Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy dance Happy dance...


Have you ever hunted for a pattern for, like, ever???... and then, after multiple failed attempts to obtain it, luck shines down upon your face, and suddenly, you have it in your hot little hands?  YES, your heart sings... And then, after many a family drama involving a stray kitten and/or an 18 day hospital stay, you find time to stitch it?  And then, there is that feeling of unbridled joy when you finish the finishing?  Yes, it feels like a Christmas miracle..  My little Italian Christmas sewing set is complete and I couldn't be happier.

Design:  Christmas Sewing Set
Designer:  Guilia Manfredini of GPA Designs
Stitched with Belle Soie silks (Cranberry and Steamed Broccoli)
on 35 ct. "parchment" linen

Now I'm off to bask in the glow of biscornu.  :-)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all,

Thursday, December 4, 2014

With three weeks to go...

Sharing two more ornaments today, as we roll this holiday train closer and closer to Station 12-25...

Nine Happy Snowmen (well, three happy, six undecided)
inspiration from Pinterest (no pattern)

My interpretation of Piet Mondrian in needlepoint
Adaptation from Google image

Here's wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season!

Stitch Happy,

Friday, October 24, 2014

World Food Day

October 24th - World Food Day

Reason #734 to adore October:  World Food Day!

Help feed a family this year...Donate to your local food pantry today!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Two Totally Unrelated Yet Awesome Recipes

Now that it is officially Fall, I am free to bust out the canned pumpkin and bake everything I've been pinning to my Fall Pinterest board! 

Only because I've been dreaming of these, I tried Cooking Classy's twice iced (yes, hello...Twice.Iced.) Starbuck's copycat recipe for pumpkin scones first. (THANK YOU cookingclassy.com!).

 If I'm being honest, I'll tell you I have never had a good scone at Starbuck's, but they looked delicious on Pinterest and I love pumpkin....sooooo...I decided 8 scones per batch was too few, so I cut my dough to produce 16 smaller, yet still generously sized, scones.

Can I just saw, WOW.  Super terrific good.. and if you don't believe me, I have about twenty friends who will testify.

Up next, homemade ketchup.  I know - sounds insane, right?  I mean, who in their right mind MAKES KETCHUP when Heinz does such a bang up job?  Well, for reasons my hubby thinks I should keep to myself, I have made the executive decision to make my own ketchup. After picking an easy recipe from Epicurious I decided there was no time like the present.

Man o man, am I glad I tried this.  This ketchup tastes like ketchup, only better.  I know, I know, everything is better when made from scratch, but I wasn't expecting ketchup to knock my socks off!  In fairness, I did alter the recipe slightly.  I reduced the brown sugar by half, doubled the tomato paste, and added 1-2 T. of corn syrup into the final puree.  I will definitely be making this on a regular basis.

Until next time, hope you are finding the delicious side of life!

Friday, October 10, 2014

I left my heart in San Francisco...

Greetings from cold, damp WV, friends...

Hubby and I are fresh back from a fairly long (but not nearly long enough) trek to the West coast.  I love "The City" by the Bay more now that I did before but not as much as I will next time around.  There is so much to see and do, it's impossible to talk about it all without making your ears bleed, so to summarize...

There's the Bridge(s), the wharf, the trolleys, the Piers, the Farmers Market, the cable cars, the hills, the parks, the sea lions, the chowder, the tea, the fog, the Rock (Alcatraz), Sausalito, the art and artists, the Painted Ladies, the parrots, the history, the tragedies (fire and earthquake), the romance, the food, the wine, the bread(!), the chocolate, the Bay, the sunset, the 49ers, Chinatown, did I mention the food?, the carousel, the Red Trolley ale, the Presidio, and the people... All EXTRAORDINARY... Add one five-star-blow-your-mind-and-hold-on-to-your-VISA-card needlepoint store (Needlepoint, Inc.) on top of all that and hey, what more could a girl ask for (besides more money and one more week)?  I do believe SFCA has something for everyone.  I also firmly believe everyone should go see it before it drops off into the Pacific Ocean... Seriously..

Enjoy a few pics while I go try to telepathically convince my pathetic avocados to taste more like fresh, ripe Californian avocados...

Pics from the Redwood National Forest and Oregon next post...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Baby Sampler finished!

