Quilt Retreat

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Back at the beginning of summer (why do all my blog posts start with “way back six months ago”?!?), I was invited on a weekend quilting retreat in Van Alstyne, TX.  I’ve never been on a quilting retreat before, so I was super excited.  So excited, in fact, that I brought five different projects with me to work on.

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I can get all those done in three days, right?

On the way there, my friend Ava and I stopped in McKinney at two quilt shops.  First stop was Happiness is Quilting.  They always have the most beautiful things.  Look at this super gorgeous quilt.

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It is pieced but then has wool felt appliqué in the blocks and in the border.  Really stunning – this photo does not do it justice.

We also stopped at Quilt Asylum, and I picked up a few FQs for using in my Marcelle Medallion.  All my favorites – Lizzy House, Anna Maria Horner, Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, etc.  I maybe went a little crazy.

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The Alford Inn, where the retreat was held is a great place.  They have room to sleep about 16 people, I think, and plenty of room for sewing.  I had my crap spread out over two tables, I think.  Of course being a quilt shop and a retreat space, they had some beautiful quilts on the walls.  This quilt was fun to see.  A woman I used to work with made this quilt and I absolutely fell in love with it and bought the pattern for it.  It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for probably 10 years.  I think I need to get it out, don’t you?

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And I loved the straight line quilting on this one.

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Anyway, here’s a look at my “area”.  My main focus was my Kiss Kiss quilt.  It’s been languishing far too long and I really wanted to get the top finished.  It’s been so long since I’ve worked on it, just getting the blocks out made me happy.

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And the fun thing about a retreat in a quilt shop?  You can shop the whole weekend!  I could have gone really crazy, but I restrained myself (after the FQ extravaganza!).  But, they had a big metal washtub full of clearance fabrics.  And look at the treasures I found in there…

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Tula Pink Nest flannels!  Such a score!  No idea what I will do with them – but I certainly couldn’t leave them there!!!

On Saturday afternoon, we took a little road trip to another quilt shop – Kaleidoscope Quilt Shop in Whitesboro, Texas.  They had some fun things to drool over!

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Oh, French General, how I love you.

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And on Sunday, with barely an hour to spare before we had to check out, I finished my Kiss Kiss quilt top (minus the borders).  So happy with it!

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Isn’t it lovely?!

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And an empty spool to boot!

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I’m using the pomegranate Eye Drops print (under the spool) for my borders.  Won’t it be fantastic???

Such a fun fun weekend and I’m so glad I got to go.  Now, I just need four more of these weekends so I can get my other projects done, right?!

I am grateful for Parisville fabric.  

Le Printemps

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One of the things I purchased at the Dallas quilt show was some small charm packs of the Printemps line from 3 Sisters.  I loved the colors and how perfectly French it looked to me.  It was the perfect choice for a little thank you gift I wanted to make.  I saw a photo on Instagram of a table runner someone had made using patchwork squares in the middle, a thin border, and then a wider border, and I loved the look.  I knew a table runner would be a perfect choice for the gift.  I complimented the 2.5 inch squares with some yardage for the borders, binding, and backing.    
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It went together pretty quickly (a couple of sewing sessions) and then I was ready to baste and quilt it.  
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I chose to do some straight line quilting in one direction spaced further apart in the center, and closer in the borders.  
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I had a marathon binding session over a few nights between binding this table runner and the mini quilt I made for a swap.  
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Et voila, c’est fini! 

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I love how it turned out.  It was truly a gift from the heart as a thank you for having me in their home and I wanted something that represented the idea of home and family and gathering together.  
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And true to form, I rushed out the door to meet her in order to present my gift and my heartfelt thank you, only leaving time to stop and snap a few quick photos in the park near my house on the way.  
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A little view of the backing fabric, which matches the outer border.  I used the same fabric for the binding as I used on the inner border.  
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And the whole thing again…

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Thanks so much for visiting my blog and checking in to see what I’ve been up to!
I am grateful for secret projects.  

