Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two finishes to share today!

Isn't it fun to finish a couple of wee little things after working on an uber-huge project?!?

I started this little art nouveau piece on retreat earlier this month and just finished it this morning. I'm debating whether to frame it or make something out of it like a scissors sheath.

It only measures 3.5" tall by 2.5" wide.

The linen is 32 count, hand dyed by color genius Catherine Jordan in the most knock out gorgeous torquoise you've ever seen. I'd like to have a BOLT of it!

In case you are wondering, those are my initials in the lower right hand corner.

Next, I fell in love with these little cuties as soon as I saw them on Arlette's blog, Polka Dot Pineapple. I combined two of her tutorials and came up with a hybrid golf tee/wooden spool pin cushion of my very own. It's just the thing to hold those beautiful satin bows leftover from Easter that I just couldn't bring myself to throw away. You never know, I might need them some day! I can definitely see more of these cuties in my future. Thanks Arlette!

Now just how darn cute is that?!?

Monday, May 25, 2009


Did everyone have a great holiday? I hope so. My three day weekend was pretty action packed, so I really feel like somebody owes me an extra day off, just to loaf around in my pj's. Since today was the 25th, I managed a tiny little bit of Christmas stitching, but it is for an exchange, so no photos!

So I was thinking, I created this blog last year when I was totally fed up with how long it was taking me to finish my wine gift bag and the Assisi peacock, and now, much to my amazement, both are complete. Naturally, I have MANY many other WIPs and UFOs to blog about but I feel compelled to select just one that I need that extra measure of encouragement (and pressure) to finish. I've already declared that Lady Liberty is my new WIP. She will live upstairs and I will stitch on her enough to get her finished by late summer. With that said, I think the time has come to introduce you all to my precious little fish needlebook. The cover is a Simply Old Fashioned design I picked up at the National Cross Stitch Show in Arcola, IL two years ago. I stitched it up in the car, on the journey back home.

I thought the orange/yellow overdyed was perfect on the white shimmery Zweigart evenweave. Now, as you all know, sometimes my projects talk to me. Just before I tucked her away, this little fish told me she wanted to be a covergirl for an XSMLNB*. What a great idea, I said!

So, for two years now (!!!!!), I've been piecing together ideas and have developed most of inside except for the spine. On the left, I have attached mother of pearl rings for fibers and an odds and "fins" pocket. Making the school of goldfish "swimming" across the drawn thread pocket bottom was so much fun!!! Can you see them? Might need to click on picture for a closer look.

On the right, I have a scissors sheath made from mermaid skin (relax people, it's FAUX mermaid skin) and a cover for my needle pages. The needle page cover came from TGOS electronic magazine.

I'm thinking the mermaid scrimshaw ruler should be nestled down in a needle laced "fisherman's net", positioned on the spine. However, considering the cost to replace the scrimshaw, I need to be sure the net will be secure enough to hold her in place when being transported.

The tassel was made just for fun out of WDW perle cotton. I heart #5 WDW perle cotton. I think I want to be mummified with it when my stitching days are through. Oh wait, I think the will says I'm to be mummified with Caron Waterlilies, or was it Impressions...oh well, back to our needlebook...

Now for the hard part. I need to design a back cover. I've seen some similar projects on the web that incorporate autobiographical info like name, hometown, date of birth, etc. I'm considering such a thing.

Any suggestions?

*XSMLNB = extra special marine life needle book (a.k.a. the fish needlebook)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's up and it's GOOODDDDDDDD!!!!!!!

My Peacock is up on the wall and, if I must say so myself, I think it looks mighty good. I've clustered my only samplers together on one wall. Alongside peacock is a Sweetheart Tree mini-tree sampler and a Kingsland Learned Wife sampler. I'm wondering if I've broken any rules by grouping two "true" samplers (containing alphabets) with a band sampler?

please click on photo for a better look
On the table below is a table runner I brought back from National in Louisville last year. It was hand woven in Perugia, Italy by expert weavers and in my favorite color none the less. When you touch it, you know it's special. Makes me a little sad that many of us here in the good ol' USA have accepted the sacrifice of quality for affordability and simply forgotten what quality even feels like. It just reinforces the idea of how special hand made things are and how proud those of us who create them should be.

Also on the table below is my recently acquired Whitman's tin (from eBay, shop VICTORIOUSLY) on the left and a box lid I've featured here on the right.

This little vignette will probably get switched around a couple of times before I'm totally satisfied with it (big shocker, right?), but the important thing is THE PEACOCK HAS LANDED!

