Monday, March 31, 2008

Handcrafts Online sale

For anyone interested who doesn't already know, Mary Kathryn is having a "Spring Cleaning Sale" over at her web-shop Handcrafts Online. She's updating the sale page frequently - things coming and going. And she's also offering free shipping on orders over $25. I was turned on to her by Michele and I love love love ordering from her! DH reigned me in this morning when I had filled my "shopping cart" much too full and was toying with the idea of pressing "check out" and entering my billing info. Why did I even ask him about it? ;)

Speaking of Mary Kathryn, she did the most wonderful thing for me. I've mentioned previously about my fear of the LNS. I'm much too intimidated to venture in there just yet. But I want to get started on some of these projects I've collected and I need nice linen for that. So Mary Kathryn sent me a bunch of little linen samples - all labeled with printed descriptions and placed in little baggies. She took her own time to do that and even sent them without a dime from me for the scraps or shipping! It is so kind. I received them in the mail today. And my goodness are they lovely to touch! It is really true that stitchers are some of the sweetest people out there!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Progress Report

Things have been going very smoothly with my latest project - a Little House Needleworks freebie called "Thankful." I've been stitching it over 1 on 28 count linen and it's been a very enjoyable little piece to stitch up. And I mean "little" literally!

I've finished everything except the words. The design says "Thankful for Ewe" but I haven't quite decided if I want to stitch that phrase or something else depending on what I put in the finished tin to give to my sister. Hm. I haven't decided yet on what exactly to make the tin for. I need to give that some more thought. In the meantime, here's the design stitched up without any words:

I've really enjoyed stitching this 1/1. It's been very tedious but the effect is fantastic! It's so precious. I can't wait to give my first tin finishing a try.

Lately it feels like the weekends have been busier and crazier than the weekdays! Last weekend we had a memorial for my FIL, the Easter vigil, and then Easter. This weekend we had a mass and funeral for my FIL yesterday and then DH's cousin had her first Holy Communion today. I need a weekend just to recover from my weekends! Next weekend Cuddle Bug and I are going to visit my twin sister in Illinois. It's "siblings weekend" on campus where my sister is in graduate school. DH will be sleeping in next weekend. I won't be so lucky. But he was kind enough to let me sleep in late this morning and he even made me breakfast. They don't come better than my hubby :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Project

Yesterday I started stitching up something new. It's another small project and (assuming nothing comes up unexpectedly) this time I plan to finish it in a timely manner - unlike the Alphabet Tree.

Sorry about the shading in the picture. I'm stitching this little guy up 1/1 and I'm loving how delicate it is turning out! I know there's relatively no hope of frogging anything done over 1, but I'm taking the risk. I want to make it into a tin to include in my "Sister Box" to, naturally, my sister. Here's hoping it turns out and my eyes can manage the strain until it's finished. This is also my first LHN project - even if it's a freebie :)

In other news, the April challenge for the Monthly Finishing Challenge has been posted. It's a needleroll. I'm nervous! Thank goodness we have a full month for this one!

Well I'm off to finish making myself presentable. We are having a memorial mass this morning for my FIL and then we are going to the cemetery to bury his ashes. Sorry to leave you all on a sad note.

Thank you for visiting and for all your lovely comments!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Pinkeep

I really appreciate everyone's wonderful comments about my first pinkeep attempt! Hands down, it was suggested to leave the pink. That made me feel much better about the ribbon and I followed Laura's suggestion to tuck it away overnight and look at it with fresh eyes this morning. Ultimately, I've decided to leave it alone. :)

Also, Mercy asked about the floss I used. I used regular old DMC floss - colors 167, 470, and 3688.

And Michele asked about the bow. Andrea posted instructions just the other day for her fun little bow here. Isn't it precious? I love the little loop at the top! Andrea's blog is so lovely and I enjoy her little details. It was so nice of her to publish instructions so even I could look like I had some kind of trick up my sleeve :)

My First Pinkeep

Well here it is - my very first pinkeep. I'm not too sure I'm entirely pleased with the ribbon I picked out for it. I'm thinking I should have gone with white instead. Any opinions?

