Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Stitching

This was the first year that I set stitching goals for myself. I'm not sure how helpful they were. On the one hand, having established goals helped to keep me focused on certain projects and I accomplished a lot. On the other hand, some of my goals fell by the wayside in favor of other things.

I did particularly well with my UFO and WIP goals for 2006. I wanted to finish three UFOs: Santa's Magic, Pansy Needleroll, and Mother's Love Needleroll. I also finished the three WIPs that were on my goal list: Snow Wonderful, Spanish Geometrical Sampler, and Castle Sampler.

I was about 50/50 on the list of things that I wanted to start and finish. I did not even start Prairie Garden or the Shepherd's Bush stocking that I planned to do for myself. But, I did finish the stitching on Robert's Stocking, Quaker Diamond, and my Valentine's exchange project.

I also met my goal of starting Persian Iris Garden. I haven't been great about keeping up over the last several months, though. I'm hoping to finish this one in 2007, but I'm not making any promises. ;) It has grown to the point that it is nearly too large for my biggest Q-snaps, so I've been concentrating on one corner rather than doing all of each section as it is published.

The goals that I really came up short on were the ones for assembling FUFOs. I had a list of six, and of those, the only one that is assembled is Deck the Halls Bellpull (sorry, no pic yet, because I just finished it). Despite not assembling the intended FUFOs, I finished several others that had been sitting around for ages. I assembled seven FUFOs in all... just not the ones that I had intended. I also did a lot of assembly work and learned several new finishing techniques along the way, thanks to the various exchanges that I joined this year. I participed in 17 exchanges in all this year. Unfortunately, there were a couple that made it into the mailbox before I had a change to photograph them. >:(

All in all, 2006 was an extremely productive stitching year for me. I completed a total of 37 projects and assembled a total of 24 projects (including exchanges). Not too bad! I haven't decided whether I'll set goals for 2007. I probably will, but I plan to keep them modest (again).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Final Exchange pic, and a happy dance

Marie has received the gift that I sent for the Winter Blast exchange, so I can now post a picture. The design is Random Thoughts of Winter. I have to admit that I didn't much enjoy stitching the whole thing with white floss, but I think the result was worth the trouble. I decided to finish this as a wall hanging-- a new finishing technique for me. I was happy with how it turned out, but it was quite a learning experience. BF really liked it and has informed me that I need to finish some of my stitching into wall hangings for us. ;)

We spent the last week in the country. I decided not to take any large projects with me. I took all of my new Little House Needleworks kits instead. After digging through my considerable stash of needlework fabrics, I pulled out a piece of 32 ct. putty linen that will work nicely for a couple of these. The first one that I stitched was "Acorns," which was the December design. I just love the little squirrel on this one!

Thanks for all of the recent comments. I keep promising myself that I am going to take some time out of the holiday preparations to read all of your blogs, but that isn't happening just yet. At the moment, I'm in the midst of my annual holiday baking. Our family get-together has grown too large for gift exchanges, so I've gotten into the habit of making baskets or tins of holiday goodies for each family group each year. I have to fill 10 (!!!!!) baskets in time for the get-together at noon on Sunday. I like everything to be fresh, so I'm barely started. It's going to be a BUSY couple of days!

Some of you may remember that our tree fell down last year (under the weight of all the ornaments LOL) on Christmas eve, right in the middle of my holiday baking extravaganza. Fortunately, the tree is looking stable this year, so I don't think there will be any "excitement" to distract me from the kitchen.

A note on the sofa photo... the sofa pictured is the new sofa that will be arriving in a couple of months. I'm getting a different color, though-- the orangish-red color that is on the top of the swatches. It looks much more orange in the photo than it does IRL. I wanted a "statement" piece, and this fits the bill perfectly. I couldn't find any contrast fabric that I was crazy about, so the throw pillows will all be the same fabric as the sofa. I'll make some contrasting pillows myself later.

Well, that's enough of a ramble from me. I'm off to the kitchen to check on my fudge!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Final Exchange of 2006

I am happy to report that my last exchange for 2006 is in the mail. On time! :) This one was for the Winter Blast exchange. I tried a new finishing technique-- I'll share a photo as soon as it arrives at its destination.

Meanwhile, I got older this week. BF & I aren't ones for much hoopla, but I did haul him to the LNS where he got me the four latest Little House Needleworks Crescent Colors chartpacks. I picked up the first three when I was at Hershey in September. BF added Berries, Peaches, Pumpkins, and Acorns to my collection.

I also got myself a little present-- a new sofa! I've been searching for quite a while and finally decided on one. Of course, since it's a custom order, I won't actually have it for another 2 or 3 months.