Have a great three day weekend all! I'm off for an oil change (with stitching in tow).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


NEXT! I'm thrilled to be moving on to my next major UFO, make that WIP! Don't recall when I started this patriotic piece but it was sometime (several years) after 9/11/01. It is intended for some friends who lost their son that day in the Pentagon crash. The poem is entitled The Lady and reads:

"The fruit of your great wisdom,
A knowledge of mankind.
You had gathered from experience,
Yours was so much more than mine.
You taught me of the beauty
That life would give to me.
You spoke to me of loyalty,
Justice, love and Liberty."

Something about it just touched my heart when I read it. It sounds like it could be a child speaking to a parent. My goal is to finish it, frame it and present it to Sharon and Ken, Paul Ambrose's parents, before 9/11 this year.

The fabric is an overdyed/mottled bottle green. Looks a lot like the patina on the Statue of Liberty, her very self.

I'll close by saying, we should strive to never forget.

If you have anything negative to say about this post, please say it to someone other than me. :-)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Retreat Report

My sister and I have an inside joke about vacations that if you aren't limping home, broke and exhausted on the last day then, by definition, you must not have had a good time. According to those standards, I am happy to report that I have had one very successful retreat this weekend with my stitching family, or as I may start calling them, the Needle Work Enablers Society (NWES). I love them all and/but you've never met a better bunch of enablers in all your life. You know exactly what I mean so I won't elaborate much except to say we could probably keep the shrinks of the world busy for a very very long time. However, stitchers are the best people on the planet, I'm convinced. When one of us has a problem, we all collaborate together to fix it. When life gives one of us lemons, another one grabs the lemon squeezers and vodka. Oops, TMI! I forgot what happens at Retreat, stays at Retreat.

Spending time with these ladies always renews my faith in humanity! And, occasionally, we actually get some stitching accomplished.

The Stitching Report

Thursday: Arrived around 2:30, checked in, unpacked, power napped, drove to town for dinner, stitched on thistle into the evening. Watched two hour Grey's finale and was pretty devastated with what they did to George. I mean, why should such a horrible thing happen to the nicest character on the show? Tragic. I certainly hope they don't kill him off too. Losing Izzy is bad enough. My head is still spinning from it. Aren't Major Hunt and Yang just perfectly perfect for one another? Uh, sorry, back to the stitching report.

designer: Marion Scoular

fabric: 25ct. hardanger

threads: DMC and floche

Pattern cover photo on the left; mine on the right.

Friday: Up early, quick trip to town for last minute "retreat essentials", picked up a few things at the antique store (pics another day), hurried back, ushered the "hookers" (rug hookers) out of the meeting room, set up camp in the stitching room and selected dragonfly checkerboard out of my Big Ol Bag o'WIPs. My XSDNs will be pleased to know they might get to play with this checkerboard before they are taking their college entrance exams. Late in the evening, I switched to my peacock. Turned in around 2ish.

design: Dragonfly Sampler by Sekas

various Caron Wildflowers threads

Saturday: I knew Saturday would be a full day of cutting, unweaving and reweaving the last remaining drawn thread band if I had any chance of finishing it, so I didn't dilly dally. Up early, shower, quick breakfast and coffee and then POWER STITCHING. I did stop for lunch and another very quick trip to the antique shop for wooden spools, but made up for lost time by skipping dinner in order to bring this baby down the home stretch before bedtime. Speaking of home stretch, how about that Preakness winning jockey Calvin Borel and the horse he rode in on? What a story! Love that little man and the filly he made rich and famous, Rachel Alexandra!

My victory was won around 12:38 am after a bit of "broken thread" drama. I think it's safe to say that the last thing you want when working the high tension twisted clusters of the drawn thread bands is for a thread to snap. But, thank goodness, even though my silk did snap with only about three inches to go, I lived to tell the tale and still had enough silk on the needle to finish the band. And yes, there was a happy dance which will not be described here or ever reinacted IRL or on YouTube. My apologies to those who were physically present and subjected to it. Exhileration powered my engines until 3ish.

design: Assisi Peacock Sampler by Giulia Manfredini

Various silks on hand dyed linen

Sunday: Still walking on air from my late night finish, I floated into the stitching room a little later than usual. Then, after packing up, checking out and eating lunch, I selected an Art Stitch design for my Something New Sunday project. It's been in my TO DO stack for a long time and deserved some sunshine.

As you can see, it was a very productive long weekend and I couldn't be happier with my stitchy accomplishments. Now it's back to life, back to re-al-ity time.

Next UFO/BAP*= Statue of Liberty tribute (gift) Photo updates soon.

Wishing everyone a great week!

