Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Organizing cubes

Here are pics of my huge work area constructed from the cubes meant to organize scrapbooking materials. These are the cubes that you can get at Michael's and I think I have even seen them at Target. They are made by a company called Jetmax.

So far (it has only been a week) I love these. The finish is really durable. The kids' glitter glue came off easily and the finish didn't mar when I accidentally dropped one cube on top of another.

There are only a couple of drawbacks so far and they really are very minor. The first one is that they aren't really "cubes". If they were cubes, they would be the same size on each side - but they aren't. That is really only an issue if you try to arrange a large table like I did and different cubes are facing different directions - eventually, the sides won't match up.
The only other challenge I had with them is that the back side of the cube is not MDF like the other sides - it is much thinner board. Since the backs are thinner, you cannot attach the desktops to the backs of cubes, only to the sides. So, as you can see, I had to fill the center of my table with more cubes instead of just using desktops. On the other hand, now we have even more storage.

These pics were taken before I shimmed the all the cubes to make a nice level tabletop. As you can see, the kids started moving in their stuff right away.

Stitching pics next time! Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The best laid plans

I never actually said the words "I'm on the wagon" but I kind of kept it in the back of my head that I have more stuff than I can possibly use in my lifetime - but even worse, I have run out of space to put it all. So, I have really been pretty good for the last 7 or 8 months. I have tried not to purchase anything if I didn't already have a place for it - storage-wise. I even spent weeks this summer cleaning out and organizing my pantries and linen closets. The shelves are even labeled to prevent anyone (mostly me) from stashing something else in a temporarily open spot.

Over 12 weeks or so I have been purchasing those modular storage cubes from Michael's so that I could build a big desk/storage area and get back the cabinets that were being used for the kids' arts and crafts materials for the last 10 years. (It takes a long time if you keep waiting for the coupons). Anyway, it is done! The kids now have a huge (56" square) area for their projects, puzzles, whatever plus a ton of storage space. And I got two kitchen cabinets back. That's when things went downhill.

See, I figured I had new space to fill - because you certainly can't have empty cabinets. So off I went enhancing stash and getting lots of cool little tools. Now - of course I don't keep my stitching stuff in the kitchen, so I had to kind of rotate stuff from other places. Wouldn't you know it! Once I moved all the placemats, tablecloths, and other kitchen-y thing from their various places all over the house into the newly-freed kitchen cabinets, there really wasn't any space freed up anywhere else in house! How can that be? Boy did I mess this one up.

Now I think I need to stitch a few extra hours in the day to free up some stash space. I wonder how that idea will go over with the family.

Anyway, I do love the cubes from Michael's. One cube came without the required hardware and their customer service sent it out to me. I had it in 3 days. None of the cubes came with any chips or dents and they were all easy to put together.

I did get some stitching done - but not a lot. I do plan to have the Boo! Club finished this week.


And a little more...


Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Unofficially Fall

I hope everyone had a pleasant, safe Labor Day weekend. I think nearly everyone in the U.S. is back to school now. The local private schools started today. Most of the public schools around here started last week - a few even started the week before last. The leaves are already beginning to change, the pick-your-own apple orchards were all busy this weekend - and its only going to go up to 68F by Thursday. Its un-officially fall.

We had a relatively laid back Labor Day weekend. The kids have been in school for 4 days and already one of them was sick. I guess he picks things up quickly! I hope that applies to everything else at school as well. So, the kids and I stayed home for the weekend.

Boo! Club from Lizzie Kate

I did get some stitching done - but I also had to do quite a bit of frogging. Complete lack of focus. Hopefully, I'll get my act together again soon. I really like the Crescent Colours floss.

Here's one of the last hurrahs from my garden. I believe this is Champagne Elegance - a reblooming iris. This is the first time it has ever bloomed even though I have had it for 4 years. I'm not sure I love it - but this year I am happy to see anything doing well in the garden. It definitely seemed like the summer that wasn't.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It sure feels like Fall

It really does feel like fall. The temps have been in the 70s during the day. It was actually 49F at night this week. The kids are lucky - they started school this week with perfect weather. Given how chilly the first part of summer was, we were worried that everything would start to average out now and it would get really hot for the end of summer. Instead, it feels more like October except that the leaves haven't changed yet.

