Saturday, October 31, 2009

Revealing the December Mystery Giveaway...

O what fun it's been hosting my monthly random mystery giveaway these last few months.  Letting do most the work and select my lucky day each month, and randomly select a winner from those leaving a comment on the lucky day.  Commentors don't know which day is lucky or what the prize might be.  It's been a blast for me!  But, rules were made to be broken, right?  So.  I've been plotting my final (December) giveaway for a while now.  I knew I wanted to give away something a little extra special, like a pair of the Mia Gingher scissors:

since they are so perfect for Christmas.

BUT WAIT, there's more.......I started having visions of a matching scissors block. 

What's that, you say?  A matching scissors block?  You've never heard of such? 

Me neither!!!  Neither have I seen one anywhere except in my head, so I've been scurrying around and fritzing around with this idea for weeks.  While I'm really good at visualizing the final product, the "how to" steps are always a tad harder for me to figure out.  But, after shopping for just the right fabric, a little trial and error, I've come up with this tartan (5 scissors) cube.  Hope you like it.

Are you ready? 

Brace yourselves:

the front

pockets on sides

And the backside is the perfect poke place for pins.  As you can see, the base is a styrofoam cube, covered in felt, wrapped like a Christmas present to create the side pockets, fastened with gold buttons.  I've really learned alot in making this little cube, like when you iron over styrofoam, you should stop before the crackling noise starts.  And how to use a curved needle to sew buttons on to awkward places. 

One of the really neat things about this project is, if you tire of the tartan, all you need to do is clip a couple of buttons off, unwrap your cube and rewrap it in your new favorite fabric! 
How great is that!?!

The lucky winner will also receive 4 extra gold corsage pins (like on the front) in case the owner would like to push them into the bottom and make "feet" for the cube. 

So, here's the deal.  I will still have a November give-away as usual.  In December, I'll still let select a lucky December day but that day could be as early as the 1st so all commentors from November and December will go into a hat and one lucky winner will recieve the Mia Ginghers (new in box) and the matching scissors block.  And who knows, maybe there will even be a matching scissors fob by then!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween offerings

The Witch

There once was a witch of Willoughby Wood
And a weird wild witch was she;
With hair that was snarled
And hands that were gnarled,
And a rickety, kickety knee;
She could jump they say
To the moon and back,
But this I never did see.

Freebie from My Aunt's Attic:

Hope everyone has a ghoul-free Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For the BIRDS

This has probably never happened to any of you, but just recently I took note of something that apparently has been going on at my house for a while now.   I noticed that I had a thing for birds.  Mind you, I KNEW I had a thing for cardinals...........and swans........and peacocks.  But in looking around my house, I noticed a decidely bird-y thing going on in general.   Cardinals and swans and peacocks for sure are in a special class, but one of my favorite cross stitched pieces is of a robin perched on the edge of her nest (see below).   I have several Hallmark collectors plates featuring nature artist Marjolein Bastin's birds.  My Christmas dishes are covered in birds of all sort.  And, I just discovered that I have a pretty good collection of bird ornaments.  So, I did what my BHGTVDD* Kitty Bartholomew would do and pooled those pretty little feathered things together and re-did a tabletop. 

The little tiny framed piece in the front is a Twisted Threads freebie cross stitch "Home of a Stitcher", featuring a silver sparrow charm on a cross-stitched nest.  The framed piece on the wall is "Aim High" by Crossed Wing Collection.  It is, to the best of my memory, one of the first pieces I stitched on linen.  It was no looking back after that!  Not in this picture is my copy of Charley Harper's Birds and Words art book.  If you are a bird lover too, you should check it out.  Some of his prints have been charted for cross stitch too, but you really have to hunt for them.  Brrrrrrd Bath (Harper)

They make me smile.

And I'll leave you with a poem by one of my all time favorites, Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune--without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

Here's wishing you a spot of beauty and a reason to smile today!

*BHGTVDD = Best Home and Garden TV Decorating Diva

Monday, October 26, 2009

October's Random Mystery Give-Away Winner is...

Jan!  Congratulations Jan.  You, Sadie and Siobhan dropped me a comment on the 10th, my lucky October day, so in the hat you went and YOU were the lucky duck that floated to the top of the list:

List Randomizer

There were 3 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1.) Jan

2.) Sadie

3.) Siobhan

If you will be at the November TANA meeting, I'll bring your little gifty to you there.  If not, let me know and I'll drop it in the mail.

Congratulations Jan and thanks for stopping by so often.  I love reading the comments you leave me.

Two more chances to win a random mystery gift from me.  I'm working up something special for December, so be sure to stop back by between now and then.

