Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas already!

I have a head-start on Christmas. My husband surprised me on Saturday evening by cooking dinner for me. When I got home, this was waiting for me on the table.

He also decided I needed some pampering (I've been asking for a while now - hint hint) and gave me a gift card to Jeffrey Lamorte Salon for a pedicure. Wow, what a salon. I haven't had a pedicure in a couple years and this was sure a welcome sight:

I walked in, gave my name, and Lindsay was waiting to take me back to the throne. The chair was awesome. You could recline the seat if you wanted and have the massage and heat going at the same time. I selected my polish color and soaked my feet for about 10 minutes before the pampering began. It was an awesome gift and I'm glad my DH let me have the treat before Christmas!

Friday night was a get-together with some stitching friends. I do exchange gifts with a couple friends. Here's what I got from Debbie:

It's a pretty bookmark with an initial charm. It's very beautiful and I hate to hide it away in a book. For now, it's hanging on the tree. Speaking of trees, isn't mine pitiful?

We don't have a "real" tree. This was one I picked up a couple years ago. I lived in a two-story townhouse and there was a ledge at the top of the landing going up to the second floor. I used to put this tree on top of the ledge since the ceiling was so high and the living room area was open to the second floor. But now, this poor tree is so skinny and sad looking in the living room. I do love it though. There are little bird nests and birds and berries tucked in the branches. Maybe some day I'll have a larger tree. My favorite is a real one; the smell is wonderful and makes the house more "Christmas-y". Another gift from Debbie is a Starbuck's gift card. Some people may not appreciate a gift card but for me to buy a coffee at Starbuck's is a real splurge. I just won't spend the money on myself. But a gift card is a great present because I can enjoy the coffee without the guilt! Thanks, Deb!!!

Pam surprised me with a gift. Isn't this the cutest bag?

Inside the bag was a Bath & Body hand soap in one of my favorite Christmas scents, "Winter Candy Apple". The other part of my gift was a Pandora charm! I recently bought a Pandora-style bracelet with two beads. I am also known to travel everywhere with my coffee mug so Pam has added some fun to the bracelet!. Another great gift!

I am blessed beyond belief by my husband and friends. I pray you will be blessed also by your loved ones. Encourage the blessings by spreading your own Christmas cheer! Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Turkey, Cranberries and Yum!

A few more weeks have come and gone and wow, it's December already! I love the fall and I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's too bad that in this country we seem to go from Halloween to Christmas without much fanfare regarding Thanksgiving. Well, I did not succumb to the decorating rush and my Autumn decorations were left up until December 3rd in the shop. Yesterday I put new lights in the front window, added the greenery to the top of the shelves and today KathyM put up the Christmas tree. It still needs lights (might be able to do without them) but it has lots of ornaments and a cute, wintry tree skirt.

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you that came out to the shop during November to help me celebrate the First Anniversary of Inspired Needle. What a fun month! I wish I could give prizes away every month....it is so much fun to see the surprised looks on your faces when you win. I did send out emails to my last two winners and I have a few more prizes to put in the mail. I got a bit behind when we went to PA last week but I am catching up!

It's too late now for you to use the following recipe, but save it for next year or maybe Christmas, if you have turkey for dinner. This is a recipe I got from a friend. I've made it several times and it is fabulous! It sounds a bit weird, but trust me, you'll make it again and again.

Turkey Wild Rice Pumpkin Soup

2 T butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 can (16 oz) solid pack pumpkin
2 cups (10 oz) cubed, cooked turkey
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup half and half
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook and stir butter, onions and celery in Dutch oven over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth and pumpkin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in turkey, rice, half and half, salt and cinnamon. Heat to serving temperature; do not boil. Garnish with crumbled bacon, green onion and cheddar cheese. Makes 8 servings.

Now here's a recipe you can use from Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas! It's perfect for a pot luck; everyone will ask you for the recipe!

