Is it Spring Yet?

Believe it or not today…well yesterday was the Vernal Equinox or the First Day of Spring! Well that’s what the calendar is telling me. The equinox means equal parts daylight and darkness and the vernal equinox welcomes warmer temperatures, longer days and saying goodbye to winter.

The cherry blossoms will be blooming soon and in just a few short weeks Passover, Easter and baseball will be here. But what is all this white stuff that I am seeing on the news? What’s going on? I think Mother Nature is confused!

Even Mooch is thinking of it as he celebrates the first day of Spring!

A canvas by Maggie with frame by Lisa & Jim Krause which brings thoughts of spring, warmer days and getting back out into the garden!

or this great canvas by Maggie “Poppies & Lavender…

I hope soon that the winter that never quits, will go away and you too can have a party as Mooch and Earl are doing…

Even Sylvester is thinking spring!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano!

The miracle of the “Swallows” of Capistrano takes place each year at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day. This is something that has always fascinated me, ever since I was a little kid.

As the little birds wing their way back to the most famous Mission in California, the village of San Juan Capistrano takes on a fiesta air and the visitors from all parts of the world, and all walks of life, gather in great numbers to witness the “miracle” of the return of the swallows.

Each year the “Scout Swallows” precede the main flock by a few days and it seems to be their chief duty to clear the way for the main flock to arrive at the “Old Mission” of Capistrano.

With the arrival of early dawn on St. Joseph’s Day, the little birds begin to arrive and begin rebuilding their mud nests, which are clinging to the ruins of the old stone church of San Juan Capistrano. The arches of the two story, high vaulted Chapel were left bare and exposed, as the roof collapsed during the earthquake of 1812.

This Chapel, said to be the largest and most ornate in any of the missions, now has a more humble destiny–that of housing the birds that St. Francis loved so well.

After the summer spent within the sheltered walls of the Old Mission in San Juan Capistrano, the swallows take flight again, and on the Day of San Juan, October 23, they leave after circling the Mission bidding farewell to the “JEWEL OF ALL MISSIONS” San Juan Capistrano, California.

I was really going to share some stitching with you today as it has been awhile hasn’t it? But I remembered that it is March 19th, the Feast of St Joseph. This is the day that the swallows are supposed to return to Capistrano, the Mission at San Juan Capistrano that is. How they know it is time, I have no idea whatsoever. I just figure that they are smarter than I.

I have been to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano on March 19th more than once. And really you might see a few birds, which I believe are the harbingers of spring. The festivities are wonderful, very colorful in both the traditional clothing and the mariachi music. The food is a delight and so many people come to San Juan Capistrano on this special day.

Not this year for me…too much work to do!

AlleyCat is watching and hoping that she will see her own little swallow fly by the window so she can talk with them.
and until next time…keep on stitching

Putting on the Green!

Everybody’s a little Irish today! yes even Mooch…

yes even AlleyCat…

look at this beautiful selection of crystals and bi-cones and beads…oh my!

A Food & Wine recipe I saw this week, Guinness ice cream served with salty milk covered pretzels! Make mine a double, please.

Of course I am going to have an Irish cat! Would you expcect anything less? a piece of Kerry glass that I bought years ago.

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Leigh’s Russian Santa…

Boy I really need to learn how to take that picture straight! do you know how much that bugs me? oh well, lets get to the stitching!

I haven’t done anymore since we last talked…yes I know what I said about stitching for myself a little bit everyday, but I have deadlines and I just can’t enjoy that stitching for myself when I know I can’t let people down. Stuff like stitch guides for Needlepoint Now, charting, reviews and ooh so much more is just one of many things that I have to get done. And did I say lots of stitching? looking for threads?

At least I have decided that I will use the Kreinik 032 in size #8 for the darning pattern!

It will give the effect that I think that I am looking for, you know a snowy look without distorting the details of what is painted there. Remember I said that the best way to stitch this was to turn your canvas 1/4 turn. The thread just seems to lay better that way. Why? well I have no idea, it just does!

