Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Parade Inches Forward

The harsh reality of the end of vacation has set in this week. The looming deadline for a work project is threatening to take away my evening and weekend stitching time. But, I'm determined to squeeze in my stitching somehow!

I chose some small areas to work on this week that I knew I had a good chance of being able to finish. Santa's hat and his backpack received some attention as well as his beard. The beard is stitched in Weeks Dye Works overdyed cotton floss. The stitch is Victorian Slide variation. The backpack is stitched in Burmilana.

I also finished up some work on the snowman's face and body. The Silk Lame Braid adds some nice shimmer to the Scotch stitches on the snowman.

Background work on the Christmas banner continues behind the scenes. I found a few hours worth of stitching time for it this week working on Step 2 of the background and finally starting to work again on Step 3 using the #4 silver Kreinik fly stitches that bracket each square. Step 3 is really tedious for me. I suppose it is because the stitches are small and it takes several groupings of the squares before you begin to notice any difference in the appearance of the background. It is definitely worth the time to add these stitches. I have to just remember to concentrate on the area in front of me and not worry about how many more sections are still waiting to be stitched.

Enjoyed watching the Gran Prix of Monaco this morning and looking forward to the Indy 500 and NASCAR later today.  It's a good day for stitching in front of the television! It was 94 degrees out yesterday so being inside today is not a bad thing!

Hope your stitching is going well and that you have a great week ahead!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Little Bit of Heaven in Memphis

Please excuse my absence from the blog - I have an excuse, I promise! I've been busy stitching, eating fabulous food, and making new friends! I just returned from the most fantastic weekend at Needlepoint University at Amy's Golden Strand in Memphis. All of the students attending are able to choose canvases, thread kits, and stitch guides from Amy's vast archive. Everything we needed was waiting for us in the classroom when Linda, Karen, and I made a Thursday afternoon visit to Amy's to see what was in store for us for the weekend.

The mounted canvas, huge thread kit, detailed stitch guide, color copies of the canvas for reference, a stitching sketch book, and - most importantly - the Shopping Spree List were all laid out for us just waiting for class to begin. Also at my place was a copy of the gift certificate I received from Andrew and Anna for Christmas for the stitch guide and thread kit. What a wonderful gift it was! I shared the table with my stitching friends Linda at Stitching Sisters, her friend (who is now my friend!) Karen, and Diane at Diane's Taking Time Out to Needlepoint. What a wonderful group of women with whom to spend the next three days! All of the women in the class just could not have been nicer and you couldn't have found a more talented group of stitchers in one place - anywhere! We stitched and ate our way through the weekend! Between Amy's delicious catered lunches and then her incredible suggestions for restaurants for dinner, I don't think I burned off many calories poking a needle up and down through a canvas.

I chose to stitch Susan Robert's Christmas Parade canvas and it is as delightful as I thought it would be. Linda sat next to me and she stitched Susan's Thanksgiving Parade. If you haven't stitched a canvas using one of Amy's guides, you can't imagine the creativity that goes into the stitch and thread selections.

Amy circulates through the class stopping at each stitcher's seat to answer questions and praise even the smallest amount of stitching. She is so much fun - so upbeat and positive! I started my canvas with some background work and then moved on to put in a few stitches on the moon.

Over the weekend I added some stitching on the polar bear's knitted hat. Don't you love the curly brim to the hat? That is done in the Gathered Stitch using a twisted thread. Between that curly bit of fun and the fuzzy bear ear done in uncut Jump Through the Loop turkey work,  you just want to pat it and tell yourself that it's the cutest polar bear you have ever seen! On Sunday afternoon, I started the tummy and front leg of the bear using long and short stitches in fuzzy Pelouche. At the last minute on Sunday, Amy and I talked about adding small jingle bells to the red harness on the bear. She had the perfect bells on hand so they will be added at the end of stitching. Gloriana ribbon will be used for the reins that connect the wagon to the bear's harness.

On Saturday, I worked a little on the snowman's body. It is stitched using a diagonal Balloon Stitch with several threads. His hat will be completed with some feather stitches in green and a sprinkling of red beads. Very festive for a little snowman!