Apple Cranberry Dessert
(courtesy of KathyM)

3 cups sliced apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Mix and put the above ingredients in a greased, oven-proof casserole dish.

1-1/2 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 to 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (quantity is your preference)

Combine topping ingredients and gently spoon on top of apple-cranberry mixture. Pour 1 stick melted butter on top of it all in the casserole dish.

Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 hour until topping is browned and fruit is tender.

I don't have a picture of the above recipe, but I'm making it for a Holiday Party on the 18th. I'll try to snap a pic and add it later.

Have a great day!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Second Week of Winners

I think I am going to miss doing these weekly drawings. It was sad when I was finished drawing names because there were still a lot of names in the jar and no more prizes to be distributed. Well, there are more prizes, but I am saving some for next Saturday and the Saturday after that. So, here are the winners and their prizes. If you do not live local, I will be mailing out your prize. Congratulations!

Kathy-Spring Seasonal Bitty Buttons & Fiber pack by Cathy Jean
Vicki, Gentle Art Special Edition Perle Cotton
Arlene-Fall Seasonal Bitty Buttons by Cathy Jean
Jane-Seasons Changing Bellpull by Rosewood Manor
Carol-Summer Seasonal Bitty Buttons & Fiber pack by Cathy Jean
Jamee-Gentle Art Spring Bag
Marilyn-Lilly Flower Sachet Sac by Fern Ridge Collections
Patricia-Chessie & Me Blackbird Houses (Norden Crafts)
Pam-Gentle Art Backyard Blooms
Paula-Lizzie Kate Sampling Christmas Quick-iT and Calculator
Phyllis-Chessie & Me Blackbird Houses (Norden Crafts)
Kay-Monogrammed Cosmetic Bag by JBW Designs
Beverly (Yes, again!)-Seaside Stitches Accessories by Jeannette Douglas Designs

A huge thank you to all that have come out during the week and/or sent me an order. You are all the reason why I love my job!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

and the winners are.....

Ok, my stitchy friends, today was the first doorprize drawing of the month! This is my Anniversary month....actually my one-year anniversary is tomorrow. Yea! Can you believe Inspired Needle is a year old? To help celebrate, I contacted a bunch of my vendors and asked them to provide some prizes. Many have complied and now I can share with my customers. Here you see the jar of drawing slips. Each time a sale was made this past week, the customer's name was written on a slip and placed in the jar. Internet orders, phone orders, walk in orders....it didn't matter. I will mail your prize if you live out of town.

Here is the group of prizes for the drawing this week. We have three thread packs from The Gentle Art. One is "Autumn", one is "Harvest" and the other is unnamed but contains both Sampler Threads and Simply Wool fibers. Then there is a wool kit from SamSarah, a "Dear Santa" kit with pouch, chart, beads and buttons from JBW, two Cathy Jean charts called "Wintertime" and "Fall" with fiber accessory packs and "Birthday Bellpulls 1" from The Victoria Sampler charted for September, October, November and December bellpulls all with accessory packs.

And the winners are.....
Autumn thread pack - Amy A
Harvest thread pack - Jenny
Sampler Thread/Wool Thread pack - Barb
Sam Sarah wool kit - Jill
Dear Santa kit - Debbie
Wintertime - Lori
Fall - Beverly
Birthday Bellpulls - Pam

The jar has been emptied and now all sales from next week Tuesday through Saturday will be placed inside. Those customers will have a chance to win a door prize next week! I have more goodies to win. Charts and kits from Jeannette Douglas, Fern Ridge, The Gentle Art, JBW, Lizzie*Kate, Victoria Sampler, Cathy Jean, Norden Crafts.....stay tuned for next week's winners!

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Has It Really Been That Long?

Sheesh, I can't believe it has been almost a month since I posted! I always have good intentions but then time has a knack for getting away from me.

