Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

May your needles never tarnish,
Your thread glide like silk,
And your stitching friendships last forever!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December Teapot Finished!

I finished the December teapot last evening, and I really had to make myself work on it. Of all the monthly teapots, this was my least favorite design.

But, it is finished, thus making it a complete set of monthly teapots ready for framing. I will wait however, until next year's series by Just Another Button Company is complete. Next month I start stitching the monthly teapcups! So, about this time next year, I will be framing and hanging all the teapots and teacups in my kitchen.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Meet Satchmo!

Satchmo is visiting me along with his humans, my daughter Kristin and son-in-law #2 Jonathan.

He is a very good kitty and has been on his best behavior.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On the Third Day of Christmas..... children gave to me......

Well, it was actually on Christmas Eve, when we exchange gifts. My children gave me this garden sculpture of Alien Gnome Bandits! It is one of the funniest things I have ever gotten, and ranks right up there with the Chia Pet I received from my sister one year!

It is too cute to put out in the garden, so I will have to find a spot for this bit of whimzie in the house somewhere.

Enjoy the season!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Day finish

I finished two of these ornaments, the second one in the evening of Christmas Day, just in time to hang it on the tree! The first one that was finished was given away as a gift.
This is a freebie chart from Cross Eyed Cricket. I stitched it on 14 count vinyl weave with DMC floss, and backed it with felt.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Another Christmas Greeting!

Another Christmas piece that I stitched a few years ago. I hope you all have the merriest Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry, Merry Christmas!

With this stitched piece, I wish you the happiest of holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

Here it is, my favorite tree in the house! This tree is located in the family room and has only hand-made ornaments on it. Most of them are counted cross stitch, but there are some needlepoint ornaments, some on plastic canvas, some beaded and some painted ornaments also.

Many of the cross stitched ornaments are gifts or exchanges from Internet and real life stitching friends. I treasure each and every ornament!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carols by Candlelight

Saturday evening saw me driving down to Lincoln Park (with my parents in tow) for Carols by Candlelight, the annual holiday concert by the Chicago Chamber Choir. Why did I drive all that way in horendous traffic and battle for parking? I did it for my daughter, Viki. She sings with this amazing group of talented singers, and it was certainly worth the trip!

One of the highlights of this concert each year, is the sing-a-long! It gives us not-so-talented people a chance to sing holiday carols, and sound great! The only bad thing about this concert, is that my daughter did not have a solo. I am sure it was an oversight on the artistic director's part, as in my totally unbiased opinion, Viki is the best soprano in the group.

If you are in the Chicago or Rockford area, please mark your calendars for the spring concert, Water Music: The Currents of Life. You will not be dissappointed!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What's next?

Ever since I finished stitching the Texas Monthly Minis, I have been asked by a number of people what Texas themed chart I will be stitching in 2009.

Thanks to some on-line friends, Dianne from Texas, who sold me the charts, and Kim (Thank you, Kim) from Illinois, who sent me the fabric I needed (I wanted it to match this year's ornaments and Hobby Lobby doesn't carry it anymore), I am happy to show you the Twelve Days of Texas Christmas!

#1 son-in-law will end up with a Texas themed tree after all! (Justin, eat your heart out!)

For those of you that are wondering, the Twelve Days of Texas Christmas are as follows:
12. Bluebonnets blooming
11. Texas Rangers
10. Ten Gallon Hats
9. Texas Cowgirls
8. Longhorns grazing
7. Yellow Roses
6. Redbirds Flying
5 . Lone Star Flags
4. Chilli Peppers
3. Armadillos
2. cowboy boots
and a mockingbird in a pecan tree!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finished Texas Ornaments

Here are the Texas Monthly Minis that I stitched earlier this year. I didn't know how I wanted to "finish" them, so I sent them off to a finisher. Vicki Wendt did a great job, and she even matched the fabric on the back perfectly to the theme of each ornament! I do hope #1 son-in-law likes them!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pirate Santa Freebie

Sue Hillis has a great freebie on her blog.
Sue finished hers as an ornament. Head on over to her blog to get the chart!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Finishing Frenzy

I started stitching this stocking for Cooper in fall of 2007. It is Stoney Creek's Elliot and the Tree stocking. It is stitched on 28 count antique white Jubilee with mostly DMC floss. I changed the color of the sweater from burgundy to blue, and then had to change the ornaments on the tree and the name and the checked bottom to make it all work.

