LHN “Joy to the World”

One more quick post before bedtime to show you what I finished stitching this evening:

The is one of the Ornament of the Month’s from Little House Needleworks and it’s called “Joy to the World”…obviously :^)  I stitched it on the suggested linen, 30ct Straw by WDW.  It has a nice soft hand to it, but you have to take extra care when stitching in hand, as I did, to not pull your stitches too snug or it leaves gaps in the corners of the stitches.  Next time I use WDW linen, I’ll stretch it on Q-snaps or a scroll frame to see if it helps prevent the holes.  One option for this pattern was to substitute the stitched star with a JABC button, but that would have been too bulky for my taste on this particular project. I did change one minor thing though…I added beads.  The packet didn’t come with them like previous months so I dug around my stash and found some that would work (Mill Hill # 03021).  So now this ornament will tie into the other ornament I did in this series (see here).  I’ll finish a few more in this series before I decide how they will be finished.

Well, that’s it for today.  I hope everyone had as good of a weekend as I did.

We spent the past few days with my SIL and her husband. They came California so that he could attend a medical conference in San Francisco. Hubby and I went up to the city on Thursday night to have dinner with them at Scoma’s. They had a hankering for seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf. I haven’t eaten on the Wharf much, so I wasn’t sure where we should go. Good thing we have Yelp…Scoma’s was the top rated seafood restaurant on their site and it didn’t disappoint. It was hard to pick just one thing from their menu. In the end, I cracked and ate an entire Dungeness crab for my dinner. Yum! It was a beautiful night in SF and we had a great time catching up.

On Friday, we returned to SF to pick them up and drive north. So across the Golden Gate we went, making a quick stop at Muir Woods to stretch our legs and walk amongst the Redwood trees. Then we were off to Sonoma for a quick trip through wine country. It was dark by the time we got to our hotel, so we just walked down the town square. We ate dinner and listened to a live blues band at an Irish pub called Murphy’s. Yesterday we had a nice big breakfast, walked some of it off shopping in the town square and then went wine tasting. We did a tasting at first winery we went to, Larson’s Family Winery. I bought us a bottle of their cabernet and we went out back to play some Bocce ball…hubby and I won :^) It was such a gorgeous day to be outside…clear skies and in the mid 70’s. If the leaves weren’t changing colors, you wouldn’t believe it’s approaching winter here. After some Bocce ball, we went over to Sebastiani’s to do a tour on the process of making wine. Then we had a second tasting at Ledson’s before we headed for a dining event at the DeLoach winery. They did a food and wine pairing for an End of Harvest celebration. The food and wine was very good and my SIL even won one of their prizes…a nice large bottle of their Pinot. They didn’t want to lug it back in their luggage, so we’re holding onto it to open next time they visit. And after dinner, hubby drove us all back to SF to drop them off and then headed home ourselves. We made the most of our 2 1/2 days together.

So that was SF and Sonoma, now a little about stitching. The only thing I have to share with you today is the small finish of the “Boo Tall Trio” by the Trilogy:

I haven’t decided yet how to finish it. I don’t think I want to frame it like the model. I’m thinking either an ornament, but a friend suggested I make it into a tall boxer. I’ll have to think on it more. And seeing how I didn’t get it done in time for this past Halloween, I have almost a year to get the finishing done for next year.

Getting Back To Business

I haven’t made much of a dent in my needlework the past few months.  Since my last post, I’ve been to a quilting retreat, a needlework retreat, the EGA National Seminar, the Pacific International Quilt show, a trip to Iowa to visit family and a bunch of smaller events in between.  Last weekend was the first since August where I didn’t have any plans.  While I have enjoyed what has been keeping busy, it was nice to just stay home for a change.  It was also a good weekend to be home so I could watch the final games of the World Series.  I don’t normally watch baseball, or other sports for that matter.  But as someone who lives in the Bay Area, I got swept up in the excitement.   Way to go Giants!

I finally put some real time into my needlework this week, especially today because it was cold and wet out.  I pulled out an old UFO, my “Toy Chest Etui” by Betsy Morgan.