Snooty Turtle SAL

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I’m so bad at keeping up with SALs, I really am.  And yet, each and every time I’m presented with one I leap right in with both feet.  Hope springs eternal.  So, at the beginning of the year, a SAL began in one of the Facebook groups to stitch the Snooty Parrots Sampler by Barbara Ana Designs.  It’s an original design created to look like a repro, with intentional “mistakes” and all.  Super cute sampler, love the crowned parrots especially, and of course the A&E.  But, I was ending a year with so few finishes under my belt, and beginning a new year holding firm to my resolution that I would focus on And They Sinned, my Anniversaries of the Heart, and on a new start that I was planning on starting in Paris.  So, I decided no Snooty for me.  I am working on other things!  You see where this is going, don’t you?
So, after seeing a few January 1 starts on Snooty, and everyone I know seemingly joining in on the fun, I start to waiver in my conviction.  But, I somehow got it into my head that if I was going to stitch it, I wanted to stitch it my way.  My way equated out to wanting to stitch it on 45ct.  I’ve never stitched on higher than 40ct, and I’d really been wanting to give 45 a try.  So, I decide that with that personal challenge I will join the SAL.  Then began the task of getting 45ct fabric.  Well, no one local carries the 45ct (or had any at the time), so then I had to start looking for a place to order from.  I ended up contacting The Attic, and talked with Jean about what I wanted to do.  She didn’t have any of the called for fabric in 45ct currently, but suggested that I might give the 50ct a try.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?  I mean, come on.  How big a difference could there be between 45 and 50?  So, I eagerly agree and say yes, I’d like to use the Tudor silks you recommend with it too.  And then Jean the enabler tells me, that by 50ct she really means the unevenweave that is 52 in one direction and 60 in the other.  Okaaaaayyyyyy.  I’d seen my good friend Robert‘s completed Crown Sampler on the 52/60 and it was gorgeous.  So, that’s what I ended up with.  I only got the three silks I needed to complete January’s part, because I figured I’d know at that point if this was going to kill me or not.  
My silks and fabric arrived, and boy that 52/60 count is teeny tiny.  But, everything was beautiful, so I got started.  What I will say about the high count linen is that you do need good light, it does help to use a hoop or q-snap to open those holes up a bit, and it takes a little while to adjust to it.  But, even though my first few nights of stitching were a little bit of a struggle for the first ten minutes or so, when I saw how it stitched up I was hooked.  Look how tiny and sweet!!!!!
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Why are things always way cuter tiny?  Seriously though.  And when Robert compared his 40ct start to my 52/60ct start, he started over on the 52/60ct.  It seriously makes the 40ct look huge!  Of course Robert’s already stitched 90% of his piece now after restarting, but we won’t discuss it.   
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I absolutely love this fabric, and the more I stitch on it, the more I love it and the easier it gets.  It used to take me, like I said, 10-15 minutes to get adjusted to it.  Now though, the only place I seem to have a bit of an issue is starting a new thread.  For some reason that just seems to take a bit of patience to make sure I’m in the right spot.
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It took me a little while but I did get my January part done and am working on February still (see why I titled this post Snooty Turtle SAL?).  And, the kind of fun thing is that I’ve stitched on Snooty here in Texas, in Paris, and in Kelkheim and Bavaria, Germany.  It’s been kind of fun to bring it along with me on my adventures this year.  
I’m getting close to the point on my Snooty that I need the rest of my silks in order to continue.  I’m excited to put some blues and browns in.  And I’ve seen some beautiful examples of Snootys with color changes – using blue for the alphabet instead of pink, using red rather than pink, etc.  It’s really fun to see what other people do with it.  That’s really the fun part of a SAL, isn’t it?
I’m hoping to get February’s portion finished up, minus the numbers that are in another color, soon and I’ll be sure to post my progress.  And seriously, the more I stitch on this tiny thing the cuter it gets.  I’m so glad I decided to challenge myself and try something new.  
Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments.  I always appreciate them.  My life kind of imploded between Thanksgiving and the end of January, so I know I was super absent from the blog, but I’ve got several new posts in the works and I intend to get back to my regular posting schedule.  
I am grateful for being inspired by other bloggers to get back into the swing of things.