With the kids back in school I thought I would have all this extra time on my hands. Instead, I seem to have jumped headlong into the various projects that I had hoped to get done over the summer but didn't. I think I'll have the basement all cleaned up and organized and well-lit just in time to drag out all of the Christmas decorations and make a general mess of it again. Then there's the huge box of daffodil bulbs that will arrive here early next week. I forgot I even ordered those until the shipping email came. Then there's the conversion of the "living room" (really just another room to dust) to the kids' work/play room. That's my current project. And I can't wait until its done.

I've been falling asleep too early at night to get much stitching done. I did finish the "Black Cat" design on my Boo! Club piece. Hopefully I'll get some stitching time tomorrow.

Boo! Club - to Black Cat

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Have you seen the new Victoria Sampler house?

Have you seen this new Gingerbread Stitching House from Victoria Sampler? Plus - there's a coordinating scissor pocket design that will be in the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments issue.
This is definitely on my list of must haves. Of course, I stitch so slowly that I wouldn't have it done for this Christmas - but I could have parts of it done. Even just the scissor pocket for the JCS Ornament issue is adorable.

Merry Christmas to me!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jordan (Julia) all done!

I finished the finish work for Jordan (which is actually a gift for Julia - so I call her Julia). I finished it as a journal cover. It covers the journal book just like the bookcovers that we had made back in school only without the grocery bag or scotch tape.

I took these pics with the cover on a different book so I could press it without melting anything important. This project definitely made me appreciate having a great iron and a great little detail iron. On the real journal, the cover fits more snugly and everything blocks out a little better.

Whole Cover Letter J

This is a pic of the journal cover open before sliding it on to the book.

Letter J Journal Cover

This is the cover on the "pressing book". So, off I go to press it off one last time and then get it wrapped up for the birthday party (nothing like finishing at the last minute).

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer Project for Halloween

This is my summer project for Halloween. If I get it finished quickly, I should have just enough time for a small Autumn project for Halloween. I've been eyeing some designs from the Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue from last year that I never quite got around to. Actually, I really love the new Sleepy Hollow design from Glendon Place - but that's not my idea of a small Halloween design.

This is the Boo! Club series from Lizzie Kate. Each design seems easy to stitch. Once I have them all stitched, I'll finish them into a banner.

from the Boo! Club series - Lizzie Kate

Tonight I need to finish up the finish work on my Letter J. I'll be making a journal cover and using the Letter J on the front of it. The stitching is all blocked and stabilized and has its border applied. The rest should go pretty quickly. Pics tomorrow.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm back!

Hello out there! I'm back. I feel like I temporarily fell off the face of the earth. Climbing back on has been a lot of work (I suppose its good exercise though - or character-building, or something.)

In the last few months I have been to countless Little League games, practices, fund-raisers and other baseball-related activities. I have driven to and from various camps on countless days. And I have stitched.

Also, I have worked on the website (no, don't rush over there - you can't see the changes yet). I've been working on new navigation, new color scheme, and just overall update. I'll be making those changes live in just a few weeks. Be sure to stop by when they go live - I'd love to hear your feedback and there will be a celebratory sale as well!

I have also started a blog entirely dedicated to the New and Newsworthy at Needlearts Gallery. It will be updated with some of our most popular new releases. Be sure to stop by or subscribe in your RSS reader -

Subscribe to News at Needlearts Gallery

As far as my stitching goes - you know what they say about the best laid plans ...

Hopefully, I'll have my Halloween project stitching completed in the next week so I can get it finished. I've already purchased the fabric for the backing, I just need to finish the stitching.

First, I need to finish a birthday present before this weekend. The stitching is finished, I just need to get into the finicky, thread-counting part of the finishing, and then the rest of it should go pretty quickly.

