Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fall Trees Wrap Up

I put the last stitches in the Fall Trees this morning. What a fun project this has been - full of bright, fun colors and interesting stitch and thread combinations. What more can you ask for in a project?

I must thank Ada Haydon for sharing her creativity with us in these festive tree canvases and for allowing the stitch guides to be published in Needlepoint Now. Ada has done a great job with her Tree series and I look forward to stitching the Winter Trees sometime soon. She has also been a great cheerleader for me as I have stitched the Fall Trees. Thanks, Ada!

So, what comes next? Maybe this - Vintage Pears by Melissa Shirley. I started it early last year and put it away when the Halloweenies arrived. I think it might be time to work on it again.

The stitch guide is by Beverly Churchfield of Aristeia. I was just looking through the thread kit for this piece and the colors are just beautiful. Varying shades of greens, coppers, rusts, and browns. Beads and metallics will add subtle sparkle to the pears as well.

But, while I was looking through the project stash, I came across a canvas in Melissa Shirley's Wild Women series - Queen Elizabeth I. I think this was my first purchase from Amy's Golden Strand - way back in December 2008. This project has been languishing in the stash for a long time and, with my visit to Amy's in a few weeks, now might be a good time to get this canvas on to the stretchers and get it started. I think it probably overwhelmed me in December of 2008 but now, as a seasoned veteran of the Halloweenie series, it doesn't seem so daunting. There are lots of threads but the Elizabeth stitch guide is not as lengthy as one of the Halloweenie stitch guides. And, with the royal wedding fast approaching, it seems like an appropriate canvas to be stitching.

It's a dark, thundery afternoon, but thank heavens for the rain! The pollen has been horrendous this year and this is the first hard rain we have had that might wash most of it away. I considered a stop at the car wash this morning but now I'm glad I waited. The azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom, my climbing rose is full of buds, and the perennials in the flower bed are showing themselves after a cold winter. Spring has definitely arrived!

Have a great weekend and get lots of stitching done!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fall Trees on the First Day of Spring

The calendar says that today is the first day of Spring although yesterday in Augusta we had a record high temperature of 90 degrees. Seems like it should be more like the first day of summer. We even had a thunderstorm move through during the night. So with 90 degree temps here at the beginning of Spring, I am stitching away on my Fall Trees. My seasons are very confused!

Another few days of stitching and I will have finished the Fall Trees. I'll start on the Bat Band today.

My stitching friend, Linda, over at Stitching Sisters has finished her tree and posted a picture of the finished tree. It looks great, Linda!

This week I took advantage of a last minute opening for a Julia Snyder class at In Stitches in Atlanta. In Stitches is a beautiful shop located in the heart of Buckhead. It is filled with a wonderful selection of canvases and a huge array of threads and supplies. And, most importantly, it is staffed with the friendliest and most helpful staff. Many thanks to Mark and Bam for making my visit with them such a fun one!

After having worked on two of Julia's & More canvases (Merry Christmas and XOXO), it was a delight to meet her and work with her on the new canvas I purchased before the class. I chose a Melissa Shirley (naturally!) floral that features a deep orange/red parrot tulip.

After having written several books on needlepoint stitches, you can easily imagine that Julia is a walking-talking stitch dictionary. She immediately took me to the Silk n' Colors threads and selected two perfect overdyed threads for the tulip, a green Splendor for the leaves, a deep purple Flair for the tulip center, and "honeydew" Silk and Ivory for the background. From her book Categories for Needlepoint Stitches, she chose the Wilted Mosaic Flower stitch for the outer portion of the petals and the Knotted Stitch for in inner portion of the petals. The leaves will be skip tent or every other row basketweave with a mirrored version on the opposite sides of the leaves. The background will be a Cane pattern.

There were 9 other stitchers in the class all with very different projects to work on. Julia circulated around the room stopping to offer helpful suggestions or words of encouragement to each student.

That's Julia in the center of the photo. She's such a warm and friendly woman and so knowledgeable! If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from her, don't hesitate to sign up! I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and look forward to another class at In Stitches in the future.

Speaking of classes, my day with Amy Bunger in Memphis is less than a month away. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to it!

Hope it feels like Spring this week wherever you are - and not like summer or winter!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Little Fall Bling

It's been a busy week and I haven't made as much progress on Fall Trees as I would have liked - but, progress is being made nonetheless. Yesterday I was able to add the Swarovski AB sequins to one of the trees. Wow - that's some bling! I probably could have added the sequins to one of the other trees if I hadn't spent so much time admiring how they looked. I am easily distracted by bling!

I think I say this every week but I wish my camera skills allowed me to capture the wonderful play of light off the threads and particularly the beads and sequins on these trees.  I use a little point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix which I love but it has its limitations (and so do I).  My thoughts are starting to come together on how I want to see these trees finished. But, I'll wait to tell you about that when I am closer to finishing this project.

In other needlepoint news, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to attend a Julia Snyder class in Atlanta at In Stitches this week. In Stitches sent out an email about space having opened up in one of Julia's classes and I decided to take the opportunity to meet and work with Julia. She will be working with each student helping to choose threads and stitches on a canvas of our choice. I think I'll choose something from In Stitches wonderful selection of canvases when I get there. I don't have any of Julia's books so I look forward to adding some of them to my needlepoint library. I'll be sure to let you know next week what we worked on. It will be a mystery until then - even for me!

