Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Wonders

It has been very "unwinter"-like in Williamsburg this month - each week has some days in the 70s followed by some days in the 40s.  The plants in my garden are really unsure about what they should be doing, but I was thrilled today to find some winter garden favorites going strong.

Last winter, DH and I spent a cold February Saturday at the Smithfield Gardens' Winter Hellebore Festival and a most pleasant hour in the "Hellebore and Winter Gems" class.  You may know hellebores as "Lenten roses."  I've grown to love the winter blooms in purples, creams, pinks, and greens in all shapes and sizes, and the interest and life that they add to a garden otherwise at rest.  Here's one of my favorites:

At last year's festival, we were introduced to winter honeysuckle and winter jasmine, both sweet-scented winter-bloomer in our area.  After agonizing over the choice, we finally bought the honeysuckle, and it is blooming up a storm and smelling sweet, sweet, sweet.

We have been successful in getting the yellow jessamine established in several places in the garden.  This spot, back in the woods, must get great light and good heat, as the plant is already blooming (is normally a summer/fall bloomer).
My big accomplishment today was getting the taxes finished and filed!  Can't wait for that nice refund check; I've already spent it six times over, but it's fun to dream!

I did spend a little time on a new ornament from the JCS 2011 Ornament issue while watching "Downton Abbey."  More on the ornament tomorrow.  There are still a few minutes let in the day to take up my needle and sew!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Finishes

How exciting to be able to report on *finishes* this weekend!!  First up, I put the last stitches into "The First Day;" a tally mark in the "done" column of my 2012 ornament list!

"The First Day" by Plum Street Samplers
JCS July/August 2011
36-count Antique White Edinboro
CC Pea Pod/Bandana

Today, I was also able to finish (well, mostly) the baby quilt I started last weekend for my colleague at work.  I think that the flannel I already had and used as backing is really cute.  The baby shower is on Valentine's Day, so I'm tickled pink to be this far ahead with the completion.  I do have a few small fixes to make where I didn't catch the binding on the back, but I still call this one *done.*  This project is also the first item on my CEO Club list, so I do need to take it to Quilting Adventures and have the staff validate that I actually completed it!

Still some hours left in the day, and I started stitching a new ornament last night!  Off to take up my needle and sew!


Monday, January 16, 2012

CEO Club

After some serious soul searching, I opted this year not to participate "officially" in the big needlework challenges to start 15 new projects or finish works-in-progress.  I tried to last year, without much success... in fact, my "new starts" list and my "WIPS" list would be about the same in 2012 as they were in 2011!!  I'm still doing all of that, just without the self-imposed pressure of those groups.  Don't get me wrong - I do follow those blogs closely and celebrate each finish and enjoy the new starts.  I just needed something a little *less* this year.  And then this past week... the wonderful people at my LQS (Quilting Adventures) shared a new challenge that they are hosting: the "Completed Executed Objects" club.  For whatever reason, I felt compelled to officially sign up and put six projects on my list (the challenge is at least one project a month over six months; read here for more).  I'm excited about participating, and I'll be sharing my CEO finishes as they get done.  At least 3 of the items on my list are Christmas presents for friends and family this year - won't that be nice to have them done so early?!

The first item on my list is actually a baby quilt for a colleague who is expecting a girl in March.  We are having a shower for her next month, and I'm tickled pink to be as far along as I am.  The quilt top was a kit I purchased on eBay from Specialjays.  She has some beautiful fabrics, charm packs, and quilt kits.  I liked the convenience of having the fabric selection and cutting already done.  I pieced the entire top (36"x36") together yesterday, and basted a soft flannel backing, the batting and top together today using spray adhesive (my new favorite sewing "notion").  I've also pieced the binding, so I'm ready to quilt!  Isn't it sweet?

I also found some stitching mojo (finally) and started my ornament work for 2012 with "The First Day" by Plum Street Samplers.  I've changed the fibers and fabric to use what I have and am loving the speed with which the piece is coming together.  I really enjoy the Crescent Color red I chose to use ("Bandana," I believe).  More as I get it done...

How about you?  What did you accomplish this weekend?

Now, go take up your needle and sew!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Charms, Trims, & Embellishments Galore!

I was thrilled today to come across the blog of the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.  I was introduced to the VM world of hand-dyed lace, chenille and tape trims and buttons last fall at the Cross Stitch PALS retreat in Myrtle Beach, SC, and have been a big fan ever since then.  The trims always seem to be just the right final finishing touch on a project, and I've enjoyed using them and seeing how others have used them as well.  Nancy is hosting a give-away of her charms; these are perfect for embellishing almost any needlework or sewing project.  Check it out!

Now, taking up my needle and sewing!