I had wanted to have it finished for his first Christmas, which was last year, but I had some trouble with my wrist in November and December of 2007 and it was too painful to stitch. I finished the stitching in January of 2008 and have been waiting for the elves to come and "finish" it for me ever since.

Those darn elves never showed up! Since John is leaving for Arizona tomorrow morning, I needed to get this "finished" so he could take it along. This was not an easy task.

First, I haven't "finished" a stocking in three years, so I had to really think hard to remember how it is done. Then, I needed to look for my sewing "pattern". Then I couldn't find the sewing machine foot that I wanted to use. Then I ran out of the right color thread. And I used a type of cording that I have never used before, so it took awhile to figure out how to make it work.

But, it is finally finished! I hope Cooper gets lots of goodies from Santa in his stocking for many years to come.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Framing 101

When Sue Hillis was visiting last October, she wanted something to do besides stitching because her eyes were bothering her and she wasn't comfortable stitching. I had about nine different stitched pieces that I was going to try and frame myself, so she framed them for me,and I watched. I have framed photographs before when my husband and I had our photo studio, but never really learned to properly frame needlework.

It didn't look hard, so I gave it a try this evening. The first piece I framed was Sue Hillis' Pirates Creed that was stitched by my sister. She stitched it for her boss. I plan to stitch it for mine also, but haven't gotten around to it yet. So here is my first attempt at framing. I am rather pleased with the results.

As long as I had the tools out, I decided to frame LHN Captain's Inn that I stitch for John as a Christmas gift. I bought the frame at Michael's for $5, but since it was a photo frame, it was a bit more challenging to frame this piece, but again, it turned out well and it sure beats paying for framing!

I have more frames and more stitched pieces, so I will try and frame one or two each week until I am caught up with framing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Illinois Christmas Carol

To the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

Get packinʼ, Rod Blagojevich
The stateʼs in disarray
The Tribune wants you unemployed
At least by Christmas Day.
The TV pundits want your head
Could there be pay to play?
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Save Illinois !
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

Good riddance Rod Blagojevich
Your Elvis lookʼs inane,
The Senateʼs mad, soʼs Lisaʼs dad.
You drive us all insane.
Our transitʼs broke, the stateʼs a joke,
The Tollwayʼs one big pain.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Save Illinois !
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

Good luck old Rod Blagojevich
The feds have quite a place.
Fitzgeraldʼs poked his nose around
And if he has a case,
George Ryanʼs moving stuff around
Creating extra space.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Save Illinois !
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Biscornu from Barb!

Barb Q. and I have been exchanging ornaments at Christmas for a number of years. This is the 4th ornament from Barb that will hang on my tree.

This year she sent me a biscornu (biscornu is French for oddly shaped thing, or something like that). It is made up of two four sided pieces of cloth, sewn together to make an 8-sided piece. It is meant to be a pin cushion, but this one is an ornament.

I just love it! Thank you Barb! It will hang proudly in the "Barb section" of my tree!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flip it Blocks - All Done!

I started stitching one block a month on this piece back in January, and today, I finished it! This is the Lizzie Kate Flip-It Blocks from a few years ago. I saw Teresa Dorn's finished piece awhile back, and it just called to me to stitch it myself.

126 hours of stitching later - Ta Da! All done!

