Broken Bow Retreat

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I’ve been meaning to share with you a little bit of seasonal stitching I worked on in the fall (which really wasn’t that long ago, although now being full on in Christmas mode it seems like forever ago).  Back in the fall of 2012 I was invited to Broken Bow, Oklahoma for a long weekend with some girlfriends.  I’d never been there, so it was fun to venture out with my camera and take in the beautiful fall colors.

 

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One of my friends, Lori of The Accidental Stitcher blog, designed a beautiful sampler to commemorate the occasion.  She kitted it up for us (seriously, her presentation is always amazing) with GAST and Weeks threads as well as 40ct Antique Cotton by R&R.
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She chose the perfect fall colors for the piece, don’t you think?

 

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I actually didn’t start stitching on this until fall of last year.  But it was the perfect thing to start when I was in need of some seasonal stitching.
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I stitched on it basically through the fall of last year and left off with beginning to stitch the house.  Here’s where I have to laugh at myself.  I started stitching the house with the Dove thread and after a few stitches I thought it was looking really grey and not blue at all like it looked in the skein.  So, I went through my thread and pulled some other options of blues to try.  But at that point in the year, it was time to start on Christmas stitching, so I put it away.
This fall I decided to get it out and get it finished.  I looked at all those blue thread options I’d pulled out and decided to just throw caution to the wind and use the Dove thread she’d kitted it with.  After I put in a few rows, you know what?  It was blue!  Just goes to show that sometimes it takes more than a few stitches to really see how something’s going to stitch up.  So silly.  I could have had this finished a year ago!!
 
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See what I mean?  It is the perfect shade of blue!!  And it looks so pretty against the oranges and browns and cranberry colored birds.

 

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Minus the house debacle, where I had to make things harder than they need to be, this was a joy to stitch and the perfect choice for the season.
I finished it up at the end of October and I love the way it turned out.

 

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Thanks so much for a beautiful design, Lori.

 

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I am grateful for seasonal stitching.

 

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. 

 

Summer to Fall

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Thank you so much for all the comments on my John Reed finish.  And apologies to those of you who wanted to leave comments, but couldn’t.  It seems to be some sort of hit or miss thing with either blogger or this template I’m using since some people could leave comments and some couldn’t.  So strange.  Hopefully it’s fixed now though.  
I finally got around to taking some photos of some amazing birthday gifts from friends that I hadn’t had a chance to share yet.  This pincushion is a freebie design from The Sampler Girl that my friend Lori stitched and finished for me.  She actually had several friends who had August birthdays, so she made several of these and personalized them with each birthdate and initials.  Absolutely adorable – and what a perfect gift for an August birthday girl, like me!  
And she backed it with this lovely blue fabric.  So fun!
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 And if that wasn’t enough, she also spoiled me with this amazing gift.  Although, when she gave it to me she said, “let me know if you figure out what it is”.  She found this at a local quilt shop and said that even the ladies at the quilt shop weren’t sure what it was.  But, since she knows my love for all things Tula, she felt like it would have a good home with me. 
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It’s difficult to get the whole thing in the photo, but it does say Tula Pink for Moda (so you know this is from way back) and then it has four little pockets, which she filled with fat quarters of some Tula fabric for me, two Birds & the Bees, one Saltwater, and one Nightshade. 
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So, since we were all stumped as to what this was I reached out to Miss Tula Pink herself and asked.  And she very kindly responded that this was a promotional banner Moda did for shops and the intent was for them to be able to change out the fat quarters in the pockets as new lines from the designer were released.  But the best part…
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It’s made to look like a fabric selvedge!  How fun is that???  It has a little sleeve at the top for hanging and then you can change out your focus fabrics at will.  The most awesome addition to my sewing room, for sure!  Thank you so much, Lori, for spoiling me! 
Another friend of mine, Laurie, also spoiled me with a pincushion.  This is one of Jeannette Douglas’s Quaker Pincushions.  I love that it looks like a little pumpkin.  And the Halloween pins she added are absolutely adorable. 
 
