Where to Begin?

The world and life as we know it has been changing so quickly… monthly, weekly, daily and now almost hourly. It is very unsettling and I am always hoping that tomorrow will dawn brighter. But enough of that as I am not telling you anything that you don’t know already. Just wish I could buy some toilet paper for the shop! I don’t need it now, but what happens if this madness does not ease up within a few weeks? All I know is at the house I need to keep it away from Mooch as he loves shredding it!

Well you haven’t seen Mooch and Miss Meow in awhile and they sure are much bigger. They’re now 8 months old and sometimes I forget that they are still kittens as they’ve grown so much!

It’s been a busy year for me from redoing window/shop displays, regular day to day business and then getting ready for our annual Getaway in the beginning of March. It is 5 teachers and around 60 students that is held in the shop and also in a spot around the corner. So it’s getting that many canvases ordered and on bars, threads pulled from the suggestions of the teachers, shopping for door prizes, dreaming up special daily gifts and so much more. Picking out lunches, desserts, snacks et al. Before that we had a class with Sherry Bray And the Fleur de Paris open house In January. I was able to add some great new canvases for the shop!

Middle of February brings the Blue Bonnett Stitching Studio. I have been going for 8 years now and usually have been taking studio time with Meredith Willet, where you just work on anything you want. For me it is a little respite before the Getaway. I only take 2 days and then I head back to work and do so straight through the Getaway.

Usually what I bring to Blue Bonnet, I finish! Started out with this ornament of my trip to Scotland. Canvas by Kirk & Bradley. No I didn’t stitch the entire canvas there, just finished it! And off to Marlene it has gone.

The other piece I brought was Bastet, canvas by Tapestry Faire. I started this more more than a few years ago and lots of brilliant minds have collaborated on this! First of all, of course is the design which I love!

I first began stitching on this with the Fab Four/Embellishment Squad. Based on the tape that was used on the canvas it was…well what does that matter? A great start was made on it and then along came a mystery class with Ruth Schmuff at Bedecked and Beadazzled, so added that to the growing list of possibilities! Main things from Ruth was the brick beading of the cat, the two flowers at the top left and right along with my adjustments. If the stitches don’t lay absolutely purr~fectly, then I need to come up with something else.

In case you don’t know the Fab Four, it was Suzanne Howren, Tony Minieri, Meredith Willet and Beth Robertson, who the latter is now in the stitching studio in the sky. The Embellishment Squad was the continuation of the 3, until Debbie Steihler joined them.

The background is mostly Ruth’s ideas and thread choices with some changes by me. Haven’t quite finished that yet, so who knows?

I wanted Meredith to help me with creating some Jessica’s for the circles. I am a little challenged with the ending stitches of exactly where to place them. So towards the end of class, all of a sudden the light went on and Meredith designed this circular peyote for the canvas. I am going to try and work that background straight through the orange and the place the beads on top, as that will be way less compensating!

The kids with their Cat Lady box the other night looking for their toys!

Wish me luck as I am going to try and stitch in their presence for the first time!

Twenty in Twenty!

Have you taken the challenge? Twenty in twenty? Well there can be more than one way to interpret that.

This is my latest canvas that I’ve been working on. I still have not been stitching in front of the kids. They just demand too much attention. Mooch is on my chest right now purring away, so how can I say no? And he is making it very challenging to do this blog!

Okay so 20 in 20, what does that mean to you? For me that would be finishing 20 canvases in 20. Small or large, only needing a few stitches to finish up, a brand new canvas or anything in between. I will shoot for 10 as I know I can’t finish 20. It’s a more reasonable number as I did meet my 9.5 in 19!

How about stitching 20 minutes a day? Taking 20 stitches? And the best thing I saw on Facebook, buying 20 new canvases! I know that we would keep the shops very busy if we did that!

Well it’s just a few short months to our shops Getaway, so I will be quiet around here as I will be working many extra hours! But I will leave you with 2 of the latest pictures of my kids. They are 5 1/2 months old and I love them so much. Does it show?

I used to keep the snap tray with extra scissors, pack of needles, pen, pencil, laying tool, etc., but certain people were taking off with those items.

So we’ve since emptied it out and it now holds a little cat bum.

Happy New Year!

I’ve been reading a lot on social media the last few days about emptying your ort jar. First of all, do you know what an ort jar is? Do you keep one? The best would be a clear glass type where you would put your “scraps” of threads or orts in it. Kind of keeps your stitching area neat and also it looks pretty as you see all those thread layers of color in it. So second of all, what do you do with them? Throw them out? Throwing them out to the birds can be a real no-no as certain types of threads are not good for them to ingest. So what do you do with them? I made ort ornaments!

I placed a crystal jar on the stitching table at the beginning of the year to collect threads from our stitchers. It was fun to watch them fill up and even needed to empty it a time or two. I presented the regular stitchers with their own ort ornament, which they were thrilled with! They realized that their stitching was part of it.

My kids are growing like weeds. They are almost 5 1/2 months old now. They’re just as playful and lovable as ever! Somebody absconded with the laser pointer that I kept on the coffee table for quick play time. Now where oh where could it be? If it went under something it may be there a long time! Luckily I do have another one.

