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!