26 January 2021

Hibernatin' (and a PSA!)


We're buried under a foot of snow! It started early Monday morning and snowed without a break until the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Snow day! Or two!

Cake was in order. Okay, cake is always in order, but, you know.

I had to share this with y'all. I made Mr. Wonderful a little low-carb cinnamon cake. At some point, while not under my supervision, he cut it himself. This is what we ended up with. I literally burst out laughing when I saw it. What a mess! (Yes, the top center piece is cut in two. He explained he was trying to correct a mistake, or something. I couldn't follow.) Too funny.

I've been spending a lot of time in my sewing room over the last week, re-organizing my threads, planning projects, and of course, stitching. What in the world could that picture above be? I'll share an update when I get a little further along. (Those colors though!)

I'm planning a March start for the gorgeous Huckleberry Farm by The Blue Flower. If anybody wants to stitch along with me you've got time to get your supplies!


You've probably already heard that this year's Nashville Market has been cancelled due to the pandemic (booooo!). However, that doesn't mean we won't get to see all the new spring goodies from our favorite designers. There is an online wholesale market taking place 6-8 March where designers and retailers will come together as they normally do at Market. If you check out the Needlework Expo website you'll see links for Exhibitors and Buyers. Click the Exhibitors link to see if your favorite designer will be offering new goodies, and click the Buyers link to see if your favorite LNS or online shop will be buying. Usually new spring designs start to appear in mid-January and it looks like that's right on track. I'm already seeing new stuff. So don't worry, we're still going to have lots of lovely spring things to enjoy in a few weeks! Must. stitch. faster.

Happy Stitching!

21 January 2021

Time for Tea is Finished!


This is Time for Tea by Bluebird Needleworks, stitched on 28 ct. Oaken from PTP using the recommended DMC threads. I chose to stitch mine in Russian, but the PDF has an English version included. I started this project last January and stitched one block per month and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here's a closer look at the December block.

I love the soft colors of this design and am really happy with how it looks on the Oaken fabric.

16 January 2021

Saturday Sampler: Winter Light Edition

If you've ever tried to photograph your needlework and achieve true fabric and thread color, you know how challenging it can be. May I recommend a blizzard for perfect lighting conditions? A blizzard provides ideal white light (white sky, white ground, white everything), so next time you need to do some stitchy photography, just dial one up.

This is my first finish of the year: Candy Cane Wishes by With Thy Needle & Thread, stitched on 28 ct. Mint linen. I used a Smyrna stitch (see my previous post) for the eyes and the holly berries, and GAST Picket Fence instead of the called-for Weeks Linen, and DMC 945 for his cheeks since it's only a few stitches. I also gave my snowman a happy little grin.

I've mentioned before that I'm slowly building my Cosmo stash. I'm so blessed to have a local quilt shop where I can just walk in and buy it (never had that before). Last spring I did a whole post about Cosmo threads and wrote about what I think is the major difference between Cosmo and DMC: the beautifully smooth, subtle transitions in color families. In that post, I had to use my Cosmo color card to illustrate my point, but I recently bought a nice handful of colors and can show you using full skeins. Look at how gorgeous! (Thank you, Mr. Blizzard.)

That post I linked also has some links to online shops that carry Cosmo threads, in case you now find yourself unable to go on unless you start your own collection. I know the feeling.

I also hit a post-Christmas sale at one of the Etsy shops where I have found very cute polymer clay needle minders.

Speaking of winter light, I have a new project ready to go on a lovely, sparkly, frosty fabric called Winter Winds. I think this is from Silkweaver, but I know nothing else about it, like whether it's still available. This is the only piece of Silkweaver fabric I own and I bought it at a shop in Virginia years and years ago. Yes, that's a biscuit counting pin. Biscuits are important.

I hit a snag with my Winter is Coming Quaker. One of the colors, GAST Garden Gate, is just not going to work. The color is used in the vase on the left border, the candlestick, the large center motif along the bottom, and the large motif on the right border. If you look closely at the pictures of the model, you can see the skein used has muted shades of grey-brown, beige, blue, and even a bit of olive. My skein is a flat, dark brown. I ordered additional skeins from two other shops, hoping to get a different dye lot, but nope. Flat, dark brown. Boooo. So I set to work trying to choose an alternative. Trying to choose colors online is the worst, but what can we do? I finally settled on GAST Fisherman's Wharf. In the photo below, the candlestick is stitched with GAST Garden Gate. You can see how dark it is, and how dark it would make the sampler. 

