Good Tidings

Every year for the past several years I have started a new stitching project on New Year’s Day.  And somehow giving a piece that distinction makes it special to me.  I suppose for me it’s a way of celebrating and honoring the new year.  Some of my past New Year’s starts have been Mystery IX Jardin du Roi (2006), Mermaids of the Deep Blue (2008), At Home with Jane Austen (2009), And They Sinned (2010), Paradise Lost (2011), and A Return to the Sea with Jane Austen (2013).  I’ve had a couple of years where I chose to keep going on a WIP rather than start something new (most notably on Margaret Cottam, which allowed me to finish her on January 7 of 2012), but for the most part it’s a new start.

You may notice that two of those NYD starts were companion pieces from The Sampler Girl, At Home with Jane Austen and A Return to the Sea with Jane Austen.  Both were very enjoyable stitches and I finished them within a month or so of starting them.  Which brings us to my NYD start for 2014.  Tanya was having a sale on many of her patterns last year and I took the opportunity to get the third companion piece for the Jane Austen series that At Home and Return to the Sea are part of, Good Tidings with Jane Austen. 

This piece really was a joy to stitch, as were the other two.  It made me happy to turn to this piece each evening and see it come to life.  I loved the little reindeer and the tree.  I had to set it aside for a short while to pick up a few colors of thread I was missing, but once they arrived it was a quick finish.  I finished it on January 28th, just a few short days before I got on a plane for Europe.   
I absolutely love how this turned out and someday I’ll get these three framed.  This one was stitched on 32ct Creme Brulee instead of the 28ct Light Mocha the other two are stitched on.  Since I will likely display this one seasonally, it didn’t bother me to stitch it on a slightly higher count linen.  I used the called for GAST and Crescent Colors threads.  And here they all are together. 

I really had the most wonderful NYD too.  I shared this photo on Instagram – I had my two boys on my lap, I was stitching on a new start, and finally getting to watch Season 3 of Downton Abbey.  An absolutely perfect day. 

And speaking of Downton Abbey, I was a little late for the party on this mystery quilt that was offered in a Facebook group at the end of last year, but I still managed to get enabled!  I ordered the book with the pattern from the designer (Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios) and all the fabrics I needed for it (minus what I need for borders and backing).  I can’t wait to get started on this one.  I chose the Lady Mary version of the quilt and her fabrics from the Downton Abbey line. 

I am glad to finally be sharing my NYD start and first finish of the year.  I’ve been working along on a few pieces, including two new starts, that I can’t wait to post about.

I am grateful for cookie butter.

Turning and Returning

In my last post I mentioned I had a new start for New Year’s Day.  I kept meaning to show a progress photo of the piece I chose, but before I got around to showing a progress photo I had a finish!  So, here we are with my first start and my first finish of 2013!  I decided back in December that I wanted to make A Return to the Sea with Jane Austen by The Sampler Girl my January 1 start.  
It’s a design I’ve had in my stash since it was released, and I’ve been hoarding a piece of fabric for it and the time was finally right to put the first stitches in.  I loved stitching this.  It was a wonderful way to relax at the end of some very grueling days at work.  And the colors and the design just made me happy.  I put the final stitches in on Saturday the 19th. 
 I stitched this with the called for DMC and Crescent Colours threads, but substituted the one Old Willow Stitchery thread with DMC.  I used 28ct Light Mocha fabric that I had set aside for this one, because that’s what I used on the companion piece – At Home with Jane Austen.  You can see how pretty the two are together. 
At Home with Jane Austen was my New Year’s Day start in 2009 and I finished it in early February 2009.  I’m so glad that I finally made Return to the Sea a priority in my stitching bag.   These are both such fun pieces and the experience of stitching both of them was a true pleasure.  And it appears that there is now a third design that I need to stitch to go with these two.  What a perfect 1/1/14 start that would be!
And while Miss Austen kept me company a good part of January, I also spent time with an old friend.  
 It’s been awhile since I shared my progress on And They Sinned.  I picked it back up on Sundays and I managed to get the top of page two finished.  The alphabet actually went rather quickly, which was a nice change.  I continued my border vines down to the halfway mark.  I seem to judge my progress on this piece by two things – one, I’m now down to the fold in my chart and two, I get to roll my fabric!
It’s such a delight to be “below the fold” on another page!  I have no hope of catching up to my SAL partner, Sylvia, but I keep trying!  Turning those scroll rods really gives me such delight, it tends to spur me on to tackle the next part.  
And speaking of Sundays, I thought I’d share another little thing I’ve been working on.  All this talk of Santa Sundays on Instagram had me digging out my started and abandoned Green Santa.  Since I’m already spoken for on Sundays, I took this guy with me on Tuesday to my monthly EGA meeting.  
Green Santa at EGA
He’s just too cute.  I’m stitching him on 40ct Weeks Cocoa.  And it’s fun to jump on the bandwagon with Siobhan and Paulette (among others) that are participating in #santasundayxs (even if I do have to do it on Tuesdays).  You can find me on Instagram and Twitter under cozyegg, if you’re so inclined.
Now that I’ve finished Jane, I’ve returned to my John Reed sampler which is one of my main focus pieces this year.  I’m loving the way it’s looking and I promise to share a progress photo soon!
I am grateful for finding my groove.

