Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year stitching friends! Hope your holidays have been filled with fun times with family and  friends! Mine certainly were and I even found a few minutes to stitch here and there.  I have two finishes to show you this week.

The blue egg is my second finish in the From Russia with Love club from The Needle House. I may have said this in my last blog post but it is worth repeating - I am so happy I signed up for this club! Each egg is more elegant than the one before it. I started my third egg on Saturday. This one has beautiful dark green flower crystals and butterfly crystals as well surrounded by Coronet Braid gold work on a red background. Very elegant!  I'll show you that one next week.

My second stitching club finish for the week is the Golden Cracker Snowflake. I am short two of the gold pearls to finish up the border so I'll have to call Fireside Stitchery to send me the missing pearls. This was a quick stitch and a very satisfying one. Looking forward to the next cracker in January!

I received two very generous gift certificates to Amy's for Christmas this year. One was from Andrew and Anna and the other from a very dear stitching friend. They know me well! My stitching friend also sent me this fabulous Harlequin Laying Tool from Rainbow Gallery.

She knows my patriotic line up of canvases to be stitched this year and selected the perfect color combination.  In the patriotic stitching line up this year is the July 4th Parade using Amy's stitch guide, the Patchwork of Peace flag sampler, the Ewe & Eye July 4th canvas, and the Melissa Shirley July 4th little boy. Lots of opportunities to use my lovely new laying tool!

That about wraps up 2012 stitching. So many fun canvases to look forward to stitching in 2013! I think I'll be making a decision in the next day or so as to which larger canvas to ring in the new year with. My New Year's day will be a day for football and starting a new project.

Thanks for stitching along with me this past year! I wish all of you the very best in 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Year in Orts

  The year in What? Orts - little bits of leftover threads from projects I stitched this year. I realized this week that I couldn't compress the orts in my orts jar any further which must mean that it is time to empty it and prepare for a new year of stitching.

This is my 6" tall clear plastic jar that sits on the table next to my stitching chair. It provides first hand evidence of the various projects I stitched in 2012.

Turn the jar upside down on the cutting board in the kitchen and you have an ort cake. Let's see if we can figure out all of my projects that contributed to the ort jar. Starting at the top in early 2012 and continuing into mid-2012 are the orts from the Melissa Shirley Christmas Banner.

Lots of orts contributed to the jar from this project! But, wait - I see bits and pieces of these projects as well -

Wow! I've impressed myself! That's a lot of finished projects this year! One really big one - the Christmas Banner, two medium-large projects - Christmas Parade and Give Thanks, the Sunflower and Berries canvas, and assorted Halloween and Christmas ornaments and the cute July 4th girl. I realize that Spring/Easter is not well-represented but perhaps the From Russia with Love eggs will qualify as an Easter project. I'll have to do better by Easter in future needlepoint projects.

Speaking of the From Russia with Love eggs, I started on the blue egg this week. I am so happy with this club and I am only two projects into it.

Two more projects arrived this week to add to my To Stitch list. Amy sent the Ewe & Eye Fourth of July canvas, stitch guide, and threads - love it! Fireside Stitchery sent the Snowflake Cracker in the Melissa Shirley Golden Cracker stitching club. The Fourth of July canvas will go into the stash for the moment but I plan to start in on the Snowflake Cracker this afternoon. These are two great projects to welcome home in 2012 but to look forward to completing in 2013.

Also on the horizon for 2013 stitching projects is Amy's proposed Home Study - Royal Pain in the Tudors. This Home Study will be a JP Needlepoint Design canvas that shows various textile patterns that represent the six wives of Henry VIII. Sounds like fun to me! I also want to stitch the July 4th Parade and the Melissa Shirley Whimsy canvas - both waiting in the stash closet for some attention. Looks like my dance card is filling up already! Lots of stitching to look forward to in 2013!

I'll take this opportunity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays! I hope you find some quiet, peaceful moments to count your many blessings in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle that comes with this time of year. I'll try to post again before the end of the year.

Hope Santa brings you lots of beautiful threads and canvases and sprinkles some magic Santa dust on them to give you enough hours to stitch them all!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bring on the Bling

Before I say anything about needlepoint this week, I have to thank each of you who left me such kind, comforting thoughts last week. I treasure each of them and can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that you took a few minutes out of your day to reach out to me. My stitching friends are the best!

Back in the fall, I signed up for the From Russia with Love club from the Needle House in Houston, Texas. I had seen their ad in Needlepoint Now and thought it would be a fun series of canvases to stitch. I knew they would be beautiful, but I really didn't expect the bling factor. Wow!

