Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Next Thing

I got back to stitching on my regular projects once I finished the Merry Cox retreat ones.  I finished up the first sunflower on my temari and started the second one.  There are four on this temari.  I'm a couple weeks behind in the class.  I try to do a little bit everyday.  The second sunflower looks better than the first but of course this is my "learning" temari.

I finished Mr. Snowman!  Yeah!  It was hard to get all that backstitching done.  I found an alphabet that I liked in the same book as Mr. Snowman and used that.  I scanned the alphabet, cut out the letters for "Claire" and pasted them on graph paper so I could count and find the middle.

 I think it turned out well.  I was debating whether to throw the whole thing in the laundry and wash it or wash it by hand.

It was a good mail day yesterday.  DH brought in the mail and was admonishing me for buying more stuff.  But I told him I hadn't bought anything lately.  The package was the pre-stitching for the Jackie DuPlessis classes I am taking at the Needlework Guild of Minnesota's retreat in August.  Yeah, something new to start.  I started both kits.  Briar Rose is going to be a challenge as it is mostly over one with one strand of silk.  There are like 20 flowers and each one takes several hours.

 I'm not sure I like the color of overdyed silk used in "Beautiful".  I think it needs to be darker and I want a more teal and gold floss.  So I need to dive in my stash and see if I can find Gloriana's Highland Meadow.  I think I have some somewhere (famous last words).

I got this little slipper finished and was trying to put it together.  The glue stick didn't work.  I don't like the recommended, whip stitch together part.  I'm still thinking what to do.  I was very happy to find wool in a color that goes with the stitching.
Time to get busy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Squirrel's Nest Getaway - Day Five

I could just say that on Sunday I got on a plane and went home.  But that isn't the whole story.  How do I get my basket home?  Longaberger mail department gave me a box for my basket - no charge.  Very nice of them.  I get two free bags because son#1 works for the airline.  So no problem - except I needed tape.  The hotel was kind enough to let me have some tape to secure my box.  I tried to check in for my flight at the hotel but I couldn't. No problem, I'll check in at the airport.  I have to tell you that the very best time to drive through downtown  Cincinnati is 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.  There is construction but it wasn't too bad.  My BFF drops me off and I have lots of time before my flight.  I try to check in at the kiosk in the airport.  It won't let me, it says to see a gate agent.  My flight is overbooked.  So the gate agent offers me a deal. If I leave half an hour earlier and get home half an hour later, I get a 300 dollar voucher and a 6 dollar voucher good at the airport and I fly first class.  But instead of going through Detroit, I will be going through Minneapolis.  I think about it.  DH was going to pick me up just before a soccer game he wants to see but maybe he can pick me up at halftime.  Hmmm.  I say yes.  I have never flown first class and it is fun to get on the plane first and have a little bottle of water waiting for me.  I stitch another little strawberry on the plane.

  I only have 35 minutes between planes so I have to hurry.  But everything works out fine.

Ten Things I learned on this trip:
1.  How to do a hedebo stitch.
2.  Cincinnati is not good with road signs and many streets have more than one name.
3. The cherry berry chiller at McDonald's is good especially on a hot day.
4. It's a small world when it comes to the internet.  Hi Paola!
5. My BFF is a very patient person when it comes to my navigational limitations.
6. Aleen's Tacky glue works well and can be used in finishing needlework.
7.  I don't miss exercise class at all when I am away.
8. There are people who are way worse in their addiction to stitching stuff than I am.  Three curios - full!
9. I am a lucky duck to get to go to stitching retreats.  They are the most fun.
10. You can still enjoy a retreat even if you haven't made a single stitch on the project.  You can also hear about stuff that is going to happen like classes being offered and what is planned for next year.

Now I can start the countdown to the Needlework Guild of Minnesota's Retreat in August.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Squirrel's Nest Getaway - Day Four

This was my goal for this year, to stitch  Nouveau Palais Royal and I am finally doing it.  This is an all day class.  We get to the house with only one minor wrong turn (we were talking about recipes and not paying attention).  The first order of the day is to make the pattern for the inside of the box.  Today's box is tiger maple and is so beautiful.

