Sunday, November 24, 2013

Embracing Fall


With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner, today I am planting both feet firmly in FALL and embracing football games, apple cider, chili on the stove, bread in the oven, and an awesome counted canvaswork Laura J Perin design to help me celebrate everything I adore about Fall...

Turning Leaves
on 18ct canvas

I wish I knew why Blogger is failing to upload so many of my reasonably sized pics, but alas, I am not a techie, so you'll just have to trust me -- it's beautiful!  :-)  I've only just started it, so there isn't much to see in my progress but it does seem to be going quickly.

To all my fellow Fall lovers:  Dig in my friends!  As you know, come Friday, Christmas spirit commercialism will be EVERYWHERE.  Take a few deep breaths of that crisp autumn air and give thanks for all the blessings you and yours have enjoyed this past year. 

Wishing you all an attitude of gratitude.  Happy FALL!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Seminar Summary 2013


This year, the EGA national seminar slogan was "Winner by a Stitch" and boy-o-boy did I feel like a winner by the end of the week!

For starters, let me back up and say that earlier this year, I purchased a few opportunity tickets for a quilt drawing.  And....since my sister has all the luck o' the Irish, I put her name on my tickets (I know, I know, shame on me...).  She (aka "I") won.  The quilt is phenomenal in design, piecing and quilting.  I am extremely fortunate to have it and will treasure it forever more.

Fast forward one month and I see this spectacular quilt at the EGA seminar:

It was not for sale or auction; you could only purchase chances for it.  I thought, "What the heck"... even though I knew there was absolutely NO WAY I'd win another quilt this year, it couldn't hurt to try.  Right?  Right!!  And, would you believe they pulled my name out of the hat?  Talk about stunned!  I didn't even hi-jack my sister's identity to win it.  Just to gild the lily, it came with a big-ol'-bag of taffy from a 50 year old candy shoppe in Oregon.  YUM YUM YUM!

With all the quilt-flaunting I had to do, I'm glad the drawing was held on the final evening of the convention.  Even though I only took one class, Catherine Jordan's River Bottom box, I took full advantage of having some down time:

Believe it or not, I finished (or nearly finished) all of the above during my time in Louisville.  I can't remember the last time I had five finishes in a single month!
I even had time to start this adorable Lizzie Kate fall/halloween biscornu which I just finished today:

And just for good measure, I finished another Christmas ornament this past week while on vacation in Washington D.C.

So with jsut about five weeks left until Christmas, I hope you all are finding time to finish a few gifts and maybe even a few keepers... :o)

Have a great week, friends!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blogger misbehaving...

Sorry folks - Blogger seems to be having a spat with my photo stream.  Update coming as soon as I can negotiate a peace treaty between the two parties...

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Good afternoon friends!  Wow wow wow what an action packed month I've had already.  Earlier this month, my EGA chapters partnered to bring renowned needlework instructor Marion Scoular to WV to teach our group a whitework technique called Pulled Stitches.  It is a totally new technique for me (to which hubby said, Seriously?  How is that possible?) and I thoroughly enjoyed expanding my stitching repertoire with this two day workshop.

As you can see, this is an early progress pic.  I'll be finishing this little hummingbird later this month and will be sure to post the finished pic then.

The following weekend was my birthday and hubby decided a quick four day get-away would be good for us.  We drove just three hours up the road to Columbus OH to visit the Country Living Fair, see Cirque du Soleil (Totem), eat at lobster or two at the Fish Market, and swing by (wink wink) a couple of very highly recommended needlepoint shops in Dublin and Powell.

Well.  I'm here to tell you, it was a whirlwind weekend but I enjoyed every last second of it.  I can not say enough good things about the women at What's the Point in Dublin and Louise's Needlepoint in Powell.  Both were exceedingly pleasant, funny, helpful and not even slightly pushy.  Oh, and the sales

HappyBirthdayToMe, HappyBirthdayToMe.... :-D

Being brand spankin' new to painted canvas, I decided to pace myself and focus on small things.  While there were dozens upon dozens of small canvases to choose from, I couldn't resist these:


The peacock is by Squiggee Designs and is stunning in real life.  I am very excited to start on it but also a little intimidated (no stitch guide). I want to do it justice and I'm not feeling super confident in my needlepoint skills.  The good news is I have several friends who are needlepoint experts and I plan to pick their brains before I set my first stitch in that one.  I'm thinking spangles!!!

