cross stitch, haPPY

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

 

 

 

 

 

cross stitch, friendship, gift giving, gifts, sewing

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.
    20170322_080402_resized

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.

 

crafts, cross stitch, friends, Uncategorized

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.

20170103_144545-1_resized-1

In this together, friends.

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

cross stitch, gifts, pure goodness, Uncategorized

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.

 

crafts, cross stitch, gift giving, gifts, sewing, Uncategorized

poke

I have decided to stick it to my friends this coming year.  Just kidding, well no, not really.

I have decided to make pin cushions for every single man, woman and child I know.

What does that mean?

 ANNOUNCING…

2017 will be……… the year of the pin cushion!

I know, right?  You can feel the excitement, the enthusiasm.  The air seems electric.

Would you like to know what brought this on?

One gift.

springtime-messenger-coverI decided to make a beautiful pin cushion for a retirement gift.  I have gathered the thread colors, the linen, antique buttons and the pattern.  Next, I needed the filling.

Of course you already know that you can’t just stuff a pin cushion with fluffy fibers.

So, I went looking for crushed walnut shells. Yes, they are the perfect solution.

The weight of the crushed shells keep the pin cushion in place during use.  Perfect reason number 2?  The crushed walnut shell texture keeps the pins & needles sharp.

My local quilt shop has 4 ounce bags of shells for $7.00.  Because I think I will need two bags to fill my pin cushion, It seems rather pricey for filling.

I should be able to do better.  um.

Enter a national chain pet store.  They sell crushed walnut shells for the flooring of desert dwelling animals.

So, I bought a 5 quart bag (weighs about 8 pounds) for $10.00. 20161204_092943_resized

Quite a bargain.

I was tickled to purchase such a HUGE bag, for such a good price.

Now, the trick is to make enough pin cushions for birthdays, retirement gifts, thinking of you surprises, just because gifts, a gift for the UPS man……… that my “fabulous” frugal buy ends up being well worth the money.

I am rather puffed up about my great find.

I am anxious to begin stitching & filling.

However, if this blog post encourages your creative juices and you too, want to make beautiful pin cushions……….

I will gladly share the bounty.  Seems there is enough for everyone and then some.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS.  please act surprised when you receive your pin cushion next year.  “Oh gee, I wonder what she filled it with?”

cross stitch, gifts, love, Uncategorized

a secret stitch

By noticing the dates worked into my counted cross stitch pieces you can tell where I was in life and what I was doing. 20161130_080450-1_resized

Some pieces are dated during those Home Schooling years.  I would pull out my stitchery and sit at the table while the boys were working on writing projects or reading.  They didn’t really need my help, more they needed direction and for me to be quiet so they could flourish.

As an Army wife, while the movers took an entire day to pack our belongings at each duty station, I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, so, out came my stitching.

In the days, long before the TSA had their silly rules about tiny scissors, oh and as well as me needing bright sunshine or my stitching lamp, I used to stitch while I waited in airports or while travelling by plane. (yes, I can use a dental floss holder to cut my thread.)

Today, nightly, Mr. Right spends an hour making juice for the next day.    I sit on the other side of the counter and we talk about the days events.   His hands are busy washing and preparing vegetables and fruits.  My hands are kept busy with needle and thread.

Yes, I have made beautifully large pieces for my daughter in-laws.  I have given many pieces away.  Believe it or not, a few years back, I started keeping a couple of pieces for myself.

I tease my kids, that while I enjoy and use my china & beautiful pieces of Wedgwood, I am quite sure some of the “priceless” pieces  will be sold at a yard sale for 25 cents, fingers crossed some will go for $1.00.

20161130_074613-1_resizedHowever, when it comes to pieces of stitchery, I hope that because I have secretly slipped in a birth date, or highlighted certain family members initials into other pieces…..that those will be kept as treasured heirlooms.  A snippet of family history that is theirs to keep and tend to for a while.