I finished most of the front and one side panel of the toy box.  I ended up having to rip out the two colors of arches above the horse on the side panel because I realized the chart was incorrect.  It was two threads lower than the same border on the front panel on the right.  I wish I would have notice before I stitched it the first time, but better to figure it out now.  If I hadn’t, I would have been frustrated and disappointed when I went to assemble the box and the two borders didn’t match up.  I’m going to have to let Betsy know so she make the correction, if she hasn’t done so already.  I took this class with my guild back in 2008 and we were the first class she taught this piece to.  Now that she’s been teaching the piece for a couple years, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else has mentioned it to her.

After she taught our class, Betsy designed another piece for the box after someone in our group suggested the toy box needed a doll.  She designed a scissor sheath that has an amish man on one side and an amish woman on the other…an adorable addition.  She gave us the pattern so we could add it to our Etui. I heard she also designed another companion piece, but I believe you have to purchase that one.  I’ll have to look into that later.  For now, I have plenty to do on what I already have.

To ensure I have enough linen to include the scissor sheath, I took the time to baste out the placement of all the pieces.  I don’t normally do this because it takes time that I’d rather spend stitching.  I’m sure glad I decided to this time.  To maximize my piece of linen, I spaced each piece an inch apart, so they all had a 1/2″ seam allowance for finishing.   And wouldn’t you know it, I have just enough linen to do them all.  Phew!  There’s no way I would have fit each piece on the linen without those basting lines.  Now I can stitch with some peace of mind.  The only thing I have to wonder about now is if I have enough thread from the kit.  Guess I’ll find out :^)

Christmas Hope Milestone

Don’t you love those days where you anticipate sleeping in, only to wake up early for no reason?  Today was one of those mornings for me, which is rare because I love my sleep.   But my brain decided it was time to get up a couple hours before I typically get up on the weekends.

So I got up and thought I’d stitch in peace and quiet until my husband rolled out of bed (which was 4 hours later).   I only planned to stitch this morning, but ended up stitching the entire day.  And with all that dedicated time, I got to do a little happy dance this evening when I *finally* finished all the cross stitching AND backstitching on the top of my “Christmas Hope”:

Phew!  This took FOREVER.  My guestimate is that it took approximately 100 hours of stitching time to get this part done.  I use to think backstitching Stoney Creek pieces was tedious, but for this piece, it’s all the confetti stitching.  Those of you wondering what I mean, confetti stitching is when your piece has lots of color changes with the stitches scattered all over the place.  The trick is to make a copy of the chart and use a yellow highlighter to mark the symbol you want to stitch before you start.  It makes it easier to see where your stitches need to go. Then when you’re done stitching with the strand of thread, highlight back over the symbols for the stitches that were completed with a darker color, like orange.

Completing the top portion of this piece is a major milestone.  First, because I think I’m more than halfway done (time wise) and secondly, I told myself I had to finish the top before I could move to another section.  So now I get to start working on the bands of specialty stitches underneath, yay!  I’ve been looking forward to this part.  Each band is different, so I won’t have time to get bored.  So for now, I get to say goodbye to confetti stitching while I learn some new stitches.  I’ll get to revisit joys of confetti stitching after the bands, but at least the remaining motifs are much smaller the the wreath in “HOPE”.


My lack of posting the past few months has been mainly due to my recent addiction to reading.  I’ve never been an avid reader.  I would say I typically would only read a few books a year.  I was even proud of myself a year or so ago when I read “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in the same year.  But since mid-April this year, I’ve read 17 books and will finish the 18th shortly.   It use to take me weeks if not months to finish a book, but needless to say my rate has condensed to days.

What brought this all on?  Well, I have to confess that it all started in April when I broke down and rented the movie “Twilight”.  I wasn’t sure I’d even like it.  I tried to watch the HBO series “True Blood” but it was a tad too violent for me and I didn’t think I’d like stories about vampires.  So I watched” Twilight”, and liked it enough to rent the second movie (“New Moon”) the same weekend.  I then learned that the movies were based off Stephanie Meyers books and decided to buy a copy of “Twilight” at the SeaTac airport when I was traveling in April.  I couldn’t put the book down!  Usually I can read for only about an hour before I get tired, but I read that book in a day!  I’ve NEVER read a 400+ page book in that short of a time.  Although I had to wait for Amazon to get the other three books to me, I still managed to read all four books (and the “Midnight Sun” draft from Stephanie’s website) in about 2 weeks.  If any of you other fans are wondering what “team” I’m on, I go for the dark, brooding type :^)  And yes, I did see the latest movie “Eclipse”…a friend and I went to the first showing at 12:01 a.m. on June 30th.  I know it’s not getting high scores from the critics, as did the previous movies, but I really enjoyed it.

