first friday finish

…and just like that, 27 hours later, the stitching of Ellie Mae is complete.

I have visions of an ornate frame with Belly Dancer bells hanging from the piece.

Question?  Why do I have such a tricky time taking photos with true colors?  In real life, she is juicy and rich and beautiful.  The fabric is a gorgeous warm golden color.  I guess you will have to take my word for it or just stop by for coffee sometime and I promise to show n tell.

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The pattern is from the book, all Creatures Stitched and Small by Lori Markovic.

I used 28 count Monaco that I dyed myself with coffee, tea and turmeric.

This year I am keeping a journal of my stitching, sewing and crocheting.  Names, supplies and hours.  Years ago, I kept track of hours spent hand quilting.  I thought it would be a boost to my self-esteem at the end of the year to see what I had accomplished and be surprised by the hours spent.  20180112_074456-1_resized (1)

Of course, you know she is finished.  She has on her Swarovski jewelry and ready for a night on the town.

 

Chrismons

crismon treeChrismon are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They were first made by Frances Kipps Spencer at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.  She also thought of the word Chrismon which is a combination of Christ and Monogram (meaning symbol).

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The simple symbols remind us of the story.

The ornaments remind of Grace and Goodness.

During Advent, our church decorates the sanctuary tree with white felt Chrismons.  Other years we have attended a church in another state and that tree also had Chrismons, however, those were made out of beads & pipe cleaners.

I cross stitched several of these ornaments years ago.  If I remember correctly, I have made this set three times to give away. As luck would have it, I did indeed make a set for our tree.   Each has Biblical meaning.20171214_212607_resized All of our ornaments were stitched with the same three colors of thread, same cloth and utilized the same small plastic frames.

We hang them every year on one of our trees.  This year the tall, tall skinny tree in the kitchen is decorated with German straw ornaments, Chrismons, antique chocolate candy molds and cinnamon ornaments.

Once the Chrismons come out of the box, or I spy them on the church tree…………it finally feels like Christmas.

Here’s to that happy feeling we all get while unpacking and seeing our treasured decorations.20171214_213706-1_resized

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

and a forest grew

This morning it is pouring down rain with dark clouds all around me. To me, the ideal morning for stitching & drinking steaming hot coffee.  The sound of the rain, the aroma of dark, rich coffee, the feel of the fabric, and thread in my hand……doesn’t get much better.

Today I wanted to share my latest counted cross stitch project.  I made the first stitch on August 16, 2017.  The fabric is 28 count, cream-colored linen.  I stitch 2 threads over 2 threads.  I use a size 26 needle by Bohin.

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I will share updates now and then.  This piece will most likely take quite a few months to complete.  I work on several different pieces at once.  It is such a pleasure to work on, I will venture a guess and predict this will come up in the rotation more often than not.

This beautiful piece designed by Karen Kluba will be my biggest project to 20170616_100630-1_resizeddate.

(side note) Stephanie Webb of Lindy Stitches on Etsy charted different words.  I prefer her more uplifting and happy word selection.

“You will go out in Joy and be led forth in Peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song before You, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!”

 

By using one of the trees, a bird and a bunny from this pattern, I stitched & traded a pincushion for her graph of the new charted words.  I really enjoy the graceful art of bartering. We both felt like we got a good deal so we were equally pleased and happy.

For this piece, I am learning and trying a new method.  Whereas I split apart the threads of each stitch with my needle before making the stitch.  This causes the threads to lay flat and not be twisted. 20170919_075412-1_resized

I really fell head over heels in love with this design.  All of the whimsical birds and animals tickled my fancy right away.  The trees are unique and just different enough to hold my interest.  Up to and to include several shades of green, there are 105 colors of thread that will be used to complete this piece.

 

As my forest begins to grow, here is a picture from this morning.

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I love share ‘n tell.  I’ve been brave enough to share and talk about my current work in progress.  I would really appreciate and enjoy seeing what handwork you are working on.

