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.  

It’s Friday, Y’all!

It's Friday, Y'all!

I’m back with some fun things to share with you today from when Eric and I went to the State Fair back in October.  You know seeing the Creative Arts and Textiles building is always high on my list and it’s always fun to see the pieces people have entered.  I hope you enjoy getting to see some of the pieces I thought were “highlights”. 

I’m always a sucker for a sparkly Chatelaine Designs piece, and this one is no exception.  This is one of her Christmas Mystery designs. 

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A little closer so you can see the detail.
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Sweet little mini quilt that looks like a Jo Morton.
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And the hooked rugs always get me.  I have two kits that I bought many years ago, and I really need to make it a priority to learn how to hook. 
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Pretty applique quilt.  I thought the border was interesting as well, with the dark fabric and then the triangle pieces.  It’s kind of shame that they folded the sides in to display this piece, because I think that border probably changes the look of the quilt completely with the dark surround. 
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Cathedral Windows quilt – I’m always in awe of these due to the amount of time and skill they require.  This one is a more traditional looking quilt with the white background, whereas the one I showed you last year was done in very modern fabrics.  Interesting to see the comparison. 
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A little closer for detail.
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I love the texture created from the windows.  
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Another mini quilt, but opposite end of the spectrum from the one earlier.  I love the fabrics and colors in this – especially the grey background and binding.  It makes the stars really pop.  Hard to see in this photo, but the quilting was done in multi-colored or variegated thread. 
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The miniatures are always fun to look at too.  I love these little individual scenes, and I totally cannot resist miniature desserts!!
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A little closer…look at the yule log way down at the bottom.  Too cute!!
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Another hooked rug. 
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This quilt I thought was interesting because of the shapes.  It reminds me of “tongues” like you’d see in a penny rug, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quilt like this before. 
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Mini Dresdens!  It’s amazing the effect when you take a bunch of these and assemble them together.  
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Closer…
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I am so in love with this tiger.  It’s so different from the usual sheep you see in hooked rugs.  I seriously want this in my house.  Someone come make it for me!
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Beautiful jewel tones in this rug. 
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Now, I have to admit that I totally don’t get these entries.  There’s always a ton of “stuff” that have been entered and often with ribbons, but I don’t get what the point is.  The pieces are interesting, I’ll give you that, but why enter something you pulled out of your attic or bought at a antique shop?  If anyone knows, I’d love to be enlightened!  But, I took this photo because I thought the old Oz books were cool – brought back some memories. 
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Fun frame for this BOAF piece.  I love how it brings out the blue in the stitching. 
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I wish I’d gotten a better photo of this one – very pretty sampler.  No idea what sampler it is though.
 
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This piece was stitched by one of the ladies in my guild and won Best in Show.  This is the second year in a row that we’ve had a member with that honor.  This is all Blackwork.  And let me tell you, it is gorgeous in person.  Plus it makes me think of the Boleyn girls, so I love it.  And you can’t really tell here, but this is a big piece!!
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This was a fun hooked rug.  I really love this and of course, since it’s depicting a Dallas landmark, it makes it even better.  Beautiful rail fence pattern in the background. 
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Of course these HAED-type pieces are amazing to look at.  I started one HAED years ago and I think I managed to stitch about a 40×40 stitch area and called it quits.  I absolutely applaud anyone that can finish one of these because they are not easy – mainly I think because it’s really impossible to see what you’re stitching because it’s usually such a small area it just looks like pixelated color until you get a good chunk of it done – then the image starts to form.  
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Here’s a closer look.
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Another beautiful sampler – this looks like a Moira Blackburn to me, but not sure if it is.  Beautiful stitching.
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Another miniature – look at the moose head on the wall.  
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Look at the little dog!  And the tiny jars and mirror.  Amazing!
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Love this applique quilt.  Looks like this is all done in batiks, which gives it those pretty jewel tone colors.
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Check out this painted Halloween box.  Most of the Halloween stuff doesn’t interest me usually because it’s usually too cutesy for me, but this I love. 
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As you can see, the whole thing is painted, not just the top.  So fun.  Wonder what the inside looks like??
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And this was a little blast from the past for me.  This is a Just Nan piece that was a limited edition piece for The Silver Needle years ago (like maybe 10??).  Mine’s still in the original packaging, never stitched.  And it may or may not be accompanied in the box by like four other limited edition pieces.  Maybe. 
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It really is a super cute piece.  It’s a little ort box, with the attached felt pumpkin pincushion.  I swear, put the words “limited edition” on something and I’m all “SOLD”!  Maybe after I learn rug hooking I’ll start working on some of this stuff that’s in my “archives”.   
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And finally, one last quilt.  I think this is such a fun, bright quilt.  The fabric is all vegetable/fruit fabric.  How fun is that.  And what drew me to it as well was that when I went up to my LNS a couple of years ago to spend the morning cutting my fabric for my Kiss Kiss quilt, there was a woman there working on a quilt with this same fruit/veggie fabric.  No idea if this is hers or not, but it was so fun watching her work with those fabrics. 
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See how fun?
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So there you have it.  Another year at the fair.  I hope you guys enjoy seeing these photos.  Like I said, I love wandering through the exhibit every year and every year it’s different.  
I am grateful for the end of a hard week. 

