Sunday, February 25, 2024

Christmas Banners Stitch-a-Long, part 1

Hi everyone! Last time I finished the stitching on my holly pillow and selected my new project: a vintage felt-and-sequin Christmas banner. Before I show my progress on the kit, I want to show off my finished pillow cover: 

apologies for the terrible photo!

I started on the first of the vintage Christmas kits this month. There's something I really love about building up the picture, layer upon layer, adding stitches and sequins and beads and layers of felt. Here's where I've gotten to so far: 


I've finished the central "ornament"; next up I will add the bow and start the holly and mistletoe wreath. There are a lot of tiny leaves to stitch and applique; this may take some time. Or maybe it will just move along!

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects: Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelenMary Margaret, and Cindy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Halloween Ornaments Project, February 2024

I heard about a woman who celebrates a special holiday -- possibly called "My Bloody Valentine"?? -- halfway between Valentine's Day and Halloween.... but I can't find any info about it on t'Internet. Closest thing I discovered was a "Halfway to Halloween" idea that encourages you to eat Halloween candy. But me? I'm just making ornaments every month. 

In January I started work on a small cross-stitched ornament taken from a pattern in an old Cross Stitcher Halloween issue: 


I'm stitched it on some Aida I ice-dyed last summer, leaving the "white" area (behind the "Boo!") unstitched to take advantage of the pretty Aida. 


Forgive the terrible picture, but I feel I also didn't do a great job of finishing the piece. But I still like the stitching and I think it will look cute on my tree. 

For the next month, I'm going to work on a companion piece, from the same issue of Cross Stitcher Halloween:


I'll stitch it on the same ice-dyed Aida (which I'll use on the back). 

I'll be back on March 13 to share my finished ornament and my next project pick.


Sunday, February 4, 2024

Christmas Holly Stitch-a-Long, part 11

Hi everyone! Last time I had managed to get a lot of stitching done over the 6 weeks between check-ins. I always stitch more in winter because I tend to be home more. 

Here's where I was last time: 


Well, we had planned to be away for a long weekend ... but the blizzard warning and very cold temperatures (4 degrees Fahrenheit, -15 degrees Celsius) meant that we stayed home and indoors. So it's time for a happy dance!


I plan to edge this with some gold ribbon and surround that with black velvet and make a cover for my other pillows. I started doing this for my friend Rebecca several years back -- making her Christmas covers for her existing cushions so she didn't have to store whole pillows. I have some other sewing projects coming up and, well, I don't have a permanent place for my sewing machine so I'll wait and bundle it with those. 

So what's next? While we were on a trip to the eastern part of Washington last year, we stopped into a big thrift store and I found a TREASURE TROVE of vintage kits. I managed not to buy them all, but I did buy more than any sane person would. (FIVE of them. FIVE!) Long-time readers of the blog will be familiar with some of the other felt-and-sequin banner kits I completed; this is my next one:


I don't know that I'll spend the whole year working on Christmas things, but I do enjoy them and think they're fun to display. So we'll see. 

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects: Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelenMary Margaret, and Cindy.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Christmas Holly Stitch-a-Long, part 10

Hi everyone! Happy new year! It's been six weeks since our last check in and I've managed to get a lot done.

Here's where I was last time: 


And here's where I am now: 


I'm working on filling in those juicy berries in the lower right, and there's a bit of filling in on those leaves, too. There's another leaf in the top right that I am saving until last because I'm pretty sure my count is off on that top edge... so I'll base the placement on the berries below for the right edge. I'm super pleased with all the work so far, but I don't think I'm pre-happy dancing quite yet. 

I'm writing this a few days ahead of time as we're planning to be away for the long MLK weekend -- camping in a cozy cabin. Of course, there's a blizzard warning between now and when we expect to leave, so perhaps I'll be home on the couch stitching instead!

Did you set a 2024 goal to craft more? Check out the amazing projects my fellow stitchers are working on and you're sure to be inspired: Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelenMary Margaret, and Cindy.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Halloween Ornaments Project: January 2024

It's January -- is it too early to start thinking about Halloween? Of course not!

In December I made a simple ornament that still makes me smile. It looks pretty simple -- erm, allowing for the fact that I put it into a hoop that's just slightly too small...:


But (assuming you have exposed it to light for a while), turn off the lights and...


GLOW IN THE DARK SKELETON!!!  Seriously, how cute is that?

This month I'm going to make another ornament from a pattern in an old Cross Stitcher Halloween issue: 


I'm going to stitch it on some Aida I ice-dyed last summer. I might leave the "white" area (behind the "Boo!") unstitched to take advantage of the pretty Aida. I'm already itching for warmer weather so I can dye more fabric outside.

I'll be back on February 13 to share my finished ornament and my next project pick.


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Halloween Ornaments Project: December 2023

This is the second installment of this year's Halloween Ornaments Project. I enjoyed my 13x13 project so much that I couldn't bear to stop making ornaments!

In November I made one of the "vintage" ornaments from a Bucilla felt-and-sequins kit. I had made two other ornaments previously, and I suspect I'll make the other three over the course of this year. This time I made the very cute pumpkin -- and because I didn't take my Halloween tree down until after Thanksgiving, was able to hang it up this year: 


This month I'm going to work on a cute, simple little ornament. I don't know if I still have the magazine it came from, but I do have a photocopy of the pattern: 


I'm excited about this one because he has a little secret... but I'll be back on January 13 to share the finished ornament. (And the secret surprise!)


