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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blue Ribbon Sewing Box Class - Travel Report!

Hi and Happy Spring to all!  Thanks for all your sweet comments about the Blue Ribbon Box, they mean so much to me.  I have been dreaming about taking the class ever since I saw Sherri's model about four or five years ago.  I can still not believe that I have my very own sitting at home!  :-)

So - finally, here is the travel report that I promised to share with you!  I took a vacation day the Friday before class in order to make the 6+ hr drive up to Northern Ohio more pleasant and less stressful.  The weather was fabulous (very lucky, since it poured buckets the day before) and I managed to get myself and all the junk I was dragging along out of the house right on time. 
We had made plans that I would pick up L-bug on the way up.  The meeting spot was just a few exits from the Fairfield IKEA exit!  Since I was doing quite a bit better on time than I had hoped, I had to stop in to look for some Cloudberry Jam! 

Unfortunately, I got there about fifteen minutes before the food section was to be open and since I was on a schedule, there was no time to hang around and wait to browse for food.  I did at least find out that there is no Cloudberry Jam to be bought this year, since the harvest had been so bad ...  If you haven't had the chance to taste cloudberries you are in for a treat!  The reason why cloudberries are so expensive and tricky to find is because you can't easily grow them, but they have to be picked out in the wild.  Add to that the fact that they prefer to grow far up north and that they only grow in the wet-lands, so they are hard to get to.  The flowers only carry one berry each and the flowers are not self-germinating since the flower is either male or female.  These factors together with the heavenly taste (generally acquired with age) are probably the reasons why the clodberry has been crowned the "gold of the north" in Sweden. 

So I left IKEA with a nice photo of a clear blue sky with the Swedish flag flanked by the US and the Ohio ditto.  Very pretty!

L-bug joined me prepared with a list of stitch-stores that we could swing by on the way up.  We only made it to one store (we shouldn't find the street for the one in Columbus on the GPS), but it was wonderful - Crafty Ewe &  Framing Too.  It is always so much fun to check out the LNS wall models and Crafty Ewe was no exception.
 The new and hot stuff from the Nashville market was on display.  Hard to ignore...
I have never seen linen displayed like this before.  Very cool and easy to find.  This was not all, though.  When I asked the friendly lady who was manning the store about 28 count Newport Red/Natural linen by Zweigart, she pulled out a large bin full of different Newports.  Soooo cool!  I got my piece, that will be used for SamSarah's R is for Robin (I hope that I will be able to start stitching on that in a month or so - it is just adorable!  And yes, I did get the button pack, complete with worm-buttons!  LOL)..
The store has a fun mix of all you can imagine, including all these softies with stitchable bibs.  The pig is just too cute!
There was a huge floss wall, piles and piles of frames and a bunch of adorable accessories.  As you can see, L-bug was as pleased with the selection as I was!

As mentioned in the post before this, we were greeted by kittens when we arrived at my In-Laws.  My MIL welcomed us with open arms and four 1-week old kittens.  Two of them did not even have their eyes open yet!  The were all just dropped off at the animal shelter where she volunteers.  The staff told her that they'll survive if they survive, but MIL didn't like that and brought them home so that she could bottle-feed them every few hours.  She named them Eeney, Meeney, Miney and Moe.  LOL  I was pretty sure that Eeney would not make it over night, but last we spoke, he was better than fine, so that is great!  It's not for nothing that MIL was crowned Volunteer of the Month at the shelter last month!
All four are boys, by the way.  FIL was clearly not thrilled about all the extra pets that landed in the living-room, but as long as they don't stay for too long he'll stand it.
This is Meeney making it out of the basket onto the slick sofa.
After a visit to the lake - it was incredibly cold and windy! - and dinner at the Golf Club, it was straight to be to gather energy for an early morning and a long day of stitching. 

