Monday, September 29, 2008

Fair and Square Received!

Michele emailed me on Saturday to let me know that she received my Round #9 squares and that she really liked them! (I'm so glad - I was a little nervous stitching for someone else, but now that I've seen how much fun the F&S is, I've signed up for 2 more rounds!)

This is what I sent Michele:

Manuela's Sunflower by Chatelaine Designs
Stitched over 2 on 32 ct. Bone evenweave with DMC and GAST threads
Signature Square from Bread Cloth leaflet

The original pattern called for a green border, but since Michele's favorite color is red, I had to change it. I was concerned it might look funny at first, but once it was all stitched up, I was really pleased with the color change. And the sunflowers on the signature square came from a bread cloth leaflet I had. All in all, I think the squares came out great, and I'm so glad Michele likes them!

I also sent Michele a matching scissor fob, complete with a sunflower charm. When I saw the little packet of garden charms, I knew the sunflower one would be perfect for her. I had these beads in my stash for a little while now - I was inspired by some pieces I had purchased as gifts for my 2 interns when they finished the program. I got them each a set of earrings and a matching illusion necklace, and I liked the pieces I bought so much, I ordered beads for myself. (Of course, I have yet to make any jewelry for me from them, but they sure did come in handy for this project!)

Other than that, DH and I had a busy weekend. His 96 year old grandmother was hospitalized on Friday with complications from spinal fractures and a blocked esophagus, and had a procedure done today. Needless to say she hasn't been in the best of moods and it's been tough on my MIL, so we drove home on Saturday morning to give her a little bit of a break. My BIL, SIL and the kids came in as well, so it definitely cheered Grandma up, and gave my MIL a much needed diversion. Grandma's procedure went well today, so we're hoping she will get a little better every day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My PIF Gift from Yuko

Yuko's blog was among the first I discovered when I started blogging, and I have admired her work (and her gorgeous pictures!) from the very beginning. When she offered up a PIF on her blog, I was absolutely thrilled to be selected as one of her recipients, and let me tell you, she DOES NOT disappoint!!!!

Just look at the lovely package she put together for me!!

Yuko included a postcard from where she lives, tea, fabrics, ribbon, buttons, a candle, the most adorable little spoon with a shamrock on top (and she didn't even know I am half Irish!), and most importantly, a gorgeous handstitched piece!!

Little Angel In The Clouds" by Heart In Hand
stitched on 32ct linen, by recommended DMC

You can't even believe how stunningly gorgeous and perfect her work is in person. Her pictures are lovely, but to see the piece up close is really amazing, and I am so honored to now own a piece of her stitching. Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear Yuko!!! I will treasure it always!!!!

Be sure to stop by her blog and check out the pictures she took - they're so much nicer than mine. Yuko has quite an artistic eye! Also, she's doing a second round of PIFs, with recipients to be chosen October 5th.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My very first Fair & Square Exchange

French Country Bunny by JBW Designs
Stitched by Michele with Sugar Maple Floss in Candy Floss
Fair & Square Exchange, Round #9

Isn't he adorable? Michele stitched this for me for my very first F&S Exchange and he arrived yesterday. I LOVE it - and I already know what I'll be doing with these squares. They'll be made into an ornament for my Bride's Tree collection that I am technically working on (but the project has fallen a bit by the wayside.) This fulfills the rabbit ornament, and it's even more special having been stitched by my new friend Michele.

Michele also included a cute little tin of mints featuring photos of the Seattle area. I've never visited the West Coast, but it's definitely on my list of places to see (do you know how many lighthouses are out there? LOTS!) and I hope to include Seattle in my journies some day. The mint tin will be perfect as a needle case once the mints are gone and a bit of sticky back magnetic sheet is installed. I think it will fit neatly into one of the mesh pockets in my traveling stitching bag.

I also finished up the stitching on Michele's squares, and photographed them this morning, so they'll be going out in the mail tomorrow. I am absolutely thrilled with them and I can't wait to share pictures, but of course, Michele gets to see them first.

As for me today, it's Sunday, and you know what that means. Football. Plus my beloved Dallas Cowboys are the Sunday Night game, so I'm excited about that. Can I tell you how absolutely annoyed and disappointed I was that they had to play on Monday night? I cannot STAND the crew that does the MNF broadcast on ESPN and I was happy to see we only had one Monday Night game this season. Tony Kornheiser annoys me in ways I can't even describe, and I'm not a big Jaws fan, although he's tolerable when Kornheiser is not around. Kornheiser is just awful - he's not funny, he knows very little about football and he NEVER SHUTS UP. Ugh. It's enough to make me insane. I even prefer John Madden to Kornheiser. It will be a happy day for football fans everywhere when they fire him from the MNF broadcast.
Friday, September 12, 2008

The Hard Way is on the move again...

