Holiday Feed

Bookstore | Cross Stitch

Over the past couple of months, I've had two people contact me after seeing pieces I've stitched here on my lil' ol' blog, asking for help.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much that means to me.  I've been neglecting my blog so much this past year, yet somehow still inspiring people to stitch their hearts out.

That said, I've made a promise to myself that I'd be better about posting more regularly.  I've even written it in my planner, so you know it's serious business.  I lost my stitching mojo there for a while, but I think I got it back.  At least, for now.  So, fingers crossed it hangs around for a while so I can share some of the fun things I'm working on.

Even with a bit of a lack of stitching mojo, I still managed to finish an ornament.  Little House Needleworks always has the cutest ornaments, and this one is no exception.

Little House Needleworks Bookstore #crossstitch #ornament #christmas

And, hello!  BOOKS!  How could I pass up an ornament that's of a bookstore?!

I need to make sure I do the finishing work on this one so I can put it on the tree that I promised myself I'd put up this Christmas.  I haven't had a Christmas tree in 3-4 years, and I miss it.

Little House Nedleworks Bookstore #crossstitch #Christmas #ornament

Oh, and what are you guys reading right now?  I've hit a couple duds so far this year, but I read The Nix, which was ok, The Bear and The Nightingale, which I really liked, In a Dark, Dark Wood, which was unfortunately very predictable, and I'm currently reading The Last Days of Night, which is about the patent lawsuit between Edison and Westinghouse back in the late 1800's.  So far, I'm loving it.  I have nine books on hold at the library for my nook, so hopefully they'll keep me busy over the next couple months!

 

 


Christmastime is Here and Gone.

I swear it was last week that I was down in New Orleans, taking a billion pictures of gorgeous houses draped in Spanish moss in the Garden District.

Garden District, New Orleans

No, really.

Yet, here we are, spring is in the air, and Ash Wednesday is next week.  Time flies, my friends.

So, how are all of you?  I've missed you!  I haven't gotten much stitching done, or really anything done, really.  Oh!  I have done a lot of reading, though.  So many books, so little time.  There've been a couple that I started and just couldn't get through.  Two of them were ones that the whole world seems to be raving about, yet I just could not get into them.  The Summer Before the War and All the Brave are Forgiven.  I love period pieces, but these....I just couldn't do it.  Right now, I'm reading The Nix.  Has anyone else read this?  So far, I'm liking it, although the pace is a little slow.  Tana French's new book came out a couple months ago, so I gotta make sure to read that soon, too.  

Anyways.  I have been stitching, despite not finishing much.  Not long before Christmas, I finished "Coffee Saves Lives."  I loved loved loved stitching this piece.  I love coffee (duh), and the coffee theme plus the coffee-colored threads?  Totally in love.  And the next in the series is coming out at the Nashville Market!  I cannot wait to get my hands on it!!

Coffee Saves Lives #crossstitch #coffee

The sass with the coffee cup!  Get it, girlfriend.

Coffee Saves Lives #crossstitch #coffee

I stitched this on 40 ct. Purely Primitive.  If you stitch this, I highly recommend getting two skeins of Pecan Pie and Cocoa.  The graph does not designate how many skeins you need of each, but since I just went through this debacle, save yourself the aggravation and a separate trip to your LNS (although, is that really all that bad?! I mean...I ended up with a new Plum Street Samplers graph....so.....) and get two the first go-around.  If you stitch this on larger count, I would venture to say you'll need three of each Pecan Pie and Cocoa.

Next up, "Snow Queen".  

Snow Queen #mirabilia #crossstitch #winter

The model is stitched on a light greyish blue, but as always, I can't do that.  I can't just use what is in the picture.  I did a thread pull at the shop, and chose Picture This Plus "Dusk". 

Oh my God.

Look at the way those colors just jump off the fabric!!!  I can't.

