WIPocalypse February 2015 <3

It’s WIPocalypse check-in time again!  And this month I actually have – gasp – finishes!  Like, real finished, not just patterns that I completed!  I’m so incredibly proud of myself.  The truth is that we’ve had three snow days in the last two weeks (actual snow last week, and today I’m home because the roads are iced over and closed), so I’ve had extra time that I don’t normally get in my schedule.  I’ve tried to put it to good use, rather than frittering the days away like I do my weekends.

But first, the discussion topic for this month: If money – and time – were not limiters, what projects would be on your stitching bucket list?  Answer: have you SEEN my pinterest board?  It would probably be a stream of smalls – ornaments, little pillows, bookmarks – and samplers.  I’ve been on a primitive kick lately, so there are a lot of those, and I have a ton of Christmas and Halloween ornaments.  There’s also a small, but growing, selection of Valentine’s day designs.  I also have a secret desire to make replacement chair seats from my mother-in-law’s dining set.  They are (as close as I can gather) Berlin Woolwork, but that’s just a good reason to take up another flavor of stitching.  In terms of actual designers – Roland Designs, Brooke’s Books, Primitive Hare, Satsuma Street, Just Nan, Dance Needle – and those are just off the top of my head.  And off course, if I had unlimited stitching time and budget, I would also have to outsource all my finishing work to someone else to keep up with it.  I’ll have to just keep dreaming…

So on to the finishes, right?

First up is one off of my 2015 project list – a free Bluebird from Janlynn.

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Front and back.  I just finished this in the hoop to send as a gift – I found the perfect backing bluebird fabric at Hancock last night :)  I basted together the backing fabric, a layer of batting, and the linen so that it can be propped or hung using the tensioner at the top for a hanger.  Or, the recipient can take it out of the hoop and finish it herself into an ornament if she prefers (but I’m guessing she’ll leave as is.)  That will go out in the mail this weekend when we thaw enough to get to the post office.

My other finish wasn’t on my original project list for the year, because it didn’t become a WIP until January!  I took a needlepoint class, but we ran out of time to finish our designs before the class ended.  So I brought home the constituent pieces, which then sat in my sewing pile for a month, until I decided to just knock out this little mitten ornament today:


If look closely, you can see some small missteps, but as a first time needlepoint project it turned out pretty good.  It’s perle cotton on canvas, backed with velveteen fused to the canvas and the cording (which we made in class) is whipstitched around.

February is going down in the books as a win for stitching, even if it was a miserable end to winter.  Onward and upward in March!

Stitch From Stash – February 2015

Month: February

Spent: $39.54 ($20 for needlepoint class fee + $19.54 for linen and DMC)

Earned: $4 (Love Bird) + $4 (Be True)

Balance Forward: $50 (Jan balance) – $39.54 (Feb spent) + $8 (Feb earned) +$25 (March) = $43.46

Wow, it has been a busy month for stitching!  I didn’t realize how much I had done until I went to gather up for photos for this checkin.

I added January’s check in post on the 26th.  Then on the 31st, I attended a beginner’s needlepoint class!  It was hosted by our local American Needlepoint Guild chapter and included a kit to get a feel for the craft.  The class was 2 hours long, and it wasn’t enough time for me to finish, so I have a new WIP (awwww…) waiting for me to finish.  It was interesting to me that all of the needlepointers who showed up to help us students all started with cross-stitching!  Most of the stitches I had worked before in XS designs, but working in hand on the canvas with no pattern was a very big change for me.  I am a follower, obviously, and I kept looking at the example to see what I should be doing next.  It was a fun experience, but I don’t think I’m ready to swap crafts yet – XS is where I am much happier.


My first finish was the Love Bird from Niky’s Creations:


I adore it, and it looks fantastic in person.  I have the backing fabric and am planning on making it into a little bowl pillow for next Valentine’s season.  This was done all from stash – mystery 28 count linen, with mostly-charted DMC.  The hearts were a little brighter red than charted, but I’m still very happy.