 There is a silk lined piece that fits in the bottom.  But I screw up and include the pattern with the lining so I keep having to borrow my BFF's pattern. The pin disk sits in the bottom.

 Then comes the next layer, two pin cushions on either side of the box.  Next is the tool tray that has two pockets and a place for scissors or other tools.

  On top is the decorative top.

The box has a pearl and ribbon closure.

 Then the box fits in a silk bag.  (Hint:  Put the box into the bag before deciding where to stitch the button on!)
The was a lady in class with a charming accent and I went over to ask her where she was from.  She was from Luxembourg via Italy and Australia.  I was quite tickled when she said that she reads my blog!  This is the third time this year that I have gone to a stitching class and someone has said that she reads my blog.  The internet is an amazing tool to connect with others with similar interests.
The nice thing about these two classes with Merry Cox is that she gets through all the directions with out skipping over some or running out of time for some.
I wanted to keep working - I was on a roll.  But it was time to go.  I was so happy that I got the bag all stitched (but not embroidered) by the time class was over.
BFF and I stopped at a Pizza Hut for dinner.  One of my guilty pleasures is a personal pan pizza.
We were sorry the classes were all over as we had such a fun time.
We go home in the morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Squirrel's Nest Getaway - Day Three

My BFF and I were excited.  The retreat starts today.    Merry Cox is the teacher at this retreat every year and this year she is offering four classes, two on Friday and one each on Saturday and Sunday. We aren't taking the morning class but Merry has some things for sale and we want to see them first thing.  DH had printed a map and we have written directions to get to the house where the retreat is held.  But my navigational skills are awful.  We miss a turn and seem to be headed for Canada.  So we go back and find the turn.  Then we come to a road we know we are supposed to turn on but I tell my BFF to turn the wrong way.  So finally my BFF figures out that I am stupid when it comes to following a map and we turn around and go the other way.  Now we are finding the landmarks on the map.  Yes! We find the right street.  We are looking for the number but not finding it.  We see some cars and a mail box with a squirrel sign on it.  The house is behind another house and down what looks like a driveway.  Whew, we found it.  It is a very nice house.
I am overwhelmed when we go in.  This lady has three (3!) curios cabinets full (FULL!) of stitching.  Most of it is Merry Cox designs.  I could spend all day just looking at her stuff.  But we are here to see what Merry has for sale.  Needlework tools, vintage ribbon, a few kits; the kitchen table is full of stuff.  My BFF and I pick out some treasures.  My BFF gets this antique little bear with a backpack that is a pin cushion and whose hands are holding out a thimble.  It is just darling.  I get some scissors, a ball end bodkin, vintage spool of thread and vintage ribbons.  My BFF finds those scallop scissors she has been looking for.  We are happy with our new treasures but we have to occupy ourselves until the afternoon class starts at one.  I have looked up cross stitch shops in Cincinnati and found one named "Keepsakes".  So we get directions on how to get there.  Luckily it is on the street near our hotel.  Of course finding our hotel has been a challenge.  We find the shop but it doesn't open for almost an hour.  So we sit and stitch in the car.  The shop is in a large old house.  Each room is filled to the rafters with stuff.  I don't think I have ever seen so many stitched models in my life.  It is so fun to go to a good stitching store.   There is an entire room of just threads.  They have tons of fabric.  So I can get that 35 count that I have been looking for.  Then the shop starts to fill up.  Other people that will be going to the retreat are here too.  Oh my goodness, Sherri Jones is here with several friends.  How ironic to run into people that you know when you are two states away from home!  A girl I had seen at Celebrations last year is here.  The lady working at the shop cuts some fabric for me.  Then someone pulls out some unusual overdyed fabric.  Boy, was that snapped up fast.  I even got a piece.  This shop had many free designs too.  Fun!
So then it was time to go to class.  We only took one wrong turn going back to the retreat.  We got there just in time for the afternoon class.

