Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

2011 Finishes

Can you believe another year has come and gone? I thought I'd squeak in a final post for the year and do a little recap of 2011. Above you can see my finishes for 2011. A couple of quilts, some beading, some finishing, and a few medium-sized pieces.

They are (from left to right):

Camille's French Sampler, Holly Wool Biscornu, Snow Garden, Be Mine
Indulgence, 2000 Years Ago, Joyful Night, Valentine Rose
Dash Away All, a beaded fob, Day of the Dead earrings, Sweet Treats Block 1 and Border
Stars & Stripes, Honfleur Sampler, Angel of Tulips, Garden of Eerie
Penny Angel, Mele Kalikimaka, Hand & Heart, Joy

I linked each of those to the associated blog post so you can get more info on them if you want. I'm pleased with my finishes for the year, although I'd hoped to have more. But, isn't that the way it always is?

As for the books I read this year, here's my little list for that as well...

City of Bones
The Forgery of Venus*
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet*
Parrot & Olivier in America*
Lover Mine
A Northern Light
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
The Hare with Amber Eyes*
Living Dead in Dallas
Heaven is for Real
The Help
Lover Unleashed
An Object of Beauty*
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Club Dead
Soulless
The Paris Wife*

The books with asterisks are book club books.

And I thought I'd share with you a look at my ort jar. I've been letting these bits pile up for awhile (much longer than just the past year - they are packed in there really well), and decided that tomorrow will be a fresh new start across the board.

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After my stitching today, I'll empty this out and begin anew on January 1.

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I'd really like to also finish Margaret Cottam, but that may not happen before the ball drops at midnight. I would love to see another "1" on that corner though!

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And tomorrow, I will have a new start, as part of my New Year's Day tradition. I can't wait!

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Happy New Year!

I am grateful for new beginnings.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All Hearts Come Home

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I thought I'd share a few little photos of our holiday home. I absolutely love having seasonal stitched pieces out, and I hope in the next year to have more of them.

I had hoped to have all of my ornaments finished and hanging on the tree at this point, but it hasn't happened yet. I should just bite the bullet and get over it, like Siobhan did. But, at least I have two new ornaments to hang on the tree (actually, now that I think of it, there's three...I just forgot to photograph this one).

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Maybe before the tree comes down on January 1, I'll be able to add a few more to it?

And I will let you in on another little secret. Since sometime in mid-June, I've been looking everywhere for the fabric I used on my 2000 Years Ago piece. I needed the extra fabric for the back of an ornament as well as to make a hanger so that 2000 Years Ago could be displayed at Christmas. Well. Let me tell you, I tore this place apart. Looked in every bag, box and basket of fabric I have. Looked in places I didn't really think it would be...and never found it. I was getting very sad that I was going to have to use thumbtacks to put up my pretty wallhanging, or just drape it over the tree like some kind of Christmas poncho. But, when I pulled out my boxes of Christmas decorations, guess what I found. My bag of fabric, that had fallen behind the Christmas decorations in the closet. Hallelujah! So, I zip zip zip sewed a little sleeve on the back of the wallhanging and hung that sucker on the wall.

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Of course, now that I look at it on the wall, I think it needs something. Some extra little ooomph of some sort. I'll just have to figure out what. But, it's hanging!!

If you'd like to see more photos of our home decorated for the holidays, take a look here, on the other blog. There are photos from NYC at Christmas a few years ago too, if you go back a couple of posts over there.

Anyway, I'm sure you're all wondering when I'm actually going to talk about stitching and if, in fact, there is any going on. Well, wonder no more. This was my Thanksgiving Day start.

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Margaret Cottam, by La-D-Da. I have finished part 1 and am well into part 2. I don't have part 3 yet, but I'm sure it's coming in the near future. I'm stitching MC on the called for Weeks Cocoa linen, but on 40ct. Isn't she lovely. I have really been enjoying her.

And MC is not alone. I've got some other stuff I'm up to, but I can't share quite yet. I'll just have to leave you with a little teaser.

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I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, filled with lots of friends, fun & family. Oh and eggnog too, don't forget the eggnog!

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I am grateful for pumpkin seeds in my salad.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Joy

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I can finally share with you the ornament I stitched for our guild's annual ornament exchange. It's the Blackbird Designs "Joy" ornament from this year's JCS Ornament Issue. I didn't have any of the Belle Soies called for on hand, and didn't want to shell out $90 to buy them for an ornament, so I ended up doing my own conversion to overdyed cottons. I'm really pleased with how the conversion turned out. I stitched this on 32ct Vintage Pearled Barley (Lakeside Linens). I typically lean towards 40ct these days, but as you can see on 32ct it's a good size (32ct was the recommended count). I also used some of the new Crescent Colours chenille trim, which gave it a fun pop. The fabric it's sitting on is what I used for the back.

The holiday party was a ton of fun, and I was so glad to have a night of relaxation and fun with my stitching buddies.

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My photo of the food was a little early in the evening, many more yummy things arrived later. I did take photos of the desserts, but they were all blurry (it's hard to take photos when you're stuffing your mouth).

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Our hostess had already finished our guild's 2011 ornament and had it displayed on one of her trees.

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And it was fun to see my ornament from last year's exchange hanging on her tree too!

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There are always such beautiful examples of stitching at our exchanges. I always feel like I need to step it up a notch! Here are a couple of examples.

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And here's the whole lot! (Unfortunately my photo doesn't show that ornament in the top right. It was the most gorgeous thing stitched on a pale lavender linen with sparkles on it. Stunning!

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And lucky me - here's the ornament I came home with!

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This is this year's ornament by Plum Street Samplers. I was actually planning on stitching this one for myself, but now I don't have to! And Laurie's stitching is gorgeous and she did an amazing finishing treatment on this - I just love the little jingle bells!! I'm so excited to have this hanging on my tree this year!

It was a great time, and it's always so fun to see what everyone stitches.

I am grateful for my Dad coming home from the hospital.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Fair Share

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Don't get too excited - it's not mine. But since I can't share what I've been working on until after the guild's annual ornament exchange tomorrow, I thought I'd share with you a few photos from the State Fair.

I always love to visit the Creative Arts building to see what fabulous things people have entered at the Fair each year. And of course, my favorite part is often that front case where the best of the best are displayed. You can see my posts from the last couple of years here and here.

Anyway, the Caribbean Mandala from Chatelaine Designs was in that front case this year. And it is stunning. I love how it was framed on point. You just cannot imagine how truly gorgeous these pieces are unless you have seen one in person. I definitely need to get my Chatelaines out and get them finished.

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And I always love seeing the quilts too. This one was adorable - so tiny and using those great 30's repro fabrics.

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I've seen the jar quilts done with bugs and butterflies, but I loved this candy jar quilt. So fun!

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And my photo of this hooked rug is horrible, but you get the idea. This hare was wonderful - I wanted to take him home with me.

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And finally, one last quilt - I loved the color palette in this one. It really makes those rings stand out!

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There wasn't a huge number of things I fell in love with this year (but I did keep going back to look at that mandala). You can probably mark that up to the fact that I had a migraine, but I was determined to enjoy the day anyway.

I've also posted the rest of my fair photos at the other blog, if you're interested. It seems a little odd to be posting about the fair in December, but what can I say. I'll probably be posting about Christmas in April. I'm really looking forward to the guild holiday party tomorrow night and I hope that my ornament is well received. I'm always excited to see what every one else stitches too. I'll be back with photos of that soon!

I am grateful for migraine-free moments.