Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm back!!

I know, I know. It has been way too long since I updated my blog. Lisha, Bridget, Sharon, Theresa, I do apologize. But, I decided to end 2011 in a positive note and post something.

This year has been very busy. I didn't reach all of my stitching goals, but one of my most important was the Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart series. I am happy to say that I have finished all of the month blocks. I still need to finish the last bonus, but it should be completed in a few days. It was a lot of fun to stitch and will be such a family heirloom. I added many of my special family members to the blocks (parents, siblings, nephews, grandparents, and our newest additions Katie and Maddi). I can't wait to finish this and frame it. I know exactly where it will hang in the living room.

Now, as for my 2012 stitching goals I would like to finish some of the WIPs from 2011:
1. Trousse A Tri Fils
2. The Primitive Needle Witches Hollow
3. Cherished Stitches A Quaker Halloween Sampler
4. Gingerbread Stitching House
5. Bent Creek Christmas Mantle
6. Leisure Arts Mistletoe Ball
7. A Quaker Christmas
8. Blue Ribbon Designs Autumn Leaves and Sunflower Seeds
9. Blue Ribbon Designs Peppermint Twist
10. Blackbird Designs Seasons series
11. Country Cottage Needleworks newest series
12. Blackbird Designs Easter Parade.

Hopefully, I will be more successful this year. But if not, it's all right!!

To close this post, I want to share some photos of our wild cats:

This is Josie. And, yes, she is just as special as she seems to think she is in this photo. She is our three year old Maine Coon. This diva has a lot of sass and even more attitude. But, we love her.

This sweet "little" girl is Elizabeth (Lizzie). She is a year old and the nicest cat. Very calm, unless Nicholas gets out the laser pointer and then the girl can move.

Finally, we have Elvis. He is our 7 month old Maine Coon. He is just full of trouble. (I found a mess on the kitchen floor this morning where he pulled something off of the counter and tried to eat it.) He is super sweet and loves, loves, loves all of us. He is going to be a big boy though.

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Update on projects

So, I have been less productive this month than I had hoped, but I did finish two of the WIPs from my list. This week's finish was LHN Sunflower Inn. The house was a bit time consuming, but overall it was a very enjoyable stitch.

I am working on several projects that are series this year (BBD Anniversaries of the Heart, EM Sampler book, BC Christmas Mantle and Halloween Branch). These have actually made my progress seem slower than I had hoped. I listed these as single projects, when they are actually multiple projects on one piece of fabric. I think that if I can get through one (maybe the BC Christmas Mantle) I will feel like I am making progress. That's my goal this month.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dream JOB!!!

I have had the most fun this past month helping out at Shakespeare's Peddler, Theresa Venette's needlework shop. Most of you are probably familiar with Theresa through her amazing designs (Raise the Roof and Shakespeare's Peddler). She is an amazing designer and great friend. After market, she was extremely busy, so I offered to help out. Fortunately for me, she accepted the offer.

Let me tell you, she is a busy woman. But, she is always so positive. Every time the phone rings, she answers with this happy voice, "Shakespeare's Peddler, this is Theresa!" She is so nice to her customers. She answers lots of questions about fabric choice and stitching techniques. She actually is a great role model on how to make the world a better place by just being nice to everyone. And after hanging up the phone, you will often hear her say, "I have the nicest customers!" I have to admit that she has been an inspiration to me and I have been a much more positive person because of her friendship. My younger sister, Bridget, feels the same way. Can you tell that we just love Theresa?

If you are like me, it is so much fun just to be surrounded by all of the wonderful threads and patterns and fabric. Theresa's store is jammed packed with lots of great goodies. We have packed A LOT of orders over the past few weeks and I just know those lucky customers are smiling when they receive them. Who wouldn't love a package of stitching stash!!

If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting Theresa's online shop, do so. She is wonderful.

