Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Christmas Wreath

I have lots of Christmas wreaths. All through the year, they live in their boxes...all neat and tidy. I bring them out and hang them on the front door, on the French doors out to the Juliet balcony, and on the door and window on the balcony.

My favorite is my "indoor wreath". I've had it for years...more than 20 to be exact. Every time I look at it, I think "Log Cabin Quilt revised"! LOL! It is, in my eyes, perfect. Each year, I spend weeks finding the perfect spot. Sometimes, it moves around for a couple of weeks before Christmas. This year, I just couldn't quite decide. I like to place it where I can see it more often than not. Last night, I found the perfect place on the armoire door in the family room.

Thad and I were watching football last night, Corgis curled up near the tree with twinkling lights, candles lit on the mantle, and I just couldn't help but be warm inside thinking it was a perfect evening.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Country Christmas

I love antique malls. There is something magical about searching for and rummaging through all of the vintage treasures. Some time ago, I happened upon this wonderful wagon at a North Texas antique mall. It was love at first sight! The warm patina of the wood and the slightly worn wording on the sides and back (you can't see it; but it has the word "Sheboygan" beautifully placed on the back of the wagon). It's just so rustic Americana!

Getting it in the trunk of my little two-door car was a real trick (I actually had to measure my trunk before buying...and then convince the guy from the antique mall that it had to be turned 'just so' in order to fit). It has been in my garage ever since...until a week ago.

I'm downsizing. Seriously. Getting rid of things that I'm tired of dusting and moving from one spot to the next. Keeping only those things that speak to my heart or bring back warm memories. I cleared off the top of the armoire we use for our TV in the family room and started all over with decorating. I'm just so very pleased with the result.

I made the baskets in the wagon more than 20 years ago. The rabbit is made of concrete and sat outside our dining room window in Florida, tucked in among the hibiscus and sago palms. The birdhouse was a project my son did for a school project years and years ago. It is supposed to look like the Parthenon in Nashville, TN. (The speakers? Well, that's my darling husband's contribution. They have to go somewhere!)

I'm off to do more holiday decorating today!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Don't forget to dream...

It's funny...I don't decorate with blue anywhere in my home anymore. When my son went away to college, the blue rooms were gone (his bedroom and bathroom). I ran across this pretty little cross stitch finish a couple of weeks ago. I'd had it framed in a blue marbled mat and a buttery yellow inner mat. It had been packed away for years.

When we decided at the last minute to go to my sister-in-law's ranch, I packed in it with our things. It makes me feel so good to know that my SIL loves and appreciates my cross stitching projects!

This piece looks so very perfect in her spare room/office. And it's the perfect reminder to us all: DREAM!

Bella's Baby Sampler...

I finally got a pic of the sampler I made for my niece's daughter, Bella, a two years ago when she was born.

The design is from Samsarah Design Studio and is called Sweet, Sweet Babe. I changed it up a bit, doing it on white linen over two. The colors just look so beautiful against a white background! (And they are really much richer than this photo shows!) I added two butterfly buttons (one purple and one yellow). My niece loves butterflies, and I thought they were so much prettier than the bee button! I also omitted the little round white buttons at the bottom of the original design.

It has a white frame and is double matted with a soft buttercream yellow and a deep purple suede mat.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Autumn Silhouette

I love stitching over-one...but I don't think I could ever do a really large piece that way! The details just come out so very beautifully and (as an extra side benefit) framing costs are less! LOL!

This is Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers #10: Autumn Silhouette. I chose a darker linen with a cream-toned hand-dyed floss. I had to adapt the acorns that were done in a satin stitch, and I loved the way it turned out. I did this same design in a green over two on a much lighter linen, but the over-one is by far my favorite. Including the frame, this measures 6 3/4" x 5 3/4".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pics of my State Fair ribbons!

We went to the State Fair of Texas today! We couldn't have picked a better day. It started out a bit overcast. Last year we parked so far from the gate that I actually dreaded parking this year. It was great, though. We parked right next to the gate!