Lots going on. The Online Needlework Show has come and gone and now the "trial" Needlework Retail Show will be here in a few days. I have also been busy at the shop getting things ready for my anniversary celebration. Yes, Inspired Needle will be 1 year old on November 8th! I can't believe it! What started out as a pipe-dream has developed into full-blown reality. It is so wonderful to wake up every morning and WANT to go to work. I have such fun setting up displays and putting things together at the shop. I try to guess what the customer will like and sometimes I hit it on the head and others, well, we won't talk about them! LOL

Well, the twins have turned seven. They really are growing up. We went to PA two weekends ago to celebrate their birthday. We had fun at the local pumpkin farm, which really isn't a farm but a nursery which does it up big for fall. They have lots of blow-up amusements for the kids like a slide, crawl-through maze, obstacle course, mountain climbing wall, corn maze, etc. We went last year too, and the kids enjoyed themselves. Not a bad price either. I think for $13 the kids could go on all the rides they wanted.

I did get some stitching done too, believe it or not. Check out my Cherie. You will notice that she has quite the full coat of wool since you saw her last! .
I also completed all the cherries so now Cherie will have something to nibble on until I finish the greenery

And this one is Chessie & Me's Pumpkin Stack. I decided to finish it as a pin keep but thought it looked cute enough without the pins.

Last, but not least, I am almost finished with Jeannette Douglas' First Chapter of My Stitching Album, Mosaic Muse. That one is a killer because it takes so long to stitch a Mosaic stitch compared to a cross stitch. I love the result and this will probably be one of my favorite chapters. I'll wait to update you with a picture and post one when the chapter is complete.

Thanks for checking back!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Thankful For....

Electricity! I know it's not quite Thanksgiving, but I feel I ought to send my praises heavenward. Last evening was Open Stitch Night at the shop and I'm usually there until 9 or 10pm, depending on how much we get to talking! My cell phone rang about 9pm and it was my DH telling me the power was off at home, probably due to the high winds we were having in the Chicagoland area. Well, I ended up not leaving the shop until almost 10:15pm and sure enough, the power was still off when I got home. But it was weird. Some lights worked, some did not. I thought I'd have to get out of the van to open the garage door, but the opener worked. So, I trudged up the stairs (elevator, not working) and stepped into a mostly-dark house. My DH had made some salmon on the grill and some green beans on the stove. Forget about heating it up in the microwave, so I just warmed up a bowl of soup in a pot on the stove. Can't browse the net since the router didn't have power. By candlelight, I brushed my teeth, washed my face (brrr, cold) and jumped into bed.

I woke several times during the night wondering if the power was back on, but the clock radio on my nightstand remained dark. I was semi-conscious around 4am when I thought I saw a light shining from the living room, so I thought all was well with the world.

When I awoke this morning, there was still no power! I must have been dreaming about the light last night. I shuffled to the kitchen as is my usual routine and stopped dead in my tracks. NO coffee!! Whhhaaaaaa! But wait, there was a working outlet over by the stove because thank-the-Lord the refrigerator had power. I was able to brew my java and my world was restored. Now onto the daunting task of a bath. I pulled out the largest pot I could find and filled it with water and set it on the stove to boil. Two potfuls and I was ready for the tub. Sheesh, this is a lot of work! Breakfast was challenging, too, since I still couldn't use the microwave for my bacon.

I did get through the morning - had to flat-iron the hair in the kitchen (eeeewwwwww) and when the power is restored, I'll have to do a good job of vacuuming. Am I spoiled or what? We have it so easy, yet we complain all the while. I slept in a comfortable bed, I had wonderful smelling candles for light and I took a warm bath this morning. Yes, I had to expend a bit of energy to make some of it happen, but it wasn't all that difficult. The little things I don't think about every day, I certainly don't want to take for granted. I have it so easy compared to my ancestors! I am so grateful for electricity and how it makes light my tasks every single day!

