Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Projects!

 Hi,  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  I certainly did.  A few days before Christmas I finished the 2012 Sampler de Noel.  I put a few beads on it for a bit of pizazz - it really came out nice and cheerful! 

 This is an ornament that I finished in December.  It is one of a series by Historic Stitches and has personalization on the back.  I think it came out very cute.  You can also see a painted glass ornament that DH brought me from the Christmas Market in Vienna, Austria.  He said that I really missed out by not going - so a trip to the Christmas Market in Austria or Germany is on my list for next year, when I have an empty nest, and can easily take off and do those things.

 And this adorable little stocking was stitched by my dear stitching buddy Carol S.  I tried to picture it beside the much larger version that I stitched, but the relative sizes don't come across in the picture.  Take my word for it, the one Carol stitched is just exquisite!  It is so tiny and perfect!  In this picture you can also see a cat that my mother made.  She was a quilter, and made a set of these adorable patchwork cat ornaments that I treasure!

I put up my tree very late this year, and so I did not pull out all of my ornaments, and instead used only the ones that were handmade (or new).  I just love looking at all the ornaments - this has strenthened my resolve to stitch more ornaments next year!

I don't have very much else going on.  My son and I spent a few days in South Mississippi visiting my dad, brother, niece, and other relatives.  We ate and drank and visited as much as we could in only a few days!  We were able to sit outside on restaurant decks and patios - the weather was great.  We visited Abita Microbrewery in Abita Springs, Louisiana - I highly recommend it.  They have the greatest root beer ever made, and their microbrews are fabulous! We spent one day in New Orleans - shopping Royal Street and eating beignets and drinking cafe au lait.  We spent one day in Gulfport, Mississippi, visiting and enjoying the scenery.   Fortunately, we ducked the storms and so had no travel problems. 

That's all for now - I'm off to sift through my stash and dream about all the projects I can do next year.  Hope everyone has a Happy and safe New Year!

- Margaret C

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More Eye Candy!

 These pieces were made possible by the finishing skills of the very talented Claudia.  I only wish the  photos could show the real beauty of these ornaments.

First up is Christmas Rose by Nancy Pederson in the November 2011 issue of The Gift of Stitching magazine.  I used HDF fibers on a piece of opalescent Belfast linen.  Claudia made a pillow out of a golden raw silk fabric - just beautiful!

The next piece is French Square by Scissor Tail Designs.  I used HDF fibers on a piece of mystery linen.  I have since purchased many more designs from this designer - I love the elegance and simplicity of the designs.

Next up is the Mistletoe Ornament from this year's JCS ornament issue.  I used the recommended fibers and linen.  I'm too lazy to go downstairs and get the magazine to get the name of the piece or the designer.

This next design also came from this years JCS Ornament issue called His Gift from My Big Toe Designs - I used HDF fibers in my own conversion on a piece of mystery linen.


Next up is a shaped ornament  that is just charming.  This is a freebie, Noel 2012 couleurs from Broderies Passion .  I used HDF  fibers and mystery linen.

And finally, this little tree that I stitched long ago - I've forgotten the designer, but it is one of my favorites with the green, red and gold ribbons.  I know that I say everything is my favorite, but who could pick an absolute favorite?

And lastly, here is Part 2 of A Year in Cross Stitch:

I have been stitching on other stuff, but I can't stick with one project long enough to make noticeable progress.  So, with that, I will close.  Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

- Margaret C

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lots to Show You

I have lots of things to show you, and all of it has a Christmasy theme.  First up, I am still working on the SAL Noel Sampler 2012.  Here is my piece, completed through Part 6.  Part 7 just came out in the last day or two, so I am pretty current on this one.  Completion before Christmas is a definite possibility.

And now I have some finished ornaments to show you.  I decided that I really enjoy stitching ornament fronts, but I do not enjoy the finishing as much - so I sent some of my ornaments to some of the great and talented finishers out there.  These were completed by Faye (carolinastitcher) - she did a fabulous job!