Yes, I know you are “busy”.  However, it does your heart and soul such good to make something with your hands, then share the beauty.  So whether it is baking or knitting, card making or quilting, by sharing our solitary craft endeavors, the journey will feel less lonely.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

bee happy

Two weeks ago today, I fell in love with a piece of 28 count linen in a beautiful color called, Buttermilk. (fyi, 28 count means that there are 28 threads per inch)20170727_153913-1_resized

I adore this pattern.  It was a quick, happy stitch.  The designer’s name is Annie Blecher and she is Annie Beez Folk Art.   I had a hiccup mid-week, as I ran out of that lush gold color.  52 cents later, I was back in business.

Sharing/teaching is a beautiful, happy thing.

Sometimes in the work place, folks don’t want to share information?  They feel puffed up and important by not sharing knowledge.  The “I know something you don’t know” game is very uninspired and sad.

Sharing makes you feel wonderful & it is very uplifting. Everything about it is HAPPY!

I am passing on the goodness, the happy.  Over the years, I have taught a couple of people how to cross stitch.  I am doing it again.  Next month, I am teaching two young tween girls the art of counted cross stitch.  Who know’s, it may be the beginning of a beautiful hobby they enjoy in which they pursue happiness for the rest of their lives?  I could have a hand in that!  How exciting and wonderful and uplifting!

Hobbies help our souls and mental health.  Yes, certain days our hobbies can aggravate the tar out of us, yet, for the most part, they help us create our own  “HAPPY”.

One of the things mental health counselors often ask right off the bat?  What are your hobbies?  (no, sorry, watching television is not a hobby)   Side note: I understand having a hobby will not “fix, cure” all mental health issues.  However, for me and many others, having a hobby brings us great personal joy and balance as we navigate life. 

Helping to cultivate a hobby is a beautiful gift. Both the student and the teacher garner so much happy.   We all benefit.   Our neighborhood, our world, heck our workplace is better when we are kind and share what we know.

For the class, I have gathered both pattern and fabric.  We will be starting with 14 count Aida cloth. (You guessed it, that is 14 threads per inch.  You are catching on. )  Each kit I make up will have the called for threads and of course a needle.  20170728_074813_resized (1)

Part of the lesson will also include a baking break.  Girls who stitch NEED to take a break to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I thought everyone knew that!

I will give a gentle suggestion/life lesson:  After baking, we need to wash our hands (no one wants chocolate on their white Aida cloth, no one)

Love to hear about your hobbies.  I would appreciate hearing how you fit in and find time to make your hobby a priority.  Love to hear about you sharing.

I would really enjoy hearing about you sharing and teaching your hobby to someone else. Have you passed on the Happy?

In this together friends, here’s to our mental, happy health!

chat soon

 

 

 

 

 

poke update

June is knocking on the door, six months into the new year & about 180 days into my sewing goal.

20170116_200943-1_resized_2I thought I would give you a quick update on20170414_202404-1_resized (1) my pin cushion project of 2017.

 

 

 

In case you need to catch up, zip over to this post.    I decided to stitch birthday pin cushions this year.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-good-luck-poke/

 

To date I have made & given 8 pin cushions.  Another one is sitting in a basket waiting for 20170427_100224_resized20170103_144545-1_resized (1)backing fabric and a new one is currently being stitched.

So we are almost 6 months into the year and I have 10 pin cushions almost under my belt.

 

 

Some observations so far this year:

  1.  I have not given one cushion in person. Giving hand-made gifts that you don’t get to see the person open, is over rated.  Most likely won’t do again (except my grands and family).
  2. I have a love of handmade stitchy gifts/projects, that is not the case with most everyone else.
  3. It is way more time (hours & hours, even a few days), energy, effort then I calculated.  Hard to stay motivated at times.  To mail in a timely fashion, I have to prepare and stitch a month or so before the person’s birthday.
  4. Making two the same is not that thrilling.
  5. I love choosing the perfect buttons.
  6. I have had to put some other larger counted cross stitch projects on the back burner, while I attempt to make all these pin cushions.
  7. Being thoughtful is at times, hard work.
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I think I needed this project to remind myself to be more kind and thoughtful towards others, even when I don’t feel like it.   A lesson I won’t soon forget.

