Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Wrap-Up

  It's hard to believe it's the end of the year.  My grandmother always said time really flew by as you got older and as a kid I thought she was full of hooey.  How could that be possible? Now, as I am much older myself, I see just what she meant and am amazed with how quickly each day passes.
  I had a few things I wanted to share before we zoom into the new year.  I received a beautiful sampler from my friend Tommye for my birthday.  I apologize for the lack of ironing but I have had too many things on my to-do list today to even think about getting out an iron!  And besides, the post office did this, they should iron it!!

  I am also lucky enough to be on her recipient list for the ornament craziness she gets up to each year.  She gave me this one, which I LOVE!!

She loves this one too and already has it kitted to stitch for herself in the coming year.
  I showed you the sampler I stitched as my exchange gift in my weekly group and now I can also show you the one I received.  Let me just preface this by saying that I am the youngest one in my weekly group and I am no spring chicken!!  This cute little ornament was stitched by a lady in her 70's and it is OVER ONE!!

It is just darling and I plan to leave it out all year!! (Not really too big of a stretch since I leave my Christmas snow globe collection out all year too!)
  I gave my husband 272 Words for Christmas and I wanted to share the framed piece with you as well.

  I think the frame is perfect for it and really gives this sampler an old fashioned feel.

  I didn't have much time to stitch over the holiday.  With both of my boys in and out, the engagement (My younger son proposed to his girlfriend during the holiday!) and a concerted effort on my part to be more in the moment, I really didn't have much alone time to stitch.  I did manage to make a little more progress on my current WIP and this is where it is right now.

I had hoped to have this finished before the end of year but it was not meant to be.  However, it should be my first finish of the new year!!
  Well, that's about it for now.   I have big plans for the coming year but I will save them to share with you next post. Until then, I wish you all a Happy New Year and I  look forward to seeing you all next time.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last IHSW Report of the Year

  I think I finally have the Christmas prep done.  I wrapped the last presents this afternoon and although you can't see the floor around it, my large cat still manages to squeeze himself under the tree!  He is so funny!  As soon as the tree skirt goes down, his favorite place is under the tree!!
   Even though I spent most of the weekend baking and wrapping, I  managed to get some stitching into the mix too.  I have been tired in the evening when I sat down to stitch so in an effort to keep up my stitching mojo I started something new.  It's just a small sampler that I purchased recently and it is a perfect stitch for this time of year.

Jarden Prive
  I saw this on one of the Facebook needlework groups and had to stitch it.  So Cute!!  I am stitching it on 36 ct. Lakeside Pecan Butter with the called for DMC.  I should be able to get some serious stitching time in after Christmas so I expect this to be finished before the end of the year.  We'll see!

  I want to thank you all for reading and leaving comments on my blog this year.  You have made my entry into blogging so much fun!!  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday and wishing everyone peace in the new year.  Merry Christmas!  Laura

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's my birthday so we have a winner!

   I'm still not ready.  I've been running around like my hair's on fire trying to get it all done. I am a one holiday at a time kind of girl, enjoying each as it comes, and don't start thinking about the next until the last is over.  Usually that works out okay but when there are only 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas things can get a little hairy!!!
   I think I am going to push off the birthday celebration until after Christmas. It's not my first time at this rodeo. Since it is so close to Christmas, my birthday has always been kind of lost in the shuffle and no one has plans for after Christmas.  December 26th is wide open!!  My son isn't happy about this arrangement but I'm going to need today to do Christmas prep.  I still have wrapping to finish and I need to make the Neiman Marcus cookies so I can go pick up my husband's gift!!
  True story:  I got the recipe for the Neiman Marcus cookies (the original, not the one on the website now) at a cookie exchange while we were stationed overseas.  I have been making them every year at Christmas since then and because they make so many (about 11 dozen) I give them as gifts to friends and family.  My LNS owner loves them!!
     A couple of weeks ago I stopped by after picking up 272 Words from the framer to see if I could leave it there until closer to Christmas.  It is my husband's gift after all and I don't think it could have been in the house without him peeking! She asked me about the cookies then. I really can't go back in there without those cookies!!  I need to make them today (and they take just about all day) so I can pick up that sampler for my husband!!!
    Thursday we had the gathering of my weekly stitch group for our Christmas exchange.  I stitched today's giveaway piece for my friend and now I can show mine.  Such a lovely piece and so much fun to stitch!

   I had my husband draw a name from the comments on my last post and the winner is Cathy B!!  Send me an email Cathy with your fabric count selection and mailing address and I will get this right out to you!!  I really enjoyed stitching it and I think you  will too!

