Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Dream Come True

I have had craft spaces before.  Cramped craft spaces.  Spread out over several room spaces.  A sewing space here . . . a beading place there . . . set-up . . . take down . . . spread out on the dining room table . . . always in the way!

When we first moved here I claimed what was once the nursery for the previous owners for my crafting space.  It's a small L-shaped bedroom.  (You may remember reading about me putting the quilting table together.)  I never shared many pictures of that room because it never really came together in a very functional way . . . always cluttered and never enough space to properly put things away that made them accessible when the time came to use them.

Also upstairs, is the master bedroom and a full bath.  This bedroom was the hubs' when he was living here.  My bedroom is one of the two on the main level.  (We have separate bedrooms because he has a c-pap machine and tends to growl when he moves around . . . a lot . . . all night . . . not conducive to sleep for me.)  Now that he's living in his own condo and working out of town (except for weekends) the master bedroom was empty . . . he sleeps in the guest room on weekends.

Empty no more!!!!

Welcome to my new and improved STUDIO:
 The quilting table sits in the middle of the room . . . accessible from all sides.

My cross-stitch threads for my personal use are to the right of the windows next to the shelves that house all my favorite charts waiting to be stitched.

My "professional" cross-stitch threads (Gentle Art & Weeks Dye Works) hang on the closet doors arranged by color along with the samples of Weeks Dye Works fabrics.  Great light from the double windows to pick just the right colors for my designs!  All my Nebby Needle market stuff is stored in that walk-in closet along with my linen stash.

Then we have the collection of fat quarters for quilting and pincushion backing.  That cute yellow bug sitting on top of those shelves is my radio/cd player . . . gotta have music while I work.  The drawer cabinet is filled with small pieces of linen (just right for pincushions).  On top are my wool and silk threads . . . and above that is part of my vintage postcard collection . . . I love old postcards!

The hubs gave me a magnetic knife holder for Christmas that makes the perfect place for my scissors above my sewing machine.  My daddy made the sewing machine cabinet.

The other walk-in closet houses all my scapbooking supplies and boxes of pictures to go through.

In addition to all my creative space, I have a workout area.  In the armoire is a tiny combo tv/vhs player.  I can watch (or at least listen to) tv or play one of my workout tapes.  I have my exercise ball, my step my daddy made for me, free weights and exercise mat.

 Overflowing storage with yarns and felted wools . . . and yes, I like to collect frames for small projects.

The color bins hold my chart collections, trims, ribbons and more yarn.

I still have some things to put away, but this is going to be so great!!!

There is an unfinished room (part of an addition) that is on the other side of the wall where the sewing machine is.  This will eventually become my bedroom when the hubs retires and moves back home permanently.  He will take my existing bedroom downstairs.  How perfect to have the entire upstairs as my own!!!!

No need to feel sorry for the hubs . . . he has an entire building (25 x 51 feet) out back that he fondly calls "Train World".  And . . . he's living in a 4 bedroom condo where he has one bedroom as his "Train World" there as well.  We are both feeling very spoiled and loving it!

Life is good!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Is That Autumn In The Air?

They're talking about a "cold front" coming through . . . supposed to be 80 degrees today and a high of 71 tomorrow with the low being 58 tomorrow night.  I love fall but, somehow I feel like I missed summer.  I've been so busy this summer doing other things that my love of gardening has been sorely neglected!  My gardens have never looked this bad . . . I'm embarrassed!  The only advantage to the neglect is that my butterfly bushes have seeded themselves everywhere!!!
I have plans for all of these volunteers.  I'm going to plant them along the back wall to soften the view of  "Train World" (our very large outbuilding).  The butterflies and humming birds will LOVE it!

Been busy designing more freebies . . . if I were a smart business woman I should have just packaged all of these together in one set to sell  . . . but, who doesn't like a freebie!?!

Halloween is just around the corner so get busy!

The colors in order of symbols:
GA 7063 Onyx     GA 7041 Apple Cider     GA 7059 Pumpkin Pie

I stitched this on Weeks Dye Works 35 ct. Beige Linen
R&R Chenille trim: Smoke
The design measures:  136 x 47 stitches

Enjoy!  ~*

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Running On Empty

This has been one hectic month!  It's always hectic a month before Market trying to finish up everything and get packed up (not that I've had much experience since this was only my second Market).  Add to that my in-laws moving to the area and it was a bit crazy.  I made 3 trips (a little over 3 hours one way) to Charlotte, NC to help them pack.  On one trip I packed 40 liquor size boxes of 6 different patterns of dishes . . . services for 12 each with every serving piece ever made for those patterns . . . and 3 other patterns in process of collecting.  I stitch . . . my mother-in-law collects dishes . . . whatever brings you joy! 

