10 September 2019

Fancy Pumpkins Update: Wee Black Jack-O-Lantern

Up to my eyebrows in Christmas stitching, but every now and then I have to pause for a pumpkin! One more to go, then the border.

Happy Stitching!

04 September 2019

Updates: Playing with Jax and Autumn Sampler

Since I stitched my purple color conversion of Cross Eyed Cricket's Playing with Jax a couple of years ago, I have had lots of requests for the freebie chart of the alternative center pumpkin. Even though the chart was a freebie, I emailed the designer and asked her permission to pass along the freebie to those who were requesting it. She graciously agreed. For the past couple of years I have been sharing it when asked. Well, apparently she was getting lots of requests too, because--good news!--she has reposted the alternative center pumpkin freebie on her gift design page. I don't know how long it will be available, so if you missed out the first time, better go grab a copy just in case! Thank you, Vicki! 

All the information on my color conversion can be found by clicking on the Playing with Jax label at the end of this post, or by clicking on the picture of my finish in the right side bar.

I put in another block of my Autumn Sampler project. Beautiful, rosy, crisp fall apples! Scroll down a bit for a view of the whole sampler and a link to the Etsy shop where I found it. And also a better idea of the fabric color I've chosen (sigh... cloudy day). This is a fun stitch!

So today I'm plunging ahead with my Christmas Open House projects and hoping to have another finish--which I won't be able to show you!--in a few weeks. I'm really excited about this year and having a ball working on it, and so far it's working out very well having a few autumn-y ongoing projects for a change. Thanks for all your kind words on Fancy Pumpkins--that one is a joy to stitch, too. Hopefully, I'll get another pumpkin done this week. The ol' needle is smokin'!

Happy Stitching (and don't forget to go snag that Playing with Jax freebie)!

31 August 2019

Saturday Sampler: Good Week Edition

Y'all, I think this may have been the first normal, uneventful, quiet week we have had since we moved here 4 1/2 months ago. Nothing bad/weird/inconvenient/irritating happened! (So, so thankful.) On the contrary, it was a good stitchy week! I finished my most challenging Christmas Open House project, and I also got another pumpkin done.

I found this adorable fabric at Walmart. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but look at their tiny wiiiiings! 

I finally got my mitts on this new Drawn Thread design. Y'all knew it would be coming to live here when you saw it!

I got this very cute little holder for needlework stuffs. I haven't road tested it yet, though.

I was able to visit my local quilt shop--which has Cosmo threads!--and picked up some gorgeous pinks and greens for my sewing room Christmas ornaments projects. I'm slowly building my Cosmo stash.

They have hand-crafted caramels on the counter by the register. This is my Emergency Caramel. (I recommend everyone have an Emergency Caramel.)

And best of all, Tiger Lily had her first appointment with her new vet on Friday and our 13-year-old girl got a good report! 

I'm putting in some work on Autumn Sampler this weekend, and Monday I plan to set to work on my next Christmas Open House project. 

Hope everyone has a quiet and safe holiday weekend!

27 August 2019

Fancy Pumpkins Update: Orange Pumpkin

Orange pumpkin finished! Isn't it lovely and orangey and glowy? I am so enjoying this little stitch. A few of the things I'm working on for my Christmas Open House require some brainpower, and it's really nice to pick this up at the end of the day and just stitch, without thinking too much. I was cruising along so well after I snapped this that I went ahead and started on pumpkin #3! Stay tuned!

24 August 2019

Christmas Ornament SAL August finish

My eighth finish for the Christmas Ornament SAL I'm participating in! This is from the 2005 issue of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments. The model is stitched all in red, but as y'all know, I'm doing pink and green color conversions for the Christmas tree in my pink & green sewing room. I was going for an ombre look for this one, so I stitched it in three shades of rosy pink, from light to dark:

"Feare Not" is stitched in GAST Antique Rose
The middle section is stitched in CC Wild Berries
The band and "Rejoice" are stitched in GAST Briar Rose

I'm pleased with how it turned out. It's a bit big for an ornament, but I may just tuck it in amongst the large lower branches of the tree. It's one of those spindly trees that has a lot of room between the tiers of branches--perfect for filling up with ornaments and goodies.