I can always change it. I'm worried the pink ribbon detracts too much from the stitched design and isn't pulled together with the green backing fabric. I would have liked to have used a brown ribbon, but I couldn't find any suitable. Any thoughts? Do I need to make another trip to the craft store for different ribbon? Be honest - seriously! I'm not going to post this to the Monthly Finishing Challenge blog until I have made a decision about the ribbon. I'm hesitant to even put it up here since I'm not quite sure how I feel about it just yet. But I know you will all give your honest and constructive opinions...right? :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Friendly Neighborhood Craft Store

I made it to the craft store tonight despite the rain. I got the last of my necessities to make my pinkeep for the Monthly Finishing Challenge. Hopefully I will have something to show for it tomorrow. If not, I've got a few more days to churn out something at least a little respectable for the challenge.

While I was there, I tried to get all the supplies I needed to make a floss ring tag according to Staci's tutorial found here. Did everyone hear that Michele ended up with the beauty from that tutorial? Staci is so sweet! Anyway, long story short, I couldn't find a set of eyelets that came with the setting tool. So it will take another trip to another craft store to manage that. :)

The year-long yearning for everything Christmas

For as long as I can remember, my mom's years have revolved around a single holiday - Christmas. The day after Christmas begins the countdown to the following Christmas and the collection of decorations and gifts starts just as immediately. She loves it. And she has passed that love of Christmas onto her children - albeit our tastes are very different.

I insist we put up our fake tree (I know, I know, but where I grew up Christmas trees dry up before you have time to pull into your driveway with the tree strapped to the top of the car) no later than the weekend before Thanksgiving. I want to know that when Santa makes his debut at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade the Christmas season has started and I am ready to hit the ground running! DH accommodates lovingly :)

It came as no shock to DH yesterday, then, when I told him I had arranged to get a new cross-stitch pattern - and it was the 12 Days of Christmas! I emailed Mary Kathryn about the Prairie Schooler design to see if she had any more available through her shop, Handcrafts Online. Apparently the design has been retired so once they're gone they're gone. She does have a few and is setting one aside for me. Yes! I want to make each "day" into it's own ornament. My goal is to have a tree some day that is decorated all in cross-stitch ornaments. I know it seems wrong to be anticipating the arrival of a Christmas pattern when everyone is waiting not-so-patiently for spring to finally free us all from the bondage of winter weather. But it's time to start thinking of next Christmas in my world :)

And thank you all for your well wishes. I was feeling much more energized this morning. Now I'm back to dragging myself around. I wonder if this could be because I've been living on Easter candy for 3 days? Ugh. I told myself I was going to start "being good" come Monday morning. It's now Wednesday afternoon and I think I've eaten a pound of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the last 2 hours alone :/ Oh well. There's always next Monday :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Alphabet Tree Finish

I don't know what's wrong with me. All that I'm certain of is that no matter how hard I try, my eye lids won't stay up. I'm ready for a long nap. And that's convenient because Cuddle Bug just went down for his. Today is going to be a better nap day for the little monster than yesterday - I can just feel it!

Despite my lack of energy, I did manage to take pictures today.

Here is the Alphabet Tree finished up. Now I just need to get to work on the pinkeep finishing, but that requires (another) trip to the craft store.

And finally here's a picture of the new goodies the mailman delivered yesterday. I got the "Love and Faithfulness Thread Pack" from LHN/CC and Mary Kathryn of eHandcrafts threw in a free LHN/CC chart as well. It made my day!

Today I made it out to Target. I needed a small set of plastic storage drawers to organize some little crafting supplies. I got Cuddle Bug a little pad of paper and some other small stuff. But I managed to forget the one real necessity I went there for: size 4 Pampers Cruisers. Ugh. So now I have to make another trip out sometime today. It's moments like this I wonder how I ever left DH talk me into the idea that 'sposies are so much more convenient than the cloth we were using up until a year ago. Oh well. Such is the story of motherhood I suppose.

I'm off to read everyone's blogs. I've gotten over my shyness and fear of leaving comments and now I try to comment as often as possible. I so enjoy reading all of your wonderful blogs! And thank you all for visiting mine :)

Monday, March 24, 2008


No pictures to post today. I have been completely unproductive all day! Now it's just too dark to get a good picture of the finished Alphabet Tree. Oh well.

I don't think I've felt this tired since Cuddle Bug was born and I was up nursing all night! I tried to nap this afternoon when he was napping, but he decided to cut nap time very very short today. Oh well. I'm feeling like I could sleep the whole rest of the day away. I sure hope I'm not getting sick.

There was one very exciting event today, though. The mailman came with my "Love and Faithfulness" LHN/CC threadpack! And, to top off the joy of my new acquisition, Mary Kathryn included a free LHN chart as well called "Thankful." I love love love it!

