Saturday, November 10, 2012

"I'm A Fan of Pam" Club

Pam, who works with me at the shop on Thursdays, has ongoing practical jokes with a co-worker at her full-time job. Debbie learned about this joke and figured we could extend the fun to the retreat. Imagine Pam's surprise when three of us came to lunch one afternoon with our "I'm A Fan of Pam" buttons!

Pam was a good sport about it as we razzed her all weekend about being her fans! Here we are, paying homage to Pam, but by the time this was snapped, we were falling over each other, hysterical with laughter! It does one good to kick back, relax and just laugh. We love you, Pam. Thanks for playing along and letting us have some fun!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Count Me Inspired Needlework Retreat 2012

It's hard to believe another retreat has come and gone. That makes three. We had such a fun time and this was the largest group by far. The first year we had 32. The second, 36. This year, there were 53 attendees! We doubled the room size and it led to a cavernous feeling in the room. We set up the boutique in the room with the round tables for our meals. This left plenty of room between our three sets of tables, with no one feeling cramped or unable to comfortably get out of their chair. The picture below will give you an idea of the layout of one side of the room.

Each retreat I try to have the group work on a little project, something needlework related but not cross-stitch. I want them to stretch their comfort zone a bit, but nothing too difficult or tedious. It should be a remembrance of the retreat. This year, the group project was a little wool pumpkin needlebook. Here are some attendees working on the pumpkins.

And some finished masterpieces!

The food out in Shipshewana is always spectacular. We found the Garden Gate Cafe last year and returned again this year. Trust me, the food is as delicious as it looks! These are the Cafe Cherry Chicken Salad and the Chicken Salad Wrap.

The dinner bell rings and it's only a few steps away to our buffet line! How easy is that?

Dinner Friday night was at the Blue Gate Restaurant. I make a point to stop here every chance I get when in the area. The food and service are always excellent! I was so overwhelmed by how they served us with such precision and speed, that I totally forgot to take pictures!

Something we look forward to each year is the "smalls" exchange. If you want to participate, you stitch a small (ornament, needlebook, scissor fob, etc), wrap it up and bring it to the retreat. Here we gather everyone together and if you have a small to exchange, then you pull a number. When your number is called, you get to select a wrapped small from the table. Once everyone has taken a small, we open them one by one and then try to guess who stitched it. Sometimes we get it right but many times, we are surprised! Such creative gals attend the retreat and we are bowled over by the fun ways we see things finished and assembled.

That's enough for today! Next post, I will show you some photos of what the gals were stitching on at the retreat!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm NOT Dreaming of a White Christmas

My husband and I made a quick run to the local Home Depot tonight. Look at what I saw!

This is always the signal for Fall and tonight was the perfect night as it is a little cool and rainy.

However, when we stopped at Kohl's, I was not prepared for this sight!

Come on!! The kids have just started back at school and Halloween is not yet here. Heck, it's barely mid-September!!! Don't you think this is just a bit overboard??


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Sucker For Pumpkins

With the summer season winding down, I'm looking forward to all the colorful abundance Autumn brings. One of my favorite things of the Fall season is pumpkins!

Just Another Button Company, Pumpkin Mini Pincushion

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Little Bit of Stitching

I've had the chance to do a bit of stitching and finishing (not much so don't get too excited)! Also, there are some more shop models and customer finishes I want to share. First is a design by Rosewood Manor called "Flowers of Rosehall". This was stitched by Marilyn using the recommended Valdani silks!

Forgive me for not getting the designer of this next magnificent, pulled thread piece. The pattern calls for each block to be filled with a pulled thread stitch, but the teacher recommended, as seen here by Marilyn, to fill in every other block and finish the outside edge. This way, if the stitcher gets totally bored with all the blocks, they can at least do half of them and still have a very gorgeous piece! Don't you agree? I'm sorry about the picture rotation. I tried and tried to get it to face right side up, but Blogger is just fighting me! The other two photos are close ups of some of the pulled thread blocks.

Next are some ornaments sent back from my finisher. These were stitched by Pat. She and her husband went to Disney World with another couple and this is what she's giving them for Christmas! What a wonderful remembrance of their trip together.

Pat also stitched two of the Blackbird Designs stocking ornaments. Don't you think they turned out lovely?