There is a dark grey that is tough to see up agains that dark blue, but for the most part, it's just an outline, or it's surrounded by beads and lighter colored threads, so I decided that foregoing this fabric just because you couldn't really see that grey was ridiculous.

I mean, look at those purples!  Stop yourself.

I've also been spending a considerable amount of time ripping out two blocks of my Shores at Hawk Run Hollow and re-stitching them, but I'll update when I actually start a new block.  That effort has been killing me, because it's all due to being ONE ROW OFF on the lighthouse in Block One.  You have NO idea how angry I was at myself when I figured that out, and subsequently how long it took me to actually pull out that project again to start fixing it.  (sigh)

Anyhooter.  I've missed you guys.  I need to figure out a better blogging schedule than once every six or eight months.  I may need to get planner pages and write it all out, but I will make this happen. Promise.

Sig


Merry Brew.

We all know how I feel about coffee.  It's the elixir of life.  Make it bulletproof, and I'm even happier.

When Paulette released "Merry Brew", I snatched it up just as quick as it was placed on the shelves.  It combines two of my most favorite things ever: Christmas and coffee.

And, as always, I found a faboo fabric to stitch this on that wasn't a neutral khaki or sand or somethingorother.

Merry Brew by Plum Street Samplers #crossstitch #coffee #christmas #santa

I wanted something dark enough so you could see the snowflakes and the steam in the coffee, but most of the neutrals I have were either too dark and you'd lose the reindeer, or they weren't dark enough and you'd lose the snowflakes.  

Enter Dusk Rose. Dark enough to see everything, and the right color of pinkish to bring out the "Merry" and Santa's suit.  

  Merry Brew by Plum Street Samplers #crossstitch #christmas #santa #coffee

I used all Crescent Colors....or whatever they're called now....is it Classic Colorworks?  I can't remember.  Anyways.  I used all the ones called for, so you can see the variations throughout.  I love using variegated threads.  I didn't used to use them all the time - I'd use the DMC equivalent - but sometimes, it really does make a difference.  Now, silks are a different story.  Unless it's a huge difference to use the silks, like if there's 47 different colors in one skein, I'll use the DMC equivalent.  No use spending all that money on solid silks when I can put it towards graphs I have to have.  Priorities.

Speaking of graphs I have to have, I just got "Snow Queen" from Mirabilia, and OMG.  I cannot wait to start her.  I got some WICKED awesome fabric to stitch her on, too.  I can't wait to post updates.  She's gonna be incredible.

Sig


Quaker Samplers Are My Thang.

YOU GUYS.  It's been like, foreverandaday.

I mean, what have you guys even been up to?????  I was on travel for work two weeks ago in sunny CA, then off to San Antonio and the Riverwalk where the best people watching occurs, then back to frigid DC. 

Thank God it appears that spring has finally arrived (it's 80 degrees today!) because, I'm legit

So.

Over.

Winter.

I brought my Joy sampler with me on travel....and didn't realize till I got it out to stitch that I left 99.9% of the threads I needed on my dining room table.  Sooo helpful when I need some stitch therapy.  

Ugh.

Anyhooter.

When I got home, I did some serious stitching on my Raven Queen and Joy Sampler...so much that I FINISHED the Joy sampler!!  

WOOT!

Oh, and PS btdubs, I miraculously have been able to read on planes - I can't even explain how much less painful this makes traveling for me.  I usually get motion sickness SO BAD I just about throw up everything I've eaten over the past week by simply walking down the gate to the plane.   Forget takeoffs and landings.  But, over the last year, it's been glorious.  I just make sure I get some Coke when the flight attendants come down the aisle, and I'm good.  Can you outgrow motion sickness as a grown woman??  Who the heck knows, but I think it happened.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.  I probably just jinxed myself now, and next time I have to fly, I'll want to die.  

Anyways.  So on the flights to LAX...then to SAT....then home....I got out my trusty nook glowlight and read After Alice by my beloved Gregory Maguire, who wrote Wicked and the three sequels.  I LOVED Wicked and its sequels.  Loved.  The musical?  Forget it.   My friend Matt and I lost our minds watching that show on Broadway.  So good.  

