Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Needlework Store Goes Out of Business

I just ran across this while looking for some patterns....

Designs by Lena Rose is going out of business...

Grab Bags for sale - $22 each, includes shipping (USA Orders only)


It's SBQ Time!

1/23/2008: Have you had a happy dance yet this year? If so, tell us about it! (Or just point to the entry that mentions it.) If not, when do you predict it will be?

Why yes, yes I have. Several, in fact. Nothing "finished finished" but I have finished stitching on my niece's birth records (never mind that one is 4.5 and the other is almost 2). I've finished stitching on a few ornaments as well. Oh! And I finished LHN's Princess and the Pea. Yay me!

And now for some oldies but goodies...

5/16/2007: If you could only stitch one more piece what would it be and why? (Submitted by Juls)

The very thought of this question is stressing me out. One more piece? Are you crazy? I don't think I could narrow it down to just one. Seriously. I love the creativity, the process, the materials involved. Maybe it's a cop out, but I'm choosing not to answer this question.

5/10/2007: How do you choose a project for an exchange? Do you pick solely on what you know of the taste of the recipient or are there other reasons you pick the piece you do? (Submitted by Ish)

I haven't done any exchanges as of yet, but I have done quite a few pieces for gifts and I think I would approach an exchange the same way. One of the things I like best about needlework is the opportunity to personalize a piece for the recipient. Whether it's changing colors, adding initials or names, or selecting a theme that most closely matches their likes, I always try to bring something of the recipient into the piece. I find that it makes the gift far more meaningful and special, and really demonstrates the time and care that went into making it. (Which is why I don't stitch for people who won't appreciate it)

For someone I didn't know, I'd read their blog carefully, definitely keeping an eye out for their wishlist (something I think all bloggers should maintain if they're going to be participating in exchanges). I'd try to pick something that matches their tastes so they would enjoy the piece. I'd hate to give someone something and put them in a position of saying they liked it when it's really not their thing at all.

5/2/2007: How many WIPs do you have? How many UFOs do you have? When does a WIP become a UFO? (Submitted by Kathryn)

Hmmmm, let's see. There's at least 3 that I've started, but got sick of stitching on and put them away for a while: Celtic Welcome Friends, Pineapple Welcome by Amaryllis Artworks, and a Dimensions kit. They're in the UFO bin because I haven't touched them in weeks (months) and they're not in active stitching.

Then I have a few pieces in my active stitching box, mostly ornaments that I've been working on. Probably about 5 or 6 at any one time. I also have a few projects completely kitted up and ready to go, but I haven't started stitching on them.

For me, a WIP becomes a UFO when it moves into a storage box instead of my active stitching box. Anything in my active box may be picked up to be stitched on at any time, so I consider them WIPs.
Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Feast #177

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: How many times per day do you usually laugh?
About 5-6 on an average day. More if I'm around my nieces and nephew. I try to watch something funny every day as a stress reliever.

Soup: What do your sunglasses look like?
I am obsessed with sunglasses, mostly because I tend to lose them. I start out with the best intentions of keeping them in their cases and keeping the cases accessible so I put them BACK in the cases, but sooner or later, they all get lost. Which is why I have 4-5 pairs in various places at any given time. I am very light sensitive, so I wear them almost everytime I step outside. I usually stick to glasses in shades of browns or coppers, though I do have a few black pairs. And the pair that slides on over my regular glasses is silver with dark grey lenses because that's all I could find to fit over my glasses.

Salad: You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?
I'd have to say out west to the Rocky Mountains because my DH has never been there. We'd have to have a sleeper car though because we're pretty private people and we like our own space (which is why we usually travel by car for vacations)

Main Course: Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.
It's within 2-3 hours of several major metropolitan areas on the east coast, but it's not that crowded around here, and it's the home of tax-free shopping.

