Saturday, December 29, 2007

Engelbreit Progress

We are coming to the end of a very pleasant week. My husband has been at home this week, and it is very nice to have all of us at home at once for several days. We have had a big breakfast every morning. We have had waffles twice, french toast, breakfast burritos, and homemade biscuits with sausage and gravy. Not exactly a low-cal menu. It is a very good thing that this doesn't happen too often. The kids are happy with their new things, especially new Wii and Nintendo DS games, and my husband is happy and fixing things around the house that need to be fixed. And I am happy to spend time with them...and, of course, to stitch.

I picked up my Engelbreit piece yesterday and made some progress. I have stitched part of the sign which will say "To a friend's house, the road is never long" when it is completed. I find this to be such a fun and easy stitch...quite a break from my HAEDs. The bright colors are very different from my usual stitching, and it is fun to do something different. I can even sort of watch TV and stitch this one. Tonight I stitched on it while we were watching a couple episodes from season one of Babylon 5, which was one of husband's Christmas gifts.

I have also been thinking about what I want to start in 2008, and even what I would like to finish in 2008. There are a couple of SALs that I would like to join.

I am trying to choose a sampler to stitch in the Sampler SAL on the HAED Forum. I would really like to do Sampler Saisons by Anagram Diffusion. I just love that design, but the more I think about it, the size of it (549 x 557) is just too intimidating. I am also tempted to start the Historic Countries Sampler being released in sections in The Gift of Stitching online magazine. And finally, I would love to start Mouline Rouge by Long Dog. I am going to have to make a decision soon so I can get the fabric and fibers before the 3rd weekend in January.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December Thoughts

I have not posted in a while. It has been just too crazy busy with the Christmas season. I think next year, I am just going to put the blog on holiday during December. But finally things are now getting back to normal. The decorating, the baking, the crafting, the shopping, the wrapping, the cards, the packaging and mailing, the caroling, the Christmas performances and parties to attend...all that has come to pass. I love the holiday season, but I also love when it is over. I still need to take down the decorations, and I traditionally do that on December 30th.

I have not had a whole lot of time to stitch, but I did participate in the HAED monthly SAL challenge. I managed to stitch on Fairy Village in each of the 12 monthly SALs in 2007. Here is a picture of this month's progress. I went ahead and signed up for the 2008 SAL challenge on the HAED forum with this same project. Also I finished my squares for the Fair and Square Exchange and I will be mailing them out to Ruth tomorrow.

And today I managed to drive over to my LNS, which was having a store-wide sale, and make a few purchases. I now own these charts: Redbird Sampler by Bent Creek, Fuchsia Chick Chat by Valerie Pfeiffer, and Colonial Homes by Little House Needleworks.

I also purchased some 32 count Lakeside Linen in Nutmeg and some threads for the Red Bird Sampler. The threads are WDW Bark, Lancaster Red, and Juniper; GAST Harvest Basket; and CC Roasted Chestnut (this last one because my LNS was out of WDW Chestnut and this looked like a good substitute). This store was missing two different colors of WDW that I still need for the Red Bird Sampler, so I will probably run over to the other LNS near me tomorrow to see if they have it. That particular store is more needlepoint oriented, so they don't have many cross stitch patterns, but they have a huge array of fibers.

Happy stitching everyone, and have a good Friday!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Busy December

I have been so busy with Christmas approaching and the season's preparations that I haven't had as much time to stitch as I would like. So I don't have much to show here, but I did get this nature alphabet picture back from the framers. I stitched this last summer for my son's bedroom which is done in the theme of the Great Outdoors. He is very happy with it.

I also did manage to stitch another ornament, but the time to get it sewed together seems to vanish each day before I can head over to the sewing machine. Also, I am having trouble finding some matching ribbon for a hanger...the 3 stores I went to had bright red and bright green, but not the deeper red or evergreen that I need. I have just about decided to make my own twisted cord hanger. Anyway, this one is from a Prairie Schooler booklet called Holiday Homestead. I am hoping that after tonight, which is nearly the last of my children's Christmas performances (save one at church for the candlelight service), I will have more time to stitch.

Thank you to everyone who has visited here and left your kind comments. I treasure each and every one of them. My hope for everyone is that you find some peace and calm in the midst of this hectic season.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Petite Maisons - July

I barely made my personal goal of finishing thru the month of July on Petite Maisons de Campagne in November. I put in the last stitch about 10:00 last night. I find that it is not as enjoyable to stitch something out-of-season. I want to be stitching winter samplers and ornaments with snowmen and snow-covered pine trees, not beach scenes with lawn chairs and sailboats. Ah well, it is done. Note to self: do not let yourself get behind on a calendar SAL.

