Take a Ride on the “H” Train!

Finished! one of the best words in the dictionary…and am sure glad that I did NOT vacuum  before I worked on that swag. Wow, wow, wow what a challenge that was!

and oh by the way I should mention that this is my 2nd class that I am teaching at the Summer market! and ooh by the way this really has been finished for awhile now and all the threads are here. I am just waiting for the needles from Colonial Needle and a Delica bead to arrive in my mailbox. Come join us if you are attending the TNNA market in Indy in 2 weeks!

I envision these picture perfect ideas in my mind, but then when I get to it…well it doesn’t look so picure perfect at all. So I try this, then I try that and then I start digging through threads and beads in the house and then I try this. I started out with River Silk and then went to Neon Rays, but the shine made it too predominate…so out it came again and I went back to the River Silks. There was also a purple at hand, but it wasn’t the correct shade of purple, so I will need to made sure that it gets back to Jean at River Silks. I never ever want to take for granted the generousity of the thread donors.

So soon I will be starting on the 2nd car of the train…and actually I started on the middle car last night. Is there a specific name for that car? I know the last one is the caboose and boy that one will be fun! I like to put all the canvases of the grouping on bars as I will travel from one canvas to another.

For example when I finished the background on the stack of pumpkins, I picked up the light pole and then completed that background too. And that is why I am not an advocate of doing background first! As I worked on the bat and the bow, I wish that I had that canvas thread empty from the background…oh well and I wasn’t doing any reverse stitching.

and as I look at this picture, it looks like I might need one more Delica bead in the botton right of the pumpkin. I added the pumpkin stems and leaves after it was all finished and looked at all this orange. It just needed a little something!

Up next will be finishing up my stitch guides and checking my threads to what I ordered. I want everything to be just purr~fect!

Birdie

As I sat down in my photography studio…which is what I call this section of floor between the 2 windows that meet as in a mitered corner, it seems that I was going to have an audience. This little birdie and I, we just had a stare down contest for the longest time. Well until you know who showed up!

which is where you see AlleyCat lounging. My oh my you need a manicure!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Do you Ever have a Needlepoint 911?

Well do you? yours might be a need of a thread or needles or stretcher bars, well mine is usually “how does this look?” or in this case “are the tires too big?”

In the scheme of things, a Needlpoint 911 is really not the end of the world, but when you are working against deadlines and are stitching a model for Raymond, for the trade show and to teach, shop owners are asking for a picture of it and so much more…the pressure can really get to you.

Will Raymond like it? will the shop owners like it? will the class be popular? will Raymond sell lots of canvases? OMG and it doesn’t stop there!

Well a few weeks ago, I truly did have a Needlepoint 911… as I know I gotta get this finished. I needed to order the last of my threads, I need to write the stitch guide and I need to find these beads that I used. My original idea was to shop for O-rings or washers to create the wheels, as how else do you create a round tire? If I used washers, the wheels would be too flat and there would be some padding needed to round them out. I found these perfectly sized O-rings for the train and after I created the train tracks, it was time for the wheels.

Well the wrapping of the wheels with the Kreinik was too way too much shine, so I started thinking of Plan B and came up with this idea. I liked it, it worked…but would others like it as much? I took a picture and texted it to my 2 go to needlepoint buddies. Time passed maybe an hour or more and no answer, well it was a Sunday afternoon and what was I thinking? but I was anxious for an answer!

I knew Brenda Hart was in town teaching, so instead I took off for a little visit to her class. If she approved, then I knew I was on the right track… no pun intended. Well Brenda loved it as did all the students and I was thrilled and breathed such a sigh of relief!

Next it was time to work out the background. I knew what thread I was using and I wanted something with some movement. I originally thought out in my mind of a darning pattern of a pumpkin, a spider or a bat. The latter was too big and wasn’t working, so out came the books. I thought about Brenda Hart’s stitch called Batwings and have used that before.

Instead I came up with my own and I am calling it Falling Pumpkins, based on Brenda’s Falling Rain stitch. I dropped a little pumpkin into the stitch every so often. Placed in such a position in the stitch sequence that you could easily take it out or use it anywhere else.

AlleyCat parked herself on my lap and slept as I stitched and stitched and stitched. I am sure glad that I didn’t vacuum before I finished the canvas! and yes it is all finished and stop by tomorrow for a look see!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Too Many Moons!

Lets see there is a full moon, a blue moon, a harvest moon, a moon that waxes and wanes, a new moon and now there is a blood moon? I have never heard of that one and not sure that I could stay awake to view this total lunar eclipse.

