Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If Mother Nature won't cooperate...

then I'll bring Spring inside myself. Another gray, cold day with snow showers - this is not my idea of Spring. So I decided to decorate the family room mantle in spring finery - a pretty little quilt and some flowery china!

This is may be the only quilt in my house that I didn't make. I purchased it several years ago at an auction that raised funds for breast cancer treatments for women without insurance. It was the only quilt in the auction that was yellow, so it had to be mine.

And among my many collections is flowery china plates. I never spend more than a couple of dollars on a piece and I've gotten more selective as time goes on. Last year I culled the collection and I'm happy with this smaller display.

Do you see Chicken Little? I've been including him in all my mantle displays. Kinda like a poultry "where's Waldo?" I love the pansy plates and there is a little blue edged saucer that came from a tea set my mother had as a child. That one is super special.

I haven't done any cross stitching in the last couple of days because I got sidetracked by this pretty aqua yarn.

This sock pattern is called Spring Forward - very appropriate, don't you think?

The color of the yarn is Ocean. It is Michaels' brand Loops & Threads and this is Sophie, a superfine 50/50 mix of superwash merino and nylon and it was marked down to $2.99 a skein. I don't know why since it just came out but I snapped up several skeins in the Ocean and Flamingo colorways.

Well tomorrow is Opening Day for baseball. The boys of summer - I think they'll be wearing earmuffs when they throw out the first pitch. I've been a Cincinnati Reds fan all my life, so I'll be watching the game, and I'll be happy that I'm not shivering in the stands.

Here's hoping Spring will come and stay - happy stitching!
carol fun

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, already?

Well I don't know where that week went but here it is, Sunday again. I did get a good amount of cross stitch finished and I took the BBD Summer Basket piece off to the framer. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised to find that this chart was ready to be picked up. This is "Be Kind and True" by Chessie & Me.

It isn't a big piece, the stitching only measures 4" X 6", and I love the coziness of this sampler. It has a nice smattering of decorative stitches and my beloved alphabet and house. But its crowning or crowing glory is the chicken.

I've done several other Chessie & Me pieces and usually they feature a cat so this was a nice surprise. I did change the color of the chicken to shades of yellow and orange which look better in real life than in the photo. I'm also very happy with that rustic bark frame. I auditioned about 20 different frames but kept coming back to this one. I like it so much I may use it on another Chessie & Me that I have in my stash, the Mighty Oak Sampler. I think the "bark" frame would nicely highlight a sampler featuring a log cabin.

My needle has been flying lately, the "Be kind and true" piece was finished in only 11 days. I think the key is lots of hours with my butt in the chair watching basketball. Butler is my favorite right now and the only one left in my bracket - LOL, and that game against Florida was so exciting.

Well I need to catch up on some laundry tonight and I'm hoping to do some sewing and some card making this week. My son starts a new quarter of school and that means a change of schedule which sometimes can be hard for him but we'll do our best. I have a couple of good waiting in the car projects lined up. I found some yummy aqua sock yarn marked down at Micheal's and I started a pair of lacy socks and I'm still stitching on the BBD Gathering Basket piece so I have lots of fun projects to look forward to, now life just has to give me the time.

Wishing you happy stitching and some Springy weather in the week to come!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A mid week finish and of course another start!

Oh the weather is changing in my little corner of the world. Yesterday sunny and 70's, today still warmish, 60's but storms with tornado watches and tomorrow snow flurries and highs in the 40's. Excuse me Mother Nature but the weather is moving in the wrong direction, lets move back into those sunny 60's. Just a small request.

I did get a lot of stitching done in the last week and I have finish to show and of course I immediately started a new project. All thoughts about WIPs have been bumped to the rear of my mind as I pounce on another springy project.

Here is my finish, Summer Basket by Blackbird Designs. I LOVE THIS PIECE!

Oh those pretty golden stars, the basket with the giant tulips, the 3 little birds. It was such fun to move from one motif to another and I think it really quicken my stitching pace.

I put the first stitches in this piece on Friday March 11 and I finished it last evening, Tuesday March 22. Now watching March Madness gave me extra time in my stitching chair but other events kept me from putting in even one stitch on several days. Either way this had to be the quickest I have ever finished a sampler of this size. I can't wait to take and get it framed. I envision something in a warm golden tone, maybe even a gilded frame. I'll have to go and try out some possibilities.

