Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone celebrates safely and I wish for health and happiness for all in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  It was great having my mother visiting for Christmas and we all had a great time.

Things are slowing down now and I hope to have time to sit and peacefully stitch this week.

Enjoy your holidays everyone.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

No phone, no lights, no motorcars

After a week without power, we finally have lights, heat, internet, phone and cable again.  Since October 29 when we had a freak early nor'easter before the leaves fell from the trees, we haven't had power.  And we've been lucky - twenty percent of the folks in our town still don't have power.  The kids will finally go back to school tomorrow - but they have already had 8 snow days for this school year and it isn't even winter yet.

Unfortunately, I spent a good part of the week with a nasty cold - otherwise, there probably couldn't be better stitching time.   Just before this whole hullbaloo Nora Corbett released her new mermaid - Merchant Mermaid.  I know some people don't care for the new design but she has grown on me.  I think maybe if the lower advertisement part were either bigger and more clearly in the advertising style or that the upper 'MILL Hill' were smaller so that the advertising portion could be completely removed, more people would be interested in her.  The beads and treasures on her and the silk threads are exquisite.  I plan to stitch her starting with the main part of the mermaid.  I'll see how I feel about the emblem when I get there.  In the meantime I'll keep an eye out for other Merchant Mermaid Works in Progress to see how I feel about her.

She really is beautiful.
Here's hoping that the rest of the folks still in the dark have there power restored today!

Happy Stitching.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What an artist can do with just six shades

Isn't it amazing what an artist can do with just 3 shades of red and 3 shades of green?  This is the Poppy Biscornu from Faby Reilly.  It's actually really and easy and quick stitch but I haven't put much time into because I have some gift stitching to finish up.  So really this is all I can show.  I truly love the poppies in this design and I haven't even beaded or backstitched yet.
We're just starting to see some color in the leaves here.  We've been warned not to expect too much red and orange this year due to all the "extra" rain from Hurricane Irene and the storms that came afterwards.  While i hope the forecasters are wrong, it does look like a good number of leaves are just turning yellow and falling off the trees.  Still, it hasn't gotten cold yet so maybe we'll get lucky.

Speaking of the forecasters, I've seen the squirrels running around with giant hickory nuts - some even bigger than the squirrel's head.  I am thinking that this cannot be a good sign regarding winter.  The squirrels always have a better handle on the season ahead and they seem to be busier than usual this fall.  I better beef up my stash for those snow days at home.  There's nothing like getting your cup of tea, your music and your project and finding that you're short one skein of silk or one package of beads and you won't be getting out or getting mail until you've shoveled out of the most recent snowstorm.

Here's to enjoying the warm weather this week and planning for the coming season.  Happy Stitching everyone.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cross stitch on a Pumpkin

I came across this while surfing around yesterday - Cross Stitch on a Pumpkin from the StitchPunk blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Poppy Biscornu

Here's an update on my Poppy Biscornu from Faby Reilly.  I really like this design.  The spiderweb roses came out nicely.  Faby Reilly recently released some new designs - We'll get the Violet Biscornu and the Plum Orchid Needlebook up at real soon.  I just love these pieces.

Time to switch back to Moonlit Kitties or they won't be done in time for Halloween.

I know it isn't normal to get excited over fruit - but these pears are from our very own pear tree.  This is the first year that the trees produced well.  I knew I liked pears before - but pears from your very own pear tree are just soooo good.  They won't win any beauty contests but they are mighty tasty.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  The water here is receding.  I wish we could send some of it (much of it) to places like Texas where it is so badly needed.

We saw many of the memorial services for 9/11 today both local and televised.  I feel like I have spent most of the day in tears.  My prayers still go out to all of the people who lost loved ones on that day and to the friends and families of those first responders who are suffering illness today as a result of their heroic actions on that day.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Back to Normal

Phew!  Back to normal.  The kids went back to school this week - and only 1 day later than planned.  Due to the visit from Hurricane Irene, a few schools were without power on the originally scheduled first day so it was postponed.  Most people in town have had their power restored.  We have been much luckier than so many other people affected by Irene.   My prayers are with the folks who have lost so much from this hurricane.