Some of these are pieces I stitched long ago - they have been languishing in my box of finished smalls for YEARS!  I decided to pull some of my faves out and finally have them finished.

First up is one of the free angels that Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum (?) used to design every year.  As I recall, there was a lot of work in this one - but what breathtaking results!

The next one is by Elizabeth's Designs - it has a cute bunny and a moon Treasure on it .  The picture does not do this one justice.

And the piece de resistance - this is the Byzantine Cross by Teresa Wentzler.  I have had this all stitched for years - and it has sat in a drawer, waiting for the beads to be added.  So, I finally added the 40 beads - it took all of 20 minutes - and look what a beauty!

This one was finished as a little bag - just right for holding candy canes on a tree.  I do not remember the designer for this one - but I'm pretty sure it is either LHN or CCN.  How could it not be?

And another perennial favorite designer,  this is the new one by Blackbird Designs from this year's JCS Ornament magazine - the fabrics and trim just make this one sing!

This is another ornament from Summer House Stitche Works from this years JCS.  This is a relatively new designer - and her designs strike a chord with me.  I had worried a little about this piece - I used the recommended threads, but the linen I chose was a bit dark - not a lot of contrast.  Faye's finishing just set this off perfectly.

Well, there you have it.   I am so pleased with my new ornaments - they do highlight how eclectic my taste is. If I were a bit more consistent, my tree would have more of a designer look - maybe someday I'll work on that.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that day.  We will have a traditional Southern  meal that I recall from my childhood - turkey, cornbread dressing with sausage and apples, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, and for dessert Karo pecan pie and sweet potato pie.  I have made a few substitutions in the menu through the years - cranberry chutney with pears and ginger, and winter squash au gratin (in lieu of the ubiquitous green bean casserole).  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Battening Down the Hatches!

Hi all,

We are battening down the hatches here in Maryland, awaiting the arrival of Sandy.  So far, it has just been cloudy.  We are expecting just windy conditions - and of course our favorite - loss of power.  No coffee, no computer - I am already planning how to boil water on my gas grill so that I can at least make instant coffee.  Can you say addicted?  My spouse is out with half of the total population of Maryland making one last run at bread, milk and gasoline!  

And, just one more time, Blogger has chosen to rotate my picture!  I import the pictures into Google, save them, and then export them to a data file.  I import them into Blogger from the data file, so I am completely puzzled as to how they get rotated.  So anyway take my word for it, that this Jeannette Douglas Pumpkin Sampler is the bomb!  I always love her pieces - somehow they match her exuberant personality!  I used the recommended threads and 32 ct. Lakeside pecan butter linen.  I stitched most of this sampler on a weekend - except for the pumpkins in the middle, that are done in Mosaic stitch variations.  They gave me fits!

And then, because I couldn't resist, this is a Mystery Sal that can be found here.  I am using HDF premium silks on 28 ct fabric.  I need something to rest my eyes and to work if my lamp is not handy.  I hope this will be pretty.

I also broke down and sent some of my stitched ornament fronts to finishers - I have just not been happy with my finishing efforts - so I will continue to work on my skills, but I will have some pieces finished professionally....  I will share pics when I get them back.

That's all for now.

Happy stitching, everyone,
- Margaret C

Sunday, September 30, 2012

On a Roll

I have now finished Dawn of Spring, a SAL designed by a very generous Mouse from the Friendly Stitchers yahoo group.  I ran out of the beads I used for the first three bands, and could not find a matching color.  I'm pretty sure the first color of beads was a Mill Hill petite - but I couldn't find an exact match.  So I ended up adding two different colors of beads - hopefully the changes in color look intentional, rather than being out of desperation.

And this is Part 3 of the SAL Sampler de Noel 2012.  Isn't it pretty?  I love the French designs - they are so elegant.