 Well, I need to get to work if I am going to be ready for Christmas.  Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday and peace in the new year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

    My how time flies! Hard to believe it has been a whole year since I dipped my toe in the blogosphere and in December no less.  I must have been nuts!!  Did I need one more thing to do in December??!!  Probably not, but it has been fun.

      In honor of my first blogoversary and that magical mark of 50 followers I thought I'd have a giveaway.  Since it is December I thought something in a Christmas theme was called for. So I would like to offer you this:

Hark Hark Hark

And to make it even more fun, I am going to kit it.  The pattern calls for 40 ct. linen but I will give you your choice of count.  The thread is Gentle Art Sampler Thread Grecian Gold but the dye lot at my LNS was way too green so I am going to substitute a lovely Gloriana silk in antique gold.

   No need to jump through hoops, just leave a comment on this post.  That's it.  I will draw the winner on the 21st, which just happens to be my birthday.  What could be more fun than that??!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gettin' in the Mood

   Crazy busy started early!  My older son was home the week before Thanksgiving.  As a commercial truck driver he gets home when the schedule allows so him being here for an actual holiday is kind of hit or miss.  My younger son and his girlfriend got here on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which was the day his brother left, so they were like ships in the night.  Probably passed each other on the highway but didn't see each other this time.  We are hoping to work something out for Christmas!
   We did manage to get the tree up over the weekend but had a lighting issue that  turned into a 'science project', as my husband likes to say, so I still haven't decorated it yet.  I got some of the other decorating done but that isn't totally finished either. I did go out on Black Friday, the first time in years, but it was to help my younger son with something special so I did no shopping either.  Hmm...kind of sensing a trend here.
    I have been so busy since my last post (though now I'm not sure what I have been doing!!)  I don't think I've had more than a few hours of stitching time.  And those that know me will attest to fact that that is highly unusual! There have even been a couple of times when I have gone DAYS without putting in a single stitch and that almost never happens!!!  Maybe that's why nothing else seems to be finished either.  I did manage to finish the stitching on the ornament I have been carrying around to my stitch groups.

It's a Little House ornament from a while ago.  I have a whole box of these I am trying to get done but so far, this is the only one I have stitched this year.  I usually stitch ornament the entire month of July.  You know, Christmas in July and all of that.  But this year I worked on other things and just didn't get to it.
  After I finished the above, I  started a Christmas sampler to carry around to stitch groups.  I have no deadline for this one and I am frequently still working on Christmas after the first of the year so I'll just work on it until its finished.  You probably remember this Blackbird design from last year.

This is where I am with it now, about half way, and it is small enough that it shouldn't take too much time to finish.

Stitched on 35 ct. WDW cocoa
with the suggested threads
    December, of course, can't be counted on at all for stitching time.  If you don't have whatever it is finished by Thanksgiving, you are pretty much out of luck.  Which is why, although I am not panicking just yet, I am starting to hyperventilate just a bit about my gift for our group exchange.  I ordered this from the Attic when it first came out, about umpteen years ago.  It's a Linda Vinson piece and I think it is just gorgeous! And since it was started (barely) I thought I would finish it for my friend and knock out another UFO, the whole 2 birds, one stone thing.

The linen is beautiful and it is stitched with Belle Soie which you manipulate to get the color in the right places.  It has been challenging because of this but the effect is lovely!!  I only have one 'outside the house' obligation over the next 2 weeks so I hope to get lots of stitching time to finish this.  I would hate to have to give this to her unfinished and immediately take it back!
  Well, that's about all for now from the Burg.  I did some gussying up of the old blog today, hope you like it.  Trying to get more in the holiday spirit. My head is spinning a little from the fast turnaround from Thanksgiving.  Guess what I really need to do is break out the Christmas music, that always helps!
  Thanks to all of you who leave a comment or just come by to see what I have been doing.  I have a confluence of events occurring soon, blog anniversary, birthday, nearly 50 followers, etc. Might just be time for a giveaway!!??

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A 150th Anniversary Finish

   When I worked up my stitching list at the beginning of this year, I had 272 Words slated to be finished for my husband for this Christmas.  It had been a WIP for several years. I worked on it for the whole of the summer Olympics in 2012 and it was well under way before that.  When I put it away after the Olympics, it was at the half way mark.
   Put away isn't very accurate though.  It was on one of my lap frames, on the top of a bookcase in our bedroom and I know he saw it there every day.  He never said anything about it but I am sure he wondered about all the other things that were getting finished and why the piece that he knew was for him wasn't.
   After my friend's visit in October I got it back down to finish.  I know it is only 272 words but it is a large piece of cross-stitch! About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that the date of the address was November 19th so I really pushed to get it done by that date. How cool would that be to put in the last stitches on the 150th anniversary of the address??!!
   I've worked on it to the exclusion of everything else, with the exception of an ornament I've been carrying to stitch group, and I met my goal of finishing it last night!!

