Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lucky, lucky me!!

This past week was not the best that I've had, even with two days off of work because of Hurricane Sandy.  I'm glad that the forecasts for Virginia over-predicted the impacts, but the images from NY and NJ, in particular, have been quite overwhelming.  But that's not why this week wasn't the best... will save that for another post.

However, when I got home Friday at 13 hours of work, I found a box on the porch, which turned out to be from Nancy at the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.  While we are enjoying ourselves in Myrtle Beach, SC, at the Pals Stitching at the Beach Retreat (for which Nancy donated wonderful bags of assortments of her fibers and embellishments/trims - thank you!), Nancy drew my name for her tremendously generous fall/autumn give-away.  If you've followed my blog at all, you know that Nancy sponsors many give-aways, and I can't help but enter nearly every single one.  I was particularly excited about this one, because I love autumn, and I'm an "earth tones" gal - browns, rusty reds, greens, golds are all colors I love.  Can you believe the number of things that Nancy put into this hand-stamped bag????

I *love* all of the hand-dyed floss colors and am just tickled pink at the wonderful assortment of trims and embellishments - can't wait to put them all to use, and have been dying to get my hands on that hand-dyed jute. 

I am overwhelmed (in a good way).

And may I show you more specifically the lovely hand-stamped bag?  It's a thing of beauty itself...

Nancy has so many talents; I count myself as very blessed to be a recipient of such generosity and expression of creativity.

I would go take up my needle, but I think I'll spend some more time looking at all of these wonderful items!  Have a great week!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Christmas Give-Away

Christmas is coming! Nancy, over at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, is hosting a "25 Days of Christmas" give-away of a wonderful assortment of her lovely hand-dyed flosses, trims, charts and much, much more.   I am a huge fan of her trims and flosses, and I know I've got my fingers crossed to be a winner!! Click here to get yourself directly to the give-away announcement.

Time to take up my needle and work on a new exchange piece!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pals Stitching at the Beach - Last Day

I'll admit it - by the time we were all done with exchanges and good-byes on Saturday, I wasn't ready to sit down and post pictures.  Not that I wasn't just absolutely inspired by all of the wonderful stitching (I've already picked out six projects to complete for exchanges for next year!), but I had a lot of packing to do and ... well, you get the idea.

Saturday was an absolute lovely day at Myrtle Beach.  I enjoyed several walks in the beach during the course of the day...  Can you believe how blue the ocean is?

In the evening, we had several exchanges.  The first was the "stitched" exchange - no theme, other than the exchange piece had needlework in it.  Projects included wall hangings, pinkeeps, boxes, pillows and more.  Here's a small sampling of some of the items (taken as they went whipping by me around the table!):

The next-to-last item above is a scissor sleeve (with a fine pair of scissors included).  The needlebook (final image) was created by my friend Beth from Kentucky.

Then we were into the Christmas ornament exchange - absolutely amazing in the number and variety of ornaments and finishes!  Here are a few images of the tables before the "picking" began:

I put together four ornaments for the exchange:

(upper left) Winter Tiny Trio - The Trilogy
(upper right) Old World Santas II - The Prairie Schooler
(lower left) Merry Christmas - Country Cottage Needleworks
(lower right) Ding Dong - Little House Needleworks

I received four absolutely wonderful ornaments in exchange:

Upper left - Chris, NC
Upper right - Maggie, VA
Lower left - Donna, SC
Lower right - Amy, SC

As we often heard around the table, the ornaments were all so beautiful, and it was really hard to choose!

So I'll close this post with a final image of Myrtle Beach, taken Sunday morning as I was finalizing my pack-out and beginning my trip home:

Many, many thanks to Amy W of Down Sunshine Lane for all of her efforts to provide this wonderful opportunity for us all.  The stitching and fellowship - and new friends - can't be beat!

Getting busy for next year!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pals Stitching at the Beach - Day 3

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is our last day together to stitch at the beach.  I'm really having a great time and loving spending all of this time stitching.

Today was another great shopping day - Pam Lewis and Susan Rohm from Praiseworthy Stitches joined us and brought some wonderful designs.  I forgot to mention yesterday that we're privileged to have Sue Hillis (Sue Hillis Designs) and Stephanie Hillman (Nouveau Encore Designs) with us this year.  It has been such fun to visit with the designers, learn a little about what inspires them and how they go through the creative process of concept to final product.