This is our hostess for our Patricks Woods weekend, Rose.  She is the sweetest lady and had planned and taken care of everything you can possible think of, from food, to payment and shipment of pre-stitch kits.  
I loved that we started off both days with a really nice breakfast (I am still in awe) and let me just say that her egg-casserole is fabulous!  She shared the recipe, so it'll be real interesting to see if I can duplicate the yumminess.  I must also say that I was so impressed with the help she got from her husband.  Not only did he sleep in a recliner down in the basements (together with the cats, since Sherri is allergic to cats) to make room for some extra over-night guests, but he also helped in the kitchen, heating up food and loading the dish-washer.  I have a feeling that my DH would be MIA in a similar situation at our house... just sayin'!
Rose is a very accomplished stitcher and has displayed many of her samplers around the house.  The sampler she is standing next to was the first she ever stitched!  Quite a challenging first sampler, don't you think?
Oh, and did I mention that Rose is a published designer!?  Shows up that I have stitched a number of designs from her company Tomorrow's Antiques.  We got to see all of them in person during the weekend (Rose's friends insisted that she'd show them to us - I am so glad that they did), so now I will have to get the kits I don't have - especially the snow-flake!
I also want to tell you that some of the other ladies spoiled us with sweet gifts that went with the theme of each class.  We got buttons and button-headed pins during the Sunday class and we were spoiled with a beautiful and very useful home-designed and printed note-book for the Blue Ribbon Sewing Box class.  I don't have a photo of the treats now, but I'll try to show you in an upcoming post. 
We did also get to spend time with the sweet dogs of the house.  The house rule is that Ozzie is not allowed on the couch.  He gets away with a technicality; Rose is under him, not the couch!  
Below is a photo of the beautiful and canine lady of the house.  She got abandoned after she was too old to race on the tracks, so Rose and her husband rescued her.  She was a great champion in her days and won several racing competitions.  Now she is 14 years old and lives the comfortable life.  Rose told me that she has run off from home twice and both times she was found running around the horse tracks!  Racing is obviously in her blood and her backbone. 
I am sooo jealous of Rose's fantastic sun-room.  I want a sun-room!  I love the way it has been decorated - Isn't this the coolest shelf!?  I am a sucker for stained glass and this is such a neat idea.
Enjoying breakfast in the sun-room!
Rose gave me the green lights to show her samplers and stitched pieces to you, so sit back and enjoy!  
This is an old Birds of a Feather sampler (Happy Hearts Sampler).
Another classic BOAF; Sally Spencer.
This is another very cool display idea - this reversible sampler has been hung in a doorway, so that you can admire both sides.  (Rose has strategically placed her large ott-light below, so heads are spared that way.)
The sampler wall in the sun-room:
The beautiful boxes, idea courtesy of The Twisted Stitcher.
Display case with all kinds of goodies.  Merry Cox, Lauren Sauer, Leslie Rudnicki, and many more designers' pieces have been gathered here.  Note the pretty Liberty Hill box on the floor.

Our second day carried with is an extra treat in the form of Jane and her pickle tree.  What is so incredible about this tree is not all the beautiful ornaments, but the fact that Jane made all of them (except one) all by herself.  She does have a much more extensive collection at home; this tree is only for the small pickles.  It looks very festive, don't you think?  (I found this article about the myth of the pickle, by the way.  I have no clue whether the contents of the article is accurate or not, but an interesting read nevertheless.)
One of many beautifully beaded pickles:
A large button pickle, another beaded version, one made from green bottle glass and one made with felt:
Semi-precious stone and a felt pickle with some gorgeous beaded leaves in the foreground.  The latter ornament was made by Jane after a beading class were she learned how to make these leaves.
Another button pickle, complete with curly tendrils:
The tree was admired by all.
As you can see, the weekend was wonderful.  We were welcome into the gang with open arms.  The ladies were all so sweet and they are good friends.  They meet and stitch once a week and they really have a great thing going!  Oh, how I wish that I lived closer! Especially when I was informed that Lauren Sauer comes to the stitch-group every now and then too!  Wow!  I hope that I will get to see these delightful ladies sometime in a not too distance future.

