Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's a wrap

And here I sit in my comfy little TV room and having to be reminded for a second time this week what day it this what retirement will be like?  If so, those 80 weeks won't go fast enough.  It's chilly today and the Uggs are on and the fireplace is roaring.  I've got a big pot soup ready for lunch.

I've been reading your blogs a bit but no time to read them all and to comment.    Actually I must confess, with the holiday rush I had to whittle down to only a few I've been able to follow religiously.  Everyone posts such beautiful stitching and pretty decorations and it is to my total enjoyment to read all the goings on.  I know I have some catching up to do. I hope to be a better follower after the holiday craze dies down.
Actually the photo is from YESTERDAY when I start the it is much the same but it is SNOWING!
First off, I have a great D-in-L who believed I needed more grandbaby time and she arrived by train three days ahead of my son.  That little man was so excited to ride on the Choo Choo.    Funny thing is that I had bought him some train related things for Christmas without even knowing.   I guess grandma's just know.   I am still nameless but that is alright.   He'd run to me, put those little arms out  and say 'up', or pat the floor when he wanted me to sit with him and play blocks.   Oh my it was heaven.

I did  finished his stocking with time to spare!  Sorry, no picture of stockings all hung with care....but I got one with Will in the stocking.

I took my son's quilt re-do and used it to scoop up all his presents in one big pile tied at the top with a big red bow.   Evidence enough that he was pleased was him snuggling under the quilt his entire stay.

Project wise I am pretty pleased with how many UFO's I crossed off my list this year as well as some other's I started and finished.   (need to update my 2017 finishes tab!)   And just maybe I should checked my WIP basket before I boast too much!
I stayed true to my pledge.....I was all wrapped BEFORE my daughter arrived from Boston. More years then not, she arrives back in Jersey and has ended up wrapping for a day.  I think I surprised her.   It is always my plan so I even surprised myself that I met my deadline!

I made this little pin cushion early in December.   It is a quick and easy Etsy pattern.  Really took only about an hour.   The 'pie plate' is a mason jar lid.  I didn't want to use it as my EGA pin cushion exchange until  I  could perfect it a bit and until I actually knew if it would stay together......I only finished about a hour for the meeting.    I could never gift it and then find out it fell apart!

A couple of stitching buddies and I agreed on a SAL pattern to start on January 1st and I admit, I started it already.   My excuse was I didn't have anything else to stitch.....which was meant with groans.   I guess I just didn't want yet another start that would be sidelined so I started our SAL. Trust me, they will pass me in no time at all.  It is called Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio.   I've only recently discovered this designer and I like her patterns.

I am stitching on the called for fabric, PTP Murky, in 32 count with the called for WDW Threads.

On the sewing front, after all but Amy left, she and I spent a day quilting.   I had these two quilt tops pieced and managed to assemble one.  It is quilted and only needs the binding hand sewn.   They are not quite twin sized quilts but will  complete my vision for the twin beds I have in the guest room.   
This one was assembled using the 'race car' pattern.   Since I used larger strips than a jelly roll, I didn't like the end result.    So, I cut 16 1/2  inch rows and them cut each row into 16 1/2 squares.   I then did the quilt as your go method.   It was something I had been wanting to try.  Some squares came out better than others.   I reassembled the squares alternating every other one 90 degrees.    I like the variation I got as a result.

The before....end result is much better

 The second one, it is on the agenda for today.   I had to piece fabric for the back and now I am ready to make my quilt sandwich and put the presser foot down.    

And my sweet indulgence.....a few Christmas pix of sweet William.

 This is my cross stitch lap frame that was quickly turned into his 'ride'.   Brrumm brrumm brrumm motor noises were prevalent as he pushed this around the house that is unless he was banging it on the floor......he returned to it time and time again and it was hysterical.

To the right is how it was INTENDED to be used.   Did I care if it was bet I didn't.   I would just have to order a new one.

 I am not too ornery am I?

Every time I got the camera out, he came running.  Little ham.
Of course, grandma gave him a balance bike.  He knew right what to do....threw his leg over and then.....not so sure.    By spring, he will be tearing it up.

 A quick bath was needed and pop-pop was occupying the bathroom, so into the kitchen sink we went.
That's right Little Man it is OK to drink from the hose too!

What a whirlwind of a week that was just perfect.   Albeit exhausting and a full day was needed to wash linens and towels and clean up the dog hair and I can't wait to do it again.  We are in the planning stages of a week together at a cabin in the mountains in the summer and I do hope we can pull it off.

Wishing everyone a continued safe and happy holiday and a bright and happy new year!   Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Snow Flakes are falling

Yeah!   I love snow.....and yes, not just from the window.   I've shoveled my share of driveways.   Looks like this snow storm won't bring much shoveling though.   But what it will bring is a day inside all toasty finishing up the decorations.

