Friday, December 31, 2010

A Good Ending to a Great Year!

A few weeks ago, we gathered at my friend Jayne's house for a Christmas stitching party. Jayne went all out with a wonderful buffet dinner for all of us; each one of us attending brought a dessert. Do you think we needed about 10 desserts? The meal was scrumptious and the company was excellent. I enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing evening of stitching, something I normally do not get to do. Part of the thrill of the night was a chance to participate in an ornament exchange. It was not a requirement to stitch an ornament but I set that as my goal. The picture below is the ornament I stitched and assembled.

We each selected a wrapped ornament, after having confirmed it wasn't the one we brought. I selected my package and then one by one, we opened them. I received a wonderful mitten stitched by Nancy. It is the cutest thing! To top it off, Nancy tucked 4 skeins of floss inside the mitten. Look what cute names she chose: Weeks Santa Claus and Holly. Gentle Art Sugarplum and Mistletoe! How very clever! Here is the ornament that Nancy stitched and finished.

Lastly, over the Christmas holiday, I was able to finish stitching the English Sampler Bookmark. It was adapted by Betsy Evans of Charter Oak Designs using three motifs from her 1832 English Sampler. Betsy came to our local EGA meeting last year and gave a lecture on historical samplers and motifs. This design also fits into a Petite Easel Back Clock by Olde Colonial Designs. I haven't decided yet whether I will finish it as a bookmark, frame it or mount it into the Petite clock.

I'd like to wish all of you a healthy and fulfilling 2011! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to stop and visit at my blog. May you stitch with joy in the coming new year!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Customer Finishes

A few weeks ago, my friend Marilyn stopped in to show me some of her recent finishes. The first picture below is of Jane Greenoff's Dragonfly Garden Hussif. Marilyn did all the finishing of the hussif herself. She chose to use a dangling charm as a weight to hold the hussif closed rather than make the linen wrap closure. I think it turned out beautifully! Click on the third photo to zoom in and see all the numbers that are stitched to represent needle sizes.

Marilyn also finished Spring Quakers by Rosewood Manor. She is a really fast stitcher! This was stitched with the Valdani threads on Picture This Plus linen in the color Valor. Another great finish!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Count Me Inspired

It has been two weeks since the first ever Inspired Needle retreat. It was held in Shipshewana, IN, nestled in a quaint hotel, surrounded by an Amish community. Our group was comprised of 34 ladies, some beginners, some advanced, but all were a lot of fun!

Above is a picture of the group hard at work on their felted pincushions. There was no felting involved. The kit came with precut pieces of wool felt which could be embellished and then assembled on top of a vintage thread spool. Each one was unique and special in its own way.

We shared good food, prime stitching time and learned more about each other. Some beautiful works in progress were seen:

In between meals and stitching, we got to peruse the Dinky-Dyes trunk show along with assorted other needlework treats.

By the end of the weekend, we were all relaxed and content, happy to stand for a couple poses. Same time next year?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Autumn Fun

A couple weekends ago, the DH and I went up to Erie, PA with the twins. The views of PA's rolling hills is spectacular in the fall.

We had gone to a local garden center the last few years in a row for a fun day of frolicking with the corn stalks, straw bales, scarecrows and "jump" inflatables. This year, we learned of a nearby farm which offered some fun outside adventures. First there was the expansive corn maze! There were nine "stations" set up within the maze and the goal was to find the station and stamp your puzzle sheet with the stamper found at the station. Once you got the stamp from all nine stations, your paper would reveal the image of the corn maze as seen from the air.

Next was the corn kernel trough. The entire trough was filled with loose corn kernels. What fun the kids and parents had! Corn down the shirt, corn in the socks, corn down the jeans....after the twins tried to pour as much corn as possible down daddy's shirt, they proceeded to bury each other in the corn.

Next, it was time for the pumpkin sling shot. Four pumpkins for a buck got you four chances to fling your pumpkin across the field, trying to shoot through a giant wooden pumpkin head. If you got a mini pumpkin through the mouth, you would win a giant pumpkin to take home.

There was also a hill filled with five super slides. The kids had a great time running up the hill and sliding down. I skipped the slides but did delight in all the fun.

What a wonderful day! We couldn't have asked for better weather or a better farm. We will definitely return here next year!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ornament Transformation

Anyone that knows me is aware that I like to change up the fabric on the monthly Little House Needlework ornaments. The recommended fabric as shown on the cover model is fine but I like to challenge myself to find a fabric color that will add some zing to the design.....make it stand out if even just a tiny bit. The latest ornament from LHN is Joy To The World; a sweet angel heralding the birth of our Savior, Jesus. She is just lovely on the Weeks Straw fabric but I wanted her to look stunning. Here is the latest fabric choice, Weeks Sky, 30 count. Don't the threads look great against that blue?

And in local news, I am counting down the days until the new Bolingbrook Costco is open for business!! I love Costco - I think they should hire me to be a spokesperson. I snuck a picture one's that for sticking to a deadline? It was about 8pm and they were still working on the building! It was lit up like August with floodlights. Yay, Costco!

