Monday, April 30, 2012

Weak Giveaway

Yes, my friends, we had a very weak little giveaway. The good news is that everyone had a great chance of winning the only chart that anyone wanted. So the winner of the Napa Valley Sampler chart is Edgar! Woo hoo, Edgar, you are the recipient of a chart, some fabric and a few threads. If you'll send your snail mail address to my email (located in my profile), I'll put that little item in the post. Or I could just bring it to you when I arrive in San Francisco in June. Just kidding, Edgar, just kidding. I'd never make you wait.

No one expressed an interest in the other stitchy items, so I'm not certain what my sis and I will do with those. I'll find a group who collects things to give to someone in need. Now, if I misunderstood and there's someone out there who would like the other two charts, etc., you just let me know.

My next WIPocalypse update is sure to be rather weak, because I've been spending time learning to knit lace. I call it learning to put holes in knitting on purpose, rather than accidentally (that, of course, is something at which I excel). I completely missed the teacher's discussion about a very important element, so I spent several days trying to figure out why my journey through the laid out stitches wasn't working. I fixed it by adding more ... blah, blah, blah ... I am a stooge at knitting. The second class helped a lot, and now I can do it. Here's some proof.

These are pictures of the scarf that is done with my yarn-over mistakes, but you get the idea, don't you? It's definitely not perfect. Most of my learning experiences in knitting are comedies. My swain hears the ugliest of language when I've made a mistake and have to unknit an hour or more of work. Oh well, it's good for me. And now I know how to make holes in my knitting. On purpose!

That's it for today. Thank you to those of you who commented on Rebekah's sampler. I picked it up from the framer the other day, and I'm now in the process of rearranging (because you just have to rearrange sometimes) the stairwell sampler wall to accommodate it. Maybe we need before and after pictures. Anyhoo, I'm off to work on something stitchy. Make some fun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


When you think of gifts, what do you think about? I think about all of the unexpected gifts I've been given, which manifest themselves in the most unlikely (to me) ways. I also think about the wonderful gifts I've been given and the people who have given them to me. I'm much more comfortable being the giver rather than the recipient of gifts. I'm often afraid that I haven't done enough to deserve the gift (I know ... sounds bad, but it's one of my quirks). Maybe that feeling makes me more appreciative. 

Now is the time of year that causes me to think about gifts, because I'd much rather focus on what I've been given rather than on what's been taken. Sometimes the only way to make an event and its consequences positive is to look for gifts.

My sister recently gave me a sampler that she stitched. To me, a stitched piece is always an enormous gift. This sampler is even more special because of the meaning behind it.
It's called An Angel for Rebekah, and it was designed by Kam and Barb at Ewe & Eye & Friends about 16 years ago. I was working for them at the time that my younger daughter died, so they designed it in her memory. She used to go to their shop with me once or twice a week to work on publishing charts and putting kits and charts in their packaging. 

To say that she was entertaining would be an extreme understatement, and she made friends of all ages wherever she went. All of us in my family still tell hundreds of hilarious stories of her adventures and exasperating (for us) moments. She's fresh in our minds because she was a gift to everyone she met, as I'm sure your children are gifts to you. Of course, we consider all of our children in our family gifts, but Bekah is our shared gift. Somehow, that makes things different.

To receive my sister's gift of this sampler is especially overwhelming this year, because Bekah would've been 21 this coming Sunday. I'm even more grateful to have this sampler because I haven't been able to get myself to stitch it. I've stitched other things for her, but this one was more difficult to start. It's just one of those things. My mom stitched Rebekah's sampler several years ago, and I wanted to bring it home with me, but my dad wants to keep it for now. I think that's why Sharri stitched it for me. 

So why am I telling you all of this? Since Sharri brought this finished piece to me, it's been on my mind so much. I think I need to share it, so here you are. I want to make certain that y'all don't think of this as just a horribly sad story. It's sad, but Bekah was wonderful, and what I've learned since she died has been so much more than I could ever explain to anyone (more for the memoir). The most important lesson is to learn as much as you can from the absolute worst things that happen, because those lessons are the only positive things than can come from a truly horrific event. I refuse to be a victim of life, and I am determined to live as full a life as possible. Remembering Rebekah by living a positive life is the least I can do. So that's what I hope you all take from this post. 