I was able to get good pics of my First and Second Place ribbons! The Fourth Place entry photo came out terribly, so I'll have to wait until I get them back to take a pic of that one! It was so much fun to look at all of the other winners, and the displays this year were absolutely beautiful.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

God Bless the U.S.A.

I thought I would take a quick photo of my Patriotic U.S.A. grouping. It is on a small wall right in our entryway.

Ironically, I was working on the Bent Creek "Flag" on 9/11. I cannot help but remember that every time I pass by it.

The very small flag was framed upside down when I had it framed (they put the hanger on the wrong end!). I had to explain to them that the stripes go to the right! LOL!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

State Fair of Texas

Well, the results are in! All three of my cross stitch entries won ribbons! I will be collecting a First, Second, and Fourth place ribbon when I pick these up in late October. Funny, but I didn't take any pics before submitting the entries. I'll have to post photos once I get them back.

I know some people might think it a little silly to enter. But, when you think back to the beginnings of county and state fairs, the ladies always showed off their canning, cooking, and crafting (albeit by necessity) skills. To know that my stitching is considered among the best is a wonderful feeling.

Thad and I have a trip planned to see them in all their glory! Last year, the Creative Arts Building was packed with fair goers. It was interesting to see the number of people who were actually interested in the entries and ribbons! I have a little healing to do before we can go; I'm hoping either late this week or early next week.

Who knows...maybe I can sneak a photo there!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Couldn't resist...

When we lived in Florida, our property backed up to a bay head. There were trees and foliage. When we moved in, there was even a wild pig that lived back there! We put out bird feeders for the birds. Every morning, they would be completely empty. One night, we were sitting on the lanai and saw the bird feeder on the far property line moving...a little more than it would move with birds on it. We tracked down a flashlight and there, feeding on the birdseed, was a Raccoon Mom and 2 babies.

Now, I know that raccoons are not our friends. I know they can destroy screens on your home and make their way into places you don't want them. I know they carry diseases. And I know they can do over $4,000 worth of damage to a car if they run out in front of it at 5:30 in the morning when it is dark (imagine how I know that!). Having said all of that, they were so darn cute!

So, this little Cedar Hill design was stitched in honor of the raccoons who lived behind us in Florida.

I miss them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I wonder...

I've been doing some cleaning...and cleaning out. I realized that my Halloween and Fall decorations are not all stored together. It's been such a treat to run across some that I haven't had out in years. I just can't wait to get them out...I wonder if it's too early? After all, the temps here have (ahem) cooled from the 100s to the upper 80s-lower 90s. Can Autumn be far behind? Maybe I'll wait until later this month to start!

I wish...

I never really thought my son (who turns 21 in a couple of weeks) paid a lot of attention to my stitching. About 9 years ago (when he was 12), I was working on a Bent Creek project called "Hope". My son had seen me working on it. One night, he said, "Mom, when you die, I want that one." I didn't have the heart to tell him, as an only child, he gets (eventually) everything when I die! LOL!

But, I finished the piece and decided to make sure it had a great frame job. I ordered purple Italian lacquer framing (had to be shipped in twice because the first piece had a flaw). That silly thing cost more to frame than most of my other pieces, but I had him in mind.

When he moved away to college several years ago, I tucked the piece in between his clothes. I'll never forget the call when he found it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh, Florida

I've got to get this framed! I finished it up years ago when we lived in Florida... Brightneedle's Key West Sampler.

A couple of times, I've thought that this would make a pretty wedding sampler on white with the couple's names and wedding date in the center. But it reminds me of the tropical breezes and whimsy of Florida...

That Darn PeliCan...

I've been working on this since May 2008. This is my progress as of April 14. I need to take another pic and get the latest update posted. At this rate, maybe I'll get finished by May 2010. And I swear I'll never take on another large project.

I get bored too easily!

Getting Ready for Fall...

I'm trying to pull together some autumn finishes for this year's decorating. It's amazing at the pieces I have that are going to look so great grouped together. Looks like there's going to be a trip to the framer's coming up soon!