272 Words by Primrose Needleworks
45 ct. Italian Linen
w/Gentle Art and Weeks Threads
   It has been on the scroll rods for so long it won't lay flat but I plan to iron it and take it to the framer tomorrow.  So happy to have this one done!!
  Now, of course, it is on to the next thing!  I have a Christmas gift piece to get done (working it on 50 ct. to see how it goes because I have a much larger piece I would like to do on the 50 ct.) as well as a few ornaments by the middle of December.  Then I think it is back to Ann Bowers which I hope I can wrap up by the end of the year.  Tall hopes, I know, since you really can't count on December for any stitching time!!
But we will see!  Hope your stitching is moving along too,  Laura

Monday, November 18, 2013


  I have been working madly on 272 Words, trying to get it finished so I can give it to my husband for Christmas.  I haven't worked on anything else, with the exception of a Christmas ornament I have been carrying to stitch groups, since my last post. I am really excited to have this almost done and if all works out to plan, I will wrap it up tomorrow!!
  So, this is where I was when I started Friday night.  I apologize for the configuration of my photo. I forgot to get a picture before I started IH&SW stitching and I had to cover up with batting.

This is where it is now after the weekend of stitching.  I didn't have as much time as I would have liked but I think my finishing schedule will be met!!

It is still a huge piece, even stitched on 45 ct. linen, and I did manage to change just about all the colors but I have really enjoyed working on it and think my husband is going to love it!!
   I hope to have a finish tomorrow and if I manage it, I will have a pic of the entire sampler to share!  Stay tuned!!!   Laura

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Visit from the Finishing Fairie

   At the time of my last post I was expecting company.  My good friend from Atlanta, who also is a wonderful finisher, came to visit and we had a GREAT time!  There was stitching, lots and lots of stitching. Good food, provided by my husband the family chef as well as various restaurants in Virginia and North Carolina. Shopping adventures which included the addition of so much stash I think we might be keeping the industry afloat between the two of us!!
  Then there was the finishing. Lots of wonderful finishing! You may remember that I stitched this lovely back in August.

Stacy Nash Summer
 Gathering Pin Drum
I absolutely adore this piece but had the most terrible time trying to do the finishing. I asked my friend if she would do it while she was visiting and she graciously agreed.  This is what it looks like now after her considerable skill was applied. So, so cute!  I can hardly stand it!!

   Then we went to the beach for a glorious week of more stitching, eating, walking on the beach, more shopping, etc.  I think you're getting the picture.  I actually had a finish while at the beach and you may remember this one.

Scarlett House
A Sampler  Grew
 It took me a lot longer to finish the stitching than I thought it would (Surprise, surprise!!) but there was also a lot more over one than I realized.  This is the what it looks like now. Love it!!

 It is stitched on Lakeside 40 ct. Maritime White with the  listed colors.  We found the chenille on our trip to Dyeing to Stitch on our way to the beach. It was a nice break in a long drive. And a real treat since I hadn't been there in quite a while. So long in fact that they had moved the shop, a year ago, and I didn't know it!!  Just down the way from where they were before though so we had little trouble finding it.
   I had kitted up several fall inspired pieces prior to the beach trip and after I finished stitching 'A Sampler Grew', I pulled out Beggar's Night. This has been very popular. I have seen it finished on several other blogs and just had to stitch it.
    Mine is stitched with the Gentle Art conversion. Pumpkin Pie is now my favorite color!!   I did make a couple of color changes, one to accommodate the color of the pumpkin on my choice of linen, again the Maritime White, and the other for the raven. I could not stitch him in any color but black!!!  It worked up pretty quickly so I had a start and finish while at the beach.

  The next piece is from the current JCS Ornament issue.  We both love the Victoria Sampler cupcake and when my local shop had the finishing kits for it I couldn't pass them up.  I got one for me and one for my friend for her October birthday!  We got those stitched up pretty quickly, just a bit of basic hardanger and some sewing on of buttons and beads and it was good to go.  These are just too cute for words!!