And since I finished that piece I jumped right into one of the newest BBD Reward of Merit Pincushions, Gathering Basket.

This piece of linen is 32 count and I don't know the name but it is a lovely pale shade greeny blue. I won't have much left around the edges when I'm done stitching but it will be enough to sew it into a little pillow. I can't wait to stitch on this tonight with the CC Clay Pot and Jakey Brown colors. I love those pinks and dusty rose shades.

March Madness starts back up again tomorrow and with those chilly temperatures they are expecting outside I think I will have ample stitching time this week. Hope you are having some crafty time. Take care -

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sampler for Sunday

Well I've spent a ton of time watching March Madness and I am enjoying it.I'm getting lots of cross stitching done. Most of my underdog picks have fallen, except for Butler. Hope they can get even further in the tourney.

Today is another sampler I did years ago - 1995 to be exact. It is by Eileen Bennett and called Antiqued Sampler. Lake Stitcher showed this chart on her blog the other day.

I liked the specialty stitches in this piece. I did needlepoint before I did cross stitch and I always enjoyed the dimensional specialty stitches.

My favorite part of this piece is the verse. "Love me, Love my Samplers". That perfectly sums up my feelings about my many samplers. Certain members of my family have commented that it looks like we don't know our ABC's in this house but those snarky comment don't deter me from stitching more samplers. And on that note I'm off to watch some more basketball and put some more stitches in my BBD piece.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some Springy stitching...

It is a beautiful day here - sunny and upper sixties - and I am loving it! These sweet little crocus popped the other day. That purple is electric, it just glows!

And to go along with the Spring flowers I've been doing a little springy stitching. Actually the name of this BBD piece is Summer Basket, but that big flower looks like a giant tulip to me (tulips are my favorite flower) and tulips just say Spring to me.

I'm using the overdyed threads it calls for - the pinks are GA Clover and I love all those stars which are GA Brandy. I had just enough to do the stars.

It calls for 2 skeins of Brandy but my LNS only had one and I couldn't wait to start this piece. I have another skein here but as is so often the case with hand dyed floss it isn't exactly the same. My older skein is a bit brighter but I think it will be fine for the zig zag border at the bottom that I haven't started yet. This piece is just flying. I started this last Friday and this has been a good week to get a lot of stitching done. I'll be spending the rest of the week watching college basketball and seeing how long my brackets hold. So far so good - I picked Butler and Morehead State. I root for the little guys. Soooo I'm going to go and gloat for the moment to my son (who's bracket already took a hit) because I'm sure my luck will be fleeting and tomorrow my bracket will be broke. Oh well- I enjoy watching the games and I think I'll be able to get a lot more done on this piece.

Happy stitching
carol fun

Monday, March 14, 2011

A design wall on Monday

Well I got some new light bulbs at Wally world and got my son to replace the burned out ones and then I could take a picture! Here's the blocks I have done so far.

This is pattern Jelly and Jam by Fig Tree quilts and the fabric is the Verna line last year from Kate Spain. I LOVE that Verna line. I've already made a table runner and a small Schnibbles quilt from it and I think this full size quilt will be pretty too. I'm going to make it 8 blocks square and then add a generous border. Here's a close up of one block.

It is made with a jelly roll and I'm using Kona Snow for the background. I thought I had a bunch of this fabric but last night revealed that I had less than a yard so I went off today to purchase some. It seemed like it should be an easy task but I ended up going to 2 Joann's and then finally Hobby Lobby before I could get some. By the time I got home there wasn't any time to sew before dinner. Oh well I may get a block or 2 done tonight. Every little bit helps.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Pincushion Winner Is...

Jill of Ramblings of a Fabric and Yarn Obsessor! I will be getting Jill's goodies in the mail right away since it is getting virtually impossible for me to resist opening the chocolate bar and eating it myself. (insert hanging head in shame) But hey, this time change has made me cranky, not that I'm not ordinarily cranky but a bit crankier - oh my family is happy with me. LOL!

And thank you to all who entered and became new followers. I appreciate it and I hope that I can share projects that you'll enjoy as much as I do.

I realized today that I never got around to a sampler last Sunday but I have one today. This is one by Drawn Thread called For the Birds.