Dessert: If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?
I happen to like the blue sky just the way it is, thanks.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ornament Frenzy

I've been stitching on some ornaments, partially to keep up with the 2 ornament blogs I'm on, and partially because I have a very short attention span. Ornaments are good for this because by the time I get bored with them, I'm almost finished. I've finished the stitching on a few, now I have to get to the finishing finishing.

For my Bride's Tree SAL, I'm trying to work on 2 sets of ornaments, one for me, one for my best friend and her husband. I finished stitching the one for my friend, and now I have to get a piece of fabric to put behind the stitching because the weave is kind of loose and I don't want any batting showing through. I stitched a freebie pattern, La petite maison de campagne de décembre, and changed the Decembre to the family name (blurred for privacy)

I stitched it over one on 25 ct. linen using mostly the recommended DMC threads. I did use up some Toasted Marshmallow I had left from another project for the snow, and I added a little gold star on top of the tree using metallic braid.

I'm also making a little progress on my own ornament, the 3-D Lavender house.
As you may or may not know, my DH and I are HUGE Dallas Cowboys fans, and every year, we try to add another Cowboys ornament to our growing collection. I saw this one as a design on and thought, "Hey, I could make that", so I made up a pattern and customized it for one of my DH's favorite players, Roger Staubach. It's not finished yet - I'm stitching on plastic canvas which is sheer torture to my fingers, so I only do a little each night.

And in case you were wondering, DMC 823 perfectly matches my blue Dallas Cowboys jersey. 415 is a pretty good approximation for the silver on the jersey as well. I had so much fun designing the Cowboys one, I made one for most of the rest of the teams (I still have a tiny grudge about the Patriots. LOL) If you want one, let me know and I will send a pattern to you.

I've also been working on some Princess ornaments, based on a free pattern I found on Cyberstitchers. My 5 year old niece is very into princesses, and ever since she heard my DH refer to me as "Princess", she calls me Princess Aunt Jenn. We also have a cousin who is a "Princess" herself, so I thought it would be fun for all three of us to have our own Princess ornaments! Here are 2 so far.

The pattern calls for small stitched stars, but I substituted some sequins and seed beads instead for the one on top. I might change it up a little for the second one, I'm not sure yet.
Friday, January 18, 2008

Stitching PSAs

Just a few things to share....

DMC has a new varigated floss called Color Variations. I haven't stitched with it yet, but it's quite pretty and I picked up a skein of blue yesterday. It's more on the expensive side - I paid $1.29 for the skein at Michael's, but we'll see how it works out.

Speaking of floss, check your local Joann's sales flyer. We got one advertising a 2-day sale this Sunday and Monday (Jan. 20-21) that had DMC floss on sale 5 for $1. I've noticed the prices have gone up lately - hovering somewhere around .30-.33 a skein, so I'll be stocking up on the sale.

And finally, Elegant Stitch is having an AWESOME sale on Little House Needleworks - 40% off on the Fruit and Inspirational series

Friday Feast #176

In addition to a revamp of my blog, I offer up another Friday Feast.

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: What is your favorite beverage?
I don't really have one - it depends on the mood I am in. Sometimes, I like hot tea with honey. Other times it is iced tea with raw sugar. I'm a big fan of white tea with blueberry, but sometimes I like a Vanilla Diet Coke (can easily be made by adding sugar free vanilla syrup to regular diet coke). And sometimes I like a good cup of coffee with plenty of cream and just a little sugar.

Soup: Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or work.
Chargers for my iPod and camera batteries, deck prisms and a lamp

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
Probably about a 7 or 8 most days. I'm all for honesty, I just don't like hurting people's feelings.

Main Course: If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
I'd change Istanbul to Constantinople. What kind of question is this?

