I Just Want Your Extra Time…

Kiss Kiss blocks
Remember that time, a million years ago, when I shared my almost-finished Kiss Kiss quilt top?  You know, the one I worked on at a weekend retreat?  At the end of that weekend, I only needed to sew my borders on for the top to be finished.  So, a couple weeks after that retreat I settled in at my brand new work surface/desk top to get those borders on.

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It really took no time at all to have my quilt top finished but I’m glad I didn’t try to rush it at the retreat and just waited until I had more time to focus on it.

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I cannot wait to get this one quilted.  It is going out for custom quilting for sure.  In the meantime, I just had to share full photos of my (very wrinkly) top.

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Isn’t she beautiful?!  I love how the Eye Drops border looks!

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Details on this quilt:

Pattern is Kiss Kiss by Tula Pink; I made the Large version 82″ x 82″

Fabric is Parisville by Tula Pink in the Pomegranate colorway and Free Spirit Solids for the background

Started in 2012 and top finished in 2014.

Kiss Kiss Finished
 

And just in case you’re wondering what the title of this post is all about.
I am grateful for finally getting around to sharing pics of this quilt!

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.  

Adventures in Color

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Look!  She lives!  Not only does she live but she has stuff to share!!!  So, yes…I have been sorely neglecting the old blog for the quick and ease of Instagram (ie I’m lazy).  Well, not entirely lazy, but it is certainly easier to shoot a photo on my phone, upload it to IG and then boom, done.  As Max said on Two Broke Girls, “Twitter is stupid and Instagram is Twitter for people who can’t read.”  (FYI you can follow me on both Twitter and Instagram – ha).  Anywho…back to the pretty pictures.  So, I have tons of stuff to share – some of it is stuff you may have seen on IG and some of it I actually got out my camera and edited in Lightroom and all that fancy stuff.  For today, well…the square format is a dead giveaway, no?
So, back in October or so I decided that I wanted to jump on the Marcelle Medallion bandwagon.  Alexia Abegg’s book Liberty Love includes the pattern for the quilt.  I spent a ton of time surfing around the internet looking at other people’s Marcelle’s and trying to decide what fabrics I wanted to use on mine.  In the end, what it came down to was that I wanted it to be a collection of some of my favorite fabrics and designers, and I was going to basically wing it and hope it all comes together in the end.  I knew right from the start I wanted to include some of that Kaffe Fassett Jupiter fabric.  I played around with a number of things to pair it with, but in the end another Kaffe print won out – the red Aboriginal Dot.  
You can probably tell from my photo too that I decided to do the center block by English Paper Piecing it.  I was scared stiff of trying to match up those sharp points and y-seams.  So, I made my own EPP templates and got started. 
At Thanksgiving I had finished up the next round on the center block using Tula Pink Parisville French Lace and Lizzie House Pearl Bracelet.  Yellow is probably my absolute favorite color, and I really wanted to use this lemony shade in my Marcelle. 

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At this point, I ran into issues.  I don’t know if my templates were off just enough and compounded they were making my measurements way off, but by the time I went to add on the next round of pieces I could not get my pieces to fit together correctly and match up.  After getting most of them sewn together by hand, I knew that it was going to have to come out.  So, I ripped out everything back to the yellow and ended up sewing it on my machine.  I still had some issues, as you can see (although the poor quality of this photo may hide some of that).  But, I was ok with leaving it as is.  The important thing to me was that the center points were matched, so I could live with the rest.  

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And for finishing out the center block, my center was so bright and bold I wanted to tone it down a little bit with some cooler colors.  I went with Lush Uptown with the fabulous paint by number print that picked up my yellow and red a bit.  Then I complimented that with one of the low volume prints from the Architextures line.  Finally, for the outer corners I needed something to ground my block – so I went with a navy print from Anna Maria Horner’s Hand Drawn Garden line.  It also picked up my reds and yellows, adding in some bright greens and turquoises too.  I am pretty much just auditioning fabrics as I go and choosing things I really like, which is kind of fun.  May be a hot mess later, but so far I’m loving it.  
After struggling to get that center block sewn, I was faced with my first border.  After trying several different things I knew that I had so many prints going on that I really wanted some kind of tone on tone print for the main fabric in the border.  I saw someone’s Marcelle that used one of the Tula Pink Acacia prints in a bright chartreuse that looked fabulous, so I ordered some of that, thinking that it would tie in that bright green in the AMH corner fabrics.  I also ordered the same print in the purple color.  Once my fabrics came in I got to work auditioning.  I actually ended up bringing my sewing machine into the living room and sewing on the coffee table while I watched the movie Juno (which I really enjoyed). 
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 After much deliberation, I ended up not using the chartreuse Acacia print.  It worked, but the purple actually was better.  So, purple it was.  And after trying a TON of different things for the cornerstones, I ended up with this bright turquoise Lily Ashbury fabric from Gypsy Wife. 
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It is crazy bright and super colorful, but I really love it.  The purple just worked.  It picked up the centers of those flowers in the AMH fabric, and played off the purple in the Jupiter print in the star.  The cornerstones also worked with the AMH fabric, so it seemed a match made in heaven.  
Now…what the heck to use for my next border.  It’s a border of 60 degree triangles and I’m completely stumped.  I’m going to have to spend some time auditioning things to see what works.  I’ve been collecting some fabrics here and there that I love, so I have some good options.  Where I find I’m seriously lacking is in the low volume fabrics.  I picked some more up a month ago though, so I have a few more choices now.  
I’m enjoying the journey of just kind of seeing where this takes me and what works and what doesn’t. 