I couldn't wait to start the little stocking and actually worked on it quite a bit in the hotel.. Here is my current progress with it:

I'm honestly loving it and can't wait to send it off to be finished.

And, clearly, I haven't put stitch 1 in my Monet piece since July/August.  I keep hoping the stitching elves will help a girl out.

That's all the news that's fit to report, friends..

Til next time, keep your needles nimble,



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sweet September


Greetings Friends!  Let me just say how wonderful it is to see "September" on the calendar header... This summer has been great (a bit on the rainy side) but great none-the-less.  However, nothing compares to my love for September.   Another year older, well... yes, but that's okay too.  New years bring new challenges and opportunites am I'm looking forward to all of it.

In July, I was pleased to learned about Tenerife embroidery from a very accomplished needlewoman, Lois Threlkeld, of Tennessee.  Lois traveled to WV just to visit the chapter and teach this project.  I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I loved how it turned out:

Thanks again Lois!  It was a lot of fun!!

Until next time friends...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

most heart warming project, ever...


I have stitched many a thing.  Many, many a thing.  For many a people.  But not until I saw these pictures today of a little pieced baby blanket I made and donated to the local Children's Hospital, have I ever had such a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart:

incubator cover / baby blanket for local Children's Hospital
overall size:  30" x 30" (6" blocks, 5 wide 5 tall)

My thanks go out to guild sister, Jill Hatfield, for pitching the idea to the guild as an outreach project.  (that Jill is full of ideas! and beans, monkeys and bubbles)  As I'm about dangerous on the electrified sewing machine, I was pretty sure my blanket would be a disaster, but it turned out! (no holes or anything!)

While the babies are in the incubators, the blankets help keep the light low inside.  Of course, when the babies graduate out of the incubators, the blankies go home with them.  This project is extra special to me since hubby has been working to make the Children's Hospital a reality for the last five years.  I'm so proud of the job he's done and the work the doctors, nurses, specialists and adminstrators of the Hoop's Family Children's Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Would you like to make a family's day?  Got any spare fabric and an afternoon?  Email me if you'd like to participate in this outreach.  I'll gladly send you the details. 

Best. feeling. ever....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oh Joy, it's a Boy!

Congratulations Will and Kate! 

Here's hoping your Royal Bundle of Joy is a blessing
not only to you but also to the world.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Whoa Nellie!


Happy Weekend, friends!

I'm dropping in this morning with a quick update on Monet: 

I know...I'm feeling pretty underwhelmed about it myself.. but, I keep reminding myself of what an amazing piece it will be when it is finished, in the year 2079.

I've hit that dangerous point of not looking forward to stitching on it.  And we all know what that means - the tragic death of a WIP.  In reading so many of your stories about how to stay motivated on a tough project, I've decided that 'mandatory' stitching time could possibly get me through this confetti part to the section that you can actually recognize the Parliament building. 

So, no more Downton Abbey or Sherlock marathons for me.  :-(

It's time to dive into this badboy, head-first.

Til next time, keep your needles sharp and your stitches straight!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

June: The Month of Wine and Roses


Good evening, friends! 

As we enter the final hours of another loverly month of June, I thought I should pop in and post a quick stitching update.

As I have shared in years past, the month of June is full of family celebrations like Father's Day, wedding anniversary, sister birthday and hubby birthday.  It is literally a month full of friends, family, food, parties, cookouts and vacation! 

 special Frenchy French birthday cake

A great place to stitch...
the library at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia

Having put my tartan coaster to bed, I found it almost difficult to pick a new project (or WIP) to take on our anniversary get-away.  As I ran short on packing/prep time, I grabbed what was handy and ready to be stitched on..

stitching space on vacation...
this chair was extremely difficult to get out of.. as in, Oh no, has it been 6 hours since I moved? 

Monet's The Houses of Parliament, Sunset... one of my favorite Monet's interpreted into cross stitch by the late great Sheila Hudson.

I'm a little further along than when this shot was taken, but not too far..

