Tuesday, March 29, 2011

go ahead...

leave your hat on! Who has time to take their hat off these days anyway? That's a little bit of humor inspired by this gem that I am sharing today. I just realized that I accidentally cut off the bottom line of text in the top image when I scanned it. It says "* TASTY RECIPES FOR GALS IN A HURRY". How did I acquire this lovely? It came to me via my grandmother who, when she was a busy mom, collected recipe booklets like these that were distributed by various food companies. This one is from A.1. Sauce. I tried to find a year printed on it but had no luck. She knows that I like to gather recipes and she also seems to think I can cook - which I can't by the way - no matter how many recipes I collect. She turned this, along with some other similar booklets, over to me because she is just so sweet like that.
While I probably won't be trying any of the recipes any time soon [Quick Tomato Aspic Ring and Hamburger Boats - I'll pass] I did fall hard for the illustrations.
PERFECT for embroidery!! The mom in the curvy car speeding along with the kids in the back? Quick, where is the flossbox!?
So, you just never know when you'll find some tiny little thing to spark a new embroidery project. Keep your eyes peeled and your hat on!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ooops, my bad

Sorry Twin Citians, this is all my fault. You see, I got it in my head on Tuesday to clean and pack up all the Winter gear - hats, gloves, boots, the whole nine yards. Do I know that this is tempting fate to throw a snowstorm our way? Yes! I do. Kind of makes you wonder why I did it anyway. So, as soon as I snapped my lid on the rubbermaid tote the weather gods looked down at me, laughed hysterically and started churning up the skies. And here we are 6 inches later. Prior to that, we had actually turned our furnace OFF and we could actually see the street curbs for the first time since November. It was a beautiful thing. oh well.

In other news I am a little buried right now in house duties. We are still getting everything ready for closing plus we moved the rest of our things from Omaha this past weekend which of course felt like insanity but it had to be done. Now I am trying to figure out where to put all this stuff, why I have so much stuff, and how I can whittle down my stuff even more than it has already been whittled. good times.

Let the Spring Cleaning begin!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


My Irish eyes are smiling today - how about yours? I'm sharing a little photo of a good luck charm I have here in my home.

My mother and I have a tradition of having lunch together on St. Patrick's Day. Now that we live in different cities we will be lunching on our own for the first time in years. I am missing her somethin' awful today. I will NOT whine about it, I promise! Last year she gifted me this shamrock plant on St. Patrick's Day and here it is, alive and well one year later. Those with green thumbs are not impressed right now, I know, but to me, that's quite amazing. First of all, houseplants and I have had a rocky relationship. Secondly, this one moved from it's happy home in Omaha to a dimmer (but still happy) home in St. Paul. I admit, a number of other houseplants did NOT take the move as well and um... they are no longer with us. And thirdly this plant has survived being completely waterlogged after Adam decided to play swamp with it in the sink one day. Not too long after that it was tossed off of it's shelf and onto the ground. I was pretty sure that was the end of it but no, it endures.

So I think of this plant as a little reminder of how lucky we are. In spite of challenges we have faced in recent months so much has miraculously worked out in our favor. And of course if I ever started to feel sorry for myself for a split second I need only to watch the news to see the stark and shocking reminder of how very good I have it. I'm not trying to turn St. Patrick's Day into Thanksgiving or anything like that but today I really am feeling grateful.

Monday, March 14, 2011

stitches for smarties

Oh yes, now I remember this feeling - the excitement that comes with the premiere of a new pattern set! You see, it's been quite some time since I have been in this place and believe me, it's great to be back. Without further bemoaning of my recent lack of production let me introduce "Booksmart!" Booksmart is the set I started after giving up on the flowery set I had been focusing on. It was so refreshing to switch gears and work on these designs.
I also let myself experiment a little with these and tried a few new filling techniques like this one.

I could only do this because I was using a woven fabric like linen so I was able to count my teeny tiny fibers and keep everything uniform. I really love the subtle look of this but wow - I think my eyeballs almost popped out of my head working on this. This technique is NOT for anyone who doesn't like to squint or who doesn't have a good work lamp.

I also finally broke out my Weeks Dyeworks floss for this project. It's been sitting patiently in my flossbox for months just waiting for me to pick the right project. I used their "bark" colored floss for the outlines and loved it! The color is gorgeous on natural linen - just the right shade of chocolatey charcoal - sounds delicious doesn't it?

I let myself play a little bit with this stack of books too and did some different fill stitches as I went along.
And then came the braided rug. I tricked you when I hinted at this in my earlier post - don't be mad, please. This is about as big a rug as I would ever attempt.