I think every day of how incredibly lucky I am. I have children, grandchildren, a great place to live, friends, family, a swain, and so many other wonderful things to appreciate. I can't think of anyone I'd be willing to trade places with. We all have hard lessons and difficult times. As my mom always said, "Life is an endurance test." We'd better make it as good as it can be, right?

So how about some gifts for you who read/comment/follow? I have a couple of things from Mom's stash left to give away to you. All you have to do is express an interest in any or all of the following items, and I'll enter you in a drawing to be held on Sunday evening, April 29. I'll be back to tell about the winners on Monday.

First is Blossom Time by Papillon Creations. This is a chart with some fabric that Mom bought for it. The fabric looks like a 28-count evenweave, but I haven't counted it, so it could be 32-count. Mom chose Gentle Art Sampler Threads in antique rose and grape leaf for this project, so I'll include those. Here's a picture:

Also for your stitching pleasure are Woodland Walk and Christmas Stitches from The Drawn Thread. Woodland Walk is a chart only. Christmas Stitches comes with gold blending filament, Mill Hill beads and three colors of silk floss. I'm hoping that there is enough to complete the project, but I can't guarantee it. These two will be given away together. Here are pictures:

Lastly, I offer you my Napa Valley Sampler chart, along with its kitted fabric (I used a different one) and some of the kitted threads (the ones I didn't use). I won't put a picture here, but you can look at my April 15 post to check it out.

I appreciate all of you who read, comment, follow, and trade emails with me. Even if I don't show it often enough or well enough, I'm grateful that you're here. The community that we have here in blogland is a gift we share. Thank you.

'Til next time, appreciate gifts that come your way, be kind to each other, make some fun. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April WIPocalypse, Etc.

Well, I completely lost March. I had good intentions, took pictures, but I could never settle my butt into the office chair for long enough to post. So here I am two months later ... sheesh ... what's new?

Life has been busy, as always. Sweet Keagan turned two, and yummy little Blake is soon to be eight months. Here's a braggy grandma picture, because I just can't help myself

I actually have a stitchy finish to show you. Here's the Napa Valley Sampler from Ewe & Eye & Friends.
It was kitted with Anchor floss and Gentle Art Sampler Threads, but I switched out the Anchor for DMC. The Anchor greens were just too close to each other. I also changed the fabric from 40-count Sandstone to a little piece of 36-count R & R of unknown color. It's darker and blotchier than the Sandstone was, and I wanted the piece to be a little larger. Instead of doing Kam's coils in the trees (my most dreaded stitch ... ugh), I used two strands of floss and did some Smyrna crosses. Finally, I added our friends' initials and ours. It looks much better in real life.

Adding to my WIP list, I've begun a small sampler from E&E&F. There's so little progress that I didn't take a pic yet, so maybe I can show you a finished version next month (more positive thinking).

Knitting has been big lately, and I finished a new pair of socks for my sister.
The tag on the yarn says that "every sock is unique", which I think I proved. I was knitting a pair for myself at the same time (also unique), but I rushed ahead to finish her second sock before finishing mine. 

A new man came to live with me since I saw y'all last. He's very cute and will look perfect when sitting with his buddies on my mantle later this year.
He's the Ewe & Eye & Friends Limited Edition Santa from 1994 that I showed you here. He turned out so nice and fat!

OK, that's enough for today. Next time it'll be a finish to the giveaways, and I'll try to get on it sooner rather than later. Until then, make some fun.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wild Weekend

The wedding is over. It was one of those you-had-to-be-there events that defy description, and if I ever do write my memoirs, there will have to be a chapter each for the night before (we were forced by the bride to number off and play Table Topics), the day itself (a lost-but-later-found ring and turquoise-sequined bridesmaids) and the wedding evening with my siblings, nephews and nieces. The good news is that Dad is married and will, hopefully, be happy and will never need online dating again.

To all of you lovely giveaway winners from the past weeks, your packages will go out tomorrow. I apologize for not getting them out sooner, but it took me a few days to recover from the wild weekend.

I've been stitching a little bit on the Ewe & Eye & Friends Napa Valley Sampler. It's going to be a gift for the friends who housed us in their guest cottage last summer in the San Francisco area. 
Thank goodness the painstaking mortar is finished! The satin-stitched shingles were fun.

The heavenly guest cottage ... to die for. The sign in the window is a joke, thank goodness, and we proved it. Look at how pudgy I look reflected in the door's window!