Now, I have also been stitching some at home. Unfortunately, my day job has really been crazy. I have a lot of students this semester and we are in the "crunch time" on the revision of one of the textbooks, so my stitching has not been that impressive. I did finish the Green Flip Its series from Lizzie Kate. I am going to frame this and hang it in my office. Very appropriate for a Ph.D. in biology to have hanging in the office. Also, I just finished "I Love the Birds" (a Theresa design). It is so pretty. I stitched it on 40 ct. so it is very small and delicate. Once I finish stretching it, I can order the frame and this one may also end up in my office.

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying the Spring weather. We have had some very pretty days mixed with some very stormy days lately. But overall, it has been a very nice Spring. I think I will spend the rest of today visiting with family and stitching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What a nice Spring Break!!!

Wow! The week is over and it is almost time to go back to work. Fortunately for me, I only have lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, tomorrow is primarily catch up in my office, posting grades, and working on the next chapter in the textbook. I actually got one chapter revised over the break, so that makes me happy.

Most of this week I spent at Shakespeare's Peddler helping Theresa pack all those many, many orders. Theresa is one of a kind. She is very busy right now, but she remains so calm. I had such a great time helping and talking. If you haven't checked out her online store and designs, you really should. She is great.

I have been a bit unmotivated with my stitching lately. I selected 22 designs (11 new and 11 WIPs) to complete this year. The main issue is that I selected several series. So when I finish a block, I still am not finished. This gets a bit frustrating for someone like me who loves to mark things off a list. I stitch and stitch and still this list is there. So, I decided I needed to work on a stricter rotation. I just went down my list and worked on a different pattern each day of the week. Some things were slow going others were much more enjoyable. I have three of these to share today.

First on my rotation was Trousse. I love this piece. All of the cats and motifs and letters. I can't wait to finish it and use it as my needlebook. But, I found a major error and spent most of the time pulling out stitches. But, I did make some progress, so that's good.

Next up, Lizzie Kate Go Green Flip Its Series. This one was great. I stitched the 4th block in one night. I love the colors, so bright. When this is finished, I am framing it for my office. Since I only have two blocks to go, that should be soon and then I can mark it off my list.

The next day, I worked on the 5th block in the BBD Anniversaries of the Heart series. If you have been following my progress on this one, you know that I am adding the initials and dates for my family members to these blocks. At first, I was only adding myself, husband, children, our parents and our grandparents. The problem was that I had no one for May. Now, I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers and Hobbie has 3 sisters and 1 brother. We also have lots of nephews on my side of the family and lots of nieces and nephews on his side. I decided to add our siblings and selfishly, just my nephews. So, after adding these extras to the completed blocks, I was able to focus on new stitching and actually finished this square. I love the colors and it looks great with the rest of the piece. I just can't wait to see this one finished, framed and hanging in my home.

I did stitch on several other things, but not a lot of progress. Hope everyone enjoys this beautiful Sunday and has a lovely week. Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A few updates to share...

Wow, have a been busy lately. Both in my stitching activities and everything else. Fortunately, this is the first day of my Spring Break and I have plans to get quite a bit finished. But first, let's update...

This past week I have found that I love to work with these little wool felt pincushions from Just Another Button Company. I picked up the Pin Feathers that was released at the Nashville Market and actually finished it in one night. It is so incredibly easy and just adorable. Theresa (Shakespeare's Peddler) just loved it as well and thinks that it would be fun to make all kinds and colors of these. I also finished an older one called Mockingbird Hill (or was it Cardinal Hill). Anyway, it is a pyramid shaped piece that represents a grassy hill with lots of flowers blooming on it. I added a leprechaun button to make it a cute addition to my St. Patrick's Day decor. Again, fun and quick project. By the way, JABC directions are perfect and very easy to follow.