And it seems like it’s been moons ago since I last blogged. Everything is okay…I just needed to channel all of my creative juices into my stitching for market pieces. You know it takes allot of time and thought to think of what the heck am I going to talk about, take pictures without the cats photobombing them, sending them to my computer, cropping, highlighting and then writing away.

If you think about it, we stitch a lot of moons on our canvases. I stitched one on Mr. Cat, but after looking for something on Pepperberry’s website, I should be calling him “Meet Mr. Ca!t”

The moon was stitched in 4-way Continental with 2 strands Rainbow Gallery’s Sparkle Braid. Kreinik 091 which is a great go to yellow color and is what I normally use, well the color didn’t look right, so out it came.

So then I thought that I would bead the moon, since I had already created the handle for the sweep brush at that time, the beads for the moon would be okay. So I thought I would make them glow-in-the-dark beads by using a very transparent bead and using Kreinik glow-in-the-dark blending filament as my beading thread. Well it glowed, but then it looked gray and out it came. Thats sorta kinda why the moon looks like it is made of Swiss cheese!

So my piecese are done for market, my house is a mess, my plants are thirsting for a drink of water and have sooooooooooo much laundry to do!

I have been working on ideas for the Holly Hills Russian Santa, so this weekend I will start talking about it and sharing what I am going to do.

I think sylvester was bored with all my stitching going on.

BTW, what a great Padres game tonight vs the Colorado Rockies! wish I was there. and until next time…keep on stitching

 

The Flower Fields!

50 acres of extraordinary color that resides in the hillsides looking over the Pacific Ocean. They say that you can see the fields while driving on the freeway…doesn’t happen.

The acres of the giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers at The Flower Fields cascade down the hillside in a spectacular display of color that is sure to take your breath away. Visitors will be stunned at the fields of color overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

These ranunculus are absolutely beautiful! and the Flower Fields draw hundreds of visitors every year. I always say I am going, but I just don’t get there. I really do have another month yet as it runs through Mother’s Day. Maybe Easter Sunday…maybe this year for sure.

Maybe these ranunculus can inspire me to come up some great stitches for this canvas by Maggie…”Poppies and Lavender” I pulled some threads for this canvas a few weeks ago, is on stretcher bars and is lined up to be stitched sooner than later.

AlleyCat is waiting to lick the dish from my morning eggs. You can see that her tummy is slowly growing in. She is not pleased with me since we went to the vets yet again this morning, so I am kinda letting her have her way more than usual.

I really need to devote all of my free time to my stitching and stitch guides right now, magazine work and so much more, so I am going to take a few or more days away from the blog. I hope you won’t miss us too much!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

March Madness!

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“It’s past the last day of March and the Madness is almost over. After two weeks of wall-to-wall college basketball dominating the televisions in every bar and halting the productivity in most offices, the Final Four is set. Florida will play Connecticut and Kentucky will do battle with Wisconsin on the court this weekend, but here at F&W we need a winner in the contest that really matters: Who has the best food?”

Okay…exactly why do they call it March Madness when it is now April? I don’t get it. Now don’t worry I am still a diehard baseball girl as there is a reason why they call it America’s favorite pastime…sorry NFL and all the rest, baseball is still it!

Okay from Food & Wine

The Competitors:

Florida: Key Lime Pie

UConn: The Hamburger

Kentucky: The Mint Julep

Wisconsin: The Brat

Florida vs. UConn

Representing Florida we have perhaps the only state dish to inspire legislation, key lime pie. Back in 1965 state representative Bernie Papy Jr. wanted to fine anyone advertising key lime pie made with other kinds of limes. It didn’t pass, but it proved that they take their pies seriously in Florida.

And representing Connecticut, the hamburger. It may seem unfair for Connecticut to bring in a ringer like the burger, but according to the Library of Congress, this superstar of American cuisine was first sold in New Haven, Connecticut way back in 1900.

WINNERUConn

As delicious as a slice of key lime is after a few daiquiris on the beach, it can’t compete with the versatility, juiciness and general deliciousness of a hamburger.

Kentucky vs. Wisconsin

Taking the floor for Kentucky is the mint julep. Yes, it is a cocktail and not a food, but nothing says Kentucky more than this slow sipper championed by former secretary of state and proud Kentuckian Henry Clay. The pile of ice on top of the mint and bourbon makes this the perfect drink for a lazy Sunday.

And for Wisconsin we have the brat, the perfect blend of meat and spices in an easy-to-eat tube. If you have not been to Wisconsin on the day of a big game, you may have never truly seen brat culture in action. You can barely turn around without someone offering you a kraut-covered sausage.

