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


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.........

  

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


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.


Building Castles.

I've been spending a ton of time feverishly stitching Raven Queen.  She's at the point where, even though there is still a good amount left to stitch, I feel like I'm so close to the finish line, I can see it.

I'm also terrified if I start another project, the three I currently have going at the moment will be neglected.  And trust me when I tell you, I have sooo  many that I want to start...

This weekend, since I had to take it easy after my first cervical spine adjustment at my new chiropractor, I spent a lot of time stitching.  In that time, I built the castle in the background of the queen.  The silks are gorgeous, and, as always, perfect.  

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #mirabilia #ravenqueen #needlework

As I stitched the castle, in my head I kept repeating the line from the Paul McCartney song, Beautiful Night, "Some folks got a vision/of a castle in the sky/and I'm left stranded/wondrin' why."  Have you heard that song?  It's on his Flaming Pie album.  If you're a fan of Sir Paul, you'd like that album.  He was definitely the yin to John's yang when they wrote for The Beatles.  But I digress...

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #mirabilia #ravenqueen #needlework

How gorgeous are those silks used for the castle??!?  This is definitely one of those situations where you need to take the plunge and get the silks.  The DMC conversion wouldn't do it justice.  The teals and purples in her dress is also a silk.  Gorgeous.

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #mirabilia #ravenqueen #needlework

Raven Queen | Mirabilia #crossstitch #mirabilia #ravenqueen #needleworkThe skirt on this dress!  I can't even. 

I wonder if I can find someone to commission this dress for me for the USMC ball this year....and not have it cost me my first born......

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday and peaceful nights to curl up and stitch :-)

 

Sig


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. 


Be Happy, Humble, & Kind

Being snowed in always sounds so wonderful.  Let's watch movies! Let's binge watch tv series we haven't gotten to yet!!  Let's sit and stitch for hours and hours because we can't get out!  Let's read tons of books from our book stack!!!

I'm here to tell you that I'm about ready to lose my mind.  I've been trapped inside since Friday thanks to one of the worst snowstorms DC has seen. I've finished one book, and I'm now bored with reading.  Stitching has almost lost its appeal.

Almost.

Thank God I had the foresight to stop at Starbucks on Friday morning before the sky dumped 30+ inches on us and got more ground coffee, because I wouldn't've survived.  Forget milk, bread, and eggs.  Coffee is the elixir of life.  

Last week, I sent a gift to one of my good friends from high school, who is now a real estate agent, as a thank you for helping me rent out my house when I moved here last year.  It wasn't a great time to sell, so she helped me find renters while I had already moved my life for a job in DC.  She was incredible.  There is absolutely no way I could have done that without her help.  None.  So, I had to make her something to show my gratitude and appreciation for all the work she did to help me while I was three states away.

Knowing her and her decorating style,  I picked a With Thy Needle and Thread piece that I knew would fit perfectly no matter where in her house she decided to hang it.

With Thy Needle and Thread | Be Happy, Humble & Kind #crossstitch #needlework

I love the blues and greys that make up the color theme of this piece.  

With Thy Needle and Thread | Be Happy, Humble & Kind #crossstitch #needlework

Her little shoes!!  I die.

With Thy Needle and Thread | Be Happy, Humble & Kind #crosstitch #needleworkThe bees! I can't.

With Thy Needle and Thread | Be Happy, Humble & Kind #crossstitch #needlework

I stitched this on 36 ct. Confederate Grey from WDW.  You all know how I feel about WDW fabric, but I love Confederate Grey, so I muscled through.  It's such a great color, and wonderful for primitive pieces such as this.  It's a really great neutral.  Now, if we could just get them to use a tighter weave fabric for dying......

Happy Wednesday!

Sig


January.

How. the hell. did we arrive at 17 January already?

No, seriously.  I feel like it was twelve seconds ago I was posting about doing a December Daily (which, HAHAHAHAHA....ahhhhhhh......i had such high hopes for everything i wanted to make this christmas season......), and then, poof! It's mid-January.

How was your Christmas? Your New Year's?  Mine were good.  NYE was spent curled up on the couch in leggings and legwarmers (seriously, you guys, you know you're jealous of my legwarmers. AND my mom got me new ones for Christmas. SCORE.), hot water with lemon in hand, watching Kathy Griffin make Anderson Cooper unbelievably uncomfortable all night. 

A while back, I posted some snips of a secret stitching project I was doing; it was a Christmas gift for my mom.  Since it's no to secret anymore, I can show the pics of the finished piece.

This is "Count Your Blessings" by Heartstring Samplery.  White Christmas is hands-down my favorite Christmas movie.  You can have your It's a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, Christmas in Connecticut, Christmas Vacation (although that one does come in a close second...." 'Why is the floor all wet, TODD??' 'I don't know, MARGO.' "), and A Christmas Story.  I'll take White Christmas any day of the week.  The Old Crooner, Rosie, Vera Ellen dancing her ass off, Danny Kaye being ridiculous, I love it all. And Edith Head's costuming! To die.  

Moving on.

Us girls in the fam used to watch White Christmas together after mass on Christmas Eve, and then head to bed.  This piece uses the lyrics from one of the songs in the movie, "Count Your Blessings", to create this lovely sampler.

Count Your Blessings by Heartstring Samplery #crossstitch #needlework

 If you've been following me for a while, you know I'm not a huge fan of traditional samplers.  Not sure why, I'm just not.  Quaker samplers are a different story.  They're A LOT of work, but I love stitching the different motifs and the work is totally worth it in the end.  I have, however, developed an appreciation for reproduction samplers, and when stitched, they're stunning.  To think that girls as young as 7 years old made those samplers with no pattern to follow is incredible.  This small sampler captures the feel of those traditional samplers, complete with a flower and vine border, without being too overwhelming, if that makes any sense at all. 

I'm slightly partial to those scissors....

Count Your Blessings by Heartstring Samplery #crossstitch #needlework

And the tiered cake...

Count Your Blessings by Heartstring Samplery #crossstitch #needlework

I've been working on so many different things lately, I almost can't keep up with myself.  I have a few secret projects I'm working on, plus a couple things for myself (believe it or not), so this winter hibernation period will hopefully be very productive.  Hopefully.  I plan on being better this year about sharing my WIPs and other stuff I'm doing, so here's hoping I can remember to carve out the time to do just that.

What are you guys working on?  Have you started any new projects with the new year?  

Happy Sunday, friends!  Here's to a wonderful long weekend!

Sig


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