Only one of the eight ornaments I've stitched is fully finished (click on the label at the end of this post to see them all). I really, really need to have a finishing day--more like a week--pretty soon. But at least I'm on schedule with this SAL. 

Back to pumpkins...

22 August 2019

A Wee Rebellion

I didn't get my slow, relaxing, summer of stitching that I was hoping for, but I've been trying to make up for it in the last couple of weeks. Thought I'd share a few peeks of what I've been up to. I'm almost always a one-project-at-a-time gal, because I'm a slow stitcher and with multiple projects going, I don't see progress at the pace I would like. However, for whatever reason (probably rebellion at not getting to stitch 24 hours a day to recover from the move), I have been starting whatever I feel like starting, when I want to start it. This is novel for a stitcher like me, who usually practices a measure of self-restraint, but (*stamps foot*) I just got sick and tired of looking longingly at projects I loved and putting them off in order to do other, more "important" stuff. I'm tired of doing important stuff. I wanna stitch.

So. In addition to Christmas Open House projects, and the gorgeous Autumn Sampler I showed a couple of posts ago, I'm also working on this lovely little pumpkin design from this Etsy shop. I'm stitching it on 28 ct. Dirty linen (that's really the name of the color). 

Isn't it pretty? There are lots of these "line of fancy pumpkins" designs, but most are large. I like this one because it's so small. On to the orange pumpkin!

Speaking of orange... put your sunglasses on! This is Phoenix by Fiberlicious. I bought it years ago as a try-out from a then new-to-me dyer. When I bought it, I didn't have a design in mind...

...and then I thought of this one, Summer Sunset by Judith Kirby. I'm hoping it will be as pretty on this fabric in real life as it is in my head. You can see my color conversion of JK's Halloween House in the right sidebar. This one I'm stitching mostly as-is, just on wild fabric.

And here's a little peek at my August ornament for the Christmas Ornament SAL. It's almost done.

I don't see myself becoming a multiple-project-at-a-time stitcher, but right this red hot minute--as my mom would say--it's what I need. I still get the shivers when I see y'all's blog posts about multiple starts (10, 20, 30?!), but I'm finding my five--FIVE!--projects kinda comforting right now. 

Happy Stitching, y'all!

10 August 2019

Important: A Recipe and a Seasonal Update

I've been tinkering with this recipe for a while. This is the third time I've made it and I think I'm finally happy with it. If you've been visiting for a while, you know I love small-batch baking, or tiny baking, as I like to call it, and that I like to experiment with a low-carb baking mix called Carbquik. (If you need to catch up, just click on the labels at the bottom of this post.) This is a Bisquick recipe that I adapted to be much smaller and much lower in carbs. I don't remember now what it's actually called, but I'm calling it...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

1 1/4 c. Carbquik (available on Amazon)
3/4 c. Splenda
1 egg
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste (I get this from King Arthur flour; you can use vanilla extract)
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I use regular; you can use sugar-free)

Stir everything together, spread in a greased and floured 5 x 7 baking dish, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

This little Pyrex dish is the perfect size for just the two of us. We get six servings out of it, or one piece for each of us for three days. So whether what I've baked is low-carb or not, it's gone in one weekend. No leftover temptation!

A few notes about Carbquik, if you decide to try it. 
*You can use it in any recipe that calls for Bisquick. I've made all kinds of stuff with it, mostly successes, but a few duds, but that's to be expected.

*It browns faster than Bisquick, so just be aware (especially with something like oven-fried chicken).

*It's very dry. You'll almost always have to add extra liquid, but that's easy. Don't just splash in liquid, though. I stir up a recipe as written, then if it's too dry, add measured small amounts of liquid until it looks/feels right. That way, if the finished product is to my liking, I know exactly how much extra liquid it needs.

*It does have it's own flavor, and you can tell when you're eating it. If you keep to a low-carb diet, you'll know that you have to make sacrifices when it comes to baked goodies and you're probably willing to put up with that, but you can mask it pretty well by being generous with seasonings/flavorings. In my baking, I've found if I max out the vanilla I'm happier with the results. And really, it's hard to get too much vanilla. Don't be afraid to double it.

