2018 – Let’s Do This

This will be my third year of working on whittling down my WIPs.  In 2016 I drew names of projects and then worked on each until finished (completed WIPs = 1) and in 2017 I joined the Year of WIPs Challenge and chose 12 WIPs to focus on over the year (completed WIPs = 3).  This year I thought I would join the WIPocalypse.  I actually participated in WIPocalypse years ago and was pleasantly surprised when I heard it was still going strong.  So, I spent some time at the end of December deciding which WIPs I wanted to focus on for 2018 (I talked about them in my last Flosstube video of the year).  So, here they are!

Anniversaries of the Heart by Blackbird Designs

This is the whole piece currently.  I am working on the 9th (September) block, Clara Ellen.  I set this aside because some of the thread colors on this block are way too light and need to be ripped out and restitched in a darker shade.

Halloween Neighborhood

This piece was a round robin originally, but last year I pulled it out and started adding some additional blocks to it.  My plan for 2018 is to work on this for #dark13stitching every month on the 13th and to start filling in some of the gaps.  I started charting the whole thing out so I can do some planning.  Here are the blocks I added last year.  The first one was By the Light of the Moon – a freebie from The Primitive Needle with a few alterations.

Halloween Rules by Milady’s Needle.  I changed up the configuration on this one too.  The tombstone on the left says 2007, the year I started this RR.  I’ll put the year it’s finished on the other tombstone.  The one at the bottom says E.A. Poe 1849.

This is a portion of a class piece from Brightneedle called Ghoulies and Ghosties.  I just can’t get over that witch hat roof.

And finally, I’m in the process of working on what was originally my block at the start of the RR (having to restitch because my first RR was lost).  This is the cemetery from Village of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings.  I flipped the design so that the tree is on the right hand side and I’ll be eliminating the black background that is on the original piece.

Green Santa by Birds of a Feather

This poor Santa has been a WIP for a ridiculous amount of time.  I picked him back up in November to work on for Santa Sundays #santasundayxs on Instagram.  I decided to keep him as a focus piece so that I can hopefully complete him and then move onto one of the other BOAF Santas.

Vierlande Winders’ Keeper by Amy Mitten

This piece is one of my challenge pieces.  While the stitching itself shouldn’t be challenging, the finishing will for sure.  I started this the year my dad died and haven’t had the heart to pick it back up since then.

His Eye is on the Sparrow by Heartstring Samplery

Sparrow wasn’t on my radar at all until two things happened – I saw that Tracy P had just purchased this and was planning to make it a 2018 piece.  I got it out to share a photo of mine and remembered how much I love it.  And the second thing was that I’ve been binge-watching Nicole’s videos and am missing my sampler stitching dreadfully.  I’m stitching this on 48 count Gander linen with the called for threads.

Mystery 9 (Le Potager du Roi/The King’s Vegetable Garden) – Chatelaine Designs

I had hoped to have M9 done in 2017, but alas that didn’t happen.  I have LOTS more to say about this piece, but for the purposes of this post I have completely finished (minus crystals and bugle beads) the top left corner including the beading.  Next I’m moving over to the top right corner.

Here’s how the whole thing looks currently.

Model for Cozyegg Designs

In 2018 I hope to finish the model and release my first design – with more to come!

Dutch Beauty by Permin of Copenhagen

Emily and I decided to start Dutch Beauty together in June of 2017 as kind of a last Maynia start.  I’m doing my own color conversion with a mix of silks, overdyed cotton, and DMC.  Started at the right bottom corner a la Nicole.

I’m so in love with this piece and can’t wait to spend more time with it in 2018.  I’m currently working on that big vase of lilies.

And finally, my New Year’s Day re-start.

Ten by Amy Mitten

This was a class I took back in 2010 at the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild.  Amy designed this piece for our 10th anniversary.  It has been sitting since then with a very small amount stitched because I wanted to tea dye it after seeing Amy’s model.  So, the last week of December I ripped out that stitching and tea dyed my fabric and then started it again on New Year’s Day.  The reason I chose to make this a focus piece this year is because of all the specialty stitches and because it intimidates me A LOT.  So, this is my second challenge piece for 2018.

This is where I’m at after working on it almost a week.  And below are the detached buttonhole petals that will get attached to the flower to give it dimension.

