Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Farewell 2008, Hello 2009!

It's been an amazing year for me as far as stitching is concerned. If the ghost-of-Christmas-still-to-come had visited me a year ago and I was shown what 2008 was going to be like, I would have found it hard to believe.

It started with some down time in January and picking up the needle and thread to finish BOAF's Peace, which was started in 2003 and left in limbo for 5 years. That I continued onto other projects was not really earth shattering. What was really great this year was discovering the stitching blogs and a whole stitching community online, worldwide! That was just the most fun thing to have happened to me this year.

I was encouraged to start a blog, and that happened just over 3 months ago. It's been fun, creative, extremely nurturing and supportive, and I've started to make a few stitchy friends. What an amazing time and I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed it without you! I've discovered new designers, new finishes, shared interests because of your blogs!

So, a big THANK-YOU to you ALL! I have loved reading your comments and visiting your blogs.

Now, this bit is just some record keeping for future references. Completed projects in 2008:
  1. Peace (BOAF)
  2. Bluebird's Message (BBD)
  3. Quaker Garden (BBD)
  4. Their Song (BBD)
  5. Where My Heart Blooms (BBD)
  6. My Needle's Work (LHN)
  7. Beneath the Sunlit Sky (BBD)
  8. Strawberry Garden (BBD)
  9. June Berries (BBD)
  10. Bittersweet Sampler (BOAF)
  11. Winter Sampler (BOAF)
  12. Sally Spencer (BOAF)
  13. Of Female Arts (Primitive Needle)
  14. Monogrammed Pinkeep (for Leena) (Stacy Nash Primitives)
So, what plans for 2009? I have signed up for some exchanges and this will be a first. I have to be careful not to over commit myself and I'm already eying the calendar nervously!

I started 2008 being primarily a BBD and BOAF fan. Since then I've discovered Shepherd's Bush, a lot of 'primitive' designers, and fallen in love all over again with Prairie Schooler. Strangely enough recently I saw some old designs that I liked from over five years ago and I still like them. Here's one them that I'd like to stitch in 2009:

Crowflower
by Workbasket

I've had this BOAF chart for a very long time and it's a fair size one, for me. This might be worthy of a SAL later on!
A Very Fine Sampler
by Birds of a Feather

Another one I must stitch is this:
Autumn Leaves
by Prairie Schooler

Actually I hope I will get to stitch all four seasons!

Of course I have to include my new favourite - Shepherd's Bush.
My Mom's Garden
by Shepherd's Bush

My stash has grown at an embarassing rate since I started my blog. Oh well, it's fun and it's non-fattening plus something beautiful leaves our hands for others to enjoy for years to come. It will be interesting how things will look a year from now, as far as what I get accomplished stitching-wise! But I have no desire to rush through this coming year. Rather I hope I will take time to slow down just a tad and 'smell the flowers' so to speak.

Sending Happy New Year wishes your way. I wish you all Peace, Health and Happiness and may 2009 bring you lots more stitching fun!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some pretty flowers

How to apply the expression "my eyes are bigger than my stomach" to stitching? My eyes are bigger than my fingers? Nope, doesn't sound right, does it? But you get the idea - I always think (or hope) I can stitch faster than I actually can!

This is how far I am with my SB Family Sampler.
"the big picture"

"I'm ready for my close-up"

It is so pretty to stitch that I had to drag out my Jane Austen movies to go along with it. Just seemed appropriate somehow. I love the French Vanilla linen. I'd love to get some more for other projects.

This is just such a lovely time right now. Between stitching, visiting a few blogs, reading, TV watching and all the fun stuff, time has been flying by!

Thanks for visiting. Let me know what you're stitching! :-) Bye for now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

OK. That's enough...

Snow, that is. Thank you very much, we've had our White Christmas - over and over and over- so it's time to say goodbye to snow!

Sometimes you can have more than enough of a good thing. We had a beautiful Whiter than White, records-kept-breaking, Christmas. It snowed all Christmas Eve day, then a break on Christmas Day which was great as it allowed us to get together for a family dinner, then heavy snow all day Boxing Day. No recreational shopping this year on Dec 26!

Today, we thought we could try getting out of the garage. We did...about a car length's - then got stuck. The back lane was just a river of snow. So, the guys dug and pushed our way back in the garage. My husband and I then decided to do walk up to the shopping area, about 10 plus blocks away. While the main streets are relatively clear, the side streets are still big piles of snow. You can't see the black of the road at all.

An hour and a half later we got back home. Along the way, we met with LOTS of cars stuck on the road, people with shovels digging away. Everyone was relatively good humored about it all. In a way it allowed you more interaction with people who would otherwise be out and about only in cars!

