it did take about 10 days to get over the severe cough that came with it. But I did get over it and felt much better. So much better, in fact, that I decided to get the oil changed and a headlight replaced on my vehicle. Walking through the parking lot to pick it up, I stepped in a broken spot in the pavement and severely sprained my ankle. After hobbling around on it for a week, I finally went in and had an x-ray, mostly so everyone would stop worrying about it - because it was feeling much, much better by then. So after walking into the clinic, back to the examining room, back to x-ray, back to the examining room - they inform me my leg is broken and to stop walking on it! So now I have this truly elegant new footwear:

- I know, I know, everyone is jealous and wishes they had one, too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

April Showers bring May Flowers - I Hope!

At least around here, the showers have been more in the form of tears than rain. This year has been a series of illness, difficulties and tragedies. But I'm going to use the power of positive thinking and declare a new beginning for May. So I'm dusting off the neglected keyboard and mouse and getting back to blogging and designing which I have truly missed. I will be trying to catch up on showing some gifts and exchanges, photos of projects others have stitched using my designs and a few surprises as well. Before I set off on my new path, however, I am going to break with my tradition of trying to keep my blog all about stitching and not about personal difficulties for just a moment....

I very recently lost a dear friend and co-worker who died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was a strong personality, bigger-than-life, so to speak, and leaves a large hole in my life. She always said what she thought, right or wrong - she stepped on feelings right and left - but you always knew that in spite of her bluntness she loved you and was always there for you when you needed her. She would sometimes ask what I was going to do for the evening and I would say I was going to go to a friend's house to stitch for awhile and she would laugh and say "BOR-ING!!" Then she would smile and say "Good-bye, dah-ling." How I will miss hearing those words. Good-bye, Becky, good-bye...

So I will pick-up the pace and do my best to be as "BOR-ING!" as possible in the days to come.

With love,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March? How Can it be March?

February was a short month made even shorter by the flu/virus/upper respiratory thing that has plagued me all month. I probably should have taken off work for 3 or 4 days to get over it but in this economy who can do that? So instead I dragged to work everyday (except for one - the flu won out that day!) By the time I got home from work it was straight to bed to try to recuperate enough to get through the next day so no blogging and very little email getting done. At least I didn't end up in the hospital with it like so many others have, it has just taken a long time to shake it off. So my apologies to everyone I owe emails to. I am trying once again to get caught up. :o(

I have plenty to blog about - exchanges, new charts, etc. It will just take a bit to get it all on here.

First up, though, I'll take a few minutes to answer a reader's question on stitching materials. These answers are, of course, only my opinions, for whatever that is worth.

Some stitchers are adamant about stitching only on Aida or only on linen or evenweave. I am not one of those stitchers. I refuse to be boxed in by narrowing my options for materials. I have stitched on perforated paper, burlap, canvas, vinylweave, screen, waste canvas, sweaters, afghan stitch crochet, plastic canvas, linen, evenweave and aida, etc. I've stitched with flosses, metallics, perle cottons, Retor's Matte, rayons, specialty threads, knitting yarns, crochet threads, silks etc. The point is, don't be afraid to try something new - you may really like it!

What I stitch on and with, just depends on the project I'm working on. The design of the chart or the intended use of the finished item will determine what I use.

I will say that whatever fabric or threads you use, use the best quality materials you can afford. You are spending precious time on your stitching - don't skimp on quality. Aida comes in many beautiful colors - solids, hand-dyed, opalescent, metallic, marbled, heathers, tweeds - different counts: 11, 14, 16, 18 - each count gives a totally different appearance to the fabric - but be careful of cheap brands - they may not be truly even, which may not seem to matter much in some designs but is very obvious when stitching a square design (you may be very disappointed to find your square is actually a rectangle!) The same goes for linens and other evenweaves - there are so many beautiful fabric choices these days but again, make sure that your fabric is really the same thread count in each direction to avoid rectangular squares, lopsided biscornus, etc. DMC and Anchor both produce good quality flosses (I think Anchor floss tangles a little less than DMC but I like DMC's color range better and it is more readily available, at least in my area.)

With all these beautiful choices today it is hard for me to pick an absolute favorite fabric but I usually prefer a 28ct Cashel or 32ct Belfast linen - something substantial - I don't care much for very thin, flimsy linen that is really see-through. I love stitching with silk but can't afford to stitch with it exclusively :o( so I use a lot of DMC and Weeks, Sampler Threads and Crescent Colors flosses. I can stitch over one but prefer not to. I love seeing things stitched over one thread but I personally don't enjoy stitching that way myself - it is harder for me to see and never seems smooth enough to satisfy me.

My best advice for new stitchers? Don't be afraid to experiment with different fabrics and threads but the most important thing is: Enjoy what you are doing!!! If that means stitching on Aida with silk threads then go for it! When I first started stitching I didn't even like the look of anything stitched on linen - I much preferred the look of Aida. Now I can see the beauty of both, each with its own characteristics - like comparing crocheting with knitting - similar but yet very different. If you want to try something new - all it takes is a little piece of fabric and a little floss to try out a few stitches and see what you think - see if any of your stitching friends have some small scraps of different fabrics and some leftover flosses they can share - it's a great way to get started with different materials.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Candace Has A Blog!

