Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Setting goals...the cross stitch edition.

I originally thought I could compile this post about both quilting and cross stitch but that got way too complicated.

Like I mentioned in my last post...I rarely set any goals outside of the usual ones.  You know, stitch more, finish more, blah blah blah.  With the exception of the year of the Crazy January Challenge (see the tab at the top) I never plan very far into the future.  I don't think I've ever said that I'll only stitch from stash either.  While there IS always something in my stash to pull out and work on I seem to replenish my inventory on a regular basis.

In 2015 I only really had one goal and that was to finish an old WIP.  Old in two ways.  It had been in my stash for years and then languished as a WIP for a few more years.

Debbie Mumm's Keeping the Spirit.  You will notice a reoccurring theme with my WIP's:  stitching on dark fabric causes me fits.  Now that I need to use a magnifying lamp I was able to stick with this piece until it was done.

Success with that piece leads me to believe I can pull this bad boy back out and make some headway this winter. These two pieces were my only honest-to-goodness abandoned pieces.  I wouldn't admit it, but they really were left for dead.

It's probably been close to 10 years since I worked on Murky Manor by Glendon Place.  It was before Keep the Spirit was started. The fabric really was too much for me.  I was using a magnifier but not the type with a built in light. Hopefully that will make the difference.  Knock on wood and cross my fingers.  If I can't make it work this time I really will have to abandon it or pass it along to someone who can work on darker fabric.

As for other goals...I was mentioning to a friend that I thought I'd try stitching an ornament a month.  However, I plan to modify that to say that I'll stitch something small each month.  Sometimes the pieces meant as ornaments are too large for my taste.  Although, with my new-found magnified stitching field, maybe I'll even try something one-over-one.  We'll see.  I don't need to get all crazy here.  There is still quilting to work into the equation.

Another thing I really MUST do is some finishing.  You know...the type of finishing where I take a finished piece and actually make it into something.  I have piles.  I have done some finishing that is just lovely and some that I wouldn't show you for love or money.  So, that has lead me to be fearful of messing up one of my lovely little pieces.  I need to explore some options and make some decisions.  I will either send things out or just try on my own. Or, maybe, a combination.  One factor that makes it hard is that I used someone a few years ago who was amazing with regard to how perfect her work turned out.  I understand she is not finishing anymore so there goes that option. Drat.

Sound obtainable?  Probably.  Depends on that purple piece of fabric.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A wee finish.

I made quick work of Waxing Moon Designs' Primitive Stocking.

I always like beads as an embellishment.

I quickly moved on to another little piece I pulled out the same day I picked this one.  I didn't show it, though, when I was making my selection.  I actually thought I was going to un-kit it but then decided I really did want to stitch it.  Maybe I can squeeze one last finish in for 2015.

I have set some goals for 2016...something I rarely do...or rarely say out loud.  I am planning to assemble a post with some pictures and mention my accomplishments for 2015 in the next few days.  Like most people who blog about their hobby...I would like to catalog some projects for a quick and easy reference.

In the mean sewing room calls.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Part 5 link-up.

The 5th clue in Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery quilt was released on Saturday with the link-up happening today.

This year's quilt is called Allietare.  It was inspired by her trip to Italy this past summer.  I find the name awkward so am not sure if it will stick or not.  Time will tell.

Not only am I ready for the link-up...I actually have ALL the parts finished not just enough to take a picture to post.

I can't wait to see how this comes together.  The final reveal should happen with the next clue or two.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

We've made it to the final

count down day.  It's been a busy few weeks, that's for sure.

Between bouts of super busy-ness I managed to put the final stitches in one of the cross stitch pieces I have been slowly stitching.

'Giggles in the Snow' by Mirabilia Designs.  Isn't it the cutest piece?

There was a lot of beading.  It took a couple more hours than anticipated but once I got my rhythm I moved right along.

Incase you were wondering...Waxing Moon Design's 'Prim Stocking' won the thread toss.  I had all the called for threads except one but I found a suitable substitute.

 Happy last day before Christmas.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve eve.

Did you call December 23rd that when you were kids?

I am hoping to be done with prep work in the next hour.  Not counting kitchen work, of course.  I am cooking more than I normally do on Christmas.  Since we were not home to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner I will be making turkey with all the sides.

On the sewing front I have two quilts to show.  Both are my absolute favorites....  Quilts are like kids, right?  You can have lots of favorites.

Both quilts are patriotic so out of season right now but that hardly matters.

