December 30, 2012

Christmas Start(s)

Hi, all! I promised some photos of gifts received, some new charts and a Christmas start. I received this wonderful rabbit pillow (and accompanying bunny card) from Melissa. It's beautifullly stitched and finished, and I just love it, Melissa! Thank you so much--you know that bunnies are dear to my heart!
Here is my Christmas start, a design called "Maria's Sampler 1831" from GigiR's Collection Privee line. I purchased it with several other GigiR designs, and as I studied the photo (which is of the original sampler and is dark and smallish), I realized what a stunning design it is. Under the 7 lovely alphabets (cross stitch, algerian eyelet, four-sided stitch) are figures and symbols from 1831 Portuguese society. They are surrounded by birds, animals and various flowers. The cover photo just hints at the richness of this sampler, and I believe that with all these varied figures, I should never be bored with it. There are many different colors and they aren't dark at all!
Here's my start. I received a couple of generous gift certificates for In Stitches, so I decided to do a conversion from the design, which is charted for Gentle Art Sampler Threads to Belle Soie and Silk n Colors silks. The design size is quite large, 494W x 562H, or 24.75 x 28.25 inches (before framing allowances). I am stitching it on Picture This Plus 40 count in Sand.
Here is my other Christmas "start," which actually consisted of pulling the threads from the kit and stringing them through the thread holder. I didn't get a chance to put needle to fabric. This is Mary Ann Hoover, brand new from The Essamplaire. I am also stitching her on 40 count Lakeside. I have a second gift winging its way to me from The Essamplaire. I will show her to you when she arrives next week. See if you can guess which one, Essamplaire stitchers. Tom asked me a few weeks before Christmas what sampler I'd like to have that would be challenging and enjoyable and colorful but that I wouldn't buy for myself. I replied, telling him about the how the original sampler that was reproduced had mica in the windows of the castle--it's that elaborate.
Before the Essamplaire orders and the 3 GigiR designs I bought on Stitch Night, I had been amassing a bunch of these designs by Ewe and Eye and Friends. Ellen, the owner of In Stitches, has a whole bunch of them stitched and hanging in her home and I decided that I must stitch as many as I can. They're ideal because they're rather small. Think I'll get any of them done this year? Maybe not, although I'll try for at least one.
And a couple of things I finished: two Prairie Schooler ornaments, which I stitched for the In Stitches staff Christmas Party gift exchange. They are stitched over one on black Cashel using DMC. I purchased the two little frames at Michaels. They were inexpensive and surprisingly well-made and substantial--I couldn't have been more pleased. The problem with stitching tiny ornaments is that little pillows are too light and are likely to get lost on the tree.
Pink says Merry Christmas. This photo is several years old--the bunnies spent Christmas week at the bunny spa; I picked them up yesterday and brought them home.
Happy week ahead. Next up, a New Year's start. (Yes, there's more...)

December 26, 2012

Merry Fishmas!

Merry Christmas a day late! We headed north on Sunday to visit my dad for Christmas, and today we drove back--14 hours--the longest drive ever for a trip from Cape Cod to Virginia (normally it's ten). We hit the beginning of the winter storm in New England and the tail end of one in Virginia, and traffic was just horrible. But we're home and happy and while I still have two days of work this week, I'm looking forward to sitting in my stitching chair this weekend. I received a couple of beautiful Essamplaire kits for Christmas, I bought a half-dozen Ewe and Eye and Friends charts I've been wanting to stitch for years, I won several great ebay charts, and I bought three GigiR designs that I'm excited about; 2013 is going to be a great stitching year! I will show you photos of some projects, a pair of ornaments I made for a gift and a lovely stitched gift that I received. Stay tuned for those on Sunday. In the meantime, here's a cute pair of Christmas ornaments I bought on the Cape--tiny real puffer fish that were shellacked and embellished with googly eyes and little Santa hats; each is no bigger than my thumb. They were a gift for my sister. I'd have bought 20 if I could have found them, but the store had only these two left. I know you're thinking there's no accounting for taste....

November 25, 2012

Hopping on the Bandwagon--And Falling off the Wagon Again

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was satisfying! I spent a bit more than a week running around, so there wasn't a lot of time to stitch, which some days got on my last nerve. I got a lot accomplished though, with my butt not parked on the sofa. But I see some butt-parking in my future, with Nicola's Scarlet Letter challenge, which I've emailed to sign up for. The challenge for me will be figuring out exactly which SLs to stitch in 2013. Here are some of my SL WIPs. Ann Smith. I love the colors and the Magnolia fabric I used, but goodness, there's so much over-one.
Ruthy Rogers. Hardly any cross-stitching here, and doing all the fill in pieces, using stem stitch is very challenging. Yes, it will be pretty in the end, but I just don't know if I have the patience.
Elizabeth Sheffield. How I love the Rhode Island samplers, but I got stuck on the idea that my fabric seemed awfully dark, never mind that it is probably the perfect shade, especially considering the cover photo. I need to just get on with it and stop obsessing.
Product of My Needle. I love it, but I started it back in the day (10 years ago?) on 32 count fabric and the fabric showed through the silk crosses. So I restarted it on 40 count but got distracted by other things, other samplers.
Catharine Metcalf. Love this, but got sick of stitching yellow border flowers and the tree.

