Friday, January 16, 2015

Rolling along...and Gifted Gorgeousness Entry

It's been a busy year so far...and though I'm behind in a couple of SAL's, I'm keeping up with a few goals.  I started a little encouragement group that hopefully will help me keep focused on finishing two projects I started this month...with the hopes to finish by the end of the year.  So far I'm going well on one of them, but struggling with another.

I began the Red Thread by Bent Creek New Year's day.  I've stitched the first four little squares (each one represents one month....and because I'm backwards...I finished December, November, October, and September.)  It's been a very quick stitch and I have no doubt I'll finish before the year is up.  Here's my progress so far.







I started Aurora Cabin...a kit by Dimensions.  The first color of blue called for six strands.  YIKES!!  It was so hard to pull the thread through, the fabric would pop each time I drew the needle through.  The next color also called for six strands, but I decided to use only four.  It's covering fine, and is much easier to pull through...so...I'll use the six strands for the other color, but anywhere else I'm using four!!  Craziness!!  Here's my progress so far.



My last project here I started this morning, and finished tonight.  It was a very quick stitch, and such fun!!  A friend gave me her pattern.  She had used the materials that came in the kit, so I chose some fabric, and found a heart that I loved.  I'm pretty sure the heart is bigger than the one in the kit, but I thought it was pretty.  I hope it doesn't look too big...what do you think?  This is A Little Christmas by Lizzie Kate.  Another goal this year is to try and finish two Christmas/Winter themed pieces each month.  Only one more to go!!  This is this months "Gifted Gorgeousness SAL" entry.



I've been a little preoccupied for the last two weeks.  Last January my Mom was rushed to the hospital by helicopter with a ruptured aneurysm.  Thankfully she survived and I was able to spent 6 weeks with her helping her adjust back home.  This year...nearly exactly one year later, she was rushed to the hospital by ambulance to a larger hospital 70+ miles away, with a mysterious ailment that they  never did figure out.  This time I stayed put in Maryland.  Whew!!  She was sent home a couple  of days later, and seems to be okay.  It's hard living so far from her.  Hopefully she'll stay  healthy now!

There have been a few other things occupying my mind and my time...but hopefully I'll still find time to get some stitching done!  I'll keep you posted!  

I was invited to a stitch day yesterday and as always, had fun with my stitching friends.  It is always fun to meet up with these ladies, the laughter and stories that fly sure make my day!  Stitching buds really are the best!

Off to get more stitching done.  Take care!

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year...New Start

It's a new year...time to turn over a new leaf!  Right?  Let's hope so!  I have a good feeling about the year 2015!!  I'm so ready to leave 2014 in the dust!

I've started a couple of big projects I hope to finish this year.  They are substantial, but ones I truly WANT to finish and frame.  I started them both on New Year's day, so lets see if my wishes will come true!

The first is Aurora Cabin, a Dimensions Gold Treasure Kit.  It is stitched on 16 ct. Aida that came in the kit.  Wish me luck, as I HATE Aida...we'll see if my fingers can deal with this...as the first part I started stitching has me pulling SIX strands of floss through those little unyielding holes.  OUCH!!  Thankfully this is only half cross stitches, and only in a good portion of the sky.  If I can get past this part, the rest should be a breeze...keep your fingers crossed!




The second is The Red Thread by Bent Creek.  It is stitched on 32 ct linen over two...no Gillie...these are not stitched on 40 over one...feel better now?  LOL!!  I've already realized I didn't buy enough floss...ugh!!  I was hoping this would be the year I would stitch from stash.  I will forgive myself a few skeins of floss here and there, but I am determined to save money this year and only buy what I absolutely NEED...not want!!!



I finished up The Weather Vane by Little House Needleworks on New Years Eve...and that became my last finish for the year 2014!  I loved stitching this!!



I received a couple of cross stitch gifts for Christmas.  If all goes as planned, I hope to stitch up some characters from the nativity (Mill Hill Bead kits...8 of them so far...I hope to find and get the angel later as a belated Christmas gift from DH.)  I am going to stitch them on fabric, then make "cubes" out of them so I can have a new Nativity for my collection next Christmas.  Wish  me luck!! 

I also hope to finish two Christmas ornaments a month.  I tried to do that last year...and actually finished quite a few.  I lost track towards the end of the year, but I'm pretty sure I stitched at least 12...if not more.  It helped at the end of the year not to have such a crunch to get things done and out on time.