Kinda depressing.. but, in tiny little bites, I'll eat that elephant!


Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm still adjusting to being a Cat Mom.. to two tuxedo girls.  This is the 'big girl' Boots and yes, her belly is as soft and fluffy as it looks!  She's mainly an outdoor cat but seriously enjoys napping in my sunroom..

Here's hoping you all enjoy a safe and fun Independence Day next week and take a moment to thank a veteran for your freedom.

Happy stitching!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happy Happy Joy Joy!


Happy June, friends!

I have terrific news to share.  The TARTAN TEACUP COASTER IS FINISHED!  And yes, I'm happier than a hounddog with a hambone, so that last sentence should be shouted, from the rooftops. 

ground fabric:  18 count canvas
threads:  all DMC perle cotton (blue 334, green 991, red 321, black 310, and yellow)

This little do-dad measures 7.5" at the widest and was worked in the true tartan plaid method so it is 100% reversible.  I have worked and ripped and re-worked on it for about 10 months but did not clock my hours.  It has been to Las Vegas, Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and back to wild wonderful WV.  Now I just have to find the right silk ribbon to finish the edges (simple fold-over + whipstitch) and it will be done and dusted. 

This is the 6th custom 'doily' I have stitched for certain teacups I have brought home as souvenirs over the years.  Just 'for fun', I began this tradition of designing and creating doilies or coasters for special-to-me teacups many many years ago. 

If it weren't for some of the encouragement I received from several of you, I may have never finished this one.  After about the 5th major mistake, I honestly was on the verge of giving up on it.  You just never know when your kind words will make the difference to someone, so keep that up!  :-))

Here are a couple of other quickies I have finished lately:

Lee leather luggage tag
handpainted canvas
DMC perle cotton

for TVR Birthday Party at EGA National Seminar 2013
Lee leather luggage tag
DMC metallic and perle cotton

Boy are these little guys addictive!  I think I've done five of them now and can't wait to start the next one!  They are small, quick and so much fun.  If your LNS doesn't carry the tags and can't get them for you, you can find them at Madonna Needleworks or Fireside Stitchery.  One thing I like so much about them is that the needlework is not permanently afixed to the tag, so you can change inserts as often as you like. 

Well, that's all the news that's fit to report for today folks.  Hope you are enjoying whatever you are working on this weekend and have a wonderful upcoming week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cherry Blossoms Galore


Greetings Friends!

My favorite (and only) sister and I have made a successful journey to Washington DC to see the sights and take in the cherry blossoms.  We have a pretty strict criteria for "successful" though.  In order for a vacation to be deemed a success, we must A.) limp home B.) broke and C.) exhausted.   Since we accomplished all three, I'd say it was abundantly successful. 

The trees along Lafayette Square were putting on a brilliant show.

On Day 1, we did a six-hour "See It All" overview tour.  For us, it was the perfect way to take in the major monuments and memorials all in one day.  I won't bore you with all 450 pictures I snapped, but here are a few of my favs:

Jefferson Memorial along Tidal Basin
Iwo Jima Memorial
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Fala
To conclude Day 1, we hopped over to the Natural History Museum and saw the Hope Diamond.  Incredible!
Day 2 started early at the National Zoo
Breeding season just concluded.  Mei could have bun in the oven!! 

So regal
We walked and walked and walked and saw everything the zoo had to offer.  At some point, we quit walking and began to hobble.  That's when we knew it was time to make our way back into town.  We had not counted on the near-90 degree heat that day.  One thing I've learned from my travels is when the weather gets nasty, find a cool, peaceful church to enjoy.  We did just that and visited the most impressive St. Matthew's Cathedral this afternoon.  Truly spectacular.  Many of you may remember this is where JFK's funeral was held. 
Sister and I love to tour house museums/mansions and gardens when we are lucky enough to have time in our vacation schedule to take them in.  With a tag line like "Where Fabulous Lives", how could we pass this one up?  We spent the better part of six hours at Hillwood on Wednesday admiring the mansion, furnishings, art, urns, gardens, and generally every-fabulous-thing Ms. Merriweather Post collected.  It was a slendid way to spend a hot (90 degree) day.

