Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Final Theme-a-licious!

Remember how November was No-Xs November? Well, there weren't any in Do What You Will December, either! =) This is usually how my Decembers go...what with choir rehearsals and performances, holiday events, baking, trying to finish everything up at work before vacation, etc., there is not much time to sit and stitch!

I had decided in the Fall that I wanted to participate in Loopy Academy, so I ordered yarn...
...and away I went. You've already seen the first project, which was a cowl in fingering weight (posted in the previous post).

The second project was to be mittens in worsted weight yarn.
These are Emma's Mittens. They were fun to knit, although I'm still not a fan of bobbles. I'm never sure if mine look right! I apologize for the not-so-great has not been very sunny here, so this was taken under an Ott light! And yes, I really am that pale! =)

The final project is a hat in sport weight. Will I finish it by tonight?? Oh, the suspense! =)

So what did you will your December stitching to be? Do you have a clean slate for 2015? Please add your link below (to your latest Theme-a-licious post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Thank you again to all of you that "themed" along with me, whether you stitched along, commented on themers' posts, or just admired our work in silence. =) You guys all rock!!!!

See you for March Madness...oh, yes, that will still happen. ;)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Theme-a-licious November/December

Well, I sure didn't do any Xs in No-Xs November!

November started off for me with an Alison Cole class in Tampa, Florida, which had MUCH better temperatures than Atlanta had been having! Here was my dessert one day at lunch:

Cannoli for now, cannoli for later. ;)
We got a two-hour lunch break! Excellent.

The project was a stumpwork/goldwork piece.

I've done some stumpwork before, but I've never done any goldwork. It was a lot of fun working with some of the more exotic threads, like the super pearl purl. Plus, it's fun to say "super pearl purl". =)

This was a shot of my workspace.
Actually, this shot makes my workspace look a lot less chaotic than it was. I was spread out all over the place (I got lucky to be at a table of 3 rather than 4) and it took me forever to find anything. But the class was simply amazing. Alison is a fantastic (and fantastically fun) teacher, and if you ever get the chance to take a class with her, DO IT! She is one of those great teachers who never tells you anything is difficult; she just explains what to do and what to watch out for in a very straightforward manner and then comes around to straighten you out if you go wrong.

Here's a shot of the model she brought. It's not the best since it was under glass (and fluorescent lights!), but you can get more an idea of the dimensionality the stumpwork has.

She brought some other models, but it was hard to get a great shot with everyone crowded around ooooo-ing and aaaaah-ing! I will show you a couple shots of one of her 3D butterflies:
The little bell jar is only about 5 inches high! Amazing stuff. She had some other great goldwork pieces with her, including a dragon she taught at EGA convention.

Oh, what's that? You want to see what *I* did? =)

Here's where I was at the end of class. The crazy gold fringes will be the stamens in the clematis flowers, and that paper at the side will be basted over the dragonfly while I work on the rest of the piece, because his wings are SHARP!
They are actually brass mesh. Here's a closeup:

And here's a closer shot of the bud and leaf, where you can kind of see the super pearl purl:
Can you tell that the leaf is sticking up from the fabric? I should have done a side view, too.

The other pieces we did in class were a tendril (I have one Alison did, too, since she demonstrated with my wire =) and a flower petal. Only 23 more to go!!!!

Sadly, the only other stitching I did was to finish the branches on this squirrel.
I did the Xs sometime earlier in the year. ;)

I have been knitting a little, and I finished this lace cowl.
It's knit in Handmaiden Sea Silk yarn, which is 50% silk, 50% Sea Cell (think rayon), so it's really soft.

So, I know that I said I'd announce the theme for December around the middle of this month. I won't bore you with the details, but there have been all manner of work- and health-related crises here (everyone is OK!) and something had to give. That something was the blogging. And a lot of the stitching. And all my mojo is still suffering, so I'm calling December...

Do What You Will December
Do you have gifts you need to finish? Projects you're sick of looking at that you want done? Or maybe you just want some nice, relaxing stitching for a hectic month? Anything goes this month!

So, it's not technically a theme, but we'll have one last post together on December 31st to share what we managed to work on during the holidays (or do a year-in-review). I have decided not to run Theme-a-licious next year. I have really, really enjoyed stitching themes with all of you and seeing all the creative things you have been doing with the themes! However, there are a ton of great SALs to participate in out there, and participation here has been waning. Perhaps I'll start back up in 2016; who can say?? Or maybe I'll get bored halfway through 2015 and need themes to push me along again. ;) I'll more than likely do March Madness again, anyway!

So how did your No-Xs November go? Was it a challenge going "off the grid"? =) What will you do with your freedom in December? Please add your link below (to your latest Theme-a-licious post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our last post will be on December 31st.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Theme-a-licious October/November

So, if you will remember, I asked you to pick which project I should start this month in addition to a Jardin Privé design.