Pictures tomorrow. Tonight is for quiet. Sweet Dreams stitchers!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Very Happy Easter

I feel like I have been doing non-stop for the past 4 days! Now at 10:30 Sunday night - I am alone for a minute and it's nice!

Yesterday afternoon we had a memorial for my FIL at my BIL's restaurant. It was very nice. There were so many people that came. He touched many lives. It being a holiday weekend and relatively short notice (only about 3 days), the turnout was really touching!

In addition to that, I had the most spectacular and meaningful Easter of my life. I was brought into the fullness of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil mass last night - received the Sacrament of Confirmation and my first Holy Communion. I started the journey into the church in September and it all lead to the Easter Vigil. What a moment! I was a little misty with the confirmation, but I have to be honest - I cried like a baby after receiving the Eurcharist. It was truly moving! What was also incredibly special was that the parish priest made intentions for my FIL during the prayers of the faithful! It was so wonderful - especially during a mass that celebrates the resurrection! And my FIL beamed ear to ear when I told him I was joining the church. So his memory being a part of the mass made it that much more special!

Afterward we went down to the rectory basement for a party thrown by the Women's Guild and I gave my sponsor (my aunt-in-law) the "Peace of God" project I had made for her as a gift. This is a picture of it from my first blog entry. I actually re-laced it onto cardboard yesterday afternoon to get it better centered than it is in this picture.

Today we had a wonderful and packed Easter. We went to mass (for the 4th wonderful day in a row), then we went to DH's aunt and uncles house and had a fantastic Easter brunch with DH's sprawling extended family. Cuddle Bug hunted for Easter eggs and came home for a nap. And guess who actually found a quiet second to finish her epic "quick stitch" the Alphabet Tree? I'm sure everyone is sick of seeing it come along so slowly! But I got the stitching done this afternoon during "The 10 Commandments." Finally! You can expect pictures tomorrow when there's good light. I'm very pleased with how it came out. This week will be finishing week. Wish me luck! It will be my first pinkeep!

Thank you all for your wonderful support and well-wishes with my stitching, my FIL's passing, and my conversion. You are all so kind! And thank you for reading!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Slow Progress and Funny Mommy Moments

I didn't cross a single stitch yesterday. But I did get 95 pictures uploaded, cropped, and organized for my FIL's video collage to be played at his memorial tomorrow. My husband had a break-down moment last night when we were scanning the last of the pictures. I can't imagine what he must be going through as I haven't lost a parent or sibling and he has lost both in the past year and a half. Sometimes I just don't know the right words to say.

Today I did get a brief reprieve during Cuddle Bug's nap so I picked up the Alphabet Tree. I didn't get much done before the little stink decided he was done napping and ready to get up and take on the world. It was a very short nap indeed. But I did make a little progress. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I will be able to finish this one up tonight after Cuddle Bug goes to bed.

As far as funny mommy moments go, I had a big one last night. It was one of those "crawl under the pew of embarrassment" moments during mass. Cuddle Bug is cute as can be at mass. He pipes in with "Amen" after he's heard everyone else say it, he crosses his chest in an adorable attempt to make the sign of the cross when he sees other do it, he points out Jesus and "Joe" (St. Joseph - who used to be "Joe Joe" and then "Joey" and now he's just "Joe"). He even says "Glod bless you" (and no that's not a typo - that's what he says). It's all very cute and everyone gets a kick out of it. Well last night he was going along with the usual church fair of "Jesus," "Amen," "Glod bless you." Then, out of nowhere during a quiet moment he starts yelling "Diarrhea!" And he kept saying it over and over again at the top of his lungs! His daddy is going "Where's Jesus?" trying to distract him. But nothing would work. He just kept repeating it "Diarrhea, diarrhea!" Everyone around us was laughing. Sarah, the other woman in RCIA with me, was laughing so hard she had her head in her lap! My face was on fire it was so red! DH's aunt and uncle were sitting in front of us in hysterics. It was all just too much! Some days there's just no preparing yourself for what is going to come out of your toddler's mouth during a church service!

Thanks for visiting! I've been getting lots of visitors and I so love reading everyone's comments! Happy Easter all!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Setting Aside the Stitching

I really love reading everyone's sweet comments. Sometimes you start a new hobby and there's a bit of an "elitist" attitude among the more experienced hobbyists. It's threatening and un-friendly. I worried that I would find that in the stitching world. Michele assured me I would not find that attitude among stitchers and she was absolutely right! You are all like my little cheering section! I really appreciate it!!

