Leigh’s Red Russian Santa!

Better know as Holly Hills Santa. I had the best intentions of getting allot more stitched on this than I did. Other pressing matters got into my way, like must need stitching and stitch guides for my classes at market…wow Mr. Cat is 5 full pages of a Word document and that’s before edits and stitches worked into it.

I was stitching with some dear friends the other day and they were a great support system as I tried this stitch and that stitch for Santa’s robe. Luckily we were in a shop and could easily purchase more threads. The red that I had originally selected was not correct, so I went alooking. I really needed this red, A Needlepoint Inc. in the Chinese Red Range 501, or Splendor S911 would also be a perfect color too. Needlepoint Inc. 505, also in the Chinese Red Range will be the darker color, but I am sure a Splendor number would work for that too.

I needed a small stitch, there isn’t much to the coat, especially on the left hand side. I wanted something that was not straight up and down or vertical for that matter, something that would work in the small areas, something that could easily compensate around the swirls. Something just purr~fect!

So I tried T-stitch, too open and then 4-way Continental and that was adding a center hole which I thought, wow Santa is going to get cold! I looked through the books and more books and then came across Dotted Swiss stitch. Which is basically a basketweave stitch with an added cross stitch every on every 4th stitch. I started my basketweave using 3 strands Needlepoint Inc. 501, but I think that if I had to do it again, I would have used 4. I will go back and add that cross stitch with Petite Silk Lamé Braid SP53. You can Google that stitch to find it charted. I am pretty sure I have it somewhere on my Mac, but where or where can it be?

Did you notice that on the right hand side of the Santa that I am basketweaving in the reverse direction? Can’t figure that out? well turn your canvas 1/4 turn as you see in the picture and stitch away! I will accent the swirls with French Knots using Kreinik 002HL in size 8 and the darker Needlepoint Inc. 505. The left hand side is basketweave worked in the normal orientation.

I will probably need to add in some of that darker thread to show the sleeves, but I will worry about that when I get to it.

See not much stitching area to Santa’s coat! I am thinking that the breast plate could be stitched in Or Nué and I will try and create my own pattern, rather than try to follow what’s painted.

After going through every single gold, the one that I have selected is Kreinik 002HL in size 8. Why that one you ask? well it worked best with the gold beads and after all I did put it to a vote! See, just another great reason for stitching with friends!

This is a galvanized gold bead 577PF and the PF stands for Permanent Finish. That is a process to the bead that keeps it from tarnishing. That’s not why I selected this bead, but it was the best color match for the Kreinik. Of course his crozier will be beaded and more as I have something special up my sleeve! I need to find just the right red bead too.

The base of the snow that Santa walks on was originally going to try Brian’s Step Stitch that I have seen on a few of the Santa’s…but now I want to be different than the rest. So with Water ‘N Ice WT1 I will come up with something else. I will create a special snowy background with the Kreinik 032 in size 8.

The fur will be Turkey work and I will use a punch needle. My sistah Meredith and I ordered this one and we like it, but now I can’t find mine!  A dear friend came to the rescue and found this one in Walmart for me. Now I am not saying not to support your LNS, but I am not sure how many shops carry punch needles.

The turkey work comes last and I am sure that I will need at least 1-2 more skeins Burmilana 3432. I would love it if I could get this on a cone so that it’s uncut, but not sure I would need that much.

I am sorry to say that it will probably be at least 3 weeks till I can get back to this. With market looming in the next 2 weeks, that will seriously cut into my stitching time!

AlleyCat was enjoying some sunshine yesterday!

and until next time…keep on stitching


Behold the Incredible Egg!

Ukranians have for centuries have created these incredible, inedible eggs called pysanky, drawing intricate designs on eggs utilizing a stylus and wax. Such detail! Aren’t they amazingly beautiful?

This is in my collection of eggs, of one that I add to every year. They are still handmade eggs which I believe come from Germany. I didn’t decorate for Easter this year as I have a beautiful white tree that I usually hang all these eggs on… maybe next year.

How about stitching with some Easter Grass by Kreinik? 9032 is the number in case you want to find some to add to your stash!

How about some baking? of course my favorite Easter dessert is a ricotta cheesecake! My Mom made it every year without fail and I especially loved the crust that was just like sugar cookies. Or lemon flavored rosettes or a ricotta rice pie or … I am making myself hungry.

A new orchid for Easter of which I need to thank my sister for! She had sent me a gift card to Adelaides for my birthday. See collecting orchids for me is like buying a new canvas, I look for a new combination of colors.

The cast and crew from Mutts are stopping by to wish you a Happy Easter!

As does AlleyCat! I am headed to La Jolla for breakfast at The Cottage and a little retail therapy. I will be back Monday morning hopefully with what I have decided and stitched on Leigh’s Russian Santa. I am waiting for a thread in the mail and I am sure it’s going to be here today.

Happy Easter and hopefully the Easter Bunny brings you everything you want!

and until next time…keep on stitching


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!


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!


“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.


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?


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!


 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