I’m grateful for summertime projects. 

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. 

 

Measure Twice

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Ever since I went to the quilt show, I’ve been jonesing to sew.  Plus, I was so excited to finally get my Christmas quilt top finished, that I wanted to prolong the excitement by working on another WIP.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that the time had come.  Last year on my birthday, one of the ways I celebrated was by starting my Tula Pink Kiss Kiss quilt.  Of course, by starting, I mean cutting a butt ton (technical term) of fabric strips.  It took me a couple more cutting sessions to get everything cut for the quilt top – including fussy cutting the cameos. 

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When I was finally able to carve out some sewing time for myself, I proceeded to assemble all the pieced blocks.  Tula’s instructions call for “random” placement of the fabrics.  So, I very carefully and methodically sorted all of my fabric strips into random configurations.  It probably would have been easier to throw them on the floor and let Thutmose arrange them for me (although the downside to that plan is teethmarks).
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I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it was to finally be sewing again.  The bright colors bring a smile to my face and knowing that this quilt was finally starting to take shape was a huge bonus.  I got all 36 blocks pieced and pressed and ready for my next sewing date.  

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The next time I sat down at my sewing machine, I started off by laying out the entire quilt (oh what joy it would be to have a design wall) and arranging the blocks randomly.  Happy with my layout, I started to assemble the first row.  That’s when I noticed a problem.  My pieced blocks were supposed to be 8 1/2 by 8 1/2.  Mine were most assuredly not.  After much swearing, I resigned myself to having to redo every block.  I briefly thought about cutting the other blocks down to match, but since the entire quilt is set on point, that was a whole lot of triangles that I wasn’t willing to do the math to figure out what size they needed to be.  
So out came the seam ripper.  What I discovered is that my 1/4-inch seam allowance was really more like a 3/8 seam allowance.  Every.  Single.  Time.  At least I’m consistent.  
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I decided that in order to feel like I was at least making some progress, I would rip and resew a block at a time, as I needed them.  And my sewing machine now sports a piece of tape so that any dummy can figure out where 1/4 inch is (let’s hope).  I briefly recall having a 1/4 foot on my old sewing machine, but I don’t think I have one for this machine.  Note to self: buy one.  
So, after all the hubbub I finally got down to business.  And thankfully I had more help than I knew what to do with.  They decided that clearly I was in need of supervision so that no more shenanigans went on in here. 
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I was able to get almost one block completely assembled, with the correct size blocks.  Of course, I’ll be picking black fur off that cream background fabric till I’m blue in the face.  I can barely stand how pretty this is though.  
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 I’m hoping for some more sewing time soon, so that I can see more of this beauty come together.  And in case you’re wondering, yes I have been stitching too.  I hope to have some good progress to share soon!
I am grateful for Parisville fabric and washi tape. 