Nightshade and Nightmare

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If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you probably already know of my love affair with Tula Pink‘s fabric.  When Miss Tula released her Nightshade line a couple of years ago, matching her amazing design talent with an utterly gothic take on Halloween, I was instantly sunk.  This line is probably one of my all time favorites of hers and I have some carefully hoarded cuts in my stash.  I don’t share my Tula stash lightly, but when my niece’s birthday rolled around, I knew I had to make an exception.  
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My niece and I are surprisingly like-minded and she loves anything dark and creepy and cool, so I decided that a pillowcase made from some Nightshade would be the perfect thing for her to bring to sleepovers and such.  
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I made each side different so that I could use two different pieces from the focal Coven print.  I pulled some fabric out of my stash for the sashing around the focal prints, and then a different tone on tone for the edging of the pillowcase.  
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And I absolutely had to use the Spider Blossom fabric for the background.  It’s full of little hidden “Tula treasures” like skulls, lightning bolts, moons, and spiderwebs.  Plus, it matches the case on my phone, so I thought a little nod to us matching was a good thing.  
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If you’ve ever heard a twelve-year-old girl squeal with delight, you can imagine the reception this gift got when we celebrated her birthday.  It holds a place of honor on her bed, along with her One Direction blanket.  lol
And just when I thought I’d have a little break and get back to doing some stitching and quilting for me, I got a call from my niece asking for help with her Halloween costume.  You may recall last year she went as the Mad Hatter?  So, this year she wanted to go as Sally from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I swear this kid and I are sharing brainwaves.  So, in case you haven’t seen the movie, here’s Sally…
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Being a Tim Burton movie, it’s thoroughly dark and creepy.  But, here was my dilemma.  When you do a search online, what comes up is a plethora of horridly garish and brightly colored versions of Sally’s dress.  Well, no thank you.  So, a few weekends ago, my gothic twin came to spend the night and we went over to a resale shop.  I started pulling shirts off the racks that fit in with the color scheme I had in my head.  I wanted the overall feel to be dingy, muted, while still keeping with the patterned patchwork look.  We found a dress that could be used as the base, and then I began cutting up the shirts we got and sewing them on.  And here’s what I ended up with.  Trust me when I tell you that she looks super adorable (in a very cool gothic way) in the dress. 
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I sewed all the scraps onto the base dress, and then I went back in and added some big decorative stitches for effect. 
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Here’s the back.  We lucked out to find a dress that only fastened by a button at the top, so I wasn’t having to work around zippers or anything of that nature.  
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I can’t even begin to tell you how much work went into this dress.  Probably 90% of it was done by hand.  I did attach some of the larger pieces by machine, but I was trying to work between the lining and the dress itself, which made that a bit difficult. 
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I’m really please with how it turned out and so is she.  I brought it to her yesterday and she immediately went to try it on.  She paired it with some black and grey striped knee-high socks, black ankle boots, and grey wool wristwarmers.  Love that kid!  
But now that I have birthday and Halloween done, I’ll be getting back to my stitching and quilting.  I can’t wait to see pics of her on Halloween though.  
Thanks for stopping by, and you may have noticed that I’ve changed the template I’m using for the blog.  Hopefully this fixes the issue with commenting since I’ve switched it over to a template that isn’t dynamic.  Let me know if you’re still having problems though.  I absolutely love reading your comments and they are important to me!  
Happy Halloween!
I am grateful for matching macabre sensibilities. 

