Rolling Along

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Thanks for all the comments on my last post.  It’s been fun working on some summery projects while the mood strikes.  Although I haven’t worked on it in awhile, I thought I would share my latest progress on And They Sinned.  The photo above is basically the middle (the fold) on page two.  I’ve been tracking my progress by when I need to roll my fabric on the scroll rods.  The layout of the chart is on basically legal size paper, so I roll my fabric when I get to the fold on the page and when I get to the bottom of the page.  I thought for sure page two would go so quickly because of the alphabets.  Not so much.  I got bogged down in it and it sat for quite awhile.
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I picked it back up around March of this year and got the alphabets finished up and that strawberry band.  Then it was on to the fun stuff.  I’ve been wanting to stitch those crazy birds on the flowers for so long!

This section was actually my favorite so far.  I loved the birds and the funky flowers, the grapes, and the bright colors.  It just made me super happy and excited to stitch on it.  And this section actually went really fast for me compared to how the rest has gone so far.

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And as you can see, I hit the bottom of page two and went a little past it.  Time to roll my fabric again (and give those guys pants!).

 

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This is where I currently am on page 3 (my color is really off in these two photos).  I’m excited to get down to the lion.  Sylvia (who I was stitching this with as a SAL – but she has finished hers) said the lady and the lion were her favorite part of the piece, so I’m looking forward to it.
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As you can see, I’m down at the halfway mark on page three and ready to roll my fabric again.  Plus, the guys have pants now, thank goodness.  But the best part?  I’m at the end of the vines on the sides.  They morph into trees on either side from here.  One issue I ran into, I ran out of Cherry Bark.  I’m stitching this on 40ct Elegant Bean, with the called for GAST threads.  I bought brand new skeins of everything for this project specifically, so I was a little surprised that I ran out of thread.  It wasn’t one of the threads that was identified as needing more than one skein.  But, luckily I had some on hand.
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I’ve had some other things taking my attention away from ATS over the past couple of months, but now I’m excited to get back to working on it.  Maybe a 2014 finish?

I am grateful for Crow’s Toes nail polish.  

 

Snow Day

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Thanks for all the compliments on my ornament in the last post.  I agree with you – the guild members are a talented group of stitchers!  As you know, I have been attending the Tudor Rose guild’s annual holiday party since I became a member.  I decided this time that I would also attend the Greater Dallas EGA holiday party as well.  Having never been before, I thought it would be fun to attend.  Unfortunately, the holiday party had to be postponed a week due to the crazy ice storm we had in Dallas.  We did get snow as well, but underneath that snow was a solid sheet of ice.  Needless to say – we all opted to hibernate in our houses!!
But the city thawed and we were finally able to get together for our party.  You’ve seen the ornament I stitched for the Tudor Rose exchange, so here is the ornament I stitched for EGA. 
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If I’d been thinking clearly, I would have photographed my little Santa ornament in the snow!  Alas, I wasn’t.  I’ve been mulling over stitching this ornament for a few years now.  It was actually one of the monthly sheep blankets for the Woolly Tyme club done by Homespun Elegance back in 2006.  I just always thought this was a sweet design and would be something that probably few have seen.  I just love his little Wisper beard that’s all fuzzy.  I found this great pompom trim at JoAnn’s that was a perfect choice for finishing him.  
One of the things I love about EGA is that  you have needleworkers of all kinds – cross-stitchers, needlepointers, beaders, etc.  One of the ladies brought her beaded Christmas trees to share.  You can see two of them in this photo – but she’s actually finished like six of these things!  Aren’t they awesome???
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The board members presented the outgoing President with this amazing gift.  They took a kit out of her stash (without her knowing) and they each stitched on it and then finished it.  Not only was she completely blown away by the beautiful piece – but the fact that it had come from her own stash – what a gift that is!  (Side note: if anyone would like to stitch something for me from my stash, shoot me an email.  LOL)  She had even bought these gorgeous Sajou Mother of Pearl scissors to go in the piece and quickly wen to retrieve them so that they could take their proper place!  I wish I’d gotten a photo of the outside of the piece, but it was just stunning!
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Now, on to the ornament exchange!  Here are closeups of a few I thought were eye-catching.  Loved the beaded edge and hanger on this sweet one. 
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A beaded ball with fringe.  My photo of this does it no justice. 
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This one had a lot of people’s interest – it’s a completely beaded three-dimensional star with a beautiful crystal in the center.  Loved this one so much!
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And here are some closeups of some of the fantastic ornaments together.  
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Look at the beaded cardinal – wowza!  So pretty!  I love the blackwork piece next to it as well. 
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And here they are all together.  I meant to get a closeup of the two wool ornaments – they were darling.  Again – I love how different they all are. 
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And this is the beautiful ornament I went home with.  Made by my sweet friend, Adrienne, I was thrilled I managed to hang on to it through the swapping! It’s two-sided and entirely beaded.  She is such an amazing beader. 
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So there you have it – another fun holiday party and exchange.  I will definitely be attending the EGA party again.  
I am grateful for stepping outside my comfort zone.  

