Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Thoughts

Here we are, almost half-way through December, and my tree still looks like a naked bottle brush standing in the corner of the living room.  Sigh.  I'm not a Grinch by any means, and I love the Christmas season, but sometimes the work that goes into being festive can seem so overwhelming.... I'm also working on making Christmas for my 4 year old NOT about getting tons of gifts.  We're trying to plan fun family stuff, and keeping gift requests to a minimum!

We had family portraits done last month, so here is a little pic of my favorite elf.
(She was SO excited to get decked out in Christmas gear.  LOL)

So what have been doing with all my time spent not decorating or shopping?  I'm really not sure!  The Elf and I have done some little crafty things - mostly painting and coloring (her choice).  Of course there is work, and the usual cooking and cleaning.  Oh, and we've put our house on the market, so I'm often trying to imagine which pile of clutter might be the most offensive to a potential buyer...although the market isn't really moving much at this time of year here, so I'm not stressing that stuff TOO much (probably not enough!).  And I've been thinking about my stitching goals for 2015 - I don't think I even set any goals for this year...
GOALS FOR 2015 (in no particular order):
  •  join Heather's 2015 Smalls SAL
  • work on the long-neglected Fairy Tale Towne (perhaps as part of the Smalls SAL!)
  • pick and stitch something primitive/sampler-style to hang next to the Forget-Me-Not Sampler bulletin board.  Current front-runner - Homespun Elegance's "Olde Shaker Tune")
  • stitch Brightneedle's "Ezmerelda's House"
I think that is enough for now.  If we end up selling our house and buying a new one, packing and moving could take up a good chunk of my year!!

For now I'll go back to working on that cute little chubby Santa Claus design I posted last week.  Happy Holiday Stitching to you all!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December News

My, how time flies.

First, going back a month or two... I pillowified Plum Street Samplers' "Rotted" ornament design.  Because I used a 28-ct. fabric instead of the 40-ct. used in the model, mine was a little too large for an ornament.  It was displayed (briefly!) in my basket of seasonal finishes.

For Halloween, my Wee One was a ninja pirate princess (entirely her idea!).  I threw on some of my faire garb and walked around campus as the Gypsy Librarian - since our library is being renovated and we've been moved around campus twice, one of my favorite faculty members referred to us as "the roving band of gypsy librarians."  Here we are together, in a pic snapped by one of her daycare teachers after the costume parade there.

And the first weekend in November was a momentous occasion - I spent it in Utica, stitching with friends!  Some ladies I met at Celebrations live in the area, and a couple others joined us for a rather low-key stitch-in.  We made a trip to A Stitcher's Garden in Syracuse, and had a lovely time.

I don't have any pictures from Thanksgiving, but let's just say it was a HUGE success...my parents came out, and I prepared most of the dinner.  I made a spinach-and-herb stuffed turkey breast, pretzel topped sweet potatoes, a cranberry salad, and a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.  My mom brought an apple-bean casserole.  I think my folks were a little worried about my cooking skills, as they've never had a Thanksgiving meal prepared by me before!  Well, my father - who prefers his turkey be dark meat - had seconds of my turkey, and insisted that my mom get my recipe!!  Winning!!  (*my secret: the stuffing goes between the skin and the meat, not inside the turkey.)

There was some sad news between all the fun stuff, though....the week before Thanksgiving, I had to have my sweet Mina-kitty put to sleep.
That picture is from about 5 years ago, but she was only about 10 years old when she died.  However, over the course of a few weeks, she went from looking like that - at about 11 lbs - to being a fragile, sickly 6.5 lbs.  During that time, we put our house on the market and she was hiding more, which I assumed was due to the random strangers tromping through our house at odd times during showings.  But then one evening she hopped into lap, and felt like nothing but fur and bones.  :(  We took her to the vet, and while all of her tests came back normal, it was obvious something was NOT right.  A week later I could see that she wasn't eating, and we were back at the vet's office.  A (very expensive) x-ray showed that one of her lungs was congested, and her heart looked abnormal.  The vet couldn't say if that was the cause of the problem, or if it might have been caused by something else, like a thyroid condition, but either way, she was too far gone and too fragile for any kind of aggressive treatment.  So while it broke my heart, I chose to have her put down.  I miss you, Mina.  Maura still asks about you, too....  *sniff*

So I'll end things on a happy note with a new start.
This is "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Country Garden Stitchery.  I haven't seen this piece stitched anywhere but on the designer's site.  In fact, I haven't seen many of her pieces in the blogging world at all....which surprises me, because I think her style is really charming!  And if you order from her Artfire page, the option for .pdf delivery means almost instant gratification... *nudgenudge  (not affiliated, blah blah blah....just enabling!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Wee Bit of Framing

I picked this up today...it is the Forget-Me-Not Sampler by the Drawn Thread.  I posted it a couple months ago.  The last time I was home I saw this frame, one that my dad picked up at an auction.  The top part had a picture of a World War I-era soldier, and the bottom was a mirror.  Dad had hung it on his "military memorabilia" wall, but since the soldier wasn't anyone we knew and wasn't even identified, I convinced him that he should let me use the frame for some needlework.  :)  As you can see, I replaced the mirror with cork board, and I've hung it in the kitchen next to our garage door.  It only cost me $20 (I had my framer repair the frame a bit and lace the needlework), so I'm quite pleased!  We'll see if Dad notices it tomorrow when he comes out for Thanksgiving dinner...

