31 December 2011

Handmade Christmas for Family

It's not always easy getting the right gift for family members for Christmas, is it?  No matter how well you know your parents, your sister, and others, it still doesn't make it any easier to get the right gift.

I live several states away from my family, so this year I got everybody the same thing: a gift card to Red Lobster.  I figured they could all go out to dinner for an evening together, and I told Mom to leave an empty chair at the table for me.

But, somehow a gift card seemed a bit too cold.  So, I cross stitched up an ornament with a pocket on the back to hold the gift card, for each person.

Here are some photos of my ornament gift card holders:

See the little soldiers under the tree??

Luckily I had some 'candy cane' fabric in my stash! 

I was amazed that I had so many Christmas fabrics in my stash to compliment the cross stitched motifs on the front of the ornaments...

I did this matching pair of ornaments for Mom and Dad.

All in all, they didn't turn out too bad.  I fretted over the finishing for weeks, and suddenly it seemed so easy to finish them up.  It took me a few nights of fending off the cats (Probie) while I hand-stitched the blanket stitch around the edges of each ornament.

Mom says that everybody raved over their ornament.

I've got how many days til next Christmas?!?!?

Thanks for dropping by!!

08 November 2011

Mug Rugs and Miscellaneous

Can you believe it's been well over a month since I last blogged?!?  Truth be told, there's not been a lot to blog about, and I've been busy stitching up Christmas ornaments, now that the mug rugs have been completed.

Since the recipients, Nik and Sabariah, have received their mug rugs, I can now blog about them.

Nik LOVES all things pink!  So, there was no hesitation as to what color I was going to make her mug rug out of.  And her mug rug was to be of a 'Chinese' theme, so one of the fabrics has something similar to fans.

Lately the buzz over at our Needles n Crafts group has been about doing postage stamp quilts, so I decided to go with that for the design.

These are the fabrics that I'd bought, but didn't use all of them.  You can see the fans on the fabric next to last on the bottom right.

The pieced blocks are 1" plus seam allowance, if I remember correctly...

And the back of the mug rug...

I also included a Chinese tea cup, some fat quarters, and a couple of other goodies, but in my haste and excitement of packing it all up, well... I forgot to take pictures.  So, you'll have to wait for Nik's blog.

Sabariah is a traveller!  For her mug rug I chose a bit of a beach theme on one side, and the fabric on the back has a world map printed on it.

Don't you just want to put your bare feet into the ocean??

I wonder how many places on this map she's been to??  Her blogs of late have been all about her recent trip to Norway to see the Northern Lights!

I also added a few goodies in her box.

Here's a close up of the mug that I sent.  It's got a beach theme to match the rug.

I'll soon be attending the Seaside Stitchers retreat with Meg Shinall of the Flower Thread Company, so do check back in another week or so to read all about the retreat!

Thanks for stopping by!

29 September 2011

Mug Rugs, Round Robins and Antique Tiles

Today the mail lady brought me a wonderful package from MW, one of the ladies in the NeedlesNCrafts group.

Earlier this year the mug rug craze was upon our group, with a vengeance!  So, MW set up not one, but two mug rug exchanges.  One exchange is a Chinese mug rug, which is a bit smaller than the regular mug rug, to accommodate the smaller Chinese tea cup.  If you've read my earlier posting, Have I Been Busy or What?, you'll know that I've already received the Chinese mug rug from Sally.

So, it was a wonderful surprise to receive this mug rug from MW:

And, as you can see, she also included some packets of white coffee:

The 'tea time' section on the left is cross stitched.  The light brown strip of fabric is a tan 'crackle' print.    I am so blessed that MW would include some of this frenzy-causing fabric, not only on the front, but the entire back of the mug rug!

Let me tell you!  That tan crackle fabric caused such an uproar within the NNC group.  MW mentioned that the fabric, in several colors, was on sale at a certain shop in Kuala Lumpur, and for such a ridiculously low price at that, so there was a run on that shop, and when the dust settled... there was not an inch of crackle fabric left, and the dizzy shop owner could only stand there scratching his head, wondering what hit him!  Can these NNC ladies scoop up a bargain, or what?!?!?  lol

Thank you, MW, for such a beautiful mug rug.  I'm going to sit out on the back porch with a cup of coffee, or tea, mug rug on the table, and watch the cardinals and morning doves at the bird feeder.

But, that's not all that was in the package!!  MW had also sent my Little House Needleworks Round Robin home to me!