Thank you all for reading!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finish line!

Well, I am home from Market. The bags have been unpacked, the inventory entered into the computer system, Market items arranged on the table in the shop and then rearranged for stitch night. The website is up-to-date with items that arrived up to this past Wednesday. There are a few things that came in yesterday and today that need to be uploaded, but I feel good that finally the bulk of it is done. I love going to Market and seeing all the great new designs. I will share some of my favorites with you on my next post. Today, I want to showcase some customer finishes. They are incredible!

First up is Jill's "Eiffel Quaker" by Jardin Prive.

I first met Jill about a year ago when she came into the shop and purchased an Ink Circles design, "Cirque Des Carreaux". She would come in periodically after that and show me her progress. That piece is incredible and I will share the picture in another post. Jill is a big fan of Ink Circles and has several pieces in progress, such as "Cirque Des Cercles", below:

Cirque Des Cercles stitched on Lakeside Vintage Autumn Gold 32 count with base color thread of Caron Wildflowers in Fiesta - Wow! It pops!

Jill does nothing by the book. She has an eye for color and loves to try new threads and fabrics. She is also currently stitching Ink Circles "Alchemical Romance". Wait until you see what she's done with this one!

Then, this past Tuesday at stitch night, Carol brought in this outstanding finish! This is "The Witches Wheel" by Glendon Place.

She has just started adding the beads. Look closely at the top witch in the picture. You can see the green, purple and orange beads. They really add some color and dimension to the design. Wow! I can't wait to see this one finished!

Lastly, I have my own finish. I had ordered this Rainbow Butterfly kit with my Rosewood Manor automatic and it arrived a few days before I left for Market. Of course I had to slip one pin kit into my stitching bag! One evening at Market as Debbie and I sat entering items into the computer, we did a little FlyLady trick. We worked for 45 minutes and then stitched for 15. I almost finished the outline of the butterfly during the evening, for a total of about one hour. Here is the before pic:

The butterfly is stitched on 40 count silk gauze. You baste it to a piece of muslin, then cut away (carefully) the muslin, revealing the silk gauze. This gives you a stable base with which to mount the muslin in q-snaps or a hoop. As you only stitch a half stitch on 40 count silk gauze, it works up rather quickly. Each butterfly kit is unique as the beads, backing paper and silk threads are different in each kit. After filling in the butterfly wings with Dinky-Dyes overdyed silk, this is the result:

I was so excited to be finished with this pretty butterfly and to actually get to assemble it. I hastily, yet carefully, cut the muslin to fit the glass frame. I carefully counted and added the beads and dangle pieces to the pin. I sat back and admired it and was so proud of myself until I looked closely at the front of the little pin package and noticed something on Karen Kluba's models that was lacking on mine....I forgot to stitch the border! Oh yikes...I can't believe I left off the border! But, the silk gauze is cut and I'm not attempting to stitch on a 1-1/2" square of gauze so it will remain as is. I still think it's pretty and I can just tell everyone that I planned it that way. LOL.

Hope you all get to have a stitchy week!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Busy Weekends

Last weekend we were in PA with the kids visiting my MIL. I wanted to bring the bikes on the trip but the weather forecast was cold and rainy. Why drag the bikes along? When we got to PA, we were pleasantly surprised to find it sunny and 85 degrees after the storms we had to drive through in Ohio. Temps cooled off once we got to my MIL, but it was very refreshing. We spent Sunday afternoon at my nephew's football game. It was warm in the sun but quite windy. What better thing to do while sitting captive watching a game when you're not cheering? Why, stitch, of course! I didn't get to put needle to fabric, but helped darling Angie created some new stitches. She started off making a flag and then I taught her how to do spiderweb roses. Her new stitch was to weave in and out of the backstitched flower stems. I know there is a name to that stitch, but I let her think she had created something new. Here she is, intent on weaving the perfect flower.

This is Angie's second piece of stitching. The first attempt was when she backstitched the pumpkin last summer. She does like to watch me stitch and asks questions about different threads or tools I use. I'm really thrilled what a nice job she did. She even added the floss hanger so she could hang it up in her room. Angie was so proud of her design and I really praised her needlework skills. She told me I could let all my friends know about the new stitch she created. She was so happy that "she could make stitching interesting"!

Oh, the football game? Our team won!

Been busy at the shop this past week, trying to get things in order so I can be gone for five days at Market. As I was leaving yesterday evening, the sun was shining ever so beautifully on the downtown area of Lemont, I had to stop and take a picture. The town where my shop is located is sometimes referred to as the Village of Faith. The many steeples in the picture might give you a clue why it's called by that name! When the Village was first settled, many immigrants helped to build churches so as to worship in their own faiths. The buildings still stand today.

Until next time......thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 30, 2010

and Framing!

