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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stitch Retreat & Class with Lauren Sauer

Finally - here is the first post about needlework, you know the ones that I have been promising to share for an eternity - or at least since September last year.  :-)
Back in October, a quartet of us ladies pulled off the annual Tiara Retreat at Higher Ground Conference Center, Indiana. 
We had a good time planning the event - the part that is always the most fun is planning the give-aways and the door prizes.  I stitched up a couple of pillows with a pattern that Big Dog found.  The pattern is pretty much as made specifically for our little group; Oops, I Dropped My Tiara by Bobbie Ashley.  I enjoyed myself picking out the linen, floss colors and beads.  I chose the Williamsburg Sampler fabric from Windham Fabrics.
I stitched up and finished one girlie pink pillow and one in pale lavender.  If I had started this little project on time, I would have finished the edges with something sparkly-glitzy, but as always I was running late...  I was lucky to finish these on time as it was!  If I get the time end energy, I might even stitch up one for myself one of these days.
Bzz*Bzz Bee and another lady made a couple of super-sweet gifts for all the participants!  As you can see, we have a mason jar made into a fall pincushion with the help of apple print fabric and the jar contains a fabulous home-made soap.  The other gift was a full kit with an very pretty original design to be stitched in rich fall colors. 
We do also frequently enjoy exchanges of smalls and such on our retreats & meets.  This year we decided to make a "whatever you want" theme, where people got to pick whether they wanted to stitch a fall theme, or maybe a Thanksgiving or Halloween themed small. 
Since I have been getting more and more enthralled with Just Nan, I decided to stitch this sweet little pocket designed to hold an owl thread winder.  (I learned that the thread winder is stamped, so the back is nothing but a "hollow" surface.  Maybe not the best quality item to wind thread around, since the edges seemed a bit sharp.)  I did have some trouble with the cardboard that was included for the pocket to be mounted around.  I seem to recall that it was too small, so I believe that I cut some mat board to a better fit instead.  As always with Just Nan - a fun stitch, pretty quick, with about a million color changes!  :-)

-  A quickie insert here!  Speaking of Just Nan - have you seen her new series with gingerbread critters?  After scouring the Internet, I was lucky enough to get hold of the mouse right before Christmas.  I found a decent color scrap of linen in the linen box at home and I did even get a little bit stitched before the girls started to take more of my time.  I hate to waste linen, so I decided to stitch up the mouse three times.  Two of them will have to do without the fancy tail included in the chart pack.  I am really impressed with Just Nan - how does she keep coming up with all her adorable ideas?  I especially like her 3D designs; they are just so clever.
As you may already know, three more gingerbread critters are to be released during this year, with the next one being an adorable bunny.  Silverneedle has an auto-ship sign-up for the remaining critters and you can get the linen cuts through them as well (scroll down on this page to check it out).  -
All right, so back to the retreat!  I got really lucky in the exchange.  A couple of ladies had decided to make "surprise" their theme, and I decided to take a chance and go for it (we made the exchange a "brown paper bag exchange" with the theme written on the top of the bags.).  I got this adorable needlebook and scissors-fob (scissors included!) set - how sweet are they!?  They are stitched on 40-count, I guess, and the stitches are tiny!  I just love the colors - my jaw literally dropped in joy when I opened my brown paper bag.  And the scissors are awesome - I use them all the time now.

A few weeks after the fall retreat, in early November, I drove up to Cleveland for a wonderful weekend.  It started off with a fabulous class with Lauren Sauer at Rose's.  We got to learn about and stitch Lauren's latest wonder, the exquisite (and very, very long) band sampler "Mistress L's Sampler of Bands, Emblems, and Motifs".  Lauren mentioned in class that she just kept designing until she ran out of space on her linen cut. 
Here is a close-up of Lauren's initials - don't you just love the colors!?
A couple of additional views - both of the sampler itself and Rose, Lauren and me.  Check out my impressive belly - and keep in mind that in this photo, I still had over another month to go....  
Lauren treated us all by opening up a shop with her high quality and sought after kits.  It was hard not to run amok in the store.  I got the very pretty Drawstring Beach Bag kit (I am a sucker for black-work) and a fairly new design, Anniversary Roses, which is another gorgeous band sampler kit. You can see Rose's finished sampler here, if you'd like to take a peak (8th photo from the top - Rose got Western Reserve Sampler Guild's Members' Choice Award First Place for her finished sampler - belated congrats on your win, Rose!!!).
 Lauren is one of the sweetest ladies you'll ever meet (as are all the ladies that I have met at Rose's).  I have probably mentioned before that the first time I met Lauren (and the only time, up until this class), was back in 2007 at CON.  When she learned that I was Swedish, she sent me her Lucy design as a gift a few weeks after the class.  Such an incredibly thoughtful gift.  Lauren has Swedish heritage as well, so that was a real neat connection.
This time, she spoiled me again with the Mister Snow companion piece - can you believe how generous she is!?  I can't wait to stitch them up.  I would love to finish them as stand-ups, if possible.  I may pick a lower count linen, to make them a bit larger and they can stand and guard our Christmas tree! If I could only find a stitch store that sells time and I would be all set! 
After class, my MIL and SIL treated me to a fab family baby-shower!  This is an even more special treat for me , since we don't do showers in Sweden - when all was said and done, I had gotten three showers!  The theme for the shower was Sweet Peas and the decorations were so pretty!  SIL painted these wooden letters - aren't they precious?
Here are a few on the ladies with SIL on the far left and Grandma-In-Law in the front.  Cousin Kelly next to SIL had a baby just a few weeks after I had mine.  These are the first great grand-babies on this side of DH's family.  This is a great bunch of chicks to hang out with - they are absolutely crazy and some of them have a knack for saying things that make even me blush.... totally hilarious!
Check out the decorations!!!
 And check out the loot!!!  We did almost not get all of the stuff into my pretty sizable car when I was ready to drive back home.  I am probably the most spoiled mom ever!

And just for fun - this is DH and me exactly one month before the arrival of the twins - pretty impressive size belly huh!?  (Nothing compared to the day of the actual birth, though.  It felt like I was dragging my belly on the ground...)
At this point in my pregnancy, people unbeknown to me (you know, people in the grocery store, the car wash and on the beach.... wait, scratch that last one, LOL) started blurt out things like "about to pop any day now, ain't you!?" (add the KY accent here for full effect) and other similar types of 'encouragements'....  Yeah, that's right - pick on the pregnant lady who can't even get up out of bed on her own anymore (which wasn't really a problem, since at around this time I was already sleeping sitting up)....  LOL

Well, that's it for now.  I hope to get back with another post before too long.  Maternity leave ends on Monday and I will finally be able to eat one meal a day in peace and quiet and maybe even use the rest-room when I need to.  Oh, happy day!  ;-)

Gotta run, someone is complaining!
Happy Stitching!