Pieces of thread that binds them as a family and their history.

Today, a six-year-old little grandgirlie is not interested in a20161129_113122-1_resized stuffy sampler.  30 years from now, when she spies her birth year under glass, stitched into a beautiful piece…..she will know it was stitched with her in mind….. A few more evenings of stitching the flower and this piece will be ready to be framed.

 

I love stitching special pieces for a celebration or person.

20161130_074654-1-1_resizedA pin cushion to celebrate a retirement

An ornament to celebrate a life

A beautiful bird for a Christmas treasure

A pillow for a birthday gift  ………….

I use samplers to celebrate my family.  Every stitch, making the ties that bind so tightly woven that it will be nearly impossible to take apart.

I know it is not popular.  I understand there is no glossy advertisement about buying fabric and thread.  My guess is that you are quietly making things for your family.

I would love to see what you are creating.

Secretly we are using needle and thread to stitch a piece of our family history.

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cross stitch, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

I spy, 30 threads per inch

I just got done writing a thank you note.  To my eye doctor.  Silly?  Not to me.

He listened and took me serious. I wanted to take a moment to be grateful.

A bit of background:  A fellow counted cross enthusist, told our group, that she took her stitchery with her to the eye doctor.  No, not to pass the time in the waiting room.  She took it to show her doctor what she actually does as a hobby.  She is thrilled with her new glasses.  The doctor told her……I have never seen cross stitch before,  those are tiny stitches.  So beautiful.  I can tell it makes you happy.  Let’s see what we can do to help you.

As much as I respect and like our eye doctor, let’s face it, he can’t possibly know every single hobby or work every single one of us enjoys.   Sure, sure the “get to know you” form asks if you work on the computer or have any hobbies.  It doesn’t really have the space to explain in detail what exactly you do.

So, I put on my big girl boots and worked up my courage and took a couple of samples of my work.

The staff and doctor put my fears at ease.

They each explained they have had people bring in their guns. They needed to show exactly what they need to focus on.   One patient brought in her knitting.  He has one patient who asked for multiple pairs of glasses and bought in his cards.  He is a poker player and wanted glasses just for that reason.

You see, I enjoy counted cross stitch.  The fancy light I use just wasn’t helping as much as it did 25 years ago.

To be more exact….  I stitch for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes a day.  I stitch on linen that has 30 threads to an inch.  I stitch over two threads at a time. 

I also do embroidery.  I also quilt and sew and mend and garden.  I bake and read and type on the computer.

So while I have oodles of hobbies, one in particular is extremely fine work.  I needed to show him what I do, so the perfect solution could be found.  He had me hold the actual fabric and stitch. During that time, he measured how far I hold it from my eyes and he made the notations.

Here we are a little over a week later.  I am ONE HAPPY STITCHING GIRL!!!!

While I am told, the glasses are cute, I am thrilled to be able to see well and stitch without being frustrated or my eyes becoming tired. My hobby is a pleasure again. 20160805_122200-1_resized

I wanted to share this idea with you.  I thought if you are having a dickens of a time crocheting a granny square or tying a fishing lure…..there is a solution out there.

Try and be brave (oh, believe me I know, it takes courage to show your work and explain its value) and take a sample of your work.  It is mighty important to you. When you take the steps to have the courage to show what you are proud of, as if by magic the professionals want to help find the perfect solution for you.

If you need me to go with you or send some good karma your way, speak up!  I will gladly hold your hand.  You will be so proud of yourself for sharing and asking for a little help.

In this together friends,

Happy Stitching, Happy Knitting, Happy Shootin’, Happy Poker playing!!

20160804_211432_resized_1PS.  I must give a 5 star shout out to the “Thread Heaven” product.  It is a fine product that helps condition your floss to lay down smoothly while working embroidery.  (If you already know about this fine product and have been using it for years…..this begs the question…..why didn’t you tell me about it?)