Now you ask why did I start with that part of the canvas?

I always like to start with something easier, something that will require little to no reverse stitching. Something that I know will work 99% of the time. I then study the rest of the canvas while I am stitching this to figure out what I want to do. Making headway in the begnning of your stitching journey motivates you to keep on stitching!

I have selected a few more threads too. I learned in a class, that if the face is just right, the rest falls into place. It is a small face and I looked through my evergrowing stash for a good face color. I love my silk, but in this small enough area that a little DMC floss should work just fine, that is if I have the right color. I will try and stitch the entire face with it using just 1 or 2 strands. The beard will need some long and short stitches with Burmilana. I am not very good with long and short… as that is a bad, bad, bad word called RANDOM! Oh shudder that thought…but I just finished a piece with a lot of long and short that took about 20 hours worth of stitching. And you know what? I came out really great and I am so pleased with it! When I started the area I kept telling myself, you can do it, I know you can! Just like the little engine that could. But before I start his beard, I will need white and some grays which that I have here in the house…and I will study some of the Russian Santas on line.

I have 2 more Kreinik’s picked 002HL and 002J and I don’t like either one of them! and the gold beads 465 from Sundance don’t work with either gold. Now you ask why the red top on the beads? well they are they real gold beads so that they will not tarnish and the red top distinguishes them from the other beads as they are a little more $$$. So we are back to the drawing board on that one.

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The dark brown burmilana that you see will be for the Turkey work and yes I will need more than 1 skein. I really would like to find a darker brown. Since I am going to do that with a punch needle, I will save it to the end, plus I need to find that punch needle. That’s what happens when you organize yourself!

So I will be bead shopping and thread shopping and so much more…

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I think Sylvester is bored with it all!

I have some out of town guests visiting…so I will take the weekend off and see you on Monday! It is rude to bury my face in the computer.

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

News from A Stitch in Time!

Did you miss out on these last week? Well I guess they were quite the hit and Alison sold out!…but she has a new order in just frehsly unpacked and ready to be shipped home to you

Stash Enhancement comes in many forms…don’t you think? a new canvas? some new threads? a scissors? a new toy?

or how about some new magnets? I have been wanting the Carmen Miranda one forever and it has been alluding me for just as long. My dear friend Carole actually swapped me her Carmen Miranda one for a new one that we selected from the large collection of Elizabeth Turner magnets at A Stitch in Time in San Marino, CA. What a sweetie! and yes I know that neither magnet goes with THIS canvas, but work with me here.

Okay lets go back to that new toy! I saw this sitting on one of the tables while in class at A Stitch in Time and found out that it is a magnfier.

But not just any magnifier! Tap the top of the powerful 5x magnifier for a shower of light directed right where you need it…

Shine it where those details really matter. Looking for missed stitches? ooh shudder that thought! Three bright LED’s shine downward, allowing use in darker enviroment without glare. Comes with a case so that you can carry to class, the batteries needed and a microfiber cleaning cloth.

So if you just need some stash enhancement today give A Stitch in Time a call… and their number is 626.793.5217 They were very popular in class and I think just about everybody enhanced their stash with one…so don’t delay as you would need to wait till they are reordered.

As to the snowman which is named Patches, a Pepperberry Design…he is finished!

As for the Charlie Harper canvas, don’t you think that you just needed one more canvas in your stash? While you are talking to Alison and ordering that magnifier, she has a Charlie Haper trunk show in the house…and I already picked mine out. It is “wrenovation” the little birdie building a nest in the pocket of the blue jeans. And do I have ideas for it!

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AlleyCat was a little busy body as she sits and ponders…I have nothing to play with!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

A Russian Santa by Leigh…

Let me introduce you to Holly Hills Santa, one of the Russian Santas by Leigh. Jane of Chilly Hollow is stitching one of these on her blog for you to follow along, and I thought why not me too?