At Home with Jane Austen

At Home with Jane Austen
The Sampler Girl
Crescent Colors on 28ct Light Mocha
Finished 2/2/09

At Home with Jane Austen was my New Year’s Day start this year. I finished restitching the last of that little berry vine at the top last night. You may remember that the vine had to be ripped out and moved two stitches to the left. I could have had this finished on the 1st, but since I had to rip out…it was last night’s finish. I loved every stitch of this piece. It was fun and colorful, the Crescent Colors threads were fabulous. And the bonus is that the fabric that I used for this was the incorrect fabric that was sent to me for my Red Thread, which worked perfectly for this design. I also have enough left that I should be able to stitch the companion piece too. I wish that I had been better able to capture the beautiful brightness of the threads, but when you’re taking photos while it’s still dark outside, you do what you can!
Usually, when I stitch a piece that calls for an initial I use “L”. But, after seeing Paulette’s “P”, I decided that this one deserved an “M”. I’m so happy with it. The quote is from Emma, one of my favorite movies (no, I haven’t read the book, I’m a total slacker).
So, next up is stitching on the Mermaids, since I was so close to a finish I didn’t pick them up on Sunday for my SAL. I figure I’ll spend the next couple of nights on them. Then, I’ll be picking up a new start for Valentine’s Day.
And thanks to Siobhan for this lovely award! I am so happy that Siobhan is blogging now…it makes it easier for me to stalk her. lol! So, I am supposed to list five addictions…
1. List making (I think we all know this)
2. Creating/Crafting – stitching, quilting, you name it
3. Gossip Girl – I see a marathon in my future, along with stitching Tesori (you know what that means!!)
4. Traveling – I love going to new places
5. Mexican food – I could eat it every day
So, now to give this award to some other fabulous blogs…
Missy, Anna, Marsha, Margie and Nancy. But really, you are all fabulous and don’t forget that!!

I have more fun things to show you next time…but I just had to share my latest finish. Guild meeting tonight, and we’ll be discussing Adam & Eve samplers, which I am really looking forward to.
I am grateful for getting back into the game.

Little to Show

It was a strange week last week. I hardly got any stitching done at all. I was hoping to have had more time for it, but several nights last week I just didn’t feel up to stitching. Friday and Saturday I did get a little time in on my Jane Austen piece. I am still loving this piece so much! I’ve just ordered the companion piece from Tanya as well. I stitched those two little trees next to the house, finished up the little framed heart to the right of the house and then started on the flower vine underneath. So pretty!

