Here We Go!

AlleyCat220

again… as I pack and ready for my trip to Hotlanta tomorrow, which I realize that it will  be no where close to hot! So I decided that I should get my favorite jacket out and make sure that it is not too wrinkled or covered with too much cat hair. Well by the time I move her royal highness I am sure that the latter will be true. I should know better by now, I should know that this is an instant cat magnet…what was I thinking?

Did you watch the Oscars last night? I did and I never did get to Downton as I was enjoying  it too much to change. Who would’ve thunk that Lady Gaga had THAT voice? WOW! and John Legend and Common singing which was so moving… and Graham Moore, winner for best adapted screenplay for The Imitation Game “stay weird and stay different.”

and for now back to packing and until next time…keep on stitching

 

and the Oscar goes to!

Oscars!

There are many Oscars that I would love to award today! and in no specific order… How about the designers that come up with these amazing canvases that we get to stitch? the thread companies that have countless choices of threads in all sizes, shapes, thicknesses and colors? and then the names that they come up with for these threads? how do they think of so many names? the teachers that come up with these unbelievable ideas, stitches, techniques, pick out the prefect thread to go along with that prefect stitch? the shops and their crew that wait on us hand and foot, are always so nice to us? putting threads away, putting our canvases on stretcher bars, picking up after us… especially the floor with all those orts and needles!? and the shop owners who make sure that we have teachers there to lead us on in our stitching adventures? keeping the shops full of new canvases, threads, bags and all sorts of toys to add to our retail therapy experience? in my eyes they all get the Oscar!

so the million dollar question is…will you be watching The Oscars? or Downton Abbey? yes I know there is such a thing as watching it on demand, but I’m pretty busy and if I don’t watch it live, I usually don’t have the chance to go back and watch what I missed! Are you having an Oscar party? or will you party with your needle and thread? mine will be of the latter, especially now that I have tweaked a few threads inorder to continue stitching my first deadline piece that will be seen in Needlepoint Now in the July/August issue.
Thanks to everyone that has been leaving such great comments! I love each and everyone of them. And again continue to leave comments so you can be entered in the give aways..

Oscar viewing is a great night for parties as many amazing dishes take front and center in a supporting or leading roll during the Oscars. All the pictures are compliments of food52blog along with their recipes.

Best Roasted Chicken for the movie Birdman…

Homemade Crumpets representing Imitation Game…

Texas Breakfast Beer Bread for the American Sniper…
Oscars3
Perfect Popcorn representing Whiplash…
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State Fair Cream Puffs for Grand Budapest Hotel…
and until next time (and if you can stay awake Sylvester!) keep on stitching

We’re Having a Party!

AlleyCat219

AlleyCat was busy today checking Facebook to see if she could see a picture of herself, so being a good cat mom, I obliged her of course. Some of her fans thought that maybe she was checking her email? or maybe she was looking over the party list to make sure that you are all invited?

Invited where you ask? well to the party of course! and we are having a birthday party to celebrate the end of the fourth year that Mostly Needlepoint has been around. Actually today, February 19, 2011 is the first day that Sylvester, AlleyCat and I came into your homes and your lives! I thank you each and every day for reading the blog, I thank you for your comments and I love it when I hear when I am out and about “well I read your blog!” The cats thank you too for putting up with their antics and their silliness. It started as just as occassional picture of them, but too many times I was asked, “where are the cats?” as they usually give us many purr~fect Kodak moments!

So this is a party where you get the gifts… leave us a comment and if you really, really want one thing or another, I will put your name on that list. I will use a random number generator to pick the lucky winner!

If you won last year, coming from a person who usually never has that lucky number, lets say that I would like to spread the wealth around! I do have the emails that notified the winners from last year, but not any before that…

Six cards of Entice in spring colors!

Six cards of Entice in assorted colors!

Ying and Yang magnet…

Owl magnet…

Santa Claus magnet…

Day of the Dead skull magnet…

Cat in a pumpkin magnet…

A doggy magnet…

A Christmas Tree magnet…

Luck of the Irish magnet…

and one can never have too many cat magnets!

I was undecided between starting the party now or telling you all about the Blue Bonnet Stitching Studio Needlearts Retreat…but I will save the latter for another time or two. I will just say that it was awesome as usual! Now I have a peyote beading class tomorrow and then…and then I head for Hotlanta on Tuesday morning for my class with The Embellishment Squad of Suzanne Howren, Tony Minieri and Meredith Willett at In Stitches.

I haven’t made up my mind if I will take my laptop or not with me, so if you don’t see an answer to your comment right away (after Tuesday,) you will know that I didn’t take it with me… as only my laptop remembers my password…okay don’t ask!

So again, just leave us a comment, a note or something, something. You can address it to the cats too and I will make sure that they answer inbetween their cat naps. I will pick the winners probably on March 2nd or 3rd, and I will leave this blog till then.

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Sylvester says “leave me a note!” and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Did You?

MardiGras

Celebrate Mardi Gras yesterday? I wore my beads and purples as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras came to an end…

and too my time at Blue Bonnet Stitching Studio Retreat comes to an end all too soon. It seems like I just got here and it is time to go home already! But I miss the kitties and can’t wait to hear their meows and snuggle with them.