I didn't get anything more done yesterday on my pinkeep stitching. We had a busy night out (I still don't know who got voted off American Idol - will have to watch that on Tivo later) and we ended up at my BIL's house sifting through old photo albums and boxes of pictures. There will be a memorial "celebration of life" on Saturday for my FIL and we are putting together a video collage of his life to play in the background. It's my job to scan about a million pictures today.

And that means that Cuddle Bug's nap time (aka "Mommy's Stitching Time") is going to be scan time. So I don't anticipate getting the alphabet tree done this afternoon if today at all. The next few days are packed full of things to do since Easter is sneaking up on us really fast. Today I need to get get photos scanned, meet my SIL to pick up more photos before mass tonight for Holy Thursday, then back to church tomorrow for the Good Friday gathering, the memorial for my FIL and the Easter Vigil mass on Saturday, and then Easter on Sunday. Somewhere in all of that I have to get some ironing done and fit in regular tooth-brushing so DH isn't afraid to kiss me. How will I find the time for it all? There are just some days when there's no free time in sight. But I don't mind a little mayhem. I know it will all get done. And in the meantime, it's looking like that pinkeep will just have to sit on the back burner until I can sit down with it for a breather.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Progress and Set Backs - Oh the Profanity!

First, I have to say how flattered I am! There are new visitors around these parts! Vonna gave me a mention in her blog yesterday much to my surprise and honor and it has brought other stitching bloggers around to my little piece of the world wide web! I was so tickled that she mentioned my blog since I admire her skill and really enjoy reading her blog. Thank you Vonna! And thank you everyone for your nice comments! You are all so wonderful!!

As far as the pinkeep goes, I was certain I would complete the stitched part of it yesterday. I was on track. Things were coming along and everything was going well. And then (and this is not suitable for little ears), there it was - the dreaded F Word! FROGGING! It was my fault entirely. I knew when I picked the dark blue for the letters I was taking a big risk. In the end, I hated it. And I decided I hated it after I had completed half of the alphabet. Every letter I added I became a little less confident in my bold color choice. And finally, I had no choice left but to undo it and start with a fresh color. Well it turns out the second shade of blue I picked out was no good either. The blue just wasn't going well - there was nothing in the design to pull the blue in and make it seem like it belonged with the rest of it. So bye-bye blue, hello green! I am much happier with this choice and since so many of you commented that you liked the colors I was using in the previous post, I figured it was best to stick with the winning combination! Now I'm finally back on track. Hopefully this will get done tonight, but there are no guarantees when a toddler runs the show.

Here is my progress thus far:

This is a design from Blue Ribbon Designs. I think it is so beautiful. It was meant to be mono-chromatic but obviously I went with a few colors. I am completely infatuated with their "Poinsettias and Pines" design. I've seen some of you have completed that and it so incredible. Some day I hope to have that to hang on my wall in the winter months.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I promised pictures of the pinkeep I'm working on and of the new goodies I got yesterday. So here they are!

Here is what I have completed up until now on the stitched part of the pinkeep I'm making for the Monthly Finishing Challenge:

And this is the fun mail I got yesterday. It's a CCN design, all the hand-dyed fibers I need to complete it, and 3 specialty threads that I need to complete another CCN chart and a LHN chart I already had.

I love this chart! The colors are so sweet and romantic and the poem is lovely. I want to finish it and frame it. I hope my husband won't think it's too feminine to put up on our walls :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

A New Start and New Goodies!

Today I started work on the pinkeep I'm doing for the Monthly Finishing Challenge. I began stitching it and expect to be finished with the stitched portion tomorrow. I would post pictures but the lighting would be terrible and I don't want yucky pictures of my hard work posted for all the see. So that will have to wait for tomorrow.

And today I got part of my order from eHandcrafts. My CCN chart for A Place We Call Home arrived along with the specialty threads for it and 2 other charts. The other part of my order, the Love and Faithfulness Thread Pack from LHN is being shipped separately (I love that my order came with a little card informing me that the rest of my order would ship separately - Mary Kathryn has thought of everything apparently). I realized that my order had a "love and faith" theme and that is such a reflection of my life these days.

And I was so excited when part of my order arrived and when I read that LHN released two new designs today that I couldn't help myself and I ended up ordering the "Wool Needlebook and Fob" design from eHandcrafts today. Once again, I didn't need anything but Jacque and Katrina both insist that purchasing goodies you don't need ("stash") comes with the territory and is perfectly acceptable! And what a wonderful gift of Mary Kathryn that she was offering free shipping and a skein of green thread for all orders today in celebration of St. Patrick's Day! So I just couldn't make sense not to go ahead and place my order for the new LHN design that had my heart a-flutter when I laid eyes on it this morning! It even turns out that Vonna did the model for the fob! I really enjoy her blog so I thought it was especially neat when I read that she got to do that and how excited she was.