The path to the cottage, which is beautiful but could be difficult to negotiate after an evening with our friends.

I've also been working on Mom's Calico Cat a little. My next WIPocalypse post will probably be without a finish.

After reading Lee's past two Stitching Bloggers' Questions, I decided to combine them and tell you about my oldest project. January's SBQ asked about our oldest projects. Mine is this:
It's called "The Chase", and I've had it since the summer of 1972, when I was driving my mom crazy. I had my second full-leg cast in two years, and I desperately needed entertainment. It's a Williamsburg reproduction kit printed on muslin. No counting was necessary.
Look at those woven strawberries and chain stitch fill-in! The last time I worked on this piece, I was in college. It was probably 1978.
I really "urned" my stripes (no, I'm not sorry for that) with outlined satin stitches and every other stitch you can imagine (ok, no queen's stitches, which are my faves). This poor baby has been lying in wait in boxes during uncountable moves and in my cedar chest for decades. I've picked it up and looked at it, but no needle has pierced its surface for more than 30 years. You'd never know that this is one of the reasons I fell in love with stitching.

Lee's February SBQ asks if we have a project we'd like to break up with. I think I broke up with this project many years ago. I'm not certain when it happened, but it did. I like looking at it and thinking about what was happening when I stitched certain sections, so I can't imagine ever getting rid of it. But the desire to finish it has left me. If I were to work on it again, I'd have to start over. I know too much now, including how little I knew when I was working on it. I've always waited too long to break up. Yes, I'm one of those dummies who wait until they are absolutely miserable and can't remember ever being happy with ... oh, wait ... those were relationships! Thank goodness I can still remember being happy with The Chase. Erica finished it in 2008, and she has my respect and admiration. Maybe she'd like to finish mine. Just kidding, Erica, just kidding.

Next time I'll give away our last two items from Mom's stash. Until then, make some fun.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Giveaway #2 Results

Good evening. Wow, I'm sticking to my timetable, which is so shocking to me. It's Monday evening, and as promised, I'm drawing names for the second in a short series of giveaways to make sure some of Mom's stash goes to good homes.

Winter Into Spring and Summer Into Autumn will go to Susan. Hooray, Susan!

Garden Recipe and The Violet Sampler will go to Wanda (no blog). Hooray, Wanda!

Thank you to the five of you girls who entered both drawings. My sister and I appreciate you wanting to help us find homes for Mom's unstitched projects. Please click on "Email" in my profile so you can send me a note with your snail mail addresses. Wanda, I'm thinking that I have yours already, but please send it to me anyway so I know for certain.

I apologize that I forgot to link the names of the #1 giveaway winners to their blogs. When I have more than a few minutes, I'll do that. I also apologize that this is a quickie post. There is so much left to do here that I have to get right to it.  Make some fun.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Giveaway #1 Results and Giveaway #2

I'm jumping in a little earlier than promised, since I had a little gift of time this evening. My book group was canceled, so I'm taking care of business. Lots of you out there have recently gotten rid of some items and would rather not have more, and I understand perfectly. That means we had only a few giveaway participants, so their chances were great.

For Giveaway #1, Giovanna will get the fabrics, and JHM will be get the Winter Whitework Sampler. Ladies, if you'll drop me an email note with your snail mail addresses, I'll send your prizes. 

Since we're on a roll, let's have giveaway #2. This time, the prizes are in pairs.

Our first pair: Winter Into Spring and Summer Into Autumn by The Drawn Thread. 

My pics are a little too small, but I know you can find better pictures online. Both are kits, complete with threads, fabric, beads, etc.

Our second pair: The Violet Sampler and Garden Recipe, also by The Drawn Thread.

The Violet Sampler is a chart only, and you'll have to find a cute little dragonfly charm along with your supplies.

The Garden Recipe package contains silk ribbon, bow charm and rose quartz hearts.

If you'd like to be entered in either or both drawings, just let me know in the comments. I'll draw names Monday evening and let you know by Tuesday.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who commented and emailed with hugs and good thoughts and very interesting tales after my last post. Ours is a situation that most of us don't expect, so we're feeling our way along rather blindly. We're also laughing as much as possible (there's so, so much to laugh about) and looking forward to having my brother and sister-in-law here for a few days. They'll be staying with me for what my SIL is calling "the royal wedding". I appreciate all of the kindness and smiles that fill the comments, not just now, but all the time. I share with my sister and daughter, who are smartasses (thank goodness), just like I am.

