Dear Santa!

Have you made your list yet? Well how about asking Santa for 2 or 4 amazing days at the Blue Bonnet Needle Arts Retreat? It is held at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, located in the outskirts of Austin, TX. This will be the 5th year and it is growing and getting better and better! I am sure that you have been very, very good this year and of course you could even treat yourself.

These were bluebonnets that were blooming 2 years ago. A really beautiful location!

Lots of stitching, great friends old and newly found, wonderful new stitches, lots of inspiration, delicious food, adult beverages and oooh so much more! It is held President’s Day Weekend and you can take a 2 day class or a 4 day. You should really look into it! There was a 24-hour stitching room last year, a little boutique where you could shop while classes are going on, a merchandise night with plenty of retail therapy, a banquet one night and so much fun that it should be considered illegal and immoral…

I finished a must do piece yesterday and even though that feels great, I really wanted to get much more stitching done than I did…but wrapping gifts and getting a start on my cards sorta kinda took my stitching time.

This is how you wrap a cat!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Did you see it last night? To me it’s just not Christmas season until I watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I enjoy it just as much each and every time I watch it.

Okay so what does watching It’s a Wonderful Life have to do with what you see? well it’s absolutely great stitching tv, which is exactly what I was doing last night. For at least 4 hours worth or maybe more over the total stitching day.

Working on this new design; Gingerbread House by Pepperberry, which will debut at the January Winter TNNA Market.

Not a very big canvas, maybe 5″ x 5″…well yes I guess that I could get up and measure it. So it should stitch up in no time whatsoever, right? well some areas did while others did not. Such as the peak at the top of the roof was maybe stitched and restitched about 4 times…but who’s counting? I was just saying to someone yesterday morning that the peak “it is what it is” but relented and took it out just one more time and settled on some basketweave. I would have done the same if I was stitching for myself, so I always want to put my best stitching forward when I am working for the designers.

Note the magnet! well we need the right magnet on the canvas, correct? Is that not a perfect combination? well this canvas was designed to the magnet! Is that not the cleverest  idea?

This is on schedule to be finished today! and my fingers will turn immediately to a another market deadline which is close! close! close!

AlleyCat was being quite “the brat” the other day, which she is lovingly known as at times. She so wanted to sit in my chair, but I would move her so that I could sit and she would jump right back into the chair. Eventually she would let me sit down, but figured well I’ll fix you and proceeded to park herself right on my laptop!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

While We’re Talking Beads!

Beads…you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em! Some of my stitching friends… say Never! Ever! or I have heard never in public! (that’s so they can use some bad, bad words) Well for me I love, love, love to bead. Did I say love?

Just think of it this way when you bead, you don’t need to ply your threads, no counting, no compensating, no laying tool, just bead till your hearts content. I can fall into a zen with my beading. The last class I took with Tony Minieri, I was at a loss as I didn’t see any beads in my thread kit! What was I to do? After further examination…there were beads in my stitch guide, they were just an elusive color that would need some searching for.

There has been a lot of comments, compliments on my beading, so I thought I would give you a little lesson. Beading really can be fun!

As with anything, you need the proper tools. A good beading needle such as a #10 Bohin would be a good place to start. These needles have a good sized eye which make it easier to thread, but it is a heavier needle and sometimes all of the sized 14/15 beads don’t slide over this needle. They don’t bend so easily as the John James #10 needles, which these are perfect for other beading techniques, just not at this moment.

I was working on the Sparkles ornament by Pepperberry Designs, and even though I was stitching the hat, I thought it would be better to bead the snowflake now and then get back to the hat.

You have poured some beads out into a beading receptacle…whether it be a Tacky Bob,  Bead Buddie, the bead case that we talked about yesterday or anything else that works for you, beading thread and you are good to go.

Thread your needle with a long length of thread, double it and then knot. Come up in your canvas (lets call this A) as if you were to take a normal tent stitch, but before you go back down in the canvas, pick up a bead. Yes I use an away waste knot for my beading too.

What is an away waste knot? A knot placed away from where you are stitching, placed in the path that you are working…so as you near it, you can just cut it away.

Finish your tent stitch and pull your beading thread snug. Always pull tight! Come back up in A as if you are to take a second stitch…which actually you will be.

That second stitch is called lassoing or railroading as you want this thread to pass on either side of the bead. Pull tight! Sometimes I use the needle to make sure that the beading thread goes right where I want it to. At times that bead needs a little help so it stands straight up. That second stitch is very important as that what keeps that bead lined up.

Now on this beading project I was using an Edmar #10 beading needle. I like these needles very much. A little longer and somewhat thinner than the others and with a gold eye too! They come in a great little tube, so what’s not to love about them?

It’s Saturday morning, so I guess you can figure out where I am headed! It’s foggy out and not sure if more rain is on the way, but anyway any day that I can start off with breakfast at The Cottage is a good one.

Let me in! let me in! ooh you silly girl.

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

I Should’ve Known!

