Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sugar Cookies and Granddaughters

I made sugar cookies with my Granddaughters, Olivia (5), and Quinn (3 1/2) on Tuesday. It was quite the event. I think I'll be vacuuming up sprinkles for months to come, but that's okay, we had a great time. I'm not too much of a baker, it's just not my thing. I do love these particular cookies though, and my family has come to expect them at holidays and birthdays.
While waiting for a batch to bake, here is Quinn checking out Grandma's ornaments. This one is a favorite with the girls. The angel's harp plays music when touched. I love it, too.

Look at these faces. They are my darling girls, and such good helpers, too. I think Quinn was feeling a little sad in the next picture. It was taken shortly after the sprinkles hit the floor. They were stacking the bottles, and I told them not to. Of course, they toppled over. How could I get mad at them? Impossible! Especially after Quinn says "I'm sorry Grandma" in her sweet little voice.
Most of the cookies ended up with unusual colored sprinkles for Christmas treats. The girls were far more interested in decorating with pink and purple than the traditional red and green
colors. You have to love little girls!
Here is my recipe:
Best Sugar Cookies
1 c. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 teas. vanilla
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teas. salt
Beat butter, cr. cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg in a lg. bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in flour (I sift mine first) and salt until blended.
Cover and refrigerate dough at least 2 hrs., but no more than 24 hrs. Heat oven to 375. Roll one fourth of the dough at a time 1/8 of an inch thick on a lightly floured surface, keeping remaining dough refrigerated..
Cut with assorted cookie cutters and place about 1-in. apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on a rack and decorate at desired. Makes 6 dozen.
Have a merry and blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Can you hear the pitter patter of me doing the happy dance? Finally...the A&E is done. It's not actually mounted, the frame is just sitting on top. I'll have to save that for another day. I feel like I started this one back in the 90's. I know I've worked on other pieces right along with this one, but it still felt like it would never be finished. The chart pages actually fell out of the magazine from so much handling. I had planned to give the magazine away to the person who wanted it the most, and I still will. Just know that it is not in pristine condition. The first person to email me with an address gets it. Now that it's done, I am very happy with my version. It looks much different than the magazine's reproduction.
Now on to Ann Rayner ~1839~. Isn't she the loveliest? Look at all the red. I'm in sampler heaven with this one.

Here's my start in the corner. The little sheep is over one. I'm using 40ct. Buttercream from Lakeside. You'll be surprised to know that I have almost half of the border done already. Quite a shocker for this border procrastinator. I think this sampler will be more fun than most. It's very colorful, with some quirky color blending, which I won't be doing. Like Sarah Palin, I'm Going Rogue, and will do my own thing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1804 York ornament

One more for the sampler tree. I finished this last night. It is stitched over one on 40ct. The stitched part measures 1.25 x 1.50 inches. I just noticed that my cording is slightly off center. Oh well...I've been a digging through my stash for some more charts that can be stitched tiny enough. I think I'll try to do a few more by next Christmas. Right now, there's too many other things calling my name.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sampler Ornaments

Thank you for the sweet comments about my sampler tree (in progress). Vonna has asked to see the ornaments up close, so here they are. I want them to be teeny tiny for the tree, so I've stitched them all over one, with the exception of this one.
My finishing skill leaves much to be desired. Very simply done. I'm using odds and ends of rick rack and ribbon, with the backing being felted wool scraps.

I think all of the patterns were the freebies that are sometimes included in the orders from the needlework shops. Freebies are good!

Every year, I buy the ornament issue from Just Cross Stitch. I can hardly wait until Sept., when it comes out. The funny thing is that I rarely stitch anything from them. I just look at the pictures. I do love this one by Carriage House Samplings from the 2005 issue though.

It will be this year's contribution to my tree. I'm stitching it over one on 40ct. Navy Bean from Lakeside. I started doing full crosses and it was just too tight and not much fun. I started over, and the tent stitch is much better. I added the ruler so you can see the size.

Over the weekend, I ordered my frame for the A&E. I have to finish it now! I'm close.
I have an extra Christmas needlework set if anyone would like one. I'll be adding it on my Etsy shop.
For those of you in the throes of the winter storm, be careful. Hopefully, you can stay inside where it's warm and dry with your stitching.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A little of this and a little of that...

Harriet Burry has been exiled. I had to put her aside, or else risk going crazy. The windows are all satin stitched, which I've decided against doing. When I started in on doing crosses, I realized that the spacing wasn't equal for the panes. Long story short, we needed to part company for awhile. I went back to the A&E, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel at last.

I'm still taking my time with the over one verse.
I just love red! All samplers should have some.
Blyler House finally made it's way in to a frame this week. I've started a new sampler wall in my craft room. I tried to take a picture, but the lighting was awful. I'll try another day.