Despite the messiness of it now, it was so beautiful when it was snowing, especially when it got dark and the falling snow sparkling under the street lamps with Christmas lights twinkling in the background. What a lovely Christmas gift. (Now it's like waiting to get rid of all the wrapping paper, tinsels & stuff!)

Here are some stitching updates! A little more progress on Quaker Alphabet.
Quaker Alphabet, put on pause as of Dec 26

I started a new project, which is Shepherd Bush's Family Sampler. I realized yesterday that I will be starting the MM&IRR stitching in less than a week's time and that my scroll frame will be tied up with that project.
This is the first time I've ever stitched a Shepherd Bush design. It's so delicate and pretty. I have only started on the border so didn't bother with a photo. Hopefully more progress in the next day or two.

I'm also hoping to finish it by Dec 31! Wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying the holiday season, snow or not.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dashing through the Snow!

Santa Rides
Prairie Schooler (2002)

Actually, Santa is riding in his hot air balloon, well above the snowy West Coast! It is very unusual for us here to get snow, let alone so much snow, but oh it's so pretty.

It's been a little strange with all this snow because it's made getting out and about not so easy. So, I 'cocooned' and went through my stash for my next stitch. Here is a progress shot of Quaker Alphabet by La-d-da which I started on Sunday.


You know, every time I switch from one count of linen to another, it's an adjustment. This time I am adjusting from 28 to 32 count. I know once I get into 32 count I'll love it again but right now it's a bit of a struggle. Now that I see the photo I wonder why I didn't do a better job getting the creases out of the linen! *sigh* Someone was impatient around here!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

I am embarrassed to say that I've just started my baking today. Nothing like a deadline to motivate me so I'd better keep on going.

Thank you my friends for stopping by. I was so happy to get so many comments on my last post and from new visitors to my blog. Thank you so much! You've just given me such an early Christmas present!

I hope you will have a healthy, happy Christmas surrounded those you love (and Santa brings you a big stash of stitching goodies)!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finally I can start Christmas!

Happy Happy Dance! I am now off for the holiday season for 2 weeks! This is a catching-up post so a few things to show and tell. But first, please indulge me in a few words before the photos.

December is a stressful month, isn't it? There's Christmas to look forward to, but there are lots of activities and obligations tied to that. I was feeling quite stressed, tired, blue, just holding my breath for that last day of work to arrive! The weather here has been wild. Buckets of rain for awhile, very little sunshine. Then the snow came last Saturday evening and we are now in a cold snap. More snow fell during the week and more to come on Sunday. The snow plays havoc on the traffic but other than that it's very pretty! I quite like it (now that I'm off work!).

Through the December blues I stitched. I was tempted to rant in my blog but my better self kept my finger away from clicking on 'Publish Post'. The backspace and delete keys are also very helpful in preventing you from regretting your post - the equivalent of 'think before you speak'! Don't get me wrong, a little rant every now and then is helpful, but I felt mine would have just be moaning and whining...

So, I stitched, a little bit each day if I could. It was a type of meditation I suppose. And here, ta-da, is the little gem.
Of Female Arts
by Primitive Needle

I must have guessed that I would feel very stressed in December as this design was very simple and soothing - no special stitches and only one colour. I have to remember this trick in the future.

The original design called for 1 strand over 2 using Soie d'Alger but it didn't say how many skeins. I stitched 2 over 2 and used all 4 skeins of WDW Cappucino. I really liked this colour on the Vintage Light Examplar linen. The floss colour gave it a faded aged look.

Now, I will show you another stitch I made for Leena. She emailed me that she has received my package. We have been doing snail mail this year as we both love that and I decided to surprise her by stitching this monogrammed pinkeep for her as she had stitched a gorgeous pinkeep for me (left) in August.
Sister Pinkeeps joined once before one departs for the other side of the world

On the right is the pinkeep I stitched for Leena. The design is 'Mongrammed Pinkeep' from Stacy Nash Primitives. I had a piece of Meadowlark left over from I finished BOAF's Sally Spencer. Then I picked out the colours as burgundy and forest green as I knew Leena liked autumn colours. I stitched with 2 strands as opposed to 1 that Stacy used. However, on the back, I stitched with 1 strand so you can see the difference that makes.

After I finished the stitch I considered how to finish it and decided to do a pinkeep so I pulled out the pinkeep Leena made for me this year (left). I was amazed because the colours I had chosen were such a complement to the ones she had used on mine.

Here's the back of the pinkeeps.
Two pinkeeps, up against the wall!

Well, that wasn't exactly a typical exchange but it was the first gift I have stitched for anyone. I was very happy that Leena liked it. I'm sure I will be stitching this again as having something with your initial is kinda special, don't you think?