If you have visited here before, you are already familiar with Candace and her remarkable finishing skills! I have been privileged to share her stitching and finishing of several of my simple designs and in each instance she has made them shine far brighter than I ever could have! She has finally taken the blogging plunge and I hope everyone will take time to visit her new blog and leave her a comment so she will know you were there! Prepare to be amazed!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where Do I Begin?

So much to catch up on, where do I begin? Do I start at the beginning and work my way backward or start at the end and work my way forward? Or should I catch up by categories of what needs to be posted? Or do I just jump in and get started in my usual haphazard manner? Hmmmm...... Yes, I guess I will just jump in - if I wait to get organized I may never get started!

First up - HoE Lizzie*Kate Exchange
I stitched for Maria from Sweden this time and decided a cat design would be best. Not a lot of L*K cat charts to choose from so I used part of the Meow Blocks chart to stitch a scissors fob for her. I added her name, my initials, the year and HoE on the back. I sent a few extras along with it - blue embroidery scissors, painted wood cat buttons and two of the Jim Shore Button and Bead Quilted Cats kits that she wanted. I hope she is pleased with the exchange, it was fun stitching this one up - I've wanted to stitch that design for a long time.

Sharon C stitched for me this time. She made a pinkeep using the Lizzie*Kate Bless Our Home Snippet chart. She sent along some extras also - pretty floral print finishing fabric, a magnet, wonderful-smelling body lotion, cute sticky notes, a skein of Stranded by the Sea Hand Dyed Floss, a skein of ThreadWorx overdyed floss in beautiful autumn colors, and a package of my favorite size needles. Thanks again, Sharon!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Here and there, up and down, in and out, back and forth, round and round.......I always seem to be going in every direction at once. Work has been keeping me very, very busy so I'm pretty worn out by the time I get home, so not much energy for anything else right now. However, considering the current world economic woes, I am grateful that I have a job to be busy at. The Tiny Treasures Exchange keeps me busy as well, but it has been a delight getting to know its members - they are a great bunch of stitchers and it is very heartwarming to see them encouraging one another and enjoying the exchanges.

Several people have emailed asking if I'm okay. Thank you for your obvious concern! I am so sorry to have caused anyone to worry! I am not one of those highly scheduled, organized people that always seem to accomplish so much in so little time. Rather, I am more of an impulse, whim-driven person - working feverishly at whatever I am currently focused on, to the exclusion of most everything else. Then my focus will shift to something else for awhile. This is why I sometimes post lots of entries to the blog and other times not so much. I am usually surprised by how much time has slipped by without a post and then other times you can't shut me up! Designing is the same way for me - sometimes I can't do anything else, the design ideas are just running away with me there are so many. Other times the ideas are just running away from me instead - I will have an idea for something but it just doesn't seem to gel - I just can't stay focused enough to get anywhere with it. In that case, I set it aside and give my attention to something else for awhile. Sooner or later, I will get back to it and the pieces will all fall into place. So, welcome to my roller coaster!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Plant Kindness Chart

This chart is great for using leftover floss - choose whatever colors you like.

Drawing Number 7 Winner is...

Audra!! Congratulations! Please contact me with your mailing address and your choice of prize - either the Beaded Scissor Pocket and Fob Kit or the Design Software CD.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the drawings - I just wish everyone could win! I think I may do some more of them but once a month or so instead of weekly. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to enter - I hope you enjoyed your time here! Please come again!

Stitch and Share Drawing Results

The Winner for the Stitch and Share Drawing is Sheila B! Congratulations!! Please email me your mailing address so I can get your scissors off in the mail to you.

I just wish I could send a prize to everyone that entered because you all deserve it!!! Your stitching and finishing have given life to these simple charts and have added so much to this blog! Thank You!!!

Cheetah Needlework Set Drawing Results

Since it's my it okay to change the rules?? There were just two entries for the Cheetah Needlework Set Drawing so the Randomizer doesn't work real well for that. I couldn't stand the thought of disappointing either of these eager stitchers,'s a tie!! I bought an extra set of Cheetah Scissors, just in case, so..... Congratulations, Candace and Lori K, you both win!!! I will get your scissors in the mail tomorrow - so be watching for them! Thank you sooo much for sharing your beautiful stitching and I hope you will both enjoy adding the scissors to your Cheetah sets!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Stork Scissors Tin Photo from Candace

Candace is at it again! Another beautiful finish! I wonder if she gives finishing lessons? If so, I'm signing up! Thanks, Candace!!

Coffee Mug Mat Cube Finish by Karen

Well, I may as well start off the new year with an apology. I was looking back through old email for a particular message and I happened across a photo I had never posted to the blog. I am so sorry!!! Michele sent me an email to let me know she had posted a photo of the Coffee Mug Mat stitched and finished into a cube by her friend Karen. I wrote back and asked for permission to post the photo here and she said yes, but somehow I failed to get on here. So a little late (okay, a lot late!) here it is! Thanks, Michele, for sharing the photo and thanks, Karen for stitching and finishing the design and for continuing to accept me in spite of my bad manners!