My second finish was the Be True freebie from Plum Street Samplers:


We went and saw Hamlet performed by the American Shakespeare Center at the local university the first week of February, and I was inspired.  “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius, Act I.  Hamlet is my favorite Shakespeare play, and I watch it every time I get the opportunity.  Mystery 28 count linen with charted DMC threads.  I had the black and ecru threads from stash, and the pinks and green for the flowers were purchased.  I’m not sure about how I want to finish this yet – I’m thinking about framing it.

On Wednesday, it snowed here.  Almost a foot of the white stuff, in Alabama, in February.  I was NOT a happy girl.  I live here for a reason, and that reason is to not have to deal with winter.  I get cranky when I have to defrost my windshield, much less shovel the driveway.  But being stuck inside for two days gave me plenty of time to start another project I had stashed away a loooonnng time ago:


That is the “Frosty Blue” pattern from Blackberry Lane Designs in the Just Cross Stitch 2010 Christmas Ornaments edition.  I promised my mom I would stitch it for her back in *mumblemumblefallof2010mumble.*  It’s 28 count white linen with a silver metallic thread – the pattern calls for Zweigart Lugana, but I honestly don’t remember if that’s what I bought, or just something equivalent.  I have had the pattern and supplies for a little over 4 years now, and my memory is just blank on this one.  I have the charted threads EXCEPT that the snowman was called out as B5200.  I didn’t like the color against the linen – it was practically disappearing.  So I swapped over to #3865 for more contrast against the cloth.  It’s a matter of taste depending on your fabric and your eyesight :)  I will say though, it only took me two lines to decide I am NEVER stitching on metallic linen again if I have the choice.  The metallic thread is not woven in tightly with the linen weave and it gaps and makes it hard to keep my counts straight.  I’m going to hold out final judgment on this pattern since it will be beaded and finished as an ornament, but right now I’m not feeling happy about it.  Also, the chart calls for 1-over-1 on the 28 count, and that is practically petit point.  I simply cannot stitch that small, so I frogged out and went back to my standard 2-over-2.  Learning from my mistake, next time I will go with an 18-ct aida or equivalent 36-ct linen.  I think that would be nice and tight for an ornament, but still large enough for me to feel comfortable seeing and working with.

Overall, this has been a very productive month for me!  Here’s looking forward to March!



It’s Not You, It’s February.

Because it’s that time of year again…

Loribeth was looking for a post by Martha Beck that I mentioned over at Justine’s (complicated enough trail for you?).  She went looking and actually found TWO other posts, one of which was the one I remembered.

So, for reference, here is the one I go back to each year: The Invincible Summer Inside You.

And remember, at this low, cold, dank, grey part of the year – it’s NOT you, it’s February.  Just hold on, and the sunshine WILL come back.  It hasn’t let me down yet.

Stirrup Queens Meme

For Mel, because I like to play along :)

1. When was the last time you cut your hair? Did you like the haircut?

I get my hair trimmed and colored every 5 weeks. I have had essentially the same haircut (straight, no bangs, parted on the left) at different lengths (shoulder to mid-back) since I was 17, so, yeah, I like it.

2. Grapes with seeds or seedless?

Seedless!  Those little woody bits of seeds – blegh!

3. When was the last time you went to a fancy party? What did you wear?

My company Christmas party in December.  I wore my Company Christmas Party dress – black with a fluffy tulle overlay on the skirt that has this glittered pattern on it.  It’s the dress I’ve worn to all my company Christmas parties for the last 5 years or so.

4. What colour is your bedroom wall?

Sherwin Williams Soar (link takes you to a color swatch so you can see)

5. The worst smell in the world is…

Dog diarrhea.  Or maybe strawberry banana.  Both of them make me want to puke.

6. Last thing you spat out.

A bit of gristle from my turkey lunch meat.

7. Do you sing when no one is around? What do you usually sing?

Yes.  Whatever is on the radio or playing on the CD player.  And I dance.

8. Your least favourite name (and it’s okay if it’s Melissa; I can take it).

I don’t have a least favorite name – I have some people I don’t like, but they share names with people I DO like, so the names don’t get “tainted.”