I so hate putting the finished ones away each year. Even now, I leave out my Snowman Row all year because I love it so (and it's sort of fun to walk past snowmen when it's 103 degrees outside!).

From long ago...

Way back when I had different initials, I completed a wonderful Cricket Collection project called "Shadows". It is a silhouette of a stitcher in front of a pastel alphabet sampler. It was the first project I ever had framed. I love it as much today as I did then!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A first

I've been stitching for years. Mostly just for me, but I have begun to gift some items to family members. One of the most special gifts was a birth sampler for my niece's little girl, Bella. I just wish I had taken a photo of it. (I'll just have to remember to do that when I visit next!).

But I digress! Today, a first. I completed sending in my entry paperwork to the State Fair of Texas for 3 pieces. I've wanted to compete in a State Fair for years, so why not the largest one of them all! I didn't do any projects specifically for competition. Perhaps that is something I will do next year. For now, I just want to give the process a try and see how it goes. Last year, my husband and I were at the fair. I can remember thinking that I could stand a chance in garnering a ribbon. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My first projects

Did you know that years ago (okay...the early 1980s), stores like Belk Department stores in the malls carried (gasp) cross stitch supplies? It all started innocently enough. I was shopping for bed linens when I saw their stitching things out of the corner of my eye. I knew what it was...I had been a Girl Scout years earlier. As a Girl Scout, we did all sorts of projects. I seemed to remember some sort of embroidering we had done once. I also remembered that I didn't like it so very much because you had to do french knots. I hate french knots. In looking over the cross stitch "stuff", I realized...there were no french knots! Yeah! I could do this! And so I bought a book called "Crates and Sacks" and all the things I needed to stitch. I did three of the designs: Apples, Pears, and Plums. I never had them framed. Perhaps I should.

I love to stitch...I have since I started in the early 1980s. Although no one taught me, I do come by it honestly (as they say). My dear Grandmother made quilts. They weren't the intricate show quilts you see on display these days (although she absolutely appreciated the beauty and work associated with those). My grandmother made whimsical, functional quilts. I still have the one she made for me when I was a baby, with baby motifs embroidered in panels. It was used and loved and is, now, treasured. As I got older, Grandma offered to make me a quilt. I refer to it as her "Sunbonnet Babies" phase. I picked the colors and she pieced it together. And, tucked into the traditional Lane cedar chest is a blue Sunbonnet Babies quilt. It doesn't match my decor these days, but it holds a dear place in my heart.

My Mom was a crafter as well. She loved to crochet. Afghans. Everyone in my family has at least one, and I can remember making them as well. One day while visiting, she saw me stitching. She wanted to know how, and I taught her. She had far more patience than I in moving between so many different shades of DMC within a single project. I wish she were still here; maybe I could convince HER to stitch one of my many P. Buckley Moss designs (I doubt I will...too many color changes!). One of my favorite gifts is the Alphabet Bear Quilt she stitched for my son when he was born. She not only stitched it, but she assembled the quilt as well; quite a feat for someone who had never put one together! It is, to this day, one of my favorite gifts.

My youngest sister also caught the stitching bug. She graciously stitched a nautical piece for my son when his room went through the "nautical phase". He still has it.

I am on my second collection of stash. Oh, I had a great one in the 1990s, but carpal tunnel syndrome in my hands had me convinced I could never enjoy stitching again. I did not want to have surgery. So my stash was scattered to the wind. The carpal tunnel got worse, and surgery was finally scheduled. Now, I can stitch...though not for long periods at a time. And my stash collection has grown to at least 10 to 20 lifetimes!

At present, there is a new distraction. Two little Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppies...Blaze and Diamond. And, oh, do they dislike it when I settle into my stitching corner with a project. It's just no fun for them! They want to chase the silk as it disappears to the other side of the fabric. The duo want to have a taste of the hand-dyed fabrics, and they love to lay on my leaflet. I've learned. Puppies and babies do not last forever. So, I lay down my project and cuddle my babies and laugh at their innocence and love.