Once again it is well past my bed-time so I'd better get off this computer.  I just wanted to share some of the beautiful things we were treated to over our class weekend.

Take care and hang in there - it is almost weekend!
Happy Stitching,

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Early Spring in 2012!

I don't know about you, but I am cautiously optimistic - it seems that spring is here!  We enjoyed a fabulous weekend in the upper 70s with a wonderful summer thunderstorm late Saturday night.  I fell asleep with the window open enjoying the fresh, cool air, the scent of moist earth, and the soothing sounds of rain falling softly on grass and leaves.  The birds are singing, the neighborhood kids are out biking and I feel like I have the energy of ten right now - I love this time!

Earlier in the week, I got the Blue Ribbon Box pulled together after my fun and well-needed break with some smaller stitches.  This box is such a beautiful and delicate project and I must admit that I am astonished at the short time it took both to stitch and to assemble!  If you ever get the chance to take this class, please do!  You do not have to be intimidated in the least, I promise!  
Here it is, in the bright spring sun, perched among the grape hyacinths.
A beautiful scrim piece by Marcy Pumphret adorns the front of the box.
In the last photo you can see the pretty little mattress pin-cushion better.  This little cushion is probably my favorite part of the entire box!  I splurged and bought the ruler and the accompanying thread winder scrims too.  Right now, this piece is my treasure!  I am already pondering how to make sure that it is kept away from beaks, claws and elbows...  LOL

We spent a good deal of time weeding the garden during Saturday;  Note the beer below.  Wherever the beer goes, DH will follow...  LOL  After 2-3 hrs straight weeding, I have to admit that there is still not much of a difference.  The weeds really got a good jump-start this year.
Our tiny magnolia bush planted last year seems to be doing well, which is nice since we lost two magnolia trees during last years terrible yoyo-spring.
It may feel a tad intimidated right next to the neighbors fantastic magnolia tree.  It almost looks like pink snow on the ground where all the petals have fallen.  I am so glad that the old neighbors moved out - they were nice enough and all that jazz, but they insisted on treating their poor magnolia like a topiary and cut the crown into a ball each year.  You can tell that it is happy to be set free and to finally be allowed to look like a tree and not a gigantic pink lolly pop.  (I am pretty sure that all the other trees around here were smirking at it...)

Do you find it hard to pass up on all the colorful pansies and violas in the store this time of the year?  I do, which means that I ended up getting a good deal more than I know where to dig down.  The orange pansies are my favorite, but they seem to be tricky to get hold of.  I have only found space for about two thirds so far - I am hoping that inspiration will hit tomorrow after work!

After digging in the garden (and impressing DH with the largest worm ever!) I had to do some spring decorating at home.  DH did one of his gigantic bi-yearly furniture move-around.  The bird cages are now situated next to the living-room windows and on a safe(r) distance from the spool cabinet, so I am taking a chance here.  I realized after setting this up this little display and working in the yard that spring in Kentucky is incredibly colorful, so this display looks a bit bland...  Oh well.  Guess that means that I have to stitch up something more colorful for next spring.

Speaking of spring and bulbs and so on - I am a big fan of Thistle Threads, so I am not real sure how I missed Tricia's very pretty tulip freebie on the Thistle Threads site (see the two "pages" on the top right?).  It is one of those cool historical needlework applique pieces and the instructions look very good, as always for TT projects.   I may even dare to try this one out one day!

I do promise to give all of you a full account of last weekends trip later this week.  Until then, here are some pictures of kittens that my MIL is taking care of for the animal-shelter she volunteers at.  Aren't they adorable!?  More about them in my next post!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by and have a wonderful week.  I hope that you get a chance to enjoy spring as much as I do and if not yet, I hope that spring will come to you soon!

