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Saturday, 27 September 2008

One Week in Blogland

Art by Gaelle Boissonnard

My blog is one week old. Toto is looking pretty smug and sprite. We have found ourselves a very happy place in Blogland.

I had my worries about starting a blog because I felt I would disappoint as far as being able to produce enough stitching to keep people interested in coming back for visits. But one blogger said this to me "Just always remember that it is your site and you can blog about anything you wish!" That advice really was a light-bulb moment. Right! (Thank you for that.)

I have found that I took to blogging like fish to water - a big ocean of water! Seemingly limitless at this point. For this post, I want to talk about the name of my Blog - Words and Blooms - because originally I had planned on some stitchy name but then something different came to me out of the blue.

Words - I love the power of words and words in language. I have always loved to read. I can still recall some of my happiest moments were when I could bundle myself on the comfy couch, with blankets and a stack of reading material (and tea & cake wouldn't hurt). One Christmas holiday we had a lot of snow, unusual for Vancouver, and I sat lengthwise on the couch like so, with a good book as the snow fell heavily outside. Pure Bliss! And somehow reading just flowed right into writing.

Blooms - I love to garden and we have a lovely garden with a lot of fragrant Englishes roses. But Blooms are about a lot more than flowers. Beneath your fingertips, your stitches slowly bloom over the linen. When you hug a child who is hurt, and your fingers brush away tears, a smile blooms on the child's face. Whenever your nurture, something blooms.

Roses & Alstromerias from our garden

Today, I have finally organized a lot of my stash, and finalized my design for MM&IRR. Now, truly I can get back to stitching Elizabeth Saville 1841.

I am having such fun with this blog. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving your comments. It means a lot to me.

The Wonderful Furry Logic Books!

I must tell you about the Furry Logic Books. They are just wonderful little books full of gorgeous painted pictures of animals with the most special expressions which go with the funny captions that will crack you up. Some are 'pee-in-your-pants' funny.

The creator is Jane Seabrook. She lives in New Zealand. I contacted her about her latest book Purry Logic, which I had purchased on Friday. This is especially a great one for cat lovers like me.
Isn't that expression just precious? The caption that goes with this picture (inside the book) says "Have you really done enough for your cat today?"

I did ask Jane if I could include another picture from her book and she was quite pleased that I had asked.Here's the one I want to share with you stitchers.

"What Canary?"

I love that "caught-in-the-act & trying-to-be-innocent" expression. Notice the cute yellow fellow floating in the lower right hand corner.

Now, stitchers, here is what came to mind. Picture this - you come home lugging behind a bag of goodies that you are trying to hide from your significant other - "What Stash?"!!! That's exactly what came to mind when I saw this! I just love it.

I hope you get to check out these wonderful little books. Out of the 5 published, I have 4. They are just wonderful for picking you up when you're down and you need to have a good chuckle.

Lastly, I want to leave you a glimpse of our two munchkins and partners in crime.
Daisy (L) & Julius (R)

Stash!

First, thank you Leena for introducing me & my blog on your site. I've had new visitors who have left lovely comments - so thank you to you too! It's a nice feeling.

Now, as promised, Stash Report! Toto has been Yippppeee-ing it up so much he's exhausted.

On Wednesday, it was another horribly stressful day at work, followed by leaving late amidst pouring rain. The traffic was crawling. I phoned home just to tell DH that I will probably be even later than late. He then told me "drive carefully, and when you get home there's a "package" waiting for you!" In the background, I could hear Toto going "Yippppeeee! Yippppeeee!" I started to smile in the car. *sigh* Just knowing the stash was waiting for me just lifted my spirits as I crawled home in the traffic.

Here's a grouping of stash received from 3 different ONS in September.
Notice the theme of houses? They will go into my MM&IRR design, to be finalized soon.


Quick - say "Stacy Nash Stash" three times! This is the first time I have purchased these charts, and I bought them directly from Stacy. I love her designs! Stacy is very nice and it was certainly a very pleasant experience to buy from her. I am looking forward to stitching these.