Black Friday found me decorating the house for Christmas. I love making the simplest things look festive. The tree in my bedroom will eventually have more tiny samplers. For now, there's just a few, but it's a start. I stitched these a couple of years ago and never got around to the finishing. I don't like that part, at all.
As if I don't have enough to do, I joined my first SAL with these gals. I have wanted to stitch the Prairie Schooler alphabet as one piece for years. Vonna started this project going, and I'm really excited to be participating. Mine will be over one on 30ct. linen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Christmas set...and more of Harriet

Here's my set for Christmas. Email me if you're interested.
I'm about to give up on photographing Miss Burry. The one above was taken inside under my Daylight. I had to hang it up with clothespins on poster board to get it all in. The bottom two were taken outside and the fabric looks all washed out. As you can see, I'm working on the big yellow brick house. It has fourteen windows and a door that are all done in satin stitch. I'll be there while. Finally, a color change of blue with the door. How much green can a person stand? This has to be the worst charted reproduction EVER. There are tons of mistakes on the graph. Originally, I thought it was the way the antique was stitched, but after constant comparison, it's the chart. It's horrible, but I still love every minute I spend on her.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Harriet and something new

It's Thursday, the day I usually get around to updating my blog. Harriet is coming along. Have I mentioned before what a big girl she is? I laid her under my Daylight to take the picture today. It was one of those very rare days in AZ. when we had no sunshine. Actually, the colors are pretty accurate for once. You would think that I would be sick to death of NPI 348, as that is the main color. I absolutely love this sampler to pieces. I'm at the point where I can move on to the big brick house, and I'm not afraid, Melissa! I might be a little afraid of the time it will take me. It's a really BIG house.
When I wasn't working on Harriet, I found time to do these. Any serious stitcher can relate to at least a couple of them.
I'm sorry that I forgot to add the link to the source of my lovely sampler plate. I got so many emails about it. I hope you all placed your order. Here it is again, just in case.
By the way, my husband never did notice it. He finally read about it on the blog. I think I can safely sneak new stuff into the house, if I don't blog about it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's all about samplers

Harriet Burry is addictive. She's hard to put down. I am so surprised that I'm not bored with this sampler know, the big border, few color changes, lots of repetition. My photos pale in comparison with the real deal. She will be a beauty.

The A&E is only slightly more than half a sampler. I managed to add a couple more birds and a bit more of the border. I still plan to give the chart away, if I ever finish the piece, that is.

I ordered this red ware plate a couple of weeks ago. I copied the idea from my good friend, Siobhan, who has one. I felt a little guilty about borrowing her idea until she told me that she borrowed the idea from another good friend of ours, Carol. I happen to know that another good friend, ummm, Margaret has ordered one. The cycle never ends. It just came yesterday, and I love it. The funny thing is that my husband hasn't even noticed it yet. He is sick to death of the word sampler. It's everywhere in our house and on my car, lol. He finally said "what if I want to drive your car and they think I stitch samplers?" Remember my license plate? Oh, well....
I went through some more stash, and I've put together another list of stuff to offer for sale. One of the ones that I'm parting with is A Most Noble Pursuit which was a collaboration from several fabulous designers. It was a limited edition. I know I probably won't be stitching it, too many others calling my name louder. If you are interested in my list, EMAIL me. Please don't leave me a comment to be included. The list will go out on Saturday. Same as before, I'll accept PayPal as payment.
Lastly, I've been "encouraged" by Vickie to do a Christmas needlework set. I have an idea for one, so look for that in the near future. I'll be taking orders if anyone is interested.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A hodge podge post

I thought I'd start this post off with the ladies in red. They are doing what they do best...napping. This is "their" chair in my craft room. At least they provide company for me when I'm painting. Even though I have to turn the Ipod up sometimes to drown out Ruby's snoring, it's still nice to have their "support".

Today's high was only in the low 60's...chilly for AZ. Here they are soaking up the sun. It made me laugh to see them sitting there like a couple of old ladies. They have the life, don't they?

Above is a set that I did for one of my favorite customers, Jen. It's on it's way to the UK.

This is my messy work table after an all day painting session. Being a fairly neat and organized person, this made me cringe when I stepped back from it. I had to go grab my camera.
And here is some Harriet progress. I know this picture is just awful. I tried to take it without much sunlight left outside. The gate is really different. It's all done in satin stitches. One of these days, I need to get back to the A&E, but I'm enjoying this one too much right now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

1827 Harriet Burry Sampler

The A&E is still a half finished sampler, because I got sidetracked by this one, the 1827 Harriet Burry Sampler. It was in the summer 2008 Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. I fell in love instantly when I saw her. The garden gate is kind of unusual. The original antique was stitched on 50ct. linen, over one and two, with some specialty stitches thrown in. I'm using 40ct. summer khaki that I over dyed to age it a bit. I really liked the original color of Harriet's linen, so this is close. My thread colors appear to be more vibrant, even though I converted the charted DMC to NPI. She must have loved green, as it is the most dominant color. I'm using a brown for the trees. I'm proud of myself for getting so much of the border done already. I usually put it off for last, and then regret it. Since she's a big piece, I'll do a little everyday as I go.
We are having glorious weather here in the Valley. I planted pansies yesterday. I feel for those of you who are getting your winter clothes out. No, not really...we had to suffer all summer to get to these days. All I want to do is sit on my patio, stitch, and listen to the birds. Unfortunately, I'm behind in painting, so it's nose to the grindstone for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Half a sampler