And, the salmon cakes at the Hillwood Cafe were a special kind of fabulous!
Again with afternoon temps reaching 90 degrees, we decided to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception over in the northeast corner of the city to conclude our day.  Talk about amazing!  Wow wow wow.  It is a bit out of the way, but well worth the trek.
Wow!  What a fantastic time we had at the Spy Museum in the heart of downtown DC.  They might have had kids in mind when they designed the "Operation Spy" experience but I can attest to the fact that grown kids will enjoy it too.
As a huge James Bond fan, I was enthralled by all the Bond exhibits and memoribilia.  Fascinating!  (no photos allowed)
After a wonderful dinner at the brewpub next to the Spy Museum we jumped on the metro one last time and ran uptown to see the art at the Phillips Collection, home of Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party.  It was amazing but my favorite might have been a van Gogh I had never seen before called the House at Auvers.  They had several important works by Cezanne, Monet, Degas, Hopper, O'Keeffe, Kandinsky, Pollack, Seurat, Sisley, Goya, El Greco, Gauguin, et al.  In short, the whole gang was there.  I heart art.  :-))
Day 5:  Off to the Outlet Mall!   Boy howdy.  Just when we thought we'd walked ourselves to death, we spent another five hours or so walking the outlet mall just outside of D.C. in Hagerstown MD. 
My dogs were barking, so I tried to hush them with these new loafers... 
  Just call me Dorothy..
 And then, I clicked my heels together and we were home.  :-)
The best part of the whole week was spending quality time with my baby sis.  I think we could have fun in a paper bag.  :-D
Now off to the laundry room and back to work.  Here's hoping you are enjoying the changing season, wherever you are!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Presto Change-o


Abracadabra!  Kalamazoo!! 

What was once circular is now a circle with straight sides, aka, an octagon..  Just to revisit, the more I stitched this design in the round, the more concerned I was about how to finish the edges.  Bright idea was to give the circle straight sides, to ease the finishing process.  So now, each and every blasted line of color has been unstitched, at both ends, and re-stitched in order to convert the rounded border into a series of straight edges. 

People, time I want something tartan, I'm going to take the easy road and get my pilots license, fly solo across the Altantic, hike the Scottish Highlands, and turn it over to the people who make tartans for a LIVING! 

Me and my bright ideas...

Taking off tomorrow for a quick vacation to see the cherry blossoms in DC.  Be back in a week with plenty of pretty photos hopefully...

Until then, here's hoping you all are enjoying the changing seasons, wherever you are!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spammers are not nice people..


Hi Friends! 

It is a cold and rainy Sunday here in my neck of the woods and instead of stitching or blogging about stitching, I have been weeding this here little garden of mine...  In other words, deleting scores of spam comments from my posts. 

Insert unhappy face.

I'm still plugging along with my tartan coaster and will have photo updates soon (or "one day", as the case may be).

Until then, toodles!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Post of Many Titles


Good Morning Friends!

Long time, no see..  February was a 'no-post' month for me and I don't really have a good excuse except I was selected for jury duty and spent a little over a week in a courtroom which totally threw me off my normal routine of things.  Don't worry though - you didn't miss anything exciting.

As I was working on my tartan teacup coaster the other evening, I was thinking about posting this update and many different post titles scrolled through my head.  Here's a few:

The Coaster of Many Colors          Groundhog Day
From Here to Eternity              The Grapes of Wrath
What? This old thing??            #!+%@*(_!!!!!!
One Fine Day                     Why Me Lord?
Fixing the Unbroken       I'd Rather be Playing Solitaire
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
Someone, Shoot Me             Hey, Hey, Bartender!                
and some I can't share...

Needless to say, it has been much more of a challenge than I ever anticipated.  Therefore, I've done what every self-respecting needlewoman I know does when faced with these kinds of situations, I've procrastinated.  I have decorated, crafted, baked, gotten lost in Pinterest, played marathon rounds of Solitaire and even cleaned house in order to pretend that I just was too busy to work on my coaster.  Well, now I've HAD IT.  I am on a mission to finish this bad-boy a.s.a.p.  There are too many other things calling for me to stitch for me to keep dragging my feet with this one. 

Here's the latest progress pic...

