Saturday, April 04, 2015

Happy Easter!

We're celebrating with Easter dinner tonite as we have some relatives in town who are coming over.  Thought I'd share my "lamb cake 2015" with you and a couple photos of some beautiful blooming trees on our block. We've had lovely weather the last few weeks and so enjoying it before the hot weather starts to come in  May.  

Due to getting ready to host dinner tonite and doing all the prep work I've designated tomorrow as 'do nothing" day - doing nothing but stitching and going out to dinner!  Should be great. I've been working on my gift exchange for the Primitive Stitchers Society retreat the end of April.  Amost done with the stitching but then have the finishing work to do.  Pardon the wrinkles, it's still a work in progress.   At the end of the retreat we'll draw names for the gift exchange and this is going to the one I'll be bringing.

Easter lamb cake

Blooming "orchid" tree

blooming Palo Verde tree

Stacy Nash Spotted Hair Pinkeep Drum

Monday, March 09, 2015

Ornament finish, some WIPS and Stash Sale

I recently finished this LHN ornament called "It's Snow Cold".  I'd seen a photo of one made like this on Pinterest last year and I was obsessed with figuring out how to do it.  The stitched ornament is mounted onto a plastic ornament with what I call a "flattened round" shape.  It's not totally round so you're able to glue the fabric onto the shape and not have pleats or wrinkles if you smooth it out.   I made one for a friend for Christmas but finally got the one for myself finished last week.   I've made a tutorial for this type of ornament finish on a separate page of my blog which you can access above.

I changed the charted colors a little bit because I wanted the stitched piece to match the cute snowman fabric I bought last year. The color in the photo isn't just right but the linen is a pale aqua color.   I'm glad I figured this finishing method out and hope to adapt some other ornament charts to this type of finish.

I've got a couple of new starts going.  This year I joined the Colonial Gatherings stitching club at the Dyeing to Stitch LNS in Virginia.  The first kit sent out is "Hurt Not the Earth" from Plum Street Samplers. It uses a quote from John Adams.  That darn Mr. Frog has been visiting me on this piece but I made it to the second page of the chart finally! 

I also am stitching another LHN chart - Old Nantucket.  I've been wanting to stitch this one ever since it was published a few years ago and I've had it kitted up for over a year.  It's being stitched on 35-ct Weeks Cocoa linen with overdyed flosses.  Not much to show yet but I'm enjoying it!

Ever since helping my husband clean out my FIL's house last year when he moved I've had the urge to clean up/throw out/organize things. I need to get rid of some of the charts I've already stitched or not going to stitch so I've added a separate page to my blog for stash selling.  I've offered some free charts you can choose from should you decide you want to buy anything (US sales only please, it costs too much for international sales for these small amounts).

Today was a good mail day!  I used up most of a gift certificate I had from Christmas to 123 Stitch online shop.  I got the rest of the 6 Fat Men series from Lizzie Kate, and some of that polka dot linen I've been seeing used for ornament stitching . Love how it looks like snowflakes.   You can never have too many ornament charts I guess!

I also got this cute Crossed Wing pattern - our first dog was a sable & white Sheltie who looked just like the dog in this chart.  Our dog Elvis has been gone since 2003 but I just loved this chart since I saw a model at The Silver Needle in Tulsa. I want to stitch it to remember him by.  

That's all for today folks, thanks for stopping in.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm still here!

Hello fellow bloggers and dear readers....I've neglected my poor blog for way too long but 2014 was a crazy year for me with family issues and all sorts of life events and things just fell off the track.   I'm trying to get back into some kind of normal routine this year and want to get back to blogging a bit more regularly.   I also finally caved in and joined Facebook last fall.  I've enjoyed joining some stitching groups but it does take some of my time.  However, I don't want to quit blogging so need to find time to balance both.