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And look at the back!  Gorgeous houndstooth patterned wool and a beautiful button. So sweet.  It’s perfect to put out for the season too.   I totally should finish up the Quaker pincushion I stitched for myself forever ago, shouldn’t I?
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She also gifted me with this blinged out skull needleminder.  I, of course, immediately put it on my sugar skull stitching wallet so it can keep me company.  So freaking awesome. 
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So thank you both for my thoughtful gifts, they are much appreciated and will be treasured.  
I also thought I’d show you all what I’ve been stitching on lately, now that John Reed is finished.  On October 1 I decided to start a new project.  This is only my third new start of the year, if you can believe it, and one of those was finished in January.  But, I was feeling the need for a fall project and this one has been calling to me from my stitching bag.  Please overlook the fact that the majority of this is out of focus, my 50mm lens was obviously punishing me for never using it anymore. 
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Such a fun stitch, and just brimming with fall color.  This is a design by the same friend Lori I mentioned above.  She is so talented!  You may recall she also designed this little pincushion I stitched last fall.  I’ve been working on this still and hope to have it finished this fall.  
The other piece I’ve been working on is the Sunday Mystery Sampler Paulette is offering as a free chart on her blog.  I look forward to each new installment on Sundays, and it’s the perfect thing to stitch on Sunday evenings.  And bonus, by Thanksgiving I will have a finished Christmas piece! 
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I’m using 40ct Vintage Light Examplar and for the most part I am stitching with the called for threads, although I had to switch from Shaker White to Oatmeal because the Shaker wouldn’t show up on my fabric (which really is not as pink leaning as this photo shows).  I also changed the Espresso Bean to Pecan because I wanted it to be a warmer, lighter brown than my skein of Espresso was.  And I stitched Mary in blue, because I wanted that little pop of color.  The blue I used is actually a limited edition GAST I’ve had forever called Aquamarine.  I can’t wait to see what the next installment will be.  Oh, and I’m stitching Mary’s Sampler II, which is the more densely stitched version that Paulette is doing on black. 
Oh, and speaking of The Sampler Girl (the pincushion from Lori reminded me of it), in case you haven’t seen, many of her patterns are going to be OOP at the end of October, and until the 31st, they are all on sale.  So scoop up the ones you want, while you can!!  (no affiliation, just a fan) I picked up Good Tidings with Jane Austen, which is the companion piece to the other two that I’ve already stitched.  I am excited about the new direction she’s taking though.  
I am grateful for vacation and working on new things.

**Edited to add: Still appear to be having issues with comments.  Some people are able to comment, so do try refreshing if you’re not seeing the comment option.  I’ll keep researching to see if I can determine the problem. 

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!

Time Warp

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It’s been a while, huh?  I’m not really sure where September, October or November went.  And obviously, it’s been almost a month since I blogged, which is unheard of for me.  Hopefully, I am back on track now.  Thanks for bearing with me though, and I hope that you’ll enjoy what I’ve got to show you today.  The photos aren’t the best, but hey at least I have photos, right?!  And speaking of photos, I (like many of you) am currently in the process of moving everything off of Webshots to a new location.  So, if you go post-diving in the archives, there may be some older photos missing.  But, the end result is that eventually I should have everything in one place.  Hurrah!
Ok, on to the good stuff.  I’ve been having a hard time concentrating enough to stitch lately, so at the beginning of October, I decided to have a new start.  This time last year, I pulled out my Garden of Eerie and worked on it through the month of October.  So, this year I decided I’d like another little Halloweenie finish.  Enter one of my birthday gifts – the chart, fabric and threads for this fabulous Sugar Skull design.  The design is from an etsy seller, and she’s done several of these Sugar Skull designs.  Perfect for this time of year.   It is stitched on 40ct Weeks Cocoa with DMC.  I love it and had such fun stitching it. 
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At the beginning of the month, I was gifted with this sweet little pincushion jar and the cleaning cloth for glasses underneath it.  
And look what was inside!
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Yes, she even included a little mini bottle of nail polish!  How fun is this?  Perfect fall colored silk too.  
And if that wasn’t enough, she kitted up another little design she came up with herself, so once I finished up my Sugar Skull, I jumped right on stitching this little pincushion!
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It’s stitched on 40ct R&R French Vanilla with Weeks thread.  And it’s finished with some Blackbird Designs fabric and chenille trim.  Plus a little black safety pin for a little extra touch.  This was stitched one day and finished the next.  It’s filled with crushed walnut shells, so it’s got some lovely weight to it. 
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So, there you go – two finishes for me!  Since I finished these I’ve been working on a piece for the guild’s ornament exchange, which is all done but the finishing, and on a birthday gift.  Of course, I can’t show you either of them yet!  In quilting news, I have been working on my Kate Spain Christmas quilt that I started last year, as well as I have been doing some other sewing I need to share.  
Next post I promise to share a little about my Betsy Morgan Casket Etui class.  Until then, I hope you all had a lovely holiday here in the US and hope to see you back here soon!
I am grateful for the blessings of friendship and am sending prayers for a sweet friend going through a difficult time.