I know the photo doesn't capture the amount of sparkle that pops off this canvas but, believe me, this egg is dazzling. I finished it this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is one peach crystal flower missing from my kit so I will have to call and ask to have one sent. I loved stitching the Jessicas and the two fleur de lis designs. The diagrams in the stitch guide were excellent for both. I'm so happy I signed up for this club!

Up next in the club is this gorgeous blue egg with a big aurora borealis teardrop crystal. It is already on the stretcher bars and ready to go for a Sunday afternoon of stitching.

I spent most of yesterday emptying out my needlepoint closet onto the floor in my den so that I could completely re-organize things. I'm pleased to say that this morning the floor in the den is clean and free of bags of projects waiting to be stitched and those holding the remnants of completed projects. I had taken the last ten days or so to organize my threads so the heavy lifting of this project had already been completed. That's a great feeling to have that closet organized - for once!

All that re-organization must mean it's time for another project to arrive! I'm looking for the Ewe & Eye July 4th canvas, stitch guide, and threads to arrive from Amy's in the next week. I'll be sure to share it with you as soon as I can.

I leave you this week with one of my Christmas decorations this year. I decided not to put up a tree this year so instead I filled a silver tray and Waterford bowl on my sideboard with many of my favorite ornaments from over the years. My Christmas Banner is displayed on the mantlepiece as planned but I decided not to photograph it for you since I haven't settled on how to set it off to its best effect. I had planned to use some garland or floral picks around it but I decided that there was too much opportunity with those things to snag a thread or two on the banner no matter how careful I was. I think for this year the mantlepiece is a work in progress - but, at least the main focus, the banner, is complete. Stay tuned...

Hope you have a great week ahead!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

In Thanksgiving

I finished stitching "give thanks" last night. This project will forever have a different meaning to me after the events of the last week. My brother passed away very suddenly the day after Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I was able to drive back home on Thanksgiving morning and arrive in time to be able to speak with him before he began to slip away from us. I give thanks for that. Over the next twenty-four hours, friends and family drifted in and out of the ICU waiting room. Family members whom I hadn't seen in many years were there to strengthen and renew family ties while giving comfort and support. I give thanks for that.

I give thanks for a kind Christian doctor who was there with us as we made the difficult decision to discontinue treatment when it was so obvious that there was nothing more that medicines and machines could do for my brother. When the machines that buzzed and beeped and tracked every breath my brother took were removed and the room became very quiet, this doctor put his arms around my sister-in-law and I and said "Pierce is on his way to meet God now". I am thankful that he was able to express his own faith to us in that way. I also give thanks for one of the nurses who was quietly working in the background during this time and softly humming a hymn. I don't know the hymn but it immediately took me back to our childhood and a much loved woman who worked for our family and often went about her work humming hymns. I am most thankful that my brother died quietly and peacefully surrounded by those who loved and cared for him.

I give thanks that we laid my brother to rest next to my mother on such a beautiful, late fall afternoon this past Monday. We were overwhelmed at the number of friends who came to pay their respects. I was so proud of my nephew, Derek, who gave a very heartfelt eulogy for this father. I give thanks for the minister who officiated at the service. He knew my brother for many years and their long friendship was so evident in the scripture he chose to read and the personal remarks he made during the service.

I give thanks that I have a son who never fails to step up and take on responsibility when it is placed upon his shoulders. My father had a habit of always telling Andrew to "look after my little girl" - me - and Andrew took that to heart. My father would be so very proud of him and the fine, honorable man that Andrew has become. I give thanks that I have a son and daughter-in-law who wanted to go to the cemetery on the day before the funeral to clean the cross and markers in our family plot. I know my mother was smiling down from heaven as we worked.

When I chose to begin stitching "give thanks" a few weeks ago, I did so because it seemed like an obvious project for this time of year.  It seems there was a greater plan involved in that choice. It has given me the opportunity to sit here and reflect on this past week and be reminded of the many things and special people for which I am thankful. I give thanks that my son encouraged me to begin blogging about needlepoint because it has allowed me to make so many wonderful friends - most of whom I will probably never meet except through this blog! But we have a shared love of needlework which makes us instant friends. Earlier this week, those of you who knew of my loss were quick to reach out to me. I could feel your hugs and love around me. I give thanks for you!

I am most thankful for my brother, Pierce
February 8, 1957 - November 23, 2012