I was off to a great start Thanksgiving weekend.  Outside done, inside done except for the Christmas trees (yes trees, only three this year).   And then I have not been able to make any progress since and the boxes of ornaments seem to have become a permanent fixture in the middle of the living room.

Work seems to continue to require extra hours.    83 weeks until retirement not that I am counting!  Work caused me to be in a cloud of funk this past fall due to turnover of employees.  I know these decisions are business and not personal.   However, because a friend was involved, it was personal to me.   Nothing has changed but I have moved on and back to my happy place at work.

So besides 10 hour workdays and crashing and burning on Friday nights, I have made more project bags.   I really enjoyed making these.   I gave myself a self imposed deadline to complete them (16!!) by my Thursday night needlework group's Holiday Dinner.   Below are some that I saved for myself, daughters and other stitching friends.   It was a great way to make use of finishes that were just collecting dust in the basket of finishes.

Wool applicate that is going in the mail.
A pattern from a visit to Williamsburg.
An embroidery piece from a pattern bought at the Longaberger Homestead shop in Dresden, OH 
Sweetheart Tree design
Flowers stitched by my friend Carol
Daughter No. 1 put her name on this one before it was even assembled!
The girls were thrilled even after my disclaimer that no two were stitched the same and none were exactly perfect.    I managed to get the assembly down to about 45 minutes each if all the fabric was already cut and pressed.   My sewing room/gift storage room/kids stay in during the holidays room looks like what Santa's workshop must be like on December 26th.   Time for a sort out for sure but not until the trees are done.

I did finished William's Christmas stocking and feel pretty sure I can assemble it prior to their arrival on the 22nd.  I did watch Vonna's tutorial on Floss Tube about how to assemble it.   I wish had watched it before I stressed about a lining fabric.   She suggests a plain lining because with charms and buttons it is best not to interface.   She does beautiful work so I won't argue with her methods.

Even added a charm that says "stitched with love" 
Also another monster of a WIP that I am thrilled to get off that backlog list.   This was originally my son's childhood (twin-sized) quilt.   Several years ago, he asked that I make it queen sized.   I added about 10 to 12 inches to all sides and at this point, it is what it is.   Along the way I damaged my machine just because of the sheer weight of the quilt as I dragged it through the machine.   The quilt went back into the closet for another couple of years.   Along came a free day in August, spray basting and a daughter for a day who helped guide the quilt as I finished up the quilting once and for all.   I added the binding and then hand stitched it in place during the evenings.   I just only need to go to the laundromat to wash and dry it and have it crinkle up.   I plan to put all his Christmas presents in one box and wrap them all up with his quilt for Christmas.

I managed to squeeze in a weekend in Lancaster County with my friend from work.   Deb and I always have a good time together and this trip did not disappoint.   Now get this, we stayed at the Caboose Motel......the rooms are actually in train cabooses.  We were not lucky enough to get a caboose room but had a suite in the Shady Rest Hotel.  It was just what we both needed to decompress from work and family and holiday stress.   We actually want to go back and stay for a long weekend in the spring.   We are both looking forward to sitting on the porch with a beverage in hand and taking in the beautiful view and mellowing out after a day of visiting all the cute shops in Paradise, Bird-in-Hand, Strasburg and Intercourse, PA.

Sunset in Lancaster County
Early morning Lancaster County

We ate in the dining car.
Our view from the dining car.  It was the Santa Christmas Breakfast Train.   Fun to see all the kiddos so excited. There is something about little boys and trains.  
OK, I am off to complete the decorating, clean up the snips and bits of ribbons and greens and hopefully get in some wrapping before the day is over.  I made a big pot of soup made last night, have some Chiabatta bread ready for dinner.  Christmas music is on.   Going to get another cuppa coffee and attack the day.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

SB Stocking Progress

I have made fabulous progress on William's stocking.   I have to finish  the row of garland, add a row of snow flakes and them add his name!  Not stitched or sewed anything else!

And as I was rooted about in the drawer I keep buttons in for some small buttons to attach.....lo and behold, I had bought the embellishment pack.   Wahoo!  

Now I need to carve out some time at lunch to go to JoAnn's for lining and backing.    I just may get this done by Christmas!

We had unseasonably warm weather (60's) yesterday and I managed to get all the Christmas decorations out of the garage attic, the outside decorated and some of the inside done.   Wow, so very far ahead on this note but not so with the shopping side of the coin.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mothers and Daughters

Ahhh.......had a mother/daughters couple of days and enjoyed it.   I think I really needed the girl time to decompress from WORK!  Anyway, middle daughter was in the Philly area for work.  I picked her up after her conference and headed to my eldest daughter's.......laughter ensued.    Giggles, fun, food, wine and it is over too quickly.   We dropped middle daughter at the airport for an 8:00 a.m. flight (Really Amy!  An 8:00 flight!) We got to see the sun rise at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).  We were back at my eldest's daughter's to craft all day and then back to PHL at 5:00 pm to pick up my S-in-L who was flying in from I saw sunrise and sunset at the airport.