I'm also participating in another RR this year.  I posted pictures last time of the first one I've stitched on.  It's ready and waiting to go in the mail, as soon as I get my buns in gear.  Hopefully tomorrow!

Lastly, I hope to finish up some WIPS I have floating around here.  It is so unlike me to not finish something I started, but I am totally in over my head with some of the UFOs I started and then set aside.  One BIGGIE...is the afghan I started for my Mom.  I hope to finish that this month.  *fingers, toes, arms, legs and eyes crossed*  Yes...I do look like  a demented pretzel in this position, and it makes it hard to stitch...so wish me luck...will you?



We squeezed in a little trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore the day after Christmas.  It's always a good time with my guys...they keep me in stitches! 







I've been reflecting on the past year, mainly because each year we write a letter for our Christmas cards, and it always amazes me how much we do, and how far we come in a year.  It's been a busy year for us, one full of ups and downs, trials and treasures.  I will say, as difficult as this year was for us, there were some really wonderful treats thrown in.  This year marked a month away from home caring for my Mom who suffered a ruptured aneurysm last January.  I made her promise not to get sick in the dead of winter again.  I was away for 6 weeks while the snow piled up around us...not my cup of tea anymore!  LOL  She is doing great since though!  I say it's because of  my amazing nursing skills, but actually her Dr. can take most of the credit.  He was amazing!!  We lost my MIL near the middle of the year.  Through the sadness and tears, we did connect with family members we hadn't seen in quite a long while, and healing took place too.  I'm a firm believer that out of every circumstance, good or bad, something good comes.  We learned my BIL has cancer and has been undergoing treatment, but at last report there has not been any spread of the disease, and he seems to be doing well.  There was a wedding in the family!  We were able to visit my cousin in NC briefly, and heard that her long lost brother was recently found and reconnected with the family.  We haven't heard from him in literally decades!!  We learned that there will be two new members of our family in the new year (a niece and a nephew's wife will be having babies), so we are rejoicing with them!  DH and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with a life long dream of an Alaskan adventure.  The guys totally spoiled me on my birthday with a weekend trip out of town...we took in a dinner theater AND...got to attend a "meet and greet" of two of my favorite TV personalities...Jason Hawes and Steve Gonzalves.  What fun!!  Our son became a full time employee, received a raise and a promotion and finished his first two college courses with good grades.  He took a missions trip to Puerto Rico this year, which he paid fully on his own...so proud of the man he has become!  He has a heart for those in need and acts on it!  Sadly, he is making plans to move out with a couple of his friends.  The thought of being an empty-nester doesn't appeal to me so we are doing as much as we can with him while he still lives with us.  I'm happy he will be moving on, progress is a good thing, yet my heart is breaking a little too.  Yes...the good far outweighs the bad...and we enter into 2015 with high hopes of more good times ahead.  So...on that note...I wish you many blessings in the coming New Year, and hopes of lots of stitching progress!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Gift...

Wow, I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I updated my blog...where in the world did the time go???  I've been busy, but with nothing much to show for it!  I need a vacation from life...how about you?

It's a glorious foggy day here in Maryland this morning.  I just love the fog!!  Here's a picture from my front window...



So...I have very little stitching to show you since I've been running from pillar to post with little rest in between.  But it has been a lovely wild ride!!

First off, I have finished another year long SAL that Gillie so kindly bought for me...I loved stitching on it and really love the outcome.  I changed the wording in the center a little since it was originally in French.  Thanks again, Gillie, it was a wonderful stitch!





Next are a few last minute ornaments I made that were used in an ornament exchange.  Sadly I think one of the recipients wasn't too happy that he got a hand stitched ornament...oh well.    Next year I'll bring store bought and give my hand made ornaments to someone who will appreciate them.



I just finished up last night  my part in a RR that a group of 8 of us just got started in November.  This one promises to be lovely when she gets it finished.  It was so much fun being the first to choose which one I wanted to stitch!  Hope she likes my stitching!!




Last is something I made for a friend in England.  Her nickname is Mouse, and when I saw this pattern, I just had to make it for her.  She has shown pictures of her stitching room, and it has a fireplace that looks similar to this one.  As soon as I have finished framing it, it will be winging it's way to Merry Ol' England...but only after the holidays are over.




I've been working like a fiend on my Mom's afghan (which I did not finish in time for Christmas).  Unfortunately the afghan was taking more time than I anticipated, but I figure I only have about 20 more hours to stitch all the rows together and get the border around the edge done.  Um...if you're lucky, you  may get it by next year, Mom!!  Sorry!!!!! 