I spent my stitching time today working on an exchange piece - sorry, no pictures until the exchange is closed!!  Stay tuned...

We had our "grab bag" exchange this evening - always a lot of fun, and it is so interesting to see the many different, imaginative ways that everyone comes up with to "contain" their "bag" contents.  I put "bag" in quotes, because only about one-quarter of the "bags" are actually bags - tonight, we had boxes, bags, a foot stool (with lift-up lid), baskets, and many more containers.  Here are just a few snaps of some of the crafty, creative ideas:

I found a wonderful pumpkin basket at A.C. Moore that I purchased for my "bag," and I loaded it up with autumn-themed specialty flosses, fat quarters, linen/evenweave, embellishments, and more.  I really enjoy putting together contents that I think will be well-received by the person who ends up with my contribution.

At the end of the exchange, I had a wonderful Christmas box put together by Sue from Iowa.  You know that DH and I are all about Christmas, so the box itself is a wonderful decor piece to begin with!

Inside the box, Sue had included a wonderful project bag that she'd made, plus a lovely woolen needlebook that she'd created and foam handle wraps.  The hand-crafted items are real treasures, and they will be reminders of the generosity and creativity of cross-stitchers!

Definitely time for bed - looking forward to another stitchy day tomorrow, a trip to the local quilt shop, and the Christmas ornament exchange!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Pals Stitching at the Beach - Day 2

Troubles getting on the hotel wireless delayed this posting until today, but Day 2 of Stitching at the Beach was as exciting as Day 1.  I did finish the stitching on the Victoria Sampler chickadee ornament, then moved on to the December cardinal that's in that chart as well:

I also spent much of the afternoon working on an exchange piece, so nothing to show on that just yet...

We also held the Halloween and autumn exchanges - so much fun!  For the Halloween exchange, I stitched two pieces - an "owl" pumpkin and a scary cat:

The Prairie Schooler

All About Halloween
Homespun Elegance

I received two wonderful pieces in return from two very gifted stitchers; the one one the left created by Marnie from Maryland and the one on the right, by Katie from Indiana:

I completed three pieces for the autumn exchange:

(Upper left) Autumn Tree - The Trilogy
(Upper Right) Celebration Autumn - Heart in Hand
(Lower) French Country IV - Pumpkin, JBW Designs
(I need to stop taking pictures in the middle of the night!)

I received absolutely fun and fabulous pieces in exchange:

These pieces were stitched and created by Tracey from Tennessee (left), Sharon from Kentucky (center), and Kathy from Ohio (right).  I *cannot* wait to get home and add all of these wonderful decorations to my decorating!!

A brief departure from stitching - we ate dinner last night at a great restaurant called Nacho Hippo - fan-tas-tic!!  I loved it so much that I really did buy the t-shirt:

If you're every in Myrtle Beach, SC, I highly recommend that you stop here and enjoy!!

Safe travels to our friend Jean who needed to leave the retreat early - we'll miss her!  Meanwhile, it's time for me to get back to stitching!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pals Stitching at the Beach - Day 1

What's better than being at the beach and spending the day stitching?!  I certainly can't think of anything else :)  A whole bunch of us have arrived in Myrtle Beach, SC, for four days of stitching, fellowship, and fun, and Day 1 certainly lived up to expectation.

"Pals Stitching at the Beach" is artfully coordinated by Amy Whitaker, owner of Down Sunshine Lane needlework shop, and she manages to pack a lot of activity and surprises into the retreat.  It was wonderful today to see friends from last year (like Jean, Beth, Maggie, Sharon, Sherry, Diane, Judy, Charlene, Diane, Myra, and many more) and to begin new friendships with many first-timers.  (It's easy for me to call them that because that was me last year!)  Several designers, including Marie Driskell (Blackberry Lane Designs), Isabella Argante (all the way from Italy; The Primitive Hare), and Tanya Brockmeyer (The Scarlett House), have also joined us and brought so many wonderful charts, kits, accessories, and more for us to "ooh" and "aah" over and to buy.  What a treat to be able to visit with these very talented ladies!