That Earl and Mooch would be Raining Cats and Dogs!

How could I’ve let that slip through my fingers? Forgive me please… and I am sure that there are canvases of raining cats and dogs, I just can’t seem to put my finger on any at the moment.

The rain has been wonderful and hopefully we will have a wet winter with lots more rainy days! It is great stitching weather and I just want to hole up with my felines and stitch.

Do you rememnber my beading frenzy awhile back? Sometimes the job at hand can be made quite enjoyable with the proper tools or toys as the case may be.

This is a bead needle case that I was given to “try out.” Okay it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! The outside of the case is graced with a magnet…well one can never have too much bling now, can we?

When opened, the top half is magnetized for your beading needles and the other half is covered with a custom silicone sticky mat for your beads. Not too much sticky, nor is not sticky enough to hold the beads in place… it is just right! It leaves no residual sticky on your beads. Being that I was working this canvas “in the well” I could let the beading case rest up against the stretcher bars. You could also use a magnet to hold it into place.

This was a large beading project and I was quite pleased with the use of this beading case. It did pick up some cat hair, but this silicone is known to be cleaned off with a damp cloth. I have not tried to clean it off yet, since I still have some beads on it.

This would make a great stocking stuffer, for a gift exchange amoung your stitching friends or just a little something to you! I need one with a cat on it, don’t you think? Match it to your mood, your project or a favorite holiday!

Speaking of cats, Sylvester decided it was his turn to snuggle with the Christmas quilt. I shared this picture on Facebook and the question was “well why don’t they share?”

Well, this is as close as they will get to sharing. But Christmas miracles do happen!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

It’s Raining Cats & Dogs!

Seriously! it really is… and as I titled today’s blog, I was curious just like a cat as to where this expression came from? So I Googled it. Isn’t that what we always do now?

“Other conjectures are the the hyperbole comes from a Greek saying, similar in sound, meaning “an unlikely occurrence,” and that the phrase derives from a rare French word, catadoupe (“a waterfall”), which sounds a little like cats and dogs. It could also be that the expression was inspired by the fact that cats and dogs were closely associated with the rain and wind the Northern mythology, dogs often being pictured as the attendants of Odin the strom god, while cats were believed to cause storms.”

They were several references to this saying of it’s raining cats and dogs, but I felt that this was “purr~fect” since the words “unlikely occurence” really says it all! It has been non-stop rain for almost a day now and is supposed to continue all of today. Ooh we so need that! The sound of those rain drops is really music to our ears here in Southern California. It is misty and foggy and all great things associated with rain.

I am planning on staying in all daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay today stitching and putting on a pot of chicken soup…even though I would rather have some more of Colleen’s fabulous Turkey Gumbo. OMG it was amazing!

It is cooking away in the pot behind as it was waiting for the addition of the rest of the roux, turkey meat and andouille sausage. Absolutely delicious!

This was one of several desserts that we created for the Thanksgiving festivities…a pumpkin cheesecake that was served with a praline topping. I am sorry Cheesecake Factory, yours pales in comparison!

I brought out the beautiful Christmas quilt that my sister made for me last year..and guess who took it right over?

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Only 23 Shopping Days Left…

Speaking of Thanksgiving…how was yours? Mine was absolutely wonderful! and I feel just like Mooch right now.

Absolutely the prettiest turkey I have ever seen! and the best tasting too…ooh I would love some more leftovers right now.

and yes there are only 23 shopping days left! That is according to the Christmas Countdown Clock…wasn’t it Thanksgiving just yesterday?

I did absolutely no stitching this week, too much fun and frivolity with my BFF. This is one of 3 canvases that I need to get busy on for market. The other 2 are close to being finished… they just need a little something special to make you say OMG, I need to stitch that!

But I will finish them, even though it is such a busy time of the year. Something I learned from Meredith, that Divine Miss M, many classes ago, if you can set aside just an hour a day for stitching, you will be surprised at how much you can get done. An hour really doesn’t sound like much at all and you think, why bother? Try it, it really works.

Yes it’s only 23 days ’till Santa arrives! I love Christmas time, always did and always will. It is such a wonderful time of the year and I take it all in. The decorating, the Christmas Carols, baking cookies, planning Christmas Eve & Christmas dinner with my sister & her husband, the shopping, the parties, wrapping gifts, sending cards, putting up my Christmas trees…yes did I say trees? well I will have 4 of them this year!

I think that I will start my day off with breakfast at The Cottage, some retail therapy and I need to fill up my refrig!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

 

Thankful!

Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks for all the things in life that I am most thankful for! But why do we need to wait for “that day” why can’t we just be thankful all the time?

I thought I would treat myself to some flowers from Adelaide’s. This is my favorite seasonal rose called Leonidas; named after a king of the same name.

So much to be thankful for, whether it just be on Thanksgiving or any day…First and foremost on my list is my family and especially my sister.