WINNER: Wisconsin

The Julep is just too polite to take on a juicy brat right off the grill.

THE FINALS: UConn vs. Wisconsin

Burger versus brats? How can you pick?

WINNER: UConn

As much as it pains your author (who was a proud resident of Madison, Wisconsin for 18 years), the edge has to go to the burger. It has been transformed and reinvented so many times that there is a burger for literally every single person. Apologies to the other competitors, but no one was going to beat the burger this year.

All I know all this food is making me hungry! and I can guarantee you that I will not be watching basketball today, but rather stitching and working on stitch guides.

I made a trip yesterday and looked at threads and I think that I found the right combination of gold beads and Kreinik for the Russian Santa. I want to use a specific type of galvanized gold bead because of its shape and I will explain that more as we go on. What I decided  was what I already had pulled, but in a different combination than I had originally thought. So soon, soon I promise! next weekend for sure I will start stitching away on him. I am going through stitches in my mind for Santa’s robe. It can’t be something too big as he is rather dimunitive. I know that in time I will think of the perfect stitch!

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 Someone was seeking out the late afternoon sun.
and until next time…keep on stitching

 

So What’s New?

So what’s new you ask? How about Furr-Fuzz-Fun from Planet Earth Fiber. Great for stitching animals, hair or how about some puffy clouds? Stitch as is with a single strand or doubled, blended with Burmilana or Designers Dream.

I love these smaller cards as it is easy purchase of more than 1 or 2 colors. Lots of great shades…how about that black to stitch that black cat or for me even that smoky gray when I stitch Mrs. Cat later this summer.

Rhinestones from Sundance Designs in lots of great colors! Such as Clover, Saffron, Red Rose and Black…

A new thread from Dinky~Dyes and no I am not using it on this canvas! It is a silk wool blend called Jumbuck. Now remember that Dinky~Dyes was originally a company from the land down under, so their thread names are familar words to Australia. Jumbuck is an Australian term for sheep as featured in the poem “Waltzing Matilda.”

It is a beautful thread and feels great in your hands and very enjoyable to work with. The lighter one was dyed to the likeness of their silk color named Hibiscus. It is great for basketweave on 13 mesh and believe that like Silk & Ivory it would be too heavy for 18 mesh.

The Furr-Fuzz-Fun and the Rhinestones were from Winter Market. Now this doesn’t even take into account what new threads will be intoduced at The TNNA Summer Market which is less than a month away!

It has been really cold, cold, cold…well for San Diego that is, the last few mornings. Yesterday it was about 41 and I could see my breath! Yes I know that I shouldn’t be complaining. But you know what? next week it is going to be in the 90′s! What the hey?

Can you see the little (well really not so little!) patch of fur that is missing on her back? She has since had another spot of fur shaved and tomorrow we go to have her stitches removed! She has been extremely clingy these last few weeks as she doesn’t let me get far from her sight, sleeping under the covers with me at night and following me all over the house. Silly little girl.

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

The Boys of Summer are Back!

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time…you know that I am a baseball junkie. Even though I love my hometown San Diego Padres, I will watch any team, any time, any place, any where, any game…just so long as its baseball!

I get some of my best stitching done listening to the crack of bat and the ball hitting the catchers mitt. The season is young and already we have seen shutouts, blowouts and ooh so much more! If the rest of the baseball season is anything like the last few days, it will be a great summer.

I have been working up a storm between stitching, writing stitch guides, proofing for the magazine and stitching and stitching…ooh did I say stitching? For all those that asked, I  hope to be able to get back to Leigh’s Russian Santa next week. I just have to make my deadlines before I can stitch what I want to. Yes I know what I said a few weeks ago that I would commit time every day out of my stitching time to something for me, but market is quickly approaching…that means finalizing the thread useage and getting all the threads, beads and accoutrements ordered and purchased. Sometimes it means cutting thread lengths or packaging a few beads.

But for today, and just today I am headed to The Cottage for breakfast, a little thread shopping and a baseball game later at night. I have had season tickets for years and I did not renew this year as my stitching keeps getting in the way. I believe that they are trying to woo me back as this game is by invitation in one of the suites…so how can I say no?

This picture was taken before AlleyCat had visited the vets and prior to sans fur. Saturday morning we head to the vets to have more stitches removed. My poor silly girl…

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

A Little Cat~itude!