That's all the stitching news for now. What I really really need to do is to organize things because I was 'losing' them here and there. And of course, get down to stitching! Bye for now.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

DH as Intrepid Photographer

This is going to be a quick short post. I'd wanted to befriend our digital camera more so I can take better photos of the stitching on my blog. While I had asked my DH to take the photo of the Leisure Arts leaflet I talked about yesterday, he has become the Intrepid Photographer and he's now experimenting with lighting and all that jazz. So, much thanks for the photos, honey!

Strawberry Garden
Blackbird Design
Completed 2008

I love this design. I stitched the basket in an open weave rather than the solid stitches because I found them too heavy. I quite like the change. This piece hangs together with the following one as they go so well together.

Where My Heart Blooms
Blackbird Design
Completed 2008

This was the first Loose Feather release of 2008 and still my favourite of the LF releases this year. I am looking forward to stitching the final Mystery Sampler.

TGIF tomorrow! Stash report is coming this weekend. (Yippppppeeeeee!)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

How did you get your start with cross-stitching?

First, thank you for visiting and especially to those who have left comments. When you have a new blog, it's nice to see that people do visit by the comments they leave.

I was wondering - how did you get your start with cross stitching? How old were you? Who taught you? And did you take to it right away, or did it take awhile, or perhaps it had to be when you found the right designer before you got excited with stitching.

For me, I first learned to stitch in the early 1990's when our son was just a wee lad. An older woman at work had a cute picture of a cross-stitched lamb hanging in her cubicle. I would see this cute picture everyday and one day, I asked her where it came from. She said she stitched it, then explained that it was just a bunch of x's on cloth. (Yes, she said that - I didn't make it up.) She said if I got some supplies she would show me how to do it.

I had an Australian Woman's Weekly crafts book at home where there was a simple cross stitch of 2 orchids. I brought all the supplies into work and one lunch hour she showed me how to stitch. I was intrigued. I carried on later that evening, and was hooked! I remembered my DH checking in with me around 11pm asking if I would be going to bed soon, but I'd kept saying "just a few more stitches!" Sound familiar?

Cross stitching is not really known here in my part of the country and it was difficult to find patterns. I scouted around general craft stores. Since our son was little, I did stitch some of the cutesy kiddies things on aida for awhile. I liked the calmness and quietness of stitching but nothing really grabbed me until I found this leaflet by Leisure Arts.

This was the first time I'd seen samplers and I just loved them right away. I stitched the one with the house between two trees, and the sailing ship one. The former I have framed. The latter, one day soon, I may give away on my blog. It was also the first time I tried stitching on linen. Once I did that, bye bye aida!

Still, I did not really get into stitching until 2002 when I found a LNS which carried mostly needlepoint, but also some cross stitch. When I found Birds of a Feather, I nearly fell over with excitement. Shortly after that, Blackbird Design - another w.o.w.

While I'd mentioned a 5 year break in stitching, it never really left me (thank goodness). I also like designs from Carriage House Samplings, La-d-da, Prairie Schooler, Bent Creek, and so many more! My newest designer that I 'discovered' this year is Stacy Nash Primitives.

So, I will leave you with another 2008 finish. It was so much fun to stitch.

Quaker Garden
Blackbird Design

I would love to hear how you got started. Happy Stitching!

Monday, 22 September 2008

A Collection of Stitching

Hi again. Well, after the excitement of the first post, Toto and I were pooped. I think we were both still dreaming about the blog as he kept muttering now and then through the night.

While I am still working on being better acquainted with our digital camera so that I can show the stitching in a better light, so to speak, here is a photo of part of my 'collection'. Half of the pieces were stitched this year, and the remaining from previous years. My DH helped me 'compose' the final arrangement. They are set up in our little entrance way and I can see them from my favourite reading chair!

