Collecting My Thoughts

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I’m still working on getting back in the swing of things, so there’s really no stitching progress to show (I just keep flitting from piece to piece). So, instead I thought I’d just show you some things I’ve been meaning to share and finally got around to taking photos of yesterday. First up is my framed Hand & Heart piece. You may recall I finished this right before Thanksgiving. I took it in to be framed in early January so that I’d have it in time to give to Eric for Valentine’s Day. I was able to give him the piece in February, but missed Valentine’s Day by a week and a half. Unfortunately there were problems with the frame, so after the first time it came in, it had to be reordered.

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I was really set on this frame after I saw it because I wanted a wide frame for the piece, since it’s so small (similar to how Lisa framed the model). We also left a little more margin around the piece for that same reason. And I just loved the accents of red on the frame too.

And the piece has been hanging for awhile now, since I’m just getting around to sharing it. I knew, of course, when I stitched it that it would be hung in our bedroom along with Where My Heart Blooms (last year’s Valentine’s Day gift). As you can see, I have plenty of room for more framed pieces.

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And just as a reminder, for anyone interested in the specifics – Hand & Heart is a freebie from The Primitive Needle. I stitched mine with the recommended Weeks threads on the recommended 40ct Dill by Picture This Plus. It’s funny because that Dill fabric didn’t look green at all when I stitched the piece, but now that it’s framed, it’s definitely looking a lot greener.

And next up, another little something I’ve been meaning to share. I won a giveaway Laurie was having on her blog. I was so excited to win and have enjoyed looking through the book. Laurie also sent along a surprise of some great scissors that I will be putting to great use once I get back to quilting (which I hope is soon!).

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Thank you so much, Laurie, for the generous giveaway!!

And finally, a little crafting finish. Back at the beginning of October some friends and I got together for a fabulous stitching day. One speedy stitcher had already stitched up one of the pieces from BBD’s A Schoolgirl’s Work called Polly’s Sewing Box. It’s a sweet little piece, but then she made color copies of the piece and sized them down. And we were each presented with the little boxes (already painted) and the color copy so that we could make another project from the book – Polly’s Thimble Box.

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Well, the plan was for us to work on finishing our little boxes that day, but we got so busy stitching that we didn’t get around to it. So, recently, I asked if I could get a lesson on how to do the Briwax finishing on the box. So, a couple of us got together and voila – I learned how to sand my painted box and apply the Briwax finishing to it. Now I’m a Briwaxing fiend!!

Isn’t it the sweetest little thing?

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So, a big thanks to my crafty friends who put all of this together and showed me how to do the finishing. I love my little thimble box!

That’s all I have to show you today. And do go see The Hunger Games – it was really good! And I have two words about the casting – Lenny Kravitz. I think Lenny made an excellent Cinna, but mostly I just love me some Lenny Kravitz. And last week I decided to re-read the book before seeing the movie, since it’s been since 2009 since I originally read that one. The book was just as good, if not better the second time around. Anyway – go see the movie, if you get a chance.

Maybe next time I’ll have some stitching to show. It’s coming up on WIPocalypse update time again!

I am grateful for getting to stitch on ATS last night.

Auld Lang Syne

2011 Finishes

Can you believe another year has come and gone? I thought I’d squeak in a final post for the year and do a little recap of 2011. Above you can see my finishes for 2011. A couple of quilts, some beading, some finishing, and a few medium-sized pieces.

They are (from left to right):

Camille’s French Sampler, Holly Wool Biscornu, Snow Garden, Be Mine
Indulgence, 2000 Years Ago, Joyful Night, Valentine Rose
Dash Away All, a beaded fob, Day of the Dead earrings, Sweet Treats Block 1 and Border
Stars & Stripes, Honfleur Sampler, Angel of Tulips, Garden of Eerie
Penny Angel, Mele Kalikimaka, Hand & Heart, Joy

I linked each of those to the associated blog post so you can get more info on them if you want. I’m pleased with my finishes for the year, although I’d hoped to have more. But, isn’t that the way it always is?

As for the books I read this year, here’s my little list for that as well…

City of Bones
The Forgery of Venus*
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet*
Parrot & Olivier in America*
Lover Mine
A Northern Light
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
The Hare with Amber Eyes*
Living Dead in Dallas
Heaven is for Real
The Help
Lover Unleashed
An Object of Beauty*
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Club Dead
Soulless
The Paris Wife*
The books with asterisks are book club books.

And I thought I’d share with you a look at my ort jar. I’ve been letting these bits pile up for awhile (much longer than just the past year – they are packed in there really well), and decided that tomorrow will be a fresh new start across the board.

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After my stitching today, I’ll empty this out and begin anew on January 1.