Even while not blogging, I try to stitch whenever I can and haven't lost my love of stitching at all.   In fact...I'm so excited - I'm going to a stitching retreat the end of April!  I've always wanted to attend one somewhere and since I'm a member of the Primitive Stitchers Society on Facebook I decided to go their retreat in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.   I will be taking a class with one of my all-time favorite designers - Kathy Barrick!  Woohoo!  I'm also taking a punchneedle class with Lori Brechlin from Notforgotten Farm.  Plus there will be a vendor mall and I'm getting to meet up with a cyber stitching friend whom I've corresponded with for a few years now.  I can't wait!

Here's some photos of what I've been doing the past 6 months...I'm making an effort to get through that pile of stitching items that need 'finishing'  - either getting them framed or made into a flatfold, pillow, etc.   I'm delighted that the pile is getting much shorter!

First up is this sampler from Heartstring Samplery which I got framed - this is "Forever Young".  I did an SAL with a friend and we loved stitching this piece.

This is also a piece I got framed in time to display it for Christmas last year - this is "Winter Silhouette" from Imaginating.  I wish I could get a better photo but the glass interferes with the blue color.  I display this one on a little easel as it's short and wide so works well on an easel instead of  hanging.

Below is a little project that I've been doing for a couple years now.  Several years ago I stitched this entire year of Shepherds Bush monthly-themed pieces ("A Year in Stithced") and I had a frame made that I rotated them in and out of each month.  However...I never really liked the frame too much so gradually I took all 12 of them apart and made them into little pillows that I could display each month.  I was so happy to get the last couple done in December!  I like them so much better this way so I guess it was worth all the trouble.

This is "Plum Pudding" by JBW Designs.  I made it into a little stand with a Christmas fabric border and an easel in back.  I'm using this method of finishing more often now that I'm gotten pretty good at it. I don't want to get every little piece I stitch framed - I'm running out of wall space and you all know how expensive framing can be. I'd rather put my framing money towards my bigger pieces.

Above is another easel-type finish I did.  This is Goode Huswif's 'Ida Mae Crow'. I stitched it a few years ago - it's out of print now but I suppose you might find it now and then on eBay.  I love how it turned out and I had a little crow I had made that fits right in with it.

This Halloween piece I made for a very good friend of mine that I work with.  As soon as I saw this pattern by Sue Hillis ("Yes I Can!") I knew I had to make it for her.  My friend loves driving a stick-shift car and she loves Halloween and witches. It couldn't have been more perfect and I found some great matching fabric in my quilting stash.  That's one good thing about having a large quilting stash....I almost never have to go buy fabric for something!

Just in time for Thanksgiving last year I finished up this cube of "Thankful Quaker" by Bent Creek.  I changed up the colors quite a bit in this as I thought there was too much brown. I basically pulled some pretty autumn colored threads from my stash and just stitched whatever color I wanted for the different motifs. I've done cube finishes before but I wanted to learn how to do the ones with hard sides that I'd seen modeled in a shop in Las Vegas.  I couldn't find any tutorials online for this type of cube so I just had to experiment but it worked out well.  I used several layers of foam core for the inside which I also weighted so it sits nicely and doesn't topple over. I used matboard on the sides plus I added some beads as little "feet" and a twisted cord trim on the front.  I'm glad to add another skill to my finishing list!

I've recently finished these 2 pieces below which I stitched as SAL's with a friend.  First is "Penny America" by Tree of Life Samplings, and the second one is "Trees of  Green" by Heartstring Samplery . I need to drop of Trees of Green at the framer soon but I'm working on a finish now for Penny America so that one won't get framed.  

I need to get through my blog reading list and catch up ...I'm been reading some posts here and there but still way behind.  I'm glad to see so many of  the regular blogs I read are still there as I enjoy reading about what all of you are doing.    For those who haven't dropped me off their list, I thank you!   I miss connecting with my fellow bloggers and I'm looking forward to trying to post at least a few times each month now. I've still got a little backlog of things to share and plenty of projects in progress!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Frankly my dear....

Yes you may recognize my post title as part of Rhett Butler's famous last line from Gone With the Wind.   I'm happy because I'm going to see the movie tomorrow night at a local theatre!  They showed the movie at theatres around the U.S.  last Sunday and again tomorrow  Oct 1st as part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the movie. It's one of my favorites... even though it's nice to watch it at home on DVD it's not the same as on the big movie screen.  I've seen it in movie theatres every 10 years or so when it comes around...I remember going with friends to see it for the 50th anniversary back in 1989.  I can't get a decent photo of this framed piece below because I used regular glass on it but it's a favorite piece I stitched many years ago and hangs in my stitching room.