Starting from bottom left and going clockwise:
BBD - Their Song (2008)
BOAF - No Bees No Honey (2002)
Hillside Samplings - Seasonal Samplings (2003)
BBD - Bluebird Message (2008)
BOAF - Peace (2008)
BOAF - Happy Hearts Sampler (2003)

It was nice to finally have enough pieces to make this collection. I still have other framed pieces elsewhere, but it was the first time I could put a few together that complement each other.

One thing I do want to mention, before I say good-night, is to acknowledge and thank the French artist Gaelle Boissonnard. She is the creator of the illustrations of the pretty girls you see on the blog. I had bought her 2007 calendar, and the girl with the snowdrops was Janvier 2007! I bought a card with the girl blowing the bubbles, and had it framed this year. I love her artwork. I goggled her name but she doesn't appear to have a website, but lots of fans, including moi! I am looking forward to her 2009 calendars!

So for now, Bonne Nuit! Toto is already snoozing after a day of chasing squirrels.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Well, here we are, Toto. We're in Blogland!

Hello . My name is Melissa. I returned to cross stitching this January, after a 5 year absence. While I learned to stitch in the early 1990's, my stitching has not been continuous. In many ways I really feel like a new kid on the block.

What brought me back to stitching was an unfinished BOAF's Peace, which sat on my scroll frame for 5 years, survived a huge house move and was calling for closure! Fortunately I had a few weeks off after Christmas last year so I decided to dive in. After finishing Peace I just rolled into a few Blackbird Designs that I just 'happened' to have around. As of August I had completed 10 projects. I will write more about them in another post.

What inspired me to keep stitching this time was the stitching blogs, which I had discovered quite by accident. I didn't hang out on the Internet much so the whole web community thing is new to me. Through the stitching blogs I became friends with lovely Leena. She made this gorgeous pinkeep for me. I was so thrilled! You can read about how we connected here, with the August 21 post.

Here is a photo of Leena's beautiful pinkeep from her blog.

While Leena encouraged me to blog, I was wondering how to even start. So, I procrastinated. Then came the motivation for this blog.

I read Edgar's blog regularly because he is one of those who posts often and is prolific with his stitching, and his blog is fun to read. He mentioned that he is organizing the 2009 SBBC. I wanted to join but the catch was - you had to have a blog. More procrastination. I emailed Edgar last week asking if the SBBC was full. Of course if it was full, I could procrastinate some more! Edgar was very nice when he replied to my email, and he was very supportive that I could create a blog, and yes, there is still room he said.

So, this is my "just-do-it" blog. I will start simple, and figure out more features as I go. If you have any tips I would love to hear them.

Now, onto the stitching stuff. I am currently working on the largest sampler I've ever tackled. - Elizabeth Saville 1841 by Finger Work.

I am using all the suggested fibers and they are just gorgeous. I started this late August and it's been slow going. I don't have a photo yet. I have barely got the top border done.

My excuse is that my sleepy stitching world was woken by the call of the Me, Myself & I Round Robin. It didn't require a blog, so I though innocently enough, why not? Well, it's exciting to be part of this, but it's also been time consuming trying to decide how to create my first neighbourhood. I also spent time browsing the ONS and buying charts. I am still waiting for the key charts to arrive so I can nail down the blueprints soon, and maybe get back to stitching E.S.

All the browsing ONS has been fun for growing the stash and a little embarrassing how much I have bought that has nothing to do with building the neighbourhood! But what's a girl to do? I have 5 years to catch up on right? I will write more about my stash in my upcoming posts.

I think this post has been quite long enough and I've been writing and editing this in my head for weeks. It's a relief to finally have created my first post! wooo-hoooo!

Well, Toto, time to call it a night. Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce you. Toto is my faithful companion that I found on my journey through Blogland to this little spot. He's a wheaten terrier and when he sees new stitching stash, he goes 'yipppppeeeee' and dances around in circles. What a pal, eh?

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you'll come by and see us again.