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. 

Inspiration Overload

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Last weekend I had the great fortune of going to the Dallas Quilt Show with a friend of mine.  It’s been years since I went to the quilt show, so when she invited me I jumped at the chance.  As usual, there was so much to look at and seeing the quilts themselves always inspires me.  
Here are a few of my favorites.  
This one was a fun use of The Ghastlies collection from Alexander Henry.  
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And I’m always a sucker for a red and white quilt.  Love that radiating star center and the border is so pretty too.
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I don’t normally go in for “scene”quilts.  I appreciate their technical achievement, but they don’t usually do anything for me.  This one was absolutely the exception.  There was something about it – the texture, the colors.  I really loved this one.  
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And this one, made by a friend of mine, blew my socks off.  Such a fantastic use of color.  And I loved the little doors and windows in the houses.  A great take on a rather traditional house block.  
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Here’s another one.  Irish Chain, but done in some very happy colors.  I love the itty bitty four-patches. 
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Log cabin blocks.  Love the striped border.  
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Look how bright and springy this one is.  Still using a more modern palette, but toned down a tad.  So fun!  I think this one was also done by the friend that did the houses.
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Cathedral windows.  I just love the look of these, but I think they’d make me tear my hair out.  I like the fussy cutting in some of them, but it’s not so overwhelming to be distracting.
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Oh the bling on this one.  I just kept staring at it.  The quilting and embellishment of the Swarovski crystals is what makes this quilt.  Absolutely dazzling. 
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And if you thought the front was good – look at the back.  My photo’s a bit washed out, but wow.  Stunning!
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And I can’t forget this one. It was made from Liberty of London fabrics. I wanted to bring this one home so bad!!! Any lopsidedness at the bottom was due to my photography and not the quilt. Isn’t it luscious?

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And of course, in addition to all the quilts entered into competition, there are the vendors.  So many vendors, it’s hard to not spend all your money at the first two!  And of course, the models they have in their booths are fabulous.  

I fell in love with this very modern quilt.

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The same booth had this one too.  A beautiful kit of this one was available.  I love the scalloped border at the top and bottom.  Very simple construction – but the fabrics are the star!

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This one, I had to take a photo of because the last time I was at the quilt show (like 7-8 years ago), I bought this pattern and I still haven’t made this quilt!  I need to get with it.  I still love it.  It’s called Hot for Chocolate.

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I did try to restrain myself in the shopping.  I only came home with a few choice selections.  Some Lily Ashbury Gypsy Girl fabric.  Some old old Tula Pink Plume fat quarters.  And a Hex n More ruler from Jaybird Quilts.  I’ve been wanting to try one out for a while now.  I can’t wait to see what fun things I make with it!

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One of these days I’ll make it to the Houston Quilt Show, but for now I’m quite content.  I had a great time and am so glad that I got to go!  Hope you’ve enjoyed this little recap and found yourself inspired too!

I am grateful for good friends that share my love of quilting!

You Can’t Handle the Tooth

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I have had no less than three, count them, three emails from concerned stitchers asking how I’m coming along with my bargello. Well, let me just tell you…the bargello is a thing of the past! I took a little sabbatical last weekend and it is amazing what one can accomplish when there is nothing to do but stitch. I’ve now moved on to the inside panel (the FINAL panel).

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It may just be possible that I can get this sucker done in time for the workshop on the 17th. I do have to admit that it is looking pretty though. Even if it is a pain in the ass.

And I wanted to share with you a little something I bought for myself during my stitching weekend – a handmade velvet strawberry. Isn’t it the prettiest thing? It’s sharing the spotlight with a tomato and stickpin that I received as a gift.

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And Valerie surprised me with some amazing things off my wishlist. I can’t wait to dig into that little charm pack of Blackbird fabric! Thank you so much, Valerie!!! Something else to stitch for my A&E wall – I can’t wait!

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And in case you’re wondering what I was smoking when I came up with the title for this blog post. Well…wonder no more.

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Exactly.

I am grateful for a weekend of laughs, tears, and Beyoncé.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Wicked
The Primitive Needle
Belle Soie over one on 30ct Antique Cotton by R&R
Finished in a Twisted Threads Rectangle Tin Necklace

My friend, Kim, had a birthday on Friday and I wanted to make something special for her. She’s a Halloween girl, like me, so I decided that a little “Wicked”-ness was in order. I really enjoyed stitching this and the colors were so fun. I had to special order the little tin necklace frame from my LNS, and luckily (even though it was on backorder for awhile), it came in the nick of time. I’ve got enough of the supplies left over to treat myself to this trick, so I think I’ll be wearing a matching pendant sometime soon. I do hope that she likes it.

And since we’re keeping in the Halloween spirit, I thought I’d share my silks for Black’d Skie. You can see how lovely they will be on the fabric. I’m really excited to try out these Pure Palette silks. They were a birthday gift and I’m absolutely thrilled to have them.

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And finally, since finishing Kim’s gift I have returned to the Garden of Eerie for a bit. The center tree is coming along. In fact, I’m getting down almost to the snake. Can’t wait for that!

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I’m starting to think about my goals for the end of the year and what I’d like to finish. I’m also starting to think toward 2011 too. Mostly, I’d just like to cut down on the amount of WIPs I have going. I think a focus on finishing is in order. But in the meantime, I’m just enjoying spending time with my wicked things.

I am grateful for a smile on Eric’s face.