Their actual move happened the weekend of Market.  After Market there's a period of feeling "jet lagged".  I guess it's because you're running on adrenaline at Market . . . the exhaustion from getting ready . . . the anticipation . . . the 9 1/2 hour drive . . . the socializing . . . the lack of "down time" . . . the getting lost circling St. Louis on the way home . . . the 11 1/2 hour drive home.  Since my return from Market, I've been over to the in-laws' new house helping unpack . . . not the dishes yet.  They are stacked in our garage awaiting the assembly of the third hutch.  This move really is a great thing and it will be so nice to have them close by once they get settled.

I had a break . . . I guess you could call it that . . . this past weekend.  The hubs and I went to Spencer, NC to a train show.  The show was rather small and, in my exhaustion, wasn't much fun for me.  It was nice spending time with the hubs, but what I needed desperately was some alone time!  I require some alone time now and then to recharge with no demands . . . until yesterday, I can't remember the last time I got that "recharge" time.  I "recharge" stitching, gardening, quilting and reading . . . all meditative activities for me.

Market was great fun though!  My friend Kathie was my "super salesperson" (not my forte)!  She had her spiel and definitely increased sales.  (Attendance was down at this Market and sales were not as good as Nashville).  My spending was up however!  It's not about having the time to stitch it all . . . it's about the collecting (they just don't weigh as much as dishes)!

We were next door to LaDonna (Black Branch Needlework) and her mother Peggy.  LaDonna and I had met at a trunk show/meet and greet at Valley Needleworks  in celebration of their one year anniversary and reconnected at the Nashville Market.  She and her mother are so fun and came over to our room in their "jammies" each night for wine (whine) and cheese.  We've enjoyed meeting the other designers we've admired . . . okay . . . "stalked" is probably a better word . . . everyone has been so nice . . . but, we are "newbies" to the Market world, and as such, are not included in the established cliques . . . so, we will form our own. 
So, as things slow down I will get to stitching the 3rd pattern I wanted to have ready for St. Charles but didn't have the time to stitch and get a jump on my designs for Nashville in February.  You never know, my parents have their house up for sale and may be moving anytime and the chaos may start all over again!

Recharging!  ~*

Saturday, August 9, 2014

TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market

TNNA Fall Needlecraft Market is next weekend!  I will have two new designs for this market as well as my full catalog.  If you are interested in any of my designs, be sure to tell your LNS to pick up a copy for you.  If you are a shop owner and going to market, please come see us in room 605.

A Handful Of Love

Every Leaf

Back to work . . . more printing, folding and bagging to be done!!!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Making Of A Museum Quilt

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum is having their grand opening this weekend!  The Bristol VA/TN EGA that I belong to designed and stitched a quilt that now hangs in the museum!  I've shown you some of the bits of that quilt and I will recap here the process of creating this piece.

I volunteered to be on the planning committee when they wanted to know if anyone could design an alphabet that was similar to the letters in the Stoney Creek Pattern:  Stitching to the Music (we got permission to use this design in the quilt).
I designed the remainder of the letters needed while Marlene designed the backgrounds for the letters and turned the vertical "Music" design into a horizontal one.  Letters were handed out to EGA member volunteers to stitch . . . I stitched this "R".

 We had cross-stitchers and quilters on our committee and soon discovered that they think and see the "whole picture" differently.  Nita was the driving force of the vision for the quilt and presented a picture of a tree motif she thought would look good as the centerpiece of the quilt.  We picked a number of neutral fabrics to become the pieced background and decided on the placement of the stitched letters. We discussed how we needed roots on the tree to represent the "Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion".  This reunion is an annual music festival held in September, celebrating Bristol's musical heritage and featuring country, gospel, bluegrass, and roots music.

I took the tree idea and drew it half the size we needed on taped together pieces of paper.  We had it enlarged and passed this pattern on to Sue to applique the chosen fabrics on to the neutral background.

We then decided that we needed a "frame" of cross-stitched names of all the participants in the "1927 Bristol Sessions" .  (The Bristol sessions were considered the "Big Bang" of modern country music.  They were held in 1927 in Bristol, TN by Victor Talking Machine Company produced by Ralph Peer.)  I charted all the names of the participants of these sessions and strips of the pinkish linen were handed out to volunteers to backstitch.

The next idea Nita had was to add another boarder with the words and music to "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" (often sung by the Carter Family).  We received permission to use this as well.  I adapted and charted an alphabet design I liked to the music that Marlene charted and we handed out sections of that to volunteers to stitch.  This  was one of the two sections that I stitched.
Now for the quilters to really get involved, we asked for volunteers to piece together squares representing popular quilt patterns from 1927 to the present researched and chosen by Joneen.  Fabrics were chosen to pick up the colors in the letter backgrounds and several "piecing parties" were scheduled.

