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!


Monday, April 10, 2017

R is for Rhubarb

I finished the letter R on my Farmer's Alphabet before having to set everything aside and focus on cleaning and packing and shutting down the house in Florida. We are back at the lake in Michigan now so I've been busy cleaning and unpacking and opening up the house here. I haven't had a chance to organize my stitching so I have no idea which old projects I want to keep working on and which new ones I want to start. I managed to make quite a mess of the Empire before I left so maybe the first step is to get things put away so I have some room to ponder. It might finally be time to pull out every single project I have yet to finish and make a real plan to get some of them done.

Deep breaths... I can do this...


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

One Potato

Here's my progress on Farmer's Alphabet. I took the picture with a quarter so you could see just how small these little over one squares are. I'd been skipping around, doing what I could with the threads I have here with me in Florida but that got old fast. I ran over to Michael's yesterday and picked up a few of the missing colors so I could at least finish a few of the letters. Irish Potato is finished and I'm working on Rhubarb. I will have to do some frogging on the border because there's a break in it where the leaves overlap. I was on autopilot when I was stitching the squares and didn't pay attention to the pattern at all. It is not going to be fun pulling out those tiny stitches!

Phil and I are heading back north on Friday. We will be busy closing up one house and opening the other so my stitching time will be minimal. It's hard to believe our three months in Florida are over. My next post might be from the Chicken Ottoman Empire!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Great Over One Experiment

Like a ga-jillion other people, I've been wanting to stitch the Prairie Schooler ABCs all together as one piece. To keep it to a manageable size I thought I better stitch it over one on a 25-count laguna. Question is, how much over one stitching can I actually handle? Hence the reason for the Great Over One Experiment! I started Farmer's Alphabet on 25-count mushroom lugana and so far so good. It's a bit patchy because I only have a few of the called for DMC but I at least had the right color for the border. It's boring stitching squares but it's giving me an idea of whether or not I might be able to make it through a much larger piece without tossing it in the trash 1/26th of the way through!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Happy Little Stitch

I've been working on Lizzie Kate's Birdz & Bugz this past week and the bright colors put a smile on my face every time I pick it up! I still need to stitch the inner band and then I'll add some beads to give it sparkle. Such a fun little kit, perfect for spring!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

At Home with Jane

It's been a while since my last post but I have been doing some stitching here and there.
This is as far as I can go with my Jane Austen sampler for now. I need a skein of Sassy Brass to finish it up and since I know I have one back home in Michigan, I'll just wait until we go back next month. I must have pilfered it from this project to use on another one. At least that sounds like something I would do!

I saw someone on the Stitch Maynia Facebook group with a pair of these magnifiers and had to hop on Amazon and grab a pair for myself.
 I can't see worth a darn with my old lady eyes so I always use a magnifier lamp when I stitch. I end up with a sore back from hunching over it and find I can't stitch for as long as I'd like. With these puppies I can curl up just about anywhere and stitch to my heart's content! It's super nice to be able to go out on our lanai here in Florida and enjoy the warm weather instead of being cooped up inside when I want to stitch. I can't wait to use them out on our deck in Michigan!

It's getting close to time for us Snowbirds to head back north. We've been so busy this season that the last couple of months have flown by. In the midst of entertaining guests we've managed to update both bathrooms. We still need to get mirrors hung and add a few finishing touches before we're done but they look so much nicer now! Next year we might just tackle the kitchen!

I'm going to have to go through my traveling box of projects to see what else I might have to work on while we're still in Florida. I'm pretty sure I brought a couple of things in anticipation of wanting to work on something Spring-ish. If I'm lucky there's a kit in there so I don't discover half my thread is still in Michigan!

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Color Me Vexed

I haven't been stitching much since my three day Stitch-a-Thon but I have made enough progress on Flock Together to share with you.
Phil brought back the blue I needed for the water but I'm not loving that particular shade so I think I will swap it out for something with a little more green in it. I stitched just enough to verify that, yeah, I want to change it.

Then there's this...
Notice my pelican's bill compared to the one in the photo. They're not even close to the same color. I thought I'd screwed up and pulled the wrong thread but no, it's what's called for on the chart. I then checked the Hands On Design website and sure enough, the DMC substitution for the GAST Chamomile should have been 3045 and not 3022. So I'll be frogging the bill, the nest, and the rope, along with the water.

Rats.


Monday, February 06, 2017

Stitch-a-Thon Day Three

Random Thoughts by The Drawn Thread

It took me waaaay too long to get everything organized so I could finally sit down and actually work on this project! I wanted to make little cards to loop the threads through but since we didn't have a hole punch or any card stock I resorted to cutting a manila folder into squares and using scissors to poke holes through them. Not pretty by any stretch but I got everything sorted and onto a ring so I can feel like I have it together. It could all be short-lived as I have a history of mislabeling my threads and not noticing until after I've stitched a bunch of green tree trunks. This I do know for certain... I love, love, LOVE this piece so far. All of the specialty stitches look intimidating when they're spread out over several pages, but you only have to do one at a time so it makes it fun!

I'm off to try to squeeze in an hour or two of stitching before Phil gets done with his work for the day. We're re-doing the guest bathroom and I think we've finally found a vanity that's going to work with our vintage yellow tile! I'm hoping we can go take a look at it tonight!

Thanks for visiting!

 


Friday, February 03, 2017

Stitch-a-Thon Day Two


Deciding what to stitch next turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. Who can resist Jane Austen? My goal was to at least get the top band of flowers finished and by dinner time it was done! Loving the colors on this one!

I've already decided Random Thoughts will be my third start. I don't have much of a fabric selection here but I hope I find something that suits the thread colors. If not I'll have to get something ordered, post haste!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 02, 2017

Stitch-a-Thon Day One

I didn't get too far with Flock Together from Hands On Design. Let's just say I had a few issues with counting.