'Til next time, make some big fun.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February WIPocalypse

It doesn't feel like it's been almost a month since I posted ... it seems longer! Yep, it's been quite the month. I think I'll start with the happy stuff, like a new finish. Look below and you'll see my newest finished EEF Limited Edition Santa.

So sorry about the dim and crooked picture. The sun came out yesterday and this morning, but I was unprepared for photography at all the right times. I put his backing fabric and cord floss in the pic with him. He's from a 1994 (geez, I'm slow) Ewe & Eye & Friends kit. I had previously given him an incorrect birth year, but I've edited my sidebar and the post he's pictured in. I hadn't worked on him since the last time I took my mom to chemo more than two years ago, so I feel like I've really accomplished something by finishing him. I'm gonna treat myself and take him to the finisher tomorrow.

For those of you keeping score, that's my second finish of a WIP this year. I haven't been resting on my laurels (such as they are) since I finished Santa. I started a new pair of socks (no picture yet) ... well, two new pair ... long story for another time. I started the EEF Napa Valley Sampler that will be a gift for friends, but I haven't made enough progress yet to show you a picture.

I have to explain a little about what I've been up to. My dad's getting married again, which has brought so many mixed feelings from our whole family that I can't possibly explain here. I guess it'll have to be in my memoirs (uh huh, when pigs fly). Anyhoo, we were told that we'd have to pick up some things (picture a room full of so, so many items) that had belonged to my mom and my grandma. We were also told that these things would be "unavailable" if they weren't claimed by a certain date. So my sister and I (in not-quite-panic mode) went over and started to weed out some things that no one would want to have, and then we've been parceling out the things that we know someone would want. We didn't want anything to disappear without looking at everything. 

I've become the keeper of many items in my basement, just in case someone wants the opportunity to go through some old pictures or would like something they weren't sure about earlier. Sharing was/is important to us, so we want everyone to have chances to decide. I've also become the proud owner of many beautiful things (an antique wardrobe, old quilts, needlework, jewelry, etc.) that had to be put away. It's taken some time to find space and clean out Nikki's (she thinks it's still hers) closet to make room. We've all come to the obvious, shared conclusion that we'd rather have my mom than have her things.

So why am I telling you all this? I've added a new WIP to my list. It's an old needlepoint canvas that Mom started in 1987 (we found the receipt ... the woman never threw things away!). My sister and I can both remember when Mom bought it at The Needleworker, a shop in Denver. She bought it with all the fibers and took a class to learn the stitches and techniques, and she was incredibly excited. Mom called it the Calico Cat (so did I in my WIP list), but Kitty Cat was on the receipt. Who knows? My sister wants me to finish it so we can share it. Is that like a little sister, or what? Take a look ...

Yep, the 80's called and we answered! Notice the water stains at the bottom? I could only find some of the fibers (they were a mess, which was such a surprise), but I'm gonna take it with me to a needlepoint shop to see if they can help me match one wool. The only areas that haven't been stitched are that wool and some DMC colors that I'm pretty sure I can figure out. All the hard stuff has been done. So why did Mom stop working on it? Why do any of us stop working on something? Another bright, shiny object comes into view ... y'all know how to complete that story.

My sister and I kept all of Mom's WIPs and not-yet-started projects we'd like to stitch, and we gave away some needlepoint canvases (nothing hand-painted) that had been started long, long ago. But we have some things that need good homes, and we'd like to offer them to you. So I'll be giving away a couple of things at a time, in upcoming posts, until they're gone. How's that?

First on the list are three 28-count (two are identified, and one we're pretty sure about) fabrics.

Ugh, that's a horrible picture! Sorry about that. There's Jubilee Amaretto (center), Jobelan Bay Rum (we don't know which one is bay rum), and an unidentified fabric. Each piece is 18-by-18 or larger. All three will be given away together.

Also, here is The Drawn Thread's Winter Whitework Sampler.

This sampler pack contains silk floss, beads, buttons, snowflake charm and silk ribbon.

I'll do two drawings. If you're interested in owning and loving either the sampler or the fabric, just let me know which you'd like to have, or if you'd like to be in both drawings, in a comment. I'll draw names the old-fashioned way on Thursday, February 9, and let y'all know about a winner on Friday. Sound good?

I have work to do! I'm off to get busy. Make some fun.