Spring is Coming

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I really don’t know where the time goes!  March is here and the trees are blooming and we’ve had a few really beautiful days.  Of course this time of year, I’m drawn to brighter colors and I’m really loving my new found focus on the projects I have in progress.  Earlier this week was the monthly guild meeting and I took a couple of things to work on (not that I put a single stitch in).  I’ve been working on some Tula Pink Prince Charming hexies as you can see.  I’ve also been hard at work on my John Reed sampler.  My pretty stitching wallets from Sylvia come with me wherever I go too!
Here’s a closer look at John Reed.  I’m loving the AVAS silks on the 40ct Confederate Grey.  I’ve finished page 1 and I’m moving along on the adjacent pages.  I’m stitching this for my dad, as his memorial sampler, so I’d like to have it finished by June (his birthday).  It’s a bit washed out in this photo due to the bright sunshine I had coming in the window.  The photo from guild night is more accurate colorwise.    
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I’ve also been spending Sundays on ATS.  Nothing much exciting going on – but I’m on the last row of alphabet finally.  I’ll be glad to get back to the motifs at the bottom of page 2.  
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In quilting news, since I finished my Kate Spain Christmas quilt top, I decided to get back to my Tula Pink Kiss Kiss quilt.  You may recall I started this on my birthday last year?  A couple of weekends ago, I pulled out all my fabric and finished all the cutting for the quilt top.  Now everything’s ready for piecing.  I can’t wait.  This is going to be gorgeous!
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And look! an older Tula Pink line, Plume.  I’ll have to find something special to do with this. 
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 And along those same lines, remember back in October when I got to meet Tula herself?  I pre-ordered her new Hex on the Beach kit.  I got a call at the beginning of January that it had come in and I rushed right over to pick it up!  After seeing Laurie and Margaret’s progress on their Hex on the Beach hexies, I couldn’t resist any longer.  So, I have a sneaky suspicion I’ll be showing you progress on this soon too!
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And tomorrow I am heading out to the Dallas Quilt Show with a friend to see what trouble we can get into get inspired by all the pretty fabric and quilts. I’ll be sure to share what I find there!
(P.S. – if you’d like to take a look at my February in photos, you can check out my other blog.)
I am grateful for a good book, a pretty mani and bursts of happy colors. 

Tilting at Windmills

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I finished up my pre-stitching for the Betsy Morgan class.  I love the little windmill.  These two little panels stitched up pretty quick, which is good because my track record for pre-stitching hasn’t been so great.  I’m looking forward to this class in October.  
After finishing my pre-stitching Saturday night, I was a little adrift about what to work on next.  I really need to get back to And They Sinned.  And I’ve promised myself I am going to focus on AOTH, ATS and John Reed until they are finished.  (Of course Glory House was nowhere on that list!)  And now I’m really wanting to do some fall stitching.  But, I really should stick to the plan and finish some of these things that have been taking up space in my project basket closet.  
And speaking of new starts…I decided to sign up for the Tula Pink Sew Along hosted by Sew Sweetness.  I figured it was the perfect opportunity to get moving on my Kiss Kiss quilt made from Tula’s Parisville fabrics. 
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On Saturday, I busted out the rotary cutter and finished cutting out all of the fabric for the “spokes”.  That’s fifteen pieces from each of the ten fat quarters!  Once I finished with those, I moved on to fussy cutting my centerpieces from the Cameo fabric.  

Fussy Cutting Parisville Tula Pink
I managed to get three of the nine cut out before it was time to call it a day.  I’m looking forward to getting all my cutting done so that I can start sewing!  
And even though I’m just getting started on my very first Tula quilt, I’ve already started making plans for the next one.  Please take a look at the new purchase – from her most recent line (at least until Salt Water comes out!), The Birds and The Bees.  Love that squirrel!!
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I really should get back to my Kate Spain Christmas quilt if I hope to have it done for the holidays this year…  Sounds like I need to tackle some of the ongoing projects in my quilting pile too!
I am grateful for getting out of a rut.  

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

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Oh don’t you just love those colors?  I die every time I look at them.  I’ve been talking so much stitching lately (well, relatively speaking), that I thought it was time for a little quilting talk.  And I was completely inspired over the weekend to get out my fabric and get to sewing after visiting two new to me quilt shops.  Everywhere I turned there was inspiration.  But my fabric stash above was a purchase from a couple of months ago.  I decided to use a part of my bonus from work to buy fabrics for a quilt I want to make.  The fabrics are all Tula Pink from her Parisville line.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  Don’t the colors just remind you of macarons?  I. am. in. love.

And you may recall that I’ve been carrying around some Parisville with me for a while now in the form of some beautiful project bags (here, here, and here).  Plus, I made those fun hexagon pincushions with her more recent line Prince Charming.  (I am clearly an addict!)

But I found the perfect quilt that I wanted to make with my treasured fabric… 

Kiss Kiss

Kiss Kiss also by Tula.  I wanted a pattern to showcase those Marie Antoinette silhouettes, and I love the big Xs that make up the pattern.  I’m so excited to get started.  I have one thing I need to finish first – my Kate Spain Christmas quilt.  But then?  Kiss Kiss.

And Tula’s also just come out with two new lines.  The weekend of my Epic Stitching Get Together, we all piled in cars and headed over to a local quilt shop where I managed to score some fat quarters of Nightshade.

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I can’t wait to sew with this.  It’s equally beautiful in person, but so different.  I wish I’d found some of the main cameo fabric, but I’m sure I’ll be getting more of this in the future.  But I’m so excited to cut some fabric and do some sewing!!!