Anyway, like the pinkeep stitching, I would post pictures of my new goodies if the lighting wasn't so terrible. It will have to wait until tomorrow. But I wanted to share my fun news tonight despite the lack of eye candy.

I love reading everyone's comments! You all make me feel even more enthusiastic about this wonderful craft - there is such a warm community that comes with stitching! And you all say such nice things about my amateur stitching - I feel like I have cheer leaders! It's really so wonderful. Thank you all!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kind Words

You are all so kind. Your nice words and condolences were so wonderful to read and I got a very nice email from Michele as well. We got together this evening with my husband's surviving brothers and respective wives to talk about arrangements. These are not easy things to talk about with such strong feelings of grief from everyone mixed with conflicting religious views. But ultimately everyone just wants to honor my FIL and I think that's what we all need to keep in mind during this planning.

On a happier note, I did find some pretty pins at JoAnns yesterday and am planning to stitch up a project starting tomorrow for my pinkeep! I'll keep you all posted.

And I went to that baby shower this afternoon armed with my gift and my little stitched ornament. It went over very well! The mother-to-be seemed to appreciate it very much. Baby showers are awkward though - especially when you only know the new mommy and 2 other women in a crowd of some 40 women who all know one another! But, as uncomfortable as it was, I was glad to be there to show my love and support for the new family.

Well I am going to go crawl into bed with my husband and do some reading. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thank You

Thanks you all so much for your anniversary wishes for me and DH and for the kind comments you made about my little pillow ornament! I am very proud of it. DH and I had a wonderful time last night getting out on our own for some dinner and dessert.

I hesitate to put this is an entry, but I will go ahead and mention it. My father-in-law passed away yesterday evening as a result of deterioration due to early-onset Alzheimer's disease. We are grieving but were expecting this to happen weeks ago so it isn't any kind of a surprise. We know that he is finally at peace.

But, so as not to leave you with sad news, I am planning to make it to JoAnns today to look for pretty pins for my Monthly Finishing Challenge pinkeep.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Finish Picture and 7 Things

Here is a picture of the little pillow ornament I made. The colors in this picture aren't exactly right but close enough. We live in an old home and the windows don't let in a ton of light to get good pictures. But you get the idea. I am so proud of this little project! I was going to tuck the ends of the cording inside the pillow as I stitched it up, but I like the little knots and decided to attach them on the outside. I love how it turned out!

I was tagged by Teri last week. So now you get to learn 7 random things about me whether or not you really want to know!

The Rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

The Facts:

1. I love to take walks. When the weather is nice, DH and I go out just about every night for a leisurely stroll with Cuddle Bug. And, weather permitting, I go out in the mornings during the week for a brisk walk with Cuddle Bug in the stroller.

2. My favorite cross-stitching companion is named Molly. She's my blue iPod nano. I don't know why I named her that, it just seemed fitting when I met her. She goes on my walks with me too using the Nike + system that measures how far I've gone and how long I've walked. We're very close.

3. I met my husband in college when we were both "R.A.s" (Resident Assistants) in a dorm on campus. He had the co-ed wing and I had the all-girls wing on the same floor. We were instant friends and I knew within a few weeks that I would marry him - although it took him a little longer to realize the same thing and finally ask me out :)

4. I'm a transplant to the midwest from the desert southwest. This has been my first "real winter." We don't have snow shovels and ice scrapers where I come from!

5. A week from tomorrow I will be received into the Catholic Church as a convert from protestantism. It's been a wonderful journey in faith since last September when I began learning more about the church and it's teachings. I had a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the teachings of the Catholic Church that have been explained and cleared away and I am so excited to be able to call myself a Catholic next Saturday.

6. Up until I was 16 I had no cousins. I only have 1 now. My husband has over 50 on his mother's side alone.

7. I knew I would marry my husband after knowing him for about 2 weeks. After dating for 3 months we were engaged. We were married a year after becoming engaged. And today is the anniversary of our wedding.