The View Above

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The past few months it seems I’ve been stitching on a series of things that I couldn’t share – but now they can be revealed!  In early December, I attended the annual Tudor Rose Sampler Guild holiday party.  I’ve enjoyed attending each year but always find that I’m down to the wire getting my ornament stitched and finished for the ornament exchange I participate in.  This year I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to stitch, but when I stumbled across this Little By Little angel called “The View Above”, I knew it would be a good choice.  I thought it was a nice little nod to the Tulip Angel I stitched in 2009 for the exchange too.  She was a fun little stitch.  Finishing, on the other hand, ugh!  Twisted cording is my nemesis.  
Anyway, the party was fun, as usual.  This year instead of holding the party at a member’s home, we held it at our usual meeting place.  Our Programs Chair printed off these delightful little caskets on cardstock as a party favor – they were a freebie on Tricia Nguyen’s blog in December.  So cute!  I may color mine before I assemble it.  We’ll see!
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I wanted to show a few of the ornaments that particularly caught my eye – you know I can’t say no to a Blackbird Designs piece, right?
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I never think to stitch LHN ornaments until I see them and then I fall in love with the cute.  Love how this one was finished with that pretty (I think it may have been velveteen) red fabric and green cording (why can’t my cording look like that???).  Excuse the random red ribbon peeking out from under there – once we tore open the wrapping there were bits everywhere!
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This was a sweet, simple design but look how cute with the chenille trim, gold jingle bells in the corners and red cording for the hanger.  (again, the red ribbon photobombs my pic)
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This one really caught my eye and the photo doesn’t do it justice.  It’s by The Primitive Hare and was in the 2013 JCS issue, I think.  
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And this sweet little one – a Jeannette Douglas design.  Look at the pretty beaded edge and the tiny little over one bird.  So so cute.  (and the red ribbon is now beginning to resemble some sort of sea monster tentacles).
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Here’s a shot of all the ornaments together.  I meant to get closeups of some others, but it didn’t happen.  I’m completely in love with that Stacy Nash Silent Night one.  And that Ewe & Eye & Friends down at the bottom reminded me that I went completely gaga over seeing these stitched up on a blog a while back and meant to stitch them…clearly that plan fell by the wayside.  
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And finally, here are the ornaments I came home with.  Bonus this year – I ended up with two!  They are the sweetest little things too.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing the ornaments – every year I’m amazed at how varied the ornaments are – both in choice and in finishing.  Even when we have so many stitchers choosing ornaments out of the same magazine, we never end up with two the same.  I always come away inspired and with a long list of new ornaments to stitch.  
I am grateful for sweet little reindeer and sheep and birds.  