So there you have it, my focus WIPs for 2018.  As I finish these off (because I’m being optimistic), I may rotate other WIPs into my rotation.

I am grateful for a brand new year.

The Last of Summer

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It hardly seems possible that Labor Day is now behind us and it’s September.  I’ve been working on a little project as sort of a last hurrah of summer.  It’s Chessie & Me’s Glory House.  Sweet little thing, isn’t it?
And you may be wondering what I’ve been up to, since I haven’t blogged in a bit?  Well, I had a birthday.  And my birthday was full of fun celebrations with friends and family.  You can see a little recap in photos over on the other blog here.  But I just had to share a few of the wonderful gifts I received.  
Sylvia made me this sweet stitching wallet.  I am in love with the Paris fabric!
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Here’s a peek at the inside…
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And she must have gotten tired of me bugging her about the fabulous fingerless gloves with owls on them that she made for her daughter a while back.  So she made some for me!!!!  I LOVE THEM! (And in case you’re wondering…I’m modeling them with my blue moon manicure in honor of the blue moon that was on August 31st).
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I was also treated to a day of wonderful food, laughter, stitching and a little Downton Abbey by some friends.  One of them stitched this sweet Needlework Press piece for me.  I am in love with the color thread she used.  
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A little closeup…
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I have lots more to show you, but I’m attempting to not overload you with photos!  So, here’s a quick peek at what I’ve been working on. I’ve found it difficult to settle in and stitch lately, but I’ve been working a little bit on my John Reed sampler.  I’m working my way across the top border.  I love love love how the AVAS silks are popping on that Confederate Grey linen.
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It’s been awhile since I showed you ATS too.  Not a lot of progress.  I stitched that strawberry band and have started on the alphabet.   
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Tuesday night I picked up the pre-stitching for a class I’m taking in October with Betsy Morgan. I’m excited about this one. 
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That’s it for me today.  I’ll post again soon with some other birthday pretties I received, a new quilt start, and hopefully some more stitching progress!  Thanks, as always, for stopping by.  I really appreciate it!
I am grateful for another amazing year.

The Thin Red Line

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She’s finished!  Isabella is finished and she is beautiful!  I put the last stitches in on Thursday night.  What a thrill to finally have another sampler finish.  She is stitched in the called for Belle Soies, but on 40ct Vintage Lentil – none of which would have been possible if it weren’t for Sylvia!  I wanted to start Miss Johnstone for my birthday last year and my sweet friend made sure I was able to.  I started her on my birthday last year in August, but then set her aside in order to try to get my Hare Pyns stitching done.  I picked Isabella back up in April this year, because I needed something pretty to focus on during everything I was dealing with at the time.  And I’ve pretty much worked on her steadily since April (as steadily as I get).  And here she is finished in my birthday month.  
There were so many things that drew me to this sampler, the beautiful ivy border, the M. Roden (which is a family name), and of course the red cow.

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 And as much as I enjoyed stitching that red cow, I really loved stitching the bottom half of this sampler.  I loved the little flower clusters.  I loved the little blue berries.  And I loved getting to stitch a name that’s dear to me too.  And if all that wasn’t enough, when I got down to the bottom of the sampler, I noticed something in the directions I hadn’t seen before.  There was an instruction about what color to use for the backstitched line.  What backstitched line?  Well, sure enough, there is a red line just above the M. Roden.  It is nearly impossible to see on the chart (truly impossible unless you’re looking for it).  Which may explain why I hadn’t seen the red line on other finishes of this piece.  So then the question, do I stitch it or not?  I finally decided that what I love about this piece is that Isabella just kind of did her own thing.  Her leaves don’t match,  her sampler is delightful in its asymmetry.  So, why not a red backstitched line?  And sure enough, I love it.  I’m so glad I decided to include it. 
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Isabella was a really fun sampler to stitch and I’m so glad she and I had the pleasure of each others’ company.  And I think that her finish is well-timed, since it’s time for another WIPocalypse post too!
Here’s Isabella’s full-length portrait.
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And since my Isabella was finished during the London Olympics, and since she is herself an English girl, I thought I’d share something fun I brought home with me the other day. 
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Don’t you love my new book?  I fell in love with the old well-worn look of it, and of course the crowns!  It makes me think of Paulette every time I look at it.  But the best part? 
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It’s a box!  I can keep my stitching supplies in there so that they don’t get absconded by a couple of little four-legged fiends.  How fun is that?!
Thanks for always stopping by, and thanks for watching my progress on Miss Bella.  I hope to see more of her being stitched on other blogs soon!
I am grateful for working together to make our home lovely.