My puppy is finally trained enough that you can take eyes off her for a second or two, without having the whole house destroyed, so I have a bit more stitching time.  We have been going to kindergarden, and the puppy knows sit, stay, down, come, let's go, etc. - although her obedience is somewhat dependent on whether she sees the little sandwich bag full of chicken breast cubes! 

I finally got fed up with my messy yard, and hired a landscape crew to edge my beds and clean and mulch a row of crepe myrtles along the road - best fortune I've ever spent! 

Well, back to puppy world.  Happy stitching, everyone!  Margaret C

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Want to come over and remove glue??????

Before we get to the glue removal project, take a look at Part 2 to Carole Novalee's Sampler de Noel 2012.  Isn't it pretty?  The colors are so festive - this is a very fun piece to  stitch.  The parts are small enough to be manageable - so you can quickly get a sense of accomplishment.

And now, for the project that needs glue removal:  this is Boo Mansion, by Blue Ribbon Designs.  I used the recommended threads and linen - however, I tried to save some time and attach my cording with glue instead  of the tried-and-true needle and thread.  I have never gotten along with glue - this goes all the way back to my Vacation Bible School days - my projects always had more Elmer's on them than anything else.  So, anyway, I tried to give it one more shot, and ended up with glue on my cording - once the glue dries, I will try to pick it off.  If that doesn't work, I may add some fluffy black fun fur to hide the cording.

Meanwhile, I have been drooling over the Christmas Ornaments JCS Special issue.  I have started the BBD ornament, and am about half way through.  I think I hear it calling me now - 

Happy stitching, everyone!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Starting Christmas Stitching!


I have started a new project (now there's a real surprise!).  This is the SAL Noel 2012 that is being hosted by Carole Novalee .  I am using HDF silk fibers on a piece of Summer Khaki Edinburgh linen.  The parts come out in two week intervals - so I might actually be able to keep up with this one.

I have also been working on my Dawn of Spring piect - but I ran out of beads with about a dozen to go.  In itself, that wouldn't be so bad; but I'm not sure what color the beads are - so I had to order several boxes to make sure I got the right ones. 

Our puppy is growing by leaps and bounds - she is a beauty!  It's very hard to get a picture of her.

That's all for now.  Happy stitching, Margaret

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Projects Update

As amazing as it might seem, I am actually on schedule with this project:  Lavender Blue.  This is completed through Part 9.  This project is so gorgeous - it has an old-fashioned feel to it, and is great for when you're tired - few color changes and a repetitive pattern.  Still, it takes quite a lot of stitching time.  The last part comes out in a week or so. I think I will pick one day a week to stitch on this, and pace it out through the end of the year.

And, here is Part 5 of Dawn of Spring.  I do love band samplers, particularly when there are some specialty stitches thrown in. I adore this piece.

And, here is a picture of my pride and joy (not the fish).  I really enjoy reading blogs that show more than just stitching - so I think I will start including more pictures.  This is DS - he and DH just returned from a week of fishing in British Columbia.   

DS is a high school senior this year - they start soccer practice tomorrow.  Can't wait until the season starts!

Well, that's all for now.  I have to go and order the supplies for Jeannette Douglas's pumpkin sampler in this month's JCS.  Happy stitching, everyone!  Margaret C

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lots of Pics today


I have lots of pics to show today - most of it is trying to catch up with pictures that I should have posted long ago.  First up is my SAL al Castello by nikyscreations.  I finished this little pin pillow with a scissor pocket in back - just adorable!  It didn't come out too bad.

Then, here is a picture that the camera/software programs are trying to "help" me with - these are the Flora McSample ornaments from 2011 by Lizzie Kate, pattern passed on from my good stitching buddy Carol S.  I used the recommended threads and linen, only in a 32 ct.  I was intrigued by the name of the linen, Milk Chocolate, and had to try it out.  It is stiff - but easy to stitch. I will give it another trial with silk threads before I pass a verdict on whether I like it or not.