Letters from Nora designed by Nora Corbett

I don't remember taking the picture at such an extreme angle - but apparently I did.

So welcome to my stitching blog. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

P is for Princess

Isn't this design adorable. I think it would be perfect in a little girl's room. Maybe in a box top or a little pillow. Of course I have little boys. Actually I have one little boy and one medium-sized boy.

This design is P is for Princess from The Sweetheart Tree. It is the most recent design in the French alphabet series. I was thinking of a young-boy inspired French Alphabet - can you picture D is for Dragon and B is for Baseball done in this style? It would be interesting.

The best part of these designs (besides being adorable) is that they come in a kit. The kit includes everything you need except for a hoop or frame AND the materials are quality materials - DMC floss, Summer Khaki Cashel linen - not the inferior materials that you get in some kits. AND the kit comes in a little clear plastic box which is so handy. The box holds everything so you can just drop it in a bag making it the perfect little travel project - especially since this design doesn't really have too many beads. I stitched Blackberry Jam a couple of years ago which came in the the same box and now I use the box for a travel sewing kit. I have wished for more of those boxes at least a dozen times for all sorts of purposes.

I think I'll stitch this when I finish Letter J. It looks like it will be a quick stitch.

Happy stitching everyone!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More Jordan

Letter J - Jordan - from Nora Corbett. We had a pretty good snow day yesterday - hopefully the last one for this winter. We got lots of snow but it should melt pretty quickly with the sun being higher in the sky. I did get a bit of stitching done on letter J. I wish I could figure a way to show all the sparkle on this. There are a lot of beads!

Letter J

J - Letters from Nora

Keep looking for signs of Spring!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A little glass and a little thread

Isn't it amazing what a huge difference just a little thread and a little glass can make? I did some backstitching and some beading on Letter J. It was really very little stitching and beading yet it made such a huge difference.

Letter J

I've been working on lots of finishing for customers for the last week. I just love finishing pieces for other people. So many times I don't finish my own pieces because I am tired of looking at them by the time the stitching is done. Finishing other people's stitching gives me a chance to look at a piece from a new perspective and frequently I get to finish pieces that I wouldn't have chosen to stitch myself which makes it even more fun.

Looks like we're getting a ton of snow tonight which means no school tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have time to stitch some more on Letter J and Boo! Club.

Happy Snow Day folks!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February Vacation

It's been a vacation week. Kids at home. Day trips. Play dates. Not a whole lot of stitching.

I did get a little bit of Letter J done. She's a joy to work on and an easy stitch - I just haven't been able to dedicate any time to her. I stitched even less on the Boo! Club. Hopefully I'll have something recognizable to show this week.

Letter J

Then Shepherd's Bush released Scatter Luck - I just have to get this one and get it stitched by St. Patty's Day. Preferably this St. Patty's Day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fairy Toes

J - Letters from Nora

Yes, those are fairy toes - and fairy knees too. And those fairy toes and knees are stitting on the swirly part of the letter 'J'. This is coming along nicely. I like the colors more than I expected and I really like stitching with the Crescent Colours. The other nice thing is that this piece is relatively small - it should just fit in my 8" Q-Snaps so I can even bead as I go. Now I'm looking forward to the other letters even more.

Monday, February 09, 2009

So much stuff!

I'm back - finally. I feel like I have been held hostage by an overzealous internet security package that wouldn't let me post to countless blogs, read most of my RSS feeds or even visit countless completely "safe" sites. I've learned my lesson and I will be sticking with my tried and true software.

So, in the past month, I've had lots to say and no one to say it to so I'll try to catch up in the next few weeks. Plus, this past weekend was the Nashville Needlework show so there are tons of new releases to drool over.