Anna and Andrew came to visit this weekend and have just left to drive back to Jacksonville. While Andrew went on an overnight fly fishing trip to North Carolina, Anna and I had our own "girls weekend". We had a great lunch on Friday at Very Vera here in Augusta (Vera beat Bobby Flay in a throwdown on the Food Network - carrot cake was the featured recipe). We did a little shopping and then went for manicures and pedicures. We ended the day with dinner at Kurama's, a Japanese steakhouse, and came home to watch Vicky Christina Barcelona on DVD. Saturday we took our time getting out of the house but did a little more shopping and had a nice outdoor lunch at My Friend's Place at Surrey Center. 

The highlight of our girls weekend was to hear Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, speak at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion late Saturday afternoon. Ree is the author of The Pioneer Woman blog. She is also the author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. What a delightful, down-to-earth woman she is! She was making a quick swing through Georgia to promote the Black Heels book and this visit to Augusta/Evans was sponsored by the Columbia County Library. While I am very appreciative of them bringing her to Augusta, I wish that they had ordered more of her books to have available for sale and that they had taken credit cards instead of cash and checks only. I had brought my cookbook copy with me to have signed but Anna had planned to buy the Black Heels book only neither of us had enough cash with us and they ran out of books anyway. I hate to think how much the Library could have made if they had ordered more books and made it a little easier to buy what they had. I organized many book signings in my previous work and this one could have used some more organization.

But back to the Pioneer Woman. On Thursday she was in Savannah to film a show with Paula Deen for the Food Network. She didn't know when it is scheduled to air but be on the lookout for it because it will be a great show. I read a comment somewhere that there isn't enough butter in Georgia when these two women get together to cook. I don't think that comment is too far from the truth! Ree was accompanied by her husband, the Marlboro Man (in his Wranglers, boots, and cowboy hat), and her two sons. Her two boys are precious and her husband is a fine looking cowboy! Here's a picture of me and Anna with Ree -

We had such a good time having the chance to meet Ree. After following her blog and reading her books, we feel like she's another good friend of ours. We're also looking forward to her next book (a children's book) about Charley, her bassett hound.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and I am so blessed to have a sweet daughter-in-law and the most wonderful son. We have a good time together. 

It's hard to write about all the blessings in my life without thinking of all the people in Japan whose lives have been completely turned upside down. They need our help and prayers right now. I've just made a donation to the Red Cross for the earthquake/tsunami victims. Will you consider a Red Cross donation as well?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Candy Corn Morning

I made nice progress on the Fall Trees this week. This morning was spent working on the candy corn. I am adding the Accentuate strand over the top of the candy corn stitches to add some subtle sparkle. I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality. We have add such a dreary, wet morning and afternoon today and the light has not been the best for picture taking.

I enjoyed adding the Swarovski jet beads in one of the upper bands and I see that I will be doing the same in a larger section below the candy corn. But looking at my bead supply, I just realized I don't have nearly enough to bead three more sections. I'll have to email Ruth and ask for more.

One afternoon this week I was in the drive-thru line at Chick Fil A and noticed a mini van that pulled into a parking spot nearby. I couldn't help but notice what was written in cursive across the van's rear window - "Single Mom Doing Her Own Thang". As I contemplated the deeper meaning of this statement, a very pregnant woman (the Single Mom?) with pink hair got out of the van and crossed in front of me carrying an empty Mount Olive pickle jar. I can't really imagine why she was taking an empty pickle jar into Chick Fil A but I almost wish I had stuck around to see what she came back out with. Isn't that bizarre?

A big thanks to USA Network for having an Indiana Jones marathon today! Makes for good company while stitching!

Have a good week everyone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Halloweenie Family Portrait

This time last year I was just beginning to stitch the Halloweenie characters from Amy's Home Study. I am so excited to be able to say that I have just finished stitching the last of the eight characters, Dev L. Mann. I gathered all the characters together this morning for a family portrait. Here they are!

What a wonderful needlepoint experience this has been! I can't thank Amy, Kelly Clark, Peggy, Jill, Robin, and all of the ladies at Amy's Golden Strand enough for making this such a fun project this past year. And a big thank you to all of you out there who read the blog and have left such kind, encouraging comments on my progress. While I am ready to move on to other projects, I am a little sad to say goodbye to this Home Study. It certainly won't be the last one!

I haven't mentioned it in a while, but my trip to Amy's for my "Rent Amy for a Day" that Andrew and Anna gave me for Christmas is quickly approaching. According to one of my widgets on the Dashboard, it is exactly 46 days and 21 hours until Monday, April 18th. Am I a little excited? I can't wait to share this experience with you!

So, I'll say goodbye to the Halloweenies and turn my attention to another Halloween related canvas - the Fall Trees. The canvas design is by Ada Haydon of Eye Candy and I purchased it and the thread kit from Ruth Schmuff.

I am really looking forward to this canvas! There are such wonderful threads, color combinations, and fun stitches to be used. I thought I might be a little burned out on Halloween, but you can't look at this canvas and feel burned out about anything!

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Keep stitching!