Have a great power-filled day today!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A weekend in St. Charles

Missouri, that is, for all you Chicagoland folks. St. Charles, MO is where the Fall Needlecraft market was held. I was excited to attend as this was the location of the very first Needlecraft market I ever attended. Last year, I was green, haven't not yet opened my retail needlework store. This year, I can say I'm "less green". LOL I still have a lot to learn, but it's getting better. We all make good decisions and then, well, there's some bad decisions mixed in there, too.

My cohort, Debbie, and I headed out for St. Charles last Friday morning. We had scheduled some classes for Friday afternoon, which meant we had to drive, allow time for lunch and arrive at our hotel by 1pm. We left early enough from Chicago and arrived with time to spare. We decided to make a stop off at the local needlework store. Some things never change, do they? After browsing for a bit, we asked for a recommendation for lunch. Lewis & Clark's was a few blocks away, so off we went. Cute place with a balcony on the top floor for those willing to brave the cool breeze. We weren't. Debbie ordered a chicken salad sandwich and I had a grilled chicken breast atop a bed of greens and steamed vegetables. Sad to say, lunch was lackluster. Somehow "bed of greens" to me does not mean iceburg lettuce!!! That's what I got. :( Anyway, we wished we could have hung out more in the historic district of St. Charles, but we had classes awaiting! Here is a view looking down the street. Very quaint town with lots of nice shops!

The class I attended was to help in running a business so there's no fun pictures to post, but Debbie took a felting class with Judy Bielec of Mosey N Me. Here is the cute scissor fob that she made. Heck, that is no "little" scissor fob.....maybe she could attach it to a full-sized pair of dressmaker shears!
(For size perspective, the witch is leaning up against a medium-sized pumpkin)
Watch this space for more posts regarding my trip to St. Charles.

Until later,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cherries, anyone?

Last weekend, I woke up to a spooky kind of morning. This was the view from my kitchen balcony.
It felt very fall-ish and I wondered if I should be watching for things flying through the air?!

I also had the opportunity to take a class with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs. I wasn't able to attend her basket class on Saturday, but I really wanted to take her crewel class, Cherries for Cherie, and I was so fortunate the class was on Sunday, when I could attend. Barbara is a crewel master and she certainly doesn't design the old-school crewel that our mothers used to stitch. Take a look at some of these beauties.

These two photos on the left are Barbara's new teaching pieces. The class piece that we were taught is below:
("Cherries for Cherie" above is Barbara's, not mine!) I'd love to show you what I accomplished in class but I was a bit rushed this afternoon and I left my stitching bag at the shop. I will have to post a pic next time for you all. I'll try to actually work on this piece some time soon before I forget all that I've learned. Be on the lookout for Barbara's crewel designs to show up in the shop....I can't resist!

A group of us met at the shop this afternoon to work on Jeannette Douglas' "My Stitching Album". I showed you the Mosaic Muse chapter last time and here is another progress pic. I really like this stitch but it does move pretty slowly. What do you think so far?

Thanks for reading, my friends! Until next time....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have you tried Mirai?

Have you ever heard of it? I didn't either until this summer. Someone from my Village Office was going door to door of the businesses of Lemont, informing us of the Farmer's Market and inquiring if we'd like to set up a booth. One of the "perks" of this particular Farmer's Market was that a vendor would be there selling Mirai pronounced ME-rye) corn. One of my first trips over to the Farmer's Market, I purchased 6 ears of the bi-color corn. The flavor of this sweet corn was awesome. It was some of the first pick of the crop this season and the ears were not very large. Even so, they were sweet, juicy and a reminder of summer's past.
Just this past Tuesday, I purchased a dozen ears of corn, this time 6 bicolor and 6 sweet yellow. The kernals were huge! No mushy spots, no bare spots....just pure, kernal-y bliss!
I was wondering if you could eat the corn raw as it is so sweet. I happened to check out the website and found that they recommend eating the corn either way; cooked or raw! The corn was first introduced in Japan in 1995 as a super-sweet corn. The Japanese named it Mirai, meaning "taste of the future". Try an ear of Mirai instead of a plum some evening. Yummy! The Farmer's Market will be in the Historic Downtown part of Lemont through October every Tuesday from 8a to 1p. Get there early for the best picks!