Here's an update on my January project. This is Dizzy Busy Bees from The Sweetheart Tree. It was (at first) a quick stitch. But then, I miscounted and had to frog an entire bee skep. Then, I finished up all except the charm in the center. I had already decided to finish it as a needlebook. But then I received these wonderful counting pins - from DebBee's. I love the colors and I had been wanting a set of counting pins for months. So I decided that my needlebook would instead be a home for my counting pins. I took my stitching with me to the quilting shop to choose some fabrics and somehow during that trip, I decided that I didn't care for the red beads. So, out came the red beads. I still need to replace them - possibly with honey colored beads. Then, I must have been in a perfectionist mood, and I couldn't find the perfect fabrics. So this dragged on for a couple of weeks. I now have the perfect fabric and I'll be testing a few bead colors today. Hopefully, I get this finished in the next couple of days so I have a home for my counting pins.

Right now, my counting pins are getting lots of use. I have started Lizzie Kate's Boo Club and I plan to start the Living with Charm series and the Christmas Spirit with Charm series as well. The counting pins are coming in handy with that border.

I also have Nora Corbett's Letter J started from her Letters from Nora series. Unfortunately, I don't absolutely love either the letter J or the letter K (for myself), but that may be for the best. I may have to push myself a little more to finish up the letter J (for a gift) but at least I won't be tempted to do the letter K for myself. My boys have told me that I'm a little too old to have fairies in my room anyway. I really hope that the letter M knocks my socks off when it comes out because I'll be stitching it twice! (also for gifts)

As far as Nashville goes - I was unable to attend due to a family emergency, but I am still drooling over a number of new releases. I am in the process of adding them to the website, but here a few of the notable releases:
From Sue Hillis designs:
Stitchers Days of Christmas - really cute.

Harvest Gourds is one of a bunch of new Autumn designs from Glendon Place

Harvest Gourds
There are also some beautiful new designs from Just Nan, a new monthly series from Brittercup Designs, some great designs for stitcher's tools from Cat's Whiskers, a traveling stitcher's pocket from Little House Needleworks, and some fabulous new designs from Jeannette Douglas. These will all be up on the website in the next few days. Also, we are delighted to be carrying Seba Designs and Giulia Punti Antichi designs. The Seba designs are already on our website and the GPA Designs will be added this week.
So much to stitch - so little time!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Since it is January, and we've had lots of indoor time, we (mostly I) have been organizing the house. It started with organizing all of the Christmas decorations - then the toys (just so we could put away the new ones from Christmas) then it spread. The laundry room, the pantries, the linen closets. My family is praying for a thaw so that there is an excuse to spend the weekend outside instead of organizing something. They're worried that "organizing" might last all the way to "Spring cleaning".

My evening organizing has been stitching. I have found tons of charts that I purchased more than ten years ago. I absolutely love some of these. I'm really bummed that quite of few of the designers of these charts stopped designing needlework years ago.

I love this one. It is called Lunar Harvest from Danelle Marie Classics. The copyright is 1992. I can't even find more information on this designer. The stars are stitched with metallic blending filaments and braids. I'll be starting this design this month. It is stitched on Navy fabric, so it will be good practice for the dragon I plan to stitch on black fabric this summer.

Lunar Harvest

I did start a quick little piece yesterday. This is a Teenie Tweenie from The Sweetheart Tree - Dizzy Busy Bees. If I had stitched it on a larger count fabric, it would have been larger and I probably could have made a nice biscornu from it. As it is, it will probably be a needlebook. Its really cute and is stitching up really fast.

Dizzy Busy Bees

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

End of 2008 stitching

I hope everyone's holidays are progressing wonderfully.

I, for one, am happy to have some stitching time again - especially since I received some wonderful new stash for Christmas. I got a wonderful Permin chart called "Garden Tools". This chart has been discontinued and I have been looking for it for months. I can't wait to start on it. I also received the finishing instructions from Judy Odell for the Designing Ladies 2006 Stitching Leporello project. Now I just have to decide which design to stitch to finish into my leporello. I also received the finishing instructions for The Ultimated Needlebook, also from Judy Odell.