And here is my ornament, with a bonus stray thread, that I love, love, love.  I stitched it for an exchange, and then loved it so much, I stitched one for myself before putting the materials away.  This is the Quaker Bird ornament from LHN, using HDF silks.

Speaking of adorable,  here are the stockings from JBW Designs Red Stocking Collection Two.  I have to confess, I couldn't get up my nerve to tackle finishing these, so I had a nice lady in Baton Rouge finish them.  They are finished to perfection, fully lined and backed with a batik fabric that matches perfectly.  The cost was reasonable and service was friendly and lightning fast - if anyone would like the contact, please send me an e-mail separately.
And here are two ornaments that I received from HoE exchanges.  Anne had my name two times in a row (lucky me!) and I received these gorgeous ornaments, and goodies too!  I love the blackwork partridge - I've been drooling over this pattern ever since I first saw it.  It is stitched on the fabulous sparkle fabric that just sets it off perfectly - I LOVE IT!
 And here is the ornament Anne stitched for me in the Prairie Schooler exchange - again perfectly finished and just absolutely charming!
Last of all, here is Part 3 of my Dawn of Spring sampler - I don't know why this picture is such a bust - at least it hides my messy bullion stitches.  I couldn't remember how to do them at first; so I need to take out the first few and replace them - LATER!
All for now,  Bye!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Quick update

Here is a picture of Part 2 of my Dawn of Spring sampler.  Being optimistic, I already stitched the date on this piece.  I decided to add some color, so I added Waterlilies Hyacinth for the spider web roses - I have some beads that pick up the blue/purple colors - so once I add them, I hope the blue will pop.

My hyacinths in my real garden are suffering this year - the crepe myrtles that will eventually give the hyacinths some shade are not big enough to do their job yet, and this 100+ degree weather makes the poor plants wilt by the end of the day.  I have a lot of plants that are loving this weather - the crepe myrtles, lantana, and graveyard lilies are just gorgeous.  When I was young, I loved this weather too - but now I have to douse down in SPF 100 - so going outside is a bother.

So, with one sideways picture, I will turn my attention back to playing with that puppy!

Happy stitching till next time,
Margaret C

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


As the title of this post should imply,  I am frustrated with the computer once again.  I simply cannot understand why they can't just leave a computer software setup ALONE - once it works, why monkey around with it?  Not all of us care to spend our limited computer time learning some new way of doing things without an obvious corresponding benefit.  At least I have finally figured out how to get Google chrome and blogger to work, at least partially.

OK, I feel better now getting that off my chest.  On to the fun stuff:  stitching.  My time has been very limited.  We have a new puppy in the house - and she takes all my free time.  It's fun and worth it in the long run, but it is a lot of work.

First up is the lovely Mystery SAL al Castello.  This is my progress through part 3.  I love the peacock!

And this is a newcomer to the project list:  this is Dawn of Spring, a SAL affiliated with the Friendly Stitchers Yahoo group.  They are a lovely group of people mostly from the UK - and have great projects!  I am using HDF Luteousness on PTP Legacy Edinburgh linen.  I am way behind on this project - need to get in gear to catch up.

And, here is my second reason for computer frustration.  Somehow the software has decided to rotate my pictures once again - and in the software's efforts to "help" me, I can't convince it to show the picture in the correct orientation.  So crane your neck, and enjoy Part 7 of  Lavender Blue.

That's all for now.  I am headed out to collect up the bushel of leaves that were blown into my pool during the Friday night storms here in Maryland, and then will relax by the pool during the hot part of the day.

Happy stitching, Margaret

Saturday, June 02, 2012

New Mystery Sal al Castello


Well here startss another project:  This is Mystery Sal al Castello by Nikki's Creations.  I'm using HDF and  Legacy Edinburgh linen.  I'm enjoying this piece - I don't usually do much "primitive" stitching - but I'm loving this.  I also love the sense of accomplishment on finishing a part, even though it's very small.