From the US to the Netherlands, back to the US again. Where it will end up this time is anyone's guess, but if you're interested in reading it, pop on over to Teresa's blog and get signed up for her drawing!

And if by some crazy chance you're not acquainted with Teresa, have a look around and check out her blog. Teresa not only does lovely work, but her love and her devotion to her extended family, especially her mom and elderly uncle, is truly inspiring. Stop over and say hello - you won't be disappointed!
Thursday, September 11, 2008

Doing inventory

I've been sorting out my charts and trying to get them organized. I've also been trying to capture a little more information on my stitched pieces. Before I started blogging, I didn't really keep track of fabrics, fibers, finishing dates, etc., but I've been trying to be more dilligent about recording that stuff. When I stitch, I use plastic page protectors for my charts (or copies of charts), and when I'm done, I file everything in the sleeve and store stitched charts in binders (so I have more room for stash in my stash boxes!) I try to remember to note the modifications I've made, put a date (usually on the color insert for the chart), and in a couple of them, I've even put in the labeled bag the fabric came in.

I've also tried to keep track of these things on my blog as well, and I ran across a piece I did, but don't think I've featured here.

Happy Home by Blue Ribbon Designs
Stitched on 32 ct. Belfast Antique Ivory
with DMC and WDW threads

I stitched this for a long time friend of mine and her husband when they bought their first home. If you look at the original pattern, you'll see that I made some modifications to it. Instead of stitching the alphabet, I stitched in their name and the year they were married (established).

I've gone back and forth on that subject - is a family established when they buy their home or when they get married? I finally decided that it's the year they get married, and I find another way to commemorate the purchase of their first home. In this instance, I stitched the town and state, and the date they purchased the home under the house itself. I think it worked out well this way.

I also framed it myself using a frame from If you haven't used them, I highly recommend them.
Thursday, September 4, 2008

For stitchers in the Greater Philadelphia Area

I just got this announcement in my email newsletter from The Strawberry Sampler...

WEDNESDAY, September 17th

Jacqueline Holdsworth, the lady who has brought us these incredible historical designs will be visiting us from England. This is a once in a lifetime experience. We don't know specifics .... as in time (day or evening). We WILL have a kit available for purchase that she will be demonstrating.
If you have plenty of your own supplies, and don't feel you need to purchase a kit...please contact us at
610-358-9145 OR 800-634-6106
or at our email at
for specifics. There will be NO CHARGE for attending this lecture and demonstration...only the kit cost. PLEASE...PLEASE don't put this off.

I know it's short notice...but you will be awed by Jacqueline's knowledge that she will share with us! Samplers have been a way of recording our history...and Jacqueline will not disappoint. You will feel a kinship to those women who used needle and thread so many years before us. She will bring with her over 500 images of Museum Pieces that we will view in a Power Point Presentation.

Look for more specifics to come as we get them...but call or email now to reserve your spot as spaces will be limited!

Bent Creek's I Do.... I'm DONE!

This is the piece that everyone voted on for the wedding we're going to on Friday. I'm SO pleased with how it came out, but I'm frustrated by the frame because I can't get the back in with the double mat and the mounting board. I'll have to have DH work on it a little. I guess that will teach me to buy pre-made frames that are really just meant for photos!

Bent Creek's "I Do"
stitched over 2 on 28 ct. Navy Bean linen with DMC, GAST and WDW Threads

I decided I liked the look of their names better than their initials, so I was glad their names were relatively short. I also went darker with the leaf and letter colors, and if I were to stitch it again, I might have chosen a brighter green color for the "I Do" instead of the blue, but I think it looks nice this way as well. It was definitely a fun and easy stitch, and I'd stitch it again if the occasion called for it. Since it goes together so quickly, it's a nice chart to keep on hand for future gifts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ta DAH!!!!!!

My Needle and My Floss, They Comfort Me
Waxing Moon Designs #119

Stitched on 28 ct. natural linen with DMC, GAST and WDW threads

I finished up the last few stitches this afternoon and got the camera out to take some pictures. Don't tell my MIL though - she's been bugging me since January to send her the pictures I took at Christmas and I still haven't gotten around to doing it. (To be fair, though, I detest sending out photos without fixing issues like red eye and such, and it takes a lot more time to do that than it does to take a stitching picture, which is why she hasn't gotten them yet.)