Plum Pudding, by Glendon Place, done in the colors of Baked Alaska, was the clear winner, with half the votes. Happy to oblige. =)

But I felt bad disappointing all of you who voted for Quaker Christmas II.
So I started it, too. =)

In fact, I started it instead of either of the Jardin Privé designs! I'll have to save them for another time. I completely intended to start one, but then I remembered that I reeeeeeeeally should be working on my EGA nametag, which was designed by Jane Timmers of Fancy Work.

She very kindly charted all of our names and our chapter name, which is why the waves look a little wonky right now...I'm stitching around the chapter name.

Now let's talk about THIS month, which is...

No-Xs November
What can you make without making an X?? Blackwork, hardanger, embroidery, needlelace, and the list goes on! Don't can even backstitch for the month!

I will be taking a stumpwork/goldwork class from Alison Cole in Florida. And I definitely have quite a few other pieces in progress that fit into this category. I have a hardanger ornament that desperately needs to be finished, and a couple canvas pieces that need some love. Not to mention a stumpwork piece already in progress.

So how did your Oft-Overlooked October go? Did you find some hidden gems in your stash, or did you have to source something new? =) Are you panicking about finding things to work on with no Xs?? Please add your link below (to your latest Theme-a-licious post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) I will announce the theme for December around the middle of the month, and our next post will be on December (!!) 1st.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Smalls SAL Check-in

I've made it to October!! This is the 10th Dragonlet of the 12 Dragonlets of Christmas.

Doesn't he look so JOYFUL??!? This is how I feel most of the Christmas season, except when I get stressed about shopping or remember how stupid cold it is! Can you tell he's leaping? He was meant to be leaping over the number 10, but as I have a plan for finishing these that involves numbers...well, more a vague inkling than a plan...I'm leaving all the numbers out as I stitch them. And believe, me, I'm grateful for the reduction in backstitching...this little guy wasn't bad, but on some of the others, it seems like the backstitching takes about 1/3 of the total time!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

September Smalls SAL Check-in

Yes, I know it's October!! I am a little really late checking in for September's Smalls SAL. But maybe a cute little dragon will help you forgive me?

Continuing the 12 Dragonlets of Christmas series I'm doing, September gave us 9 dragons dancing (well, thankfully I only had to stitch ONE)! I'm disappointed you can't see the sparkles in her tutu!

How graceful do you think dragon dancers are? Light on their claws, or more like the hippos in Fantasia??

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Theme-a-licious September/October

Supersize September? It was more like Shrinking September for me...I only managed to work on one large project, which was Summer Quakers. And it doesn't look very large right now!
The color is reeeeeally off in this picture, but you get the idea of the HUGE amount I got done. Or not. ;)

Now let's talk about THIS month, which is...

Oft-Overlooked October
Find a new-to-you designer and start a new project this month! Or maybe two...or three...

So, I am definitely starting one Jardin Privé design, and one other design. If you haven't voted in my poll (see the previous post), please do so! My needle is awaiting your command!

So how was your Supersize September? Were you overwhelmed with fabric or did you tame those giant projects? Are you ready to explore new-to-you designers for Oft-Overlooked October? Please add your link below (to your latest Theme-a-licious post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on November 1st.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Theme-a-licious October is...

...terribly, terribly LATE in being announced!!!!

I do apologize; I was out of town last week and thought I'd be able to get this post up before I left. Then, Michael sprained his ankle, a friend of his from high school called and wanted to drop by after dinner, and the painters, who we'd been trying to get to come for over six months, finally said they could come. As a result, we weren't home (and not cleaning) before 9pm any night that week. And I especially wanted this one to be posted early, since you might need to do some preparation...but hey, you've got a month! So without further ado, here's the theme for October...

Oft-Overlooked October
Find a new-to-you designer and start a new project this month! Or maybe two...or three...

This theme comes to you courtesy of Jo at Serendipitous Stitching! She actually suggested "Newbie November," for next year, but I loved the idea so much I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for synonyms until I could make it work for this year. I am going to send Jo a gift certificate to the online shop of her choosing so she can pick up something new to start. So Jo, please email me ASAP! =)

As for me, I already have a few new things to start. ;) But I need your help! I have seen a number of lovely finishes of Jardin Privé designs, so I finally picked up a couple...Christmas and Carré d'abeilles. I think I'm going to start Carré d'abeilles. Here are the flosses for both...
Christmas's flosses are on the left. Of course, I changed some of the colors for Carré d'abeilles. ;)

Now, here is where you come in. I have two wonderful designs all kitted up and ready to go, but I'm not sure which one to start. You must help me!

First of all, there is Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches...

Second, Plum Pudding by Glendon Place...
...only, I am going to do it in the colors of Baked Alaska!

Sooo, which should I start? Please cast a vote, even if you're not participating (or have never participated) in the themes!

Quizzes by

Monday, September 1, 2014

Theme-a-licious August/September

Well, if I were an author, I'm afraid that I would barely have managed a short story this month!

I did some work on Spring Garden Gate, finishing the knotted stitch and another piece of the verse.

Here's a closeup of the knotted stitch:
Pretty cool, isn't it? It's not difficult; the only tricky part is maintaining an even tension.

