Sunday, April 28, 2019

January in April

Hi, stitching friends!

Spring in Idaho is like a moody teenager. One day it's 72 degrees and almost all my neighbors are outside in tank tops and shorts, walking the dog or weeding flowerbeds. And the next day we have a high of 59, strong winds and overnight frost warnings. At least we haven't had snow again. We have had snow as late as June.

Speaking of chilly weather, my post today, "January in April," was inspired by my blogging muse, Carol at Stitching Dreams. Hers was the first stitching blog I ever read, and her post from way back in February 2010 (<--- link) inspired me to get my hands on this chart: Waxing Moon Designs' "Monthly Sampler Series: January."

Isn't it lovely? I love the whimsical sentiment, the variegations in the blues, the "pop" of the red house and how it adds the perfect splash of vibrant color.

I stitched it on 36-count country French mocha linen, mostly using the called-for colors. I substituted Colour & Cotton "To All a Good Night" (from the 2018 Christmas mystery box) and Colour & Cotton "Dark Indigo" for Weeks' "Deep Sea," and I used DMC B5200 in place of Week's "Whitewash."

I plan to write more about Colour & Cotton in a later post, so watch this space. By the way, thanks, Arlene, for the recommendation!

I love January (it's my birth month) and I love blue, so I couldn't wait to stitch this. I did have good intentions, starting it back in January. But I used so much of the "To All a Good Night" thread in the top band and the side borders that I didn't have enough left to finish the bottom band. I wasn't sure what to do since this was a limited-edition thread and I couldn't get more. So I put January away and started working on Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow.

Earlier this month, inspiration hit me. I looked through my collection of Colour & Cotton threads and found "Dark Indigo." While it's not exactly the same as "To All a Good Night," it's pretty darn close, and honestly, now that I've finished this, I cannot tell a difference between the top and bottom bands. Can you?

To frame January, I painted a thrift-store frame that I got for $4.99 with three coats of white chalk paint. (Thrift-store frames are usually priced less, but this one had a signed and numbered art print in it, which I will donate back.) I mounted the stitching on foam core, and because the frame was a little wider than it needed to be, I added crocheted white lace to the sides. I think it's dainty and complements the dainty swirls in the frame. What do you think?

Another bonus to using this frame was that it had professional mounting hardware on the back. I was able to salvage and reuse that. Yay!

My mom bought me the Logan Dual-Drive Elite Point Driver for my birthday, so I used it as well. (I'm linking to this on Amazon because I really like it. I'm not getting money to convince you to buy it! Sometimes readers ask where I found something so I wanted to make it easy to find.)

What's a point driver, you ask? Well, you know those little metal bendy-tabs on the back of your framed pieces that hold everything (the glass, mats, photo or stitched piece) in place and keep them from falling out of the back of the frame? Those are points. A point driver is a tool that looks like a staple gun, and it shoots the points into the back of the frame. If you recycle a lot of thrift-store frames, a point driver is helpful. It also comes in handy when the points on your existing frames break off. This happens to me when I use one frame and swap out different stitched pieces, such as monthly series. Those little bendy points eventually wear out and break off.

Thanks for stopping by! I was so excited when I finished this today that I couldn't wait to show you. I will post again soon, when RJ and Mary reveal our progress on our Summer Schoolhouse SAL. Until then, be well, sweet friends. I hope your weather is a little more even-tempered than ours!

Monday, April 22, 2019


Hi, stitching friends!

Whatchaupto? (Translation: What are you up to?) I closed my Facebook account about a year ago, and since then, my blog has become my only "social networking" medium for keeping in touch with my family and friends. (Hi, Mom!)

Here's what I've been up to the last month:

1. Halloweening...

Continuing work on Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow, and I'm on track to finish by my September 1 deadline. Square five is so colorful, and with the nautical theme, I think it's my favorite. It took a long time to stitch because except for the strip at the top, it's fully covered in stitches. I was relieved to finally finish it, but it was so much fun. I thought about changing the color of the mermaid's skin to be more flesh-colored and less white, but then I thought, no, when I'm underwater, I look pretty bleached out, too!

Square six is half of a two-square spread in the middle of the design. It was hard for me to stop at that hard line on the right and not go pull out the pattern for square seven. I don't like leaving things unfinished!

2. Tracking Time...

I've put in 31 hours on the Summer Schoolhouse SAL with RJ and Mary from Stitching Friends Forever. (For my non-stitching readers, SAL stands for "Stitch-Along.") This is my first SAL, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm using the called-for fabric and threads, stitching over one on 28-count mushroom lugana. Do you like over-one stitching? Sometimes when I start I groan a little bit, but then I get into it and stop complaining! You can read more about the SAL and see photos of RJ's and Mary's progress at their blog linked here: Stitching Friends Forever.

This is the first time I've ever tracked hours on a project. It's mind-blowing to consider how many hours go into a project, isn't it?

3. Gifting...

Many of you have experienced firsthand the generosity of our friend Robin in Virginia. When Robin heard that I wasn't going to do the SAL with RJ and Mary because the patterns were cost-prohibitive at the time, she sent me the entire series. I'm still simply over the moon and in awe of her kindness. I asked what I could do in return, and she suggested that I make an ornament for her wrought-iron ornament tree. So, I made this little guy for her....

The pattern is called "All Dolled Up" by Little House Needleworks. I stitched him while we were on vacation in Oregon in December last year and finished him just for Robin. The "coal" eyes and buttons are matte black beads. I stitched the ornament on 28-count coffee/tea-dyed linen. The ornament is laced onto foam core, which is mounted on a fabric-covered backing. Handmade cording, a fabric bow and a fun "2019" charm finish it off.

I used the called-for threads, except I substituted coffee-dyed white thread for the white in the snowman. (To do this, take a skein of DMC white and drop a little bit of strongly brewed coffee on the thread here and there - a little goes a long way. Let the thread dry and voilah - a rustic white thread.)

4. Reconnecting...

April has been a great month so far. I've reconnected with a friend from high school I haven't seen in almost a year (or more?!). I spent a weekend with my husband and friends at their cabin in Crouch, Idaho. I spent Easter weekend with my mom, and we celebrated my niece's 19th birthday. My niece has grown into such a lovely person. She is a freshman at Boise State studying chemistry, and it was awesome to be able to help her celebrate.

5. Gardening...

I started a garden. We have a large (24' x 36') garden spot in the backyard, but I'm just not up to anything that big this year. My husband dug up a 3' x 3' spot for me, and we pulled out a 2' x 4' raised bed we used several years ago. I planted onions, carrots, kale, lettuce, beets and ONE cherry tomato plant. I LOVE growing a garden - from the planning (see the diagram to the right - I am a total planning nerd when it comes to the garden), to the day when the first little sprouts peek through the soil, to the harvesting and especially the eating....

This year's garden is scaled waaaay back from years past, but the last garden we grew was such a disaster that I needed some time to get over it. (We brought home some organic tomato plants, and it turned out they were all diseased. One by one, every plant in my garden died.) We usually have great success, so fingers crossed this will be a good year. We are only planting one tomato plant - we are still a little wary from last time.

6. Dreaming...

And, hmmm.... what else? Oh, yeah! Shawn and I booked our next trip to the Oregon coast for December. Don't you find that the anticipation of a vacation is almost as good as the vacation itself? So for the next eight months we will be dreaming of the beach....

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your spring is bringing you fragrant flowers, hopes in bloom, warm weather and lots of time to stitch.