Dorothy Walpole. I will plan to finish this in 2013, and probably Mary Ann MacDonald too (not shown). And that doesn't even count the SLs lined up in the wings, although predictably, the one sampler I really truly want to stitch is no longer available: the stamped "Richmond Fire." (If anyone has it, I'd be happy to purchase it from you for a nice premium!) Richmond Fire is long out of print, which Marsha at SL confirmed, and that is why we stash even when we don't have immediate plans to stitch something.
Here's a pizza in case you're hungry. I bought it on the Cape and this photo is to show my sister (Papa Gino's). It was delicious. Why oh why can't they make decent pizza in Northern Virginia?
Almost finished! I have to finish before the SL challenge, and also before the deadline for framing so I can enter it in Woodlawn. Entering it in the Woodlawn show (where there are something like 600+ needleworks is not about winning, but more of a show and tell to me.
The fish store on the Cape that I visited was selling lobster heads when I stopped by (they make excellent broth for lobster newburg or lobster bisque. Sigh--there was no time to make soup on this visit.) Something about the way they were displayed made me think of commuters riding the Metro.
This is the part where I fell off the wagon. I was at In Stitches and someone had brought this completed sampler in to have it framed. It's by Stacy Nash Primitives. The stitcher had used pale linen--a little different than mine--I'm using Picture This Plus in Fog, on 40 count. I am also converting the DMC to NPI silks. It's a little different for me--I don't generally stitch prims, but I'm loving it. It's beautifully charted.

Here's our little guy, whose name so far is "Kitten-Kitten." We can't seem to think of an adult name for him. He's a darling--very active though and into everything, which means I have to zip up the project bags very tightly and put them out of reach.
Fell off the wagon here too (I had said I wouldn't start a bunch of stuff...). I've wanted this for quite a while: Green Apple's "Beatrix Potter Christmas"; it was an ebay win. I saw it stitched up at the Woodlawn show two years ago and haven't forgotten it. The stitcher chose three of the designs and stitched them one below the other and had them framed. Hers was tiny (over one I think), but mine will be larger--stitched on a cream colored plain linen, two over two (DMC).
What appeals to me about Beatrix Potter is that she got the eyes of little animals just right. Peaches wishes you all a pleasant week ahead.

November 04, 2012

Today is just a quick post--I'm off to get my hair cut this afternoon, plus do some grocery shopping. I'm also going to make a stop at Hobby Lobby for some packaged shells as I'd like to start working on some Christmas garlands for the little tree we'll have on the Cape this Christmas. We came through the storm fine--thank you for your well wishes--with just some wind and rain; nothing like what we've seen in the photos of New York and New Jersey. My work on Catharine McNeal continues. I'm stitching the last thistle. I've run out of the color used in the tree (I suspect I simply lost the skein, because I know I haven't used an entire skein's worth. Fortunately, Stitch Night is this week, so I can buy the missing color. Hopefully the dye lot will match, but if not, I don't worry too much because it is supposed to be a historic reproduction, after all.)
Meet our two new house cats! The dark cat is the mom, who showed up at our door towing her kitten. We have spent a lot of time trying to lure them inside and finally got them in the door last night. The house overwhelms them, and they are spending a lot of time cuddling together. Little by little they're warming up to us though.
Pink sniffs that we don't need any further pets in this house!
Happy week ahead and best wishes to everyone who has been affected by Sandy!