This past summer I ran across this pattern called Scrap Jar Stars on this blog.  I have her book: Vintage Vibe and there are a bunch of quilts in there I'd like to make.  Anyhow, this summer's post was about making the Scrap Jar Stars with patriotic scraps and since I have patriotic scraps and like scrappy quilts it was the right pattern for me.

OMG!!!!  There is a piece put together wrong!  How did I never notice that?  I mean I have looked at and touched every inch of this quilt again and again!  Well. What can I say?  Do you see?  I seriously JUST NOTICED.  There is no changing that now.

And, there it is again.  Geesh.  I will always notice that now.

I tried a Baptist Fan pattern for the quilting.  It came out so much better than my first Baptist Fan quilt which I will not dredge up right now.


This is Faithful using Minick and Simpson's Polka Dots and Paisley line.  The fabric and pattern is included in Moda's 2nd Frivols. I am on The Fat Quarter's Shop's auto plan for these.

Constructing this quilt gave me fits but I can't say if it was operator error or something else.

In the end, I just love it.  Love the irregular borders.  Love how it looks quilted.  Love the wee little Baptist fan quilt pattern.

Even though it's patriotic, I hung it on my little rocking chair.  My little rocking chair was under the Christmas tree when I was just 4 years old. I remember sitting in it while watching Captain Kangaroo when I was little.  Did anyone else have nightmares about Mr. Green Jeans when he played the little person behind a screen?  My 4 year old mind could not make sense of that.  I also remember while babysitting my little sister, who was 1 at the time, letting her rock while on her knees backwards when it tipped over and she hit her face on my dresser.  Her front tooth took a chip out of the front of the dresser.  Lesson learned.  Sorry Sarah. Anyhow, my little rocking chair has been glued and re-glued and is still holding up.

Only 2 days!  1 1/2 really.  Still no news on which cross stitch I will be starting.  I have not had time to look through my supplies.

Happy Christmas Eve eve.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

As we close in on the final countdown post

I am just a few short stitches away from finishing two items.  Maybe the suspense will keep you coming back....

In the meantime I have already started mentally preparing my next project.  I can't possibly be alone in this, right?  The irony is that I almost never actually start the one project I've been dreaming about.
In this case I have a few options.  I need to look at fabrics and threads and see what I have which will help narrow down the prospects.  (I am also itching to place an order at my favorite online needle shop.)

It is pouring rain so photographing is a challenge.  The flash reflects off the pattern.

I liked this one so much I bought it twice.

If I got this one when it was new then I've had it for 11 years.  Think it's time I stitched it?

A bit younger at 7 years old I pulled out this little cutie.

Finally, another seasonally appropriate piece by Sam Sarah.  While this has a date of 2005 I know I did not buy it when it was first out.  It has still been languishing in my stash for a few years, though.

In the next day or two I will see what supplies I have on hand then I'll know what I'm stitching next.

The days are passing fast.  With just 3 days (really 3 sleeps since today is half over) I hope everyone is ready.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Finally, Monday link-up.

I am finally caught up enough on Bonnie's Mystery to be able to participate in the Monday link-up. You can go here and see the various clues if you are curious.

I am usually able to participate in the link-up each week but this year has been different given my travel.

The blog post from Quiltville can be found here along with all the other blogs that are linked.  It is fun to see other posts...especially if they've made color changes to the ideas given by Bonnie.

I did not deviate from the colors suggested by Bonnie because I liked them.  That doesn't mean I won't eventually make changes but for now I am working with the same color way.

I am just about half way done making the 30 sets.

Only 4 days!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20th.

We are in the final stretch.  Only 5 days left.

I almost missed posting today.  Ha....probably nobody would even notice!  I am sure most people are busy preparing for the big day and not reading blogs.

My main focus is kitchen related.  I am either going through recipe books, fixing food, or at the grocery store from here on out.  Since we were not home to enjoy a home cooked Thanksgiving meal I will be doing it on Christmas day.  Generally, it's a whole lot more work than I want to do on Christmas but I will make it happen this year.

As for today we headed into the city to see this:

accompanied by a stop at Barnes & Nobles and supper at The Cheesecake Factory.  What a perfect pre-Christmas day out.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

With 6 days to go

I am trying to find bits of time to sew but my mind isn't on it.

I do have these two cute little finishes, though.

The first is 'Snow Much Fun' by This & That.  I quilted him with a swirly pattern to give him the look of a wintry windy day.