But now I can get on with some other stitching. I was looking through my collection of Just Cross Stitch Special Ornament magazines and picked a couple that I want to make. Both have a formidable specialty thread list for such a tiny project. One, Decorating the House by Brightneedle, uses Old Willow Stitchery threads and Weeks Dye Works while the other, Starry, Starry Night by JBW, uses Gentle Arts Sampler Threads. I have most of the GAST, but I don't have Old Willow or WDW. I will probably try to substitute some DMC and GAST...I just don't want to buy 10 skeins of specialty hand-dyed to make one ornament. Especially as the stitched area is tiny, no more than 10 stitches of a color...not enough to take advantage of the shading created by the hand-dyed threads.

I am also going to start stitching for my Fair and Square exchange. This is my very first exchange! I got the fabric yesterday.... I studied my partner's likes and dislikes... I have picked out a pattern... I am ready to start.

Well, I hear my family beginning to stir, so now I am off to make breakfast. Merry stitching everyone and may your December be wonderful!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

HAED Christmas SAL

On the 24th and 25th of every month, I participate in a Christmas design SAL on the HAED Forum. There is also a themed monthly SAL planned usually on the 4th weekend of the month. This month the theme was Christmas and/or Mermaids, so I was able to do both of them. So here is how far I got on Santa's List by Ruth Sanderson. I enjoyed working on it, and it is a nice change from working on Fairy Village, my other HAED. You can't really see it in the picture, but the snow has sparklies in it created by blending filament.

I hope everyone has a good Wednesday.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


We spent Thanksgiving with family at their lovely home in East Texas. I so enjoyed walking around their land, and I took some pictures. Please forgive the blurriness...I didn't realize that there was a smudge on the lens until later.
Their meadows had been recently mowed for hay, so they were very picturesque.
We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the delicious trimmings and a good time was believed to be had by all. I am so very thankful for God's grace in our lives, my wonderful family, and our health and provision.

And when I got home, I had more to be thankful for as I had a couple of packages waiting for me in the mailbox. What a glorious time was had revelling in the new stash. First, I received four backissues of some French magazines. Did I tell you how much I love French designs? Roaming around French stitching blogs, I came across some great pictorial reviews of some French magazines, and I decided to try and purchase these four. They took 5 weeks to arrive, but here they are! Point de Croix #47, Point de Croix Thematique #31 (Torchons), Mains & Merveilles #58, and De Fil en Aiguille Hors-Serie Alpin.

And, I got another package, this one full of charts. They are Strawberry Fields Farm by Victoria Sampler, Button Up by Prairie Schooler, Back from the Brink by Crossed Wing Collection, Circles of the Sea by Cross My Heart, Gingerbread Cottage by Country Cottage Needleworks, Magie de L'hiver by Isabelle Vautier, Winter Whites and Snowflakes and Frappucino by Little House Needleworks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some Engelbreit and a Parakeet

I have been stitching away this week on my Mary Engelbreit WIP. I have now completed the upper half of the merry skier. Soon he should even have legs and skis. I have also inevitably added more yellow border and more blue sky. You can now see the bottom edge of where the moon will be. But now I am reluctantly putting it away so I can try to complete another month on my Petite Maisons, and to participate in the HAED Christmas project SAL. I have a barely begun HAED Christmas WIP called Santa's List by Ruth Sanderson.

The last couple of weeks, we have had an unusual visitor to our backyard birdfeeder. Our yard seems to have become an attractive refuge to someone's escaped parakeet. He is bright yellow and comes and goes with flock of sparrows.

He is less skittish than the sparrows, though, and will let us get quite close to him to take his picture. He also cocks his head as though listening to you when you talk to him. I hope he gets through the winter okay.
I wish all my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving and a
wonderful stitchy week to everyone!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Mitten Ornament

I have been so inspired by seeing many festive Christmas ornaments on other sites, that I decided to stitch one also. Here is a small mitten ornament that I made this week from a 1999 Cross Stitch & Needlework supplement to the Christmas issue. There are four different ones, and I hope to make them all some day. I really love small mitten ornaments.

I need to purchase some fleece and some backing material before I can complete the finishing, but I plan to get this done this weekend, so hopefully I will have another photo of a finished ornament up soon.

Also, I found in my wanderings around the web something I would really like to share. I ran across this adorable realisation of a cute Christmas pattern in the magazine Mains and Merveilles #63. The original pattern in the magazine is for an apron, but I really like this adaptation better. You can go and make a short tour of Les Chalet des Perelles to see more of this project and many others.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Petite Maisons - June

I am finally making some progress on Petite Maisons. Today I finished the June square. I modified the tiny bird on top of the apple tree a bit. The bird is composed of 415 and 840, and neither showed up well against the fabric, so I backstitched him with one strand of 435. I really like the house in this month and the little blue shed with the roses climbing up it, but the bushes under the apple tree are just a little...well...odd.