While I was 'zipping up' my blogging lips until I felt better again, I continued to visit blogs for creative inspiration. Partly it meant I just bought more things! One of the sites I found was Lauren Alexander's. I purchased a calendar and some stickers from her etsy shop. I just love the cheerfulness of her artwork!
Sorry my photo isn't very good. Here's what it looks like at her etsy shop.

In addition to the above, I'm feeling like a very happy gal right now, because:
  • I have lots of library holds that have come in so I will have lots of wonderful books to keep me company while the snow falls softly outside this weekend.
  • I have received 10 comments on my last post! OK. This might not mean much to many people but it meant a lot to me as it's the most comments I have ever received since I started blogging, hey, 3 months ago tomorrow! Love that!
This weekend, I have to play catch up on preparing for Christmas. I also have to decide which project to stitch next. Stay tuned!

Thank you for visiting! Hope you are staying warm and healthy while waiting for Santa! I will write again soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A little progress & lots of inspirations!

It's my end-of-weekend post where I find myself wishing I had stitched more. However, here's a progress shot on 'Of Female Arts'.
That's just to prove to myself that I have made some progress!

There are lots of distractions. One is the beginning of the Festive Seasons and I feel so behind with everything. The other is the enjoyment of reading blogs! I know many of you have written about the dilemma of stitching or blogging. Well, I've been tripping the light fantastic with some wonderful festive blogs.

First is Loreta's blog. She has a beautiful site - wonderful photos and wonderful stitching. My favourite this week is her Advent Calendar. I love it. As much as I want to stitch it though I think it's stitching AND sewing! Well, here's my wish to my stitching fairy godmother - I would love one of those! All stitched if you can help it! (Well, a girl can always wish, right?)

Then there's Nicole's blog. Now Nicole's was one of the ones I've visited way back before I even had a blog. I was always in awe of how much and how quickly she can stitch up the charts. Lately, I've found her Christmas Tea so inspiring that I had to order it for myself. I won't get it in time for this Christmas but I hope to add it to my Christmas stitching for Carol's challenge.

Then there is Miss Jane's blog. Of late, Jane has shown some lovely Shepherd Bush finishes and her latest post shows her Christmas decorations which reminded me I need to get mine up and sparkling too!

I'd better stop there. This week I need to get my Christmas decorations up and do more stitching! Have a good week. Thank you for stopping by and I love reading your comments!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yiiiipppppppeeeeee!!!

Has anyone noticed Toto, my stash-happy dog, hasn't been around for awhile? Yeah, he's been a bit sad that he hasn't seen much stash arriving lately so that he could make a fool of himself running around yipping and turning in circles. And he's a bit miffed that I have a picture of Daisy and Julius on the blog, but not of him! I will have to do something in the future to remedy that.

Well, before I even got through the front door I hear wild dog noises drifting my way. When I opened the door, Toto was spinning in a circle howling: STASH! A box of stash in fact. Well, OK, this poor stash-doggy has never seen the size of some stitchers' stash which mine pale in comparison, but he is happy.

This being Tuesday it was my yoga night, and I have to pat my oh-so-mature head for not ripping open that package right away. I would wait till I get home so I could really enjoy it. I told Toto to sit on top of the box and guard it and let no one come close. He gruffed in agreement. What a great stash-doggy.

So, here is my Stash Report. The charts are from Needlecraft Corner. I'm stock piling Prairie Schooler charts for the winter!
This second photo includes a back order from the Thread Basket - La Dame au Gateau as I like to bake (when time permits!).
The third photo is some Crescent floss from Shakepeare's Peddler. Theresa does colour conversions for some charts. She has one done for PS Autumn Leaves and I really wanted to use the overdyed floss. Now I have to see if I have the appropriate linen in my stash. I am really looking forward to stitching Autumn Leaves, maybe during the holidays!
The final photo is a shot of my small start with 'Of Female Arts'. I'm really enjoying this stitch. The WDW Cappucino floss looks wonderful against the Lakeside Linen's Vintage Light Examplar. It's too bad photos never really show you the true colours! I've been stitching with 32 count, and this linen is 28 count so it looks huge to me!
Well, frankly I'm a bit pooped from all the excitement. I'm glad to finally be able to show some photos! I have a few more PS charts coming in another week or so because a stockpile has to have more than 5 charts!

I hope you are well and enjoying the start of the Holiday season. I don't enjoy the extreme commercialism of Christmas that can get on one's nerves but I really enjoy seeing houses and trees lit up with Christmas lights, especially in these long dark days. Driving home from work in the dark is more pleasant seeing twinkling lights along the way.

Toto and I must ready now for slumber. Good night!