Friday, June 23, 2017

So here's the thing...

I first learned to cross stitch from a co-worker back in the 80s. While everyone else went out for lunch, we'd sit at our desks with our brown bags and keep each other company while we stitched. Budgets were tight but aida cloth was cheap and we could get a lot of mileage out of a skein of DMC!

Later, when I moved to the 'burbs I was fortunate enough to have a next door neighbor who was also a stitcher. We'd sit out in the backyard and page through the latest issue of Cross Stitch & Country Crafts while our toddlers played on the big elephant slide. She was an experienced seamstress and taught me how to use a ruffler and make pillows and together we pieced together a quilt with squares she had stitched.

Fast forward to the early 90s when we purchased a home computer. CompuServe made it possible for me to be able to meet even more stitchers without ever leaving my living room! I got to know several local stitchers through the cross stitch forums there and we'd meet up to go shopping at our LNS and even went to the CATS festival in San Antonio together. We did round robins and birthday exchanges and it was these CISters coached me through my first project on linen!

Somewhere around 2005 I discovered these things called blogs. Hundreds of ladies were out there sharing WIPs and BAPs and FUPpies and you name it! I became a blogoholic overnight! About a year later I worked up the nerve to start my own blog. My posts have become sporadic of late but I do try to check in at least once a month.

Which brings me to today. I'm sitting here in the Chicken Ottoman Empire feeling a little sorry for myself. I'm missing the camaraderie I once felt with my fellow stitchers. You would think in this age of social media it would be easier than ever to connect with folks but instead I feel overwhelmed by all of it. I know there are dozens of groups on Facebook, and I have joined a few, but each time I feel like I've arrived late to the party and everyone has already divided into cliques and all I can do is quietly observe. Instagram with all its hashtags leaves me baffled. I'm no Floss Tube superstar either. I'm just one person who would like to connect with a few ladies who maybe want to head over to an LNS once in a while. Maybe go to lunch. Maybe join me for some lakeside stitching. I don't know.

Believe me I have tried reaching out to stitchers I know are in my area. I guess that's where my frustration comes from. How many times can I read on someone's blog that they're planning this or that, express a desire to join them, and never even get a reply? (And hello, if you're reading this you know who you are...) I'm a nice person, guys. I really am. I'm not pretentious or obnoxious or have horrible body odor that I'm oblivious to. I'm decent and kind and flat out don't understand why no one seems to want to let just one more nice, decent, kind stitcher into their little group.

Anyhoosie. It's the weekend. Time for a little R&R and hopefully by this time Monday I won't be feeling so darn glum.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Birds, Bees, and Berries

As promised, here is Birds from Lizzie Kate's Summer Smalls! I wasn't kidding when I said these were quick to stitch! Bees and Berries are soon to follow!

(Sorry about the blurry picture... I think I must have deleted the "good one" when I was going through my photos! Am I the only one who takes a half dozen shots of everything and then goes through them all later to pick the best one?)


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sum-Sum-Summertime!

I thought this would be an appropriate finish to share today! This is from Lizzie Kate's Summer Smalls and it's just too darn cute! I'm also working on Birds from the same collection and should have that one finished PDQ! If you're looking for a quick summer project, I couldn't recommend these more! I used the called for Weeks Dye Works threads and the colors are super summery! The pinks make me want to dive face first into a big slice of watermelon!

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Liberty Framed

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon painting and pinning and straightening and pinning some more. I ended up with red paint on my shirt which I totally deserved for even attempting to wield a brush while wearing white.
Durr durr durr! What was I thinking???

Anyhoosie, this is what I ended up with after all my effort. Not too bad but I'll only award myself the "I Did My Best" ribbon for this one. Next time I'm in town I'll swing by JoAnn's and pick up some ribbon for a hanger and maybe a few doo-dads to dress it up. Right now it's just... meh.

Every time I frame something I learn a little more. This time it was to trust my eyes and not the ruler. If it looks wonky, you need to make your adjustments before you have the whole thing in the frame.

And most important... wait for the paint to dry.


Monday, May 08, 2017

It's Finally Finished!

A Prairie Year
by Prairie Schooler
stitched on 28-ct. Lambswool linen
with DMC

I am tickled pink to have this one done! And it didn't take me eight years! This has to be some sort of record for me!

I love how it turned out! I just wish I knew what to do with it now. Have it framed? Or make it into a wall hanging?

I'm going to have to have a serious finishing day here soon!




Thursday, May 04, 2017

Now For Something Completely Different

I've always, always, always wanted to stitch a Mirabilia or Lavender & Lace design. Or to be more accurate, I've always, always, always wanted to finish a Mirabilia or Lavender & Lace design. In my many years of stitching I have started one of each. I have most of the blue fairy complete on L&L's Firefly Fairies and around the beginning of this millennium I started Mirabilia's Ashley's Roses. I just love the summery look of her dress!

Every time I'm deciding what project to work on next I think to myself, I really should try to get a little more done on these. And every time I choose something muuuuuch smaller!
(Have you seen these charts??)

So Tuesday when I decided to reward myself with a new start, my Big Box of BAPs was sitting right there. Nostalgia took hold and I opened it to find Ashley in her beautiful summery dress, looking up at me.

Doggone it, Ashley! You win!

Here's where I am after two days of working on her big pink bow...
My goal today is to get the rest of it done. I have dinner already simmering in the crock pot, and as soon as the sugar soaks into my strawberries, I'm going to scarf them down and get busy stitching!