First Monday

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Happy New Year, dear friends!  It’s the first Monday of 2014 and I’m feeling like it’s time to get in sync with my plans for this year.  One of the things I intend to do this year is get back to regular blogging.  While other forms of social media are fun and much more spontaneous, I love this little blog of mine and it’s an important space in my life.  So keep your eyes open for new posts coming soon.

 

I have tons of things I can’t wait to share with you, and while I definitely want to do a bit of a end of year wrap up and what my plans are for creating in 2014, I’m just going to jump right in and show you a finished project I can now share.

 

2013 seemed to be the year of the mini quilt for me.  You may recall I gifted a couple earlier in the year (here and here)?  It was only fitting that there should be a third one in there too.  Well, you all know my love for Tula Pink, and you know I’ve been working on my Kiss Kiss quilt off and on.  So, what could be more perfect than a mini Kiss Kiss, or well, in this case I guess it’s just one kiss.  ; )
Anyway, I’m going to be visiting Paris for the first time in February with my dear friend, Sylvia.  So what more perfect birthday gift for her than a Parisville quilt?  Just like with the mini Swoon, I chose to just piece one block and then quilt and finish it as a mini quilt.  I absolutely love how it turned out.
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See why it’s called Kiss Kiss?  The x is a kiss, as in xoxo (shout out to all Gossip Girl fans).  Anyway, I loved the idea of Sylvia having a little something to remember our trip by, as well as a little piece of me over in Germany.
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Of course, the star of the show here is the focal fabric with Marie Antoinette at the center.  I wanted the quilting to echo the x shape, but I also wanted to highlight the cameo center so I left the very center unquilted (about 3 inches square).  It turned out just as I had envisioned, and being a mini I was able to quilt it myself on my machine.
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For the back I opted to use two fabrics I had in the Mist colorway – the topiary and the French lace.  I cut them into strips and then alternated them which reminds me of some sort of luxurious wallpaper treatment one might find in Versailles (I’ll scope it out when I’m there and let you know).
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I love how the quilting created a number of different patterns – straight lines, crosshatch, and arrows.  And the very geometric straight line quilting was a perfect couterpoint to the more organic designs in the fabric.
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The quilt made its way safely overseas in November and I was finally able to exhale that breath I’d been holding when it arrived.  I’m so thrilled that Sylvia liked her little birthday surprise and I can’t wait to get back to work on my own Kiss Kiss.
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Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with some more things I’ve been working on and a few finishes!
I am grateful for time at my sewing machine and giving handmade gifts. 

 

Blue Moon

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After finishing Isabella, I decided to pick my Quaker Pincushion back up and work on it.  This is a Jeannette Douglas design on 32ct Natural linen with Caron Wildflowers in Tanzanite and Dark Shadows.  I love how this turned out, and it was a fun piece to work on.  Thanks so much, Lori, for enabling me!  And I just had to name this post “Blue Moon” because that’s two, count them, two finishes in August for me (plus there is a blue moon this month). 
Since I finished my pincushion on Friday night, I’ve decided to go back and focus on ATS.  I’m determined to get page 2 done.  So, I picked that back up last night.  I am hastily moving toward getting to do the alphabet, which I’m hoping will go fast.  I think for the remainder of the year, I’d like to focus on ATS, my John Reed sampler and AOTH.  I have a workshop coming up in October, I’ll have a bit of pre-stitching for, and I’d also like to stitch something around the holidays, but for the most part I think I’ll be focusing on those three pieces.  
And I’ve been meaning to share a fun gift I received.  My sweet friend Adrienne made me these fun candy corn earrings while we were at the EGA stitch in a few weekends ago.  Aren’t they the cutest things ever?  The candy corns are glass.  So sweet!!  Thank you, A!
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And for anyone who’s curious, that’s Essie’s Sexy Divide on my nails.  I was feeling the need for a break from all the bright summer colors I’ve been wearing.  
And speaking of…even though my birthday hasn’t yet come and gone, and it’s still over 100 degrees outside, with the Closing Ceremony last night I’m feeling a bit like summer is fading away.  I could have used a summer vacation, that’s for sure.  I’ll have to wait until the fall though, for a little getaway I’m really looking forward to.
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Until next time, try to stay cool, enjoy your stitching, and paint your nails with a fun summer color!  Don’t forget the piña coladas!
I am grateful for a wonderful dinner with friends and family. 