Dessert: What stresses you out? What calms you down?
Money, driving in bad weather, and ill-behaved children stress me out. Listening to music, spending time by the water and my cat calm me down.
Thursday, January 17, 2008

SBQ: Favorite Pastimes while Stitching

1/16/08: What is your favorite past time while stitching? Do you just enjoy silence, listen to music/audiobooks or do you “watch” TV/movies? Do you have specific favorites you listen to/watch while stitching? (Submitted by Outi)

I am a multitasker, so I almost always stitch while I'm watching tv. During the season, DH and I watch a LOT of football, so I stitch during games. Unless of course it's the Dallas Cowboys, and then I pay more attention to the game than I do to the stitching, so occasionally it will get set aside. I can stitch through almost anything on television and I feel a little weird if I'm NOT stitching, which is why I almost always take a small project or two with me whenever we travel.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rate your LNS

After the issues I had ordering from the ONS, I went looking for information to see if anyone else experienced the same thing with them, or if this was just a fluke incident. From what I discovered, this is just how they do business. I ran across a message board for rating and reviewing your local and online needlework shops:

LNS Report Card

For the store I dealt with, click here.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled stitching posts...

After several self-indulgent meme posts, it's time to get back to posting about stitching. I promised Kim I would post a picture of my latest finish - LHN's Princess and The Pea:

I stitched with the recommended threads over 2 on 28 ct. linen. I've loved this design since the first time I saw it and I'm really pleased with how it came out. If I were to restitch though, I'd probably go with a DMC brown - I'm not much for the varigated color in this instance. Also, I'd probably use a DMC white or off white instead of the recommended Toasted Marshmallow. I didn't see enough of a difference to warrant the extra expense of the overdyed thread. However, I do love how the pinks and greens came out! I don't have it framed yet, and it will probably end up in a little girl's room some day (I hope!)

I also stitched up this little cutie, designed by Emily at The Floss Box. You can find the pattern for the Mini Scientist here. I made a few modifications, and my scientist husband is now the proud owner of a new scissor fob.

On the back, I stitched his initials and the date. This was stitched over 2 on a scrap piece of 28 ct. evenweave with DMC floss. I'm not totally pleased with the finishing, so I may restitch it on a slightly larger piece of fabric.

And last but not least, I received a LONG AWAITED order from an ONS that shall remain nameless. I ordered way back in the beginning of December, originally just looking for some Wisper thread to finish up an ornament. I stumbled across a good sale and couldn't resist picking up a few patterns and some new needles at a very good price. Everything was in stock, I received and order confirmation and the credit card was charged. I was eagerly awaiting my new goodies and became concerned when they hadn't shown up 10 days later. I checked the website and found that my order was being delayed for an out of stock chart. I also noticed that the store would be closing for a 2 week period at the end of December into January.

I checked daily for the update, and nothing changed, so I contacted the owner after Christmas and was informed that they were still waiting for an out of stock chart. I was more than a little annoyed, especially since my CC was charged when I placed the order and I received absolutely no indication that this chart was out of stock when I ordered. The owner's email seemed very indifferent and offered no explanation or even apology for the delay. I briefly debated cancelling the order due to poor customer service, but scratched that idea when I read their cancellation policies (they whack you a 15% surcharge for ALL cancelled orders). I decided to wait it out and I FINALLY got my charts today, a good six weeks after they were ordered.

I personally feel that not indicating items are out of stock, delaying whole orders without contacting the customer, and charging a credit card six weeks before you ship are all indicative of poor business practices. I would have liked to have had the option to cancel the out of stock items out of my cart before ordering or at least been notified of what was going on without having to chase the owner down. I like ordering from independent needlework shops because it helps keep them open, and in return, I expect good customer service. I'm even willing to pay a little extra to help keep people passionate enough about the craft to run a shop in business, but I won't give my money to someone who doesn't seem to care about their customers. There are plenty of other shops to purchase from.

Anyway, enough ranting. I didn't take any pictures of my new stash, but I did pick up some Thread Heaven and some John James needles (I really like them so far - I was stitching with them tonight.) I also picked up The Sweetheart Tree's Snowflakes in the Pines, LHN's Blueberries and The Cat's Whisker's Alyssum Scissor Pocket.