We are taking the Petite Treasures class today.  I have never met Merry but she is nice and friendly and is a very good teacher. 

 We start out by making a silk covered bottom liners for our tray.  The tray is small and made of walnut.  It has a matching walnut ruler.  The silk we are using is pleated and costs 80 dollars a yard. So we are very careful and use up every inch.  Merry likes to make a bag to store her projects in.  So the biggest piece of the silk is saved for making the bag.

  We cut out patterns for the pin disk.  In general, most teachers don't use glue in finishing but Merry does and it works out well.  My BFF takes great notes but I am trying to finish things as she gives us the info.  There are cutting mats, irons and sewing machines for us to use.  Those three hours fly by.

Merry shows us how to make a hedebo stitch.  I like when an expert shows how to do something.  I love how mine turned out.  But it is too small and I end up cutting it off and trying again.
I am very happy to hear Merry say that she doesn't mind when you change her design to make it your own.
Just last night I finished up all the pieces.  The little bag is a button bag.

I'm very happy with how it all turned out.  
We go to TGI Fridays - because they have pot stickers - yum.
Tomorrow is the Palais Royale class.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Squirrel's Nest Getaway - Day Two

Not time for stitching yet.  We have a free day today and we are going to Longaberger Basket Headquarters.  It was a couple hours drive.  Luckily, my BFF is driving and she been there before and knows her way around.  Our first stop is the basket building.  I have seen pictures of it but seeing it in person is fun.

The dark parts are windows.  There is one car in the parking lot.  That is our first hint that fewer people are visiting.  It is fun to see the inside of the building as there is a glass ceiling and you can see the handles through it.  The only person that we saw there was the receptionist.  Then we drove out to the Longaberger Manufacturing buildings.  Many of the parking lots were blocked off as they weren't needed.  There was a great deal of parking for buses but there was just one bus there.  We went through the Welcome Center and out to the large store building.
See the basket in the middle of the picture?  There is a bench inside, that's how big it is.  Beyond the bench is a huge two story building that is filled with stores. 

 There is much more than baskets there.  Food, bedding, lamps, wrought iron stuff, clothes, bags.  It is amazing.  We spend hours shopping.  Everything is pretty expensive but you can find some great sales.  I found a large bag that was half price and I couldn't pass it up.    At these stitching events, stitchers often have these fancy-dancy Vera Bradley bags.  I don't have one, so I bought a Longaberger bag that will be my "plane bag" and my stitching bag.  Cool.  I got Claire a sweet Easter basket that is shaped like an egg.  I was most tempted by the seconds room.  There were some good prices on baskets and you could hardly tell that they were seconds.  I almost got two more baskets.  But I have many baskets at home and at one time I made baskets.  I knew I didn't need any baskets.  I also knew we had a four o'clock appointment to make a basket out in the barn.  So I resisted.  We went into the town of Dresden to see the little stores in their downtown area and to get a drink somewhere.  We were disappointed that all the little stores were gone, closed.  We did see the world's largest woven basket though.
We went back to the manufacturing buildings.  You used to be able to tour the manufacturing floor but no longer.  We went in the barn to wait for our appointment to make a basket.  There were three different baskets you could choose from.  I chose the chore basket and my BFF chose the napkin basket.  You get to choose what color accent that you want to use and either dark or light stain.  There are many accessories that you can buy for them too like plastic liners and a various styles of cloth liners.  
I had the most fun making  my basket.  Longaberger baskets are very strong and sturdy and now I know why.  They use two strips at a time in the weaving.  I also learned how they get them so perfectly tightly woven.

 Here is the lady, Heidi, that helped us make the baskets.  (I'm having a bad hair day evidently) You got to pick out 6 little metal accents for around the top edge.  I was tickled pink with my basket.  My BFF liked her basket too.
Longaberger has a golf course nearby and we stopped there to have something to eat.  It is in a beautiful setting.