9. Did you like the food served at the last dinner party you went to?

Honestly, no.  I thought I would from the description, but the reality on the plate was not good.

10. What is your most prized possession? Would you kill a unicorn in order to save your most prized possession?

I’ve been working on non-attachment, so while losing my *stuff* would be annoying and difficult to replace, I would have very few things I would be crying over.  My kids’ baby books and my baby book and albums (all analog) would make me very, very sad.  I try to keep all my digital backed up so it would be hard to lose all of it.  And I would not kill a unicorn to save my stuff, but I would resent that unicorn forever and never want to see it again because it would remind me every time about what I gave up to keep it around.

Your turn! Copy and paste questions, and link back here if you answer them.

Stitch from Stash – January 2015

Month: January

Spent: $0

Earned: $0

Balance Forward: $25 January + $25 February = $50

This is my first time participating in Stitch from Stash – I saw it last year, but was too late to sign up.  My motivation in joining to encourage me to work through some of the designs that I have tucked away – in my Pinterest boards, in my etsy favorites, and in my stash folder – rather than continuing to *wish* that I was working on them.  They are pretty to look at, but so much better in person when they are complete!  Budget is not a priority for me, since I’m not planning on buying anything when I have linen and aida and threads of all kinds in my closet.  I’m going with a “make it work” attitude as much as possible.

So in January, I worked on a new start – a 2013 Valentine’s freebie from Niky’s Creations that I found on Pinterest and have been admiring for a while.


I’m working this as a 2-over-2 on 28-count mystery linen from my stash.  I’m using the charted DMC threads where I have them, and matching ones that look good with the color scheme where I don’t.  This is in a 4 inch hoop, so it’s going to be a pretty Valentine’s ornament when I’m done.  All I have left are the hearts on the vine, so I hope to have this done this week.

I’m excited to be participating in Stitch from Stash this year and look forward to seeing everyone’s progress!


WIPocalypse 2015 – January

So, I’m doing WIPocalypse again this year – I got 3 of my original goals (plus a new start) completed last year, but there are still some projects hanging out that I want to move from “wip” to “done”.

This year, my WIPocalypse projects are as follows:

Sitting at the same place as when I checked in last … ahem … September, is the Christmas ABC Sampler.  Ouch.  Hurts to have to admit to myself that it’s been that long since I touched it.


Although, perhaps not as much as it hurts that I am using the same picture for my bluebird as I did LAST January.  This little 4″ square has been a WIP since two Julys ago.


Last but not least, is my little Santa ornament on plastic canvas.  I last updated his progress in September, but he’s come a ways since then.  I just have backstitching left and then to trim the design out.


I also have a Baby’s First Christmas Ornament that is stitched but needs to be finished before I can use it next year.  And I have a BAP – Mother and Child by Cross Stitch Collectibles - that I want to work on (no way it is getting completed in the next 11ish months).  It’s put away right now, but it’s currently a 1″ x 6″ strip of confetti stitches.  I ambitiously want to complete the rest of the first page of the pattern (out of 15 pages), but that may or may not get completed in 2015.

I’m excited to join the WIPocalypse crew again this year and look forward to seeing everyone’s progress!

Microblog Mondays: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie edition

The best chocolate cookies, adapted from a Ghirardelli recipe:

1 bag 60% ghiradelli cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
1 bag ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 375.

Melt bittersweet chips and butter over double boiler.  In a bowl of stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar til thick, then stir in melted chocolate.  Sprinkle flour and baking powder into mix and stir til combined. Add semi sweet chips and hazelnuts  (batter will be very runny).

Grease two baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.  Drop 2 tablespoons of batter for each cookie onto sheet.  Bake 12-14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft.  Cool for a few minutes, then eat warm with milk or coffee.  Makes 2-3 dozen.

Option: place the tray of uncooked batter into freezer and let solidify.  You can keep the frozen cookies for a few weeks and cook immediately before serving.  Put straight in the oven (do not thaw) and add about 5 minutes extra cook time.