Epic

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Can you believe it’s July?  How did this happen?  (I know I say this every year, but wow – it sneaks up on me!)  And it’s also time for another WIPocalypse check in.  Anyway, I have been stitching…as you can see Isabella’s made some progress.  I’m just loving her and she is really such a joy to stitch.

I did take a little break from Isabella though for a new start.  I mentioned in my last post that I was planning something new, and shared the silks with you.  Well, I took this with me a couple of weeks ago, when I had to go to Wichita for work.  I absolutely love how the AVAS silks look on the Confederate Grey (40ct) fabric.  I’m so happy with the color.  And once I get some more stitched, I think it’s going to look amazing.  Anyway, this is the John Reed 1844 sampler by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches.  It’s going to be my memorial sampler for my dad, and I started it on his birthday. 

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Oh, and the new scissors?  I got them last weekend along with some other goodies I’ll have to share.  So what, pray tell, was I up to over the weekend?  I was invited to attend the second annual Epic Stitching Get Together, which was hosted this year by a local blogger, Susan at Afford Your Passions.   Susan did a great recap of the weekend on her blog, but I thought I’d share a few photos too.  While we were missing a few folks in this photo, you can see that Susan’s living room kind of looked like a bomb exploded with all the stash, WIPs, stitching bags, etc. everywhere. 

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There was even more behind the couch…

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And a bunch of us brought items to give away to good homes – a whole table full in fact!

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And what are those buckets lining the hallway?  Why those were our in-house shop!  One of the ladies brought leftover inventory from her shop and we all had free reign throughout the weekend to peruse and shop at our leisure (often going back again and again!).

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I made sure to bring a selection of things to work on…

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I even got the opportunity to do some Tula Pink enabling over the weekend, thanks to our visit to the local quilt shop and my lovely project bags.

I did attempt to work on Isabella, but due to where I was sitting (no light behind me), the 40ct stitching just wasn’t happening.  So after a couple of hours attempting it, I finally gave up and stitched on something a little easier to see.  I pulled out Mystery 9 that has languished for a long long long long time.  In fact the last time I worked on it was last June.  I’m not sure what prompted me to dig out this piece and bring it, but I’m glad I did.  I managed to get that left bottom corner restitched (after the last sad ripping out session).  And even managed to get the other corner stitched too!  I’m halfway there on part 9!

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And my Chatelaine was in good company – the weekend yielded a total of seven in progress Chatelaines that I got to see up close and personal.  And wow – I need to get my Egypt Garden started asap, especially after seeing this.

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I’m just so thrilled to have made some good progress on this piece.  And I’m even more thrilled to have had such a fantastic weekend and been so graciously welcomed into this group of stitchers.  There was so much inspiration, I’m sure I’m going to be busy stitching for a long time!

I am grateful for new friendships.

Of Angels and Acorns

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On Tuesday night before guild, I met a couple of friends for dinner. After we ate, they presented me with a secret project they’d been working on since my dad died. They started with Ghoul by Plum Street Samplers, which I love, and charted out a part of the poem that was read at my dad’s funeral. They put his name and birth and death years on the piece along with each of their initials. 
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And if that wasn’t enough, they also sent it to Jill Rensel to be framed. 
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I just can’t get over it. What a huge surprise and such a thoughtful thing to do. I took it to my mom’s yesterday to show her and she got just as choked up as I did. Thank you my sweet friends, it really means the world to me to have a memorial sampler for him. 
I did decide a few months ago that I wanted to start something new on my dad’s birthday, that is coming up on Tuesday. I used a little bit of my bonus check to purchase the AVAS silks and the Weeks Confederate Grey linen. I’ll be sharing my start with you soon as well as which sampler it is. But, I am so grateful to some friends of mine who helped me out by bringing lots of fabric for me to do floss tosses on until I settled on the one I liked. The chart called for ivory or cream linen, but I really wanted something a little more interesting. 
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It’s time for another WIPocalypse post. They time sure flies. And I haven’t gotten a whole lot of stitching done lately, but I’ve put a little bit more in my Quaker Pincushion. And for those who asked that thread is Caron Wildflowers in Tanzanite. Gorgeous, yes? 
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And Isabella’s gotten a bit farther as well. Although I think it’s taken me over a week to get what I have done on that wreath. 
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And you might be wondering why I haven’t done any stitching? Well, let me introduce Thutmose 
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and Ramses. 
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They are 14 weeks old and are brothers. Eric and I adopted them last weekend. Since my first boys had all Shakespeare names, I thought these guys needed Egyptian pharoah names. Although lately Eric has been calling them “Monkey See” and “Monkey Do”. They are treasures and have really brightened up our home and our hearts. 
I am grateful for a new beginning to our lives.