Another project that I picked up right after market was Praiseworthy Stitches Wonderfully Wicked Whimsies kit. This kit included the materials to make a needlebook, tiny pin cushion, scissor fob, pin disc, thread keeper, and slide tin. Lots of great goodies. Of course, the picture on the package is so tiny, but the kit has some cute things in it. The instructions for the kit are not that great, but I was able to figure most everything out. After lots of bad words, sticky fingers and recutting of materials, I finished everything. I had purchased the scissors last year, so my set is complete. I changed a few things. The thread keep originally had a key ring but I keep my threads on drops so I changed it to a binding ring that easily opens and closes. Also, the tiny pincushion was a total pain. The ribbon around the top wouldn't lay correctly, so I went through my scrapbooking stash and found this funny eyelash trim that I think looks great. I did make lots of mistakes, including leaving off the orange ribbon that keeps the needlebook closed, but I think this will just be for display anyway.

By the way, guess what I had the pleasure doing this week. I spent two days helping out at Theresa's shop, Shakespeare's Peddler. She is always super busy after market, so I offered to be her assistant. I spent most of my time packaging her wonderful designs. Also, I organized a bit and then helped her pack lots and lots of orders. If you have not had the pleasure of meeting Theresa, you should check out her web page (the link is in the right hand column). She is so nice. I have had the best time helping her and seeing how things run at her shop. She is extremely fast and extremely patient.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So, February was very busy...

February is the month of birthdays in our family. Two of my nephews, my older son and I all have birthdays between the 4th and 15th. Our family is a bit crazy with the parties and insists that we each have our own cake. So, we have been partying like crazy. I actually had two cakes (Thanks, Lisha. You're the best.) But, I have been stitching some. I stitched a model piece for Theresa of Shakespeare's Peddler and Raise the Roof. It is called "Official Crazy Cat Lady" and is too cute. She released it at market this past weekend. In addition to that I finished another block on the Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart series. Isn't it just too pretty? I can't wait to finish this, frame it and hang it on the wall.

I have also finished a third block in the LK Green Flip Its series. This one was very easy.

Finally, I participated in the Reindeer ornament exchange. I was so lucky to receive an ornament stitched by Edgar. Isn't it pretty? The finishing is wonderful. Can't wait to hang this one of the tree. Thanks so much, Edgar.

Here is the ornament I sent to my partner. Not sure if she has received it yet, but I hope she likes it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stitchin' like the wind...

I am so excited with how much I got accomplished this weekend. First, I finished the second pattern in the Green Flipit series. I love the colors in this project. Perfect pattern to lift your spirits on cold, winter days. This series has 6 patterns, so I am a third of the way finished. FUN!!

Next, I finished this lovely piece. Little House Needleworks Winter Band Sampler. Isn't it beautiful? I love the fabric (Silkweaver Forest Haven). It is perfect. I finished it yesterday while Theresa was over. She is the fastest stitcher I have ever seen. I mean it is like she exists in a different time dimension. I can remember we were at a retreat one time and it seemed like every time I looked at my pattern, she was saying "Finished with that one!" So, it was great to finish this one while she was stitching right there beside me. Of course, she finished a project also. She is an incredible fast stitcher.

So this week I am working on the Sampler Thread Keeper, LK Green FlipIts series, LHN Sunflower Inn, and BBD Pink Hill Manor. I just might get one pattern finished this week, but I also need to work on that owl quilt. Oh, and I need to work at my real job. But, I have a feeling that this week will be productive on the stitching front.

Hope you have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some more finishes for January...

So, I am off to a great start, finishing some projects before the first month of 2011 is over. Yes, these are small pieces, but they are finishes just the same. I finished both LK Snowman '10 and BBD Rose Garden on the same day. I am not sure what I am going to do with the Snowman, but I know I am finishing Rose Garden as a pin pillow. I just love the colors on both of these.

I don't have a photo, but I also finished the 3rd part of BBD Anniversaries of the heart. My parents were married in March, 1966, so their initials are featured on this particular panel. I will try to get a photo posted soon.

Now, I guess I will be working on my applique quilt this week so I meet all of my January goals. Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Last round of new starts...