The squares that have been stitched so far, left to right, are:  Row 1 - Colonial Dry Goods and Curly Q Ewe, Row 2 - Needlework Shoppe and Busy Needle, and Row 3 - Attic Needlework (modified to say Diane's Needlework).  I still have to add in Needle Necessities, Embroidery School, and Embroidery Guild, plus finish all the border around the outside.  Once its completed I'll blog about it again.

Okay, that's what everyone else has been doing.  Since finishing up the last round of the LHN RR, I also completed 12 Antique Tile blocks for the NNC Patchwork Block Swap.  We had to do 6 blocks of one colorway, and then reverse the colorway and do another 6 blocks.  There are 6 ladies in the swap, so we all end up with 12 blocks, 6 sets of blocks.

Here's a look at my Antique Tile blocks:

I'm hoping to combine this year's Antique Tiles blocks with last year's Nine Patch blocks, and using the swatch of fabric that's included with each set of blocks, add 12 Sunbonnet Sue blocks, to make a large quilt.  I'll make up another 2 Nine Patch blocks since there were only 5 of us in last year's swap.  Thrity-six 12.5" blocks, well, you do the math, that's going to be a very large quilt!  lol

And since the Antique Tile blocks have been completed, I also had to get busy and get the mug rugs done for my participation in the exchanges.  All I can say right now is that one mug rug is all completed, and I will be spending this evening sewing up the binding on the other mug rug.  Once the mug rugs are received, then, and only then (because it's a secret exchange!), can I blog about the mug rugs, and include photos...  Tomorrow I am going to one store that sells tea bags from the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the entire U.S., to add to the packages with the mug rugs.

Oh! and now I'm also stitching up a surprise cross-stitch project, but I won't be able to blog about that for quite awhile...  If I need to stitch on something else for a bit of relief, there's always the LHN RR to finish up!

Thanks for dropping by!!

05 September 2011

Last Round of the Robin is Done!!

Well, the last round of the robin is done.  You know what that means??  Mine will soon be on its way back to me!!  In the meantime, I finished stitching up on June's piece.

And here's what hers is looking like overall:

I wonder what she's going to put in those other blocks??  Like me, she's going to have quite a bit of stitching left to do on hers once she gets it back.

So, keep checking back to see the progress on mine, once I get it back from MW.

Now, what to do next??  Oh yes, I've got some Antique Tile quilt blocks to sew up, and two mug rugs, and a friendship bag, and a postage stamp quilt along, and - enough already!!  I've got plenty to do!!

03 September 2011

Hand Embroidery Exchange

Today's mail brought the Hand Embroidery Exchange piece from Peggy, one of the members of our NEEDLESnCRAFTS group.  I just love the colors that she used!  And there are several different stitches, as well as beads for the centers of the flowers.  Look!

And she included a piece of fabric; it looks like the same kind fabric that she stitched on.  There were also three cards included, the ones that you stitch something up and insert into the card.  Now there's a challenge for me!!  What to do with those cards???

Peggy, thank you so much, and your stitching is absolutely breathtaking!

14 August 2011

Have I Been Busy or What!?!?

The last round of the Little House Needleworks Round Robin has arrived, and I've been busy, busy, busy stitching on it.  I can't wait to get mine back!  Okay, yes I can, because once I do get it I will still have quite a bit of stitching to do on it.

But, that's not all that's been happening...  I've been involved with a few more exchanges with the Needles N Crafts group, and some of the exchanges have been arriving, or getting sent out.

I sent out the Hand Embroidery exchange to Peggy...

I included some half skeins of the same silk threads that I used in the sampler.  The pattern is from the June 2003 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine, and is Part One of the three part Phyllis' Sampler.  Check out Peggy's blog to read about her receiving the sampler.

One of the lastest fads to sweep through our group, almost at an alarming rate, is the mug rug.  Mug rugs are small, only 7" by 10", at the most.  The NNC group decided to have two different mug rug exchanges, one being just a 'regular' mug rug, and the other a Chinese mug rug.  The difference between the two:  The Chinese mug rug is just a tad bit smaller, and is designed for use with a Chinese teacup. whereas the other mug rug is designed for use with a normal-sized coffee mug.

A couple of weeks ago I received the Chinese Mug Rug from Sally.

Sally used sashiko stitching on the front of this rug,

and an oriental print fabric on the back.  One of the requirements of the exchange is that tea bags have to be included - can't have a mug rug without tea, right??

The tea bags were inside the little owl case.  Isn't he just too darling???  You can also read about the mug rug exchange at Sally's blog.