Friday Feast #175

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

I forgot to do this on Friday, and figured now is as good a time as any.

Appetizer: What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?
I have several middle names, but one I use legally. (The others are my middle name given at birth and my Confirmation name). No, I probably wouldn't change any of my names.

Soup: If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?
I love natural fabrics - silks, cottons, linens, wools, but I don't mind a little bit of blend to make the fabric better - hold shape better, structure, etc. I like things that feel nice to the touch, nothing overly synthetic (like a double knit polyester). For colors, I'm a big fan of neutrals like black, grey, tan, navy, etc., with pops of color and some print. I do love a leopard print or snakeskin shoe. And my style would be classic and flattering to real women's bodies - I detest low rise pants, too tight tops, etc.

Salad: What is your least favorite chore, and why?
Emptying the dishwasher. I don't mind loading it, but for some reason the thought of emptying it makes me cringe. I do not like dusting or mopping the floor, but I don't mind vaccuming. Laundry is my favorite chore

Main Course: What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?
I have a fear of falling - not so much of heights. Heights I can handle, but the thought of falling, usually down stairs, scares me. I even have nightmares about falling. It probably stems from a fall I had down my grandparents' basement stairs when I was about 3 or 4 and landed on my head on their concrete basement floor.

Dessert: Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.
At my desk. I can see my deck prism collection, my camera battery charger and a few skeins of floss that need to be put away
Saturday, January 12, 2008

A personal survey

I've noticed there's a little trend among the cross stitching bloggers to share a little about themselves and their personal lives - more than just their stitching. Since Teresa did one, I'll do one back, similar to the one she posted, but a little more extended. (I pulled it from my myspace blog)

1. Bar Harbor, Maine
2. Florence, Italy
3. Albaquerque, NM
4. New York City
5. Buxton, NC
6. Boston, MA
7. Niagara Falls, NY (and Canada)
8. Sicily
9. the Boulder Field in Hickory Run Park
10. The Corn Palace
11. Graceland
12. the top of Sandy Hook Lighthouse

1. I love football. Love it. I yell louder than my husband
2. I would eat lobster every single day
3. I hate wearing shoes, yet secretly long to be "the girl with the super cute shoes"
4. I love reading magazines
5. I get an obscene amount of satisfaction when things are neat and orderly because I am obsessed with organization and container stores
6. I could happily abstain from rice and pasta for the rest of my life, but do not take away my bread and potatoes.
7. I sunburn extremely quickly, as does my husband. Because we are so fair, we will probably have invisible children.
8. I detest having my picture taken, and there are very few pictures of myself that I like. I also do not like posed pictures.
9. My iTunes has over 10,000 songs in it because I love music.
10. I have thousands of recipes I have collected over the years, yet will go and search out a new one almost every single time I want to make something different. I will never make most of the recipes I have, I just like knowing they are there.
11. I have a masters degree in creative writing that I do not use.

1. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
2. Bob Dylan
3. Pearl Jam
4. U2
5. Prince
6. The Killers
7. James Brown
8. The Rolling Stones
9. The Beatles
10. Coldplay

1. Lobster
2. Diet Coke
3. Chocolate / Raspberry desert things
4. Cannolis
5. Pizza
6. Wings and cheese fries (preferably garlic butter wings and cheesefries)
7. Milkshakes
8. Duck
9. Blueberries, and blueberry flavored things - like coffee, tea, etc.