On a stitchy note, I did several bands of My Stitching Album's Mosaic Muse over the Labor Day weekend. A couple members of my Jeannette Douglas monthly stitch group complained how difficult this chapter was to stitch. I can see how they would think it was tedious, but for me, it was fun! I love the mosiac stitch and I just love how it forms little bumps on the linen. Here's my progress so far. I am going to push myself to do a little bit every night.

Tomorrow at the shop I'm hosting an open house for the Waterfall Glen Chapter EGA. Some members will be there to promote EGA and all types of embroidery. They will have stitched pieces for show and can talk to interested parties about what EGA is and how it benefits them personally. I, myself, have been a member over 10 years. I don't think I would have expanded my stitching horizons had it not been for EGA. I hope to update you all with some pics from the big event in the next couple of days!

Have a good evening! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where's the meat?

Another whirlwind weekend with the twins has come and gone. My DH and I headed out to PA early Friday morning. We left at 12:30am....it makes for a long drive when you're so tired that you should be going to bed. Rather, we head out for a 10 hour drive! I slept a good portion of the way; heck, who was I kidding....I slept the whole way until DH could drive no more. We pulled into a rest area and slept for 4 more hours. I woke up rested and refreshed and drove the remainder of the trip while DH continued to sleep on and off. Of course, by this time I was starving so I began to look for a nice place to eat breakfast. When you've traveled that far northeast and you're not on the tollroad any longer, the pickins get pretty slim. I spotted a Cracker Barrel and headed on over. Now, I used to dislike Cracker Barrel as I feel their food and service became very sub-standard but they redeemed themselves due to our last "emergency" visit (no other choices). The breakfast I had last time was so outstanding, I can still smell the bacon! Needless to say, Friday morning I hoped to duplicate my wonderful breakfast, so I ordered the same meal. It arrived in fairly short order but you probably could have watched my face drop. The scrambled eggs looked fake and rubbery, the bacon looked as if it had been sitting 4 or more hours and the toast was burnt along the crust. Surprisingly, the waitress wandered over to our table to ask how everything was. Why do they do that? If I had served the meal, I would hightail it out of the area and not show up until the plates looked cleared! I was pretty speechless and DH had to tell the waitress that I was disappointed in the meal. I finally found my voice and said the meal looked awful. She offered to bring me a new meal but no, I have heard horror stories about that. I suffered in silence. She did bring me new bacon which looked slightly less old; maybe had only been sitting 3 hours. I still have to go visit crackerbarrel.com and let them know what I thought of their restaurant.

Meals with the twins are usually on the go and I'm lucky to get a decent meal all weekend. There was a rainbow in this stormy, overcast, bad meal weekend as we stopped at a place in Erie called Backyard Burgers. Great "fast" food. If you have to eat junk, this is a good place to eat. Burgers were yummy, the waffle fries great. Even my Cajun Chicken salad was good. It would have rated "awesome" if it contained leafy greens other than iceburg lettuce.

Monday morning we packed up to head back home. We had a quick lunch of hot dogs and mac & cheese. We dropped off the twins and then started our long drive home. I was just biding my time until the toll road where I could get a Starbuck's and perhaps a semi-decent dinner. Again, slim pickins, but we lucked out at one Plaza which contained a Starbuck's and a Panera. I was too happy! I don't much care for the bread (s) at Panera but do like their salads. Well, they were promoting their new soup/salad combo, a bowl of Tomato soup and the Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich.
Yum, yum. Against my better judgement, I ordered the combo. I normally pass on all the sandwiches because I just can't handle all the bread but this one looked too good to refuse. Take a look at the advertisement....your mouth is watering, huh?