Another exchange is the Patchwork Quilt Block Swap, and this is our second year of doing this.  Last year's swap was the Nine Patch block, using bright floral prints and white tone-on-tone fabrics; we ended up with a total of ten blocks each.  We decided to continue with the same type of fabrics, and the Antique Tile block was chosen.  This year we added another person to the swap, so we will have twelve blocks when completed.

So far, I've received my blocks from Astrid...

The blocks are done two different ways...

giving an opposite effect of each other.  And each person has to include a signature block...

I've yet to decide what I'm going to do with all of the signature blocks...  You can't miss Astrid's blog!

One last request that I made was asking each person to include a piece of the bright floral fabric used in their blocks.  I've got all of my templates cut out for Sunbonnet Sue blocks, and will use the fabrics for her dresses or aprons.  I should end up with a total of 36 blocks (10 blocks from the 2010 swap, 12 blocks from the 2011 swap, 12 Sunbonnet Sue blocks, and I will need to make 2 more Nine Patch blocks) for a good-sized quilt!

The last thing I have to blog about is... another tattoo!!  Yes, I got another one, this time an armband.  And of course, Hank did this one...

A closer look...

After Labor Day I plan to get two more!  Yup!, they are addicting, lol.

Well, that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by!

02 August 2011

Third round of the LHN Round Robin is completed!!

Whew!!  I completed the third round of the Little House Needleworks round robin just in the nick of time, and I do mean in the nick of time!!  I added my name, country, month and French knot eyes on the day it had to be mailed out, getting it to the post office a half hour before they closed.  Is that close, or what?!?

This time I stitched on Lillie's piece, doing The Sampler Lady.

And this is what her entire sampler looks like so far:

Lillie is going to have one beautiful sampler when the last round is finished up!!

I'll be getting my sampler back sometime in October, but I will have at least three more blocks to stitch up on mine since I chose to have nine squares on it altogether.  And let's not even think about all of the border that I have yet to do around it.....

Keep checking back to see the next, and last, round that I stitch up, as well as the progress on my RR once I get it back!

NNC Birthday Exchange

Well!  It has certainly been quite a while since I've posted last, and with good reason...  I have been stitching up a storm!!  There's been the Birthday Exchange for Paul, the third round of the Little House Needlework round robin, and the Hand Embroidery Exchange, all with the Needles N Craft group.  They sure do know how to keep a gal busy!!

So, this posting will be about Paul's birthday gift...

I enjoy doing blackwork, and Paul's favorite colors are pink and black, so I just knew I had to come up with a way of combining the technique with the colors.  The following is the result of all my brainstorming:

The pattern was from The Gift of Stitching, Jan/Feb 2011 issue.

I used Finca #16 perle cottons, DMC gold metallic thread, and Mill Hill petite green glass beads.

From that easy pattern I ended up with all of this:

And this is the finished accessory set:

The inside of the needlebook:

Another requirement of the exchange, besides a handmade gift, was to include some stash items.  In keeping with the pink and black theme, I added some yarn, ribbons, and perle cottons.  You can see the photos of his stash, and read his blog, here: Paul's birthday gift.

It was fun planning it all, and the finishing turned out much better than I thought it would.

Happy Birthday Paul!!

13 May 2011

Little House Needleworks Round Robin

At the beginning of this year I started stitching on a round robin with some other ladies in the Needles N Crafts group.  All of the blocks are stitching related (i.e. Needlework School, Needlework Shoppe, etc.), and are Little House Needleworks designs.

Last night I finished stitching up Curly Q Ewe, the second block to be stitched so far this year.

I'll be sending this out the beginning of June, and then waiting to receive the next lady's RR to stitch on.  In the meantime, I'll be stitching on a birthday exchange gift.  Here's a hint...

Keep checking back to see what the end result is...

Closets and Color, Part 2

Now to the color part of my blog....

As you know, about 3 weeks ago I had all the line work done on my tattoo.  Well, it had to be finished, all colored in, so that's what I did this past Thursday...

Back to see Hank at Elite Ink  (see his link on the right) for what we thought was going to be no more than 3 hours... turned out to be 6!

The finished product??

Whew!  Glad that's done!!  Thanks Hank!  You did a great job!

Closets and Color, Part 1

Recently I realized that my craft room was getting out of control.  So I asked hubby if he could take out the 1/4 shelves that he'd put in the closet in the craft room a few years ago, and make the shelves go all the way across.  I am so blessed to have a hubby who is so handy around the house!

The disaster before the fix...

So, I emptied the overflowing closet, and one afternoon he put in the shelves for me.  It took me a little over an hour to get my craft room organized again, but now it looks much more presentable.

With all the new shelves put in...

And what it looks like all put away...

Thank you Dear!