Wednesday, April 29, 2009

5th Anniversary Gift for my Husband

Always and Forever by Little House Needleworks (LHNPC-18)
Stitched 2 over 2 on China Pearl Jobelan with Dinky Dyes Silk in Midnight

DH and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary a few weeks ago. I've had this stitched up for a while, but I never know if he reads my blog or not, so I thought it best to keep it under wraps. I've seen this design on a few blogs and decided it would be just perfect, so I picked it up and selected my fabric and thread colors based on our wedding colors of blue and silver (of course they were blue and silver. We ARE Cowboys fans, after all!)

I picked a pale grey for the fabric and the most delicious Dinky Dyes silk. It's the first time I stitched with the Dinky Dyes, but it won't be the last. I don't generally stitch with silk because it can get expensive, but for an anniversary gift, I wanted to do something special. The Dinky Dyes was just lovely to stitch with, and I was actually a little sad when I finished the piece.

As you can see, I did make some modifications to it. I didn't decide until I got the precut fabric home that I wanted to extend the pattern just a little to include our wedding date, so it was a good thing I opted for a 3 inch border instead of my usual 2 inches! Luckily, what I had in mind fit, and I'm going to frame it in a slightly more ornate carved black frame so this piece won't need a mat. I was able to extend the border by adding in extra loops near the hearts in the center of the sides, and I carried the hearts over to fill in the space between the words and our wedding date. All in all, I am very pleased with how this turned out, and my husband loved it as well. Once I get it framed up, we'll hang it in our front hallway along with our collection of family photos.

As for the anniversary itself, we decided to do a weekend trip to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. DH and I are into lighthouses and things of a nautical nature, so this was a nice trip for us. We drove up on Friday, which was our anniversary, spent Saturday in Mystic and Stonington, then took a long, scenic drive home on Sunday, checking out lighthouses along the coast on our way back. We had wonderful weather, and it was just a very relaxing, peaceful trip.

And if you happen to be in the Mystic area, I'd recommend checking out the following restaurants:
  • Mirch Masala - Groton, CT. It's a converted bar in the Ramada Hotel, but the food is excellent. It's one of the few places I've found meat samosas (which I love), but really, everything we had was just wonderful, and the service was great. It wasn't far from our hotel, which was good because we were both tired of being in the car! (Warning - there is music on the website)
  • Noah's - Stonington, CT. The menu changes based on what's in season and what's fresh, so don't expect everything listed on their website to be available. If scallops are on the menu, I'd recommend ordering them - they're absolutely divine. And the clam chowder? Mostly clam, with a little chowder scoop them up with. Soooo good!
  • Kitchen Little - Mystic, CT. They're not kidding when they say "little". The food is good, but the quarters are QUITE close. We ended up practically sitting with another couple (their table was about 4 inches from ours. But it's right down the road from the Seaport, and the view of the Mystic River is lovely.
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fair and Square Round #12

I received these beautiful squares from Susan P. yesterday. Aren't they lovely?

Freebie from Gazette 94, available here.

I love the squares, and I think they'll be perfect for a no-sew cube, which is good because we are sadly in need of some decorations for the holidays. Living in an apartment, and even a townhouse, wasn't all that conducive to having a whole lot of decorations (severe lack of storage space), but now that we're in a house, it would be nice to have a few things to put out for the holidays. I'm envisioning a very cute cube with a pretty spring bow on my forthcoming living room shelves, just in time for Easter next year.

As for my contribution to the round, I stitched up X-Appeal's Call of the Ocean for Susan. As soon as I saw "lighthouses" on Susan's list of likes, I knew I was going to stitch this piece.

Call of the Ocean by X-Appeal Designs
stitched over 2 on 32 ct. Picture This Plus Fabric in Dwarf
with overdyed and DMC threads

In case you didn't know, the designer behind X-Appeal is also one of the owners of my former LNS, The Strawberry Sampler. If you ever happen to find yourself in the Brandywine Valley / Chadds Ford area of PA, definitely stop in and check out the shop. They have a ton of stitched models, plenty of fabrics and threads, and the staff there is really wonderful.

This was the second time I stitched this piece. (Mine's still sitting in the stitching drawer, waiting to be turned into an ornament for our lighthouse collection on the Christmas tree.) But I had a great time stitching this again. I know the F&S rules call for neutral fabric, but I emailed Susan ahead of time and she didn't mind if I stitched on blue fabric. LOVE THIS FABRIC! It was the first time stitching on PTP fabric, and I'll definitely use it again. It was so soft and just a joy to stitch on.

See? I really HAVE been stitching!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trying to come up with a pattern

One of my oldest and dearest friends is buying her first place and I want to stitch something for her. I've been wracking my brains for a few days trying to think of something and it's been hard.

She lives in NJ and works in NYC, so she's definitely more of an urban girl than a country girl - ruling out most LHN and CCN type designs, as well as primitives. I looked at a few NY / NJ designs and didn't like them much. I don't want anything cute or cartoony. She was down to visit a few weeks ago, and really like the Moire pattern by Pelin Tezer I was stitching, so I thought maybe I'd look for something along those lines - a little fanicer, a little elegant, but not too foofy.

I finally came up with the idea of stitching her last name in a series of illuminated type letters, similar to the ones used in Isa Vautier's Grand Marquoir, and using some of the other blocks between the letters. I had also considered using M Designs Celtic Alphabet, but thought it would end up being too busy to do a whole name, even if it is just four letters.

I definitely want to do all the stitching in one color (probably a varigated), and do the lettering straight across. I'm not completely sold on the Isa V letters yet, so if anyone has any ideas where I can find something similar, either a freebie or a chart for sale, feel free to share. I looked through some of the alphabets I have, and they're too small to do what I want to do - I'm looking for letters that are a little larger in size, at least 50x50 or so, with a little flair to them.