It seemed the quilt was growing by leaps and bounds and we were getting a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it!

We turned the quilt over to an amazing machine quilter . . . not a long arm machine, but a regular sewing machine!  Ann did a FABULOUS job stippling the background, a "bark" stitch on the tree, mirroring the musical staff, outlining the letters and individualizing each quilt block!  At the EGA "stitch-in" we all gathered-round, hand stitched the binding on and admired our work!

On July 14th the EGA was invited to the museum for the dedication of the quilt and a preview of the museum (very impressive museum). 

We had a nice reception!  Nita explained our designing process and we had a photo shoot in the grand stairwell of the museum . . . we were on the local news . . . what a thrill to see our efforts come together so beautifully!
AND . . . my name is in the museum!!!!!!!  There is a plaque at the top of the stairs explaining the process of creating this quilt and my name is included on the plaque . . . WOW am I impressed with myself (he, he)!

It was great fun creating this piece with so many talented women who worked so well together!  I hope you get a chance to visit this museum if you're in the area and learn about our musical heritage.

Have a wonderful stitching day!  ~*

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blackbird SAL

How many of you have stitched or are working on the Blackbird Designs SAL (it was a freebie on Alma's Blog May 4th)?  It started out quickly for me and then those darn eyelet stitches started giving me fits! (I see that Alma did those letters in Smyrna Cross instead . . . why didn't I think of that?)  I wound up ripping two different letters out.  They're not easy to frog!  How did they get so out of whack?  Are my eyes going . . . was I too tired . . . distracted?  Now . . . the border!  Thought that would be a breeze . . . have taken out the left side twice now and I still see a mistake . . . one more time!  If I ever get this completed I plan on making it a pillow.  I chose my colors based on this Blackbird Designs fabric "Harvest Home".  I see now that I should have also picked up the blue . . . too late.  Wish me luck!
In between ripping out stitches on this piece, I've finished stitching one piece for the St. Charles Market and have started another.  I hope to have 3 new designs for the mid-August Market . . . time is passing a little too quickly for me . . . better hurry!

The last (and my first) Market was in February in Nashville.  It's actually held in Franklin just outside of Nashville.  Franklin is a really cute town and we had dinner there one night during Market but, didn't get a chance to go into Nashville.  So, the hubs and I spent an extended July 4th weekend there.

Country music fan that I am, I really enjoyed it!  "Honky Tonk Highway" on Lower Broadway was blocked off for the 4th celebration complete with an outdoor stage . . . music, kids activities and a (late starting) fireworks show.  Seems every bar/restaurant in this several block area had a different live band playing and with the outdoor stage . . . sensory overload!

We stayed right in downtown and were walking distance to most things.  We visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, Country Music Walk of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum, the Parthenon Replica (yes, they have a full scale replica that's an art museum with their interpretation of what the Athena Parthenos statue must have looked like . . . it's 42 feet high!) and the Grand Ole Opry (what a great show!).  There's an outlet mall across the street from the Opry . . . we did our fair share of walking and shopping!
 The skyline of Nashville.
 The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
 The Johnny Cash Museum . . . never a fan of Johnny Cash, but this was very interesting.
 Ate here one night . . . I had a coupon!
 Having seen the actual Parthenon in Greece, this was fun to see.
 This thing is HUGE!
 The show was very good . . . Mel Tillis, Danny Gokey, Connie Smith, 
Little Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill to name a few who performed.

Back to work . . .  ~*

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Oh My Stars!

FINALLY have my new design finished, framed and even made a little pincushion to go with it.  It reminds me of so many quilts I love with that star pattern.  I call it "Oh My Stars".  Hope you like it!

Sorry it took so long to get this out there, but we've had a lot going on around here.  The hubs got a new job which happens to be in a different city . . . 2 1/2 hours away.  Too far to commute.  We don't want to move . . . love our house at the lake even if we don't have a boat.  Seemed silly to throw money away on rent so we went house hunting . . . looking for something without much maintenance.  We found a condo on a golf course . . . we don't play golf.  It happens to be walkable to his work, overlooks a pond and part of the golf course . . . very pretty setting.  I've been down several times helping him unpack and decorating . . just think, more wall space for my stitching!!!!   I'm kinda liking this living apart . . . girly food, girly tv shows, undisturbed stitching time.  He comes home most weekends . . . he misses me . . . it's almost like dating again!  I can't complain!!!

Several other designs on paper waiting to be stitched for the St. Charles Market in August.  Another Market . . . Oh My Stars!  I can't wait!!!!