So, I have started all of my planned projects and worked on the 11 WIPS. Not a bad start to the new year. First up: Day 10 New start: Lizzie Kate Snowman '10. This is such a pretty piece. I love the colors and really like stitching it, even though there is a lot of white. It is actually going pretty fast. The WIP is the letter I page for the Erica Michaels Sampler Surprise Book. These pages are really fast. I finished the whole page in one day, but still need to add the label at the bottom for the specialty stitch - Italian Cross Stitch. I really want to finish this book this year. It would be such a neat thing to add to my stitching displays.

Final day: New start is Blue Ribbon Designs Peppermint Twist. This is so pretty. I didn't have much time to work on it, but it is really. Great pattern for small ornaments as well. The old WIP is a design of my own. I don't have much done on this, so no pictures. It takes some time to decide on the colors. Hopefully, I will have something to show soon.

Now for a couple of finishes: I also want to stitch the Lizzie Kate Monthly Stamp series from a few years ago. I plan to finish these as magnets for my refrigerator. I can't find January, so I started February. These are really easy, but it is a finish. Also, I worked on and finished the first block in the Lizzie Kate Green Flipits: Plant a Tree. The colors are so vibrant and I love the fabric I chose. Another easy project, but a finish all the same.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Update on challenges...

So, these challenge pieces are coming along. Some are more fun than others, which you can tell by my progress.

Day 5 New project is Gingerbread Stitching House by Victorian Sampler. I don't have a picture because it is just white at this point. Eventually I will have something to share, but it is quite boring now. The WIP for day 5 is also quite boring, so no picture: Bent Creek Halloween The Branch. Needless to say, I wasn't much in the stitching mood on January 5th.

Day 6 New Project: Shakespeare's Peddler I Love the Birds. I am really enjoying this one. I made a bit of progress, but I also had some distractions. I spent the day at my sister's house and my nephew, Tyler, wanted my undivided attention. The WIP for today got a lot more attention. This is Bent Creek Christmas Mantle. I stitched quite a bit on the second stocking. Now, if you are familiar with this pattern, you will notice it is not like the original. I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers. When I saw this pattern, I was so excited. There would be a stocking for each of us. The only problem is the second and last stocking were out of order for my family, so I switched them. I am also personalizing the stocking, as you can see I added my sister's name to the first one. Very cute!!!

Day 7 New Project: Little House Needleworks Winter Band Sampler. I LOVE THIS PATTERN. I am stitching it on a piece of Forest Glade from Silkweaver and it is beautiful. I didn't have a lot of time to stitch, but this pattern is wonderful. The WIP is an old project from Leisure Arts: Mistletoe Ball. I have to stitch the same piece three times! It is a bit slow going right now.

Day 8 New Project: Little House Needleworks Sunflower Inn. Love the colors on this one. The WIP is A Quaker Christmas. It doesn't look like it but I have made some progress since I put this one down.

Day 9 New Project: Blackbird Designs Rose Garden. I really thought I would finish this one today, but I spent the afternoon at my parents' house, so I still have some work to finish. The WIP is Blue Ribbon Designs Autumn Leaves and Sunflower Seeds. I stitched three of the five squash on this day.

So, I am plugging away and hope to have some finishes soon. Today, I am spending the day with a friend, but we will be stitching. Maybe I can get one of the projects completed today.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Challenge Updates

Okay, so I have 4 days of 2011 behind me and I have made progress on the "assigned" projects for those days. Some of these projects are just so much fun to stitch that it seems like I am just breezing though, while others seem like stitches are going in but then disappearing some how. It doesn't feel like I am making any progress on those. Anyway, time for the updates:

Day two: New start is LK Green Flip It. I am stitching all 6 together for a piece to hang in my office. Since I am a biologist and I work at a university, I thought this would be a great piece for decorating a rather dull room. This one is a lot of fun to stitch, lots of pretty colors. I just love the bird. As for the old WIP: BBD Anniversaries of the Heart part 3. I am so close to finishing this one and I just love it. I decided to stitch the entire series on a piece of 40 ct. linen and it is just beautiful. My parents were married in March, so this square has their initials and the date of their wedding. Just a few more bricks and the door and windows to finish this one.