A Rainy Monday in September

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for Fall.  While I hate the fact that this year seems to be going by so quickly, yesterday’s 105 degree temps had me yearning for some cooler days.  I know it’s been awhile since I shared any stitching progress with you, and lest you think I am only sewing I thought I’d show you my progress on John Reed.  I am really pleased with how it’s turning out despite a few challenges along the way.  The chart is handwritten, and at times makes it difficult to discern what the designer intended.  I also had a few issues with the roof color for the house.  The called for AVAS was really more of a seafoam green.  And I was for sure not putting a seafoam green roof on my house.  I ended up going with the DMC equivalent she’d listed on the chart (was definitely not seafoam green, so not sure what was going on there) but had to go a couple of shades darker due to the fabric I’m using.  It’s kind of a grey green. 
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But, I’m getting closer to finishing this sampler up.  I’d intended to finish up the grass last night, but I ran out of thread!  So frustrating!!!! So, I’ll be out picking up another skein of AVAS as soon as possible.  And since I need that green for the grass, the border, the trees…I was a bit frustrated last night.  
So, I started something new. 
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I have spent all year working on just John Reed for the most part, granted some months my stitching was almost zilch.  So I decided at the spur of the moment to start my second start for the year – and I wanted something appropriately fall-like since it was September 1st after all )and I’d been looking at eleventy-billion Instagram photos of Pumpkin Spice Lattes).  I just happened to have this little beauty in my stitching bag, and it was already kitted with threads, fabric and even a needle included.  It’s like the universe was enabling me to start something new. 
This is a sweet little sampler a friend of mine designed and gifted me with last fall.  I’m excited to finally be starting it.  And today’s rainy overcast day seems like the perfect day to snuggle under a quilt (with the A/C on – because it’s still 98 degrees outside and I’m not stupid) and stitch on this. 
My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and it has been so fun finally getting some time away from work and spending time with some friends.  Speaking of my talented friend who designs lovely things, I got to spend an afternoon stitching with her the other day after we had a fabulous lunch together.  I also had the chance to meet up with another friend for dinner one night and then we went to see the City of Bones/Mortal Instruments movie – so good!!!  And I have to share a couple of beautiful gifts I received for my birthday too.  
This little pincushion is a design by Little House Needleworks called Heart and Home Sampler.  It was stitched over one and finished into this adorable pincushion.  And she finished it with these beautiful ribbons and trims that she brought home from her trip to Paris.  I love it!  She and I had a lovely day out together last weekend and went to lunch and hit a couple of quilt shops.  So much fun. 
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And a package also arrived from Sylvia.  She made me another stitch wallet and look at the fabulous sugar skull fabric she used!  Reminds me a bit of the birthday gift my friend Lori gave me last year.  Sylvia also knitted this beautiful Honey Cowl for me.  When she was here in December last year, we went over to Madtosh Crafts and I showed her this cowl I’d been coveting made out of Madeline Tosh Tannenbaum yarn.  And she made me one!!!  She used a different, lighter weight yarn (since I do live in Texas), but in the same beautiful green I fell in love with.  I cannot wait to wear it!
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If you look closely at my John Reed sampler, you will see some unfortunate holes in the linen.  Luckily the house covered up the worst of the areas.  Months ago, my scissors got loose from their sheath in my stitching wallet and poked some holes in my linen.  None of the threads were cut, but the holes of the fabric were horribly pulled out of shape.  I’ve been joking with Sylvia that my scissors need to have their own “scissor jail” to keep them from causing more trouble with my sampler.  And guess what!  My new stitching wallet comes complete with an attached scissor jail!!!  Perfect for my scissors and threads.  How cute is that?!
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Sylvia also kitted up this chart for me.  Don’t you just love her thread drops?!  We’d gotten to talking not too long ago about Americana samplers when we saw this post on Laura’s blog.  And look what she sent me.  Love it so much!!
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Thanks as always for continuing to stop by to check in on my blog, especially since I’ve been so awol this entire year.  It’s been kind of a rough one so far.  But, I’m feeling like I’m finally getting some time for myself back and boy it’s a wonder what a difference sleep makes!!  
I am grateful for a wonderful birthday and some wonderful friends who helped me celebrate it!