I'm a new blogger and don't know many of you. But it sure looks like most of you have already been tagged! So rather than go around re-tagging everyone, I open this as an invitation to anyone who reads this who has not been tagged and would like to play along - Tag, you're it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Finish and a Challenge

Today I finished my little lovebird tag. All along my plan was for it was to use it as the gift tag on the gift I am taking to a baby shower this weekend. I had planned to put "to" and "from" on the back. But that changed at the last minute. After all the time and work that had gone into it - from the stitching to the tassel and the cording - I decided just making it a gift tag wouldn't be special enough. So I skipped putting my name on it all-together and made it more of an ornament or door knob decoration with a message on the back. I had given a lot of thought to at least signing my name really small on it somewhere, but I thought it might detract from the overall feel of the ornament as a gift in-and-of-itself for a very special new life. I want to put up pictures of it, but it's late and the artificial lighting around here mixed with the flash makes any picture I take look way off. It's just too beautiful to put up a picture that won't do it justice. So pictures will have to wait until tomorrow. It's worth the wait, though. I promise!

Today I got up the courage to venture outside my comfort zone and join a challenge hosted by BeckySC of BeckyBee's Stitching Hive. She has started the Monthly Finishing Challenge where she gives participants a finishing technique to complete every month. I thought this was a really good opportunity to try out different finishing techniques since I am familiar with very few and have actually tried even fewer than I'm familiar with! I'm sure my finishes won't compare to those of the experienced stitchers and finishers, but I am taking the opportunity to learn more about project finishing. The month of March is a pinkeep. So I have until March 30th to complete my very first pinkeep - something I have been itching to try out and that Michele tells me is not as difficult as it looks. But I need to figure out where I can get the pretty pins everyone uses. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Thank you to everyone who has commented in response to my many questions in my previous entry. I still haven't exactly decided what to do about my floss storage but baggies are definitely something I am considering. And I did alright finishing my backstitching when I personalized the "gift tag" last night. I found a font that has some regular cross stitches, so that helped too. But when I finished the "R" I made good use of everyone's suggestion to weave the tail back in. It worked very well! Thank you all!

Yesterday I had a fun first - I made my very first tassel! I keep seeing little hand-made tassels in everyone's finishings and I found some instructions online here. When I first read through them I thought for sure I was doomed. But it was actually much easier than it seemed when I actually got to it. I used the same DMC floss I used to stitch the piece so it would all coordinate. For me, the hardest part was getting the bottom relatively straight when I trimmed it. But I think it turned out well. And I even followed the cording instructions to make a little cording for the hanger part. I have the bird all trimmed up now and ready to pair with a back. I will be personalizing that today and hopefully get it all put together by the time I go to bed tonight! Here's what I have done:

Yes, I know the "obbie" is one stitch too many away from the "R." Is it obvious? And if so, does it look terrible? I could frog the "R" and move it over one. I don't know if I should bother or not.

But I do have (another) question. Should I have done the backstitching around the outside over 1? I'm worried I won't be able to get my needle through it to attach it to the back if I do so I went ahead and did it over 2, but I'm having second thoughts about that decision. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Questions from The Beginner

So I'm getting around to personalizing the little bird gift tag I'm stitching for a baby shower this weekend. I want to put baby's name on it and then put a "to/from" on the back. The problem is, I can't figure out how to start or finish lettering that is entirely backstitched and not near regular cross-stitches to tuck the ends under. When I did the lettering on the Peace of God project - I'll be honest - I knotted the thread. I could think of no better way to handle it. Is there an alternative?

And where does everyone get the pretty alphabets they use to sign their work? Is there a book or anything that anyone can recommend?

While I'm on the topic of asking questions, I have one more to throw out there for anyone/everyone who reads this modest blog. How do you store your threads? I have some "specialty threads" coming and that is new for me. I've only acquainted myself with DMC thread. I've been storing those on paper bobbins. Should I be using the plastic bobbins instead? Or should I not be using bobbins at all? And should I store specialty threads the same way I store DMC? It looks like many people store them hanging on "thread drops." Is that a better alternative? And if so, how do you keep them from collecting dust? Wow, that was quite a series of questions. Sorry to overwhelm!

Michele asked what goodies I ordered from eHandcrafts. I ordered the Love and Faithfulness Thread Pack from LHN, A Place We Call Home from CCN, and all the specialty threads I need to complete the CCN design and two other patterns I have (Gingerbread Cottage from CCN and Peach Tree Cottage from LHN). Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage Needleworks are hands-down my favorite designers to look at. I haven't completed a single one of their designs but I love the way they look. They're so simple and lovely. I am really enjoying watching Michele work on Gingerbread Cottage! It sure is coming along!