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Christmas Holly Stitch-a-Long, part 8

Hi everyone! Welcome to the last stitch-a-long check in of 2023. Can you believe it? (Okay, three weeks from now would be Christmas Eve, and Avis who organizes this stitch-a-long rightly recommended that we skip that very busy time.)

Here's where I was last time: 


And here's where I am now: 


Another big bunch of leaves, some more berries, and some good filling in. I feel like I'm on the downhill slope here! (Still lots, lots to do, of course...)

I have continued to stitch most days at lunchtime, as well as some evenings. It gets dark so early that it's nice to settle in and stitch. 

For our next check in, I'd like to fill in those leaves in the center right and then make my way to the bottom right corner. I always like having a sense of where the edges are. Of course, as we get closer and closer to Christmas, maybe I'll shift to making some presents....

Our next check in will be on January 14, 2024. Until then, check out the amazing projects my fellow stitchers are working on: Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelenMary Margaret, and welcome back to Cindy.



P.S. Last weekend I got my sewing machine out to make up cushions from pieces I completed with the help and support and inspiration of this stitch-a-long... and I can't resist sharing them here. 

First, the Delphian Cornflower, a gift for a friend:


Second, Mr. Frog (I'm keeping this one):

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Jamestown S'Klallam Glow Run 5K race report

Note: I'm finally writing this post in mid January, but I'm publishing this race report on the day of the actual race to keep the blog organized. 


This is the second time we have run this super sweet nighttime 5K, part of the amazing Run The Peninsula race series. 

We parked at the 7 Cedars Lodge / Casino and got onto a shuttle to the starting area, admiring all the incredible Christmas lights. We picked up our bibs and some glow bracelets, and then wandered around the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center.


note the reindeer dad and his elf daughter!


This race is run with headlamps and glowsticks and all manner of lights; this year we wore our "squids" (lit red and green, of course!), our headlamps, and some cheap Christmas light necklaces. I hasten to add that we were barely sparkling with so many other lights! 

When the race started we slipped in at the back of the pack, trotting for the first quarter mile but then just relaxing into a brisk walk once things spaced out a little. It was a nice, if chilly night, so we walked and chatted and admired the lights. I love this race, the friendly volunteers, and the mellow vibe. 


After the race we wandered around the casino a little, but then happily went back to our lodging -- at the Olympic Railway Inn. Why? Because I love a caboose!


(Seriously, this place is adorable -- a variety of caboose, arranged around a little pond, each decorated in a different theme.)

I somehow struggled to feel festive this year, but running this little 5K and seeing all the lights helped me feel a little holidazzled nonetheless. 





Monday, November 13, 2023

Halloween Ornaments Project - November 2023

I enjoyed last year's 13x13 Halloween Ornaments project so much that I didn't want to give it up. Besides, I had so many more ornaments to make! So I'm committing to another year. 

The first project was from a Just Cross Stitch Halloween magazine from 2018. I tweaked the pattern, using beads I had (leftover from other Halloween projects!) and some Aida I ice dyed a while back. I took it along on our last vacation, and finished it before Halloween. And it's BEAUTIFUL, if I do say so myself.

However, I didn't really think about it when I changed the size of the Aida... tI thought the finished piece would be, I dunno, 3 inches or so? Nope. 


That's a "Tootsie Roll Midgee" -- one of my favorite Halloween candies -- a small candy that's just over an inch long. It was surprisingly difficult to stitch it all together, but so very worth it. 

Next month I'm going to revisit another old project -- one of the other "vintage" ornaments from that Bucilla felt-and-sequins kit. 


I'll be back on December 13 to share the finished ornament. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Christmas Holly Stitch-a-Long, part 7

Hi everyone! After not managing to get much work done on this project before the last check-in, I decided to really put time into it. That, combined with a renewed effort to actually take a break at lunch, meant that I got quite a lot done. 

Here's where I was last time: 


And here's where I am now: 


It's always thrilling to stitch the berries and see how they pop on this dark blue fabric and against the green leaves. 

I work from home for a company that is based in New York. Most of my colleagues are in different time zones, so our natural lunch times never match up. As a result, I often rush back to meetings or projects after grabbing a quick lunch in my kitchen rather than actually stopping to take a break. This past two weeks I've tried to make a point of sitting down to do 15 minutes of stitching, take a walk around the block, or just relax at lunchtime. I think it's helped me feel less stressed out, and it's certainly reflected in the amount of stitching I have done!

For our next check-in I hope to finish that leaf in the upper right that I've started, and then move down to fill in that leaf in the bottom center. There's also a bunch of bright red berries nearly in the middle (you can almost see where they'll go in the negative space at the side of those central leaves). By that check in we will truly be in the midst of the festive time -- maybe that will inspire me to keep moving. Or, who knows, maybe I'll have put this aside to work on some holiday 2023 projects. 

My fellow stitchers are always working on amazing projects -- please have a look and see them all! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, Heidi, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaHelen, and Mary Margaret.