Do you remember this canvas?

and you might have seen this? This was my cat needle threader that was a birthday gift from the Needlepoint Now Studios… One can never have too many cat related items.

and I shared this picture on Facebook as AlleyCat was snoozing on my lap while stitching. Was she just wanting to be with me? or did she have her eye on that little rat?

You can see that the border and background is stitched and I was working on the cat, stitching with a single strand of Burmilana.

Well here is the finished Mr. Cat with all of his cat~itude. A Pepperberry Design that was ooh so much fun to stitch! The border is a potpourri of ideas from Stitches to Go with a favorite background stitch from one of Brenda Hart’s books, beading, basketweave… well every canvas needs a little of that! laid filling stitches for his vest, packed outline, long and short, wrapped stitches, ribbon work, twisted cording, sorbello knots, cast on bullions and thanks to Meredith for refreshing my memory how to stitch them! And to Brenda Hart for her trick of using huck needles…OMG, what a difference!

And last by not least, Mr. Cat who is a real scamp and a chimney sweep kinda cat, holds his sweep broom which is done in repoussé. It is a technique brought to the Fab Four classes by Mr. Anthony Minieri and Meredith refreshed my memory on how to stitch it. I had seen it done many times, but never had a hands on learning experience.

So if you are attending the summer trade show at TNNA…you are in luck as I will be teaching Mr. Cat at market. Sign up for the class, I would love to see you there! Or ask your favorite needlepoint shop for a class with Mr. Cat…next best thing to taking a class is teaching one! There is a Mrs. Cat and rumor has it that she is coming home with me.

we’ve been pretty busy around here…so I am taking Monday off!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

While we’re in Class!

BlueBonnet5

While we…well while I am… talking about learning in class, there’s still lots more to share from the Blue Bonnet Retreat and 4 days of stitching bliss with my sistah Meredith. Last I left you, I was bemoaning this picture since none other than the Brenda Hart was looking at her phone rather than at the camera! And I still haven’t even loaded all the pictures from my phone to my computer yet.

In case you forgot, the Blue Bonnet Retreat is held at the Lost Pines Resort, located on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. Great food, great location, great stitching and great teachers. Get the idea that I like it? and you know what? one can never take too many classes.

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This was the sendoff that the students in Debbie Steihler’s class gave her, since she is retiring. Gosh I finally take a class from her last year and now she is retiring…is it something I said?

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Meredith worked with Jody to create a great knitted dress in buttonhole stitch and then she stuffed her you know what to give her shape. Too cute!

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A Lani canvas that Linda was working on. Such great attention to detail!

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You never know who or what you are going to run into in the hallways of the hotel!

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Alpacas! and they were very friendly and ooh so soft. Don’t they make great wool?

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This was the magic that Brenda Hart was creating in her classroom with one of her students.

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Colleen, owner of that fabulous shop The Needleworks in Austin was able to join us in class for a few days!

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Mary Alice was giving the students in Brenda’s class, a little demonstration on Japanese beading. I just happened to be walking by and being the nosy person that I am, I had to find out what was going on! I am looking forward to taking a class with Mary Alice with her fabulous Japnese beading later this summer when she comes to San Diego.

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Sylvester was watching a little tv with me and someone was under the covers. I guess that she’s cold now that more fur has been shaved!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

What I Learned in Class!

I was enjoying some stash enhancement a few weeks ago…while chatting with one of my favorite stitching friends how I was looking forward to my class coming up.

She asked “why do you take classes? you are such a good stitcher” of course I thanked her and added “you know, I know that I am going to learn something new!” To me it is really not the destination of actually ever finishing that canvas that you are going to start, it is the journey of being in class with all of your stitching friends, having fun and putting that needle in the canvas all while learning something new that makes it all so special. Of course I do love it when I can say it’s FINISHED!

This is a John Johannsen design for Melissa Shirley that was being stitched on in class. Look at what Meredith did with the corn. Now how did she just come up with this brilliant idea?

She demonstrated to the stitcher to take 3 or 4 colors of beads and make a little bead soup. Then she insert the beads into Flair and viola! the best looking corn on the cob that I have ever seen on a needlepoint canvas.

Now if you are going to ask me how to get those beads into the Flair…well you will just need to take a class with Meredith and ask her!

Another Melissa Shirley canvas…

and check out those pomegranate seeds which again were beads inserted into Flair!

And yet another Melissa Shirley canvas… and look at those little flowers.

If you ever get a chance to take a class with my sistah Meredith, don’t let it pass you by. Her classes fill up ooh so quickly!

AlleyCat328

Somebody was being quite a busy body and I won’t mention her name!

and until next time…keep on stitching