After finishing the “Twilight” series, a co-worker introduced me to the Study trilogy by Maria V. Snyder.  It didn’t capture me right away, but once the love interest was introduced, I got hooked.  I then started to realize that I really enjoy romance novels.  Once I was about done with that series, I started to search for the next book to read.  I poked around the internet to see if anyone who liked the “Twilight” series had any recommendations.   Someone recommended the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series by J.R. Ward, which is another series about vampires.  This series is definitely an adult series, whereas the “Twilight” series is young adult, if you catch my drift. So I checked out the first of the eight books from my local library to see if I’d enjoy it, and boy did I!   I plowed right through that series, including the novella, which I guess makes it 9 books, in a little over a month.  At this point I realized I really enjoy paranormal romance novels and I’m currently working through “The Demonica Series” by Larissa Ione.

If you’ve enjoyed any of the books I’ve mentioned and have reading recommendations, I’m all ears!

One thing I find humorous about this recent addiction is that my husband over the years has always encouraged me to read more and stitch less.  Well, sometimes you better be careful what you wish for.   At least when we stitch, we can carry on a conversation.  But not so with reading and I think he’s felt a bit neglected at times over the past 2 1/2 months….lol.

On a final note, my friends have been enjoying my obsession with the “Twilight” series.  One friend collected some “Eclipse” cards from Burger King for me and the friend who went to the midnight showing with me made me this one-of-a-kind, hand-made bib:

I didn’t have the courage to wear it at the theatre, but I compromised and told her I’d post a picture to my blog.  Val is really talented with paper towels and a stapler ;^)

Tiramisu is Framed

My EGA GCC piece “Tiramisu” had been sitting in a drawer since 2008 while I tried to decide how I was going to frame it.  I actually do much of my own framing, but this piece was extra special.  The piece is a reversible blackwork piece and I didn’t want to cover up the back…what would be the point of it.  And I wasn’t sure I was up to the framing and doing the piece justice.

I have often see pictures of needlework pieces framed by Jill Rensel on the web and just love what she does.  So I decided to have her frame this piece.  The only criteria I gave her was that I wanted glass on the front and back so I could show off both sides.  I didn’t really care about how “finished” the back of the molding looked because it would be against the wall most of the time.  I got it back last week and boy did she do a wonderful job:

Look at that back?!  And the carved scrollwork in the corners?!  Didn’t she do a fabulous job?  I will definitely be sending more pieces to Jill in the future.   In fact, I’ve been diligently be working on my “Christmas Hope”, anticipating what she can do to frame this piece.  Here’s how “Christmas Hope” looks to date:

I’m almost done with all the confetti stitching.  Then I just need to backstitch all the vines before I can move on to the bands of specialty stitches.  It will be nice to break away from all the constant color changes and the confetti stitching for a while.  I can only handle that kind of stitching for so long.  I do love the look once it’s done….it’s just tedious.

Queen Sofia Is Done!

You know how some projects seem to go on, and on, and on?  Well this was true for my Queen Sofia project.  But tonight, I FINALLY finished the entire piece!!!  How good it feels to say that and get it crossed off my UFO list.  This project was definitely a challenge.   The first major challenge was picking a completely different pallet of colors, threads, beads and fabric from the original.  The second challenge was assembly of the many components…the toughest of which was the little thimble shoe.  But I am truely happy with the end result:

"Queen Sofia Sewing Bag"

bottom of the bag


Chatelaine Buckle

Strawberry Emery

Scissor Pocket (front)

Scissor Pocket (back)

Needle Book (front)

Needle Book (back)

Thread Pocket (front)

Thread Pocket (back)



Thimble Shoe

Last time I posted about this piece (here) back in November, I had just finished the stitching.  As I worked on the piece, I had decided it needed some “bling”.  I added lots of Swarovski crystals and some beads.  Just enough “bling” but not overwhelming amounts.  And lucky for me my friend Sandie had the perfect shade of plum silk that she let me use to line my bag and all the accessories (thanks Sandie!).

So, does this count as a single finish or nine (one for each component)?