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Stashing Up for the Winter

I can't believe it is November already...as one of my friends on Facebook posted today, "only 3 paychecks until Christmas."  And yikes, she's right!  So what am I doing accumulating stash?  Well, I found a few things.....
1) This came from the thrift store.  Tedd Arnold actually has some local connections, and while Mother Goose rhymes aren't always my first choice of stitching subjects, I like his style.  And then I opened it and saw it was autographed - for less than $2, I just couldn't pass it up!
2) A guilty eBay purchase.  I stitched a companion piece to the Shepherd's Bush design (Tending the Blooms) a few years ago, and decided "Keeping the Bees" would be a nice addition to the collection.  The SamSarah pattern is another I've liked for a while, and since it was affordable, came with the buttons and wouldn't increase my shipping cost (same seller), I figured why not.
3) A win!  Riona over at Oubliette had a giveaway, and I won Brightneedle's "Ezmerelda's House."  I think it is adorable, and even though Halloween is over for this year, I can see this getting started before next year's spooky season arrives...  Thank you, Riona!

But, lest you think I've not been stitching myself, I do have a (very!) small finish to share.
This is a Prairie Schooler design, the complimentary card that accompanies the "Santa Rides" leaflet.  I've been looking for this for a LONG time - I never wanted the actual leaflet, but just the card.  You see, my grandfather raced canoes well into his 70s (when he passed away from colon cancer).  I was in my LNS a month or so ago, and on a whim picked every Prairie Schooler card off the rack and started shuffling them around.  And what should fall out but this!  It really was serendipitous, since I've stopped visiting the store as often as I used to.  (The shop's new owner has changed the focus to quilting, so there are rarely new stitching patterns or supplies and I don't have a lot to spend anyway.)  But I grabbed this - along with the "Boo 1602" card that I stitched and posted a week or 2 ago.  It is stitched over-one on 28-ct. blue linen duck fabric, so it is about 2 1/2" square with the text.  Grampa's last name was Miller, and when we had Christmas at their house, all the presents would be from "Santa Miller."  So I thought that was appropriate in more ways than one!
The backing is a piece of the fabric I purchased earlier this year at the village yard sales, and the trim is a "pine branch" pipe cleaner.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Primitive Halloweenies

After finishing "Rotted," I wanted more tombstone-y goodness....so I stitched this little Prairie Schooler card design, too.
The Prairie Schooler tombstone was stitched with some HDF silk - it was labeled Primitive Black, but since it was from a detritus bag, I think it might be a mis-dye of some sort.  The Plum Street design is from the JCS 2012 Halloween special, and I used a combination of DMC and hand-dyed flosses from my stash.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Rotted

So after my Halloween exchange was complete, I got inspired to do some more Halloween-y stitching for myself....
I chose the Plum Street Sampler design from the 2012 JCS Halloween issue, "Rotted but not Forgotted".  I don't have - and probably never WILL have! - 40-ct. fabric, so I used some mystery fabric from my stash.  I think it is 28-ct.?  That is a 6-inch hoop it is in, to give you an estimation of the size.  I'm using DMC for the black and green, and substituted for the off-white and orange from my dyed stash.  Not sure how that random bobbin of blue floss got into the picture....

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I've Been Up To

I love fall....the colors, the smells, the crisp nights.  But it also reminds me of how quickly times passes...how soon the snow will fly....and what's that you say, CHRISTMAS?!?!?  Yikes.

Last weekend we went apple picking, and came home with 2 big bags of Empire apples.  They are a bit too tart for my snacking preferences, but they make a tasty applesauce.
This was my first foray into canning!  And I think it went quite well.  So well, in fact, that after 7 pints of applesauce, I decided to try some cran-apple butter...
6 half-pints!

I still have about 20 pounds of apples in the garage - but I'm thinking I want to get another batch before the picking season ends!  I have big plans.  LOL

My stitching?  Well, that has slowed down considerably again.  After I sent my exchange piece to Becky, I started working on Plum Street Samplers' "Rotted but not Forgotted" ornament from one of the previous JCS Halloween issues.  Nothing worth sharing yet, though.  (I keep getting distracted by apple processing!)  Oh, but I should share the ornament that I received from Carol in the Halloween exchange.
This is a Prairie Schooler design called "Yeow!" from the 2012 JCS Halloween issue.  Isn't it cute??  I think the little bow at the top is just the cutest.  Thank you, Carol!