Good Sunday friends.  In my neck of the woods, today is one of the finest weather days we've seen for awhile.  I adore the months of September and October!  Hope everyone is enjoying the same and kind get outside to enjoy it (while it lasts!).

I know it is small but that did not damper my excitement to finish this baby sampler from JBW Designs:

JBW Designs Birth Sampler
28 ct. lavender sparkle fabric from stash
DMC floche (2 strands) in color 552

I hope she sees something different every time she looks at it... Hugs, sweet girl!  Now... back to that wedding sampler I keep misplacing...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vacay pics, a WIP and a finish (picture heavy)

Happy weekend friends!  It's Labor Day weekend here in the States and I'm again looking back at the summer wondering what I have to show for it..

The highlights of my summer were visiting Niagara Falls for the first time; Stratford Ontario for some Shakespeare (King Lear); and swinging through Frankenmuth MI for some German food and Christmas shopping.  Here are a couple of the best pics:

We stayed in Buffalo NY while visiting Niagara.  Hubby and I both enjoy seeing Frank Lloyd Wright homes/buildings when convenient to our other travel plans and so we spent one afternoon touring the Darwin Martin complex in Buffalo.  Spectacular!  Highly recommend.  Also highly recommend Caramici's Bakery and Bisto down in the Little Italy part of town.  We had dinner on a Saturday evening there and both agree that it was lick-the-plate good!

Horseshoe Falls (Canada)
the largest waterfall in North America

After being awe-struck at the Falls, we headed westward to calmer water in Stratford, Ontario to catch King Lear.  The place where we lodged had a beautiful lake on the premises and some of the biggest mosquitoes you've ever seen in your entire life.  I loved the place, but would have died of dehydration (of the blood) if I hadn't bathed in Deep Woods OFF. 

so peaceful...

so serene...
Everything about Stratford, Ontario (and King Lear) gave me warm and fuzzy flashbacks to those precious days I spent at Oxford studying Shakespeake and British history.  I've been lucky enough to see Shakespeake on stage in Stratford, England twice and now Stratford, Ontario once.  Here's hoping hubby can tolerate a few more Shakespeare plays in his future.  I hear Utah has a killer Shakespeare festival!  :-D
While he drove us from point to point, I worked on the JBW baby sampler for a friend from work.  I actually took two WIPs to stitch on the road because I was sure I'd be done with the baby sampler before our return home.  How. Ever.....it kept getting bigger with each passing mile.  When did 8"x 4" get sooooo big???  I'm in the home stretch now though.  Don'tcha just love all the sweet mini motifs in the JBW Designs?  I know I do...

To Do: chart "Lilliana" for the center area
(color is much prettier in real life)
And finally, another Christmas ornament finish to share.  Prairie Schooler this time.  Again, I'm not in love with the finish, so it will be easy to give away!
Have you started your Christmas stitching yet??????   Stitch Happy!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cardinal ornament finish

I really love the simple yet elegant art of Charley Harper.  Not only was he a West Virginian but also a bird/nature lover which he expressed in his creations.  While I only own one CH canvas, I've been itching to make a couple of Harper inspired Christmas ornaments.  This one is mainly felt with just a few stitches for wings and such.  The shapes are so simple that I didn't bother with drawing them first.  I grabbed some felt, denim and scissors, and started with the birdbath.  The rest was super easy..

120 days til Christmas!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Prelude to Autumn

With all the 'below normal' temps this week, I'd swear it's autumn already!  But, we haven't had the Dog Days or Indian Summer yet so I know Mother Nature is just fooling around.  Fooling around or not, the cool mornings have triggered my Fall Spirit!  Since I'm leading a little blackwork workshop in a couple of months, I decided the time was right to whip up this little tissue cover (and continue ignoring my wedding sampler WIP). 

Liz Skinner leaf and acorn design
Marion Scoular tissue cover instructions

Here's hoping you all are having a great week!  Stitch happy,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fun, fast Olympic style finish

Meet Sochi.  Isn't she sweet????  A clever stitcher friend (hi Becky!) charted this matryoshka doll to stitch in honor of the Sochi Olympics back when the games were actually being played.  I thought she was just 'totes ma-goats' adorbs... So even though the 2014 Olympics are a distant memory, here's hoping my Sochi will enjoy hanging with me for years to come.  Anyone designing anything fun to stitch for the RIO games?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Christmas Ornament finish

Who is feeling ahead of the game?  Me!  That's who!  Christmas ornament #1 (2014) done and finished (cording, tassel, etc.).  I'm not sure I'm in love with it, but hey, it's a start to the ten I am aiming to complete before December 1.

design from Gift of Stitching magazine
corner motif from larger design

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Slow Hand (as in Geez, am I slow or what!?!)


