Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Market Stash!

Hello dear readers!

It is sunny and crisp here in the Shenandoah.  Thankfully, the winds have died down.  The yard is strewn with tree limbs, sticks, and all other kinds of yard debris.  The wind gusts were up to 50 miles an hour yesterday!  Whew!  Hubby and I will definitely be working in the yard later today!

This past week I headed to my LNS, Cross Stitch Station, to check out the new market finds.  There were so many new and pretty things!  I did pick up a few new things and I thought that I would share them with you. 

First, here is my new favorite stitching tool.  It is called "The Buddy Case" and it is by Namaste.  It is magnetic and is perfect for holding your scissors and needles.  I have my scissors and frogging tool in mine.  The magnets are so strong that they can hold a pair of scissors upright!  I love this new case...keep needles, thread and Thread Heaven in it too.  I highly recommend it to any and all stitchers!


Next, I had to pick up the new Blackbird Designs book, "A Stitcher's Journey."  What gorgeous projects!  The colors, the patterns, the stories...oh, what a wonderful book!  My faves are "Tulip House" and "Seaside Retreat." 

I also picked up a new Lizzie*Kate, "One Hundred Years."  It is perfect for me and my chosen profession!  There were some new hand-dyed fabrics and I found one that I thought would be perfect with the browns in the L*K piece.  I could not get a good pic of the fabric but it is a gorgeous yellow...perfect for those browns!


Well gentle friends, I am off to get some stitching done before heading out to the yard for the great "Pick-Up."  Thank you for all of your lovely comments!  They really do mean the world.  I love reading them and feeling connected to so many wonderful people!  I do hope to get caught up on my own commenting...so you will be hearing from me soon!

Happy Stitching!
Valerie

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The road of good intentions...or the reason why I cannot find time to stitch

Thursday was shaping up to be a good day.  Work was smooth, the kids behaved and all of my lesson plans went........well......as planned (which for a teacher can be quite an accomplishment!) My husband had to work late which meant at least FIVE peaceful, uninterrupted hours of stitching.  I was looking forward to going home, slipping into my PJ's and stitching away.  Not to mention, I was going to fix one of my favorite comfort foods for dinner, Chicken Casserole.  Hubby does not like Chicken Casserole because it has broccoli.  Since he was not going to be home, I decided I would whip up my favorite dish and stitch the night away.  Besides, he is a chef and he eats at work when he works late. 

What was I thinking?  Why did I ever think that I would be able to score FIVE hours of stitching time with my ultimate comfort food???? 

After my smooth day at school, I hop in my car and head to my mother's house (two houses away from my own) to pick up some mayonnaise.  My Chicken Casserole recipe calls for mayo (told you it was good!) and I was running low.  I arrive safely at my mother's where I promptly get involved in a conversation with one of her "chattier" customers (in case you do not know, my mother is a cosmetologist and has her own shop in her home...think Truvy's in Steel Magnolias....really, it is just like that!)  There are several ladies getting their hair done and they all want the latest news from me.  This means fielding all of the the necessary questions like, "How's work?" and "How is your husband?" etc, etc.  I try to answer as quickly and painlessly as possible without being rude.  I finish with the interrogation and make a bee line for the kitchen and the mayo.  I grab the needed condiment, say my good-byes, jump in my car, and guess what!  The battery is dead.  I left the keys in the ignition and the head lights on!  AAARRRGGHHHH!  So, this means that I now have to jump the car, which is no small feat since I have to WALK to my house to retrieve the jumper cables.  The ladies in my mother's shop tell me to wait for my husband to come home and take care of the dead battery problem.  I seriously consider this...I can hear my stitching calling my name...but realize that while stitching is high on my list, knowing that I can take care of the problem myself is even more important...not to mention my pride.  After hooking up to my mother's car and listening to not one, not two but three different stories about dead car batteries, I finally get my car started.  However, by this point, new customers have arrived and I have to fill them in on the details of my life as well as why my car battery is dead.  Not only that but I have to listen to even more funny dead car battery stories.  Once I finally free myself from the confines of the beauty parlor, I head home to start cooking.  It is now 6:00.

O.k, at least three hours left to stitch.  Not so fast.  Dirty dishes have been left in the sink by hubby (thanks honey!) and I cannot start cooking in a dirty kitchen. Oh, and what is this???  The cat apparently has had an upset stomach ALL DAY LONG!  I clean up the cat yak (my endearing term for it,) wash dishes, get dinner in the oven and start laundry.  It is now 7:00.  I sit down in my stitching chair, turn on the TV, and grab my stitching.  What appears on my TV screen?  An error message.  Yep, seems like the Dish Network box needs to be rebooted.  This means a trip downstairs to the satellite box.  While downstairs, I switch over the laundry and head back upstairs to my stitching.  The phone rings...it is hubby just checking in.  He denotes the tension in my voice by saying, "Are you ok?"  I will be ok when I can sit and stitch! is what I would like to say but instead simply assuage him by saying, "Fine."  He then asks what I made for dinner, which, as you may, remember is not his favorite.  "Chicken Casserole?" he exclaims, "Is that all that you fixed?"  Apparently, hubby was expecting dinner at 9:00 when he got home.  I promise to have something for him when he gets home at 9:00 and it looks like it will be a grilled cheese and soup night for hubby. The timer goes off for my casserole.  By this point I am starving and dig into my casserole.  It is now 8:00.  Where did the time go???  I happily settle into my stitching nook and begin to stitch.  I get in FOUR whole stitches when I see headlights in the driveway.  Yep, it is hubby pulling in.  Apparently when he called he neglected to tell me that he was on his way home.  I feel like crying but I jump up and start fixing soup and grilled cheese.  Hubby is very good to me so I don't complain......very much at least.  He has had a hard day at work and I sit patiently and listen to him regale me with the escapades of his employees.  I look at the clock......it is 9:00 and time to get ready for bed.  Where did my five hours of blissful, uniterrupted stitching go???  Well, maybe next time.  At least it was fun thinking about it.