Although I didn't get too much actual stitching done, I did finally graph out the verse for Castles by the Sea!

Now let's talk about THIS month, which is...

Supersize September
Dip your needle into the vast swath of fabric dedicated to your BIGGEST projects!

Les Rubans needs some work for sure, and it's definitely my biggest project. I'll probably pull out Autumn Queen as's been a while since I've worked on it.

So how was Author! Author! August? Hopefully you "wrote" more than I did? What will you tackle for Supersize September? Please add your link below (to your latest Theme-a-licious post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on October 1st. Around the middle of the month, I'll announce the theme for October!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Smalls SAL Check In

I'm up to the eighth day of Dragon Dreams's Twelve Dragonlets of Christmas. Instead of maids milking, though...

we have dragons crying over spilled milk. It's kind of hard to see what's going on, I think, but there are two dragons there...the spiller and the...spillee. Have you all heard the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk"? I looked up the origin of the phrase, but no one is really sure where it started. One theory is that since fairies love milk, spilled milk was considered an offering to them. If you scolded someone for spilling the milk, you'd be seen by the fairies as stingy and bring bad luck on the house!

I personally think that the dragon on the bottom was just going to enjoy a nice milk bath a la Cleopatra and is holding his ears to try and block out the sobbing dragon on top. Way to ruin a relaxing bath with all that blubbing!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer Postcard Blog Hop

Look what I received!

It's a lovely postcard from Deborah, of A Patchwork of Crafts. No idea what's going on? This is a blog hop sponsored by the witty and talented Jo at Serendipitous Stitching. (Click here to learn more about it!)

Deborah wrote,
The cross stitch is Nantucket Rose, one of the first patterns I ever finished. I like the idea of sitting peacefully, just smelling the roses and possibly contemplating my next project. I do have a garden, it is quite small, not small the way garden designers talk about small (you know still over half an acre) but small as in I can walk from one side to the other in about ten strides length ways and four widthways. With short legs at that! In it there are some roses, climbing roses, as evidenced by picture number two. I love the colour, they start out as very dark pink buds, as they unfurl they become lighter and the hint of yellow appears. Better than that though are the memories they invoke. These are my grandfather's roses, well cutting from them grown over the many years since we lost his company. He was the gardener, full of love of the green things of the earth having spend so much of his life working in the darkness below it.

So I sit in my little garden, with not nearly as many blooms as Nantucket (and considerably less pink and puffy sleeves may I add) and invite the memories to refresh me, the fresh air to invigorate me and plan how to squeeze more plants into an already overly full space.

And when the summer is over and winter takes away the outside roses, I look at Nantucket and remember they are coming back. and set stitches into cloth to capture more memories for me and the people I love.​

Oh my goodness, Deborah, I wish I had roses as beautiful as that! And your stitching is so lovely! My grandfather kept roses as fact, my mother tells me that when my father showed up for their first date, he gave her a rose that my grandfather cut and told him to bring to her! =) Unfortunately, we don't have any cuttings of them, and that house is long gone. I think it's fantastic that you have a cutting of his. And it gives me hope, as someone who can only garden in containers at the moment, that a very small garden can produce such lovely things!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Orchid Daze: Lasting Impressions - Part 2!

Click now for JiffNotes

Part 1 was a long time ago, and these pretty orchid pictures have been sitting around for far too long without my showing them to you!

Orchid Daze happens at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens every year starting in February. The orchid house is always fabulous, but during Orchid Daze it is simply overflowing with orchids. If you plan your trip for March, you can also enjoy Atlanta Blooms!, where thousands of tulip and daffodil bulbs are added to the Garden landscape! Although I may be very late posting this, it's not to early to plan a trip for next year. ;)

Midway through Orchid Daze, there is an orchid show, but I always forget which weekend it is! And that's why I showed up for the show with only my wide-angle lens, because I thought I was only going to the Garden to look for early bulbs.

However, we were in for some extra treats!
There were many large, beautiful displays. But even though I only had the wide-angle lens, I was more interested in getting closeups of some of the orchids I'd never seen before.

These two bulbous beauties were just fascinating, and so PERFECT.

The color on this next orchid was simply fantastic. A deep, Deep, DEEP purple that eventually made its way to black.

The next week when we went back, I wasn't going to get caught without my lens again, so I took the macro lens and my awesome new tripod! (If you remember, part 1's pictures were taken with a sub-standard tripod.) As Orchid Days goes on, they replace some of the varieties with new ones, so I was anxious to subject some new specimens to my endless adjustments. Good thing the orchids are so patient. =)

Heather close can I get?? (You can click the pictures to embiggen.)
For perspective, here's an entire spray of the above orchids...each bloom is about 3-4 inches across.

I think this orchid did a good job trying to fit in with the Surrealist theme.

Hey,'s more bulbous orchids like in the show!
Well, not QUITE as bulbous as the ones in the show, but still very cool.

A lot of the new orchids they added had fantastic bright, saturated colors.

Others were more subtle, but still beautiful.

I hope you enjoyed part 2!

Finally, more orchid pictures!

Old Geek-outs