This shop model was done by my fabulous "over one" stitcher friend, Kathy. She loves to stitch over one, so it was just a no-brainer that I asked her to do this "Stitch An Inch - Fall" from By The Bay Needleart.

Lastly, here's the design I stitched and finished. It is from Dames of the Needle called "Acorn Pillow Pocket". I loved stitching this and did have fun putting it together. It really was super easy.....I just used a blind stitch to join the wool, stuffed it, added the ruched ribbon and sewed the design to the top of the wool pillow.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are making some stitching progress in your neck of the woods!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vacation Fun at the Smoky Mountains

My poor probably are wondering what has happened to me! I've been busy with shop stuff, traveling to see the twins and going to Columbus needlework market. Then, the twins arrived a few weeks ago and last week we took off for Pigeon Forge and the great Smoky Mountains. You may have read this previous post about an Anniversary trip to the Pigeon Forge area. We enjoyed our cabin stay so much that we planned another trip and shared this cabin with cousins and kids from Kentucky, my sister and her granddaughter from Florida and my other sister from Chicago. This time we rented a 3-bedroom cabin that also had bunk beds and a pull out sofa sleeper in the lower level for all the kids.

It was one big party for them down there, each and every day. We each took responsibility for one evening's dinner, cooking and cleaning up. This way, there was no hassle wondering what to eat or where to go. We were able to fully enjoy our vacation.

Our first trip away from the cabin included a visit to  Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg. My cousin had been to this aquarium before and highly recommended the place and I have to agree.  It was one of the best aquariums I've ever been to. An outstanding feature of this place was the ride through the shark tank. When you first enter the room, you are above the tank and are thrilled when you see the sharks swim by.  But the best part is when you walk down below and step onto a conveyor that slowly guides you beneath the tanks. You get a birdseye view of the fish in their natural habitat that you've never seen before.
You can see a sword-nosed shark resting on top of the plexiglass tunnel in the picture above as the people are moved through the tunnel into the next area. In the picture to your right, there are several sharks swimming around. The entire time in this underground marvel, I kept hearing in my head the, "Da dum da dum" from the Jaws movie. To see those sharp teeth up close and right in front of my eyes was thrilling. I loved this section of the aquarium so much, that when we had gone through the entire building, we had to go back through the shark exhibit.

We saw all kinds of fish: helmet crabs, sea horses, Nemo, Cuttlefish, Jellyfish, sea turtles and some huge Japanese Spider Crabs. Of course, the twins picked up the helmet crabs and petted the sting rays and had a wonderful experience. If you ever get the chance to visit, it would be worth your while!

We also took several trips up the Smoky Mountains, hiking and looking for streams and waterfalls. We did find several and the kids enjoyed splashing in the cool, spring water.

We  returned to Newfound Gap, the highest point near the center of the Smoky Mountains. There you can stand with one foot in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina. We hiked a bit around this area, climbing sections of the Appalachian Trail and taking in the beauty around us.

There was an art class up on the mountains, working on their assignment for the day. It was wonderful to see the artists enjoying their work. I stopped to speak with the woman in the picture below and she told me the students were all fairly new to painting. Hard to believe when you see how beautiful her canvas is.

What a different view we had last week, compared with last January. It was cold and snow packed up at Newfound Gap last year and we had to wear our heavy winter jackets. This trip, the air was cool and breezy. A far cry from the 100 degree temps down in town!

Next post, I'll show you a few more pictures from our trip. I do love this part of the country and hope we make this a biennial get together with our family.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Inspiring Visits

My friend Kay from Bloomington stopped in last week and brought a friend with her. Cindy has never been to my shop but is no stranger to stitching. Lucky for me, they both brought some finished needlework designs. Here is Kay with "Tribute to the Old Masters" by Nouveau Encore. This design was inspired by the beautiful alphabets created by the French Masters of centuries ago. I love the red floss color! What a grand statement this design will make once it is framed!

Cindy brought along a design by Scarlet Quince titled, "Sun and Moon Flowers."  This design was created from the art work of G.D. Leslie. Let me tell you, this is solid stitching! Cindy said it took her about 8 months to complete the stitches. She has quite the set-up for threaded needles; each needle is in its own pocket on a vinyl sheet and there are about 20 pockets to a sheet. These vinyl sheets are then secured into a 3-ring binder. It makes for good organization and easy transportation, although I couldn't imagine traveling around with such a large design. I'd be too worried it would get ruined!