But it was too hot to eat outside.
The drive back to our hotel was fine but we still had a hard time finding it.  Boy, were we tired.  It was one of those nights where I just wanted to go to bed way before my usual time.  We are very excited as tomorrow is stitching!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Squirrel's Nest Getaway - Day One

To begin, I was too nervous about my trip to cross stitch much so I worked on the temari.  I took out my first try on the sunflower and reread the directions and tips and tried again.  Much better!  I was supposed to  do seven rounds but didn't read the directions correctly and did six.  I think I can still add a seventh row even though I started the second color.  I keep forgetting to weave it over then under the first color.  It is taking shape and I like it.
At lunch time DH took me over to the Airport.  I have two hops to make.  First one to Detroit and second one to Cincinnati.  Both flights are so short that they don't even serve drinks.  It is a driveable distance but I hate driving and the airfare was worth it to me.  The time between flights was just enough to eat an Asiago bagel from Einstien Bros - my favorite eating spot in the Detriot Airport. I'm stitching a sweet strawberry with a strawberry design on it on my flights.

  As I am making my way to baggage claim in Cincinnati I discover 3 phone messages from my BFF who is meeting me here.  She came into a different airport and rented a car and drove down to pick me up.  So I call her back and she is at the top of the escalator and I am at the bottom.  That was how easy it was to find each other.  Things are going great.
On her way to pick me up, my BFF had stopped at the Holiday Inn Express but found out that we are staying in a different Holiday Inn.  Luckily the 12 year old (that how old she looked) working there printed out directions to our actual hotel and told her to go to the airport NOW to pick me up as the traffic is horrendous this time of day.
So after we get my bags, we are driving to our actual hotel and having a hard time finding it.  My navigational skills could land us in Timbuktu. We end up going back to the wrong hotel and using the 12 year old's printed directions to get us to the actual hotel.  It is nice that this hotel has a chain restaurant attached to it, so we eat there.  We are planning on going to Longaberger's headquarters tomorrow as we have a free day.  We are both exhausted but happy to have made it to our destination.
Tomorrow I'll tell you about Day Two.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today's the Day

I am ready to hop on a plane and fly to Cincinnati!  It is also the hottest day of the year.  It used to be that people dressed up to fly on an airplane.  I usually wear pants but today I may wear shorts for comfort and coolness.  Nobody cares or will notice what I am wearing.  Who will notice a lumpy old lady?  Of course on the inside I am beautiful and have a sparkling personality.

I started working on the Hall of Justice down in the corner of Mute But Not Silent.  I like the roof.  The window went in fine and I really like the brick like look of the weaving over one.  So far, so good.

I am trying the first of the sunflowers on the temari.  It is rather crude and I am going to take it out, read the tips for stitching this and then try again.  I've already realized some things I could improve on.  This is way farther than I ever got trying to make a temari on my own.

I stitched most of the bird for the other side of the thimble purse.  This is a French pattern and I don't know if I am doing it correctly.  There are spaces in the middle of something (hightlights?) and lines that don't make sense to me.  I may redo some of the shapes to make them more recognizable.  Are they leaves and berries?  Are they branches and blossoms?  I think I need to define them for myself.  The scale of the bird is way bigger than the scale of the design on the other side.  I don't really care as you only see one side at a time.  It is good to try out this bird before trying to stitch a bunch of them for the casket.
I skipped Step Class this morning to save my energy for sitting!    I'm meeting my BFF at the airport in Cincinnati and we will have a blast!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Well, I sat down and just worked and worked trying to figure out how to do the tri-wings on the temari.  I was reminded of the definition of insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  But I kept at it.  I read the directions.  I watched the YouTube video.  Then it finally dawned on me that I needed to keep the thread above the pin.  So after a few more tries,  I think I've got it.  I got two of the four tri-wings done.

 They aren't perfect but I consider this a learning temari.  I found a V ruler on the Internet and printed it out.  That will help.  It was just too hard to measure and get all the sections even with a tape measure - you need at least one more hand.  We got the second lesson today.  Making the sunflower shapes is going to be very similar to doing tri-wings I think.  We'll see....