I also have finished my exchange piece for the bird ornament exchange on Hooked on Exchanging - in fact, I loved the piece so much, I stitched it again for my tree.  If I stitch something more than once, you can be sure that I REALLY love it.  I will post a picture after the recipient receives the piece.

We had huge thunderstorms blow through yesterday - but today is gorgeous.  We were lucky - no power outage, no damage around our area.  So now I'm grumbling about it being too wet to plant anything - we gardeners are never happy!!!!  

That's all for now.  Happy stitching, Margaret

Friday, May 25, 2012

Long Overdue Update

 Gosh, I can't believe the entire month of May has just flown by - I have had every intention of updating my blog - but I have kept putting it off - but here goes:

Above is Heart Note Alley complete through Part 10.  I am roughly halfway through.  The SAL ends in August - do you think I can finish it?
 Then here is Lavendar Blue -this piece is quite time consuming, but lovely, don't you think?
And here is my Flower Pot Sampler - stitched, but not finish-finished.  I stitched this at Celebrations using mystery HDF silk and some gorgeous PTP linen - such a fun, quick stitch.  
 This is project number 2 stitched at Celebrations - this is Sew Bunnies by iStitch, again using mystery HDF on PTP linen.
 And, for the finale, also stitched at Celebrations - this is Random Thoughts of Spring by Erika Michaels.  I shamelessly copied the color scheme from the Carolina Stitcher's blog.  I used mystery HDF and PTP linen.  I was pretty pleased to finish one project a day while at Celebrations!  I also got to spend some fun time with Carol S. and Marie P. and was able to reconnect with some lovely stitchers who had traveled all the way from Minnesota to attend Celebrations - such a great event!
Then, I finished my Spring SAL - I need to go in and insert some back stitching on the house features - in real life the features are subtle - but in the photo they are completely washed out.

So, now I'm off to stitch an ornament for an exchange and also to work on a couple of ornaments for my tree.   Happy stitching, everyone.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So Many Projects, so Little Time!

I can't seem to get focused on just a few projects - so I have only minimal progress to show here. But, here goes. This is Heart Note Alley through Part 8. I'm loving this piece - using up some of my stashed purples and greens - just picking threads as I go. Keep your fingers crossed that I have enough of the border green to finish the project!

I did stitch this little charmer. Surfing the net, I discovered the 2012 Year of Smalls blog, and of course decided that I *needed* to stitch the projects they are working on. With all my good intentions, I bought a lot of supplies - and actually finished one project. I also learned something about finishing with lace - you need to allow extra fullness in the corners so the lace does not do a folding number around the corners. This reminds me how much I LOVE Blackbird Designs.

So, with that in mind, I selected my March ornament - which is the Joy ornament from the 2011 Christmas JCS issue. I used the recommended silks for this project, and some stash rick rack. It is really not as wonky as it looks in this photo.

And, while surfing the net some more, I stumbled on this adorable SAL by a French Designer - this is the SAL Printemps by Marie Ravenelle. I've lost my link to her blog, and we correspond by e-mail - but in real life this is very elegant and spring-like.

I am beginning to count the days until I go to Celebrations - that is my opportunity to prop my feet up and do absolutely nothing but stitchy stuff for several days -

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Heart Note Alley

I completed Parts 5 and 6 of Heart Note Alley. I am using up some of the variegated purple and green silks from my stash - which is good; however, I hope I don't run out of a thread before completing its band - keeping my fingers crossed.

There are tons of projects on my "to start soon" list. I've been spending more time planning than stitching.

Spring is officially here in Maryland. The daffodils, flowering plum, nectarines, peaches, Bradford pears, and camellias are all in full bloom. The dratted deer herd is having its way with my sprouting daylilies, sedum and liriope - while not touching the weeds - as if I did not already have enough reason to despise the creatures!

My 16 yr old DS is on spring break trip to France and Spain so I have a whole week of not having to do laundry or prepare meals. So this will be a staycation for me!!!

Happy stitching, everyone!

Margaret C