Now at the table, I thoroughly enjoyed the tomato soup. A big thumbs up for that one. However, I opened up the sandwich and to my dismay, I saw about a tablespoon of chicken salad atop two tomatoes, atop a monstrous piece of lettuce, sandwiched between two thick slices of bread. I don't know about you, but to pay $7.69 for a lousy 4 chunks of chicken breast, chopped celery and about a half a grape makes me a little upset. Sorry for the lousy pic; I had to use my phone!

Shame on me for not taking the sandwich back to the counter. It was crowded and this particular Panera was having some "grumblings" behind the counter with the staff. Maybe the cook was having a bad day or he was in a rush. Either way, it was a terrible waste of money for two slices of bread, two slices of tomato and a huge lettuce leaf. Next time I'll know better and won't even bother trying to do the "fast food" thing. Are there any good, somewhat healthy food places out there? Maybe I'm just missing them...every restaurant seems bent on serving huge bread sandwiches with a little bit of meat. Bread is not my idea of a meal. Maybe I'll just save a few $$ and pack my own lunch!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lions and tigers and sweat, oh my!

A couple weeks ago was my birthday and we decided to make a family day of it. The twins were back home already but Daddy had taken them to the zoo the previous week. It had sounded like fun, so I chose to spend my birthday there. The temperature was probably close to 93 degrees that day and the heat index was 100. There was NO line to get in the zoo; as a matter of fact, they weren't even collecting guest passes. We have a membership and my sister was along as our guest. The zoo workers at the gate were just waving anyone in....we quickly figured out why.....the place was deserted because it was so darn hot!! The animals were suprisingly active and this little critter was quite entertaining, forcing his keeper to sweat even more as she shoveled dirt back in the holes he was so fond of creating.

We didn't ride the carousel but I snapped a pic of the ferocious animals stuck in an eternal dizzy spin.

Did you know that there were dinosaurs at the zoo? This was a surprise to me but Brookfield Zoo now has a "Dinosaurs Alive" exhibit. My DH took the kids to see it last trip, but we passed on the fun. The closest we came to a dinosaur ourselves was this animatronic Ruyang Yellow River replica which not only roared, but also spit at passers-by. Here's my sister trying to make a quick get-away.

Beautiful flower beds, too. I think I enjoyed them as much as the birds and bees. If you look closely at my favorite cone flowers, right in the center of the picture, you will see a lovely little bird. Bird-watcher I'm not, so I can't help you with the name of this feathered friend.

And now for a stitchy bit of news....a while back I posted pics of my Knotted Tree piece, "Summer Floral Sampler". Here it is framed. I love this design as it is so vibrant and colorful. It hangs in the shop where I can look at it every day.

And before I close, I thought I'd share Angie's first stitches. The piece on the bottom is a heart and her first attempt at stitching on her own. (Hey, where did that Fluffy come from? Sneaky kitty!) I drew a heart shape on the fabric and she was able to backstitch it. I think I will frame it and place it in her room. She was able to stitch that the first part of the summer. On the orange fabric is a pumpkin I drew. Angie added the jack-o-lantern face (you will have to look closely at the pencil markings) but did the backstitching on her own. I hope to share with her my love of the needle. I do hope she keeps up with it as she likes to stitch, likes to help me stitch and for her age, I feel she does well sitting for extended periods of time, concentrating on perfecting her stitches.

Thanks for checking in to see what's new! Now that the summer is winding down, I hope to be a bit more regular in posting!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Loose Feathers Special

I am so happy to be back home after being on the road so long that I am running a Loose Feathers special on my Facebook page. Check here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lemont-IL/Inspired-Needle-Ltd/84293506602

You will need to leave a comment on the Facebook page in order to qualify so you might need to get a Facebook profile. It's quick and easy!

Here's what's on special:

Hope you're staying cool on this hot, hot Saturday!!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Homebound and Melancholy

My DH and I are now driving back to Chicago after dropping off the twins in PA. It's rather depressing, this part of the trip. We had such fun with them this summer. I will have nice reminders though of them playing at the shop. We colored or used Play-Doh or they helped me take packages to the Post Office. Here's a pic I shot on our walk back from the Post Office. This was on Stephen's Street, heading toward Illinois Street. My shop is just around the corner on the right.