Have a great day friends!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a mild case of startitis

Fall always does it to me.  I get "in the mood" to start stuff.   Do you think at 38 years old I can still blame the school year for this phenomenon?   At any rate, I've started two small-ish projects to work on between now and Christmas.

The first is this terrific little sewing set from GPA:

Giulia sent this pattern to me as a gift when I had ordered some other things and I've been dying to get my needle in it ever since.  The stitching will go fast;  the finishing, well, not so sure...  We'll see.   This is the first time I've stitched on Weeks linen, 35 ct in "Parchment", and let me tell you, it is super nice.  I'll be using this color and count more often.  Instead of cotton overdyed thread, I picked out two Belle Soies for this project, "Collard Greens" and "Cranberry".  You can't tell much about the thread in this photo, but trust me, it is gorgeous. 

Secondly, a seasonly square from Indigo Rose:

Again, I'm going with Splendor silks for this piece.  I love all the blackwork in it.  This piece finished out to be fairly small (5 5/8" square), so I think it will look nice framed and on an easle on my desk at work.  The richness of the color palette hooked me the minute I saw it. 

And I'll leave you with the first published photo of our family friend, Fred: 

I was beginning to get worried about him because it has been a good while since we've run into him.  I think he was on his way to check out the man-cave construction this morning.

Have a great weekend folks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A penny, a plaid and a play-place

Just finished this little ditty - one of my chapter's education projects.  We've been having a lot of fun with our monthly education projects this year by exploring needlework from around the world.  The penny rug program was representative of American folk art.  I'd never tried my hand at these puppies before and must admit, it was a lot of fun!  Don't look too close, but I will point out that each "pile" or penny is composed of a small grey circle atop a red, atop a black.  Isn't it neat how the thread color makes each penny look so different?  I'm thinking of putting together a little OSU themed gift basket for my BMRTSA*, who was born in Ohio and thus has the scarlet and gray gene/affliction.

And, OMG, Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia, have you all seen the new Ginghers exclusively at Jo-Ann's?  For some unknown reason, they named this design "Mia".  I've seen all the other designer Ginghers and honestly, could pass.  HOWEVER, this little plaid pair was too much for me to resist.  But you want to hear the greatest part? You can use the 50% coupon.  That's right.  AWE-SOME! 

So, that's the penny and the plaid, what about the play place, you ask?

Hubby has started construction on his place o'manly things.  More exactly, the contractor has started digging and pouring and whatever else contractors do.

I'd say round about Thanskgiving time, he'll be hosting a ribbon cutting.  Let me know if you have any man-types who'd like to come!  Progress reports to follow.

*BMRTSA= best motorcycle riding, tattoo sporting auntie

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eye Candy

I'd like to share a few shots of my EGA chapter's 30th Anniversary exhibit from this past weekend with you.   I'm so proud of everyone's work - almost as if I stitched every piece myself.   There were so many beautiful pieces, I couldn't possibly show them all, but here's just a little taste of the work produced by my multi-talented friends:

stitched by:  Delphine Wolfe

stitched and created by:  Jill Hatfield

the bookmark below is mine, but please don't let the ribbon fool you.  The angel above was the hardanger show-stopper!

and for the life of me I can't remember why I stitched someone else's name on this white on white sampler (wink wink)...

This exquisite piece was created by my stitching sponsor and road trip buddy, Miss Vera.  Isn't the frame perfectly perfect?  As for the needlework, well, "forget about it - you can't touch this"!  (I'm sure it's against 7 kinds of laws to put a M.C. Hammer lyric in the same sentence as a Tony Soprano quote, but you get the idea)

Sadly, none of the photos I took of the beaded pieces turned out.  Seems I don't know how to focus on beads (among other things, like laundry, housework, etc.) 

Hope you enjoyed this mini-tour of our show.  I encourage everyone within commuting distance of an EGA chapter to go join in the fun!  (click on the link to find a chapter near you).  I personally would never have had the nerve to try so many different kinds of needlework if it hadn't been for the guild and my crazy stitching compatriots.   I joined exactly ten years ago this month and the friendships I've made along the way have enriched my life immeasurably. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Welcome Friends

Little House Needleworks
"Alphabet Rhyme"
threads by Crescent Colors

I've loved stitching this piece SOOOOooooo much that when I finished the lettering last night, I just couldn't stand it so I frogged the whole word Friends and restitched it tonight!  And if you believe that, I've got some beachfront property in Arizona for sale!  Now don't get me wrong, I do LOVE the piece and the colors and the whole of it.  The truth of the matter was I had a BHI (big hairy idea) to change the lower portion of the design.  My BHIs are always ripe with danger.  I was very careful in charting, matching the font as best I could, spacing, counting, centering, etc.  BUT somehow I ended up stitching Friends off center.  Oh, what's that?  By how much, you ask.  How "off center" was I?  Two stinking stitches!  Go figure.