Happy stitching into the new year!

Stitching!

Believe it or not! I have finished a few things this year. I always tell our stitchers at the shop, is not always about the finishing… it’s the journey that is what really counts.

Putting a new canvas on bars, getting that first stitch in and spending time with your stitching family, learning new stitches, figuring out how many bad words are really in your vocabulary when you pull out your stitches time after time, that really counts too!

In case you haven’t been following from the beginning or forgot, the small porcelain container is a piece of Wemyss pottery that I bought at the Wemyss School for my orts from stitching the Scotland pieces. I have one from France and will probably continue this tradition from my stitching travels.

Finishing is always wonderful too! This was our bespoke plaid that Meredith, my sistah designed for a bus project while we were driving all over Scotland. The plaid is based on the MacGregor plaid that greeted us when we were first in Scotland. It was meant to be a coaster, but I knew right from the beginning that I wanted to frame it.

As this year is almost over, I remember so many of us on Facebook made the resolution of finishing 19 pieces in 19. I knew that was very aggressive for me and would never ever make it, so I went for 9.5 and let’s see if I made it or even came close.

1. Scotland tartan, 2. France piece from 2018 3. France piece from 2019 (and yes I need to get pictures!) 4. A Tallis bag for a customer, of which I have no picture and you will just need to take my word! 5. 6. 7. Three stitched strawberries 8. Peeky Kitty with mistletoe 9. The paisley cat from the Meredith Collection that is framed and on my wall. And last but not least 9.5 Kirk & Bradley Scotland travel round which is so close. So I guess I made it!

I have not yet stitched since the kittens arrived, but soon! I want you to see what I went through last time I did the blog. it was the only way I could’ve done as Miss Meow was not taking no for an answer!

I want to wish everyone a great Christmas and Hanukkah. I do realize that for some that this can be a time of the year not for celebration and for you I wish you peace… but from Mooch, Miss Meow and myself see you later!

Deborah asked to see paisley kitty and here she is! The paisley is all done in basketweave and the cat is brick beaded. A very enjoyable stitch!

Until we Meet again…

I’m suffering from a touch of feline paralysis tonight and let’s see how far I can get…well that was last night and this is this morning and I didn’t get very far last night. So I’m trying again.

Someone stopped in the shop the other day “yes I follow your blog and your trip to Scotland” which made me feel very guilty that I haven’t finished! Well blame it on the new cats in my life, Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating and so much more!

So our very last stop was Stirling Castle located in where else? Stirling, Scotland. It is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. It sits atop Castle Hill and is surrounded on 3 sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. It was guarding, well until the 1890’s the farthest downstream location crossing of the River Forth. If you want to read more about it, Google!

Notice the butterfly?

And the bee?

I never got inside as we only had a few hours and I was enjoying the grounds and especially the gardens!

The end! I loved Scotland, I loved the trip, the food, the Scotch, the sightseeing, the shopping, the stitching, Phillipa, Laura, Meredith, Richard who made the trip so extra special for us and of course my fellow tour attendees. We had a great group!

Until the next time…

Where Does the Time Go?

Has it already been 2 weeks ago since I said I wanted to finish the Scotland tour before Thanksgiving? Wow where does the time go? Sooner or later I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Then I caught a cold right after Thanksgiving, not a bad one, but bad enough. I have a severe NSAID allergy, which means I can’t take anything but Tylenol, making it a longer get better time. So I would come home from work and go to sleep with the kitties. Then Laura Taylor was in the shop this weekend teaching, so no days off for me. I still need to write my Christmas cards, wrap and ship which could be very interesting with 8 little paws that want to help.

We were in for quite a treat today! This will be our last day in Scotland, but because of the amount of pictures it will take 2 posts. I will admit that a few days back in the trip, I was really ready to go home, but by now I didn’t want to leave!

We said goodbye to Oban as we headed south to Edinburgh. Our first stop would be Dalmally Railway station, which is a wonderful place to visit and is the last remaining station house on the old Callender/Oban line. It was built in 1877 for the Duke of Argyll.

It is a hidden gem from both a historical view of Scotland with such traditional arts such as weaving, spinning and dyeing.

There was so much to look at and so much to take in. Later in the morning, we sat outside having our tea and waving to the trains as they left. Such great hand made items that it was really hard to make up your mind as to what you wanted!

Thanks to Caryn who was a great sport and posed with her hat! She actually did purchase it. I think she wears it well, don’t you?

My favorite were the bears and many of these left with our group!

it was hard not to buy a bear, but I know that they all found good homes! After we finished shopping we were treated to a cheese tasting, which was fabulous!

And then the scenery was just as fabulous!

Richard and Caryn posing their hats! All too soon it was time to get back on the bus and head for our last stop.

My kids are growing up too quickly! They’re almost 5 months old now!

A Time for Thanks!

This was AlleyCat in all her glory a few years back. I have always loved this shot of her, and actually there was a series of pictures in her antics. Never was sure what she was after?!

I really had hoped to finish up the trip to Scotland before Thanksgiving, but not enough time for that! Busy decking the halls and getting ready to spend the holidays with some wonderful friends.