I asked Leigh and Jane if they minded if I joined in on the party and they said why not? This is the one that I selected. Originally I had asked Leigh to paint it for me with no design on the inner white cloak. I am sure she was saying to herself “what is she thinking? well I was thinking that I could do some amazing stitch and not worry about all of that minute design.

Leigh cordially obliged and my canvas came very quickly in the mail, actually just before I left for market. Then I saw all of them in Leigh’s booth and what a sight to behold! I realized at that point that Leigh had researched these to the actual Russian Santas or Father Frost as they are better known.

They are hand carved from linden wood and then allowed to age for a number of years before painting the scenes and facial features. The Santas are then meticously painted by Russian artists and hand signed by them. I have a dear friend who has quite a collection of these and when displayed at the holidays, they are a sight to see!

I should have known that Leigh would have researched thoroughly before designing. I think that she knew as I was looking at them in her booth…and thinking okay why was I so foolish to have it painted as I did? I should have known that Leigh is one very smart cookie and as she was reading my mind and said “well you can send the canvas back and we will repaint it for you!” ooh what a sweetheart you are and I did do just that.

This was how I spent some of my stitching time the other night. With a spool of #4 Kreinik braid in color 032 as I stitched a darning pattern through the scene. It is an over 1 under 1 canvas thread and you just zip along. I have best results when working this stitch when giving my canvas a 1/4 turn and stitch away. Boy I can barely see that. Do I want #4 or do I want to try a #8? In case you can’t see it, the very center of the white cloak is what I stitched.

So last night and before taking out what I had already stitched, I tried it with a #8 and stitched it to the left of what I had already stitched. Much better!

It is a very delicate effect by giving you a snowy feel and keeps the design as is.

I know that I will working his fur in Turkey work and will use a punch needle for that! I have a few skeins of Burmilana in a very dark brown, some red silks selected and of course beads. I would not bead his red breast plate as the dimension created by the beads would bring it forward and that’s not what I am trying to achieve. I will bead the crozier and probably the design on the bottom of the cloak…and other than that, I’m not sure!

decisions! decisions!

AlleyCat was working on her suntan yesterday!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

I’m late! I’m late! for a Very Important Date!

Don’t forget to change your clocks! and boo hoo I loose an hour of stitching. Supposedly we were supposed to get up at 2am to change our clocks?! Not! Can you imagine having to change all of these?

Since I didn’t have to get up to go out of the house and go to work, I really can’t say that I am late.

I used to hate it when in my previous restaurant career, the time for changing your clocks fell on Easter Sunday…as invariably no matter how many times you reminded everybody, somebody was always late!

In case you were wondering, the snippets that you see are part of this Alice in Wonderland collage by Lani. I worked on this with Brenda Hart a few years ago. Not to say that I have stitched much on this lately…

I have been spending some wonderful enjoyable stitching time in front of the tv last few days while watching some spring training baseball. Baseball? you say it’s too early? But it’s spring training and it is baseball! And to everyone who has been suffering with the winter that won’t quit…think spring!

AlleyCat is getting in my way…well that is nothing new! Well I guess she just has to lend a helping paw. So when I nudge her ever so gently to relocate herself, she has to give me some mouth. No respect!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

So What am I Stitching on Now?

I started this canvas a really, really long time ago…so long ago that I really don’t want to admit exactly when I took the first stitch.

or the first bead. Whatever… I found these absoluterly purr~fect brown beads and I beaded the words. And then, well you know. It gets put away because there is something else that you really want to work on. Or in my case it is because I really need to be stitching on something else.

I am always saying while teaching when the students lament that they don’t have enough time to stitch…I tell them something I learned from my sistah Meredith years ago. “Just an hour a day, that’s all! you will be surprised at how much stitching you can get done.” You know what? Meredith is right…but shhhh, please don’t tell her I said that!