Good day, friends!  It has been forever since I've update my corner of the world wide web and I thought it was high time to do so, a month ago, and then two weeks ago, and yesterday...  So!  Without further ado, allow me to apologize for myself.  I have several excuses.  Select whichever one you like best.

#1) I retired at the end of February.  Yes, like I am no longer in the work force and loving every minute of it.  But, like so many of you know, one doesn't just dive headfirst into the stash pile upon retirement.  No.  "Things" must be done like major housecleaning, closet purging, trip taking, establishing a new routine.  Yes, these things I felt had to come first - so that was my March.

#2) Stepson 1 AND Stepson 2 got married (March and May).  I was asked to photograph the May wedding, hence the photography class in March-April.  Taking the wedding pictures was an honor and a pleasure but one that put me into a state of panic, for a couple of months.  Let me state it clearly for the record, I am not a professional photographer.  I am just an avid shutterbug, doing the best I can.

#3)  I accepted a regional position with the EGA and had to learn a whole new raft of things in preparation for the regional meeting in June in Knoxville.  My stitching pals and I had a great time in Tennessee and didn't make any new enemies - always a plus!!!

#4)  SISTERS TRIP to Cincinnati to see the Princess Di exhibit.  If you are close enough to go see it and haven't yet, go now before it returns home to England  (closing Aug 17th).  Not only are the contents of the exhibit extraordinary, the museum must be credited with putting it all together beautifully.  Truly, one of the best exhibits I've ever seen - and I'm a museum hound.  Oh, did I mention that the hotel valet service in Cincinnati lost my car?  Yeah.  Long story.

#5)  June - the month of wine and roses.  Multiple major family events in June.  I can write off the month of June every year due to back-to-back-to-back celebrations for my baby sister (birthday), husband (birthday) and father (father's day), and my wedding anniversary.  Whew... 

Then, hubby retired at the very end of June.

Now, throw in three funerals between #1 and #5.

Which brings us to JULY and can you believe I actually have an actual FINISH to share?!?!?!  Yes, a stitching finish...

A couple of my sweetest stitchy pals gifted me this kit when I retired.  How sweet is that?!?

Additionally, I am totally chuffed to show you this near-finished Little House piece:

But wait, there's more!  After carefully reading Mary Corbett's recent tutorials about her Tudor Rose project, I could not wait another minute to start my luggage tag, which has had me mystified for over a year.. (I know - it's not rocket science, but needlepoint is new to me).  Mine isn't supposed to be like hers, she just inspired me to find my round 'tuit'.  Working with the Neon Rays and Very Velvet and Planet Earth silks has been a ton o' fun.  The Gumnut wool french knots were just the thing for the center, I thought..

I'll leave you with this last pic of my soon to be complete wedding sampler WIP called "The Wedding" by My Big Toe Designs.  S2's wedding was in lavender, purple, grey and white so the ground fabric is a platinum linen.  The threads are two shades of GAST overdyed purple (lavender potpourri and hyacinth).  The center section is designed to read "two shall be as one", but I think I will chart their married monogram and stitch it in the center instead (as inserted with photoshop below):

Me thinks this is plenty for today.  Tune in next time when I tell you all about my super terrific Charley Harper canvas called "And One To Grow On".

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Playing Catch Up


Greetings, friends!  I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the change of seasons.  With several days of rain coming my way, I thought it was time to post some cheery spring pics.

Freshly graduated from my very first photography class, I actually learned what a few of the buttons on my digital camera do... See?  There is the kinda close-up shot (above).
And the really close-up artsy shot (below).

I know --- I'm looking into more classes....
There is absolutely no stitching news to report except that I am already packing for the semi-annual Stitchers Retreat being held this upcoming weekend.  (So exciting!)  
I have however, spotted two new-to-me birds at the feeder this month. 

And secondly, the stunning Summer Tanager which I have not yet convinced to sit still long enough for me to snap a pic..  However, just so your imagination doesn't run wild with possibilities, here is a pic from allaboutbirds.org:

 It is the only totally red bird in North America, and silly me did not even know such a thing existed. 