*It's expensive. Again, if you eat low-carb and miss baked goods, it's worth it. Two things: I halve almost every baking recipe I use, since it's just the two of us. So that makes the box last a lot longer than it would otherwise. Also, the price on Amazon fluctuates somewhat. If you're thinking of trying it, keep an eye on it for a while and catch it when it drops.

Seasonal Update:

Tiger Lily has a seasonal migration route of sleeping places that she faithfully follows every year. 
Winter: baskets, donut
Spring/summer: the bed, the floor, the couch
Fall: her beds, donut

I must report that this past Wednesday, she took to one of her beds for the first time since last winter. She does this, like clockwork, every year in late summer. It's always my first visual reminder that fall is coming, even if it will be warm for weeks yet. I love it. I love that animals know things that we are too busy or too removed from the natural world to know anymore. It always gives me a little surge of happiness to see this first sign that fall is coming, and I thought I'd share it with y'all.

07 August 2019

Anyone for pie?

I've already begun work on my 6th annual Christmas Open House projects and am close to my first finish, but I can't show you that because no peeking 'til Christmas. Instead, have a look at this delightful Autumn Sampler I found on Etsy. I've been up to my ears in Christmas stitching and I was in the mood for something fall-ish, and I stumbled across this little gem while browsing autumn patterns. Isn't it wonderful?

I'm stitching it on 28 count hand-dyed Cornflower Blue evenweave from Wichelt. Only a few of the blocks are fully stitched, and I wanted a fabric that looked like a gorgeous autumn sky peeking through the rest. 

It's been challenging since we got here, and my hoped-for summer of stitching and relaxing hasn't materialized, but I keep hoping! 

22 July 2019

Little Things

"It is by studying little things that we attain the great art
 of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible."

~Samuel Johnson

11 July 2019

Does this face look familiar?

When it's bedtime, but Mom is still stitching.

Happy Stitching!

10 July 2019


I finally got a chance to go exploring all by myself. This wasn't the kind of looking around you do in a new place when you're trying to find all the things you need. This was the kind of looking around you do in a new place when you're trying to find New Happy Places. This was "explorin'." I'm happy to report the expedition was a success, and I returned with spoils.

Hobby Lobby never disappoints. I found this pretty paperboard box that I'm now using to hold floss for several summer projects at a time.

I found a quilt shop, and I was absolutely thrilled to discover they carry Cosmo embroidery thread! I have never, ever been able to walk into a shop and buy Cosmo, and now I can. Their variegated threads are just beautiful. I restrained myself and only chose a few fall colors, but I intend to build my Cosmo stash as quickly as possible!

I also found a local craft store that's sort of a cross between a big box craft store, an old Ben Franklin's (remember those?), and a dollar store. I wasn't sure it was my kinda place at first, but then I found the fat quarters. Oh my. Oodles and oodles and oodles of lovely fat quarters. I brought home a few. 

I was delighted with my finds. I've now got my route figured out, and can do a "craft crawl" in a nice, efficient loop that also includes my new LNS. There are also corn dogs on my route, so it's pretty awesome. I think I need to do this about once a month. For mental health purposes.

Maybe sometimes twice a month. Depending on how things are going...

06 July 2019

Saturday Sampler: Christmas Ornament SAL Edition

I'm all caught up! Wooooooo! Good job, me! 

So, by way of review: In January, with a move halfway across the country only three months away, I did what any other reasonable stitcher would do, and... 

...joined a SAL.

Yes, I did.

I was on track from January through March (click the Ornament SAL label to see my finishes), but predictably, I derailed in April when we moved. But I'm all caught up and I'm so happy! One more thing: these ornaments are for a Christmas tree that will be in my pink/green sewing room, so that's why they're not in traditional Christmas colors. 

MAY, from the 2001 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue

Fabric: 28 ct. white opalescent linen
Threads: DMC Perle Cotton #8 Blanc, Kreinik braid #4 and #8 Aspen Green 089
Embellishments: Mill Hill beads #00479, Mill Hill Glass Treasure #12052

JUNE, from the 2018 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue

Fabric: 28 ct. Valor (PTP)
Threads: GAST Bayberry, DMC Blanc, Kreinik Braid #8 Aspen Green 089

JULY, from the 2006 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue

Fabric: 30 ct. 18th Century Stone (R&R)
Threads: DMC 315, 316, 778, 3051, 3052, 3726; DMC Perle Cotton #8 Blanc, Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid #60
Embellishments: Mill Hill beads #3005

Off to decide what to start next! Happy Stitching!