One thing that will help me when I start to miss the kids is that Angie left behind her Fluffy kitty. She left it behind the first part of the summer and I took pictures of the mischief Fluffy got into while she was alone in the shop. When Angie came back to Chicago, I showed her the photos and I think this time, she "left behind" Fluffy on purpose so I could take more snaps and mail them to her. I will have fun with this! It's similar to a Flat Stanley if you are familiar with that concept.

It has been a beautiful day even though my DH dragged me out of bed at 5:30am so we could get on the road. It's about a 10 hour drive to PA but look at the beautiful landscape we get to enjoy.

My niece, Stefanie, who has been manning the shop for me, tells me that it's raining back home. I'm sorry to hear that because it has been such a great drive. I dislike to drive in rain and to take the kids back in the rain would have been a double whammy.

I'll be back in the shop tomorrow afternoon. I missed being there even though I was there part of each day. Class coming up on Saturday, August 22, is Country Cottage Needleworks Garden Party. There are 4 insects to choose from. This is a beginner/refresher stitch class. If you'd like some pointers working with over-dyed threads, this is the class for you. Call me at the shop to schedule your place. This stitched model is Ladybug and was worked up by Carol T who is also teaching the class.

Lastly, Stefanie stitched a Blackbird Loose Feathers from my stash. Unfortunately, the chart is no longer available. It is a wonderful sampler and I have already ordered the frame. I will get it laced up this weekend so I can drop it off for framing on Monday. You won't see it at the shop, but I'll post a shot of it once it's in the frame! The design is called Sunflower House and I believe it is Loose Feathers #11. Stefanie says I have to hang the sampler on the wall behind the chair she sat in at our dining table. If she wasn't sleeping, Stefanie was in that chair, stitching away.

Until another day, my friends. Thank you for reading!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Is it Tea Time?

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, here's a chance to take a class with a National teacher, Barbara Jackson. Barbara will be teaching classes for the Lake Michigan Sampler Guild on September 12th and 13th. Come create a charming tea time basket band. The motifs are reminiscent of those sea faring days when tea was quite a luxury. Barbara has arranged motifs around two tea time sayings, but you can alter to your liking. The embroidery was designed to fit inside an adaptation of a beautifully constructed Nantucket shopping basket. Just the thing ladies carried when they visited their friends for tea! The sailing ships, mermaids and delightful colonial maids are all ready to grace your work as you create your own "needle story" on 36 count Edinborough linen. The basket measures approximately 7" x 9" x 6" high. The assembly of the lining is quite easy and will be demonstrated in class.

The kit contains linen for the band and accessories, silks, complete instructions, extra graph paper, photos, needles, cardboard for base and Nantucket basket from Olde Colonial Designs.

For more details and to register for the class, visit Lake Michigan Sampler Guild Sign-up deadline is August 12, 2009!

What a beautiful piece! If you have the chance, take the class. Barbara is an excellent teacher!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can I get a little sympathy?

I really don't expect too much, just a little "awwww, I'm so sorry." I've heard horror stories about people's air conditioning going out during the hottest days of summer but I've always been fortunate that it never happened to ME. Well, until yesterday, that is!! Yesterday afternoon I noticed it getting warmer and warmer here in the shop and sure enough, the compressor is not running outside. Poor Debbie covered my evening shift because I had to attend my EGA meeting. She even changed into shorts and a tank top but it didn't seem to help! Today the repairman has not come yet and I am sitting ever so still so as not to expend too much energy. I have a fan blowing on me, but the temp has crept up to 80 degrees. I'll say a little prayer that the repairman comes SOON. How did people ever survive without air conditioning? Oh, we are a spoiled bunch of humans, aren't we???