However........ I HAAAAAAATED his other books that take fairy tales and twist them sideways.  The Ugly Stepsister?  Awful.  Mirror, Mirror?  Horrendous.   When I saw he wrote a book based on Alice In Wonderland, I thought....this could be awesome....or this could make me want to slice my wrists the right way for wasting time on a terrible book.

Such high hopes.

It.was.awful.

Like, awful.  I literally have no words other than awful to describe how awful it was.  Even worse, I wasted hours of my life reading the damn thing cover to cover.  I kept saying, "it's gonna get better.  All this chasing after Alice to find her through the looking glass? They'll find her and it'll continue into an even better adventure in Wonderland."

False.

I won't spoil the storyline in case any of you would like to read this book, but I am not happy I wasted my time.  (insert angry emoji with furrowed brows here)

But Christmas!  And Quaker samplers!  And manger scenes!  Yay!

Joy Quaker Sampler #crossstitch #sampler #christmas #quaker

I am seriously so in love with this sampler.  Ever since I finished Songs of the Season II, I've been obsessed with the Quaker style samplers.  You all know I have no love for regular samplers, but these are a horse of a different color.

I mean, how can you not love the fact that the letters of the word "Joy" are the basis for the manger scene?!

Joy Quaker Sampler #christmas #crossstitch #sampler #quaker

 Fun fact: those letters took forrrrevvvverrrrrrrrrrrrrrr to stitch because, you know, 40 count.  

Joy Quaker Sampler #christmas #crossstitch #sampler #quaker
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Joy Quaker Sampler #christmas #crossstitch #sampler #quaker

I'm not totally sold on how I stitched my initials and the date.  I wanted it to kinda be invisible, like part of the piece, rather than draw your eye to my signature.  I'll leave it for now....I might change it......who knows.....

But....anyways.  Next up: The Three Wisemen.


Sampler Love.

TGIF, you guys.  Like, fo' realz.  The struggle was real this week.  How is it that short weeks always seem so daggone long?! The long holiday weekend was not long enough.  Just sayin'.  And Monday, we had 4-6 inches of snow which I had to trudge through to get more ground coffee because I ran out.  

I KNOW.  

How is that even possible???!?!?  No idea.  But, my canister is full again and I'm a happy camper.  Bulletproof coffee is my lifeline.  Have you guys tried it yet?! It's wicked good, and a faboo way to get your good fats in before the day gets away from you. 

I decided this week to put down Raven Queen for a hot minute and pick up my Joy Sampler again for the first time in weeks.  Stitching the word "Joy" just about killed me, which is why I needed a break.  I love working on 40 count (I know, I know, I'm crazy for loving such small count fabric), but those letters broke me.  They're about 4 inches high on 40 count, so you can imagine how long that took.

  Joy Sampler #quaker #christmas #sampler #crossstitch

I thought it would never end.

Good news is that these motifs are much quicker to stitch.

Joy Sampler #quaker #sampler #christmas #crossstitch

Much quicker.

Joy Sampler #crossstitch #quaker #sampler #christmas

I'm so in love with the greys and golds up against the dark red.  It's a stray from the normal reds and greens of Christmas pieces, and I love it.

Joy Sampler #quaker #sampler #crossstitch #christmas

And butterflies!  (sigh) Now I want spring like whoa. 


Christmas Stitching.

Bob:  Must be very Vermonty this time of year, all that underwear.
Phil: I guess I should take the electric blanket back.
Bob:  Where you keeping that?
Phil:  Under the underwear....
White Christmas

So.  Here we are, fully entrenched in the Christmas season (with only 4 days left!!!  eeeeeek!!!).  I've been dreaming about gingerbread and shortbread cookies all day, every day.  I mean, gingerbread, you guys.  To die.  And you can only have it during this time of year.  I'm all about Christmas in July and all that jazz, but gingerbread in the middle of summer when it's Africa hot out just isn't the same as when you're curled up on the couch under throw blankets binge watching all your favorite Christmas movies.  