(This pattern is out of print but comes up on eBay now and then. 
It's "Scarlett O'Hara" by Charles Craft Designs.)
What else have I been doing?  Well for one thing I've been feeling sorry for myself seeing the massive number of finishes those Prim stitchers are posting on Facebook!   Some days I think am I the only one that has a job!  LOL   But I'm plugging away at my projects as I get the time.    Here's my progress on CCN's Frosty Forest.  I'm getting close - only 2 more blocks and the rest of the border to go!   I designed the border using a small motif from LHN's "Pinetop Lodge" - I worked with graph paper to make the design big enough and designed the corners.  I also modified block 7 (Snowgirls Cottage) to add a waterwheel and pond to it that I designed.  I thought this block as charted was too similar to block 3 (Snowmans Cottage) so I wanted it a little different.   (Note - sorry but I can't supply my charted changes to anyone because that would be an infringement to the designer's original chart).

 I also stitched up a little ornament that I now need to do the finishing for....I made one like this last year for an ornament exchange but wanted one for myself. 
Homespun Elegance - 2008 Santa ornament
(I modified the list to do the words in over-1
instead of backstitching)
And...I finally have a needlebook for myself!  I've been quilting and sewing and stitching for 30 years but never had anything nice to use for parking my needles. I've made them for other people but meanwhile here's what my needle storage looked like:  
Earlier this year I stitched Just Nan's "Beach Roses". I'd stitched it years ago and finished it as a biscornu for an exchange on Becky Bee's old SBEBB forum.  I decided to finish it this time as a needlebook so finally I can quit  using a scrap of batting for my needles.  :-)  By the way, does anyone know if Becky Bee is still cross-stitching?  I know she made her blog private now but I was just wondering.  She certainly contributed a lot to the online stitching community over the years.
 Front Cover....

 Inside view....
And that's what I've been doing lately.  Unfortunately we lost our dog Buster to cancer on Sept 19th.  He was starting to struggle too much and we just knew it was time.  We had tried chemotherapy but it didn't work and his prostate tumor was getting bigger.   My  husband and I spent an entire day with him doing all the things he loved before we took him on that final trip to the vet.  He swam and played in the pool, played ball, had McDonalds fries and a cheeseburger for lunch and even had ice cream with his 'sister' Abby.   We miss him of course and so does our other little's heartbreaking as so many of you know but he had a great life of 11 years we can look back on.   We'll never forget you buddy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Still alive and sweatin' through the summer!

Hello people and may I say a big THANK YOU for all you nice followers that haven't dropped me off your blog lists!  I haven't had much time for blogging this year and I had such good intentions.  It's been a pretty crazy year around the WillowTreeStitcher household so far and things aren't looking up either.  My father-in-law is 86 and it got to be time for him to move to a facility where he could get some help due to health and aging issues over the last 4 months.  My husband and I found a nice assisted-care facility for him in the same retirement community where he's lived for 15 years.  He's adjusting well and doing a lot better.  The good food, exercise program, activities and medical help he gets onsite have made a big difference.  Meanwhile we're spending every week-end  clearing out his house to get it ready to sell, getting his car and other possessions sold and taking care of his financial affairs for him.  It's been a hectic time.  Clearing out and sorting through someone else's home really makes you take a good look at your own house and things you should get rid of!  Husband and I aren't hoarders but you sure do accumulate a lot of 'stuff' over the years. My craft room alone would probably make a few people faint not because it's messy but just the sheer volume of it all!

Meanwhile, my job continues to be very demanding and requiring me to do business travel about once a month which eats into my time. I hope to be retired in a couple years and really looking forward to a slower pace and more time for stitching, quilting, and whatever else I want to do.  I certainly will never be bored!   Meanwhile I stitch whenever I can grab the time whether it's 15 minutes or an hour here or there. 

