Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Hard Act to Follow

I decided this week that after stitching the Christmas Banner and getting it back from the finisher and then sharing it with all of you last week that none of my current stitching seems to quite measure up to such a grand project.  It has nothing to do with the canvases themselves or the stitch guides - they're great!  I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's just letting go of a project that was a daily presence for months on end. Do I have project separation issues? Could it be that I need a stitching psychiatrist?

I forgot to include a newly finished Halloween piece in the blog last week. Please meet the Kirk & Hamilton Frog's Breath bottle.

That bottle grew some big frog's feet while away at the finisher! Speaking of the finisher, visit Vikki at her website for information on her finishing. I look forward to adding more bottles to the collection in the future. Thanks go to Amy Bunger for another fun stitch guide!

I'm making steady progress on the & More Give Thanks canvas. Once the diagonal lines are established in each stripe, the hard work is over and the fill-in stitches don't require a lot of focused attention.

This is the March Aquamarine ornament in Kelly Clark's Heritage Series with a stitch guide by Gina Liuzzi. It works up very quickly. I've enjoyed working the diamonds and seeing how pretty plain old DMC cotton floss can be with the right stitches to show it off. 

I ordered this Christmas canvas from The Bristly Thistle and it arrived a few weeks ago. It is (will be) a hinged box design from Julia's Needleworks. At the moment I am just stitching the dark green background in perle cotton but I will be adding beads and other fun threads to the tree and gifts. I think I might give Sparkles a try and use it for the tree garland. Check out Julia's website gallery - particularly the Hinged Box section. She has some cute houses and trees that would be so much fun to stitch.

The first canvas of the From Russia with Love club from The Needle House arrived this week. Beautiful beads, threads, and stitches have been selected for the Emerald Egg ornament. I'm late to the party on this club but, thankfully, the club can be started at any time.

That's it on the stitching front this week. I'm sending out good thoughts and saying my prayers for all of my stitching friends and their families from the mid-Atlantic north into New England as the hurricane approaches. I watch the Weather Channel so much during these weather events that I feel the need to go to the store and buy batteries, water, and bread even though we have brilliant blue skies here in Georgia this morning!

Everyone stay safe and dry in the week ahead!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Big Reveal

This time last year I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first lesson for the Melissa Shirley Christmas Banner that was being offered as a Home Study by Amy Bunger. It arrived right on time the first week of November and I couldn't wait to get it onto the stretcher bars and put in the first stitches. Fast forward to the middle of June this year when I put in the final stitches. It was such a wonderful project from beginning to end. Melissa Shirley designed a beautiful, elegant canvas and Amy Bunger brought it to life with fabulous stitch combinations and an abundance of beads and huge variety of threads. In August, I sent the stitched banner out to Marlene's in San Francisco for finishing. It arrived home this week!

I couldn't be more pleased with and proud of the finished product! Marlene did a spectacular job with the finishing. I told them I wanted a simple, but elegant finish and that is exactly what they gave me. The sides and back are finished in an ivory silk. The sides and top are accented with two ribbons - one wide, striped green ribbon and a gold ribbon on top of that. I had asked for a ribbon bow on top but the one that Marlene used is even more beautiful than I imagined. The bow is the perfect tailored finish to this piece.

For once, I thought ahead and requested that they embroider my initials and the dates on the back. The lettering and numbers are embroidered in a taupe thread. Just perfect! You can also see the green and gold cording that was used on all sides.

As soon as I unwrapped the banner from the box, I knew that my little "point and shoot" Nikon would not be able to do any photo of it justice. So I headed out to a photographer's studio for some professional pictures. It was worth spending a few more dollars to have this piece photographed correctly!

Thanks for sticking with me week after week as I stitched and documented my progress. Seven months of stitching and blogging was worth it when I see the finished banner. Now, I am eagerly anticipating Amy's next Home Study (I skipped the Thanksgiving House). She has given us a few hints but I still can't figure out what it might be. Stay tuned....

Tucked into the box with the Christmas Banner were a few more finished treats - Halloween ornaments!

That's a Kelly Clark Halloween apple and three NeedleDeeva Creepy Characters that you see. In all of the excitement of the package arriving from Marlene's this week, I forgot to take a picture of the other finish that arrived the same day - the Frog's Breath Bottle. It's a very cute finished piece and I'll show you a picture next week.

I finished another stripe on the Give Thanks canvas this week and started a new Kelly Clark Heritage Series Christmas ornament. I also started another Christmas project that I haven't told you about.  It arrived this week as well. I'll show you some pictures next week of all three of these projects.

It was a big week for needlepoint at my house with all six finished pieces arriving on the same day. That won't happen again for quite a while! Time to get back to some more stitching so I'll see you next week.

Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Woo Hoo Witchy Woman

Remember that song from the Eagles? Their Witchy Woman had raven hair and ruby lips but my Witchy Woman has candy corn colored hair and ruby lips. Mehitabel's a little less sexy and a lot more friendly than the woman to whom the Eagles dedicated their song.

Miss Mehitabel was my finish of the week. What fun these Creepy Characters are from NeedleDeeva! Judee came up with some great designs and Robin brought them to life with her fabulous stitch guides. Mehitabel was an easy 2-3 week project and many days I didn't even pick her up to stitch. I think I will definitely have to stitch a few more of these. They are just too easy and satisfying to not stitch some more of them!

Have you seen the Geico commercial that is running on television right now with the witch trying out the brooms at the broom factory? I love it! Makes me laugh every time I see it!

This week I also worked on finishing up the first two stripes of Give Thanks. It is always fun to see how the chosen threads work with each other to add sparkle and texture to the painted canvas. I wish my pictures could convey this to you. I particularly like the Threadworx color that Amy chose for the green stripe diagonal lines. The shading moves from dark to light green with little flecks of sparkly gold and copper. So pretty!

I think my next small project will be one of Kelly Clark's Heritage Series ornaments. I added several to my stash over the last couple of months and it's time to get started on some of them. I'll show you which one I choose next week.

The Christmas Banner should be making its way home to me any day now and I can hardly wait to see it! I sent it to Marlene about seven or eight weeks ago. I also sent her a few of the Creepy Characters to be finished and I think a Kelly Clark Halloween apple ornament. Since I can't remember what I sent, it will be a surprise when they arrive back home.

Maybe I will have some finishes to show you next week - we'll see! Until then, have a great week!

" Whoo hoo, witchy woman, see how high she flies.........." Now that song will be in my head the rest of the day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Big Finish

The Christmas Parade crossed the finish line this week! If you arrived late to the Parade, I started this Susan Roberts/Ashley Dillon canvas in May when I attended Needlepoint University at Amy's Golden Strand in Memphis. The canvas, stitch guide, and thread kit for this project was a Christmas 2011 gift from my thoughtful son and daughter-in-law. What a wonderful gift it was, too! It was so exciting to walk into Amy's classroom that Friday morning and see this canvas on stretcher bars with a huge bag full of wonderful threads just waiting for me to put in the first stitches.

Each time I stitch a canvas using one of Amy's stitch guides, I think it can't be better than all of the others of hers that I have stitched. But, each time it is and I learn something new - trying new stitches, a new technique, or stitching with a new thread.

Turkey work was definitely a new stitching technique for me. It certainly adds so much dimension and texture to the piece.

It's been a fun parade throughout the summer and into the fall! Thanks for sticking with me through the entire process and leaving such nice, encouraging comments along the way! There is another Parade in my stitching future - the 4th of July parade (also by Susan Roberts/Ashley Dillon). Love it (!) and look forward to stitching it but I think I will take a little break from another parade for the moment.

So, what to stitch next if it isn't the 4th of July Parade? The Melissa Shirley Whimsy canvas? The Melissa Shirley Helowise canvas? How about the Give Thanks canvas from & more Designs? That's the one, I think, and it is certainly season-appropriate as Thanksgiving approaches.

I started this canvas Friday evening and completed the first two steps of the first green stripe this evening (Saturday).  This is just the type of project I wanted to work on after coming off a lengthy piece like the Christmas Parade. It requires some careful counting but there aren't a lot of thread changes. And, a stripe is such a nice, compact way to measure your progress on a canvas - especially when all the green stripes are the same pattern and the cream stripes (which are also all the same) are a variation on the pattern that has already been established. A perfect project!

I had some quality time to give to Miss Mehitabel this week as well. Her face and neck are now lovely shades of green. Her hat is a work in progress at the moment. It needs a brim and a pointy tip to it. I hope I can do justice to those big red lips and even bigger teeth!

I made another trip to Pier One this week. We haven't even made it to Halloween and I have already started thinking about how to decorate the mantle for Thanksgiving. I just remember thinking how empty the house looked after I took down the Halloween decorations last year (sort of like how you feel in January when the Christmas decorations are put away). I picked up some beautiful mercury glass pumpkins and a gourd from QVC that are lighted with a battery powered light (that's on a timer!) to use as a focus on the mantle. They just glow so beautifully at night when the lights come on. I couldn't wait another few weeks to try them out so I loaded the batteries right after they arrived just to see what they looked like. I love them - an excellent purchase!

Anyway, didn't mean to get sidetracked on the lighted gourd and pumpkins, but I was looking around Pier One for some garland or silk flowers to use with the pumpkins. I found what I needed and also found one more Halloween decoration - a glittery purple broom.

I'm showing you this because it's a hint for another project that will be finding it's way to my door in the next couple of weeks. Can you guess what it is?

Hope you have a great week ahead!