I have the bottom half of Mr. Snowman backstitched.  I don't like the lettering for the name so I may choose a different font style.

I finished the thimble purse front.  I am stitching a bird that I have selected to put on my casket for the other side of the thimble purse just to see how it turns out.  I'm using the same floss colors.  You sure don't use much floss when you are stitching on 40 count with just one ply.

I have some sweet things to take with me to stitch on my trip.  I have to iron!  I have to pack!
Thank you to Margaret for the honey filled chocolates.  They are fabulous!  I even let DH have one.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday of a Very Exciting Week

This week is going to be so great.  I leave for my June Retreat on Wednesday and I get back on Sunday so I don't know if I'll get a chance to post in the mean time.  I plan to take my IPad with me so it is possible.
The bathrooms are clean. DH went off to get me a new camera battery.  The old one is dying.  Now on to fun stuff.
I started something new! I was going to kit up some stuff to take with me on my trip but I couldn't help but just do a few stitches.   It is Country Stitches Thimble Purse.  I think it is adorable but I want to change the design to a less-primitive one.  But I am stitching the original design first.  It is stitched on 40 count.  I didn't mean to but I bought the thread pack with this one so I might as well use it.  It will be a quick stitch since it is so small.  So far the 40 count isn't a problem, of course, I am going over two.

I am into the backstitching on Mr. Snowman.  I keep coming across stitches that I forgot or that need to be crossed.  It will be another day or two to finish this guy.

I got the outline of the Hall of Justice on Mute But Not Silent.  I have to look up the next page of the charts to figure out what to do next.

I tried to get ready for the next Temari Lesson today.  But my tri-wings are not looking like I want them to.  I haven't figured out what my problem is.  I have stitched the first row about 4 times but I'm still not happy with it.  I may email her and ask what I am doing wrong.  Now that I look at the photo, two of the wings look right, it is just that one on the right that is twisted.

DH says to remind him to get out my suitcase today.  I have to iron some stuff.  I just wear old cruddy clothes every day so it is a challenge to try and look respectable.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I sat down and cut out and taped up the design for the casket's right side.  I'm not sure there is enough stuff on it but I'll ask and see what the teacher thinks.  I think I might have to come up with some more bugs.

I finished the Stitching Chair Necessaire and it is history!  It is on the arm of my stitching chair.  Done!

I worked on Mr. Snowman and it needs just a bit more snow and backstitching like crazy.  I think I still like the felt Sugar Plum Fairy best.  But to be fair I need to totally finish Mr. Snowman into a stocking before deciding.

I put the divisions on my temari ball.  I have to check and see if they are even/equal and then I can actually start stitching the design.

The windmill is finished.  Next to the windmill is the hall of Justice which looks hard.  But one step at a time, the outline of the Justice building is a breeze.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tidy Up

I have been finishing the Stitching Chair Necessaire.  I attached the pockets.

  I attached the pin cushion using beads. I was supposed to make smyrna stitches to attach it but I tried to be clever and put in a lazy daisy stitch instead.  I only had four flower beads that matched and of course, I messed that up too.  But it still looks okay.  You probably wouldn't notice if I didn't tell you.

 I am on the last part - lining the back.  I love how it turned out.  This was a fun stitch.

I put the twisted cording on the scissors fob and I sewed the needle page into the needlebook.

Mr. Snowman got an orange and some more snow.  If I worked on this all day, I bet I could finish it.  Well, maybe everything but the name.

I thread wrapped the temari.  It is a teeny bit smaller than I wanted but I am learning how to do this.  I thought it would be hard to make it one centimeter smaller than it was with the yarn wrap.  Not so.  I am proceeding anyway with the next step which is putting on some lines with sparkle braid.  Then comes the actual design.  So far, it seems to be a waste of a lot of thread (said by my cynical self).

Today I must finish my windmill!