Happy Spring Stitching,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Singing in the Sea...

She is done - the Mermaid with her two tales!  I had to share her with you.  I had hoped to get her completely done before the Patricks Woods class last weekend, but I never got around to attaching the cording around the edge.  I did bring it to show it to Sherry though.  She is probably the most encouraging teacher I have ever had - she really celebrate all her students finishes with them!  She even complimented the tricky curves - yes, I was terrified before starting to work on them!  LOL

Here is Miss M in her calming mode, talking with the fish and letting the ships pass on calm waters.
Here she is in her party mood - the seafarers are getting a ride for their money and the fish have already taken cover....  I added little MOP shells for "feet" at the bottom of the clutch.
Here is the clam shell inside with a monogrammed pocket and where a part of my growing scrim collection will live.  :-)  The little pin-cushion and the sweet needle-book with the adorable sea-horse were part of an optional kit that we could buy when taking the class.  I did not think twice about picking that one up!
Check out the gussets!  LOL  And the pretty mermaid with her mirror on the front of the pin-cushion.  She is such a talented designer!  All of this beautiful design is stitched with just two floss-colors, which is so right for this pretty ensemble.

The mermaid is not the only piece I have been finishing lately.  I am not real sure what has gotten into me,, but all of the sudden I have a ball just finishing the oldies on the "almost there" pile!  This is an Oehlenschlager design with a little pig and a flock of adorable, and curious, hens.  You can check out other cuties here!  (I can hear the rooster pin-cushion calling my name.  I already have the pretty tulip design in my to-stitch-one-day pile.)  Anyway, since I already finished the Oehlenschlager goose design into a pin-cushion, I decided to make a piggie pin-disc.  I had the neat chain-link fence fabric in my stash and I added a chicken button on the back for fun,

I did also manage to get my BOAF ornament finished.  I used one of the cool hand-dyed rick-racks that I got in the trim-pack from Down Sunshine Lane (thanks for enabling me, Bzz*Bzz*Bee, LOL).  I like how it turned out, but I guess that I need to put it away until Xmas comes around, right?

While on our trip, L-bug and I stopped by a delightful needlework store.  (I'll write more about that next time.).  I didn't buy a whole lot, but since the store was also specializing in framing, I decided to pick up some teeny frames to go with some tiny designs.  To soothe my guilt over buying more stash, I stitched up a couple of quickies after Tuesday, which is when my total stitch exhaustion had lifted a bit (the stitch-tempo was pretty intense over the weekend.  To put it mildly...)  Here is a super-adorable cardinal frame and a little spring-green thing with accompanying designs.
Here is the finished spring bunny (The Littles Bunny by Bent Creek) - I added the bow-tie so that he is dressed up and ready to go.  Too lazy to get the called for floss in the store, so I just pulled from the stash.
Here is the Cardinal ornie in progress.  The glue is still drying for this one, but meanwhile I am having fun thinking about what ribbon (and maybe a couple of pieces of adornments) to use.  I did switch out the cross-stitches used for the berries for beads.  Of course!  :-)  And the white details on the hat were stitched with Whisper.  
The design, Tree Trimmings II, and the frame are from Poppy Kreations.

I wonder if all of you are experiencing the strangest spring ever too?   Two weeks ago - the spring flowers are ready to go:

And then - snow!!!  And not a little bit (for here in KY, that is).
Isn't it pretty!?
Before signing off, I have to show you my baby-Hen keeping me company in the bathroom.  I am applying make-up and she is taking care of the Q-tips.
It's hard work, but mommy needs help with stuff early in the morning.  (I love her, can you tell?  LOL)
And lastly, just to show that I am not making up stuff.. ;-)  Here I am in Ohio, with my freshly glued Blue Ribbon Box!  I'll show more photos of the weekend that was next time.

Thank you so much for stopping by, I really appreciate the visit!  Take care, have a wonderful spring and Happy Stitching,