This is stitched on 28 count evenweave that is very much like a Rustico fabric. I purchased it at Hobby Lobby off the bolt a few years ago, and wish I would have bought more of it! Hobby Lobby doesn't carry it anymore and I haven't been able to get it anywhere!

I used Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts Sampler Threads on this piece. The finished size is 10 1/2 by 13, and I don't know how I will "finish" it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Christmas Gift to Each of You

My dear friends and family,

Somewhat embarrassing to admit but Christmas will be tight this year. I will be making bedroom slippers for you all as gifts. Please let me know your sizes. You'll most likely agree that it's a splendid idea, and should you wish to do the same, I've included the instructions below.

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:
You need four maxi pads to make a pair.
Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part.
The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.
Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.
Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc.
These slippers are:
* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe
* Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the Sand Bags.

I've attached a photo of the first pair I made so that you can see the nifty slippers for yourself....

Awaiting your response. It's crucial that I get the right size for each one of you.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Spool Tree Ornaments

I finished these ornaments recently, and love how they turned out.
This is from the 2007 Just Cross Stitch Ornamant Issue, and is by Sue Hillis.

I stitched these on 32 count antique white linen, with DMC floss and added some red and green buttons.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Another Ta Da!!!! Hungarian Sampler finish

I finished the 7th (last) part of the Hungarian Sampler earlier today!
Another Happy Dance for me! And another piece that I don't really have plans for, the journey was more important that the destination.

This piece was stitched on 32 count antique white lugana with Vicki Clayton silks in Dragon Blood and Zepher Cobalt.

The phrase stitched on the sampler translates to: All Beginnings are Hard.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

5 Whimzie Rose Ornaments

I recently stitched these 5 ornaments and finished them as ornaments.

They are stitched on 32 count antique white mystery linen, with DMC floss. The pattern can be found on the Just Nan website, it is a free chart.

These are all gifts, so they should be arriving in some mailboxes very soon!

Friday, December 05, 2008

An Ornament in the Mail!

I came home from work today, cranky because the neighbor's car alarm kept me up all night, to find an envelope addressed to me from Robin in WA!!!

Robin was assigned to send an ornament to my in XStoeXcess Ornament exchange, and did she ever send me a beauty! The photo doesn't do it justice!

The chart she used was the Prairie School Christmas Strawberries chart, which is now on my wish list!

Thank you so much Robin, I really love it!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ornament Models finished

Before the magazines were published, Sue Hillis asked me to find some fabric and fibres for these two ornament designs. Her local model stitcher had already stitched them on 25 count fabric over 1, but Sue thought they were a bit big, and wanted them done on 28 count fabric.

I found the fabric she wanted and brought it to her, and then, silly me, I volunteered to stitch them. Only at the time I didn't realize they were to be done "over one". For you non-stitchers, that is really, really tiny! The stitching wasn't so bad, but the frogging was terrible!
Anyway, the charts can be found in the Just Cross Stitch Ornament Preview Issue and in the Ornament Issue itself. They were done on 28 count Lugana, on white and Victorian Red, with GAST - chalk, and WDW - garnet.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

TA DA!!! EMS Rose Sampler finished!

I started this one in March of 2008, and after catching up with the releases, stitched one page per month. Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 I put the last stitches into it.
Now that it is finished, I don't quite know what I will do with it. I have no place to hang it at the moment. The finished size is 13 x 19. It will need a custom frame.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Blue Ornaments

I stitched these ornaments a few years ago, but didn't think the stitching was finished. The cover of the chart shows a white cord around the design and it looks like it is couched. I fiddled with it and nothing I did looked right. I finally decided to finish them as is.

I like how they turned out! There are three more in this set. Perhaps I can stitch those for next year.

