January 26, 2013

I Have No Idea What to Call This Update

Obviously, I'm not posting much. So I have no idea what to call this. Be warned though. It's pretty picture heavy! (I love pictures on other people's blogs, so I figured you must love them too!)

As I have written before (I think - my mind is totally going), I have been in the process of setting up our dining room as my craft room/office. I managed to convince my husband that we could split up the furniture and now he is using the dining room table as his desk and the hutch/cabinet as his storage in his office. Which left me the huge china cabinet and the cabinet that my grandfather made for my own storage. Here are some pictures of my new, homey, gorgeous room of my own.

I am in love with my new chairs and the little table in between that I bought at the local furniture store. The chairs are glider rockers and they are the most comfortable chairs I've ever sat in. We are going to replace the ugly chandelier with a combination ceiling fan/light fixture. This room has an entire wall of windows that have the sun in the afternoon. The light is simply awesome and I am in love with my own space!

Right after I got my craft room all set up, I went away to Camp Wannastitch in Ocean City with our EGA president for three days. It was absolutely awesome and if you are able to get to the east coast without too much difficulty and are a member of the EGA (and maybe even if you're not), you should definitely sign up for this next year. It's every January on the three day weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday. It's held at the Clarion on 101st Street and they provide a room block at a reduced rate and an entire banquet hall with tables for all day/night stitching. If you'd like to check it out, you can search Camp Wannastitch on Facebook, as there is now a page with information. I am trying to convince them to do a second weekend because it was so much fun, so we are discussing maybe going in October this year. Since that was my idea, I might have to do the planning, but it would really be worth it.

Weirdly enough, the best needlework shop I have ever been in is on 8th street on the Boardwalk. I would never have thought that there would be a shop at the ocean, but this one has been there for 30 years. It's called Salty Yarns and they do have yarn, but they also have the most comprehensive selection of designers' charts and kits, thread, fabric, and embellishments. I discovered the designer Shepherd's Bush last weekend and here is what I bought:

Aren't they adorable? And they are all kitted up with silk thread, which I have never used, linen, and embellishments. I kept it to three, but I suspect I will be buying more if I enjoy stitching these.

Speaking of stitching, here is what I accomplished at the retreat.

I am really not enjoying the Hardanger project at all. I think it's the number 5 perle cotton the pattern calls for. I am hoping to get all of the icky number 5 finished so I can change to number 8. The hardanger fabric is very hard to use, as the holes get covered by the thick thread, so I spent a lot of the weekend ripping out and putting back in to make sure it's right. You don't want to miscount on this piece because there will be cutting down the line. I'm terrified of cutting the threads, but the whole point is that there will be holes between your motifs.

When I got frustrated with the hardanger, I pulled out my sampler and have gotten quite a bit done on it. I really would like to finish a few projects before starting any new ones and have forced myself to put away the ones I bought last weekend so that I can try to get some of these UFO's finished.

One of the things I noticed on the retreat was that almost every woman there was using some type of frame to hold her stitching. I never knew that I was doing it "wrong" for 30 years by not putting my work on a frame! So I came home and borrowed a scroll frame and lap stand for it and my friend, Monica, from the guild came over and put it all together for me.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring Princess
This is one of those UFO's I was talking about and I would really like to get her out of my to be finished box! We will see how I like using a frame. I also ordered a smaller lapstand that I can sit on and work with both hands from above and below, so I will put that together and see if I like it with the q-snap frame that I have. I may end up going back to stitching without a frame, but with so many people doing it the other way, I have to give it a try.

I have lots of pictures from the retreat of other people's work, but I will save them for another blog entry, as this one is already too long.

Happy stitching!


January 04, 2013

A New Start in the New Year

It's been awhile since my last update, but that doesn't mean my fingers haven't been busy! In fact, when we went to my parents' house for Christmas, I picked up a new skill - crochet!

This was about how big it was before we left to come home and the picture below is where I was last night.

This pattern (my mom's actually) calls for seven skeins of yarn and I have finished four and a third, so it's going to be large. And that was my goal, because I wanted something you could really wrap up in when it's freezing outside. I'm having so much fun with this project that I promised Jamie and Joey both a blanket for their rooms. Unfortunately, Jamie picked black and gray as his colors, so I don't know that it will be as much fun to do that one, but Joey wants blue and red and that will be a little more interesting.

Of course, I haven't forgotten my cross stitching. I picked up my sampler that I got back in June at In Stitches and decided to see if I could get that project finished. Here is where I am right now.

Sweet Humility Sampler by Brenda Keyes

I hope to have this finished up by the end of January.

Our latest project for the Embroidery Guild is this adorable little scissors case. I've finished it completely except for putting the cording on the edges and adding some beads to a couple of tassels at the bottom. This one should be finished up by the end of the weekend. It was worked on canvas, so I can't say I'll be sorry to see it go. It's been hard on the fingers.

Hapsburg Lace Scissors Case by Tanya Berlin

I will be starting a new project to be worked on weekly with a couple of friends from the guild. This is an old Hardanger pattern and I will be stitching it on 22 count light rose linen with white perle cotton. I'm terrified of any pattern that calls for cutting pieces of fabric out, but I really want to learn this technique.

I found this Little House Needleworks pattern at our new local needlework shop in Middletown. I thought it would be fun to do, as it is in honor of the EGA. Someone suggested giving it as a gift to our President for forming our chapter, but I doubt I will be able to let it go once I've stitched it up! We'll see!

Embroidery Guild by Little House Needleworks

Of course, there are other projects that are in progress and we will be starting a new "band" sampler for the guild which will take all year to finish. I certainly have enough to keep me busy for several lifetimes.

And, just because I didn't have enough on my plate, I signed up for Vonna's sheep stitch along. You can find information at The Twisted Stitcher under "Blogs I am Hosting" down on the right hand side. For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me put this in as a link, but I am sure you all know Vonna. This will also be a year long commitment. What am I thinking??? I hope I can find enough hours to get all of these things done! But what stitcher's stash is complete without a pile of UFO's?

I am loving the crocheting so much that I was thinking I might start making some baby blankets or lap blankets for the local hospital or hospice. I need to find out who would be the person to contact about that after I finish the one I am making for the couch and the ones for the boys. I'm assuming Ben will probably want one as well, so I need to get his color request. Hopefully it will be something bright!

Finally, I was nominated twice for the Liebster Blog award and I want to thank the two women who nominated me (as soon as I go back and get their names!) I'm not going to nominate anyone right now, as I simply don't have time to find 5 blogs that have less than 200 followers. I hope to do that in the future, along with putting up the new "flower" symbol for the award. Thank you to whoever you were who nominated me. I really do love you!

As you all know, I lost my dear friend, Malea, in October to breast cancer. I got my notice in the mail from the insurance company a couple of weeks ago that I am due for a mammogram. I am going to be calling to schedule my appointment for this month. Please make sure you are doing your monthly self checks and getting a mammogram once a year. It could save your life. I'm doing it for Malea, because I know she would want me to.

I'm trying to remember the good times we had and the things that she taught me. My favorite lesson I learned from Malea (while I was bringing her home from radiation!) was to never lock my car door from the door lock button. I had always locked my car from that little button on the door until the day that I overshot my purse and locked my keys in the car two hours away from home. Thank God for keyless entry! Always have your keys in hand and use the attachment to your key to lock it from the outside. Every time I lock up my car, I think of Malea. I think she'd like that.