In amongst the shopping, the chatting, and a wonderful dinner at P.F. Chang's (my first; I'll go back soon!), I did manage to get some stitching in!  First up is a stocking released this year by Raise the Roof called "Tate's Stocking" (click on the chart title to see a finished version).  Here's what I've been able to complete today:

In the afternoon, I wanted to work on something that I had a good chance of finishing today.  I brought all of The Victoria Sampler's "Button Up Birdie" charts that DH gave me last year for Christmas.  I love the patterns and have been itching to get busy on them.  I started with #1, which includes a chickadee and a cardinal.  Here's what I was able to complete before the "official" end of Day 1:

Almost finished!  I just need to add a little more backstitching (beak, red yard from mittens) and beads/buttons.  Love it, love it!

Time to get some shut-eye so that I can get up and do it all again tomorrow!  I hope you're making time to take up your needle and sew!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Floss Giveaway

Let's talk about some kind of beautiful!  Nancy, over at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, is hosting a give-away of a wonderful assortment of her lovely hand-dyed floss.  You really must see the photo she's posted - the colors are spectacular, and I know I've got my fingers crossed to be a winner!!  Click here to get yourself directly to the give-away announcement.

Time to take up my needle and work on a few more exchanges for the PALS retreat next month!  Can't wait :)


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Treasured Friend Give-away

Nancy's doing it again - another fantastic give-away at her blog, Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.  Her hand-dyed trims and fibers are just marvelous (placed an order myself over the weekend) - hope you won't miss this chance to win a wonderful assortment of her products.  Check it out!

Lavender Fields and Gossimer Wings

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in two days of "retreat" at my favorite LQS, Quilting Adventures.  Not to be repetitive, but this is really one of my all-time favorite places to shop, and Joyce and her staff are *so* helpful, encouraging, and fun to hang with!  Any time you are anywhere near Richmond, Virginia, you definitely need to make the time to visit QA.

Lavender Fields:  Anyway, I go to retreat days not only for the access to technical help on projects, but also for the fellowship and camaraderie.  And I go for the time to work on projects without the distractions of every day living.  This weekend, I had five different projects with me, three of which are pretty small and were quickly abandoned when I really got in a groove on some larger quilts.  I've been working on another log cabin quilt - this one for my DM's birthday (which is the day after Christmas).  I'd found a strip set that I really liked, but found that I also needed to augment the blocks with two additional strips all around to make a quilt that is the size I want it to be.  I was able to finish the quilt top and get the backing sewn together, so it's off to the quilter tomorrow.  I'm titling this "Lavender Fields" (she and my DD own a lavender farm!):

Here's a close-up of the individual block:

The top of the quilt ends with the blue border - what you see underneath it (besides the bedspread) is the backing, a fun batik of trees!  The print is greener (like the quilt block) than the photo shows, but I do love the design!!

Gossimer Wings:  So yesterday, I got to the point of being ready to move onto another project, even though the "Lavender Fields" wasn't quite finished.  Last year, I'd purchased a bunch of 4" squares of different fabric with butterflies on it.  My plan was to make something lovely for my MIL... and that was about the extent of my plan!  While "retreating" this weekend, I happened to see a shop model of a "window pane" quilt that really got me thinking about options for these butterfly squares.  I took advantage of "retreat" access to Joyce (shop owner and quilter extraordinaire) and worked about a great plan for a butterfly window pane quilt.  Here's a quick small sample of what I'm working towards (ever square will be surrounded by black), and today, I prepped 90 squares - still need about 40 more, but I really love the direction that this quilt is going!

With a little direction and encouragement, I very quickly overcame inertia and am having a lot of fun preparing the quilt squares - planning on this being a Christmas present.  What do you think?

Okay, last quick item for the day - stopped at JoAnn's to pick up a few DMC skeins and found this fun-looking batik Halloween fabric.  Isn't it great?!

Have you had time to take up your needle and sew?!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Garden Exchange Reveal!

I am excited to finally be able to show you the results of the "Tea in the Garden" stitching exchange that I participated in, hosted by Lainey at Stitched with Love Exchanges.  This was my second exchange hosted by Lainey, and I was very excited to be chosen to stitch for Nataly (in MA).  For this exchange, we had the option of focusing on tea time or gardens (I chose gardens) - like the other exchanges, we were asked to stitched something in line with the theme, provide a themed chart, and to include a number of other items (garden-themed and/or stitching related).  Here's a photo of the piece that I did for the exchange and the items that I sent with the stitched piece.

Here's a close-up of the stitched piece - Rose Garden (without the border) by Blackbird Designs.  I'm also showing you the backing fabric that I used for the pillow - loved it!