I hope everyone can get home safe and sound and without too many delays as Mother Nature continues to wreak havoc!

and until next time (or next year Blue Bonnet) keep on stitching

 

Just Saying…

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What a great way to say Happy Valentine’s Day!

I am headed to The Blue Bonnet Studio Retreat tomorrow at 0dark30…seriously! Where I will meet Sally from Rainbow Gallery as we head to The Needleworks in Austin, Texas before we are off to our final destination. Stitching, stitching, and more stitching, great food, great friends, fun and lots of laughs are waiting for me! So see you when I get back next week. I will only be home for a few days until I head to Atlanta. Ooh the cats will never forgive me!

Oh but wait, looks like they are coming along for the ride…

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

A Sailor’s Valentine!

SailorsValentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up very shortly and it is a wonderful day! Lots of flowers, roses, chocolates…mmmm chocolate! love and friendship and so much more. I will be out of town and teaching then and I actually looked for something red to wear that day, and you know what? I don’t have anything red, well except for some t-shirts, which that won’t do for teaching! So I am wishing everybody a Happy Valentine’s Day a little early since the cats are meowing bye to me in a day or two!

I came across this stitched Sailor’s Valentine a few weeks ago which brought up some old memories of taking classes with Deborah Wilson and wishing wow “wouldn’t I love to find a real Sailor’s Valentine?” but I am sure that it could buy a whole lot of needlepoint instead! What is a Sailor’s Valentine? well read on…

According to Wikipedia: “A sailor’s valentine is a form of shellcraft, a type of mostly antique souvenir, or sentimental gift made using large numbers of small seashells. These were originally made between 1830 and 1890, and they were designed to be brought home from a sailor’s voyage at sea and given to the sailor’s loved one or loved ones. Sailor valentines are typically octagonal, glass fronted, hinged wooden boxes ranging from 8″ to 15″ in width, displaying intricate symmetrical designs composed entirely of small sea shells of various colors glued onto a backing. Patterns often feature a centerpiece such as a compass rose or a heart design, hence the name, and in some cases the small shells are used to spell out a sentimental message.

Although the name seems to suggest that the sailors themselves made these objects, a large number of them originated in the island of Barbados, which was an important seaport during this period. Historians believe that the women on Barbados made the valentines using local shells, or in some cases using shells imported from Indonesia, and then the finished products were sold to the sailors.

In his book Sailors’ Valentines, John Fondas concludes that the primary source for sailors’ valentines was the New Curiosity Shop, located in McGregor Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, a popular shop where sailors would purchase souvenirs. The shop was owned by the English brothers B.H. and George Belgrave. Fonda recounts that while an antique sailors’ valentine was being repaired and reconstructed, pieces of a Barbados newspaper were found inside the backing material.

Today, antique sailors’ valentines are collectibles, valued for their beauty and unusual qualities. Collector interest has sparked a resurgence in sailors’ valentines as an art form, and because of this, shell kits and patterns are now sold at craft shops. Many sailors’ valentines, both new and old, can be found on Nantucket, Massachusetts.”

At one time Deborah Wilson taught a Sailor’s Valentine that was brought to life on canvas. This piece was lovingly stitched by Pat Edminston and I thank her for letting me share it with you. I had to shoot it at the angle that I did so that you could see the piece and not my reflection in the glass!

AlleyCat acts just like Mooch as there is no smooching with her! But Sylvester does…
and until next time…keep on stitching

Valentines

I’ve Gone to the Dogs!

Shhhh….please don’t let my cats know that I am showing you all these D-O-G canvases! But a girls got to do what a girls got to do as I continue to work my way through the pictures from What’s new at Market. These were the 3 new potrait dogs introduced at market by Labors of Love. I really like these patterned backgrounds.

Look at this great dog house by Sew Much Fun…

By Annie Lee and Cheryl Schaeffer…

By Point of It All Designs…

Point of It All Designs…

Point of It All Designs…

And maybe my favorites! The Snooty Poodles by Raymond Crawford!

AlleyCat could hardly keep her eyes opened as she was trying hard to supurrvise me!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

What’s New?

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As we celebrate Hari~Kuyo today, I found some fascinating reads this morning including Plays with Needles which is probably my absolutely favorite blog! Such a fun and talented lady and I just wish that Susan blogged more often.

Threads Across the Web; A Needle in a Market and more appropiately would be a Needle in a Haystack since it seemed most challenging finding this needle shop! But well worth the effort.

I have 2 Japanese needles among my treasures from when I took a Japanese Beading Class with Mary Alice Sinton last year. One of these days I will blog about it and share my pictures, of which I do not have one shot of Japanese needles at the moment!

In the scheme of things, handmade Japanese needles are expensive and a single needle costs about what 4-5 packs of regular machine punched needles cost! They are much heavier and are meant to be used for many hours of stitching with their proper care and cleaning.

Okay back to needlepoint and more goodies from market! The next four canvases are by Danji Designs and are available in either 13 or 18 mesh. I could see stitching all 4 of these and grouping them together as pillows or framed on my walls.