I've been stitching away and kitting up even more stitching projects.  The Halloween Collection book from Just CrossStitch has been out for a week or so now.  It has some great designs from well-known designers.
My favorites so far include Knock Knock designed by Marie Driskell from Blackberry Lane Designs.  It is the piece near the bottom of the cover picture stitched on the orange hand-dyed linen.  You can't really see it in this picture, but there is a black cat inside the Jack O Lantern.

Another favorite is A Spirited Mandala designed by Tracy Horner from Ink Circles. This is a section of the design - I love the pumpkins, ghosts and spooky trees incorporated into the mandala.
And a must-stitch for me is the Penelope Pumpkin Witch design from Brooke Nolan of Brooke's Books.
I love the little broom made with Kreinik ribbon.

These will be fun to stitch.

Happy Stitching.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Poppies Poppies Poppies

Hurricane preparations are complete.  We have tons of tuna and chef boyardee, all the gas cans are filled, and we've got batteries.  There was no bottled water to be had.  We'll be brushing our teeth with seltzer if need be.  The gas station ran out of gas - and the storm isn't supposed to be here for another 30-36 hours.

We pulled in all of the potted plants.  I am thinking that we may have too many.  But they had to come in because we don't want airborn tomatoes.  I hope the lack of tomato plants will make the chipmunks pack up and go elsewhere.

We picked about 50 nearly ripe pears and nearly 50 nearly ripe apples.  I'm not sure how they would have fared if we left them out in the storm but I couldn't bear to lose all of them.  I think the pears were close enough to ripe that they'll soften up somewhat and if they aren't sweet enough, we'll poach them.  The apples aren't as sweet as we would like but they should be good for pectin.

I needed a break from stitching on paper.  I didn't realize that I missed stitching on linen so I started this little project.  I'll go back to Moonlit Kitties in a bit.

This is my start on Poppy Biscornu from Faby Reilly.  These designs are beautiful.  We'll be adding more to the Needlearts Gallery website next week.  I have not been able to find the little poppy button in the center of the biscornu model, but I would bet that I can make it with FIMO clay.  I'll have to look for a good color match and give that a try.  Here is what it should look like when it is complete.

Happy Stitching.  Stay safe.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Ready for Beads

So, I think my Moonlit Kitties is ready for beading.  The stitching took a little longer than I expected.  It's hard to see, but there is a good amount of blue stitching on the blue background which isn't difficult - I just didn't realize it was there when I looked at the photo of the model.
Moonlit Kitties Buttoned and Beaded kit from Mill Hill
It is finally raining here (without hail or tornado warnings) and cooling off.  Tomorrow the boys and I will brave the giant weeds that have grown up near the tomatoes in the garden and have at them.

I hope cooler weather is in store for the countless folks who have been dealing with 100 degree days for weeks now.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Look! It's Hogwarts!

It has been a big Lego summer at our house (and beyond).  Both of my boys went to camps with Legos this year.  My younger boy built Bash 'em Bots with Lego Technics while my older boy built a whole list of robots with Mindstorms.  They both had a great time and it seems to have re-kindled an interest in their Legos.  So, without further ado - Hogwarts.

It probably needs more mist and fog but it's hard to find that around here lately.

The Great Hall still needs building and that will probably happen on the next nasty hot day - likely tomorrow.

Stitching pics tomorrow.

Stay Cool as best you can!

Monday, August 01, 2011

A Little More Progress

Here's a little more progress on Moonlit Kitties.  I really like how easy it is to stitch on the perforated paper - especially if you need to grab your work and go.  It has been really convenient - although I guess that will stop when I get to the beading.  Otherwise, I envision tiny little beads all over the car.
While sorting through some charts today I found some Brooke's Books charts for Fauna the Fairy Witch, Trixie the Halloween Witch and Polly the Pirate Witch.  I found an even older Gwendolyn the Great chart as well. I think I'll start on one of these next.  They're all really cute though I'm leaning towards Fauna or Gwendolyn.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kitties and a bunny

I've finished the Garden  Bunny Buttoned & Beaded piece stitched by my friend, Phyllis.