EIGHT THINGS YOU LOVE: (you said things, not people)
1. My iPod
2. Going to the beach
3. Chocolate Covered Cherries from Harry & David
4. Taking pictures
5. A great meal with a good wine
6. New York City
7. Lighthouses
8. Gift shops

1. A new job
2. A house
3. A LOT of money
4. First class round trip to Australia for 2
5. For my friends to be happy
6. a new car
7. a baby

1. Shower
2. Make the bed
3. Check my email
4. Listen to music
5. Eat
6. Read

1. Toxic people
2. Asparagus
3. Drying my hair and putting on makeup
4. Children's television
5. Spiders

FOUR MOVIES YOU LOVE: (four is far too few)
1. Grosse Pointe Blank
2. 10 Things I hate About You
3. Mystery, Alaska
4. Empire Records

1. What Not To Wear - my most favorite show
2. Survivor
3. Inside the NFL

1. Actually
2. Really? Are you kidding me?

1. my husband
Friday, January 11, 2008

I need to pay better attention

I KNOW I saw someone with a Chicago Bears mini Christmas tree, but I'll be damned if I can remember who it is or what blog I saw it on. If this is you, please let me know!

And there's at least one other Dallas Cowboys fan out there, but I can't find that blog either. Probably I should keep better notes. LOL
Thursday, January 10, 2008

An "About Me" in Pictures

I saw this on Mel's Blog and thought it was a cute idea.

Here's how it works - Answer the questions and type your answer into Google images search. Post a photo from the FIRST results page. (this can be tough!!)

Age you will be on your next Birthday?

Place You would like to visit?

One of your favorite Places?

Your favorite object?

Your favorite food?

Your favorite animal?

Your favorite color?

Name of a past pet?
Where I live?

Your middle name?

A bad habit of yours?

Your favorite flower?

Your favorite holiday?

SBQ: Favorite Finishes

1/9/2008: What was your favorite finish of 2007?

It was hard to pick just one, but I'm going to go with a housewarming gift I made for very dear friends of ours who just bought their first place. After years in the military (and generic apartments), they were very glad to settle down into their own home.

It's the Bless Our Home Sampler by Design Connection. (Stitched over 2 on 32 ct. linen with recommended DMC threads). I had a hard time selecting something because I didn't really know how they were going to decorate their home (they had no idea either) so I wanted to pick something a little traditional to suit their personalities. As it turns out, they loved it and it looks great on display.

I had a great time stitching it as well. Sometimes my attention span is a little short, so I enjoy stithcing samplers because the pattern changes up and it seems like as soon as I get bored with one section, I'm on to the next. This was also the first time I used beads, and it won't be the last. The design called for Mill Hill beads, but I substitued copper color Blue Moon seed beads from Michael's.

If you look, I did make one change to the pattern. I know it's traditional, but I don't like the letter Q represented with the backwards P, so I changed it to the O and put a little tail on it. Much better! And you may be wondering why it says 1995 when they bought the home just recently. Well, I went back and forth quite a bit on what date to put on it (and on another housewarming gift). I originally had 2006 stitched on there (they bought the house in December), but I changed my mind and stitched in 1995 - the year they were married - instead. I came to that decision while stitching the other piece. I think the year a couple gets married is the year they are "established". For the second piece, I modified the pattern to include the location and the month and year they purchased the house (in small letters under the house) but I had already finished stitching this piece and couldn't change it. So I wrote on the back of the frame. I always write a little note on the back of the frame, wishing the recipient well and noting the occasion for the gift because I think it's pretty cool when you turn over a picture frame and see a handwritten note or signature or date on the back. It's a little secret that adds to the sentimental value of the piece.

And as usual, my DH framed it up for me, using a frame and mat board from If you haven't checked them out yet, I highly recommend them!

Whew! I bet you didn't expect such a long winded answer to THAT question, did you? :-)
Monday, January 7, 2008

My first finishes for 2008

I'm finally getting around to unloading the camera from Christmas (after a phone call from my MIL last night asking me if I had downloaded the family Christmas photo yet). And I'm finally getting around to doing other things, like finishing up things that have been sitting around for a while. Like birth records I stitched for my nieces. (don't look at the dates). They're from The New Cross Stitch Sampler Book by Helen Phillips. I did a little of my own modifications with color changes and doing a more freeform border.