I am thankful to be able to give thanks for my friends, my tried and true friends that are always there for you through thick and thin and through all the ups and downs in your life. I give thanks to Elizabeth for believing in me that I could do it. I especially give thanks for my visits there to escape from it all and for the love of the poodles and of course my BFF, the cat. He crossed over the Rainbow Bridge just a few days ago and I will miss you Elmore James, but I know you are doing what you always did…having words with Reggie.

I give thanks that I love my work, whether it be on the computer drawing stitches or actually sitting on the couch stitching my heart out and travelling to shops to teach.

I give thanks to the wonderful people that I have met through the magic of the Internet. To all of you that I have met and tell me that “I read your blog everyday!”…well that I am very thankful for.

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I can’t forget Sylvester and AlleyCat, who are a constant source of entertainment and so much more.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving… and see you next week!

Mutts1129

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

Gobble! Gobbles!

A darling canvas by Little Bird Designs. Actually I saw this on the Pocket Full of Stitches Blog this morning! (dated Friday November 21) As I talked about a few days ago, Little Bird Designs is a new canvas designer and I wanted to introduce her to you.

My threads are in place and I just need to shop for some black beads for the eyes and a little white floss/silk from my stash. I love stitching in the season, you know working on this darling turkey during Thanksgiving week, a Christmas or Hanukkah piece next month…well I think that you get the idea.

Now these are the ideas that I have right now…but I could change my mind on a whim!

~Needlepoint Inc. Silk #482 Azure Range to basketweave the turquoise of his head. The black beads in size 14 or 15 will be for his eyes. Work a packed outline stitch with a few strands of white floss to give a rounder feel to the eyes.

~DMC Floss #676 is to work the beak in an expanding fern stitch. I am not sure if I would pad a bit underneath it or not. This is a small piece and I don’t want to overwhelm it.

~Needlepoint Inc. Silk # 457 Violet Range for the background. Again it’s a small area and dark, so I am not sure a pattern would develop here, nor would you see it…so it may be basketweave.

~Planet Eartth 6 Ply Silk #1033 Sudan and #1034 Sudan; Gloriana #186 Birch Brown and Kreinik #8 color #5001 for the bird. Now not sure what I am doing here at all, but it will come to me. I may try some beads too!

Ooh I almost forgot! Some red Bouclé to stitch the waddle. Just a long stitch, but use a bigger needle so that the thread goes through the canvas without a struggle.

I am thankful for my Saturday morning visits to The Cottage for breakfast and then some retail therapy in La Jolla!

Someone is being a silly girl!

and until next time…keep on stitching

 

I know, I know!

I know, I know! this isn’t what I promised…but the pictures of Gobbles and the threads weren’t good enough for prime time publication, so we are going with plan B!

Have you used these threads yet? oooh they are wonderful!

Straw1

These are the latest colors Birch Bark, Blue Danube, Cracked Pepper, Raspberry Smoothie and Summer Sunset.

MrsCat4

I used the Silken Straw to stitch Meet Mrs. Cat’s broom…

Here she is really all finished being stitched!

Sylvester1121

Halloween Threads and Sylvester who just had to get into that corner!

Thank you!

and until next time…keep on stitching

and I’m off to go an take some pictures!

 

Can You Believe It?

That Thanksgiving is a week away! Do you have your menus planned? your shopping list made? your guests invited, the turkey selected, the wines, the flowers, the good dishes out and on and on? Ooh my mouth is watering as I think of the amazing things that I will be enjoying next week with my BFF, Missy!

If you happen to be able to sneak in a little time for stitching in between the craziness, how about stitching in the season?

Let me introduce you to Gobbles, a darling little canvas by a new designer “Little Bird Designs” and when I say little, I mean little as the stitchable area is 3″ x 3″. I love Michelle’s canvases, small, great colors and different. She is designing trying to attract both the seasoned and younger stitchers. I have known Michelle’s mother for years…who just happens to be an amazing stitcher, so I am happy to see the love of needlepoint stay in the family!

Of course I had to find the perfect magnet…

Tony Minieri just happen to help me pick out some threads for this. A little floss, a few beads, some Kreinik, Gloriana and Needlepoint Inc. Silk… and the latter it was the color that I was going for, so work with me here! And of course some red boucle for the waddle. I will photograph it with the threads to show you next. If your LNS (local needlepoint shop) or your FNS (favorite needlepoint shop) doesn’t have Little Bird Designs number, they can ask me and I will gladly help them out.

I have a few other pieces that I am working on twoooooo, a Halloween piece that just needs the background and a few finishing stitches and then a special Christmas piece that was designed to match a magnet.

Class was wonderful and amazing as always with Tony. If you ever have a chance to take from him, please think about it. He stretches your abilities, challenges you, you learn so much, you laugh ’till you cry and really it is fun! fun! fun! isn’t that what needlepoint is all about?

Sylvester is telling me that he is not letting me take his bag away from him.

I am thinking Thanksgiving and the time to be thankful…

Today I am most thankful that I live in San Diego and not in Buffalo, New York…