I haven't had much time to stitch since I returned home but I did stitch a little on Santa's hat. There are so many wonderful components to this canvas still waiting for some attention - Santa's coat, the Christmas tree on the wagon, the snow covered trees in the background, the little squirrel on the branch, the goose, the snowy ground, the bottom border. You will be seeing it all over the next couple of months. Hope you will stick with me on this one!

Amy had laid out the various pieces of the Melissa Shirley Thanksgiving House for us to see. It is so beautiful! This one is truly a labor of love and definitely an heirloom piece!

I'm sure I have left out so much from my experience at Amy's over the weekend. I'll try to add the bits and pieces I didn't cover today in future blog posts. I have so many wonderful memories of this time at Needlepoint University and the friendships that were made there. It really was a very special weekend!

Have a good week and I'll try to get some stitching done this week to show you over the Memorial Day weekend -

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

Good morning and Happy Mother's Day! We're off to a rather dreary, rainy start to Mother's Day here in Georgia. My morning was brightened by the arrival of a glorious vase of white roses from Andrew and Anna. When did florists start delivering on Sundays? I don't ever remember receiving flowers on a Sunday before. But, I'm delighted to receive them no matter what day of the week it is!

The NeedleDeeva Sunflower and Berries canvas is a cheerful piece that will brighten even the rainiest day. There wasn't a lot of stitching accomplished on it this week. It was a hectic work week that didn't leave much energy in the evenings for stitching. But I did finish the beading on the three blossoms and large leaf in the upper right of the canvas.

The Christmas banner languished in a corner of my office this week. It received no love at all from me all week long. I think I'll bring it back to the den this afternoon and put in some serious work on the background. It deserves a couple of hours of attention!

My excitement is building as I begin making my preparations to drive to Memphis this week for Amy's Needlepoint University. This time next week I will have spent three wonderful days at Amy's working on the Christmas Parade canvas (my Christmas gift from Andrew and Anna) and enjoying the company of my stitching friends. I couldn't ask for a better vacation!!

I had some tedious work at my desk this week filling sample bags for an upcoming tradeshow. I decided to bring the iPad into the office and see what I could find on Netflix to watch while I stuffed bags. I settled on The Borgias - Season 1. OMG - I am officially addicted to this series! I read a description of the Borgias that called them the "original crime family". Is that ever an appropriate description! Life in the 15th century was rough! Justice or revenge was swift and brutal, illness was everywhere, and marriage vows and vows of celibacy didn't amount to much. I'm finding it fascinating! I think the second season is currently being shown on Showtime to which I don't subscribe. I still have quite a few episodes to go on the first season but I am already anticipating Season 2!

I look forward to sharing my experiences at Amy's this week with you. I hope I'll have a chance to post something Friday or Saturday - depends on my internet connection at the hotel.

Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

One Finish, 2 WIPS

This week I finally got back to the Candy Corn Halloween ornament by Kelly Clark and finished it up. Chalk up one more ornament for the Halloween tree! Now I just need to send this one and three of the Creepy Characters to the finisher. I really enjoyed stitching Kelly's Halloween apples with the stitch guides by Amy Bunger - lots of fun!

I made a little more progress on the background for the Christmas banner this week. Since the background  is worked in three steps, I am skipping around a little so that I don't get too bored with all that white and silver. I just have the area around the last letter left to complete Step 1 which forms the grid within which the other two steps are stitched. I try to focus on just the area in front of me when I'm stitching and not focus on how much more is left to be done. My goal is to have the banner completed by the end of June. Will I reach my goal? Stay tuned...

I gave Sunflower and Strawberries a few hours of stitching time this week. I finished the petals and center areas of the sunflower this week. I'll leave the stacked beading of the center and the ribbon finishing of the petals until the very end of the project.

I love the small blossoms with their turquoise pop of color.

I am counting down the days until I drive to Memphis for Needlepoint University at Amy's Golden Strand. It's less than two weeks away now! It will be such fun to finally meet my stitching friends, Linda and Diane.

Now that the Halloween apple is finished, I need to decide on the next small project to be stitched. I have a Kelly Clark witch's hat in the queue as well as the Mindy Christmas cupcake I showed you last week. I have two Melissa Shirley July 4th children canvases that have been languishing in the stash for awhile now and a Melissa Shirley patriotic heart canvas as well. And those are just the smaller canvases! Decisions, decisions...

I hope those are the hardest decisions I have to make all week!

Have a great week ahead!