Day three: New start is The Primitive Needle Witches Hollow. This is a good example of one that is slow going. I am stitching this on a piece of 40 ct. linen that I received as a Christmas gift from my husband. I love the colors, but it took me several hours to just do this much of the owl. It may have something to do with the fact that my friend, Theresa, was over this day and I was talking more than stitching. As for the the old WIP: Cherished Stitches A Quaker Halloween Sampler is slow going as well. I love the colors and the fabric, but it is a slow stitch.

Day 4: New start is BBD Midnight Watch. I just love this piece. I am so happy that I have started it and hope to have it finished well before Halloween. It is just too pretty, in my opinion. I had to watch my two nephews today, so I didn't have as much stitching time. But I did get the top border complete, so that makes me happy. The old WIP is Blue Ribbon Designs Afraid of the Dark. This is another one that is slow going, for now. I am working on the boxes, which is a bit boring, but next time I pick it up I am going to stitch the pumpkin and cat in the orange box. Can't wait... (Notice the kitten paw in the lower right hand corner.)

Today, I will start on Victoria Samplers Gingerbread Stitching House. It actually calls for lots of different silks, but I am substituted from my stash. This one will take a long time, but it is going to be too cute when I finish. The old WIP is Bent Creek Halloween The Branch. Hopefully this one will stitch up pretty quickly.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope everyone has a great day.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year and New Goals...

Wow, 2010 just zoomed on by quickly, didn't it? It was a great year though. Stitching-wise, I completed over 20 projects!! I didn't complete all of my goal projects, but overall I think I was very productive this year.

Christmas was great at our house. We actually scaled back a bit this year. No major purchases, no huge electronic items. I received several stitching gifts. My husband and boys gave me 4 large pieces of 40 ct. linen, which are absolutely lovely. I also received giftcards to Shakespeare's Peddler from my parents and sister. And my friend Theresa gave me an absolutely wonderful box full of stitching things as well.

For the new year, I am modifying the current challenge of starting 15 new projects a bit. I am starting 11 new projects in the first 11 days of 2011. In addition, I have selected 11 WIPS that I will also work to complete in 2011. So, here are the lists of projects:

New Starts Challenge of 2011 (Start one a day in first 11 days of 2011 and complete before the end of the year)
1. Trousse A Tri Fils from A Mon Ami
2. Lizzie Kate Green Flips
3. The Primitive Needle Witches Hollow
4. Blackbird Designs Midnight Watch
5. Gingerbread Stitching House from Victoria Sampler
6. Shakespeare's Peddler I Love the Birds
7. Little House Needlework Winter Band Sampler
8. Little House Needlework Sunflower Inn
9. Blackbird Designs Rose Garden
10. Lizzie Kate Snowman '10
11. Blue Ribbon Designs Peppermint Twist

2011 WIP challenge (complete these by the end of the year)
1. Lizzie Kate ABC Christmas (finished yesterday)
2. Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart series
3. Blue Ribbon Designs Afraid of the Dark
4. Cherished Stitches A Quaker Halloween Sampler
5. Bent Creek Halloween The Branch
6. Bent Creek The Christmas Mantle
7. Erica Michael's Sampler Book
8. Leisure Arts Mistletoe Ball
9. A Quaker Christmas
10. Blue Ribbon Designs Autumn Leaves and Sunflower Seeds
11. My very own design!

I started yesterday and actually finished the LK ABC Christmas. I only had the last line to do, but it was still a WIP and finished in 2011.

Here is my very small bit of progress on Trousse A Tri Fils and my cute little baby, Elizabeth.

Hope everyone has a great 2011! Thanks for stopping by.