Wait.  Africa hot.  Kinda like it is now.  I don't know about where you guys are, but it's been straight up warm around these parts.  Aroundabout now is when we start hitting temps in the 40's (which is when I start to cry, quite frankly, because I hate the cold like whoa), but these past couple weeks it's been in the 60's.  Last weekend, when I went home for my nephew's 1st birthday party, it was a balmy 73 degrees.  73!!  On December 13th!  I was sweating, windows down, for the 3-hour drive north.  Sweating.  And not because it was freezing outside so I had the heat cranked to 90 degrees in my car.  Not that I actually do that or anything.....

Anyhooter.  As expected, I'm a teensy bit behind already on my December Daily album.  I just haven't done anything particularly Christmassy yet.....except finish my cards, plan out my cookie baking extravaganza, and listen to vintage LPs.....so, long story short (too late): I'm boring.  Well, so far this Christmas season, I've been boring. 

December Daily 2015 cover #dd #decemberdaily #christmas

ALSO.  YOU GUYS.  Tragedy struck my lil' apartment yesterday.  

One of my Christmas travel mugs from Starbucks back in the day.....BROKE.  I can't even explain the devastation.  It had pretty foil paper on the inside, and it was just so festive and fun, and you can't get them like that anymore.  Tears were shed.  

Ok, maybe just a tear.  

Ok, maybe not even that, but more like me saying, "SON OF A BIOTCH!" when it happened.  The latter is probably the most believable of all presented scenarios, and may or may not be what actually happened. ("Would you believe....twice around the bathtub?"  NAME THAT TV SHOW!!! <---- i really, really need to lay off the caffeine...)

On the upside, I get to treat myself to a new Christmas travel mug! I was holding off, because, let's face it, my mug collection is out of control.  But, I'm replacing a broken one, not adding to the mug hoarding mess!  #winning

Since I've been majorly slacking on my December Daily (other than to adorn the cover, as shown above), I figured I'd give you a WIP update on the Christmas stitching I've been doing instead.

Ok?  Ok.

First up is the Joy Quaker Sampler.  This shot shows the entire left side, which is tough to get in all the pics I take, since this piece is turning out pretty big, despite the fact that I'm stitching on my favorite 40 ct madness...

IMG_4868

I apologize for it being a smidge dark...

This next one has a bit more stitching in it, and you can see additional motifs across the top.  The colors showed up a bit better in this one, too.  I'm loving how this is turning out.

IMG_4960
I got a bit bored with that this past weekend, even though I was in full hibernation mode and didn't leave the apartment much, so I started on something a little smaller to give me a sense of instant gratification - the next day in the 12 Days of Christmas - Second Day - from Plum Street Samplers.  A bout of insomnia and one Christmas movie later, viola!

Second Day | 12 Days of Christmas | #crossstitch #plumstreetsamplers #quaker

Like with First Day, I used Currant and Blue Spruce to stitch these ornaments.  I'm trying to use up my scraps, though, so I used a different fabric than for First Day.  This one is 36 count, and is definitely a WDW fabric (although I don't know the color name), which I loathe, but whatever.  I need to use up my scraps, so I suffered through it.  Anyone else out there hate WDW fabric as much as me?????  I cannot stand how limp and lifeless this fabric is, and the weave is so loose it drives me insane.  UGH to the UGH.  

Tonight there will be binge baking and hopefully some DD album building before the big day arrives this Friday!  Are you guys ready for this??  I'm so not.  BUT - thank God for Amazon Prime - I didn't even leave the couch on Saturday (ok, I did for mass....4th sunday of advent and whatnot....) and was still able to order the last of my Christmas gifts, which will be arriving tomorrow!  Queen of Procrastination at her best, my friends.  