Not much to show in the stitching dept. I am half way done, so I guess that's something. Yesterday, I sat in front of the TV, watching football and finished Caleb and Joshua who resemble a couple of Santa's elves. The verse in the upper corner is over one, and every word is a different color, so I'm taking my time with it. I confess to starting a new sampler. It's the 1827 Harriet Burry Sampler from the summer 2008 publication of Sampler & Antique Needlework. I could not resist...she just kept calling me over and over. It's another one with a whopper of a border, but a very pretty one. I'll post a picture soon. And of course, Sarah Woodham is waiting in the wings.
I'd like to say welcome to the blogging world, to my friend, Laurie. She is a fabulous stitcher, a dog lover, and "mom" to two Corgis. Stop by and visit her at Corgi Cottage.

Here's a few more pictures of fall decorations. I picked up the seeded pears on my recent trip. Someone spent a whole lot of time individually gluing those seeds on. I think they are just too cool.
On my last post, Terry asked about the little folk art birds by the bittersweet. I would love to tell you where they came from, but I have no idea. I know that I ordered them online from somewhere...sorry.

Love this witch riding a crow!

Thanks for the comments on my finds and new plate. As always, I love hearing from you.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back to the real world

We are back from our shopping excursion through seven states. Other than a small disappointment in the Cranberry Festival, we had a great time. Before I show you what I found on the trip, I have to show you this. It's my new license plate, and it was waiting for me. Is it cool, or what? I think it says it all!

These are a few of my bargains. The gingham apron is like the one I made in 7th grade Home Ec. It was my introduction to sewing, and I loved both hand stitching the x's and using a machine. It was a whopping $1.99, as was the small oil can. Now, I can make one of those pin keep birds from With Thy Needle. The vintage photos are my favorite to find. I always wonder about these people. What was their story? I love to use them in collage art, which I've neglected to do for a very long time. The ideas are there. The four women are going to become awesome witches. I'm sooo glad I don't have to dress like that!
My prize find is the crock on the bottom right. I didn't realize that it was such a cool and different color until I placed it with the others.

We stopped at a couple of farmer's markets, and I picked up some gourds. For now, this big boy is sitting in the entryway with the fake pumpkin. When it's dried out completely, I'll make another bird feeder out of it.
No trip back to the Midwest is complete unless I bring home some real bittersweet. I swear, in my next life I'm going to be a bittersweet farmer. This batch cost me $10.00, which I was more than willing to pay. I'd love to have tons of it growing all around me. More than anything else, it says that fall is really here.

To those of you who are patiently waiting for me to fill your orders for needlework sets, I promise I'll get to them this week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A hunting we will go...

for antiques and other cool stuff. Thursday morning will find me hopping on a plane with my sister and friend for a flight to Minneapolis. There, we will meet up with my niece for several days of shopping till we're dropping. Every year we get together for giggles and a good time. This year, we're heading here. There's supposed to be a ridiculous amount of craft and antique vendors. We've heard great things about this festival. Hopefully our rented SUV will be so weighted down with our fabulous finds that it does wheelies all the way home. I'm hoping to find at least one piece of salt-glazed crockery. Who knows what else will catch my eye?
Here's a small bit of progress on the A&E. I'm not sure about the blue ship...that color may have to be changed. Remember, I'm giving this magazine away to the best comment. I've been highly amused and impressed already, but I won't decide until I'm finished with the sampler.

A&E from May 2009 issue of Cross-stitch and Needlework

Are you all excited about the upcoming market? There are some wonderful things coming our way. I've already ordered Sarah Woodham. Isn't she a beauty? I hope she's waiting for me when I get back.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's show & tell

Blyler House by The Goode Huswife is finished. As with all of the GH designs that I have done, I'm always surprised at the charted thread colors when I lay them out. I have a hard time imagining the outcome, but I'm always pleased with the result.

Rebecca Robinson now resides on my bedroom wall.
I went with a simple frame since the design is so busy.

Since Melissa wondered what my next "big" sampler would be. Here it is. I wouldn't call it big though. The design was in the May issue of Cross-stitch and Needlework magazine. The picture below shows the original antique. There was also a reproduction which I won't bother to show because, well...I don't like it at all. They used Olde Willow threads, and I thought the colors were odd. I came up with my own DMC and NPI conversions which are closer to the original. I'm using 40ct. vintage Homespun from Lakeside. It isn't as yellow as the antique, but more than my photo shows. The border's a breeze , too. I'll be giving the magazine away when I'm done. I'll give it away to the person who comes up with the most original, humorous, "begging or needing it" comment that I receive. Obviously, it won't be until I'm finished, but start thinking.