And finally there is the happy little library. I usually just hoop up my examples but this time I wanted to actually make something with one of them so I made a library book totebag. The bad thing is that as soon as I was done snapping my photos it was quickly snatched up by little Adam who had fallen in love with it. Now it's probably filled with hot wheels cars, stuffed animals and crayons and I will never see it again. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



I hope I didn't just jinx myself because the actual closing is still over a month away but I can't contain my excitement! good good news YAY! It's going to be a little hectic until then. There is still moving to be done and arrangements to make but by May we will be breathing a lot easier around here.

I am trying to stay focused on some creative projects at the same time. My latest endeavour has been making a braided rug. It's a small one so don't worry, I haven't completely gone off the deep end. I promise!

Friday, March 4, 2011

truth be told

I am so so excited to announce that I was able to contribute a little something to the Celebrate the Boy series over on Made by Rae this year! I fell in love with the series last year and when they announced they were looking for reader ideas for the 2011 series I felt compelled to come up with something. They have had so many fantastic sewing projects there but I figured I should probably stick with what I know best and come up with an embroidery pattern. I have had Pinocchio on the brain for awhile and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get him down on paper and then stitch him up. I love this story for boys particularly. (Even though, I, as a girl, am quite fond of it obviously). I had a lot of fun taking a closer look into this story as I worked through my sketches.
The story was originally written by Carlo Collodi in 1883. You may have seen the Disney version of this tale which is wonderful but different from the original story in many ways. Another movie version came out in 1996 and is just slightly more traditional though perhaps not quite as charming as Disney's film in my humble opinion.
For this pattern design I mostly plucked the sweetness from the original story and it's many interpretations and left out some of the more dark and bizarre elements found in the original. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the dark and bizarre elements just as much. I just figured people might not be as interested in stitching up things like menacing, coffin-carrying rabbits and other oddities like that. I probably just convinced half of the readers to go read this story and the other half to never ever pick it up.

If you are entertaining the idea of reading the book, please allow me to recommend this one illustrated in such a captivating way by Sara Fanelli. Finally, I also have to mention the 2002 children's book release of this story illustrated by the one and only Gris Grimly. Would LOVE to get my hands on this but at $40 - $50 I may have to put it on the wish list for now. Or maybe I'll just wait and. watch. the. movie. holy smokes folks - I can't wait!

What I like most about this story is that it touches on the idea that you can make mistakes (everyone does you know) but then make it right again. And, that being a boy is about being courageous, honest and helpful - not about being naughty or rude like some might imply when they sigh "boys will be boys". So, this is my little contribution to the celebration. Thanks Rae and Dana for letting me get in on all the fun!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

stitch magnet

Funny how lucky one becomes when those around you know about your passions and interests. So many beauties have come my way in the last few years all because I have not kept my love for embroidery a secret and because I have such thoughtful and kind friends and family. So these two estate sale scores came to be by way of some friends of my in-laws who happen to live here in the twin cities. They are estate sale pros and were even nice enough to share some shopping secrets with Vince and I for when we get brave enough to start venturing into that realm. I think I've mentioned before how estate sales kind of give me the creeps even though everyone says that is where the good stuff is. So, they found these at a recent sale and they sent them my way - aren't they beautiful??
Also, when my in-laws were up visiting in February they brought along this gem:
It had been in Vince's grandmother's home but it was something she decided to part with when she recently moved to a nursing home. A local woman had stitched it and now here it is hundreds of miles away in our home. I love that we know some of the history behind it and that it was something that Vince's grandmother loved as well. But mostly I love it because we all can't help but feel a little sentimental about Nebraska now that we live so far away. This reminds us of family and friends there and all the other great things about that state.
So, where are all the things I have stitched lately? *sigh*
I'm so disappointed to say that I have missed a very cool opportunity lately. I really wanted to participate in this show curated by Mr. X Stitch himself but just could not get something done in time. I started something and decided I hated it and by then it was too late to start over. So, I'm kicking myself for that.
Also, I had a pattern set that I was working on that I have recently scrapped as well. It just wasn't working out and I decided to cut it loose. It was chock full of flowers and as I forced myself to work on it I decided I might just be 'all flowered out' at the moment. Usually if something is 'working' I don't have to force myself to do it - I can't wait to work on it any chance I have. But that wasn't the case with this one which is how I knew to stop.
Fortunately another pattern idea sprouted up behind it and it is one of those 'can't wait to stitch this' projects. It's been a slow, but fun, go so hopefully I will have that ready sometime in March (fingers crossed).
Another fun project reveals itself here this week so stay tuned!