And finally, I've been trying really hard to get over my insecurities about commenting on everyone's blogs. I have a long list of blogs I check daily for updates and I feel like the best way to acclimate myself with the stitching-blogger world is to go ahead and comment on the wonderful entries. But I have this fear of commenting - like who on earth am I to comment on anyone else's work (even if they're all positive comments)? I really need to get over that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Monday

It's Monday again, and that means back to work. Monday is laundry day around here. I resent laundry day. I spend the whole afternoon moving loads from washer to dryer, dryer to basket, basket to hangers, hangers to closet. And at the end of it all, whatever I'm wearing ends up in the laundry! It just isn't right.

We did have an amazing get-away this weekend though! It was by far the nicest place I've ever stayed - separate kitchen and living room, three fireplaces, king-size bed, jacuzzi tub, hot tub on the deck overlooking the river, steam shower, two flat-screen tv's, the list goes on... Two nights there felt like a week, it was that relaxing! We went to the antique stores, a darling little chocolate shop, and a wonderful winery Friday afternoon. We had an amazing lunch at the winery and then we went back to our room to spend the rest of the day in quiet solitude. It was such a treat (even if we woke up to a flat tire Friday morning).

I didn't get any stitching accomplished during our trip and it caused some withdraw. When we got back Saturday I placed an order for some new goodies online at eHandcrafts. I don't need them. I already have 3 charts I am not yet prepared to start (although to be fair part of my order was for the specialty threads I need for 2 of those charts). Is it reasonable to have more projects I'm not ready to start? How does one rationalize this? I just couldn't help myself. Stitching is quickly becoming something of an addiction for me and being away from it for 2 days caused me to act out.

Yesterday I quickly stitched up just the bird from the Lovebird freebie I finished last week. I enjoyed that design so much that I decided the bird was an appropriate piece to do as a little gift tag for a baby shower gift. So I did that and I will finish it off as a little pillow ornament with baby's name and a "to" and "from" on the back in place of a tag for the gift. I will post pictures when I finish that (assuming it is suitable to show others).

And finally, I got tagged by Teri! I am so flattered that she thought of little old me. I am going to make a separate entry for that. I need to look around and find some good blogs to tag that haven't already been tagged. But I was so excited that she tagged me!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Going on Vacation!

Cuddle Bug is 22 months old. Every day and every night for the past 22 months he and I have been together. All that is about to change. DH and I are heading a few hours away to a bed and breakfast tonight. We are staying tonight and Friday night and coming home Saturday afternoon. That means my first night away from Cuddle Bug, and two whole nights in a row at that! A huge part of me is so excited to have the quiet time with DH, to sleep in in the mornings, to have conversations that don't include the mention of bodily functions, and to take long baths uninterrupted. But I will miss him and I'll probably long for his big squeezy-tight hugs that make my days so worth all the hassle. I'm sure he won't miss me nearly as much as I will miss him, though! He's going to be hanging out with his great-aunt and great-uncle and there are few people who surpass them in Cuddle Bug's eyes.

I promised DH that I would not be packing any stitching supplies. He's still allowed to bring his iPhone though - how is that fair?

Happy Stitching to everyone!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fun in the Snow and a Finish!

As I mentioned yesterday, we got some snow! It snowed for about 9 straight hours and we got around 9-10 inches of snow! It was amazing. I didn't step a single toe outside yesterday, but I so enjoyed the view from inside. Today it is sunny and in the low 40's, so Cuddle Bug decided he wanted to go out and play with the fluffy white stuff on the ground.

As for stitching, I finished my first linen piece! Thank you all so much for your suggestions on doing the single pink stitches around the outside. It is really nice to have experienced stitchers give their in-put. And I decided to leave the "e" alone. If it still bothers me when I get around to finishing it, I will do something about it. But for now I'm not letting it bother me. I don't really know what to do with it just yet either. It's too big for a pinkeep I think. But I would like to think of some cute way to display it. It's so pretty! It makes me long for spring!

Lovebird Freebie by Midsummer Night Musings
28-count DMC linen in winter white with suggested DMC thread

I really enjoyed working on linen. And as far as I can tell there's only the one little mistake in the "e" and nothing else in the entire piece. I kept checking as I went along to make sure all my stitches lined up. I was so pleased when I got all the way around the border and it all came together right!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Snow Day

It has been snowing non-stop since Cuddle Bug and I got up this morning! It's amazing. As a native of the desert southwest, the snow fascinates and terrifies me at the same time. I opened all the blinds and we have been watching with delight all day as the snow collects. But the thought of going out in it is enough to make me want to want to go back to bed and hide under the covers! So we are definitely staying in today. Here is the view of the backyard:
I have been stitching away at the lovebird freebie on linen. It has gone pretty well. I got everything done but the border by the time I put it down last night. I'm pleased with how it has turned out.