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.

Hop To It!

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I haven’t felt like doing a lot of stitching lately. But a couple of weeks ago, I spied a little gift bag in my craft closet and inside of it was this sweet little bunny box. Back when Sylvia and I went to Nashville Market together a couple of years ago, we bought these boxes and accompanying pattern from the Prairie Moon gals. So, when I saw that little pink bag with my bunny box inside, I decided I wanted to go ahead and stitch him up.
While the design itself, is more Halloween than Easter, he is just too too darling. I remember how Lisa gushed over him while she and I visited with the Blackbird ladies. So stitching on him also reminds me of her.
I enjoyed stitching on my little cape-wearing bunny. I finished him up on Tuesday and then yesterday I did the finishing on him so that he could be ready for Easter morning.

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Rabbit Box
Prairie Moon
GAST on 32ct Vintage Luna
Finished 4/3/12

So, even though I haven’t been in much of a stitching mood lately, I am glad to once again have another little finish for the WIPocalypse (even though this one was a new start). And if that wasn’t enough – I also hit a major milestone on one of my WIPs.

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I finished page 1 on And They Sinned!!!! Woohoo! I’ve gotten a little bit farther since then (the bottom of page 1 is where my border vines end) and I’m so excited to be finally on page 2. And pretty soon I’ll have to roll my fabric again. That’s exciting as well.

I’ve still be flitting from thing to thing a bit – but I’m hoping that my stitching lethargy is over and I can make some good progress on more of my WIPs.

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter and a lovely week. Thanks for stopping by!

I am grateful for a bouquet of roses.

Two Cakes in One

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So far this year, each one of my WIPocalypse posts have featured a finish, which is pretty fantastic. First it was Margaret Cottam, then last month it was the bonus block from Anniversaries of the Heart and this month it’s another Anniversaries of the Heart block. I’m a little overdue for my WIPocalypse post this month, but I wanted to wait because I was so close to having another little finish – and this one is important.

You may remember that I decided to go ahead and start the June block instead of moving on to the March block next because I wanted my dad to be able to see it finished? The June block is actually called “Happy Birthday” and I made a some changes to it. I wanted this block to represent both my dad and his mother – they both have June birthdays only two days apart. I decided to put each of their names on the block, over one, instead of initials as charted. I also changed the color on the names so that they were a bit easier to read. And then instead of splitting up the year on either side of the house, I stitched the year each of them was born over one as well.

So, on the left side of the block – it says Margaret and the year 1915. This is my dad’s mother.

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She died long before I was born. In fact, I think my mother only met her once before she died of cancer in 1965. The photo above is from 1937. She must have been an amazing woman, and to hear my dad talk about her, she was. He sent me an email once with the subject line “My mom is braver than your mom” and the photo below attached.

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She must have been something. (Although to be fair, there just isn’t any photographic evidence of my mom being chased by a wild bison.)

The right side of the block has my dad’s name, John, and the year he was born – 1944. As soon as I saw this block I knew I wanted to change the wording inside the cartouche from “Happy Birthday Dear Friend” to something more meaningful.

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My dad told me once that he and his mom would celebrate their birthdays together – she would make a big cake for the bottom layer and a smaller cake for the top layer. One for each of them. And she would whisper to him “two cakes in one” because it was their little secret. Here’s my dad in 1948 with his mother’s carving knife and their cakes.

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And here’s my dad in the Air Force.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get my dad’s block finished in time for him to see it. He died on February 24th. I did my best, but I just wasn’t fast enough. But, I’m glad it’s finished and I took it to show my mom yesterday and she told me he would have loved it. I think it’s a good remembrance of him and his mom even if those lazy daisy stitches seemed neverending!