Variations on a Theme

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Thanks for all the compliments on the quilt. I’m so glad to finally have it finished. And I’ve pulled out the next WIP that needs some attention at the sewing machine. I did manage to cut fabric for it on Saturday, but that’s as far as I got.

On the stitching side of the house, I haven’t been very productive there either. It was a rough week and so not a lot of desire to stitch. But, I did work on ATS last Sunday, as is the usual schedule. I came pretty close to finishing the sun, so on Monday I decided to continue on. I think Sunday through Wednesday I worked on ATS. Tuesday night I only accomplished half of that crown. Sad! But, I was glad this one got some extended attention. I’ll need to get back to that Peacock-colored bird next time. I do love that heart though, and I’m glad I had that to share today.

Thursday night there was no stitching, due to unforseen circumstances. But Friday I decided to pick up Valentine Rose (Anniversaries of the Heart) and spend some more time on that border.

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By yesterday afternoon, I think I’d made pretty good progress. I decided to take a photo before I lost my light and had to drag out the lightbox. So, it does look as if I am stitching a fireplace rather than a house. I rectified that quickly though, and have all the bricks done on the lower half of the house now. And I have a confession to make, I love stitching bricks. I really do. There is something so soothing to me about stitching bricks. And I needed mindless and soothing this weekend, for sure. (Remember those Rhodes Stitch bricks on Midi Mystery I? So much fun!!) And bricks with variegated thread – awesome. Anyway, so I’ve been enjoying my bricks.

I will probably spend some more time this week on Valentine Rose, I need something rather uncomplicated, so I don’t dare pull out Mystery9 (especially since I have re-stitching to do and possibly more unstitching).

Hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day, and always remember to be your own sweetheart too – it’s good for the soul.

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I am grateful for snuggles from my Valentine miracle and a husband who continually shows me how much he loves me.

Meet Claus

 

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Claus was supposed to be minding the blog while I was otherwise occupied. Claus is a bit of a slacker. Claus also spent a good amount of time eating these….

 

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Bad Claus. We will have to discuss.

So, while Claus was busy eating bon bons, I was in Nashville at Market. I had a wonderful opportunity to go and help Gloria of Milady’s Needle for the show. It’s about a 10 or so hour drive, if you drive straight through. I think it took us about 12 hours both directions. And Market is a lot of hard work. And I am no stranger to hard work and long hours, but a change of scenery is always good. Plus, being at Market does have it’s perks. As the day progressed on Friday, it was so fun to see the new banners come out and see who had arrived. Of course, you can’t really compare anyone’s banner to this one…

 

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How spectacular in person!!! And I got to meet some friends for the first time too! I spotted Lisa from the Primitive Needle checking in on Friday and had to force myself to not scream down from the fourth floor across the lobby to her. She and I were able to catch up on both Saturday and Sunday, which was fun. I also got to meet Carol. I want to go live at Carol’s house. But, for now I was content to spend some time with her over the weekend. And I also ran into Monique from Inside Number Twenty (My Mark Designs). She and I have talked for years, and she recognized my name on my nametag. How fun! Of course, one of the shops there also recognized my name and said “hey, you order from us a lot”. Whoops! Guess I’d better watch that! I also spent some time fawning over Barb and Alma. Although they may have started to notice me following them about the hotel by day three (just kidding…sort of). And I also refrained from yelling “Shepherd’s Bush in the house”. I promise. So, salty and sweet, it was an experience I won’t forget.

I did finish up something I’d been stitching on before Market, for Market. Yes, there I was stitching over one on 36ct in hotel room lighting. I am determined, I tell you!! And look at the end result…

 

Quaker Pendant

Gorgeous, no? You know I love me some red silk. So choosing which one of these to stitch was a no brainer. Gloria released two new kits at Market, Quaker Pendants I and II. We all wanted to wear ours at the show, so that’s where my stitching time has been spent lately. I love it.

So, Market was an experience for sure! And I’ve only thought of one thing I regret not bringing home. This piece from Praiseworthy Stitches, Emiliana’s Sewing Case. Soooo cute.