Summer to Fall

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Thank you so much for all the comments on my John Reed finish.  And apologies to those of you who wanted to leave comments, but couldn’t.  It seems to be some sort of hit or miss thing with either blogger or this template I’m using since some people could leave comments and some couldn’t.  So strange.  Hopefully it’s fixed now though.
I finally got around to taking some photos of some amazing birthday gifts from friends that I hadn’t had a chance to share yet.  This pincushion is a freebie design from The Sampler Girl that my friend Lori stitched and finished for me.  She actually had several friends who had August birthdays, so she made several of these and personalized them with each birthdate and initials.  Absolutely adorable – and what a perfect gift for an August birthday girl, like me!
And she backed it with this lovely blue fabric.  So fun!
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 And if that wasn’t enough, she also spoiled me with this amazing gift.  Although, when she gave it to me she said, “let me know if you figure out what it is”.  She found this at a local quilt shop and said that even the ladies at the quilt shop weren’t sure what it was.  But, since she knows my love for all things Tula, she felt like it would have a good home with me.
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It’s difficult to get the whole thing in the photo, but it does say Tula Pink for Moda (so you know this is from way back) and then it has four little pockets, which she filled with fat quarters of some Tula fabric for me, two Birds & the Bees, one Saltwater, and one Nightshade.
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So, since we were all stumped as to what this was I reached out to Miss Tula Pink herself and asked.  And she very kindly responded that this was a promotional banner Moda did for shops and the intent was for them to be able to change out the fat quarters in the pockets as new lines from the designer were released.  But the best part…
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It’s made to look like a fabric selvedge!  How fun is that???  It has a little sleeve at the top for hanging and then you can change out your focus fabrics at will.  The most awesome addition to my sewing room, for sure!  Thank you so much, Lori, for spoiling me!
Another friend of mine, Laurie, also spoiled me with a pincushion.  This is one of Jeannette Douglas’s Quaker Pincushions.  I love that it looks like a little pumpkin.  And the Halloween pins she added are absolutely adorable.
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And look at the back!  Gorgeous houndstooth patterned wool and a beautiful button. So sweet.  It’s perfect to put out for the season too.   I totally should finish up the Quaker pincushion I stitched for myself forever ago, shouldn’t I?
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She also gifted me with this blinged out skull needleminder.  I, of course, immediately put it on my sugar skull stitching wallet so it can keep me company.  So freaking awesome.
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So thank you both for my thoughtful gifts, they are much appreciated and will be treasured.
I also thought I’d show you all what I’ve been stitching on lately, now that John Reed is finished.  On October 1 I decided to start a new project.  This is only my third new start of the year, if you can believe it, and one of those was finished in January.  But, I was feeling the need for a fall project and this one has been calling to me from my stitching bag.  Please overlook the fact that the majority of this is out of focus, my 50mm lens was obviously punishing me for never using it anymore.
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Such a fun stitch, and just brimming with fall color.  This is a design by the same friend Lori I mentioned above.  She is so talented!  You may recall she also designed this little pincushion I stitched last fall.  I’ve been working on this still and hope to have it finished this fall.
The other piece I’ve been working on is the Sunday Mystery Sampler Paulette is offering as a free chart on her blog.  I look forward to each new installment on Sundays, and it’s the perfect thing to stitch on Sunday evenings.  And bonus, by Thanksgiving I will have a finished Christmas piece!
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I’m using 40ct Vintage Light Examplar and for the most part I am stitching with the called for threads, although I had to switch from Shaker White to Oatmeal because the Shaker wouldn’t show up on my fabric (which really is not as pink leaning as this photo shows).  I also changed the Espresso Bean to Pecan because I wanted it to be a warmer, lighter brown than my skein of Espresso was.  And I stitched Mary in blue, because I wanted that little pop of color.  The blue I used is actually a limited edition GAST I’ve had forever called Aquamarine.  I can’t wait to see what the next installment will be.  Oh, and I’m stitching Mary’s Sampler II, which is the more densely stitched version that Paulette is doing on black.
Oh, and speaking of The Sampler Girl (the pincushion from Lori reminded me of it), in case you haven’t seen, many of her patterns are going to be OOP at the end of October, and until the 31st, they are all on sale.  So scoop up the ones you want, while you can!!  (no affiliation, just a fan) I picked up Good Tidings with Jane Austen, which is the companion piece to the other two that I’ve already stitched.  I am excited about the new direction she’s taking though.