I also made a tiny bit of progress on Mele Kalikimaka this week as well. More sand. After the sand, there is sea and sky and a bit of cloud to stitch. This little thing is only about 2 by 2 inches…so it’s not very big. You can see how much sand I have left to stitch. I went ahead and outlined it because I was getting tired of counting. I didn’t figure it would matter much on a piece this size, even with the variegation of the silks.
The mailman visted me again on Friday, and brought my first kit for the Stacy Nash Primitive Handwork club over at Country Sampler. They are offering four exclusive kits throughout the year, and lucky me I joined at the last minute! I love the first kit and can’t wait to get started on it for Valentine’s Day. The back of the heart is done in cotton velvet and has a little scissor pocket in wool. The strawberry emery is done in wool too. Isn’t it sweet?
Yesterday I spent the afternoon sewing the remaining sleeves for Eric’s swords. I am pleased to have that project done. I also cut out the freezer paper templates for my little snowman basket applique block. I had hoped to get my fabric prepped to start the applique, but alas that didn’t happen. I did get my desk cleaned off, and some things scanned that had been waiting their turn. So, all in all, it was a productive weekend.
Of course, last night was time to pull out the mermaids for my SAL. Unfortunately, Eric was under the weather last night, so I stitched in a few little spurts of time, but didn’t really get in more than about half hour to 45 minutes. So, not much to show, but I wanted to post a photo anyway. I’m going to see if I can pick her back up tonight or tomorrow and put a few more stitches in. This is how she looked last week…
And here’s how she looks after last night’s stitching. I’m doing the darker shade there on her neck and a little more on her hand and arm. I stopped before I got to her back.

If you couldn’t tell, I am stitching from one page of the chart before moving on, so when I finish up with this page, I’ll be moving on to her tail probably. I’m still not sure about these blocks of color on her arm, but I am hopeful it will all come together. Maybe from farther away. I get sort of used to seeing her up close and personal. I am beginning to enjoy stitching on her though, and am glad that she’s seeing progress again.

So, I guess I did have more to show than I thought. Any stitching is good stitching in my book! I have a little secret project I am working on, so I may take a break from MK to stitch on that. I have a deadline I am trying to meet, and I’m not sure if it’s going to happen. But, I can try.
Here’s to a great week, everyone! Thanks for dropping by!
Oh, and last week my fitness/health intentions were:
Focusing on drinking water
Focusing on working out
Signing up for the wellness program at work and looking into the walking path in the building
I did the first two, and also printed out the map of the interior and exterior walking paths for the building (with mile markers). So, this week my intentions are:
Focusing on drinking water
Focusing on working out
Signing up for the wellness program at work
Meeting with someone inspirational
I am grateful for Eric feeling better.
P.S. – Glenna, the ginger ale last week was to help get me over a minor bout of food poisoning.

A Trip to the Quilt Store

This morning I made a little trip to the quilt store for some fabric. Aren’t those colors pretty? This year one of the things I’d like to do is learn needleturn applique. So, before starting my big Halloween Baltimore Album quilt (the same one Missy is doing), I thought I’d practice on something smaller. Lucky for me, Bunny Hill Designs is doing a free Block of the Month project. I love the first block. My understanding is that it will be twelve months of baskets, but each basket will be filled with something different. So, this morning I purchased some fabrics for the stars, leaves and the basket. I also purchased my background fabric all at once, because all my backgrounds will be the same. I still need to get some wool for my little snowman. The blocks finish 8 x 8 inches, which is a totally do-able size. My background fabric is little white stars on white (so difficult to photograph).

I also bought fabric to back Barnabee’s Quest with. I believe this is a Thimbleberries fabric. I think it will work well with the piece. As you can see, I already have the hardware to hang the bellpull with, but no tassle. So, off to the finisher this is going. I am so excited!!
I also promised some progress photos on what I’ve been stitching on this week.
At Home with Jane Austen is coming along, I’m filling the house in.
I’ve also made a bit of progress on my Mele Kalikimaka piece. This is over one on 32ct with silk. I’ve finished up the gifts and moved on to the sand. Moving right along!
I have the house to myself this afternoon while Eric is at a photography workshop, so I think I’ll pop in a movie and work on a little gift I hope to get stitched up.
Have a great weekend!
I am grateful for the cat on my lap.