I feed the birds in my backyard all year round and to fufill my arbritary rule that a piece had to have an alphabet and a house, there is a bird house on this piece. The cat in the corner has the same coloring as our dearly departed cat, Khat (yeah it is pronounced "cat" - not real orginal name). I love how the alphabet wraps around the piece as a frame.

I want to be clear that this was stitched years ago. I got an email this week from a reader who wondered how I get so much done. Well, I am lucky that before starting this blog I have had 25 years of stitching that I can show. I have been cross-stitching and quilting for over 25 years and added knitting the last couple of years. Also I was ADHD before they had a name for it. I've always been antsy and jump from thing to thing, but somehow in my 30's I harnessed that energy and even though I went from project to project I didn't sweat over starting new things because I was going back and finishing up older projects as I went along. I rarely make a quilt or stitch a piece that I don't start in enthusiastically, lose steam, find another project that I have to do right NOW, lose interest in it and then come back around and finish up some other project that I had started before. Life is not a straight line and I refuse to entertain too much guilt about having WIPs or UFOs. There is no quilt or cross stitch police and no one cares if you finish but you. That's my philosphy. Also it helps to do as little housework and cooking as I can possibly get by with. Thank you Lord for drive thru windows.

In keeping with my guilt free, lets start something new philosphy, I began a new cross stitch sampler on Friday and have made some significant progress. Also I got back out some quilt blocks I started last Spring and sewed up several of them, so I've circled back around again. I'll have pictures this week but right now it is dark down in my studio area (studio sounds so much classier than "I sew in the finished basement" doesn't it?) Two of my halogen light bulbs bit the dust today and I didn't have time to go and get some new ones. On the list of errands for tomorrow.

Hope your week has some happy stitching time in it! Check back and see what I'm up to, I'd love your company.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, March 11, 2011

Trying to drag Spring...

into the house! Last night we got snow, not a lot, but about 1/2" on the grass. It wasn't bad for driving, but it was a bit demoralizing when you have your hopes pinned on Spring being just around the corner. So when I got up this morning and saw that white background I tried to think positively about the snow and thought it would be a great backdrop for this springy quilt.

Do you see a nice white background?? Me neither. See I got up, showered, wrangled 2 loads of laundry in and out of the machines and folded it, empty the litter box and helped my son with his study outline for his history class and then I grabbed the quilt and my camera and go outside. Well the sun was shining beautifully and as a result, all the snow in the backyard had melted, so I just pushed on.

This quilt may be my favorite that I have ever done. It started with a pattern by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes that I saw on Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts show circa 1997. Now this was in the days of recording shows on VHS tapes and by the time I realized that I wanted the dimensions of this pansy block,and I fumbled to find a tape to feed the VCR, I only caught the tale end of the show with a picture of the quilt called Molly's Magic Pansies. I ended up figuring out the size of the pieces on my own, since I couldn't wait for the pattern to be published. The quilt appears in the book Say it With Quilts , but my quilt isn't a copy but a take off from their idea.

Those 9 big center purple pansies are 12" blocks. The 36 yellow pansies in the border are 6" blocks, and the little pansies that are cornerstones are 3". Every pansy in this quilt is unique. I used a different combination of yellow, purple and green fabrics in each and every one (yes I am certifiably crazy - LOL). You can see that even back in 1997 I had a healthy stash of yellows. It is my favorite color. I had a yellow bedroom as a teenager and in my first apartment complete with a yellow shag rug. When I love a color, I LOVE IT!

While I was out today I saw baskets of pansies at a local garden store and I'm going to gets some this weekend for my garden. I think pansies are such happy flowers, they have the sweetest little faces.

Thanks to everyone who has left a comment for the pincushion giveaway. I will take entries till midnight EST Saturday night and I'll announce the winner sometime on Sunday after I've recovered from having a perfectly good hour of my sleep stolen from me - yes I am bitter about Daylight savings time. I think you should just leave it alone, the day will stay lighter longer all by itself. Boy this makes me crabby. I need go eat some chocolate and chill out.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life is just a bed of pansies...

if you are a pampered house cat!