Harmony by Danji Designs…

Love by Danji Designs…

Prosperity by Danji Designs…

Tranquility by Danji Designs

Canvas by Elizabeth Turner Collection… I might need to order this canvas sooner or later!

The next few days I will keep my nose buried in my stitch books and drawing program as I gather stitch ideas for my class at Blue Bonnet…at the same time that I search for the purr~fect stitches for my 2-3 canvases (but who’s counting?) that I am working on at the moment. My stitching projects are for future issues of Needlepoint Now and I like to give Elizabeth the first rite of publication, so no peeking!

I realized that you haven’t seen Sylvester in awhile! See he is not the busy body that THAT other feline resident is and I can usually find him napping in his 2 favorite spots on the couch. So when he jumped in my stitching bag, it made for a great Kodak moment!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

A Tradition…

Hari Kuyo – Japan’s Unique Memorial Service for Broken Needles…

Hari Kuyo is a Japanese festival dedicated to old and broken needles. Celebrated every year on the 8th of February, this festival sees hundreds of women dressed in colorful kimonos, gathering at various Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples in and around Tokyo. This 400-year-old ritual involves sticking old and broken needles into soft chunks of tofu or jelly as a way of showing thanks for their hard work. I suppose this tradition springs from the Eastern system of displaying gratitude towards objects that are a source of livelihood. It also reflects on the animist belief that all beings and objects have a soul.

It’s not just about needles, several Japanese women consider Hari Kuyo as a time to value the small, everyday objects of daily life that are otherwise forgotten. Mottainai is the concept of not being wasteful about small things. Burying needles in tofu is said to symbolize rest for the needles, as they are wrapped with tenderness. It’s also about the many sorrows that women are believed to carry in their hearts, the burdens of which are passed on to the needles during many hours of sewing. So the needles do deserve a proper farewell and rest at the end of their service. According to Ryojo Shioiri, a Buddhist monk, “Sometimes there are painful things and secrets that women can’t tell men, and they put these secrets into the pins and ask the gods to get rid of them.”

Many Japanese women come to the festival not only to thank their needles, but also to pray for better kimono-making skills. They gather around large slabs of tofu placed in front of temples, and spike multi-colored pins in them. Incense is lit for purification and monks chant in the background. Hari Kuyo marks the end of the Japanese New Year celebrations; no household work is done on that day.

As with other ancient traditions, interest in Hari Kuyo has been dwindling in current times. Not many women take up needlework anymore. Toshie Tanioka, a 58-year-old kimono-maker says, “I’ve been coming here for 20 years, it used to be much bigger. Now there are fewer people. The old ones retire and the young ones are not interested in the festival because they’re not interested in kimono-making. It’s too painstaking and they prefer western clothes.” But there still are a few young women who are interested in continuing the tradition, like Toshie’s 30-year-old apprentice, Hiroko Saito. Hopefully, this unique and fascinating Japanese tradition doesn’t die out completely in the future.

I will say goodbye to my own pile of broken and worn out needles as I thank them for their service…and trust me I have quite a pile! The needles that we use here are not the handmade needles that they use in Japan which can be quite costly, but rather are in the scheme of things the smallest investmant that we made in our stitching. I carry a large assortment of needles in all sizes and shapes, tapestry and chenilles, beading, huck and bullion needles. So please remember to change your needles often as the acid in your hands can turn your needles black, which will show up in your stitching! It breaks my heart to see some beautiful basketweave or any other stitching that has been ruined by a dirty needle.

I will then spend part of my day stitching away. I am working on 2 projects for Needlepoint Now, a few class pieces and a busy rest of the month coming up! Lets see there is Valentine’s Day, pitchers and catchers report to spring training, teaching at The Blue Bonnet Retreat, Mardi Gras, a class with The Embellishment Squad of Suzanne Howren, Tony Minieri and Meredith Willett in the new classroom at In Stitches in Atlanta… and finishing up the month with celebrating Mostly Needlepoint’s Blogoversary!

I still have more to share with you from market and for now I am headed for breakfast at The Cottage. Well it is Saturday morning! and besides I need some beads…I probably have 2-300 (no joke!) tubes of beads here and do you think that I can find color 633? NO!

AlleyCat was making sure that I knew that she was there!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Everybody Loves Raymond!

Back to our regularly scheduled what was new at market! I still have lots more to share with you and today it’s all about Raymond, Raymond Crawford that is.

This was a shot of his booth and in the front you can see The “H” Train that I stitched for him and was featured in 3 issues of Needlepoint Now!

An overview of just some of the new items that debuted in Raymond’s line!

One of my favorites! This would be a fun stitch and could easily be 3 separate canvases ornament size.

Snowman by Raymond Crawford…

Santa by Raymond Crawford…

Canvases by Raymond Crawford, stitch guide by the one and only Tony Minieri!

Canvases by Raymond Crawford, stitch guide by the one and only Tony Minieri! This is an exclusive club of The Nine Muses that is being brought to you by The Edwardian Needle.

AlleyCat thought it was play day yesterday! She sits in front of the cat’s toy box as she took out one after another after another.

and until next time…keep on stitching