26 June 2019

Christmas Ornament SAL April Finish (and other stuff)

Settle in... I got stuff.

I finally have a finish to show! Cookies for everyone! This is my April choice for the Christmas Ornament SAL, from the 2002 issue of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments. (Click the badge in the right sidebar to check out the SAL, or the label at the end of this post to see my other finishes for this SAL.)

Doing the fringe on her scarf was fun. I just winged it, but I like how it turned out.

As you can see, I did a color conversion from green to a rosey pink. She's stitched with DMC in 3687, 3688, and 3803. Her scarf is DMC Coloris 4504, and I gave her white skates instead of black. I don't have the backing on her yet but I was getting a little desperate to show a finish!

I've had a couple of questions about the Rosemary fabric I showed in my last post, specifically, what shade of DMC it is closest to. Here it is with 523...

...and with 524...

...and with both. Unfortunately, this is one of those fabrics that is nearly impossible to photograph accurately (at least for me). I've found that some fabrics just don't show true in photographs; I have no idea why. Anyway, it is a grey-green, but more green than these photos show. I'd say it's smack in the middle of 523 and 524: not quite as green as 523, but not quite as grey as 524. Now check out the very next photo after this one...

Do you see that the Rosemary is slightly more green in this picture than in the one immediately above it? This is as close as I can get to its true color. Here's a tip: if you're having trouble getting a fabric or thread to photograph true, sometimes it helps to throw in other colors to give the camera more to work with in interpreting color. And now you're all wondering about that gorgeous lavender-blue fabric!

I picked this up at my LNS a few weeks ago. It's 28 ct. linen by a new-to-me and relatively new fabric dyer called Colour & Cotton. This is Pixie. Don't know what I'll do with it, but it's such a lovely color, and I'm not usually a fan of blue fabric.

I also just got some more Russian stash. Is this not the cutest bat you have ever seen in your life? (By the way, speaking of photographing fabric, the background fabric in this photo is the same as in the photo above. *shrugs helplessly*) I was smitten with that little face, and that little bowtie. Too, too adorable.

And some wee Russian dollies. Both of these kits are from this Etsy shop. From shipping to delivery was about two weeks, much faster than I expected.

Also from another Etsy shop, this beautiful fox mandala. I want to start this yesterday. I stitched a color block fox design a few years ago (picture in the right sidebar) and it was such a fun, relaxing stitch. This is a bit more detailed, but the same general idea: simple, well-defined sections of color. Very enjoyable to stitch.

And finally, very important news: I have a new friend. This is Mr. Bun. He visits our flower bed on warm days and rests in the cool dirt. He's a very relaxed bun, and doesn't seem to mind our comings and goings at all. There are bunnies everywhere here. But this one is ours.

So that's all the newsy stuff. Otherwise, it has been weird. Or more accurately, I have been weird. I was killing myself to pull this house together as quickly as possible after the move, and dreaming of the day when I could call it done (the move, the house, everything) and just plop down in my sewing room and stitch the summer away. But when I got to that point, I... couldn't? Couldn't stop. I would sit down in my sewing room, stare for a few minutes, then get up and go find something to do. I couldn't settle to anything. Mr. Wonderful says I have to slow down before I can stop, and I guess that's been the problem: full power to full stop. It didn't work. Kinda like stopping a battleship. It takes a while.

But I think I'm finally getting there. I've been puttering around in my sewing room a bit more, and in recent days have been bitten by the fall/Halloween stitching bug, which is strange. I love to stitch fall, but don't stitch much Halloween, so I don't know where that came from, but I'm going with it. I'm not a fan of the modern, adult-oriented Halloween, with all the body parts and gore and other stuff. I call my Halloween taste "spooky cute" (thus, that precious little bat I showed above). So I pulled a few things from my stash that I may incorporate into my summer stitching. We'll see.

And now, even while basking in the triumph of finishing a tiny ornament two months late, it's time to decide what to stitch next. I need to catch up on the Christmas Ornament SAL, but I'm feeling a little rebellious, so who knows? Stay tuned!