I received a lovely package of items from June (in the UK).  The stitched pillow is done with wonderful soft greens, corals and more and sits proudly on my mantel now.  One of the exciting things about exchanging with someone from another country is that you may receive items that you can't even find in the U.S.!  June's package included some lovely embellishments and fabrics - none of which I'd even seen in the various supply "haunts" that I frequent.

I've signed up the the "Fall into Halloween" exchange, where participants could choose to receive Halloween-themed or autumn-themed items.  I've been doing some stitching in both of these themes and am looking forward to learning about my exchange partner next week.  Fun, fun, fun!!!!

Back to my project bag - there's still a little time to take up my needle and sew before bed.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Halloween Give-away!

I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post.  Quite honestly, I've been working on a lot of exchange stitching and gifts, none of which are quite ready to be revealed here.  Tomorrow, look for a post from me about a garden-themed stitching exchange that I participated in during July and August - lots of fun!!

Nancy of Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe just announced a fantastic Halloween give-away through her blog.  She's put together a wonderful assortment of trims, embellishments and more, all wrapped around Halloween - do *not* miss the opportunity to get your name in the drawing!

More tomorrow - I promise.  'Til then, back to my needle...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Patriotic Exchange Reveal!

I am so excited to finally be able to share with  you the results of the Patriotic stitching exchange that I participated in, hosted by Lainey at Stitched with Love Exchanges.  I've only ever participated in a couple of other exchanges, so I was really excited to be chosen to stitch for Shirlee (in KY), who's tastes are very similar to mine!  For this exchange, we were asked to stitch something patriotic, to provide a patriotic chart, and to include a number of other items (patriotic and/or stitching related).  Here's a photo of the piece I did for the exchange and the items I sent.

Happy Flag Flag Day by Trilogy
Recommended floss and fabric

I finished the stitched piece as a flat-fold, a technique I'm really enjoying using for gifted pieces.  Shirlee is a big fan of Little House Needleworks, and I was pleased that she didn't already have this pattern!  Additionally, Shirlee likes birds (especially cardinals) - I was excited to find some fat quarters that seemed to be right on target!  Lastly, Shirlee said that she really was trying to get more hand-stitched ornaments - a person after my own heart!  I enjoyed finishing "First Day" for her!  I received the nicest note from her after she opened my package - I think stitchers are the best people!!

I received the most wonderful box of items from Lisa (in NY).  I have just started on some smalls (ornaments and pillows), and just love this piece that Lisa made.

Happy 4th by Threadwork Primitives

The details are just fantastic and really make the whole piece unique and very special!  I also received many, many other charts, threads, trims, and more - Lisa was so generous!  I'm a big fan of Prairie Schooler and Shepherd's Bush and and excited to add these charts to my collection! And isn't her packaging really pretty?!

Been doing some "ghost stitching" for a designer, so nothing I can share with you at this point.  I'm also signed up for another of Lainey's great exchanges - this one with a garden theme!  I'm so thrilled to be participating!

Now, off to the gym, then a little time to take up my needle and sew before canning up tomatoes from the Farmers Market!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Christmas in July!

Christmas is my favorite time of  year, so I'm always thrilled to help celebrate it early with "Christmas in July" activities.  The CEO ("completed executed objects") Club in which I'm participating at my LQS, Quilting Adventures, is kind of like that for me... with 2 exceptions, the projects I'm working on, to be finished by the end of this month, are intended to be gifts for people at the holidays.  So I'm really excited to show you the results of my very first machine applique efforts:

I've also pieced 12 blocks for a log cabin lap quilt for my mom's birthday, which is the day after Christmas.  Like the last log cabin I did, I think I need to augment this pre-cut "kit" by adding one or two more rows to make the blocks a bit larger - sounds like a trip to the LQS is in order!  Here's a sampling of the block as it is now:

Now, back to some needlework!  Hope that you're finding the time to take  up your needle and sew!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fat Quarter Frenzy

"Hello, my name is Becky, and I'm a fabricaholic."  I'll admit it...the fabric cupboard is overflowing, but I could not, would not pass up "Fat Quarter Frenzy" at my favorite LQS, Quilting Adventures.  "Frenzy" meant that I set the alarm, left the house early, and sat the in parking lot for 10 minutes before the store even opened... and I toyed with the idea of pushing the older lady in front of me out of the way.  What *is* it about the word "frenzy?!"  While I could have rationalized nearly every color and design coming home with me, a measure of reasonableness did prevail, and I'm thrilled with the pieces I did pick up today:

I do love the reproduction 1930s fabrics!!  And for those of you readers anywhere near Richmond, VA, the "Frenzy" is on for several more days!!