Once the piece is stitched, you have cut it out from the perforated paper square.  I always dread this part.  I am one of those people who tends to hold my breath when I'm cutting something.  If there is a lot of cutting involved, this can lead to some serious light-headedness.  I just have this feeling that I can really damage something when I cut it.  It's not like stitching with the wrong floss where I can just frog my stitches.  Cutting the paper - and even worse, a thread - is way more permanent than making a few stitches.  You should see me working on a hardanger piece.  At least I don't turn blue-ish any more once I learned that you can weave in threads if you make a mistake.  But, it is still nerve wracking.  Using a serger is likely to kill me.  Sewing and cutting the fabric at the same time!

So, all that being said, I find that it is easier to cut while looking at the back of the piece.  The distraction of beads and buttons is not on the back of the piece.  I have also tried cutting the paper on my own pieces after the stitching is done but before the beading.  It worked well on the pieces I have done, but I can see how it might make the beading tougher on some pieces where it would be nice to have a little extra material to hold on to.
Garden Bunny after going through the Xyron

The new cartridge for my Xyron finally arrived and I was able to get the back of the stitching good and sticky and apply the light blue felt.  I stitched right through the felt to attach the little bowtie.  Then I added a magnet to the back rather than the pin backing that comes with the kit.  I think a lot of people are more likely to use these little pieces as magnets than as pins.  Isn't he cute?
Garden Bunny all done

It's been a busy week so I've made only a little progress on Moonlit Kitties.  Now there's a moon to go with my spectral kitties.
Moonlit Kitties

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Still need to squint

You still need to squint to see the cats, but I've made some progress on the moon.

I like this design.  It reminds me of cool fall nights (or the cool full moon with clouds floating by that we saw after the Harry Potter movie this weekend).  Given how hot it is here now, those cool fall nights are looking pretty good.

This Moonlit Kitties kit and a whole bunch more are available at

Saturday, July 16, 2011

You have to see this! Cross stitch iPhone case

I just had to pass this along.  It's a cross stitch iPhone case - the back is much like plastic canvas so you can personalize your iPhone case.  They refer to it as the iPhone 4G case so I am pretty confident that it won't work with the older iPhones, but someone out there can probably figure out a way to make one that works with other phones.  It does come in other colors besides pink.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

If you squint...

If you squint, you can just about make out my two Moonlit Kitties.  This is another Buttoned & Beaded kit from Mill Hill.  There are a lot of beads in this design so the image won't look complete until the beads are added but it is coming along nicely.  I love how easy it is to stitch these designs - stitching on the perforated paper doesn't require a hoop and it is easy to pick up and stitch a couple lengths whenever I get a few minutes.  I have the navy blue frame ready and waiting for this when the stitching is done.

Here is what the piece will look like when it's complete.  You can see more of the Buttoned & Beaded designs at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yep - another rabbit

This time the rabbit is French Country Rabbit from JBW Designs.  This is also stitched by my friend, Phyllis.  I'll get this one finished off as well.  We have to work out whether it will be a pillow or an ornament.  Either way, it will have some nice coordinating dark red fabric as a backing and some cording or trim of some kind.

Isn't he cute!

Happy Stitching

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lots of bunnies this year

This is a Mill Hill Buttoned and Beaded kit stitched by my friend, Phyllis.  Phyllis is one of those incredible people who manage to work during the day, raise a family, remain active in community activities, and pursue incredible crafting projects.  She crochets at incredible speed and produces the most wonderful blankets, shawls and other adorable items as well.

She stitched up this little bunny this past Spring and I will get it finished for her as a magnet.  He just needs his little bowtie and then I'll put him through the Xyron, attach a nice felt backing and a magnet rather than the pin backing.