Here is a better picture (amazing what a little ironing can do) of the whole project so far. Six down and six to go. I hope to finish July this month also.

And here is how far I progressed on Fairy Village during this last weekend's SAL. Not a whole lot, partly because I had very little stitching time this weekend, and partly because this tree is extremely detailed and I am already tired of stitching it. When I get to the next column, it should go a little faster because there are fewer colors and a little fairy house which should make it more interesting to stitch.

Happy stitching everyone!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Audubon Birding Trip

On Saturday, Kevin and I went on a birding field trip to Lake Tewakoni with the local Audubon club. Kevin has been interested in birds and birding for a long time, but this was our first birding trip with knowledgeable enthusiasts. It was quite an experience for us both. Here is a picture of the lake in northeast Texas where we went. This park was in the news recently as it is the place where that gigantic mutant spiderweb covered nearly an acre of ground. They had sprayed the web so the spiders were dead, but most of the web was still there.

And here is Kevin in typical birdwatcher pose. I think he was looking at a warbler in this picture. Highlights of our trip were two bald eagles, a pileated woodpecker (it was way bigger than I expected), some crested caracaras, some loons, and a palm warbler which is apparently somewhat rare in our area. We saw many other birds as well...Kevin had a list of about 40 different kinds. Red-Headed Ducks, Shoveler Ducks, Widgeons, Pelicans, two kinds of cormorants, Anhingas, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red_Tailed Hawk. It was a great birding experience.

And here is a picture of some of the birding experts we were with. They were simply amazing. They could identify so many songbirds by their call, and they could find birds so fast in the foliage and identify them in a second. See that long tubular thing hanging from the shoulder of the lady in the tan vest...that is a camera lens. I had never seen a camera lens that long before.
All that birding turned my mind toward some bird-themed cross stitch, but that is another post.

Friday, November 9, 2007

November HAED Challenge SAL

This weekend is the HAED Challenge SAL. This SAL has been going on all year, and the idea is that you stitch on the same HAED project the second weekend of every month all year. It doesn't matter how much you stitch, just that you stitch. I will participate, but unfortunately, I don't think I'll get much stitching time this weekend. Tomorrow I am going on a birding field trip with my son with the local Audubon Society. We should be gone all day. He is a Boy Scout and working on his Bird Study Merit Badge. I will hopefully have some pictures to post on Sunday, if not of birds, at least of some Texas woods. Here is the current picture of Fairy Village, my HAED Challenge SAL project.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tiny Bit of Christmas

Yesterday, I finished stitching a little Mill Hill Beaded Gingerbread pin on perforated paper. Although this is supposed to be finished as a pin, I am going to make it into an ornament.

And then this morning, I cut it out and did the final finishing. This was fun and quick to do, and I have one more of these in my stash...a penguin. I hope I can get it done before Christmas also, but lots of other projects are beckoning as well.
I wish everyone a very peaceful Wednesday and a good week of stitching!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Petite Maisons de Campagne SAL

I am participating in a year-long French calendar SAL called Petite Maisons de Campagne (Small Houses in the Country). As you can see there is a nice design for every month. I am finding this SAL very enjoyable, but I am still terribly behind, just now stitching June when I should be up to October. Sigh. Every house and garden has been different and I love the colors. This is a free pattern series designed by Maryse at Les Grilles de Maryse. Her blog is in French but it is not difficult to access the patterns and print them out even if you do not know French.

Well, good stitching everyone!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Most stitchers seem to have cats, and I have seen some adorable pictures of many of them as I wander around the worldwide web, but I am a dog kind of person. We have two dogs. The first one I am going to show here is Thunder. All we know about her is that she is half Labrador Retriever. We got her from the Humane Society when she was about 3 months old. We don’t know what her other ancestry is, but she is a very mellow, easy going girl…very fitting inhabitant of the Mellow Bungalow. She usually lies nearby when I stitch, wherever I stitch.

Some Mary Engelbreit

I have owned this Mary Engelbreit book for a couple years, and there are a couple of designs in here that I would really like to stitch. I finally decided to start my favorite one, called “To a Friend’s House the Road is Never Long”. I love the cute little cabin and the colorful, happy skier. The bright colors are a welcome change from my other WIPs.

The design that I am stitching is on the left page. There are several creative mini-projects shown for each design in this book. I love the little paperweight.

And finally, here is what I have gotten done so far. I am trying to do a little of the bright yellow border each time I stitch.

Have a good weekend!