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Tidings of Great Joy | Cross Stitch

Welcome fall!  I feel like yesterday it was March and I was losing my mind at work, and next Thursday it's Thanksgiving already.  This Thursday, they're calling for snow in the forecast.  I say no thank you and good day.  Snow is inappropriate for this time of year.  I better not hear that word for at least another month, preferably two. Kthxbye.

Anyway, since last we spoke, I've been to Italy and back (I may post about that soon - we were there for two weeks and had a wonderful time), and actually finished a stitched piece, Tidings of Great Joy.  I don't do religious pieces (i.e. ones that have verses), but this one kept drawing me to it every time I was at my LNS, so I finally got it in the early summer and started stitching it immediately.

You all know I love me some Christmas.  I mean, I've had my Christmas tree up at work all year (don't judge me!) - not lit or with decorations, but it's up - and just absolutely love this time of year.  I used to get so agitated that everything was Christmas everywhere starting 1 November, but the past few years, I'm totally over it.  I want to savor every minute of the spices on the stove making the house smell Christmassy, the tree, lights, and festivities.  I stitch Christmas all year, too, with at least one piece going at all times.

Tidings of Great Joy #LaDDa #crossstitch #christmas

While I was stitching this, I couldn't help but hear Linus in my head, reciting this on the stage in "Charlie Brown Christmas".

Tidings of Great Joy #LaDDa #crosstitch #christmas

I made some changes, but they're minimal.  I stitched this on 36 count WDW Confederate Grey, and switched the berries and vine from the called-for colors to GAST Currant and Blue Spruce.  Hands down, they are my favorite Christmas red and green to stitch with.  Ever since I stitched Songs of the Season, I've been obsessed.

Tidings of Great Joy #LaDDa #crossstitch #christmas

The special thing about this piece is that this traveled with me across the Atlantic, and I even put a few stitches in on the plane and in Italy.  It's a transatlantic piece!  I think that's pretty cool ;-)

What are you guys working on? It's been such a long time since I've checked in with you all!  I'd love to hear about your projects!

 


April Showers

I don't know about you guys, but there is a serious case of cabin fever in our house.  Winter will not let go.  Yesterday, we had G O R G E O U S summer-like weather, and today, it's chilly and rainy.  Perfect stitching weather, although I really am anxious for more nice days to get out of the house and do stuff out in the sunshine.  I think I might break out my "Faith" and put some stitches in that lovely companion to "Joy", or possibly start a new small project, since I have so many large ones going right now.

We took advantage of the weather yesterday and went over to the city for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  We saw the beginning of the parade. and then wandered over to the vendor section.  Truth be told....we were not impressed.  The food looked good, but the other vendors were just, blah.  So, we left there and ventured up to the Hill.  I'd never seen the Supreme Court building, so we stopped there, and unbeknownst to us, the Library of Congress is right next door!  Oh, to have access to those research hooks.

Library of Congress
Library of Congress Reading Room
Library of  Congress Thomas Jefferson Library

If you ever have the opportunity to visit DC, make sure you visit the Library of Congress.  It is absolutely stunning inside and out.

Onto stitching!

I promised pics of my Raven Queen all dolled up in her new frame, so here they are!

  Raven Queen #ravenqueen #crossstitch #mirabilia

I am so happy with how this frame turned out.  Since it's not solid, it brings out the grey fabric and the castle spires and lines in the background.  She is easily my favorite of the queens that I've done to date.   

Raven Queen #ravenqueen #crossstitch #mirabilia

I used all the called-for threads and beads, but not the fabric (naturally).  I used Picture This Plus "Storm" in 32 count. 

Raven Queen #ravenqueen #crossstitch #mirabilia

As always, I encourage all of you to make all your work "yours" by switching fabric (my absolute favorite thing to do) or the threads.  Often times, you'll find that this enhances the piece in ways you didn't even consider! My "Skeleton Crew" is a perfect example.  My former LNS still gets requests for the changes I made to that piece.

I'm off to bake some bread, stitch, and read.  A nice, quiet Sunday.  I wish the same for all of you, my lovely people!!

 


Land of Liberty | Cross Stitch

Well, friends.  Here we are in August!  I can hardly believe it.  We've had some blistering hot days, but the past few days have been less humid with cooler days coming next week.  Summer so far has been busy; the weekends have been packed with activities, with work keeping the weekdays busy.  I am looking forward to vacation at the end of the summer, that's for sure!

This weekend looks like it's going to be beautiful, so I plan on heading out and enjoying the sunshine.  Perhaps a stroll through Georgetown is in order.  It's been a while since I've taken in the architecture of the city.

I've been doing a bit of stitching; more lately than the past few months, so I've actually gotten a few pieces completed.  