I finished up Blackbird Designs "In Full Glory".  This was a fun little stitch but took a bit longer than I thought it would - there's more stitching in this than you would think.  I have a lot of pinkeeps/pincushions already so I went diving into my quilting fabric stash and made it into a little mini-quilt to hang on a wire stand I had. (the stand is from Ackfeld Manufacturing)   I found the perfect fabrics in my stash and the little motifs on the blue fabric look like fireworks to me.  I like to leave my patriotic things out from Memorial Day to Labor Day so will still enjoy this one until September. 

Progress continues on CCN's Frosty Forest.  I'm starting to see people out in Blogland and Facebook who have finished the whole series since the last pattern just came out. I only started this project in May but feel like I'm making good progress and I'm having fun stitching it.  I stole an idea from another stitcher who posted in one of the LHN-CCN groups and I'm adding a border to mine.  I took a pine motif from an LHN chart called "Pinetop Lodge" and modified and expanded it to fit my piece.  Maybe when I'm done I'll sprinkle some 'snow' in the border as well.   Here's a few photos of what I've done so far....I think the block with the two young deer is my favorite so far - they're just so CUTE!  Since I took this photo I've started on block 6.

Once I got that BBD piece done I rewarded myself with a new start naturally!   I've had "Emblem of Love" by With My Needle kitted up for a couple years already.  My start seemed like it was cursed though. I had kitted it up with a beautiful piece of 40-ct Lakeside Linen's Vintage Light Exemplar and a silk conversion I got from my local shop. When I started stitching the fabric just wasn't working for me.  It was a little too orange-y or something.  So I started over on a piece of 40-ct mystery linen from my stash.  I got the first Quaker medallion done but wasn't happy with it - the thread colors seemed too dull.   Back to the square one again...I ripped it out and did my own conversion to silks (it's charted for DMC and overdyed floss) and started a THIRD time.  Thank goodness I'm finally happy with my choices.  The thing I like about Quaker samplers is you get little happy-dance moments each time you finish a medallion LOL.  Here's a shot straight from the Q-snaps.......

A bit of finishing work to share.....this little pinkeep was stitched by a friend and I did the finishing. We both think it turned out cute!  I just happened to have a piece of purple fabric in my fabric stash that matched it perfectly.   I forget who the designer is on this piece...maybe BBD but I'm not sure.
I picked up a couple Halloween charts a month ago when The Strawberry Sampler had a sale.   I just couldn't resist.   Aren't these fabulous?!  Can't wait to start on them.
On a sad note....our beloved dog Buster was diagnosed with prostate cancer this week.  He's 11 and the outlook they gave us is poor.  We are absolutely crushed and heartbroken of course....I know so many of you are pet owners and will understand the pain we feel.   We plan to make the most of whatever time left that we are blessed with...they couldn't predict any timeframe for us.  He's always been such a lively dog and still acts the same so it's hard to believe he really is sick inside. 
Thank you for coming in to visit for a few moments, I really appreciate each and every one of you who stops by.
Our beloved Buster

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New start finally and framing happiness.........

Well it's hump day at work but a good day to do a blog post.  :)     I finally got started on CCN's Frosty Forest series in the past week or so and I finished up my first block.  I've having fun stitching this.   It took me awhile to decide on a linen but I liked that the white snow showed up well on this medium gray color.  I got this nice piece of Legacy linen when I visited The Inspired Needle in Illinois recently.    I wanted some 'sparkle' so I attempted to stitch all the snow with Glisten Gloss blending filament added in but I was unhappy stitching with it so I abandoned that idea. It's okay for a small bit of stitching but there is way too much snow in this project to do that much struggling, plus you can't get the stitches to look nice and even.  I've started on block 2 now and it's going well.  I'm behind lots of other stitchers who are working on this series but that's okay - I'm just going at my own pace.

"Raccoon Cabin" - f rom CCN Frosty Forest series
stitched on 34-ct Legacy "Puritan" linen

I was thrilled to recently pick up my giant framed Pride & Prejudice sampler. (it's 20" x 23")  This has been a long time coming and I'm finally ready to put this project completely behind me - yippee!  It's still wrapped in bubble-wrap as I haven't had time to hang it yet but I'm just thrilled it's finally done.  I picked an elegant frame and I'm very happy with how it turned out.  It's behind museum glass so had to play with the photo a bit but you get the idea.