As you can see, I made some color changes to suit my own personal tastes. Since blue is my favorite color, naturally, I had to go with some variation on that. It took me a little bit to figure out which blue, since I was thinking about going with a dark blue and grey color scheme, till DH pointed out that the lettering wouldn't show up on her skirt if I used a darker blue for it, and if I changed the lettering to a lighter color to contrast with the skirt, it wouldn't show up as nice on the linen. DRAT!! What to do, what to do? Why, go with a lighter color scheme, of course!

Picking out the hair color was hard - I knew I wanted to do a dark auburn hair to match mine, and pale skin (which ended up not contrasting as much with the other lighter colors as I would have liked but it doesn't look as blended IRL). Now to get her framed up and hanging.

And now it is my duty to pass this pattern on to the next stitcher. I had 31 stitchers eager to join the Sisterhood, but alas, the pattern can only go to one stitcher at a time. And the winner is....

CJ from Tea and Stitches. CJ, I'll be leaving you a comment on your blog as well, but please email me at sweetpeastitches @ with your mailing address and I'll get it out to you ASAP. Ladies, you'll want to keep an eye on CJ's blog so when the pattern is up for grabs again, you can be ready.

History of the Sisterhood:

Harmien in the Netherlands (November 3, 2007, scroll down)
Sent it to Lili in France (June 15, 2007)
Who sent it to Barbara in Malaysia (June 25, 2007)
Who sent it to Tessa in Australia (July 16, 2007)
Who sent it to Lizzie in North Carolina, U.S. (February 26, 2008)
Who sent it to Barbara in the Netherlands (March 11, 2008)
Who sent it to Sarah (no blog) in Ohio, U.S. (April 11, 2008)
Who sent it to Anna in Pennsylvania, U.S. (June 2008)
Who sent it to Wendy in Ontario, Canada (July 4, 2008)
Who sent it to Sue in Michigan, U.S. (August 2, 2008)
Who sent it to Jennifer in Pennsylvania, U.S. (September 2, 2008)
Who sent it to CJ in Texas, U.S.

Labor Day Weekend

I had been planning on sneaking in a few last stitches on the Sisterhood pattern, but we had company over the weekend and it was almost non-stop action.

My ILs came down Saturday morning, and while DH and my FIL went to pick up the patio set we bought (there was no way we were getting it in either of our cars, but my FIL has an SUV), my MIL and I finished up the preparations for the party on Sunday. Then Saturday night, my BIL, SIL and the kids came down from NY and we had a pizza party. DH and I make homemade pizza on an almost weekly basis, so the family was treated to three different kinds of pizza and stromboli. I don't mean to brag, but my husband makes a KILLER stromboli. Pretty much everything was devoured, including the white bean dip I made to tide everyone over while the pizza was baking.

And if that wasn't enough, we celebrated our niece and nephew's birthdays with cake and presents on the patio. (No, they're actually not twins. He turned four 2 weeks ago, she'll be six in 2 weeks, so we always celebrate their birthdays on Labor Day Weekend).

Then Sunday, some of the extended family came down for a cookout. DH purchased a smoker this summer, so we invited everyone down for BBQ ribs and brisket.

Now, as much as we love Alton Brown, I have to give his rib recipe two big thumbs down when doing them on the smoker. They were fine when we used his rib rub recipe and did the ribs in the oven, but we used it the last time we did them on the smoker and it was too salty / spicy. (DH made it, so yes, everything was measured correctly, not like my throw it all in and see how it tastes approach). This time, we went simple. I followed the recipe for Apple City Baby Back Ribs and it was FANTASTIC!!! I highly, highly recommend this recipe. The only thing we skipped was the intermediate rub step (DH had them on the smoker before I could get to them), and with just a touch of salt, the ribs were outstanding. This is a KEEPER recipe.

The brisket turned out great as well, and there was plenty of BBQ food - beans, coleslaw, and corn casserole (like a cornbread with sour cream and cheese). Everyone had a great time, and loved the new house. This was the first time anyone other than my ILs had seen it, so we had fun giving the grand tours. After the extended family left, my ILs helped clean up, and I was on bath duty with the kids. Naturally, they had to check out the great big tub with the jets, and they had a blast in it. (There were bubbles everywhere!) My BIL and SIL wanted to get home that night, so they packed up the kids and left, and the ILs stayed for another night. Since it was all adults, there were a few bottles of wine involved and some funny stories out on the patio. The wine was great. The biting insects? Not so much!

All in all, we had a great time, and thus concludes my explanation as to why I am just getting around to posting my completed Sisterhood pattern..... and picking a winner!