I also promised you a full pic of my "1776" by Carousel Charts. I couldn't type on my blog what it was for, but I did this piece for my friend that got married on July 4th. I removed the "1776" from the design and added the couple's last name and the wedding date. She loved it! I really enjoyed stitching this piece and love the R&R Americana Blend fabric I stitched it on so much more so than the Oatmeal the design called for.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay cool!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bridge Out Ahead!

Hmmmm, that would have been a helpful notice if it had been posted yesterday, or last week or even two weeks ago, but there were no signs indicating the fiasco that ensued today. I left my house at my usual time to make the short drive to the shop in downtown Lemont, IL. I was meandering along, moving over to the right lane because for the last three weeks or so there has been construction on the Lemont Avenue bridge which is over the I&M Canal and the Des Plaines River. The Northbound lanes have been closed for resurfacing and the Southbound lanes have been used to move traffic in both directions. So, as I drive closer to the bridge I see the notice that the bridge is closed and Lemont Road South detour is permitted a U-turn. I could not make heads nor tails of the Detour signs and I live here and drive over this bridge every single day! I exited to the right and followed along some quarry road but quickly decided this was going nowhere fast, so I whipped a U-ie and headed North down Lemont Road.

I was only 20 minutes late to the shop and Pam followed closely behind so it wasn't a disaster, but all this was to say, "Why weren't we notified?" Such frustration! There are very limited routes that cross over the Canal and River and if you don't have a GPS at your disposal, you'll be calling your husband like I did to find out where to go next. I decided I was going to call the Village of Lemont and voice a complaint about the lack of information regarding the bridge closing, so I went to the website to look up the phone number. Here is what I found:

The "news flash" would have been so helpful if it had been posted at the foot of the bridge yesterday! A customer of mine and her friend came from the Northwest suburbs this afternoon and tried to follow the detour signs. An hour and a half later, they were closer to the shop, about 10 minutes away, when the detour wanted them to head South on State Street. Luckily, they didn't follow the sign or they would still probably be driving around!

On another note, I'm in the process of setting up a new blog. I've been having problems interacting with Blogger and Wordpress blogs and they don't link properly to mine. I'm going to try to bring over all my posts to the new blog and when it's all ready, I'll switch the addy the website points to so you get redirected to the right place.

That's all for now, folks! Thanks for listening!

Open Stitch Night

Thought I'd give you a peek at what takes place at an Open Stitch Night at the shop. Here is just one table of stitchers, engaged in some form of stitching, talking, eating or browsing. Tonight was pretty crowded. We had three tables set up - you're looking at the table with the most people. It's a lot of fun to come and hang out with other like-minded needle workers. You're away from the "everyday" at home and you share a common interest with everyone at the shop. There is only one danger, however, in such an environment......your friends will find items that you've never seen before and that you just "have to have"!

A suggestion was made to have an Open Stitch Night twice a month, perhaps on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Opinions? Would you be willing to come to both nights? How do you choose which night to attend? Any other suggestions?

Thanks to those of you that did come out tonight. I really enjoy these evenings as it's my chance to see what everyone is working on and to catch up with friends. I hope you did not mind the "coziness" and that you will come back again next month!

Bloggin' On.....

It has taken me over two months to get through this magazine since I have little free time to read but I wanted to be sure not to miss a single article. This is a wonderful magazine and thanks to Laura's drawing, I was the lucky recipient of the mag. I would love to return the favor and will hold a drawing a week from tonight, July 9th to pass along the issue. If you'd like to be included in the drawing, please leave a comment.

Good luck!

Americana update

Several weeks ago, I posted about the design by Carousel Charts, "1776" that I was stitching. I promised some updates but due to the swiftness of my stitching (very unusal for me!), I had already stitched some sections that were personalized which rendered the pictures unpostable. Well, here is my piece back from the framer and while I had to do some significant cropping, you can still get a good idea of how the design looks on the American Blend fabric by R&R. Give me another week or so and I'll be able to post the entire pic.

Happy Independence Day!