What has been keeping me so busy?  Well, my friend Astrid has been moving into her new home, and a few days I've been over there finger her stash ah...I mean, helping her to organize her stitching room.  One day we went shopping...and made donuts...but mostly I've been busy shopping for the holidays.  I did happen to do some Christmassy stuff, such as go to the Festival of Trees with my good friend, Ms. M.  I also saw the Russian Ballet perform the Nutcracker for the first time.  It was a lovely evening with three other ladies.  We received a DVD and an actual Nutcracker with our tickets to the ballet.  Afterwards we had dinner, then drove to Federal Hill in Baltimore to view the Inner Harbor from the park there.  It was a wonderful evening, one I will not forget!





The Ballet was just what I needed to allow me to catch my breath and enjoy the wonderful time of year we are celebrating.  I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed, Happy and Healthy New Year!  I do hope you'll find peace and rest during this season and remember why we celebrate...the timeless and wonderful gift from God, the Prince of Peace, His one and only Son, Jesus.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Taking a breather...

Whew!!  Seems like I've been on fast forward for months now, and I'm just a wee bit tired!  So much going on and I do feel a bit overwhelmed.  But now that Thanksgiving has passed, I will have a bit of a breather, I hope.  I have a lot of stitching I want to finish in a short period of time.

I've been a busy person, but now that my Christmas exchange piece has been sent and mine received, I can show you what I stitched for my partner.  I struggled to get this finished up in time, seems the day I was working on finishing it, my hands were all thumbs.  Thankfully, she was gracious about it and seemed to like it.  I hope you enjoy it for many years to come, Joyce!





And here is what she sent to me.  I can't wait to hang it on my tree...which should be going up sometime today or at least this weekend!




A lot of my SALs are finishing up, and I was able to finally finish the one I've been working on since last January.  I loved working on the heart portions, but I will say the background got monotonous after a while!!  It was stitched over one on 28 count and I love how it came out....now to finish it in a bell pull/wall hanging type thingy.  I wish I knew how to sew, or at least live near someone who could help!!



Last month was Pastor Appreciation month, but we were crazy busy, so when we had a chance, we offered to babysit the youth pastor's baby daughter so he and his wife could have a night out to themselves.  We threw in movie tickets and money for a nice dinner out.  Their baby is so sweet!!  And they brought us flowers as a thank you (silly kids!!)  They work so hard, and I remember when our son was little, a night like this would have been like heaven!!  I challenge you to find someone to bless over the holidays!  I can tell you it did more to get me in the mood for the holidays than anything else we could have done!




We did take a day out last week and went to New York City to see the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall.  And what a show!!  It was over waaaayyy too quickly!!  It was quite a trip, with lots of "issues" but that's what makes it memorable, right?  The ladies we were with thought we were funny because nothing seemed to ruffle our feathers....LOL!!  Here are some of the sights we saw...
 


















I searched high and low for this pattern!  It is in the current issue of Needlepoint Now and is by Weinenberg designs.  Once I found the pattern I then had trouble finding the materials I needed to stitch it.  Whew!!  I am still waiting on something I had to order, but when I have a second, I plan to get this on stretcher bars and get started...can't wait!!



As seems to be the case with  most of the SALs I work on, I finished up the first two pars, just in time to receive the next FOUR!!  The designer sent out the next four parts so we could work on them at our own pace over the holidays.  Thankfully there isn't a lot of stitching in the next four parts, but here is what I've done so far.  The beads on this project are slightly driving me batty (no comments from the peanut gallery about how close I am to batty already...LOL) and I've already used a whole box of beads (five boxes were required!!).  I imagine I won't be working on this much for a week or so...




Here are a couple of finishes I did ...




And one of the centerpieces I created for our Thanksgiving dinner.  We were invited to someone's house this year and she asked for centerpieces, along with pie and ice cream.  This was made of cheese and pepperoni and crackers.  I thought the guys would like some snacks while watching the football game, and an hour after we got there, all that was left was the body of the turkey...all the feathers were gone!!  LOL  I'm surprised they had room for turkey!!

 

Last, but not least, is the "surprise" I'm working on for someone....there is a lot of stitching left to do, but I'm working on it as much as I can...



And THAT, as they say, is THAT!!  Off to make a space for our Christmas tree, as soon as the guys are back to help set it up!