Two of these will be gifts and one will hang on my tree.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Progress and Goals

November Progress
10 hours on Rocky Mountain Christmas done
November Flip-It Block – Lizzie Kate done
Part 11 EMS Rose Sampler done
November Teapot – Just Another Button Company done
1 block on Northwoods afghan done
Hungarian Sampler part 6 done
mystery sampler part 4 done
2nd ornament model - stitched on it
Captain’s Inn – LHN done

December Goals
10 hours on Rocky Mountain Christmas
2nd ornament model
December Flip-It Block – Lizzie Kate
Part 12 EMS Rose Sampler
December Teapot – Just Another Button Company
1 block on Northwoods afghan
Hungarian sampler part 7
Mystery sampler part 5
start Amilie’s baby sampler
mitten ornaments

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Afghan Progress

I finally got a chance to get back to the Northwoods afghan, and stitched the moose square.

I have 4 squares stitched so far, and hope to get a lot more done on it over the winter months. Hopefully, it will be done for Jonathan's birthday in May.

It is being stitched on a 18 count beige Proud Pine afghan, over two threads with 4 strands of DMC floss, backstitched with 2 strands of floss.

Here is the afghan so far, with 4 squares stitched.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tony!

Today is my oldest son's birthday. Happy Birthday baby boy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!

Today's photo is of a finish from a few years ago, and is called Happy Thanksgiving by Sue Hillis. The was the very first time I ever used something other than DMC and I remember being very confused. The leaves on the tree are done with Caron Watercolors Wild Fire. I remember wondering how just one color floss could produce such colorful leaves on the tree, but once I found the floss, I saw how highly variegated it is. It was such fun to stitch with, I couldn't wait to use variegated floss again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Great Mail Day!

I came home from work on Monday to find a box from Teresa. This was for the Stitching Divas ornament exchange, but she sent more than an ornament! She included a lovely hand towel, complete with chart and floss in pretty box tied with a very festive ribbon. I can't wait to stitch the towel! I won't have it done in time for this Christmas, but definitely for next year.

The ornament itself is just wonderful! It is a simple reindeer taken from a sampler chart, but stitched over 1! Such tiny and perfect stitches! It will make a lovely addition to my Christmas tree, and will hang in a place of honor for years to come.

Thank you again, Teresa, I love it all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holy Hopping Lederhosen!

This past Sunday, some of the family gathered at the German club for the anual Sunday-Before-Thanksgiving Brunch, now known as the Santa Brunch, hosted by the youthgroup. It was a lovely event, with lots of good food and fellowship, and of course a raffle.

One of the more unique raffle items was a "Remote Control Hopping Lederhosen with Knockwurst remote control" that also yoddeled. It was won by some friends of ours so we got to see it up close and personal but did not have time to install the batteries to see it in operation.

BUT...there is a web site that shows how it works. Hopping Lederhosen is sure to put a chuckle in your day! Be sure your sound is turned on, you wouldn't want to miss the yoddeling!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Captain's Inn Finished

I finished Captain's Inn by Little House Needleworks over the weekend. At first I was going to stitch a tall ship instead of the Captain's Inn sign, but then changed my mind again and stitched it as charted.

I spent some time this weekend looking for a frame for it, but didn't find what I was looking for. I don't want to do a custom frame, so I will just keep on looking. A standard 8 x 10 frame will work, it just has to be deep enough to accommodate the needlework, mounting and backing.
This was stitched on 28 count ivory jobelan fabric, with DMC and Gentle Arts Sampler Threads as recommended.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Wonderful Surprise in the Mail

Saturday, I came home very late in the afternoon from a day of being on the go to find a large envelope in my mailbox. It was from my ornament exchange partner on 123 Stitch, Kay, from New Zealand.

What a great package! Kay included pamphlets from the area where she lives, pictures of her home and the view from her home. Some coins, a fun pen, a pin the says "Kiwi crossing" and TWO Cherry Ripes! (I wonder how she knew I love Cherry Ripes?)

Also included in the envelope was an ornament that she stitched, and the flying Santa is so cute! I love it! He will have a place of honor on my tree!