Remember October?

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October is always a super busy month for Eric and I and last October seemed to be even more jam-packed than normal.  In fact it was so full that I’m only just now getting around to editing and sharing some of the photos.  We always go to the State Fair in October, and one of my favorite things to do is visit the Creative Arts building to see all the quilts and rugs and stitching.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the things I saw.  
Don’t you just love that sheep?  I have the pattern for this rug that I bought several years ago.  It’s sitting with another hooked rug kit waiting for me to learn how to hook rugs.  Raise your hand if you have kits for things you don’t know how to do.  
And look at this Plum Street Samplers design.  Isn’t it fabulous in blue?
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Itty bitty tiny postage stamp squares.  These looked like they were one inch squares.  Seriously.
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CHS Spot the Horse.  I love the frame on this one.  Reminds me of an old weathered barn.
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 Love this quilt – it reminds me a little bit of Deb’s Cotton Club quilt that I love so much. 
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And another pretty hooked rug.  I love how much pattern there is in the background.  it’s not just “black” – it’s varying shades of color and hooked in a design that draws your eye around the piece. 
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This little BBD ornament reminded me I still need to stitch one for myself.  I have it all kitted up since I stitched one for the guild’s ornament exchange a couple of years ago. 
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This Catherine Theron piece (Morning Has Broken) was stitched by a fellow guild member.  It really is so stunning in person.  And the ribbons she won for this piece were very much deserved.  I’ve still got all my Catherine Theron class pieces stuffed in a closet and they haven’t seen the light of day since class.  But, at least they are keeping the rug hooking kits company.  
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Extraordinary  beading on this piece.  All of the scarabs and then that fringe.  This must have been a ton of work!
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This is such a fun piece.  Missy (Deep Inside Missy) started this one several years ago.  I love all the embroidery.  It’s a Crabapple Hill pattern.  
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And oh, would you look at this gorgeous beaded mermaid shadowbox.  I love this so so much.  I think I need to make one. 
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I love this little Halloween whirligig quilt.  I bought the pattern for making one of these last summer…it’s probably in the closet too.  Are you sensing a theme?
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Cathedral windows quilt.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one done in lime green before.  Usually you see them in white. 
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I just adore miniatures.  One of these days I’ll have to show you the dollhouse my grandmother made for me. But these two little pieces were so fun to look at.  All the detail that went into them – just amazing. 
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They remind me a little bit of the holiday windows in NYC, just on a much much smaller scale. 
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And here’s the other one – a quilt shop.  So cute.  
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Look at those bolts of fabric and the little Featherweight machine!
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I love this hooked rug so much!  What a lovely addition to some summer decorating this would be. 

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And here’s another cute finish.  I’m not really a ruffle kind of gal, but I thought this was appropriate.
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And another one of Paulette’s designs.  I have this one ready to stitch.  It will look perfect with my other framed pieces in our bedroom
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And finally this tiny little thing.  It’s got to be on silk gauze.  
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So that’s it from me today.  I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the pieces from the State Fair, even though it’s eight months later.  It always inspires me to get to working on my own pieces, so I’m sure that in the very near future I’ll be going stash diving in that closet of mine to pull out some of the things I’ve been nudged to work on after looking at these photos again.  Oh, and if you’d like to take a look at the other photos I took at the Fair, including photos from the Chinese Lantern Festival – go on over to my cozystyle blog
Here’s wishing you a great week!

I am grateful for a weekend spent doing whatever I wanted to do.