So I made a commitment to myself that I would spend an hour of my stitching night on something for me. Like this canvas or my Stitcherie games piece or my Bastet the Cat…okay you get the idea.

Moving along…

I am ready to bead the lotus. Easier said than done. The dark brown beads that I have will work great for the dark brown in the flower. I found a great bead that I used for the medium color beading with dark brown beading thread and the intention was to use the same bead for the lighter color with a light colored beading thread.

There must have been a heavier silver lining in this bead than I thought, so plan A didn’t work. So plan B was to use a lighter brown beads that I had… well I don’t like ‘em. No actually I hate them and they gotta come out. Along with the clear white beads. I auditioned a few colors and you know what, you need to bead a small section to really know if you are going to like ‘em.

Normally I would bead a new section before I took the beads out that I didn’t like. Why is that? well you may not like the newer color and then all of a sudden realize that the first color wasn’t that bad after all! Then you would need to rebead the same beads that you just took out. Well I disliked that first color so much, that I knew that wasn’t going to happen!

The background is done and after the lotus is beaded I just need to stitch Buddha. I must have selected every single Kreinik color known to man that was even close. He is not really shiny, he is matte with a great patina. So do I want to stitch him in floss? or Kreinik? well I am sure that I have a few weeks yet to make up my mind!

This is AlleyCat sleeping on my lap while I am stitching. Every so often so sticks that little back end of hers up in the air as if to say “scratch me! scratch me!” and I do… and then we go back to stitching. Gotta love her.

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Finished!

vicky_snowmanIsn’t that like the best word ever? Finished! Finished! Finished! Now you are going to say, you’re not finished. What about that blue line around the canvas. Well, I purposely did not stitch that last blue line around the canvas.

And you ask why not? well just because I can! no, that’s really not the reason. I could’ve stitched it, but I believe with just that single line that it would be covered with the finishing… whether it be framed or a pillow or a box or a banner. The blue line is probably painted there to let you know where to stop the border of the canvas, otherwise you would be stitching forever!

Patches is a Pepperberry Design and what a fun canvas to stitch! If you love it and gotta have it, I will be teaching this at Newport Needlepoint on Friday April 25th. A day of stitching, lots of laughs and lunch! What could be better than that? Well if you can’t make it, Peggy would love to ship one to you, stitch guide included! Just give her a phone call 949.650.8022 Give her a call!

This was my Felix as he loved, loved, loved to drink my tea! AlleyCat waits for the ice cream, preferrably the sea salt gelato.

I think that I need this on a canvas…what do you think?

Don’t forget…we spring ahead this weekend to daylight savings time. Well most of us do.

and until next time…keep on stitching

Blue Bonnet NeedleArts Retreat!

Was held a few weeks ago deep in the heart of Texas…

well actually on the outskirts of Austin. Is that considered deep in the heart of Texas? Anyhow it was at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa. A wonderful facility, where the food is awesome, the ambience sublime and the laughs and good times plentiful. Oh did I mention the great stitching too? Stash enhancement at The Needleworks and some great Texas bbq all rolled up in the same weekend.

This was the amazing selection of teachers, from Japanese embroidery to studio time to everything in between. Leave it to Brenda Hart to be messing around with her cell phone… rather than looking at the camera!

Here she was with Bam and what were they whispering about? or is this a selfie portrait?

This is the Melissa Shirley canvas that Meredith was working on with Nancy. She was running pearl cotton through Flair to make the watering hose just a little more realistic. I have committed that technique to my memory banks!

Hi Nancy and so glad I finally got a chance to meet you…Suzie speaks so very highly of you!

I was working on the background of Patches as I waited my turn with Meredith.

Meredith turned my camera on moi! I was working on cast on bullions for this canvas. Gosh I haven’t attempted them since and I sure hope I remember how to do them…or you might be getting a phone call sistah!

Ooh these guys sure have had a tough day!

and until next time…keep on stitching