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And I’ve been thinking I needed to take some more photos of our boys.  Can you believe we’ve had these guys a month?  This photo is from when they got their new collars.  They are so much bigger now, and look so different! 

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But taking photos of two black kittens is proving to be almost impossible.  Most of my photos end up looking like this…

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Or this…

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But finally, after many many many attempts, I finally got a few good ones.  This is Ramses.

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With his pretty green eyes.

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And this is Thutmose, with his gold eyes and little white spot. 

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I can’t believe the difference a month makes. 

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They’ve pretty much lost all their kitten fuzz, and they are growing like weeds! 

Anyway, hope you are all managing to stay cool and work on whatever crafty thing makes your heart sing.  I’m stitching along on Isabella and on ATS, but I’m hoping there’s some quilting gonna happen soon!

I am grateful for lots of inspiration, and two little black bundles of joy.

Cow Tipping

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Thanks so much for all of your kind words about Othello.  We’ve sure been missing him.  I’ve spent the week trying to get sort of readjusted to having an “empty nest” so to speak.  And I’ve tried to get back to my stitching as well.  One thing that has been brightening my days is my new project bag out of Tula Pink fabric, thanks to Sylvia.  I’m absolutely in love with the button she found for this and although Sylvia said she made this one big enough to carry around Dutch Beauty in, Isabella’s been enjoying being in there for now!
And speaking of Isabella…I am way overdue for my May WIPocalypse update.
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 I’ve finished off all the letters and numbers at the top and you can see the very tippy top of the cow that I’ve started.  I’m so excited to get to the cow!  
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I’ve been working along on my leaves too, a length of thread at a time.  That seems to be working well for keeping me from getting overwhelmed at all the leaves.  She’s been such a fun stitch so far, and I have really needed something to take my mind off everything.

Hope you’re all having a Happy Mother’s Day, whether you’re spending it with your mother, your children or your furry ones.

I am grateful for good memories.

Decadence

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Thanks, everyone, for your sweet compliments on Margaret Cottam. I really appreciate them. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of stitching has gone on here in the past couple of weeks, so I don’t have much stitching progress to show you. But, I did something really self-indulgent and took the day off work on Wednesday. I got the lovely opportunity to spend the day with some friends, including Sylvia who was here from Germany! It was so good to get to spend some time with her. The four of us did a bit of shopping during the day, and then we did our Christmas gift exchange. We opted to delay it until Sylvia was here to do it in person. So fun!

Above, you can see the oh-so-apropos travel mug that Kim gave me. Isn’t it fun? I think it may need to go to work with me. I need a reminder.

Sylvia brought some chocolates from Paris in a really fabulous tin. And you can see on top of the tin a sweet heart needleminder she made for me. She’d made me another needleminder back in October, but unfortunately when the envelope arrived, there was a big hole in the bottom and no needleminder. Sad sad sad.
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Sylvia also gave each of us two stitch wallets that she made herself! The first one I opened was made from Kate Spain’s Flurry fabrics. Remember those quilt blocks I was working on back in December…well, I dug them out to photograph with my wallet.
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And if that stitch wallet looks like it’s already stuffed full, well that’s because it is.
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I’ve already got my Christmas ornament stitching for this year in there. That’s more 40ct Weeks Cocoa fabric, in case you’re wondering. I loved it for Margaret Cottam and thought it would be perfect for my BOAF Santas.

And here is the funny part. I’ve been looking everywhere for this Marie Antoinette fabric that is part of Tula Pink’s Parisville line. I did not, however, mention to Sylvia that I’ve been looking for it. Nor did I mention the reason I was looking for it was to make a stitch wallet out of. Well looky here…

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Clearly, my Jedi mind tricks are working…even overseas.
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And Miss Antoinette is now chock full of my New Year’s start that hasn’t yet been started (see how behind I am?!). Also, you can see my new Hardwicke Manor hoop that I intend to try.
But that’s not all…my sweet, sweet friend, Ava, gifted me with these hare scissors for my Hare Pyns (assuming that one day it will be finished)! I have looked everywhere for these scissors and couldn’t find any. So, clearly Ava has been picking up on my use of the Force too. Thank you for inspiring me to get my scissor sheath and scissor fob stitched so that I can finally do the finishing on HP!!!
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And my new hare scissors are pictured here with all the stitching I’ve done. I’m working on that bonus block for AOTH. It doesn’t look like much, but I stitched that right hand border twice. You know, because I could.

Such fun spending time with such good friends. And hopefully next time, I’ll be able to show you what I gave them in return.

I am grateful for a Saturday afternoon visit.