Enjoying a day off and headed over to take up my needle and sew (or quilt)!  Stay cool...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A 4th of July Finish

It was so hot outside today that I decided to really enjoy the day by just relaxing and doing some stitching.  I've been "collecting" the LHN ornament series since they started them in 2010 and committed to myself that I would *actually* stitch some (six) of them this year.  Here's my first finish!  When I sew this again, I think I will do it on a smaller count fabric - and it gives me some ideas about how to plan for the other ornaments.

LHN "Ding Dong Merrily on High"
30-count WDW parchment; suggested CC and DMC

Hope you have found some time to wave a flag and reflect today on this great country of ours!  'Til next time, I'm off to take up my needle and sew (another ornament!).


Monday, July 2, 2012

Great Give-Away!

In honor of her birthday, Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, is hosting a give-away blow-out blast!  This is a great opportunity to win some of her beautiful hand-dyed floss or one of her marvelous charts.  Don't miss it!!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Surprises in the Mail

I absolutely cannot wait to show you what I received from my exchange partner in the Patriotic Exchange coordinated by Stitched with Love Exchanges...  but I'll have to, until we get the go-ahead from Lainey.  My first stitching exchange, and I was (and am still) overwhelmed by the generosity of my exchange partner.  I also had a blast putting together a package for my partner; her likes and dislikes are very similar to mine.  More as soon as I can show it.

In today's mail, though, was a fantastic package from Myra at Gr8dame's Place.  She had finished a cool little project (United by Bent Creek) and offered to pass the chart along to anyone interested.  My hand flew up in the air so fast!!  And there was a super extra surprise with the chart - one of Myra's lovely sewing cases - what a treat!  I also received one of these cases that I'd actually purchased - I'm thrilled with both and can't wait to press them right into service!  The construction work is top-notch; as you've already seen, Myra's creativity extends well beyond her cross stitch!

Bent Creek "United" plus a lovely surprise sewing case

Beautiful sewing case and fob - Myra's fine handiwork!!

I also received the monthly LHN ornament - I love this one with the cardinals!  Can't wait to sew that one up; with the heat indices predicted to be at or over 110 degrees each day this weekend, I see some sewing time in my future!

A few more minutes until bedtime - ready to take up my needle and sew!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Secret Stitching

So this is the only part I don't like about participating in a secret stitching exchange - not allowed to post pictures of works-in-progress until everyone has received their packages.... boo.  I am participating in a "Patriotic" exchange with Stitched with Love Exchanges and am having a blast putting together what I hope will be just the perfect package for my partner.  Mailing date is no later than next Wednesday - looking forward to showing you more after that!

And in the interim, I've been busy processing sour cherries from Baugher's orchard in Westminster, MD.  This activity was a long-time family tradition when my DB and his family lived there - the orchard will pit the cherries for you, making the processing so effortless!  That is, unless you're like me this year and forgot to determine whether or not the buckets of already-picked cherries were already pitted, and, if not, to get them pitted.... sigh.  But I've managed to make two batches of jam - my absolute favorite, have 16 cups of "jam starter" ready to go (am going to try cherry-almond), and just popped 16 cups of pitted cherries into the freezer!

But I'm also looking forward to finishing up my last piece for the exchange this evening, so I'll be taking up my needle and sewing!  Hope you are, too...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fabric Stash

I have a serious weakness....  "hello, my name is Becky, and I think that there's no such thing as too much Christmas fabric."  I'm hopeful for some support from my stitching sisters and brothers!  I had an opportunity this afternoon to visit my favorite LQS, Quilting Adventures.  Some of the early Christmas fabrics have already been released for sale, and I couldn't help myself.  I scored a few pieces from the Kaufman design series "O Tinsel Tree 2" and "Jingle."

I also bought almost every different piece there is from the "Charlie Brown Christmas for Quilting Treasures" line. The "Charlie Brown Christmas" is my all-time favorite Christmas program/movie; I could watch it multiple times a day, many days in the year. I love the music, the message, the animation... Anyway, not sure what I'll do with it yet, but it will be something fun and Christmas-y!

Until I decide what to do with it, though, it's time to get busy on exchange projects.  Gotta go take up my needle and sew!