I am grateful for vacation and working on new things.

**Edited to add: Still appear to be having issues with comments.  Some people are able to comment, so do try refreshing if you’re not seeing the comment option.  I’ll keep researching to see if I can determine the problem. 

John Reed

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I barely know where to begin.  I’m so happy to finally be posting photos of this finish, but at the same time it’s a little bittersweet.  You may remember that I lost my dad last year, February of 2012.  And there have been a couple of pieces stitched in his honor, one by my sweet friends and one by me.  In fact I haven’t touched my Anniversaries of the Heart since completing his block.  But this piece, this sampler, is his memorial. 
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A while back I stumbled across the chart for the John Reed 1844 sampler by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches.  And when I saw it I knew that one day I would have to stitch this sampler, because my dad was John Reed as well, but born in 1944.  It took me awhile to get my hands on the chart but I finally found a shop that could order it for me.  At the time I figured this would be one of those things I’d stitch and then show my dad and he’d launch into one of his genealogy stories, but be secretly thrilled that I’d stitched something for him.  Unfortunately, I never got the chance. 
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Last year on his birthday, even though I was sitting in a hotel room in Wichita, Kansas after a long day of meetings, I started his sampler.  I’d ordered the Au Ver A Soie silks that the chart called for and had tried a dozen different fabrics before finally deciding on 40 count Confederate Grey.  It seemed fitting.  And there was no way I was going to stitch this on the ivory or cream fabric that the chart called for.  It needed something richer, something to make the colors pop, something unique. 
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The house itself did bring about its own set of challenges.  The chart called for GAST Adobe for the house, but since it was the only variegated thread in the piece, I did want to go with silk if possible.  My friend Laurie graciously offered to take my skein of Adobe with her and choose a couple of options for a similar silk thread.  Out of the two she brought me I ended up using Gloriana Pecan.  And it really is almost identical to the Adobe.  
The other issue I ran into on the house was the color for the roof.  The chart called for an AVAS that is essentially “seafoam green”.  Not at all what I wanted as a roof.  Of course I scoured the internet hoping for a better photo of this sampler than what is on the chart, but try as I might the only photos that come up of this sampler that aren’t the chart cover are mine.  And that wasn’t going to help me.  I tried skein after skein of different silks but nothing worked.  Finally I pulled the DMC conversion listed in the chart and tried that.  (the DMC called for was not at all seafoam green but more of a greenish grey).  Unfortunately, with the color fabric I chose, that color wasn’t going to work.  So, I went about three shades darker.  And suddenly, I had a roof!
The final fork in the road I ran into was for the windows of the house.  When I looked at the blue chosen for the windows my only thought was no way.  I tried a lighter blue, I tried a pale yellow, I thought about leaving them empty.  But, when I finally got the motifs stitched on either side of the house I realized that there was no blue anywhere in the bottom of the sampler.  John must have known what he was doing, because it really did need that blue to balance everything out.  But, I stitched the windows in tent stitch to lighten it up a tad.  I’m really happy how it turned out. 
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When I started this piece I, of course, knew that I wanted to personalize it for my dad.  The designer had done her own personalization on her reproduction of the antique, but in the chart mentions that the original said “John Reed, Brendan, Aged 14, 1844.”  So, my own personalization has my dad’s name, the year he was born, and the city he was born in.  
I look forward to framing it, and showing it to my mom.  She hasn’t seen it in all the time I’ve been stitching on it.  As I mentioned, I started it in June of last year on his birthday and it’s been pretty much the only thing I’ve stitched on this year.  I put the last stitches in on September 26.  I will miss stitching on this piece, it has been a good way to work through my grief and to remember him with every stitch.  I hope that more people will stitch this sampler, I think it would be nice to know there are more John Reeds out in the world. 
I am grateful for a legacy.