 Here's a few other pieces that recently got done also.   Jenny Bean got a matte black frame that works well and it's hanging on my sampler wall.  Pardon the glare......
Jenny Bean Humble Servant Sampler
by Shakespeare's Peddler 
My Mississippi Riverboats piece is getting mailed off to my mother this week. I was supposed to be there to give it to her in person for Mother's Day but due to a lot of personal issues going on with both sides of my family right now I had to cancel my trip.  Hopefully I will get to visit in June.  I like that the frame has a couple different brown tones that go well with the piece.  Thank you LHN for creating the perfect pattern for me to make for my mom!
 Mississippi Riverboats by Little House Needleworks

That's all for today folks, thanks for stopping in to visit me for a few minutes.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blame it on Pinterest!

I know a lot of people spend lots of time on Pinterest. I've had an account for a year or two but never had a whole lot of time to spend on it.  I was on there a few weeks ago browsing some cross-stitch boards and I decided to search on "cross stitch ornaments".  Oh dear........I had one of those "I've got to HAVE IT" moments when I saw a cuckoo-clock ornament posted.  I kept clicking until I got to the source where the photo came from and it was Flamingo Valley's stitching blog.

I hope no one minds I posted this collage of Flamingo Valley's
cuckoo ornaments but I wanted to share how lovely they are!
  Unfortunately the blog is in a foreign language (Russian maybe?).  She has a huge number of followers so maybe I was the only one not knowing about her blog!  Anyway I was using the translator function on the blog trying to figure out who the designer was of the cuckoo clocks.  Fortunately someone had asked about that very thing in a comment to her post and the blog owner had responded with the name of some French magazine -  De Fil en Aiguille and something about "hors-serie montagne".  Well thanks to Babelfish translator and Google searching I found out this was a French stitching magazine that has been out of print a few years and she was referring to a special Alpine-themed edition of the magazine from 2004.  I was disappointed to find the magazine was out of print but that didn't stop me...I checked eBay and found nothing then I thought of trying eBay France and voila!  I found the magazine listed there.  I used Babelfish translator again to format a message to the seller and sent her a photo of the ornament and asked her if that pattern was in the magazine she was selling as I wanted to make sure I was on the right track.   She responded with a photo of the pattern that was in the magazine and I put in a pretty good bid to make sure I won the magazine. I was so thrilled to have found it! I 've always had a fondness for cuckoo great-aunt had a big antique one from Germany and all of us kids always loved it.    The pattern is for a cuckoo clock sampler and has 9 different cuckoo clocks to stitch - I love it!  I don't give up when I'm on the trail of something LOL.  Thank goodness for the internet  - when you can find a 10-yr old edition of a stitching magazine sold by a lady in Brittany, France then all is right with the world! This is an incredible stitching magazine too, it's a shame it is no longer printed as I wouldn't mind buying more editions - lovely patterns in it.

I finished up the piece I was stitching for my mother and I laced it myself because I need to get it back from the framer within 2 weeks.  It's only the second piece I've ever laced but I think it came out pretty good and it saves me some money doing the mounting of the piece myself.    I modified the pattern a bit - it's charted to say "Sawyer & Finn Riverboat Co." but I wanted the word "Mississippi" in the piece since my hometown is along the mighty Mississippi river.  I charted it out and filled in some  extra spaces at the ends with little ships wheels.  I think it came out pretty good and is at the framer now.

"Mississippi Riverboats" by Little House Needleworks

My lacing job..........

This piece reminds me of the Mark Twain riverboat at Disneyland.  No matter how many times I've ridden it I always make my husband ride with me every time we go.   I love Disneyland!

By the way the winner of the "Forever Young" pattern was Cindy (no blog).  She had emailed me to enter the giveaway and I'll have it mailed it off soon.  It's nice to be able to pass along a lovely pattern I'm done with.