  Then, (I know this is getting long) while searching for something else, I came across a piece I thought was lost.  I have been looking for it forever and just could not remember where I had put it!!  You know what I mean, this has happened to you too! Put it in a safe place and then can't remember where that is!!
   Anyway, it was a pre-stitch piece for a finishing class.  Loved it and thought I would once again tackle the finishing demon and learn how to do this.  I found the stitched part right before my friend got here and she WANTED TO DO THE FINISHING FOR ME!!!  How could I deprive her of that pleasure??

   This is another class designed by Holly.  It was a President's Challenge for her guild and you pick all your own colors.  I saw it on her blog and immediately approached my sampler guild to have her come and teach it.  I knew right away what colors I wanted to use and I actually had that silk tucked away in my stash.

The other supplies I collected from various places online, just looking at pictures on the computer, and I think it all matches pretty well.

   Well, that's about all for now. We had a terrific time together and I believe there was some discussion of me coming to her house next time.  I don't relish the drive through Atlanta and I won't be able to stay for 2 weeks but I am sure we will have a great time!!!!

*I also feel like I need to make a disclaimer here.  I did not chain my friend to a rock and make her do finishing the whole time she was here.  I had fully expected her to take the finishing home with her to be done at her leisure.  She did all of that finishing, including another one of the cupcake ornaments that she stitched and finished for herself,  in a remarkably short period of time.  She's just that good!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Finally, a little sunshine!!

  It was rainy and overcast here in the burg for a solid week and I thought I would lose my mind before I was the sun again!!  Finally, this afternoon the sun has broken through the clouds and we have another glorious day!  I used to think I would like to live in the Pacific NW with the rain forest and the mountains nearby but I think I would probably have SAD and have to spend all my time under one of those lights since they have so many days of rain!
  I finished my other October birthday gift about a week ago but it has been too dark to take a picture.  I finally go one today.  This is the finish of Alpine Garden.

I didn't worry about her seeing it since she picked it out for her birthday this year.  This completes the set; she will have all 4 of these gardens now.
   I also managed to get some time in on this little cutie even though I've been prepping for company and haven't had as much time to stitch as I would have liked.

My visitor is the recipient of the Alpine Garden and we are going to celebrate and stitch for over a week!  I should have the little sampler above and several other things finished by the time she is ready for home!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cute Giveaway

  I just saw the cutest giveaway over on Julie's blog.  She will be drawing for this darling ort box on Sunday so don't miss it!!  I really like it!  Hope I win!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Still Chugging Along

  I have been working diligently on my October birthday stitching since the last post and I thought I would be finished by now.  I am usually working right up to the deadline but I got a pretty good jump on it this year and had grand hopes of an early finish. Alas, it was not to be.
  The friendship/birthday sampler I was working on turned out to be harder than I thought.  Hats off to all of the designers out there who manage to put bands and colors together in a pleasing fashion for all of us to go crazy over. IT IS HARD!!! Even so, I did manage to make a go of it and I like the way it came out.  This is the part that I added, starting with the wandering vine. There are supposed to be beads but I think I will leave that to her, if she wants them.

   I added a band of Ukrainian whitework and then a pretty darning pattern, both of which I took from Shepard's Bush pieces. (That is the theme she wanted for her friendship sampler.)

   This is what the whole thing looks like now.  I will have to get it in the mail soon in order to have it there in time for the big day.  I think she is going to be shocked to see it!! And hopefully happy.  I have had it for so long now that I hope she still like this style!

   After I finished the one above, I started back to work on my other October birthday sampler.  I had the first band finished about 5 years ago and put it away and stitched something else for her.  After getting back into it, I now remember why!  It is a beautiful piece but the confetti stitching is driving me crazy!!  But since I have already stitched 2 of the 4 of these gardens for her and this is the last one, I have persevered!
   I am working it on a scroll frame so I have left off some of the specialty stitches, ie: mostly the flowers, so nothing gets crushed.  I would hate to have to do them over again!!!

The Drawn Thread
the Alpine Garden/kit

Then, just as a bit of relief, I have also been working on this lovely. So cute and so little!

The Scarlett House
A Sampler Grew
40 ct. Lakeside Maritime White
suggested Needlepoint Silks

    So, that's about all for now.  I have kitted up about 5 fall pieces, most of which are pretty small, that I hope to be able to get started early next week.  We have another beach trip coming up soon so I am pondering beach stitching as well.  I'll have to refer to my list and see what still needs to be completed by the end of the year too.  It should make for a fun mix of stitching for the next few months!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

IHSW SEPT 13 Report

   As predicted, this weekend was a little on the crazy side. And although I didn't get to 'hermit' I did manage to work some stitching in among  all the craziness. First, I finished the large band I was working on AW 1662.