October 29, 2012

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Greetings from somewhere inside Hurricane Sandy! It is raining steadily here, and it's quite breezy--maybe 15-20 mph. The temps have dropped a bit, from 52 this morning, to 47 now, in line with Sandy's merger with the cold front. So far, we have power; I'm crossing my fingers that we keep it, since I'm having a blast stitching and puttering. Note that everything photographed lighter than it is IRL--it's really dark with the storm. This is an ancient project that I got out of the closet and re-started. I think I bought it about 25 years ago at the now-defunct Total Crafts in Annandale, VA. I loved TC, and they seemed to do a great business--they predated Michaels, but their products were better and more fun. Of course it's Beatrix Potter, and the fabric that came in the kit is actually linen.
And I keep working away on this, which is getting close to a finish. There's a good bit more over-one though.
Speaking of over-one, just for fun I'm doing a Christmas ornament from a Prairie Schooler chart. Over one. On black (28). At night. Blindfolded. (OK, not blindfolded.)
Here's a view of the hurricane out our back door. That bent-over oak on the right has always been crooked--it's not an indication of the wind. The weather forecasters do say it's going to get a lot worse.
I went to Target and the grocery store and the pet store on Saturday (and couldn't find any water). Yesterday I toured gas stations and drug stores and found a few cases at CVS. I did stock up on Halloween candy at nearly every stop--we have literally 8 pounds of candy. (and Siobhan, I put the Reeses on top, just for you). Is it me, or does candy have less taste than it used to?
Pink and Peaches say it may be time to flee. Too late, guys; the trains and planes stopped running yesterday. At least we didn't have to go to work today!
Best wishes to everyone who is in or about to be in Sandy's grip!

October 21, 2012

Hi, everyone! This Sunday sees me a bit under the weather with whatever crud is going around--fever, chills, aches, coughing, etc. Fortunately, although I don't feel well enough to do much, I can still stitch, wrapped in my fluffy pink robe, cats gathered round and a box of Kleenex at my side. I keep nodding off though. I picked up my framed pieces on Wednesday night: Behold Sarah Hatton McPhail. There is museum glass in both frames, which I highly recommend.
And a close-up of her frame. There's a little bit of glare from the bulbs in the dining room chandelier--these are lying on the table at the moment, since I don't want to be wobbly when I hang them.
And the Dickens Mittens (Dickens Christmas? I can never remember the name of the thing) by Cross Eyed Cricket:
And a close-up of that as well. The framing was done at In Stitches, and I'm so pleased with the result!

I made chicken noodle soup from scratch yesterday.
Last week, my sister took me out for a wonderful lunch at Rosa Mexicano at Washington Harbor. There are Rosas scattered around the U.S.--Minneapolis, San Francisco, Boston, DC. We highly recommend it. Freshly made tortillas and tableside guacamole, seen here, along with some pomegranate margaritas. Yummy.
I picked up this little project at In Stitches on Stitch Night.
And promptly started it.

I haven't neglected Catharine McNeal either.
Elizabeth says hello.

And goodbye.

Happy week ahead! (Note, if you're looking for my blog list, it seems to have migrated below the action. It's a mystery to me why, and I'll fix it when I can figure out how to do so!)

September 30, 2012

Mary Ann

Greetings! Just a little drive-by today. I abandoned my good intentions after a boring session stitching a long-term WIP, so I thought: Why not start a new sampler? Why not indeed? Introducing Mary Ann MacDonald, who's been in my stash for many years: I tore my stash apart yesterday looking for just the right fabric (Large pieces of the right color are in short supply at my house--guess a little restocking is in order. I had PTP in fog (too gray), Lakeside in magnolia (great color but that piece for some reason is somewhat flimsy), Lakside in navy bean, lentil and vintage examplar--all too dark). Then I unearthed this Picture This half yard in probably Legacy, and it did the trick, although I might have preferred something a little lighter. I had all the AVAS in my stash except for a few. A couple that I needed right away and didn't have or didn't like I converted to Silk n' Colors, and the rest I will pick up on Stitch Night when I'm at the shop.
Here she is. Mary Ann is by Scarlet Letter, of course.
A close-up. She is even prettier in real life. And I stitched the honeysuckles pinker than they are charted. The were originally charted for two salmony shades, and I wanted the brighter, clearer pink, especially since the two other samplers I am going to hang with Mary Ann have lots of pink in them. This will hang in Mary Ann's neighborhood. Lots of pink here. Pink: "You can never have too much Pink!" Happy week ahead!

September 23, 2012


Hi, all! Whoa, this new Blogger is a little challenging to work with. Of course, I could probably find some directions somewhere online, but I never read directions; Impatience is my middle name. Finishing Sarah a couple of weeks ago was such a kick that I decided there needed to be more finishes in my near future, so here comes Catharine McNeal, down the homestretch. The colors photographed less warm than they are IRL--it's late afternoon and the light is funky. But you get the idea. I'm thinking she should be done in the next two or three weeks. I need to clear the decks so that I can start Scarlett House's new Christmastide design, the new design that just popped onto the Essamplaire site, and a few others. (You thought I had reformed?) Next up for a finish this year will probably be Elizabeth Easdon by the Essamplaire; that's about 2/3 done.
Peaches is demonstrating patience here, bunny loaf style.
Happy week ahead!