And with that, I'm off to do the official rain dance of my people, a.k.a., wash the car.
Happy stitching, friends!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wearing o' the White for St. Patrick's Day?


Isn't Mother Nature feeling her oats lately?  Hubby and I enjoyed glorious weather in nearby Ireland, WV over the weekend when we visited their Irish Spring Festival AND THEN, we got roughly a foot of snow overnight..  Incredible!  I'm just so glad that it held off until after the festival.  What great fun it was to join the fine people of Ireland to help celebrate the coming of Spring.  There was jig dancing, horseshoe pitching, road bowling, harp concerts, kite flying and an EPIC parade with leprechauns, pigmy goats, lots of candy, step dancers and plenty of red hair to go around.

I truly haven't seen so many people having such a great time since that time I was on cold medicine during the St. Paddy's day parade in Baltimore in 1994, but that's a story for another day...

So, with a foot of snow on the ground, I'll be hanging out at the ranch today... deciding whether or not to hire an air traffic controller for the back deck:

The feeder has been busier than a cut-rate cathouse (if you'll kindly pardon the expression).

So, until next time friends, stay warm, keep stitching and beware of the ides of March!

Friday, February 28, 2014

March Beautiful March


I do not think it is possible for me to love the month of March more than I already do.  It is a clear and convincing sign that WINTER IS OVER, and we have survived yet another dark, cold season o'misery.
Sure, it may snow or sleet or hail or whatever else in the month of March, but that's okay because the days are getting longer, the afternoons are getting warmer, the birds are back and the flowers are starting to pop up everywhere.  Just like a hot cuppa tea on a cold winter's night, the Month of March warms me from the inside and fills my heart with hope and joy.

Of course, having a wee bit of Irish blood in my veins makes March even more enjoyable.  I confess, I am in heaven the entire blessed month listening to traditional Appalachian/Celtic music (the fiddles and whistles, the reels and jigs...), switching from Earl Gray to Irish Breakfast tea, baking multiple loaves of soda bread, and sipping on an occasional Nutty Irishman as I curl up under a warm blanket with a little book of Irish poetry in the evenings.  Heaven on Earth! 

If you find that your music collection is lacking a Celtic album (yes, I said album) jump on over to Amazon or iTunes and give the search button a workout.  You'll find the uber popular Irish Tenors, Celtic Woman and so many more.  And, before I move on, no library could be called complete without a book of Irish poetry.  I just picked up a small but elegant copy at E. Shaver in Savannah that I'm falling in love with:  Irish Poems.

And so, with that, I'm off to find a delightfully springy, leprechauny, or simply green something to stitch this evening, break out the Irish cream, and hum along to some great Celtic ditties. 

Good-bye February!   Hello March!!!

Here's wishing you a happy weekend, wherever you are!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet Savannah


Popping in to share a few of my favorite snaps from my quick trip last week...

The natives were bundled up like Eskimos but hubby and I thought it felt like Spring!  Just a light jacket and we were good to go.

Among other places, we visited the Telfair Academy (Museum) / Jepson Center and had the great fortune of seeing the "Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain" exhibition.  Incredible.  Do go if you love Spain, vibrant color, the human spirit, or if you have eyes in your head.  The exhibit departs Savannah in early March...

No stitching on this trip - just sightseeing and lots of good food. 

It's past my bedtime, so until next time - may you be warm, safe and happy, wherever you are.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Monet update...


And so another holiday season has come and gone like a runaway train!  Hubby and I slipped out of town in early November and the next thing I knew, it was Little Christmas...  I blame Father Time for making the years slip by so quickly.  I'm putting him on notice in 2014 - I've got your number buddy, and I'm gunning for ya..  The shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, stitching, and general prep will start earlier than ever.  So there!  (poking finger in the chest of aforementioned time bandit).

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I have dusted off the Monet charts (and the sedatives), and reacquainted myself with my game plan.  It's a wild and crazy pattern with colors galore and virtually no rhyme or reason.  Yep - crazytown.  But, the finished piece is so breathtaking, it encourages me to soldier on.  Here's where I am today:

Here's where I'm headed:

My piece is 16 stitches to the inch, so overall design is scheduled to finish at 8x8 (fingers crossed)...

So now, I'm off to listen to the playoff games and plow ahead with Monet..

Hope you all are enjoying your Sunday, wherever you are!