Ok, that’s it for me. I am still going going going. I got back Monday night after driving 12 hours, got up and went to work/gym/school the rest of the week. Took a final exam on Thursday (aced it). And got up and walked my 3 miles this morning in the cold. And I’m gearing up for the Amy Mitten workshop my guild is having next weekend that I am in charge of. I have a big box of kits sitting here next to my desk. I want to fondle them!!! Anyway, thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!!!

I am grateful for being back home with my family.

Almost a House

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The Bean house is really coming along. I took this photo last night before I sat down to stitch. Those lines on the front of the house remind me of tube socks. But, they also remind me of this. Anyway, although last night was a late night (Eric was shooting at the house – photos, not guns), I was happy to sit on the couch and stitch away at the house. I was able to finish filling in the front of the house, fill in those lines on the roof and start on my chimney. I love how this is coming along. I can’t wait to start stitching the graveyard! It fits in with my Poe-esque mood right now.

Anyway, I promised I would be posting photos from our day at the State Fair. One of the things I like to do when we go is to visit the Creative Arts building to see all of the quilts and stitched pieces, etc. There were some lovely things this year.

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And look at Moon Garden over one!

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While I was digging around in my photos, I remembered I had some from last year I hadn’t shared.

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And you are not going to believe this one. I had heard stories of it, and made it my mission to track it down and have a look myself. This stitcher stitched the cover from the book, Wicked. There are so many colors in this, and the piece itself is huge!! The detail is just over the top – even to Dorothy’s house spinning up there by the tip of her hat. I stood staring at this piece in complete awe for I don’t know how long. What is not pictured here are the five or so ribbons this piece won. Sorry about the glare too, the piece itself is framed with glass, and then is in a glass case. Stunning. Now I want to stitch one.

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If you want to see more of my photos from the Fair, I’ve posted them here. That’s all for me today. I’m so happy to be going to stitch with my Thursday night stitching buddies again tonight. I anticipate having a tombstone or two to show you next time.

I am grateful for knowing everything is exactly as it should be.

Jetting Around

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Eric and I are back from Miami! I may have alluded in my previous posts that we were heading out for an adventure. Well, Eric surprised me with a trip to Miami over the 4th of July weekend. We left on Thursday night (flying First Class – woohoo!) and came back on Monday. We had so much fun, and I will have photos to share soon. As you may imagine, though, there wasn’t any stitching while I was gone. In the past week though, there’s been a tiny bit of stitching. As you can see above, I pulled out Earth Sampler and stitched on it a bit last night. I took Andrea’s lead and replaced the GAST Sable with GAST Cinnamon. I am so much happier with it. So, I’ll definitely be pulling out the h,i,j in the middle to replace it with Cinnamon. My little bit of stitching last night while watching True Blood was the only stitching I did all weekend. Friday night I went with a friend to see The Hangover – so funny! Saturday we had a dinner guest and then Sunday was of course cleaning and laundry during the day. But, I think I am happy with the piece again after the color switch.

On Monday night after we returned, I did settle down and do a little bit of stitching on my new start, Sweet Treats. I finished block 1, minus the buttons, and I’ve started the border.

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I think the buttons will look really cute once I stitch them on. Any suggestions on what to stitch them on with? Matching thread?

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Wednesday night I took my final for Access, and happily did very well on it. I just need to schedule my vendor certification exam now. But, having my final behind me allowed me to spend Thursday night with some stitching friends. I took Mystery 9 and did a little more stitching on the swirl. I was doing more talking than stitching though, so not much progress to show.

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And I would like to provide a little update on my vent from a few posts ago. After calling the needlework shop with my credit card information for the one chart that was sent, I did also cancel my order for the second chart. I politely explained to the person on the phone that I’d been waiting for four months for the order, and at this point I just wanted to cancel the order. So, imagine my surprise when on Saturday a package arrived from the needlework shop. In it was the chart I’d been waiting on, for no charge, a letter of apology from the owner, and some extras. I sent the owner an email this morning thanking them. So, I wanted to update everyone on what happened, so that I didn’t also leave you with a bad taste in your mouth about the situation (even though I haven’t mentioned which shop this is, as I’m sure we all from time to time have a bad experience). Anyway, while never expecting to see this chart, much less the way in which the owner handled rectifying the situation, I was pleasantly surprised. So, anyway, the situation is resolved.