The second is 'Winter Bliss' also by This & That.  He's quilted with little snowflakes.
I tried to capture them in a photo but they just were not showing up.  I used a glossy white thread.

I simplified them both by stitching them in one color.  I also did not piece the borders...just went with a matching fabric.

They are both cute and simple but I think the redwork piece is my favorite.

We had a few snow flakes last night but the weather folks tell us there is no chance of a white Christmas in my corner of New York.

Hope everyone else is in the home stretch of holiday preparations.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Gingerbread in Passau

One of the nicest towns we visited in Germany was Passau.  It is situated right on the Danube River so walking in and out of the town was easy.  We were also there for a full day so had lots of time to explore.

One of my favorite stops was at the Cafe Simon where gingerbread has been made for generations. In Germany gingerbread is known as Lebkuchen and is not the sweet cookie that we know.

Passau was so typically European.

Cobblestone streets,

narrow winding roads,

and cool architecture.

A common sight in most European cities is a huge cathedral right in the middle of town.
The Christmas market in Passau was in the courtyard.

I'd love to visit this city again.  I am sure we missed some very interesting things.

In the mean time....7 days!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17.

Our second full day of touring included a stop in Regensburg, Germany.  We walked and toured and shopped a bit in their Christmas market.  We lunched at the market and opted to walk to our next stop...The Thurn and Taxis Palace...instead of returning to the boat to take the bus.

The Thurn and Taxis Palace is a private home open to the public for tours.  Of course, we did not see the private residences but what a place to call home!  The abbreviated story is that the 'home' was given to the founder of the postal system in the 1600's.

On the grounds of the Palace is a private Christmas market.  While there were no photos allowed inside the palace we could take pictures outside.

As we walked down the path along the side of the house there were lit torches guiding the way.

This market had so much charm.  The greens and lights were plentiful.

Even the warming hut was atmospheric. The mild drizzle kept anyone from actually sitting around the fire, though.  Everyone is inside under cover.

Here is a view of the back of the palace with some of the market booths close to the building.

I think this was my favorite market just for the atmosphere.  I don't think I bought much of anything but the ambiance was lovely.

8 days to go.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's time I sorted some pictures.

I am finally feeling caught up enough to start looking through pictures from my recent riverboat cruise.  It is a little over due since the whole theme was the European Christmas markets and this month is all about counting down to Christmas.

When I mention my trip people often say they have never heard of the European Christmas markets.  I'd never heard of them until 6 or 7 years ago when someone told me about their plans to visit them.  So, I thought I'd look up some facts just in case you're also wondering.

Per Wikipedia the following helps sum up these markets.  Christmas markets are street markets held as part of the Advent celebration.  They are normally held in the town square or other open areas selling food, drink and seasonal items.  They originated in the German-speaking parts of Europe with the earliest mention going back to the early 1300's.

In the larger cities there are Christmas markets anywhere there is open space where pedestrians might congregate.  Our guide told us there were something like 26 in Vienna.  Some were just small assemblages of the Alpine style huts while others were in court yards and parks easy walking distance from each other.  Other markets were private and generally contained the highest quality goods. These markets would be on the grounds of a palace or someplace similar where attendees would have to pay an admission fee.  

Today I have some pictures from the one inside the walls of the Old Town in Nurnberg.

These are typical vendors.

While most were decorated with greens and white lights on the outside the insides could be as full of items as this one featuring Christmas tree decorations.

This was the only snow we saw.  It happened our first day before arriving at the boat.  It certainly did not keep people away.  Germany sees snow much like we do in Western NY so folks are prepared. Even the children in strollers were out.  See the one close to the booth covered in a plastic cover?  We saw lots of those...especially since the snow eventually turned to rain.

9 days!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

10 days and counting.

I am finally back in my sewing room working on Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery quilt.

No surprise that I'm behind since I was away when the first two clues were released.

While I have missed the first 3 link-up Mondays I am hoping to be caught up by next Monday...which means I have to finish the 2nd, 3rd and 4th clues.  I am almost done with the 2nd and will work on (and maybe finish) the 3rd today.  The 4th will be released this Friday.

Here is a pile of 294 half square triangles from Clue #1.

This goof up happened during Clue 2.  The top piece is assembled correctly...just not pressed.  The lower 3 are assembled with the neutral fabric sewn on backwards.

Below are 20 sets of Clue 2.

To complete Clue 2 I need to do the advance cutting included in the clue.

Even though this project comes at an otherwise busy time of year I enjoy mystery quilts enough to play along.

Hope the last 10 days aren't weighing too heavily.