I unfolded this quilt and pressed the creases out of it and laid it on the floor in anticipation of my oldest son hanging it for me. Then Big Dude claimed it as the perfect resting spot for several hours and oldest son didn't want to disturb him soooo I'm still waiting for it to get hung. And I'll get some better pictures of it when it gets hung.

It isn't a high priority at the moment since my dear children graciously shared their head cold with me and right now I am a coughing, sneezing, stuffy nosed, tired and achey lump.

I am enjoying reading all the comments and entries for the pincushion giveaway but haven't gotten up enough energy to respond individually. Hope you understand and I hope I feel more energetic in a day or two.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Giveaway in hopes of Spring!

Hello hello-- ok I don't know what I did to my laptop but thank goodness for children who can fix them. I couldn't get anything to work yesterday so I didn't do a sampler for Sunday but I will catch up this week. In the meantime, I want to show the goodies for my giveaway. (proper ooohhhinnggg and aaahhhing are apprecitated - LOL)

Here is a brand new big bright pincushion. From the comments this one was a favorite, I think because it is colorful and we all need some color in our lives during the gray rainy days right now. Isn't the button stack cute? Polka dots and flowers - I found it at Michaels and need to go back and buy another for me. Additionally there is a cute pair of scissors. The tag says Embroidery Angels from Bella Blue. They're about 4" long and nice and sharp. This little angel comes in hot pink with hearts. And to round out the package a bar of Ghirardelli - dark chocolate with raspberry filling. Now we all know that dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and raspberries have fiber and vitamins so this is practically health food we're talking about, right???(Don't bother to set me straight, I chose to look reality directly in the face and ignore it. Life is better that way, IMHO.)

So here's a close up of the pincushion. It about 6" across.

And this is my new pincushion. I really like it.

I have different kinds of pins in each of 5 sections. There are flat head pins, and glass head pins, and thin pins and fork pins and needles. I like having them separate but all together since I use different pins for different tasks. I left the yellow section empty and this makes it easy grab it without sticking myself (ask me how I know about that)

So if you'd like to be entered in the giveaway leave me a comment at the end of this post. If you mention it on your blog, let me know and I'll put your name in twice. I will run this giveaway till this coming Saturday night - March 12 - and I'll post the winner on Sunday March 13, which is the actual day the time changes. I got my info from the 5 ranked tv station in a 4 station market. Hey they aren't the most accurate but the news comes on early and I like that. Sooooooo.... to make the time change a little more tolerable I will send this package off to the winner. I know it doesn't make up for losing an hour of sleep but it the best I can do.

Hope your week is productive!
Happy stitching-
carol fun

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Poultry on parade

Today felt like Spring was right around the corner and I sure hope it is. I started my day by banishing all the snowmen decor on the first floor. I still have the basement family room to deal with but it will have to wait a day or two. My decor change is to chicken.... spring chickens!

I made this quilt years ago and I was going for a more "natural" looking chicken than the polka dot variety I'm so fond of now. Each chicken is a different feathery fabric, each background is a different green. I was so happy to find the barn wood looking fabric for the sashing and the border is quintessential 1990's Hoffman print.

The pattern is from Country Threads and I made the little wing section from a folded piece of fabric so it forms a bit of a pocket. I titled this one Poultry on Parade. I might make this one again someday with bright polka dot poultry.I think this was my gateway chicken project and from this all kinds of chickeny crafts have developed.

In addition to the chicken quilt I put out my chicken plates. They are by Warren Kimble and I have them displayed in this plate hanger in my breakfast nook - nice plump hens.

And here are the chicken pincushions I stitched up last week.

I made another polka dot one with red dots on yellow and I went for a random dot pattern for the little robin's egg blue one. Aren't his eyes great? They are a button I bought at Joann's and it had a shank and I snipped it off. I bought 2 cards of these jiggly eye buttons so I have 3 more to play with.

Check back in a day or two, I'm going to do a giveaway of a bright pincushion and some cute scissors I found at my LQS and chocolate will also be involved. I need to put some finishing touches on the pincushion and take some pictures. I think it will be a fun way to celebrate the coming of Spring. In case you hadn't heard this weekend in the Spring forward weekend for the time change -- I HATE that! Just leave the time alone! It will take me 2 weeks to adjust and I'll be crankier than usual - arghhh!!! Okay that's my rant for the day.

Happy stitching -
carol fun