Sig


Christmastime Is Here!

Hello my friends!!  Did you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving???  I hope you did, filled with friends, family, good food, and even better wine.  Or maybe some mulled spiked cider instead.  Or maybe both. 

Yummmmm.

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my sister's house, where she had the prettiest table set, and fantastic food for us all to eat.

IMG_4496

Hi Bean!

After the ridiculously delicious dinner, it was time for dessert, of course.  Since my sister's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, and my mom's was Saturday, and my bro-in-law's was last Sunday, I had some serious baking to do.  I made a three-layer apple cider cake for my sis & bro-in-law, and a Hershey's special dark chocolate cake for my mom.  There was the obligatory pumpkin pie, too, but....cake.  Filled to the brim with gluten and sugar, per my sister's request.  Ha.

IMG_4507

If you know anything about me...at all...you know my seat at this dessert table was the one with that coffee pot at my right hand.  Duh.

Black Friday was spent in downtown Philly, doing the tradish Christmas stuff down there, like seeing the light show in the old Wanamaker's building.  I am eternally eight years old when I see this show.

Light Show at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia #Philly #christmas #wanamakerslightshow

I live for this time of year, but it's still nearly impossible to believe that Christmas is right around the corner again already.  I'll be doing another December Daily album like I have the past two years.  I will do my best to provide regular post updates as I build my album, but bear with me as I finish making my Christmas cards and start prepping cookie batters - I may fall behind some days. 

You're all shocked, I know.

It's like I get distracted by shiny objects or things I unearth in crevices in my craft table or start a new cross stitch project when I have three going already or something like that instead of finishing blog posts.  Not that any of that ever happens.  Ever.  

Never.

Ahem.

Pardon me while I go find my mug of mulled cider...wherever it is I left it....and curl up to watch some Christmas specials...

Sig


First Day. | Cross Stitch

We're officially in the Christmas season, which makes me beyond giddy.  I mean, Thanksgiving is fantastic with all the food and pumpkin pie and all....but, Christmas.  

Lately, I've been stitching some seriously big pieces, and I needed a break from all that.  So, I decided I needed to incorporate some smalls, like ornaments, into my WIP rotation.

Enter, Plum Street Sampler's fabulous Christmas freebies.

First Day | 12 Days of Christmas by Plum Street Samplers #christmas #12daysofchristmas #crossstitch

Have you guys gotten on this wagon yet??  Paulette has the first six days posted on her website - she's posting them all as freebies! (fun fact:  the twelve days of christmas are actually the twelve days after christmas, leading up to the epiphany, not the days before christmas...)  I'm a huge fan of her designs, and these are no exception.  

She doesn't have specific colors listed in the charts, she just says to use red, green, gold, and black.  This one only calls for red and green, so I used the same two I used for Quaker Christmas II - Currant and Blue Spruce.  They're superb Christmas colors, and I have a ton of them left over, so it's a great excuse to use up some thread in my stash!  

I'm so far behind already, but Christmas comes every year, so here's hoping I can get all twelve all done by next Christmas!

Sig


Welcome September! | Cross Stitch

You guys!  September is upon us!  It's Africa hot out there....and I just choked on a cubic foot of humidity.  

But fear not - the stores are filled to the brim with pumpkins and witches and black cats and skulls, so cooler weather is on the horizon.  Well, hopefully.  At the very least, all this means that Halloween will be here before you know it.  

And then....CHRISTMAS.  Which, as you all know, is the season I live for every.single.year.

First though, let's have Halloween.  Because I do love pumpkin bread.  And pumpkin pancakes.  And pumpkin spiced anything.  And my Autumn Wreath Yankee candle....which I may or may not have been burning since 1 September....

ahem.

Let's also talk about my progress on The Master and The Macabre.

It's not exactly a Halloween piece...but it's E.A. Poe, so it's haunted and horrifying....so it fits....

