Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stitch In The New Year!

Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!!!!!


Oops!  There's a mistake in the "a" in "Year"...if you choose to stitch this just use the "a" in Happy...sorry about that!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

And All Through The House...

Christmas Eve . . . the tree is finally trimmed:
Our daughter arrived safely on Sunday and we decorated the tree last night . . . she appreciated that we waited for her.  The gifts are wrapped.  Some of the baking is done . . . will get to the rest of that today.

I had an ornament design in mind when I saw these cute laser cut wooden snowflakes at Michaels.  I managed to make just one for our EGA ornament exchange.  (If we could just get more than 24 hours in a day I might get more done).  They're quick and easy and I'll make more of them next year . . . when I start my Christmas stuff in July!

I stitched a simple little snowman head . . . thought he needed a hat.  I didn't chart the snowman but I think you can easily see the stitches in the photo.  I cut out two cardboard circles the size I wanted and a little batting for the snowman side.  I stitched around each circle of fabric and pulled the stitches tight around the cardboard disks.  I then glued the two disks together with some PVA glue . . . this stuff is great!  I then chose which snowflake I wanted and glued the disk in place.  I glued a little chenille around the disk . . . seemed to need a finished edge.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Stitchy New Year!!!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Week Before Christmas

Tis the week before Christmas
the tree's without trim
the gifts are unfinished
readiness looks grim!

Here is a free chart from The Nebby Needle for those of you who are still stitching Christmas things:
The threads I used were The Gentle Art:  
0120 Pine; 7012 Picket Fence; 7039 Bayberry; 0360 Cranberry.
As you can see, I have not finished it into an ornament/pincushion/banner . . . or whatever.  If you choose to stitch it and actually finish it off, please send me a picture.  I'd love to see what you do with it!

I'm so behind . . . at least our Christmas cards were mailed yesterday!  I face this problem each year . . . time management . . . that darn ADD!!!  I like to take each holiday as it comes and enjoy it to the fullest.  Therefore, I enjoy Halloween without thinking about Thanksgiving and then enjoy Thanksgiving without thinking about Christmas.  Then . . . suddenly . . . it's Christmas and I'm not ready!!!!

Most of the decorations are up . . . it's just the tree.  This is the first year we've gotten the tree without our daughter here and I just can't bring myself to decorate it without her here (she arrives on Sunday).  I think we should wait!

The living room mantel.
Santa with all his wine cover buddies from Hungary.
Living room coffee table with my Christmas matryoshka dolls . . . also from Hungary . . . probably made in Russia.  For some reason Hungary has a lot of Russian matryoshkas for sale at the Budapest Market . . . love them!
The dining room.  Need to find my fake poinsettias to replace the hydrangeas with . . . hmmm . . . where can they be?
The dining room hutch (that my grandfather made . . . that I refinished several years ago).

My favorite Russian/Hungarian Santa . . . also from the Budapest Market.  He had a little crack in his hat so I got him half price!!!

The family room mantel with all my little hand carved Santas that my father made and the stockings that my mother stitched.

And then there's my favorite little guy . . . Santa from my childhood.  Don't tell my brothers I have him!  They probably haven't thought about him in years.

See . . . I have gotten a lot done.  Other than the empty containers sitting around and pine needles (fake and real) littering the floors, we are almost ready . . . almost.  Started baking this morning . . . much more to do . . . gotta run . . .

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

WWAD (What Would Alma Do)

For those of you who have had the pleasure of taking a class from Barb and Alma of Blackbird Designs you know how creative these women are!  Their cross-stitch and quilting designs are wonderful and just some of the results of their creativity.  They've shown us how to cover those cardboard boxes with fabric, the endless uses for PVA glue and Briwax, making pedestal pieces out of plates and candlesticks, creative vessels for pin cushions . . . and on and on.  You just want to smack yourself in the head and say "why didn't I think of that!".   So when "The Fun Girls" (my cohorts in Retreat attending) are trying to figure out some creative use for something we say "what would Alma do?" (WWAD). . . not that Barb doesn't have great ideas too!  It's just that Alma seemed to be the one who explained all these great ideas to us.

I have taken another career plunge and joined TNNA (The National NeedleArts Association) and registered for my first TNNA Needlework Market coming up in February in Nashville!  It's held at an Embassy Suites and you sell your products to shop owners from all over right out of your suite.  From blogs I've read and pictures I've seen, the designers decorate their suites and display their models in creative ways.  (Barb and Alma have a mock fireplace they drag around to these markets!)  So . . . I've been on the lookout for "props" to use to decorate and display my pieces . . . channeling my inner Alma!