Thanks, ladies, for showing off your beautiful works of art. They are truly admirable and I'm sure will be treasured for many years to come!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stitching Finishes

My friend Marilyn is a prolific stitcher. She not only stitches 1)a lot and 2)quickly, she also 3)"finishes" finishes them, if you understand what I'm saying. If she stitches an ornament design, she finishes it into an ornament. If Marilyn stitches a needlebook, she assembles it into a needlebook. No stitching and then tossing the needlework into a drawer (like lots of people I know)! Saturday mornings are a treat for me because when Marilyn gets a chance to stop by the shop, she usually brings some of her finished needlework to show me. This is the Sturbridge Box which was offered as a "Stitcherama" (webinar) from The Victoria Sampler.
"Year of Flowers" and "B My Valentine" both by The Drawn Thread.
One last piece from Marilyn is one the name of which I can't remember! As soon as I find name and designer, I will edit this post to include that information. She mounted the stitchery into a boxtop and made the smalls which tuck inside the box. Now, after seeing these wonderful pieces, I am inspired to go stitch a bit on one of my own! Have a great week! Cathy

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sleigh Bells Ring

Have you seen the latest Little House Needleworks ornament, "Sleigh Bells"? It's a very nice ornament with a catch-y little tune. Are you listening? This year at the shop, we've been taking the monthly ornaments and changing them up a bit. We choose a different fabric and then switch the cottons to silks. My sister is stitching the model for the shop. When I told her that we use silks for the kit, she was intrigued. When I mentioned that it makes a really affordable way for someone to try stitching with silks, she volunteered to stitch the model! Well, let me tell you, she's a believer! LOL I think she is hooked. Nancy went home tonight and finished stitching the design. The image you see here is what I shot this afternoon. Look how rich the colors are on the deeper colored linen.
I think she did a great job! I will get the kits made up on Tuesday. Call or email if you'd like to get a kit! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stitching Zenith

Imagine if you will, a world in which the majority stitches, a world in which the majority goes a little crazy with anticipation over the next Loose Feathers release and a world in which everyone understands the stitchy language. There is never an idle remark about "string" or a question of, "what are you knitting?" when in fact you are stitching. Everyone knows how to stitch and it is a favorite pasttime of most adults. Now, for the pinnacle of my little daydream....stitching is such a treasured mind relaxer, that there is one of these on nearly every corner:

Can you imagine? You could walk into any Orts Bar, pull a chair up to the bar and start stitching. There would be no awkward moments because you don't know anyone. Everyone speaks the stitchy language and you could become fast friends with everyone stitching at the bar! You would find out what projects they were working on and they would inquire about yours. You could have stitch-alongs right at the Orts Bar! There are free-flowing lattes, cappuccinos, pepsi, water and whatever else your heart desires. You could come and stitch for an hour, a couple hours, visit once a week or every day! At the end of each shift, the orts would be collected and deposited into the giant tank that sits behind the bar. It would be one massive ort display, and stitcher's would sigh wistfully while gazing at the tank and say, "See that Kreinik #12 braid in the lower left corner? That's mine from two years ago when I was working on Rainforest Crunch by Needle Delights."

Sounds like the Stitching Zenith to me! Don't wake me up.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finishes and A New Model

I just posted over on the 2012 Year of Smalls Blog about two great shop models I received back from my finisher. I am thrilled with them both!

The first is Poinsettia House by Little House Needleworks. This was the January Small. We changed the fabric to Jobelan 28 count and then stitched this over one thread. I love how the pinks pop on the green fabric.

Next is Small Token by Blackbird Designs. This was the March Small. We stitched this on R&R 35 count Cafe Kona linen with the recommended threads. My finisher did a fab job, added the great Chenille trim and stuffed with walnut shells. I just love it!

I'll be on a hunt for a suitable frame for this beauty. Titled, "Humility Sampler" by Heartstring Samplery. We changed everything on this one. Changed the fabric and converted all the threads to silk. I will have this available as a kit in the shop soon. I have more linen on order and will work up a thread kit for the silks to make the price more reasonable. If you'd like me to send you a kit, just shoot me an email.

Have a fabulous weekend!