Thank you, Kay, I really loved the package and hope you will enjoy what I am sending to you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blessings of the season

As we near Thanksgiving, I thought I would post a finish from a few years ago. This one is called Harvest Blessing, by Sue Hillis. It was probably the third or fourth Sue Hillis design I stitched, and also the third or fourth piece on linen/evenweave. This was the second time I had ever used a specialty fibre. The border and lettering are all done in Wildflowers Fiesta, by Caron. It is a highly varigated cotton, single strand, very much like a perle cotton. I really enjoyed working with it, and it has become my favorite fibre!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save the Choo Choo!

The Choo Choo Restaurant in Des Plaines IL is right down the street from the very first McDonalds. For generations, it has been delighting young and old alike. Children love to sit at the counter or end booths and watch as the train delivers their meal. There is usually quite a wait for a seat at the counter even in colder weather. You can read about the restaurant and it's history at Save the Choo Choo.

The City of Des Plaines would like to tear it down to build a new police station . If you are so inclined, please sign the petion on the Save the Choo Choo web site, you can find it by clicking the link above.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What does 200 hours of stitching yield?

Here is Rocky Mountain Christmas with 200 hours of stitching completed. I have now completed a little more than 5 of the 6 pages, and see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I hope to have it finished sometime this spring, if I can keep up with the 10 hours per month. 50 to 60 hours stitching should finish it up completely.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Congratulations, Mark!

My youngest son, Mark, was sworn in as a firefighter/paramedic in Prospect Heights IL this morning. He has been working toward this goal for a number of years, and we are all so proud of him and excited for him!

Monday, November 17, 2008

November Teapot

I finished the November Teapot on Sunday afternoon. When I started stitching this one, I didn't think I was going to like it, but kept on stitching anyway, as it wouldn't do to be missing a month in the finished series. It was lousy at first to stitch on the dark fabric, but I used the usually tricks: good light, white towel on my lap, etc. As time went on, it began to grow on me, and now that it's finished, I do like it!
I have now decided that a wall hanging with all twelve teapots isn't going to work. There are too many colored fabrics to deal with, and the wall hanging will be too large. Add to this the 12 co-ordinating teacups that I will be stitching next year, and it gives one more reason why a wall hanging will not be practical. So I have decided to frame each one individually, under glass, and hang them all around my kitchen, on the soffit above the cabinets. Now I need to find 24 7 x 7 frames, wholesale......

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday Evening Concert

Saturday evening, John and I went to a choral concert. My daughter, Viki, sings with the Chicago Chamber Choir, and they had their fall concerts this weekend.
Although I try to attend every concert my children are involved in, I was originally excused from this concert. That is until Viki was chosen to do a major solo. So, this nice Catholic girl and the nice Lutheran boy went to a concert of Jewish music.
Dinner before the concert was great, the concert was wonderful, and Viki was amazing! Okay, you are going to tell me I am a bit biased, but after the concert, two different people with very heavy accents came up to her to tell her how wonderful she was, and that her Hebrew was excellent! Both of these people were from Israel, so I think they would know. Countless others stopped to compliment her on her solo. I was very proud, I paid for those voice lessons in high school!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Why am I posting about socks on a stitching blog? Well, stitchers can be a crazy bunch. One group of stitchers on the Threads of Life board, decided to do a "sock exchange". Every participant was assigned someone to whom they were to send socks. As you can probably imagine, some of the socks were quite wild, as this group of stitchers is a wild and crazy bunch!

This is a picture of the socks I received from Sue in Reno. They are wonderful!

I sent some socks to Loni. I was quite conservative compared to everyone else, but I did manage to find some stitching themed socks!

Thank you, Sue, for the really wild socks to keep my feet warm! And Loni, I hope you enjoy your socks, too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Flip-It Block Added

I stitched the November Flip-It Block the other day. I loved working with the fall colors.

I only have one more block to finish and will do so after the first of December. Then the entire piece will be finished!