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

A Little Finish

A Little Liberty
by Lizzie Kate
stitched on 30-ct. natural linen
with DMC

I started this kit from Lizzie Kate last summer and got as far as stitching the sunflowers and the word Liberty before setting it aside. Per my usual MO, I never picked it up again and into the WIP box it went. It took me a few hours one afternoon last week to finish the stitching and I attached the beads yesterday so this is another one for the win column! Woohoo! I have a little frame I picked up at the thrift store that is the perfect size for it but I want to paint it first. Tomorrow just happens to be errand day so i will have to add a stop at the craft store to my list.

I've been working on the December block for my Prairie Year piece but that's going incredibly slow. I recently discovered Floss Tube and it's a major distraction! I set up my laptop so I can watch videos while I'm stitching and it's like having a friend right there with me! And yes, I will admit to sometimes talking back to these friends like they can actually hear my comments! I might have to launch my own Floss Tube channel but we'll have to see. I'm awfully shy.

I've been itching to start something new so I might look outside of my WIP basket today and see what I can come up with. I've been doing pretty good getting old projects finished so it might be time to reward myself!

Have a great day!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

November in April

A Prairie Year - November

I got behind on my Prairie Year months at the end of last year so I thought I'd get them all finished since I only had two more to go. It felt a little strange stitching a turkey in April! He must think he's a spring chicken!

Here's what he whole thing looks like now...
I know I should continue on with December, especially since it's so cold and grey outside today. I have the fireplace going so I might just grab a cup of coffee, tuck myself under a blanket, and at least get started on it.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spot the Cat

Spot the Cat
by La-D-Da
stitched with Needlepoint Silk

You would think I'm a machine with the way I've been cranking out finishes lately! This one didn't have much left to do, mostly just the stars and moon and a few bits here and there. Makes me question why I put it down when all I had was maaaaaybe three hours of work left. Oh well! That's just how we roll in the Empire!

I wish I could tell you what fabric I used but I haven't a clue. It calls for 30-ct. Confederate Gray from WDW but I'm pretty darn sure that's not what this is. If I ever figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know!

We have another bee-yoo-tiful day ahead of us here! Unfortunately I have to stick around the house waiting for the appliance repair folks. Our fridge has been out since we got back (over two weeks!) and it's been one wrong part after another and a lot of phone calls and waiting. We do have another fridge on the lower level we've been using but after the first week of trudging up and down the stairs every time I needed something cold, well, let's just say I'm ready to be done with that!

At least I can pop some windows open, put on some music, and stitch while I wait!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

And Another!

May Word Play
by With Thy Needle and Thread
stitched on 32-ct. Cobblestone linen
with Gentle Arts Sampler Threads

This was so much fun to stitch! I love all the little motifs! From the birds and bees to the white picket fence, just a heck of a good time! And the best part is I have the June Word Play waiting in the wings! Woohoo! I really want to finish this as a door knob hangy thing with the rusty jingle bells and all. I saw the model at my LNS and it was just too darn cute to pass up!

My Big Basket of WIPs is calling to me but first I better put away some thread and get the ottoman cleared off. I have vowed to be more organized here at the Empire instead of leaving things in piles that seem to keep growing and growing. Something about my thread though... even when it's organized it still seems to be a huge mess. I may have to come up with a whole new system.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Woohoo! A Finish!

At Home With Jane Austen
by The Sampler Girl
stitched on 30-ct. Abecedarian R&R linen
with Classic Colorworks

I found my missing Sassy Brass yesterday so I sat down and finished the missing bitts lickety split! I'm not lying when I say I've had this sampler all kitted up in my To Do Basket for at least eight years! I don't know why it took me so long to finally stitch it! It is such a pretty piece, quick and easy and just the happiest colors! And I couldn't agree more with the quote from Emma!
Love love love!

It's an absolutely gorgeous day here in southwest Michigan! I have the windows open and I'm seriously thinking about trying out my stitchy goggles on the deck this afternoon. I can watch the coots on the lake and maybe get a little sun while I relax with my stitching! I wonder what the neighbors would think if I hauled out my floor stand!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Much Better!

Soooooo much better!

Everything I think I might work on in the next couple of months is kitted up and waiting for the mood to strike! The rest has been put away in an orderly fashion!

Now for some serious stitching!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Two Days Later

I started stitching in 1985 so this pile represents 30+ years of WIPs. There's a birth sampler I never finished for my son who will be 27 this month, an SB from the 90s that only needs the beads and buttons sewn on, a house warming present for someone who has since moved from said house, fall projects I stopped working on when PS Santas called to me, winter projects that got set aside when the weather started warming up, BAPs I lost interest in, Mania starts and stitch-a-longs and the list goes on and on.

Now comes the fun part! I get to go through this mess and decide what I might still like to finish and get it all organized. I'll need to find missing threads I've pilfered for other projects and get things kitted up again. I'll make a list or two and order what I need and hopefully come out the other side with my sanity intact!
 
 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

One More

I finished the 123 block on my Farmer's Alphabet this morning. And yes, I'm officially stalling! I'd almost rather have a root canal than organize my stash! But it really REALLY needs to be done since I seem to never put anything away! It's super cloudy and chilly outside so the perfect day to sit in front of the fire and sort through boxes and bags. I just need to figure out where to start!