*UFO/BAP = unfinished object/big a$$ project

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Christmas finish on Mother's Day

Fabric: black linen from stash (28ct.)
Threads: overdyed Cherry Wine, Pine and Whitewash
Design: from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Collection (hardback)

Today was the most beautiful day of the year. The breeze was gentle and cool, the air was clean and fresh, the sun shone brightly and the clouds were more for decoration than precipitation. It was, dare I say, a perfect day. However, without children or a mother, it was a bit lonely. I did enjoy church with hubby and MIL. She is a blessing and a joy to be around.

After lunch, I stitched up my Christmas biscornu while watching the end of "Fred Claus". What a terrific cast of silly/funny/yummy characters! The biscornu has been a lot of fun to stitch and finishing it while watching a funny Christmas movie was fitting. I rarely stitch anything twice, but I did stitch this design twice for front and back of biscornu. I'm actually thinking about doing it again for an ornament! Call me crazy.

I'll be packing soon for Spring Stitching Retreat!!! I've decided on this rotation:

Thistle Thursday

Frank Lloyd Wright Friday

Peacock Saturday

Something New Sunday

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!

That's one pretty decagon!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

April showers bring May fabric origami flowers

We love us some origami, don't we? Fabric oragami? Even better. And, you can WEAR IT? Well, that's just the bee's knees!!! A wonderful friend and exceptionally talented guild sister (none other than the Anna P.) taught these little beauties at one of our last meetings. It wasn't difficult at all, but very addicting! I plan on making some to take to church on Mother's Day. I'll make my MIL an extra special pink one, maybe with a lacy pearl seed bead edging. I think they would be great in pink ribbon (breast cancer) fabric for the survivors amongst us. But why stop there? Patriotic fabric flowers for the 4th of July, Christmas fabric flowers for the holidays, so on and so on.

Is it just me, or can you hear the funeral taps playing for all my other WIPs?

I now know why I've been buying all that pretty fabric, even though I don't quilt! I knew one day, I would need it, for something. Looks like that day is here!

Decisions, decisions...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Punto Gigliuccio and a cautionary tale

Let's see...I've been searching the internet for months for more instructions on the Punto Gigliuccio stitch. Yep, months. The instructions in the pattern were clear but my results were not looking like the model, so I just knew I was doing something wrong. I believe I gave up last weekend and posted here that I was moving on. Doing what every self-respecting stitcher would do; making something up to go in that space. THEN (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) I was innocently surfing Piecework magazine online tonight to see what they were up to and WHAT DID I FIND THERE, you ask!!??!! Well, have a look for yourself:

Yes, you guessed it. Instructions. Even better - they were slightly different than the instructions I already had, so I was able to work the upper band of drawn work on my Assisi Peacock!!! Hip Hip Horray! The fine print: my punishment for giving up and taking things into my own hands last weekend was that I had to frog the stuff I had made up and stuck in there instead of what was supposed to go there. My band definitely looks like a first attempt, but I'm just thrilled to know that my Italian sampler will actually be a sampler of Italian stitches and not "mostly" Italian stitches and one thing Marnie just made up because she couldn't do the punto gigliuccio stitch.

So, the moral of the story is, don't give up, and something about patience being a virtue would fit in there too.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My 100th Post and a Run for the Roses

Wow, 100 posts!?! Now I have proof that I'm a blabbering idiot. I also want to point out that I have two more pieces of solid evidence that I'm "officially" on the slippery slope into senility. First, I totally forgot that it was Thursday night last night. Hello! Grey's?!!! That's what I thought. Luckily, TIVO caught it for me, whew! But wait, it gets worse. Today was the 1st of the month. Right? I work in a place where it is impossible to forget that it's the first of the month. I took "April" out of my cross stitch cork board and inserted "May" and NEVER, not ONCE did I think about rushing over to The Gift of Stitching to download the newest issue, like I have done every month for like EVER! Wonder where I put that ginko bilboa? So as long as we are examining my crazy, why don't you come with me on a little journey into Fantasyland...(cue the Disney springtime in the forest music)...

Tonight I will sleep like an angel, no weird dreams or hot flashes or neck cricks. Husband will sleep like a log, without sawing them. K9 will sleep soundly and will not smell like she has run free for two hours tonight and rolled in every pile of stink she could find.

I will awake slowly to the sound of birds singing and a bright and shining sun. As my senses linger between sleep and wake, I detect the aroma of my favorite latte from the kitchen. The steam is already rising from the shower.

After brunch, I pick out my Derby hat and dress, polish the silver julep cups and call in my winning wager. Only thing on the afternoon schedule is a manicure and pedicure before the call to the post.

Sunday will begin much the same with birds, a latte, and a steamy shower. Maybe another hat. Church, leisurely lunch with family, and an afternoon/evening full of stitching and finishing my favorite WIPs.

Okay. Not exactly, but I'm pretty sure there will be birds and an horse race!

Here's hoping you have a winning weekend!