Round about Christmas, I began giving serious thought to how I was going to finish the edge.  The longer I stitched, the more perplexed I grew.  So, I phoned a friend.  :-))   She made a couple of suggestions that got me thinking it would be much easier to finish if it had straight sides, like a hexagon or octagon.  The more I studied, the more sense it made to convert my original circular shape into anything with straight sides.  So, I've set about re-stitching the edge in order to extend certain areas, converting the curved border into a straight one.  And, it is working - MY LAST NERVE..

In hopes that I'll abandon my bad attitude and "Just Do It" already, I've challenged myself to work on it an hour a day.  That seems to work so well with so many of you who find yourselves in similar situations.

I also plan to post updates more regularly, thus forcing me to stitch so I have something to talk about!

Until then, friends, Keep Calm and Stitch On!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All work and no play..


All work and no play makes Marnie a dull (and cranky) girl.. 

Trying to spark some creative juices lately by cruising Pinterest, stitchy blogs, crafty mags, but alas I think work and winter have plunked me into the seasonal (post-Christmas) blahs..

I have been fiddlin' with PicMonkey lately and have made some cute print-outs for Valentine's Day.

Here's one free for the taking:


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's a New Day!


Good Morning, 2013!!!!

Holy Moley - another year closes and a new day dawns.  Isn't the concept of "a new year" fabulous?  I mean, really, it's just another day, right?  So the big blue marble encircled the giant fireball again, big whoop.. right?  But, the idea of New Beginnings, Fresh Starts, Clean Slates, even the dreaded Resolutions... the whole Happy New Year enchilada is 100% brilliant, isn't it...?  It's almost like free therapy (stay with me here)--- the calendar, random people on the street, your friends and family, the teevee, radio, newspaper all proclaiming in one loud voice:  "Hey You!  Here's your New Year!  Throw out all that old year garbage (and bad habits) and make yourself/your home/your life new again."  What an awesome message, and you know what's more incredible than that?  The WHOLE WORLD celebrates the "New" Year.  Think about that.  The entire world celebrates this moment in time, a new beginning.  I find that to be amazing in and of itself.

I like it so much, I think I'll have two in 2013!  :-)

So, what have I been up to since my last post?  A whole lot which is why my blogging time shrunk to zero.  I was so busy, I didn't even have time to miss it but it does feel great to be back here today, catching up with all of your happenings over the holidays.

Year in Review:  2012 had two main themes - travel and my sweet Carmen. 

Hubby and I enjoyed visiting Italy, Greece, Turkey, Colorado, and Las Vegas this past year.  Since we both still work full-time, (and aren't spring chickens anymore) we nearly wore ourselves and our suitcases out! 

And, as you might remember, we lost our precious 12 1/2 year old canine daughter Carmen in August.  It took months to adjust to an empty house.  The sadness was overwhelming.  My distraction of choice was reorganizing everything that wasn't nailed down. When I ran out of stuff of my own to reorganize, I reorganized my sister's kitchen and pantry.  Hubby took to his workshop.  In our grief, we were not fully capable of comforting one another so the Universe reached out to us and brought a totally unexpected new bundle of love, Kitty White Socks, into our lives. 

While we know absolutely nada-zip-zilch-zero about cats, she has helped us find our silly side again.  After months of sadness, tears, loneliness and grief, we smile and laugh and act like goofballs again.  Do pets have this effect on all people or is it just us?   It's nice.  :-)

After Thanksgiving, I thoughfully packed away all the fall decorations (in their very own new storage totes) and gleefully set about decorating for Christmas.  I love combining the old stuff with some new, just to keep it fresh.  This year was no different. 

The new-ish nativity I love so much...

The old stockings were hung...

The table was set (with new and old)...

And the Jolly ol' Elf was watching...

On the stitching front, I used the electrified sewing machine more this past year than I ever have.  Using some of the prettiest fabrics I've collected over the years, I made about a dozen of these fun shoe bags for family, friends and self...

Carolyn's shoe bag

...and several bean-bag style eye pillows, again for family, friends and self. 

Jamie's eye pillow

As for handwork, I will be reacquainting myself with my tartan tea coaster today..

Happy New Year, friends.  I hope you find joy, inspiration and hope for good things to come in 2013.