My culinary adventure for the week was cooking my first duck. I used a recipe for Roast Duck in Cherry and Black Peppercorn Sauce from Food Network. It was a bit of trouble getting all of the ingredients together, not to mention picking the pinfeathers out of the duck, but it was well worth the effort. The recipe turned out even better than I expected, and the duck itself was picture perfect. The only thing I'd change is the quantity of the sauce-- it makes a bit too much.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More Exchanges

Today's exchange update is from the SBEBB Christmas ornament exchange. First is the gorgeous ornament that I received from Veronica. This was the "mystery" package that I received several days ago. The mystery came because there was no note and no return address, so I wasn't completely sure who sent it, or what exchange it was from. I design is just perfect for me-- it was one that I wanted to stitch, but hadn't found the time. The alphabet is stitched over one, and it is beautifully finished. :)

And here's a photo of the whole package...

The peppermint bark is my new favorite addiction. I haven't tried the teas yet, but I'm especially interested in the pomegranate white tea. It sounds great. ;)

I also received word that the ornament that I stitched for Cindy has arrived at its destination. This is another that I may have to stitch for myself. ;)

I personalized the back with our names and the year.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Exchange Updates

This has been an extremely busy exchange season for me. I signed up for so many in the last couple of months that it seems that I am always sending or receiving something. This week, my mailbox has been especially full. :)

The first exchange was from the USEBB pinkeep exchange. This little beauty is from Jo. The pattern is from JBW Designs, and I think it came out in a recent JCS issue.

I love the fabric that she used for the back!

I stitched a pinkeep for Becky. The design I chose was actually a Christmas ornament pattern from an older JCS ornaments issue. I had stitched this for myself as an ornament earlier this year, and decided that it would be perfect as a pinkeep. So, I stitched it again, this time using non-holiday colors. The fabric was 32 ct. Amsterdam blue linen, and I used Waterlilies "seafoam" thread.

I personalized the back with our names and the year, along with a couple of elements of the design.

Yesterday, I received THREE packages in the mail. :) :) :) I had a fantastic time opening all of them. At the moment, I can only show two of them, because there is a *teeny* bit of mystery concerning the third. I'll be posting more on that later. ;)

One of the packages was this lovely ornament from Nancy. The design is by Linda McMillen. Nancy made a tuck pillow for this, but left it unstuffed, which made for a very pretty finish. She even made the little buttons herself out of Sculpey! :)

Here's a pic of the whole package. I thought the CD of Christmas music was a great idea!

The next package was from the USEBB Winter Blast exchange, stitched by Vonna. This flat-fold is so beautifully finished. She even trimmed it with little snowflakes and personalized it with our initials and exchange info on the back.

The rest of the package was also wonderful, with assorted winter-themed goodies.

Of course, I've also been sending out some exchanges myself. The only one that I'm sure has been received is this ornement that I stitched for Toni. I really liked the way this one turned out-- I just might have to stitch another to keep. ;)

I hope I haven't worn your eyes out with all of these pictures. There will be more to come over the next several days. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Spanish Geometrical Sampler

Thanks for all the nice comments about Spanish
Geometrical Sampler. It was an enjoyable piece to
stitch, but it took a long time to complete. There
were some points along the way where I thought I might
never finish.

Originally, the sampler was designed in shades of
purple and green. There's a photo from the pattern at">Needle's
Content. I started with a skein of Waterlilies
that I liked, and chose coordinating colors. The
project was stitched on 40 ct. lambswool linen. My
"rough" color conversion is listed below. There were
a few small areas of the chart where I didn't
substitute exactly as listed, but the majority of the
design was substituted as shown here.

Original/My Conversion
Waterlilies Olive - NPI 645 (Dk. Blue-green)
Waterlilies Jade - NPI 514 (Med. Mint green)
Waterlilies Hyacinth - Silk 'n' Colors Dragon's Breath
Soie Cristale 1091 - Waterlilies Rainforest
Soie Cristale 1092 - Silk 'n' Colors Copper Rose

The design also called for two colors of Mill Hill
beads - 10029 and 10027. I eliminated the beads,
since I was using 40 ct. fabric, and substituted floss
colors from the list above. I didn't follow any
specific conversion to replace the beads. I simply
used whatever floss color I thought looked best in any
given section. I also added a few stitches to one
section. ;)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy Dance!!!

I nearly forgot to post my latest happy dance-- a project completed just over a week ago, on the day after Thanksgiving. With my lack of computer time and focus on exchange stitching, this one nearly slipped through the cracks. And it's a big one! I finally finished Spanish Geometrical Sampler. Woohoo!!!

Also, I realized after Tessa asked about Robert's Stocking that I really need to update my sidebar. It's terribly out-of-date. Tessa, the stitching on Robert's Stocking has been completed for a while. I just need to add the embellishments, which I've purchased but haven't found the time to sew on. I had hoped also to finish Sophie's Stocking this year, so that BF and I would have a matched pair, but I didn't even start the second stocking. Oh well, maybe we'll have them by next Christmas.