And speaking of the lazy daisies, on the morning of the day he died, I noticed my mom’s neighbor’s trees were all in bloom so I took my mom out to show them to her.

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Coincidentally, the block has little pink trees on either side. So, it will always remind me of that little moment of beauty and the peace of that morning.

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I miss you.

I am grateful for a legacy.

Eat, Pray, Love

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Eric and I have been married almost six years. Our wedding ceremony and reception were greatly influenced by his Italian heritage on his mom’s side. For our honeymoon, we went to Rome. When we were planning our wedding, Eric ran across a phrase in Italian that he really loved. It translates to “my heart is yours forever”. We wanted it engraved inside our wedding bands, but there was no way all that was going to fit. So instead, we went for a shortened version in Italian. I know you can’t see the engraving inside the rings in the photo (my photography skills aren’t that good), but trust me…it’s there.

So, when I saw Siobhan’s bonus block for her Anniversaries of the Heart piece, I fell in love with how she’d used something more meaningful than just the charted alphabet. So, the gears in my head started turning and I decided that I really wanted to use our phrase in my bonus block. So I charted and re-charted until I thought I finally had it. And last weekend I finished the stitching on this block. I’m really please with how it came out.

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I’m counting each of these blocks as a tiny finish, so I was happy to celebrate another finish for the year! And no sooner had I finished this block did I start gathering my stuff to start the March block. That is until I got some news on Wednesday that considerably moved up my time table to get my Anniversaries of the Heart finished. So, instead of starting on the March block, I started on the June block that will honor my dad and his mother – both June birthdays. I’d like him to see at least this block finished.
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So, that’s what I’ve been working on for the most part. This week I did receive my supplies for an online class I’m taking from Amy Mitten. My guild is doing this as a SAL. Once I had the fabric and fibers in my hot little hands, I couldn’t help but put in a few stitches.
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I’m looking forward to seeing this one come to life.

I am grateful for every day we have.

Miss Cottam, I Presume?

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She ended up with a 2012 instead of a 2011, but she’s done! I finished her last night (a week later than I’d intended). She really was a complete joy to stitch. I started her on Thanksgiving Day and finished her on January 7th. I used the called for threads (Weeks) in the called for colors on the called for fabric (Weeks Cocoa), although I stitched her on 40ct rather than 30.
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I love how she turned out, and it was fun stitching her while she was still a mystery. And you wouldn’t believe the number of people who have seen her in person and been surprised at how pretty she is.
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She even took a little trip with me to Chicago for a few days after Thanksgiving for work-related meetings. I stitched all that grass in my hotel room!
So, here she is…Margaret Cottam by La-D-Da. My last start of 2011 and my first finish for 2012!
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So, I know you’re thinking…”now that MC is done, what’s next?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve signed up for the 2012 WIPocalypse over at Measi’s Musings. And although we all know that I have about 6 kazillion WIPs, I’m going to just focus on a few at a time. So, you can take a look over in my sidebar at my WIPocalypse List to see what’s currently in my stitching bag. As I finish something, a new piece will be brought in – some new starts, some old WIPs.

And speaking of new starts, I had intended to have a new start on Jan 1. However, I decided to keep going with Margaret until she was finished. So, I’ll be starting that new start soon. But, in the meantime, I picked up my Anniversaries of the Heart.

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I’ve only barely gotten a start on the Bonus block. I’ve been stuck on this one for months because I knew what I wanted to do to change the block, just couldn’t figure out how to do it. But, I think I finally have it worked out. So, it may require a little trial and error on the fly as I stitch this block, but I think it will be great when it’s done. So…working on that.
Also, in my bag is And They Sinned. Sylvia and I are stitching along together on Sundays. Here’s a photo of how mine looks before I got started on it tonight. Yes, that is a lone bare leg. Yes, I contemplated stitching a lampshade on the top of it. Yes, I intend to stitch the body it belongs to tonight. (It’s almost as bad as the pair of empty boots that lived on my Margaret Cottam until I stitched the rest of the guy.)
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I’ll be sharing the other WIPs in my stitching bag as I work on them. But for now, I think I’m going to concentrate on that bonus block and see if I can get past my creative impasse and get back to ATS on Sundays – starting tonight.

Hope you all are having a wonderful start to the new year!

I am grateful for Good Samaritans.