In the previous post, I told you about all the lacing I was doing. Well, here are some of the pieces that were framed as a result of the lacing. First up is "Singing The Blues" by Little House Needleworks which was stitched by my friend, Linda. When choosing the frame, we did like the old, crackly frame as shown on the cover of the chart, but we opted to change the corner design. These little corner pieces on the frame mimic the corners of the stitchery so beautifully. Linda did an excellent job of stitching this sweet birdy!

Next up is "Rose Quartz" by Needle Delights Originals. We offered this as a class late last year and my friend Judy took the class. She recently brought in her finished canvas to be framed. I just love the mat and frame we selected to show off her lovely stitching!

This following design is a program we did at our EGA meeting. It is called New England Button Sampler. You decide on the colors you want to use in your piece, find scraps of fabric and coordinating buttons, charms or other trinkets you'd like to include and then stitch. The checked boxes you see in the design are actually little pieces of gingham embellished with cross stitches, buttons or beads. My friend Pam stitched this Button Sampler and decided to frame it in a shadowbox. It turned out so well and is a wonderful keepsake if you have special buttons or charms from a parent, grandparent or favorite friend. I can also see this done up for a baby's room, using scraps of a favorite blankie, pj's or other clothing. Add a tiny barrette or bitty baby buttons and this will be quite a special gift!

Finally, some Christmas ornaments. CarolS taught this finishing class in July. The students were able to go home with their ornaments almost completely finished. Most had started their outer border embellishing and just had to finish up on their own. CarolS teaches how to cut out the insert for a shaped ornament. She instructs how to mount the fabric on the insert, how to join the front to the back, demonstrates twisted cording and finally, how to create the lovely ribbon edges. CarolS will be teaching this class again near the end of October, so please send me an email (cathy @ inspiredneedle dot com) if you are interested in attending.

Hope you all have a productive stitching week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whole Lotta Lacing Going On

This weekend was not filled with any plans in particular. My sister came over Saturday evening and we had dinner together and then I helped her work on my birthday present! You see, my sister is a new stitcher and had made me something (read: stitched) for a present but needed a little help in assembling it and putting it in a frame. Nancy also purchased some pretty little butterfly treasures that didn't come drilled with holes and she wasn't sure how to attach them to the needlework. We had a quick lesson in couching. She had everything else ready to go and I showed her how to lace a piece of needlework to foam core. Which reminds me, I should hold another class like that at the shop, huh? I think she did an awesome job! When you look at the picture, keep in mind that this was her first attempt at working on linen!

A customer piece I worked on was next on my list. This design is "Rose Quartz" by Needle Delights. We taught a class using this piece several months ago and I'm happy to say one of the students finished her design and it's now ready for framing! Here is the canvas laced and ready to be placed in the frame.

Next up was a design my friend stitched by Teresa Wentzler. She had stitched both this fruit version and the floral version and wanted both pieces framed the same so she could hang in her newly remodeled kitchen. I didn't get a pic of the floral piece but here is the fruit. Please excuse the reflection off the plastic. I didn't want to unwrap. The next time I'm at her house, I'll take a picture of the two pieces side by side. The pair should make quite a statement in the room!!

And finally, Angel Train is in the frame! This is a slightly different version than what was pictured on the cover model of this design. I wanted a bolder frame and more in keeping with the darker floss colors. If you look closely at the bottom border of "blocks" in the picture, some are stitched with a light color floss that closely matches the color of the linen. When you look at the framed piece in the picture, you don't really see these rows and the blocks appear to be dancing! I love the effect!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for reading and for your comments!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another Year Older

I was up for almost 30 minutes the other day before I realized it was my birthday! How does one forget the day they were born? When you're sick to your stomach! I've been battling a weird dizzy/nausea thing ever since we came back from PA. I spent the entire day Sunday in bed because sitting or standing upright made me feel like I was in a funhouse. Monday morning I woke up and I think I was so intent on how I felt that it didn't register at first what day it was. Since it was my day off work, I was able to do a few (read: very few) things around the house. I also went to the shop to catch up on some mail orders and then ran over to the framers. When I got home my DH was waiting to take me to dinner. We went to my favorite place, Longhorn. I got a snap of all courses of my favorite dinner....the one meal I always get if they happen to have it in stock. Believe it or not, I've gone several times when they've been out of Prime Rib!! We started with the Chips Platter appetizer, then the main course of baked potato and luscious prime rib. Look at the size of that piece of meat!! I always order the largest slice because I want leftovers!

We were even able to get in a few spoonfuls apiece of the birthday sundae that the waiter brought over to our table. My DH wanted to embarrass me by having the wait staff sing to me, but luckily Longhorn no longer has such a tradition! Saved! LOL

Last Friday before we brought the twins back to PA, they had a pizza party for me. We all wore Sponge Bob party hats and the kids blew noisemakers and shot party streamers in the air. There was a huge birthday cake (enough to feed 20 people), flowers and presents. The kids bought me the game of Life, I suppose because they wanted to play. LOL

Sickly or not, I had a pretty good day. Thanks, Boobah, for making my birthday special.