But, all's well that ends well.  I only have a couple of berries and leaves to go and this one is off to the framer.  That's right, I've made an executive decision that this one is going on the wall. 

Maybe I'll make a pillow next time (wink wink).

I just love it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tiny finish

Victoria Sampler ornament, finished for finishing class in November:

I didn't think I was going to enjoy this stitch because of the metallic and all the shading in the rhododendron.  I hate confetti stitching.  But, the metallic behaved itself and the rhodo area was small enough to not grate my nerves too much.  I loved the bargello section.   If I'm lucky, I won't flunk out of my finishing class and I'll post better (less blurry) photos of the ornament next month. 

Also, I'm really making headway with my ABC LHN piece.   With a little luck, it could be finished by Tuesday.  More pics soon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Back from National

What a quick trip!  My road trip buddy and I hit the trail around noon on Tuesday and were back home Thursday from the EGA National meeting.  Much much too quick of a trip, but better than not going at all.  The hotel was magnificent; heavenly beds, excellent service, top notch dining, and, a Starbuck's just off the lobby.  What more could a girl ask for?!  I really could have gotten use to the VIP treatment they so generously bestowed on us and all their other guests as well.   Kudos Omni William Penn!

The boutique was provided by Stitchery Row, and excuse me for saying so but, it was a flosstitute's dirty dream.  Not only did they haul my brand spanking new stitching floor stand all the way from upper NY to lower PA for pick-up, but they did a bang up job of catering to the stitcher's every need.  If you don't already own a floor stand ladies, you should investigate the Ultimate Stands made by Kimberly and her husband, Paul, at Stitchery Row.  Very reasonably priced and highly comfortable/functional (adapter bars available for scroll rods).  Big kisses to hubby for purchasing this one for me for my birthday last month.  I don't know how I made it this long without one! 

And as for Merchandise Day, it was a mad house, per usual.  I came away with a few new accessories, a gorgeous piece of hand dyed linen, a few new charts, needle index, JABCo pins, wool felt sheets, silk ribbons and threads.  Overall a very good way to spend an afternoon with a few hundred of my closest friends.   :-D

While we were there, some of us went ahead and pre-registered for 2010 National in San Francisco.  The classes are knock-your-eyes-out beautiful.  So many to chose from...  If it doesn't go to lottery, here's what I signed up for: 

The Acorn Accessories

I didn't accomplish much stitching while away but I'm off work until Tuesday!   Nothing like coming home from vacation to a four day weekend.   I'm really looking forward to bending a few needles between now and then.  For now, I'm off to finish unpacking, go grocery shopping and perhaps even enjoy a little of the beautiful weather outside.  Here's hoping you too have a very stitchy weekend!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pumpkins Pumpkins EVERYWHERE

Can you hear Bubba (of Forrest Gump fame) now.....

"...they got little pumpkins, big pumpkins, white pumpkins, pumpkins for carvin', ugly pumpkins, pretty pumpkins...

...pumpkin pies, prize pumpkins, funny pumpkins, pumpkin dumplings...

...pumpkin bread, pumpkin fudge, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin butter......"  and yes friends, I enjoyed it all at the WV Pumpkin Festival today.  Sorry no, I didn't see any pumpkin etouffee but maybe next year (kidding!)  Wondering what one eats for lunch at a pumpkin festival?  Greek gyros, of course (hee hee).

Hubby tagged along this year and seemed to have fun too!   At the very least, I know he enjoyed the tractors on display:

Since I did so well in July at the WV Arts and Crafts Fair, I didn't shop the arts and crafts as hard as I would normally.  Not counting the fudge and pints of apple butter and pumpkin butter, it was a pretty light haul:

A couple of lampwork beads, a bundle of lavender sachets, some swan greeting cards, and a red pottery bowl and cup.  I also brought home a Longaberger deviled egg platter that somehow didn't make the photo. 

And in the spirit of Pumpkin Love, I'll leave you with a little pumpkin stitching: 

I'd invite you to click on the photo for a closer look, but I'm afraid you'd laugh your hiney off at my first and last attempt at making a pillow.  Yes, that "thing" in the lower right is supposed to be a mini-pillow.  Oh well.   It might be a little wonky, but I still love it.  The pattern was a Sekas freebie (I think) and it was my first foray with Caron Watercolours which launched a love affair that still burns bright today.

Well friends, that's all the news that is fit to print.  I'm off to clean out the SUV, catch up the laundry, bathe the dog and all the other "must do's" that will keep me from stitching today.

Hope you all are enjoying a gorgeous weekend wherever you are!