My kids are growing by leaps and bounds! I can really see it when they try to squeeze themselves in spots they did when I first brought them home. For all that ask me, yes they are litter-mates, they are BFF’s and trust me they do almost everything together! Play, sleep, eat, drink water, get into mischief, get on me and share theIr love (they are very lovable!) purr, knead and even use the litter box at the same time. Yes, seriously!

I am thankful everyday that we found each other. They make me laugh everyday! Entertaining and ooh so love-able. I give thanks for my family, friends, my stitching, my travels and so much more. And you, what are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!


We’re off! We would take a ferry to Mull with a delightful tea break at Ffionport, with another ferry ride to Iona.

My sistah Meredith is always ready for a photo! Gotta love it. Also in the picture is Richard, a Scotsman and Phillipa’s husband, Caryn and Simon our bus driver.

I was sure glad that I bought that sweatshirt is all I can say!

I’m sure that the color of the sky gives you an idea of the weather!

This was our view at lunch time! And speaking of lunch, I enjoyed a little local brew. Well why not? I was on vacation! It was very good BTW.

a fabulous picture of 2 very special people Meredith and Phillipa. Thank you for making this trip so wonderful!


I was able to get in a fair amount of retail therapy, mugs, a tea cup, shortbread, Scottish salt and a little wool. That was until Meredith and I ran into the local felines!


And all too soon it was time to leave!

It was quite an enjoyable ride back as we ran across these roadside surprises such as these “coos” that were enjoying their tea. Thanks to Caryn who shared this pictured with me. You know you just had to be on the right side of the bus.

We would have our last night together at a restaurant down the street from the hotel. A very delightful evening! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how great these pictures came out of Oban at dusk.

a few days ago I will admit that I was anxious to get home, but now I really don’t want to leave this beautiful country!


Later that Day…

There is a Harry Potter movie marathon on and being that I really did let that phenomenon pass me right by, I thought I would tune in. It really got me thinking about our trip to Scotland and the Highlands and even though I am not sitting and watching it, it’s on.


We pulled into Oban late afternoon and it was very cloudy and cool. We could’ve stitched or gone sightseeing and I picked the latter. I wanted to explore!

It was a quaint little town and I enjoyed exploring. I walked around and enjoyed a bit of retail therapy and ended up at the Oban Distillery, which was my plan. If you’re a connoisseur of single malt scotch, you recognize this name! I used to enjoy Scotch many years ago, but had not yet fallen in love with single malt, well until my trip here!

I wanted to go on their tour, but the last spot was just filled, so I was out of luck. I did buy this exclusive to the distillery bottle to enjoy with some great friends at the holidays. I also did purchase an Oban sweatshirt for tomorrow’s trip to the Isle of Mull and as it turned out, it was a very wise decision!

This picture was just taken 2 months ago of Miss Meow and Mooch sleeping on top of the cable box. Many of you thought it was a scale, but no that was the time. They love sleeping there as it’s warm!

This is Mooch this morning saying sorry Miss Meow, no room for you now! Even though most times they are curled up together.

okay just 2 days left and I still have so many pictures to share! I look forward to going back to Scotland…

Dunollie Castle!

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day today. But one thing I’ve learned while being here in Scotland, is the weather is always changing, especially here in the northern part. Trust me, it wouldn’t stay this way all day!

We were met at the door of the castle for a private tour. First it would be the grounds and later on we would enter the castle to view some amazing textiles, including the pieces that inspired the creations of what we are working on.

We had quite a hike up the hill and were rewarded with the some magnificent views!

Each way we turned the view was just more breathtaking!

Wow! So blue and so green!

Trust me I have lots more pictures of the views, but I tried to pick the best of the best!

Soon enough it was time to hike back down the hill and enter the castle for our tour of the embroideries. This is the back and doesn’t really evoke what I think a castle would look like!

Our docent was most knowledgeable and entering the castle, no purses, no jackets and no jewelry and no photography! Phillipa and Meredith would take the pictures and for me that was just fine as this way I could concentrate on looking at the embroideries.

We saw the original Dunollie Feather that inspired Phillipa’s crewel work piece that she was teaching us. Also we saw the Dunollie Rose that Meredith’s embroidery piece was based on.

All that hard work of walking, hiking and viewing the textiles really made us hungry!

Lunch was to be on the lawn under the canopy that had set up for us. A most delightful lunch and do you notice that the sky was darkening? Well soon it would open up!

A little retail therapy was in order! It really is important that we supported the gift shop. I found this hand made teddy bear with this Dalriada plaid that had to come home with me. Read all about this tartan.

The original plan was to walk back to the Perle Oban, but the rains hindered our walking thoughts. Instead the bus brought us back to the hotel. Many of us stitched and I went sightseeing about the town, most specifically to go to Oban Distillery. I should’ve gone there first as I would’ve loved to do a tour…but the last one had just sold out as I got there. And I will finish this day next time!

Miss Meow and Mooch sat thru a photo shoot with me yesterday morning. Right now they’re sleeping on my lap and being very good kids!