IMG_3826

I mean, how tormented is she?!  Her hair is a hot mess, and she's reaching for someone who's not there...

IMG_3825

And, hello!  Spooky, faded, torn curtains.  Loveloveloving these silks.  I have a greater appreciation these days for silks - yeah, they're more expensive, but look at that variation!  The rotting roof!  The curtains!  I can't.  Totally worth the extra pennies.  Or dollars.  Or my left arm.  Whatever gets me that silk thread.  

IMG_3822

I mean, that fabric though.  I literally can't even right now.

 

Sig


And one week bleeds into another...

Here we are, at the end of August.  Next week is 1 September.  I could cry, if it weren't for the fact that I love fall clothes (but not the cooler temps), and that flare jeans are coming back in style.

Thank Jesus. 

I love me some flares (Gap Long and Leans were my FAVVVV when I worked there all through college and grad school....oh, how I miss them so....), and I'm looking forward to some flares and sweet sweet boot cut to come back to my jeans wardrobe for the fall and winter, taking the place of some of my skinny jeans.  As a former college athlete, my legs and ass are just not built for the skin-tight super-skinny jeans on the market these days.  My sister introduced me to leggings a couple years ago, and I want to wear them all.the.time.  If it were socially acceptable, I'd wear them to work.

I don't think the general would appreciate me attending a meeting wearing those.  Or maybe he would.... 

Still.

Unacceptable for everyday in the office.  Unless it's snowing, then all bets are off.   

Aaaaaanyhooter.

The past couple weeks have been totes cray.  I'll sum it up for you:  a mind-numbing week-long meeting in California, delayed return flights, an unexpected overnight stay at O'Hare airport without my luggage (for the record.....I HATE O'HARE AIRPORT.  thank you for listening.), end-of-year work insanity, and a really, really bad Lyme flare-up.

The good thing is there is therapy in the form of great books and needle and thread.  

And a Starbucks barista who spells your name correctly without even asking how it's spelled.  #winning

IMG_3314

I just finished reading one of Tana French's books, The Secret Place.  Her books are seriously so good.  If you like detective novels, def check her out.  I have holds at the library on the remaining two of her books that I have yet to read, so hopefully soon one of those will be available for download. (if you missed my amazing revelation to you all back over the winter, most local libraries have an ebook collection now, so you can download books from your library to your e-reader and get reading!)

Next up is the Halloween project I started - Cricket Collection "The Master and the Macabre."  I've been working too much with Shores of Hawk Run, apparently, because I found an f-up, and I can't figure out where it originated, so it's in time-out.  My OCD tendencies won't allow me to just keep going and hope no one but me notices the mistake.  So....indefinite time-out until I'm ready to find it.

The Master and the Macabre Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #eapoe

THAT FABRIC THOUGH.

OBSESSED.

The Master and the Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #eapoe

I want to stitch everything in that silk that's in the roof of the house.  Like, everything.

Those of you who've been following me for a while know that my most favorite thing to do is take some of these pieces that have been stitched on totally lame and drab fabric and shake that shit up.  Skeleton Crew is the best example - if you're stitching this (or plan to) and you want to make the same changes I did, head on over to my Fabric & Fibers page to see the list of color changes.  

Once this piece is done, I will post all color changes - I have most of them mapped out, but I've changed one so far as I go along from what I'd originally planned.

Fear not, friends.  You will be rewarded for waiting to see the final piece.  That is, of course, if you wish to make the same fabric and fiber choices I did for this spectacularly spooky Cricket Collection piece. 

;-)

Sig

 

 

If you don't have an LNS and you want the supplies to make my changes for Skeleton Crew, call up the gals at The Strawberry Sampler and tell them you want my colors - they will know exactly what you mean.  You could also order online from them - they actually have my changes as an option.  (disclaimer - i get nothing for suggesting you order through TSS - they were my LNS until this year when i moved to the DC area, and they're an amazing bunch of women running a small business, and i'm all about supporting small businesses, especially stitch shops.)