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I’d really like to also finish Margaret Cottam, but that may not happen before the ball drops at midnight. I would love to see another “1” on that corner though!

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And tomorrow, I will have a new start, as part of my New Year’s Day tradition. I can’t wait!

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Happy New Year!

I am grateful for new beginnings.

Joy

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I can finally share with you the ornament I stitched for our guild’s annual ornament exchange. It’s the Blackbird Designs “Joy” ornament from this year’s JCS Ornament Issue. I didn’t have any of the Belle Soies called for on hand, and didn’t want to shell out $90 to buy them for an ornament, so I ended up doing my own conversion to overdyed cottons. I’m really pleased with how the conversion turned out. I stitched this on 32ct Vintage Pearled Barley (Lakeside Linens). I typically lean towards 40ct these days, but as you can see on 32ct it’s a good size (32ct was the recommended count). I also used some of the new Crescent Colours chenille trim, which gave it a fun pop. The fabric it’s sitting on is what I used for the back.
The holiday party was a ton of fun, and I was so glad to have a night of relaxation and fun with my stitching buddies.

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My photo of the food was a little early in the evening, many more yummy things arrived later. I did take photos of the desserts, but they were all blurry (it’s hard to take photos when you’re stuffing your mouth).

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Our hostess had already finished our guild’s 2011 ornament and had it displayed on one of her trees.

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And it was fun to see my ornament from last year’s exchange hanging on her tree too!

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There are always such beautiful examples of stitching at our exchanges. I always feel like I need to step it up a notch! Here are a couple of examples.

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And here’s the whole lot! (Unfortunately my photo doesn’t show that ornament in the top right. It was the most gorgeous thing stitched on a pale lavender linen with sparkles on it. Stunning!

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And lucky me – here’s the ornament I came home with!

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This is this year’s ornament by Plum Street Samplers. I was actually planning on stitching this one for myself, but now I don’t have to! And Laurie’s stitching is gorgeous and she did an amazing finishing treatment on this – I just love the little jingle bells!! I’m so excited to have this hanging on my tree this year!

It was a great time, and it’s always so fun to see what everyone stitches.

I am grateful for my Dad coming home from the hospital.

Denial is Not Just a River in Egypt

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Ever have those times in your life when there’s so much “stuff” going on and you’re just feeling completely overwhelmed with life in general? I tend to throw myself into projects to keep my mind busy with whatever I’m working on rather than whatever it is I’m trying to not obsess over. So, the past week has seen a bit of a burst of activity (in between working during my vacation). Above you can see that I decided it was about time to do some ornament finishing. I got all my pieces and their backing fabrics cut as well as the cardboard and batting. I still need to determine the trim on a few pieces, but I went ahead with the one that I’ve really been nervous about finishing. So nervous, in fact, that I have avoided it for well over a year.

But, now it’s finished!

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That is Mele Kalikimaka finished as the designer suggested by whipstitching Thread Gatherer silk ribbon around the piece and then creating a braided hanger from the silk ribbon. I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out and so glad that it will finally be hanging on my tree this year.
Tuesday night was EGA night and I was excited for the program because we were doing our ornament. This year’s ornament is a beaded star that is so pretty. So, I learned how to do the brick stitch and didn’t do too bad with getting half of my first diamond finished. We are using delicas and Swarovski bicones for the ornament. I can’t wait to get back to working on this!

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And Wednesday, I decided that it was time to get out my sewing machine and rotary cutter and get to work on a Christmas quilt that I’ve been dying to make. I’m mostly following this pattern, and I’m using my Kate Spain Flurry and 12 Days of Christmas charm packs along with some Bella Solids in white.

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I managed to get all of my blocks put together (I’m doing 30 blocks rather than 25 as the pattern calls for). Now, on to the sashing! It felt good to sew again.
And on Wednesday night, I finished up the little piece I’d been working on.

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This is Hand & Heart by The Primitive Needle. I stitched it with the recommended Weeks threads and on the recommended 40ct Dill by Picture This Plus. I love how it turned out and I’m so glad I’ve now got my Valentine’s Day stitching done early!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to – trying to keep myself busy with things that relax me. Since I finished Hand & Heart on Wednesday night, I decided to treat myself to a Thanksgiving Day start. I pulled out Margaret Cottam, the new three-part mystery sampler from La-D-Da. I’m stitching on the called for Weeks Cocoa fabric in 40ct. with the called for Weeks threads.

I hope that those of you celebrating Thanksgiving yesterday had a lovely time and it’s a good reminder for each of us to remember all the blessings we have in our lives – even when they seem the darkest.

Thank you to each and every one of you that comes to visit my blog – I so appreciate it!

I am grateful for every moment.