Phil FaceTimed me from the Chicken Ottoman Empire last night but we failed to find my stray Sweet Treat. I know I started it along with the others so I'm clueless as to where it could be. I really need to get more organized! Or I could try finishing what I start instead of tossing things in a basket for the cat to sleep on.

I still haven't decided what to start today. So many great choices! I might have to blindfold myself, spin around three times, and choose one randomly.

Sounds dangerous!


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Short List

I pulled out several of the projects I brought with me to Florida and now it's decision time!

Number One...
Flock Together by Hands On Design
This one is super Florida-y and I chose a 32-count Driftwood linen to stitch it on. Very appropriate! I think this one will be at the top of the stack!

Number Two...
Random Thoughts by The Drawn Thread
I've had this one in my stash forever. The threads came with the chart and I brought some 32-count Dirty Linen that I think should work well with them.

Number Three...
Thoughtful Heart by Shepherd's Bush
I picked this kit up for a song a couple of years ago at the Midwest Stash Exchange hosted by House of Stitches in LaPorte, IN. It's vair vair pretty and with V-Day just around the corner, it's a definite contender!

Number Four...
At Home with Jane Austen by The Sampler Girl
I've wanted to stitch this for-evah! It's been kitted up, just waiting for the day I finally decide it's time to get started on it!

Number Five...
Farmer's Alphabet by Prairie Schooler
Seems like I can never put together a stitchy basket without tossing a PS or two into the mix. I brought a 25-count Mushroom Lugana with me so I might try stitching it over one. Am I that brave???

The laundry is going, the Pepsi is poured, the TV remotes are at the ready, so all that's left to do is decide where to start!


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tart

One more Sweet Treat finished! Two more to go! Phil will be going up to Michigan so I will have him look for "the one that got away". Hopefully it is there in my basket and I won't have to restart the whole thing. Not that I was very far along on it but every stitch saved is like money in the bank or something like that. Only I can't spend it. But if we could, we'd all be rich! Except we'd spend it all on more stash so maybe not!

I'm planning my usual Stitch-a-Thon while Phil is away. I may have to start something new so this afternoon I will go through what I have here with me. I can't imagine sending Phil up to the Chicken Ottoman Empire to pull threads for a project but I know he would be happy to do it if I asked. I've managed to teach him about dye lots and the difference between, say, WDW and GAST so if I texted him a list of threads I need I'm sure he wouldn't have too much trouble finding them. The problem would be that he'd see first hand just how much thread I have squirreled away!

Well, they don't call it stash for nothing!


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sweet Treats

I have another finish from the Sweet Treats series! This is Block 1 which also came with the chart for the border for those who opted to stitch all six blocks as one piece. I kinda sorta wish I had done that now as I really like the look of the border. They are still super cute stitched individually though!

Phil and I met his three kids at Universal Resort in Orlando over the weekend and spent two jammed packed days experiencing everything we could possibly squeeze in. Our last day there was spent almost exclusively hopping back and forth between the two Harry Potter areas. They have done an incredible job of bringing the books to life! It was absolute F-U-N! We came home exhausted, and I'm still feeling a bit sluggish (although that may be due to too many Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans!)

I'm going to try to get a little work done on either Cupcake or Tart today, I haven't decided which. Dinner is already percolating in the crock pot so I should have a few hours I can devote to stitching this afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pie

Pie
(Sweet Treats #5)
Country Cottage Needleworks

I had to look back in my blog to see what fabric I'm using for these but looks like I neglected to mention it. It's kind of a blush color and super floppy if that helps. And likely 28-count. The fibers are the Crescent Colours that came with the patterns. Oh, and there will be a purple flower button sewn in that blank space above the pie and a couple more at the bottom. I'll wait and take care of that little task just before I finish finish these.

And how am I planning to finish them you may ask? The original plan was to make them into little pillows to hang as ornaments from a white "tree thingy" I have. Turns out the white tree thingy is actually brown so that idea has been scrapped. Now I'm thinking if I can find some white frames, I might just frame them all separately and do a little grouping.

I think today I will work on the Sweet Treats block. It's mostly buttons so I should be able to get it finished lickedy split.

We'll see if I can keep up this pace and get the others finished before the end of the week, but I am sooooo ready to start something new!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tap Tap Tap...

 Is this thing still on??

It's been a while since my last post, mainly due to a major stitchy drought. Phil and I are down in Florida for the winter and before heading south I grabbed a bunch of random projects and charts from my stash. I can't emphasize enough how little thought went into my selections. Moral of the story is don't wait until the last second to pack your stitching and (seriously) don't expect to find everything you'd like to pack all neatly kitted up and ready to go into your
Traveling Box o' Stash.

As luck (or laziness) should have it, I still had a few things packed from our last trip down here. Inside a fat project bag I found the charts and threads for the Sweet Treats series from Country Cottage Needleworks. Now, I had started these waaaaaay back in 2011 during the Crazy January Challenge. I made a second attempt at finishing them during the WIPocolypse of 2012. After that they were left forgotten in a basket on a shelf of the TV armoire. This cozy basket became a favorite of one of the cats so I've been doing quite a bit of de-furring with a lint roller.

Which brings me to this happy revelation...
I finally finished one!

Here are the rest of them, all set to go...  
I have been working on Pie and hope to finish it today. They really go fast once you sit down and actually work on them. After six years, who knew!

Unfortunately, Ice Cream missed the bus so I will either have to send someone over to the house in MI on a covert op to find it and stick it in the mail for me, or it will have to wait for my return in April.

I've promised myself if I finish all of these I can start on something new!
Woohoo!