On Sunday, I was able to stitch quite a bit and actually made some progress on two projects.  I stitched on my SAL with Robin (no blog.)  We are stitching the Homespun Elegance, Ferry Farm Cherry Sampler.  The both of us are really enjoying this piece.  I am a little behind Robin's progress but I hope to be caught up this week. 

I have been stealing time over the past two weeks to work on Richmond Sampler.  Now that I am done with the lovely over one verse, I have decided to focus on the border and flowers.  Here is my before picture...

Here is a present progress pic...

Isn't she lovely?  I just love, love, love this sampler!  Now, if I could only get her done this year!!!

Well, dear readers, I must hop off and get ready to start the work week.  I am starting to get caught up on my email and promise to be in touch with those of you who probably think that I have dropped off the face of the earth!  Thank you for all of your wonderful and much appreciated comments!  They make my day!  Happy Stitching!

Valerie

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back from a wonderful Gathering...

Hello dear stitching friends!

I am back from Williamsburg and an absolutely enjoyable Gathering of Embroiderers!  I am jealous that I could not attend another class...Margriet Hogue was teaching another fabulous sampler class today, but alas, there is always next year!  I must tell you that the picture on the web of the Cynthia Burr sampler DID NOT DO IT JUSTICE!  I took a picture of the sampler and here she is in all her glory...

Isn't she absolutely gorgeous?  The majority of the sampler is free-handed...which is a little like, as Margriet described, paint by numbers with thread.  Margriet discussed the free-handed section in detail but we did not actually stitch any of the free-handed sections.  According to Margriet, the counted sections should be stitched first, then trace the pattern onto the fabric and stitch the free-hand part last.  Here is the traceable pattern...

I will have to use a light box of some sort but that is a long way off at this point! 

I arrived in Williamsburg around 6:00 pm on Thursday evening.  I left straight from work and the drive was quick, only about three hours.  I checked in, took my luggage into my room and headed for the restaurant in the hotel for a little dinner.  I headed back to the room and headed to bed early.  Class was to start at 8:30 the next morning and I wanted to get up early to see what I could find in the Stitching Boutique!  There were several vendors, but I knew what I wanted to buy...Essamplaire kits!  I headed to The Essamplaire booth and picked up these two beauties...Helena Kutz and Sarah Hatton McPhail

I don't know when I will be able to stitch them, but for me half the fun is looking over the charts, feeling the linen and threads, and thinking about the young lady who stitched such a wonderful piece of art. 

Class started and we got down to business.  I saw a fellow blogger, Susan (her blog is Plain and Fancy), who is also stitching Richmond Sampler.  She and her mother were also taking the Cynthia Burr class.  It was great to see the both of them...they are lovely ladies and such accomplished stitchers!

I met so many fabulous people!  I am terrible with names, so forgive me for not remembering all names but it was great meeting fellow stitchers!  Cissy, Kathy, Anne, Ria, Mary and so many others...it was a pleasure to meet you and stitch with you!  My stitching buddy, who shared a table with me was Cissy Smith from A Gentle Pursuit Designs.  For those of you who have the magazine, Sampler and Antique Needlework, the Summer 2010 cover is one of her designs.  She is a lovely and talented lady and I was so lucky to have met her.  We had dinner at the Williamsburg Lodge on Friday evening...and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing seafood buffet!  The food was fabulous and the company was even better!

I took lots of pictures and here are several that I would like to share.


 Our classroom


 My stitching area...

Cissy hard at work!

I set up a stitching niche in my hotel room.  I moved the desk near the TV and stitched for hours!

If you are interested, I have more pictures on my Picasa page.  I took several close-ups of the sampler, so if you are interested in seeing sections close up go here: https://picasaweb.google.com/valiehokie

Oh, last but not least, I did find something that I have been searching high and low for.  There was a vendor who specialized in hard to find needlework books, antique notions, etc.  At her booth, I found THE book..."In the Neatest Manner...The Virginia Sampler Tradition" by Kimberly Smith Ivey.  I have been pouring over it the past two days.  What an amazing book!

Well dear readers, I must go and get ready to start the work week.  Thank you for all of the wonderful comments and well wishes for my trip!  Reading your wonderful comments means so much!  Thank you!
Till next time...

Cheers,
Valerie

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Off to another wonderful Gathering...

Hello dear readers!

It is a blustery, sunny day here in the Shenandoah!  The "Blizzard" missed us but the cold temps are making there way here tonight.  I hope that those of you are dealing with the terrible weather are faring well and there are no power outages to report.

It is that time of year again, it is time to attend the Gathering of Embroiderers.  As many of you know, last year was the first year that I was able to attend the Gathering and I had a fabulous time!  I took the Richmond Sampler class (aka Anne Maria Clarke sampler) with Margriet Hogue of The Essamplaire.  This year I am taking another of her classes, the Cynthia Burr Sampler.  This is an American Mary Balch School sampler from Rhode Island.  The class is two full days and I cannot wait!  I wish that I could take more of the classes but 1.) I work full-time and cannot take the time off to attend all of the classes offered and 2.) any more BAP and I may go crazy!  Here is a picture of the sampler...

Isn't it gorgeous?  Apparently there is a large amount of freehand work in the piece and we will be learning about that in depth.  I leave tomorrow afternoon (after work) and will hopefully arrive in Williamsburg in time to enjoy the Gathering's Stitching Room. 

I promise to take plenty of pictures and share my progress with you!  Till next time!

Valerie