   Then I pulled this one out.  It is a friendship sampler that belongs to one of my stitchie friends and I am working on this for her birthday in October.  There is a long story associated with this piece that I will share with you once I get it finished and sent to her.  Let's just say she will be shocked to see it since I think she believes it has been lost forever!!
   This is where it was when I started the weekend.  My part started with the wandering vine section that I had stitched prior to the weekend.

I added these colored bands over the weekend. (Please ignore my waste knots! I really should have buried those before I took the pictures!!)

And this is what my section looks like now. I plan to add several bands of white work to this before I'm finished. I've acquired a couple of Ukrainian White work books that have some interesting patterns I'd like to try here.

   So, that's all for now.  Hope you all are having a wonderful time with your fall stitching!!!  I have kitted up several things, some new and some not, that are waiting impatiently to be started.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Can't Put it Down!!

  I am supposed to be working on things that are on a deadline right now but I have been on such a roll with this one I can't put it down!!  AW 1662 at my last post:

This is where we are today!  I've  finished 2 of the large arcaded bands and am almost finished with the third.

This where I left off last night. There isn't much left to do, some filling mainly so I am hoping to wrap this band up tonight! With the completion of this band I will be over the half way mark!  And, almost to that intriguing checkerboard band!!

This is the whole thing so far.  It is so pretty!!

  This is the weekend for  IH&SW for September.  Both of my boys will be home this weekend so I don't know how much stitching I will get done. But I hope to finish the band I am currently working on as well as get back on track with my deadline stitching.  We'll see!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Finishing was a Bust!

   I was trying really hard to get that last pin cushion finished for our EGA meeting on Tuesday but I just couldn't make it happen.  I haven't really done much hand sewing since high school, which was a really long time ago, and try as I might, I couldn't get the ends on that darned drum to save my life!!  Lucky for me, I have a friend who LIKES to do finishing! (I know, shocking to me too!)  She is coming with us to the beach in October and says she would be very happy to finish it for me while she is here.  YEAH!!  Needless to say, I slapped that puppy in a bag and put it away as quickly as possible!!!!
  Then, since I was free again to work on whatever I wanted to, I pulled AW 1662 back out.  This is the progress I have made since last post.

AW 1662
38 Ct Italian linen w/ DMC

I am really enjoying working on this and will continue to do so for a couple of days but will have to move back to birthday stitching this weekend (and hope I haven't cut my time too short!).
  At our EGA meeting on Tuesday we were given the pleasure of seeing Barbara Hutson of Queenstown Sampler Designs.  She gave a presentation on the  history of some of  her recent reproductions, a lovely sampler display, as well as a very interesting description of what is entailed in the purchase, conservation, and charting of the samplers she has in her collection. It is always so wonderful to see her.  She's so cheerful and so willing to share her knowledge.  Thanks for coming Barbara!!
  I brought my camera but didn't take any pictures. DUH.  The meetings are always so hectic for me (the treasurer) and it was all over before I thought to take it out of my bag!  But I did manage to scoop up a new sampler chart though!!

FB 1827
FB 1827
photo taken for
Barbara's website

 Small and lovely and as soon as the rest of the threads get here (I just got an email that they are in the mail) I will be starting it!!  I know, I know, supposed to be working on UFO's.  But we need those occasional new starts to keep the creative juices flowing!!!  And this is just a small one after all.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Two Down, One to Go

  I've spent quite a bit of time stitching since my last post.  I have been working on a birthday gift, which I can't show, and I've also managed to make some serious progress on AW 1662.  This is where I last left off:

And this is how it looks now.  I have, once again, taken some liberties with some of the colors but I like this much better.  I'm finding that the old, faded colors of some of the reproductions really doesn't suit me and I am becoming less and less a stickler for keeping to the original interpretation.  Basically, I like mine gussied up!!

  Then, as the title suggests, I have been working on the "finishing" of the pin cushions for the challenge.  Our first EGA meeting after the summer break is on Tuesday so I figured I better get hot with that finishing I was going to attempt.  I have to admit, it it coming out way better than I expected!  (Please excuse my photos. My camera was acting weird and this is the best I could get today!)
  First up is the pin mattress that Holly taught us at our sampler guild meeting a looooong time ago.

  This was my first try and it is a little bit wonky but it is so darned cute!!!  I put the quarter in for a size reference.
  Then this afternoon, I put this one together. (Again, sorry for the picture quality.)

Side One

Side Two
The cute little pins came with the kit!  Now, all I have left is the drum.  Hope to have pictures of that soon!!

PS: Hope you're all enjoying the tennis as much as I have been!  There have been some GREAT matches!!