Silly me, I didn’t take photos before I left Heather's, but she made three of the cutest things.   A play mat for William for Christmas, a collapsible scrap catcher and a compartmented wallet.....

and I finished up a soft sculpture 12 Dogs of Christmas Book for William.

....I made progress on William’s stocking....

There are parts of the pattern that have no symbol so I did not stitch there.   However, when looking at the color version on the leaflet, I see I need to go back and filling in these areas.   Having never stitched a Shepherd's Bush stocking I am not sure if this is how they do all their charts.   No counting needed will make filling these areas in good lunchtime stitching at work.
....and I started making project bags!   This all started as an idea a few months back when a friend was purging her stash.  She had a bunch of little motifs that she stitched and didn't know what to do with so she was going to toss them.   The wheels were turning and I said I think I could find a use for them.     I then went through my own basket of finishing.    Things I enjoyed stitched but had no intention of framing.  You know the kind.....class pieces or little tiny finishes you stitched to try a new technique....and what are you going to do with them?   I set off to shop my stash and find compatible fat quarters to match each piece.  And we know what kind of rabbit hole that can lead one down. 
I had some trials and errors with my work but I got seven done!    I have some designs for 8 more bags!  And what I am going to do with all the project bags?........hmmmm, got another idea.  Wish me luck that I can get the rest sewn up in the next couple of weeks!

What was fun was finding a bold inside fabric.

And I have 8 more queued up to stitch.   There were definitely some trials and errors.  By the time I was done,  I managed to get a complete bag stitched from start to finish in one hour.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

And the stocking may be hung....

Work on my Christmas Stocking for William is coming along quick considering minimal stitching time in the last week.

I don't know what I was so intimated all these years to tackle a Shepherds Bush stocking.   EZ-PZ, large count/no cheaters, perle cotton coverage.  Busy weeks ahead, no pressure to complete but this is easier than anticipated.  Geez!  I hope everyone doesn't want one after seeing William's!

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

And there's more....

Just in from a great retreat in Cape May NJ.    Stitch by Stitch in Cape May held a great retreat weekend with Cathy Haberman of Hands on Design.   Not only was Cathy there but her friends Beth Seal of Summer House Stitch Workes and Janis Note from Noteworthy Stitches joined her.   The amount of giveaways from both her and the Sharon at Stitch by Stitch were awesome.   The class was great, the food was awesome, fun games, stitching time with fiends and strolling in beautiful Cape May ...there are not enough superlatives.

Beautiful sunrise over the ocean.

So check out the stuff!  Of course, after emptying the suitcase, the first thing you do is dump out all your stash!   Some bought, some giveaways.

Stuff I got......Still on a Halloween kick.   Really like the blue/turquoise fabric.   I am cheating a bit by choosing it and not having to stitch the blue background.

 More goodies I got but didn't need.

I want to make this my NEXT start!  OMGosh from Beth at Summer House Stitch Works.   She was challenged by a guild in Nebraska to design a sampler.   Their theme was Reality Shows.   What a challenge but she delivered.   Check this sampler out closely.   The motifs for 19 reality shows hidden in the design.    Let's see what can be recognized......the two roses. obviously The Bachelor.  The beehive, Honey-BooBoo.   The two "D's" and ducks across the top,  Ducky Dynasty.   And there are 16 others.

The ornament exchange piece I received.

The finished ornament I made.   There were actually ohs and ahs so I was pleased!

And now, my class piece.  A winter themed Alpine Lodge pin cushion.   I may need to call in a roofer to help with my goofy shingles!

The verse......"When there's snow on the ground......"  Cathy told us how she came up with the design and quote and challenged us to finish the sentence how we like.    Mine might be...."When there's snow on the ground, I like to have a big pot of soup on the stove,  some bread baking in the oven and snuggle up on the couch with a good book".....or replace book with stitching!

Cathy and Sharon, of Stitch by Stitch, gifted us with the pattern and complete supplies for the matching scissors fob.

Of course, if you know Cathy, she was not about to leave us hanging without a chalk piece.   She created a tag and Sharon included the supplies.   The tag is to personalize the adorable basket.  This basket that was made just for us!  So cute to site on your end table next to your stitching.

There were 50! yes 50, in the class but everything rolled fine.   So fine in fact, that 42 of the 50 have already signed up for next year.   Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes will be the teacher and Cathy will return with her.     Guess my work is cut out for me to get some Hands on Design pieces done before next fall!

Believe it of not, I did get some other stitching done.
I finished the tomato pin cushion from Hands on Design.  I am not sure if I want to stuff this with wool roving or to cut layers of warm and natural batting.  Maybe by next year, I can have the whole set done.   And not to let the needle cool off, I started the Shepherd's Bush stocking for grandbaby William.  I have no plans to complete it by this year but working on this 18 count is EZ PZ.  It will be a good piece for stitching night or for lunchtime work.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!