GAST Fisherman's Wharf has some brown, some blue, and some green, though more intense than what's used in the model. Will it work? No idea. I'll put in a couple of the smaller motifs and see what I think. I may have to take it out. Watch this space.

And finally, I made Tiger Lily a blanket fort, because blanket forts are awesome and honestly, why do we stop making them when we grow up? Now I want one.

That's the latest from the snowy Great Plains. Thank you to those who continue to offer kind words and prayers about my dad. He's still in a nursing facility and making progress, very slowly. He has also had his first dose of the vaccine, which is such a blessing in all of this. 

Happy Stitching, y'all!

07 January 2021

Very Important Stuff You May Have Missed


I'm beginning my 9th year of blogging and decided to have a look back at some of my hundreds and hundreds of posts. Most of these are linked in the tabs at the top of the page or in the labels in the right sidebar, but I don't know if readers ever wander around in those so here's a handy list of some of my favorites. 

How to Stitch with Variegated Thread in which I break the "cross each stitch as you go" rule and encourage further rule-breaking

How to Railroad in which I demonstrate how to achieve pleasantly plump stitches

How to Make a Template in which I tackle finishing tricky shapes with astounding results

How to Make Needle Packets in which I make the cutest needle packets ever

How to Use Blending Filament in which I tame the blending filament beast

How to Stitch Eyes in which I show how to avoid your stitched folks looking unconscious

How to Finish Perforated Paper in which I explain one of the great mysteries of the universe and offer a BONUS idea!

And there's so much more hiding in the "how to" and "finishing" tabs at the top of the page. 

I've been mugged by other good ideas that aren't classified as "how to" but are nonetheless terribly important:

The Most Brilliant Method for Q-Snap Storage

The World's Greatest Homemade Finishing Tool

The Most Spectacular Christmas Ornament Ever

I also occasionally dispense pearls of wisdom (for free):

Why Stitching is Awesome (not breaking news)

You Need a Tea Tray

And a Book Basket

How to Let Go of Stuff (but not the tea tray and the book basket I just mentioned)

How to Have a Quiet Christmas and Part 2

And over the years I've also shared oodles of favorite recipes, which I've cleverly filed under the "food" label in the right sidebar. There's also the "tiny baking" label which is exactly what it sounds like and is not to be missed. 


So those are just a few of the highlights of years and years of blogging and hundreds and hundreds of posts. Some new readers have joined us lately (*waves*) and some may have been here a while but never done much prowling around. There's lots here and I've tried to make it user-friendly through tabs and labels. If you're snowed in, or stuck at home, or just need a distraction, grab a cup of cozy and browse a while. It's a very calm place and you're welcome to stay as long as you like.

Also, if you've joined us since last spring, you may have missed my one-woman mission to uplift spirits at the beginning of the pandemic. Scroll through 2020's March, April, and May posts for lots of freebie links, lots of enabling, and some scrumptious recipes. Also Tiger Lily.

As ever, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and enjoy everything here. 

02 January 2021

Saturday Sampler: New Year Edition

 First stitches of the new year and food. Lots of food.

Bonus Winter Tea recipe!

Pineapple-Orange Spiced Tea (slow cooker) 

3 quarts/12 servings (I halved this recipe for the two of us and it was a perfect amount)

2 qt. boiling water

16 tea bags (I mixed decaf and regular to lower the caffeine)

2 cinnamon sticks

4 whole cloves

1 c. sugar (this is quite sweet, you may want to reduce this amount and then sweeten to taste when finished)

1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 (12 oz.) can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed

1 c. cranberry juice

1/2 c. lemon juice

In a large slow cooker, pour boiling water over tea bags and let steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and add remaining ingredients. Heat on low for 2-3 hours. Remove spices and stir well before serving. (This is delicious hot, but it's also great cold and mixed with ginger ale for a frosty winter punch. Mr. Wonderful was mixing a small amount with his Mountain Dew and it was so good--and I'm not a Mountain Dew fan!)


Bonus Bonus Piggie suggestion! 

Pigs-in-a-Blanket are a falling-off-a-log easy snack perfect for this time of year, with all the staying up late waiting for Santa, ringing in the New Year, and football. If you've never made them before, use this method. Then, before baking, lightly dust them with grated Parmesan cheese, a little kosher salt, and a little freshly ground black pepper. You will thank me later. We destroyed 3 dozen of these in an embarrassingly short amount of time. Best piggies ever.

Happy Stitching (and snacking)!

01 January 2021

Happy New Year!


Wishing you lots of stitching time, bunches of finishes, and a happy and healthy year!