It's sad, because I had less than 20 stitches to go on Sierra's and I had to finish the border on Kenna's. I don't know why they were sitting around for so long - I finished them in 30 minutes on Saturday night. Usually, Kenna's favorite color is purple and I would have stitched hers in the shades of purple, but I stitched them by birthstone color, chosing the pink for Kenna (October) and the purple for her sister (June). I think they came out really cute and I have to mat and frame them up before I send them out. I was thinking matching pink and purple mats for each one, set in a white frame

I'm also FINALLY getting around to posting a progress picture for Kim on Princess and The Pea. This is what I stitched over New Years.

And this is what I stitched this weekend during the football playoffs. Once I got going, it stitched up REALLY quick.

I am loving the overdyed threads for the green (CC's Weeping Willow) and the pinks (CC's Cherry Tomato, Carrie Berry, and Ripe Melon), but I am not convinced of the necessity of using an overdyed for the dog (Toasted Marshmallow) or the brown (Little House Brown). In fact, I don't think I care much for the varigated brown in this pattern at all, but I'm not restitching it. If I did, I'd use a DMC brown instead.

Better get these done... SBQs

1/3/08: Are you starting something new to celebrate the New Year or participating in “Guilt Free January?” If so, what are you planning on starting?

I didn't really start anything new (no BAPs or super special pieces) for 2008, though I am doing 2 ornament SALs. One is the Christmas Ornament SAL which I've taken over (along with Barbara) from Nicki. I did a little redesign on the site and added some new ideas, so I'll count that as starting a new project. The other is my Bride's Tree SAL, something I've been wanting to do for a while, but never quite got to. I did start my first ornament, a 3D House by Meg Evershed. In fact, it's one of the set of houses from the front cover of this book.

12/26/07: Did you receive any stitching-related gifts for the holidays?

My MIL paid to have a piece my husband stitched professionally framed for us, and I bought myself a new stitching case for my birthday with money from my grandmothers-in-law. It's a Little Travel Case by Vera Bradley, and it's perfect for stashing my small scroll frames and necessities like scissors and needles. Nicole had it posted on her blog and I was inspired to pick one up for myself. Luckily, they're on sale at Vera Bradley, but my favorite pattern is Nantucket Navy, which is now retired, so I went to eBay and VOILA!!! A Nantucket Navy travel case at the sale price AND free shipping. Woo-hoo! I bought it, and 2 days later, I am the proud owner of a stitching case. I'll be taking it with me to show my grandmas what lovely taste they have in birthday gifts. :-)

Speaking of Vera, have you seen the new colors yet? I have to check them out in person, but I am really liking the Raspberry Fizz and the Yellow Bird.
Sunday, January 6, 2008

Friday Feast #174

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

A little belated, but here it is. (It's the playoffs. I've been busy. LOL)

Appetizer: When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?
To be honest, I can't even think of the last "surprise" I've gotten in the mail. I guess maybe the birthday card from my DH's grandma would count, since she hasn't been feeling well lately and didn't even send Christmas cards this year.

Soup: If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?
I'd have to pick somewhere in Maine for most of the year, maybe even all year, depending on how tired I'd get of the snow. It would have to be near the water, either Boothbay Harbor or Bar Harbor. Maine is one of my favorite places on earth. I'd also be good with a beach house out on Long Island. Maybe not the Hamptons, but somewhere with access to a harbor for sailboating. Maybe Huntington Harbor. (Yes, I have given this question a LOT of thought)

Salad: Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.
Pineapple. I love fresh pineapple, and most pineapple flavored things.

Main Course: Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.
My wedding gown. I love it. It is a "strapless matte satin gown. The bodice is highlighted with a directly beaded on pattern and embroidery. This gown features a plain skirt and Chapel train". And since a picture is worth 1000 words....

Dessert: If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?
I can't think of any - everything that's happened has brought me to where I am and I don't know where I'd end up without having gone through those things. Sure, there are a thousand little things I wish never happened, but there's not one standout day I wish I could eliminate.