It looks like Phyllis's son has shown some interest in some small stitching projects as well.  They are from a very musical family so I think I'll send over one of this year's Mill Hill releases - Music from the 2011 Autumn series of Seasonal Ornaments.

Happy Stitching!  Stay cool.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain - and lots of it!

It is raining.  It has been raining on and off since Sunday.  That isn't so remarkable.  The remarkable part is that it is supposed to keep raining for another 5 days.  And when it rains - it doesn't joke around.  It comes down in buckets.  And it still hasn't warmed up.  I guess it's a good thing that I didn't get the pea seeds into the ground last weekend.  I think they would have rotted.

I have a photo of my son's Brandywine tomato plant.  He wants to document it's life and how much it produces over the course of the summer.  So far so good.  Not a great picture - remember it's raining outside.  But we do what we can.
From Garden
Plants don't smile but this one looks pretty happy - especially compared with some of our indoor seed-starting efforts in past years.

The rain this week is discouraging mostly because we had great plans to be outdoors building raised beds.  At this point the kids are trying to figure out a way to still plant the seedlings this weekend in high hills and then build the walls of the raised beds around them.

On the stitching front, I hope to do some more work on Mirabilia's Fairy Idyll today.  Maybe not on Mr. Rabbit, maybe some more dress sections.  I also need to start Poppy from the Pixie Couture collections for a little girl's birthday coming up.  And - I really want to stitch the fruits from Samsarah designs for myself.  They're really cute.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

April 22 came and went

April 22 came and went and Mr. Rabbit still isn't done.  I did make progress but not as much as I'd hoped.  And due to a whole bunch of goings-on, I haven't picked him up since Easter.  Hopefully, things will start to calm down soon and I can get some stitching done.
From Midnight Stitcher
Even baseball isn't conducive to stitching this year.  We have so many games that we aren't having practices and the games are actually interesting and fun to watch - so no stitching then either.  There has been at least 2 fields trips a week between the two kids since the middle of April.  Plus, we're dealing with broken bones (not my own) and a terrible accident involving local teens.  It has been hard to focus on something like my stitching.  (I am so ready for summer vacation.)

So, not that I've been able to work on it, but I did finally choose a piece to work on during baseball season.  It is a nice small piece and I chose it in honor of the baby birds who took up residence by our front door.  A nest appeared there in April and the little birds spent their days flying to and fro and working on their nest.  Then we noticed that the little female bird didn't leave during the day.   Aha!  There must be eggs!  She stayed there for days - almost two weeks.  Then, one morning I checked and I didn't see her head (the nest is up high so I can't look down into the nest).  A few minutes later, the male came swooping in and bunch of little beaks popped up.  It was so fascinating to watch them that even when the school bus came and went, no one moved.  It was also amazing how quickly they grew (and what a mess they can make).  From the time that they hatched until they flew away earlier this week was only about 3 weeks.  Our little bird neighbors were a type of finch rather than chickadee, but I chose to start on Chickadee - a Little Friends design from Valerie Pfeiffer.  It's really cute and I should be able to finish before school's out.

Our seeds have all sprouted and are coming along nicely.  The garden itself is a wreck.  We've been invaded by mugwort which has been impossible for us to control.  And, somehow over the winter, an ornamental strawberry seems to have spread over a large portion of the garden.  Their bright pink flowers are really showy and pretty, but they're hanging out where the tomatoes are supposed to be.  But the asparagus is wonderful and the rhubarb is on the menu for Friday night.  The peach, pear, apple and cherry trees are in full bloom and overall it is just gorgeous!

So, it's too bad about Mr. Rabbit, but I won't put Fairy Idyll away this time.  I think I have a little girl in mind who will really love it when it's finished.  So there's a little incentive to keep going.

Prayers for those being affected by the historic flooding along the Mississippi and its tributaries.  For the rest of you, enjoy the sights and sounds of Spring!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

School Vacation and ...

Rain.  I am guessing that in June when it's 95 degrees and we're sweltering through a little league game this week might look more appealing.  But right now it just looks soggy and chilly.