One is "Land of Liberty" by With Thy Needle and Thread.

Land of Liberty #WithThyNeedleandThread #crossstitch #patriotic

I stitched this on 40 ct. Almond from Silkweaver.  I think it helps bring out the red, white, and blue in the flags and Uncle Sam's outfit.

I didn't like the color on the chart for the lettering - Heirloom Gold - so I switched it for Apple Cider.  Much better, I think.  I also changed the color of the pup - I used Hickory Sticks...so he kinda looks like Toto from The Wizard of Oz.  

Land of Liberty #WithThyNeedleandThread #crossstitch #patriotic

There's never a bad time to be stitching patriotic-themed pieces, and I have quite a few more in my stash.  I'm still muscling through Shores of Hawk Run, and I've got a cute Country Cottage Needleworks Christmas piece I'm almost finished with, and Snow Queen that's been untouched for months (I found out the shaded areas don't actually overlap, so I need to copy one side and match it up...), so God only knows what I'll get myself into once I'm finished one of these in my WIP pile!!


O Beautiful For Spacious Skies | Cross Stitch

Summer just kinda lends itself to patriotic stitching, doesn't it?  The summer holidays honoring our veterans, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, and those who volunteer to continue to protect us and the freedoms we have help keep us in that patriotic mood.  At least for me they do.

Heartstring Samplery always has such wonderful designs (the coffee series is by far my favorite, of course), and when I saw this piece, I knew I had to add it to my stash. 

I used all the threads called for, and stitched it on 36 ct Legacy from Picture this Plus.

O Beautiful for Spacious Skies Heartstring Samplery #crossstitch #patriotic

Cute, right?

Heartstring Samplery O Beautiful For Spacious Skies #crossstitch #patriotic

I love how your initials and the date are incorporated into the design.  I had to alter the "J" slightly from the given alphabet, since it leaned left while the "A" leaned right.  It looks goofy.  So, with the help of my friend, Catherine (I sent her pics of the original and then the altered letter to see which was better), I had the "J" lean slightly right so it was closer to what the "A" was doing.  

Heartstring Samplery O Beautiful for Spacious Skies #crossstitch #patriotic

I love the strawberry vine on this design, too.  The reds are perfect, and they frame the rest of the piece so nicely.

Heartstring Samplery O Beautiful for Spacious Skies #crossstitch #patriotic

Are you guys working on any patriotic pieces for summer?  I have With Thy Needle and Thread patriotic piece in the works, which I hope to share with you all soon!


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.

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Good Intentions | Cross Stitch

Kathy Barrick came out of retirement last year and hasn't disappointed since.  I have a few of her newer graphs in my "you're next, I swear" pile, including "Heaven and Nature Sing".

I had my eye on this one for a while, finally picked it up recently at my LNS and just finished it.

Good Intentions by Kathy Barrick #crossstitch #goodintentions

If any of you have seen this piece, you'll note that I changed one of the colors and eliminated the dog.  I didn't like the orange with all these other colors, so I switched it out for the mauve you see.  And, instead of the rando dog chillin on top of the spool on the left, I just made a mirror image of the top spool on the right with a different color.  

Easy peasy.

Good Intentions by Kathy Barrick #crossstitch #goodintentions

I stitched this on 40 count Antique Almond from Silkweaver.  One of my favorite fabrics ever.  I also used the DMC equivalents for this piece - the model was stitched in all Needlepoint Silks.  No thanks.  Since this is all solid colors, it wasn't worth it.  Still looks awesome, especially on this fabric.

Good Intentions by Kathy Barrick #crossstitch #goodintentions

Now I really want to start working on one of the Hawk Run series that I have....or maybe just fix my major f-up in Shores of Hawk Run so I can actually finish it.........

  

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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.

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Raven Queen in All Her Glory.

This piece is, by far, one of my absolute favorites that I've stitched.  I've done a lot of cool pieces over the years, but since this one looks so much like Maleficent, my all-time favorite Disney villainess, Raven Queen ranks high on the list.

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #ravenqueen #mirabilia

This dress.  If it wouldn't cost me my vital organs on the black market, I'd commission this for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball this year.  Because, OMG.  Those greens are insane against the black.

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #ravenqueen #mirabilia

And these beads!

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #ravenqueen #mirabilia

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #ravenqueen #mirabilia

Freakin' awesome, amiright??

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #ravenqueen #mirabilia

I stitched this on 32 count Picture This Plus "Storm", which I think really provides a great contrast for the black and the greyish-purples of the castle in the background.  I was afraid it would be too close of a match to the greys in the stone wall, but it ended up being perfect.

I want that necklace and earring set.  Just sayin'.


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
IMG_5883

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.