Here is one more heart that I finished for a gift for Christmas. This is another design from Christmas in My Heart from Cross n Patch.

Christmas in my Heart 2003

I did finish some other pieces just before Christmas that were (and still are) intended for gifts. Unfortunately, due to some nasty winter weather, my get-together with the intended recipients had to be postponed. Hopefully we'll see each other soon. I'll post pics when my friends have received their goodies.

As part of the new year review, I've been looking through my various "stitched but not finished" pieces as well as my WIPs and my "I really want to stitch these designs" drawers. In my stitched but not finished piles I have Emerald Dragonfly from Nora Corbett, Christmas Biscornu from Just Nan and Rosebuds and Hardanger from The Sweetheart Tree. I'll have to think about those. In my WIP pile I have Indian Summer Reflections from Martina Weber, Fairy Idyll from Mirabilia, a couple of Celtic Knotwork designs from Teresa Wentzler, one of the Cherub freebies from Mirabilia Designs, and Witch Way from Just Nan.

Then there are the designs that I really want to start - Garden Stars or Sea Stars from Ink Circles (I can't even decide which), Barnabee's Quest from Just Nan, Mermaids of the Deep Blue or Mermaid of Atlantis (probably Mermaid of Atlantis) from Mirabilia, and, from Lizzie Kate, Christmas Double Flips and the Boo! club Double Flips. That's just the list of designs that have already been released are are in my stash (except for the Boo Club). There are always more wonderful designs released during the year that are completely unexpected as well as the ones that I am impatiently awaiting - like letters J, K and M in the Letters from Nora series. Plus, there are those designs that I've seen before but haven't jumped out at me - and then I see them all stitched up somewhere I just have to have them.

I'll have to think about my PLAN for the year. I've never been good at rotation stitching, but since all of these projects are large, I may give it a go again this year. I am taking pics of all of my WIPs this afternoon and hopefully I'll be able to see progress on all them in short order.

Happy Stitching everyone!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Here's hoping for a new and prosperous new year for all of us.

As part of the new year goal setting process, I have my look back to last year's goals and the look forward for the coming year. Last year wasn't too bad as far as goals go - of course, I didn't explicitly set too many. Some expectations may have been a little too high (what made me think I could get everything in the house cleaned, repainted, updated and redecorated as well as work out and do the grocery shopping all while my son was in half-day kindergarten?). Some expectations may have been a little too low (we should have taken long family vacations much sooner - we were all able to handle it and enjoy it).

Reading the year-in-review from some famous stitching bloggers, I have incorporated some of their successes into my goals for the year. For instance, I recognize that I have lost the "pep in my step" as I have gained pounds. My first goal is to adjust my lifestyle to incorporate healthier habits. Hopefully, in the process, I will lose 10 of the pounds that I have found in the last five years by June. More importantly, I hope to have more energy and feel better about myself and the world around me.

Another goal is to be even more involved in the education process for my children. We started off with lots of ambition and activities and they dwindled as the year progressed. My plan is to really cultivate their observation skills and to promote more contemplation of the world around them.

I, myself, plan to read more - more often and greater variety. I need to incorporate a greater variety of opinions, genre and topics into my everyday life.

I need to remember to enjoy every single day. I need to revel in the wonder of small children. I need to regain their excitement about the world around them.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all behaved like 5 year olds? Do you remember when a box of crayons, some construction paper, glue and a bunch of old buttons, pom poms, macaroni or glitter would have kept you happily occupied for hours? Do you remember really concentrating on the snowflakes falling outside your window? When is the last time you were interested by moving around the magnets on your refrigerator for an entire hour? Have you really watched ants go about their business? (I have boys) How about the birds outside your window? Or even the people outside your window? Can you be perfectly content, if not thrilled, with a bowl of mac n cheese (from a box, of course) and a clementine to carry you through the afternoon? Can you happily read the same book for twentieth time and just be wonderfully comfortable with that repetition? I have all of these things on my list of possible activities this year - and I am looking forward to all of them.