I found two sets of peeling paint shutters that are as tall as I am . . . cheap!  I scraped, wire brushed and stained them with Briwax leaving what paint was still attached.  I'll hinge them together making a stand-up screen.  They look really old and will be a great backdrop to hang my framed models on!

I also found the cutest small metal plate with the alphabet around it just the perfect size for business cards!  I've been walking room to room looking at various things around the house that I can use as well . . . oh, if only Alma could walk around with me with ideas!  WWAD!

Maybe it was easy to channel Alma since I was working on her piece "Where My Heart Blooms" at our EGA Retreat earlier in the month.  I finished it a week or so ago and can't wait to get it framed!  Not sure where I'll put it . . . seriously running out of wall space!
I've been stitching and designing like crazy hoping to have some new designs ready for Market (maybe some before).  Here's a sneak peek:

It's been so nice stitching during the day and calling it work!  I usually just stitch at night after dinner . . . but, since it's becoming a "real" job now . . . well . . . I need to seriously devote more time to it . . . right?   Working 9 to 5 . . . what a way to make a living!!!

Happy Stitching!  ~*

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deja Vu

I just want to start by saying "I had nothing to do with either fire alarm at the last two retreats I've attended!" . . . just so you know.

Yep . . . it happened again!  This time though it was 6:40 a.m.  When I turned on the bathroom light to take a shower, the florescent lights barely came on . . . not really enough light to see very well.  I left my nightlight on and the entry light on and left the bathroom door opened to give me a bit more light.  I was in the shower when this deep sounding hum began.  I thought it was water pipe noise.  When I turned the shower off  the hum continued.  What in the world is that noise?!  It didn't really sound like a fire alarm.  I didn't smell smoke . . . doors were slamming in the hallway . . . so I dressed as quickly as I could . . . I don't care if there are flames lapping at the door, I'm not running out in a towel!  My room was at the end of the hall near a staircase (I was on the 5th floor) down I went and out the exit door, wound my way around the back of the building across a leaf covered walkway and down some leaf covered uneven steps to the street (the hotel is built on a hillside).  The exit was probably more dangerous than staying in the building!

Up pulled the firetrucks!  People milling around in various stages of dress . . . some PJs and robes.  (I don't bring my bathrobe when I travel . . . takes up too much suitcase space!)  It was still chilly and dark outside so I headed to our retreat room (in a separate building across the street from the hotel) and thought I might as well stitch.  Several other retreat goers had the same idea.

Turned out that a couple of transformers had blown and the hotel was on generator power.  That explained the low lights in my room.  Not sure why that would cause the fire alarm to go off, but it did.  Blue lights were flashing across the lake and we thought that might be the area of the transformers.  It turned out that a car had gone off the bridge and into the lake!  Related to the transformers?  Don't know.

Elevators were out for a bit . . . lobby on the 2nd floor . . . dinning hall on the 3rd floor . . . sleeping room on the 5th floor.  With all the snacks that our group brought, the morning stair workout was a blessing in disguise!

We got the all clear and headed for breakfast and a return to our normal retreat routine which is:
Breakfast, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Lunch, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Dinner, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Snack, Stitch, Sleep, with a lot of talking and laughing sprinkled in there, Repeat.  Some of us do take some time to walk around the lake or a trip to the local quilt shop, but basically it's stitching, talking, laughing and eating!

We had the same space as last year for sitting and stitching and/or quilt making with a great view of the lake.  There were 30 of us spread out around the room with our various projects.

We also had a surprise engagement shower for one of our members complete with veil, a "handmade" wedding dress and a bouquet to throw (or hand to someone as was the case)!

We had crisp mornings with warming afternoons . . . a little shower . . . some strong wind . . . overall, typical fall weather at Lake Junaluska, NC.

I did finish Plum Street's - Jingle, Jingle and found the perfect fabric at the quilt shop to finish it as a pillow.  I'm sure I have some tiny rusty bells somewhere too!
And I made some good progress on Blackbird Designs - Where My Heart Blooms (Loose Feathers Pattern 29).  (No, I didn't work on my EGA projects . . . surprised?)
My creative soul is replenished for now . . . can't we do this more often?  I could really get onboard with a quarterly retreat schedule!!!!  Any takers?