So, I will have photos from Miami to show you all soon. And if you want to take a look at more of my Dallas After Dark photos, you can see them here. I hope to get some more stitching in this week. I’m itching to get back to Earth Sampler now!

I am grateful for a fun vacation to Hot Miami.

Swirlies and Possibly a Little Venting

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Last week Eric surprised me with these colorful beauties. No reason, just because he’s a sweetie. Aren’t they pretty? They are really brightening up my kitchen.

When I changed my blog template a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the pieces that were WIPs still even three years after my first post. One of those is Mystery 9, which I’ll show you progress on in a minute. The other is Bay Sampler by The Workbasket. Glenna asked me if I’d finished it, and well, you can see I haven’t. But, I thought it might be fun to show you where I last left off on this piece. I LOVE this piece, and stitching with Silk N Colors (which are probably one of my favorite threads) is such a pleasure on this piece. Here’s what happened though, I had problems with the top sail on that boat. The color it was supposed to be stitched in was the exact same color as my fabric. So, I switched it out and restitched that sail three times. Well, I’m still not happy with it, but I was at a loss as to what to do. So, I put it down. And I haven’t gone back to it. Are you noticing a trend? In case you’re just tuning into the blog – I do this a lot…once a problem arises I am notorious for setting a piece aside. So, no more progress on Bay Sampler. So, not sure what to do with that sail still, but I may pull this out again soon and stitch on the other stuff and leave the sail alone for now.

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So, last weekend I finished Part 8 on Mystery 9. On Sunday, Eric and I sat down to start watching Season 1 of True Blood and I started on Part 9. This part consists of the swirlies in each corner. The one on the bottom there is finished except for beads and crystals. This part is almost all beads and crystals. So, it is going to be blinding once all the bling is in place. I can’t wait! And it’s coming along pretty fast too, I think. I’m almost done with the stitching on this corner, then three more to go. Also, the more I look at it the more I wonder if this thread might work well for my sail? I may have to try it out and see, if I have any left over.

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And I am loving my new stitching bag! It’s ginormous, but I love that M9 fits in there easily. And I may just have purchased a little accessory piece that matches to hold my scissors and needles. Possibly.

Miller Bag

And let me vent a little moment here. Let’s assume that a stitcher decides to place an order with a needlework shop for the first time. And let’s assume that said stitcher sends an email inquring about ordering, gets an immediate response back saying that of course they would be happy to help. Said stitcher then calls the shop to provided credit card information. Now, let’s assume that this ocurred say oh, about four months ago. Let us also assume that said stitcher has not yet recieved either of the two charts he/she may have ordered. And, progress reports on the status of the order are only given when the customer inquires. Sometimes it requires two attempts to get an answer. Said stitcher finally may have sent an email indicating their extreme disappointment with the customer service and ordering ease with this needlework shop. Needlework shop sends email stating they will send one of the two charts ordered and would stitcher please provide credit card information. Stitcher in question just may have responded a little hastily with an email stating that credit card information was provided four months ago, you should check your records. At this point the stitcher in question doesn’t know if chart A will be arriving, and if chart B will ever arrive. Needless to say, it is assumed for the sake of argument that stitcher in question will not be giving Needlework shop a second shot at his/her business. Stitcher is an entirely reasonable person, and with adequate communication is willing to understand what all issues may arrive – except of course that chart B did come in and although was being held for stitcher, was then sold out from under stitcher to someone else…thus adding another two months and counting onto the transaction. Of course all of this is just theoretical. Of course. Really.

And I made a little bitty start on BBD’s The Simple Things. Love the colors on this so far.

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So that’s about all the news from here today. Eric and I will be heading off on a short adventure next week, which was also a surprise and I am really looking forward to. And tonight, another adventure, we are going on a Dallas After Dark photo walk. That should be fun (hot as hell, but fun). I hope to learn a few things and also have some cool photos to share.

I am grateful for losing another 1.6 pounds this week.