I would love to hear what gifts you are making for friends.  Maybe we could encourage each other?

Please share,  in this together friends.

 

a good luck poke

The pincushion tomato was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era.  Folklore tomato-pin-cushionteaches us, that by placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits.  If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust.  The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose – a place to store pins.

20170102_213250-1_resizedI made this lavender pincushion in 1972.  I was 10 years old and this was my first project in my sewing 4H club. I am not sure the light purple blob has any good luck or not.  I can say, with certainly, it has kept all evil spirits away from my sewing basket for more than 40 years.

In theory it is a sweet idea, however, it doesn’t work. The pins don’t stay pushed in.   The material is double-knit, the filling feels like cotton batting, and it doesn’t have any weight to speak of. I made it using a canning jar lid and ring.

A pin cushion that doesn’t work, isn’t very useful.  However, I have kept it all these years because it makes me smile to remember the beginning.  It doesn’t work, but for some reason, it whet my appetite for more to come.

You all remember my 2017 goal of making a pin cushion for every sweet person I need a gift for?       https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/

You thought I was kidding?  No, not kidding.  I am on a mission to make  at least 12 pincushions this year.  Let me be clear:  pincushions that are equally pretty & useful. While I do wish for them to be keepsakes (and full of good luck), I honestly don’t want them20170102_213305_resized stuck in the bottom of someone’s sewing basket never to see the light of day.  It is my hope that the cushions will be poked over and over and over again.  I hope they are loved and used and become worn with happy use.

First pin cushion of 2017 is finished!!!!  She also comes with her own designer pins.

I made several pins last night.  I wanted to include something unique or pretty or charming to poke into each cushion. Some look like dragonflies, some have hearts, a few have stars, while the rest are glass stacked beads.

My first pin cushion this year,  is for a retirement gift.  The recipient is a crafter and does lovely work with beads.  I thought it might be the perfect small gift to offer up as a celebration.  I wanted to make something special.

I ask you, who among us wouldn’t want to receive a hand stitched cushion with our initial highlighted?

In addition to using buttons from my button jar, I stitched good karma, love, prayers, kindness and oodles of good luck into this piece.  I am sending it off into the world stuffed with pure goodness (also known in some circles as crushed walnut shells). I also included a loop for her scissors to be tied with a ribbon.

May this new year be a time of bathing others in small gifts of thoughtfulness.

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In this together, friends.

We could all use a little poke to remind us to be more thoughtful.

secret clues stitched

Today being Thursday,  I will finish this, (28 count linen) “Sepia Sampler” by Notforgotten Farm, designed by Lori Brechlin……….right between Work in Progress Wednesday and Friday Finish.20161222_075541-1_resized

Once again, in years to come, when the kids are deciding which things to sell at a yard sale for 25 or 75 cents, I hope they hang on to a couple handiwork pieces.

As you know, I hide clues in my work,  fingers crossed this piece will be chosen by our youngest son.

By changing the year to 85, highlighting the initials GW & birth date 20, I am hoping to catch the attention of Gabe.

This particular piece is fashioned after an original sampler from 1863.   So you will note:  a missing letter J and Q.  (Unlike written samplers were to teach the actual alphabet, stitched samplers were to teach the shape of letters and you can garner those shapes from other letters.)

Yes, I have already given framed pieces to both Daughter in Laws.  Some  pieces I keep and enjoy for a time.  Those particular pieces I stitch initials or dates or secret clues. In the last few years, in place of my initials (who stitched it) I chose a family member and use theirs.

I enjoy the stitching process.  I love the planning, the choosing of thread.  You know I am giddy with that first X.  Then like a really good book, I am thrilled and a little bit sad to put the final stitch in place and put that particular pattern away.

Oh, look, what a pretty little bird in a nest………. and just like that, a new project has begun.

Love to see what you are creating.  Please share.

In this together, folks.

PS.  After I published this post, it has been brought to my attention that not only is there a 25 and 75 cent table, there is actually going to be a $2.00 table for the “good stuff”.   Does a mom’s heart good to know.