I haven't made much more progress on the rabbit in Fairy Idyll but I do have plans to work on him today - a lot. Easter will be here in just a few days and I would really like to have him done.

We did spend yesterday planting seeds and a few plants.  The soil is still really cold but some things have started poking through the ground.  The daffodils are already up but even some perennials are showing signs of life.  I have a terribly invasive "weed" that has already started spreading even further.  I know some people intentionally grow mugwort but I am open to any suggestions as to how to get rid of it.  Even the family of rabbits that were out in the garden yesterday haven't kept up with it.

So far this spring we have planted parsley, tomato seeds, pepper seeds, eggplant seeds and potatoes.  We have big plans for the garden this year and we were so looking forward to working out there this week.  Instead we're inside testing just how important it is for the soil to be warm for a seed to germinate, what happens if the soil is too dry or too wet, and do the seeds need lights over them to germinate (some do, some don't).  And, we are very impatiently checking each day for signs of asparagus.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good stitching weekend

It was a good relaxing weekend and I had a fair bit of time for stitching.  The rabbit on Mirabilia's Fairy Idyll is still coming along.  Now he has part of his belly and most of the gold ornament in his hands.  I think I'll work on some of the green garland that he's holding just for some variety.

After stitching that gold ornament for a while, I remembered how awkward it is to stitch with #8 braid on 32 count linen.  I guess I'm used to stitching with #4 braid instead.  If I hadn't already started with the #8 braid, I would have used #4.  Since the fatter braid is well, fat, and the metallic in it is abrasive, I don't want to frog it. I'm afraid it would really damage the linen.  Note for next time: Use #4 braid on 32 count linen.

For Christina who asked if this is the chart that was discontinued by Mirabilia - This chart is still available. We sell it at if you are interested.  I think the chart that you mentioned or were thinking of might be Seaside Kingdom that had a boy and a girl building a sand castle.  That chart has been discontinued which is very sad.  It was a beautiful design and one of only a few with a boy in it.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Slowly but Surely

Well, little league baseball has started in earnest now.  Fairy Idyll is really a bit large to take with me and stitch while waiting during practices.  I still want to finish the rabbit before Easter - and with school vacation coming up I should be able to do that.

I do need to pick a new project to work on during practices.  Something that isn't too big and doesn't required beading as you go.  It is way too difficult to manage the beads while sitting behind the steering wheel.  Beading at home after the regular stitching would be ok.  And, it really can't be a huge project.  Last year I did the Boo! Club from Lizzie Kate and that worked out well (It seems I never posted those photos - put it on the To-do list). I'm considering Christmas Rules from Lizzie Kate or maybe Keys to the Kingdom from Rosewood Manor.  I also want to stitch Poppy Pixie Couture from Nora Corbett.  Hopefully I can pick one this weekend.

Here's my Mr. Rabbit as he stands today.  The parts of the fairy that are complete were stitched some time ago.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Progress

I've made a little progress - very little - on Mr. Rabbit.  I've had a sick kid home with me for nearly a week now.  It's hard to stitch with a little boy (not so little) on your lap.  I did get to see lots of Phineas & Ferb episodes though.

Here's where we were this morning.

From Midnight Stitcher

Slowly - very slowly - but surely.  I better hurry up though.  The snow is melting and I know I'll be outside as soon as I can work in the dirt.  Then there will be no hope for Mr. Rabbit until it rains.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mr. Rabbit

So, here I am again.  It's been a long time.

I am working through my UFO's and my current focus is Fairy Idyll.  I do really love this piece.  I think I keep getting hung up on the fact that I have no idea what I will do with it when I finish stitching it.  I don't have any little girls around  - which is a pity because this would be perfect in a little girl's room.

My goal is to have all of Mr. Rabbit in this piece done by Easter.  I figure if I post it here I'll feel a little more accountable.  And if I meet my goal, I'll be on a roll and will want to keep going.

So, without further ado - Here is Mr. Rabbit. - Yes, he's very small so far.

From Midnight Stitcher