Here's what I finished last night: And this is what I have done up until now:

I did run into a bit of a snag as I was working on the border, and now I'm dealing with a frogging dilemma. To frog or not to frog? When I got around by the "e" at the end of "love," I noticed a little error in the letter. Now I can't decide if it is going to annoy me enough to just rip out the letter and do it over. Here is the boo-boo:

See the stitch on the far right in the loop of the letter? I went one thread too far, and didn't realize when I was finishing the adjacent stitch. So the stitch on the far right goes up one too many threads, and the stitch next to the left and above it is too short. Any thoughts?

I only have about an inch on each side of the stitching since I didn't calculate the size of my fabric right. But Jennifer suggested this fabric calculator and it looks great! It takes all the guess work out of it for you by letting you put in the margins you want and the stitch count and voila it tells you how big to cut your fabric. I will definitely be using it from now on.

When I'm done with the border, this pattern I'm working on has little speckles of pink around the curvy border line - just one stitch all by itself. I figure I'll use the loop method to start off that Michele told me about, but I'm wondering how on earth I will secure the stitch at the end?? Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas? How does one put a single stitch out by itself and secure the ends of the threads?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Adventures in Linen

First, I want to extend another thank you for all the wonderful comments I have been getting on this modest blog. It has increased my enthusiasm 10-fold if that was even possible! You are all so wonderful and warm. Michele told me I would feel welcome and she was absolutely right!

In other news, I ran into a wonderful new blog this morning called Snippets and Stash by someone who has reportedly been a lurking blog commenter for a while now with no blog of her own, Staci. That officially makes me not the newest stitching blogger - but still more than likely the newest stitcher. I can already tell I'm going to enjoy her blog quite a bit. She's considerably more crafty than I and now I get to oogle her work along with everyone else's!

And now on with the linen show -

Last night I stitched for the first time on linen. And even though I chickened out and didn't make it to my LNS for fancy linen (K in NY says LNS linen is nicer), I was satisfied for my first dabble in the linen world. Baby steps! I had planned to start with a Blue Ribbon Designs freebie Michele sent me, but quickly got ahead of myself and decided to try this lovebird freebie from Midsummer Night Musings since the colors are so yummy and I'm desperate for spring! It took me over 3 hours to finish the bird and that's all I have accomplished at this point. I get a little ambitious and a little over-confident. But I think I did well all things considered. Carol's advice about picturing a tic-tac-toe board proved very helpful, and it quickly became natural to stitch over-two, as everyone said it would. I didn't cut the linen as big as I feel like I should have. I used a fabric calculator from to determine the size of the stitched piece, and I thought I had measured several extra inches on all sides. But it's looking like I'm not going to be left with a great deal of extra fabric around the outside. How do you all measure fabric for your pieces?

I'm going to keep practicing with smaller projects on the DMC linen before I make it out for a special trip to get the nice stuff. Any suggestions on good linen brands for when I do make that giant leap to that dreaded LNS?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Beautiful Weekend

This has been a weekend to behold! And we have done exactly that. A week ago we were trapped inside following an ice storm - family stuck at the airport just hoping to get off the ground. But this weekend we had 70 degree weather, sunshine, and a consistently gentle breeze. Of course, we know it won't last. Tomorrow we're bracing for freezing rain and snow - something they call a "wintery mix" in this part of the country. The weather in the midwest is so fickle. Where I come from, it's always somewhere between nice and really hot and precipitation is, for the most part, a thing of legends. It's all very unusual to me. But we didn't take these two beautiful days for granted. I went for a jog, we had soft pretzels in the park, and we all ended up a little sun-kissed on the cheeks. It has been so wonderful!

And somewhere in all of that, we made it to the craft store. No, not the LNS like I know everyone is hoping for. I chickened out - let's just get that out of the way. But a little bird told me that if I'm not quite ready for the scary LNS, JoAnns carries linen (thanks for the info Michele). So we went there and I picked up a little collection of goodies for myself.

I got DMC linen in winter white and a darker natural color, all the DMC floss I need for the 3 charts I ordered from my LNS as well as some freebies I found online, and - because they were on sale for 99 cents each - 5 fat quarters of fabric.

Tonight I am looking forward to putting needle to linen for the first time! This should be interesting!