Saturday, July 13, 2024

Halloween Ornaments Project, July 2024

For my June check in I hadn't finished my ornaments. Shame! Shame! But I'm happy to report that I finished two ornaments from the Prairie Schooler "Boo to You" booklet: 


But that's JUNE. For July I made up another pattern from the 2023 Halloween special issue of Cross Stitch magazine: Midnight Meeting. 

I stitched the cats on white Aida -- as called for in the pattern -- and thought it looked a little bland: 


So then I overdyed it with the "ice dye" method -- so much nicer!


So I made it into what feels a little oversized as an ornament, but will definitely find a home on my Halloween tree: 


Next month I'm going to do something a little different -- I saw this "kit" at a local store and thought it seemed like a good addition to my tree: 


I plan on staining him black and adding a little silvery color. I know this won't take long, but it will be nice to have a little break, maybe?

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


Sunday, June 30, 2024

Christmas Banners Stitch-a-Long, part 7

Hi everybody! How can it have been three weeks?!?! Last time I had finished the critter embroidery and was set to start on the sequins. And there are a LOT of sequins. But here's where I was last time: 


I started the sequins on the bow on the top of the piece, followed by the letters, but realized I would be happier getting the rest of the "interior" sequins done before doing all the ones around the edge. So here's where I am now: 


I still have some green sequins on the tree as well as some "sparkle" embroidery on the tree to do, and then some red sequins on Santa's suit. But I did all the white sequins! When I look at the "before" and "after" photos they don't look very different, sadly, but in person there's some pretty good bling going on already. 

I wish I could get more of the sparkle effect, but here's a closeup of the lettering: 


For next time I hope to have the sequins added about halfway around the perimeter. I'm hoping I get into a groove and it doesn't take quite so long! 

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects. Go check out their blogs and get inspired! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaMary MargaretCindy, and a warm (belated!) welcome back to Helen!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Halloween Ornaments Project, June 2024

Well this is embarrassing. This is the first time in almost two years that I haven't completed the project I set out to do!

Having made two of the ornaments from this booklet (the ghost and the skeleton, of course) in May, I decided to make two more.  


But somehow I ran out of time and didn't complete them. The stitching is done, but I haven't actually "made them up". Here's the most shameful part: the hardest part about completing them will be getting to where I stored the felt I use on the back! 


Next month -- besides finishing these two ornaments! -- I plan on stitching another piece from the 2023 Halloween special issue. (Seriously, I look forward to the new edition each year.)

I didn't bring the issue with me, but here's a shot of the cover and I've circled the project I want to do -- it's called Midnight Meeting. 



You may recognize other projects I've done! (And now I'm thinking about that cute 3D witch's hat in the foreground...

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


Sunday, June 9, 2024

Christmas Banners Stitch-a-Long, part 6

Hi everybody -- I'm writing this early and pre-scheduling it because I'll be traveling on the day of this check in. But here's where I was last time, having just appliquéd all the animals: 


This left me feeling somehow stressed about doing the embroidery on the animals -- I've never been particularly good at free-form work. (Even in such small bits!) 

But I decided that I just needed to make a start -- which, of course, is always the thing to do. So here's where I am now: 


No, I'm not sure why I cut off the top of the banner in the picture. :). But I have embroidered all the details on the critters!

Obligatory raccoon close-up: 


When I'm back from my trip I will start on the sequins. You can see from the close-up that there are a LOT of sequins on this piece. But I'm hoping to have at least the ones on Santa, his bag, and the tree done. 

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects. Go check out their blogs and get inspired! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaMary Margaret, and Cindy.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Independence Half Marathon Series: Bear, Delaware

 

Having arrived in Elkton, Maryland, a day and a half before, I had the chance to find the race site the day before. Elkton is only a few miles away from Delaware, you see, and I would be staying in one place for three nights, which felt like luxury (even in a La Quinta)...

Race morning I drove across state lines and into the park. This would be my first Mainly Marathons race is YEARS, and my first with the new owners. I hadn't realized that they had owned the company for EIGHT YEARS. 


I picked up my bib and my shirt and was thrilled to see that not much had changed. Handsome bling? Check. Quality shirts? Check. RUBBER BANDS? Check!


After a little while we gathered for the race talk. Nice to see a good-sized crowd. 


The usual chat about cones (green means you're on the right path, there's a yellow cone for the second 5K loop, there's a purple cone for the 50K folks, and everyone has the friendly red cone at the main turnaround. And today the half marathoners would be running 8 laps. 


There was a special call out for Jim, who was hitting the North American record for number of marathons. 


He and his adorable partner run almost ALL the races now. There was chatter all day about Jim's record, and that he is something like third on the all-time list, but one of those people is no longer active, and the other is -- and I quote -- "only runs like 5 a year, so Jim will catch up with her soon."


Promptly at 6am we set out across the lawn and into the woods. 





The trail through the woods had a lot of "trail snakes" (tree roots) and I saw a couple of people trip and go down. It was a little alarming, but I kept my feet. And then after a couple of hundred yards, you would emerge onto this paved (but closed) park road: 


A couple of rolling hills, and then ... HELLO RED CONE!!!


Back and forth we went -- and of course those out-and-backs mean you get to see other runners multiple times. Two of my favorites were Steve, the friendliest, most positive person I have ever met:
 

and Wanda, who was cheery every time I saw her:


It was also great to see the volunteers every time I came in to finish a lap and pick up a rubber band: 


One change was that all the snacks were pre-baggied. Probably makes sense in a post-COVID world.

At the end of the race I ran up to the timing table and rang the Loony bell. Hooray!


I picked up my medal, the "Delaware" dangle, and a big glass of chocolate milk and headed back to the hotel. 


Once there I went for a swim (tiny pool!) and, of course, updated my running jacket with STATE 45!


Independence Half Marathon Series, Day 1: Bear Delaware

3:17:28

State 45!


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Christmas Banners Stitch-a-Long, part 5

Hi everybody -- somehow another three weeks has passed. I've been working on the second Christmas Banner for the few weeks, making good progress. Here's where I was last time: 


This time I appliquéd the rest of the animals, which looks like more progress than it is, I assure you!







For our next check-in on June 9 I hope to have all of the embroidery done on the animals and be ready to start on the sequins. 

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects. Go check out their blogs and get inspired! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaMary Margaret, and Cindy.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Halloween Ornaments Project, May 2024

In April I made a little cross-stitched ornament taken from a Prairie Schooler leaflet, Boo To You:


I was determined to make one, but ended up making two because they were really satisfying to stitch: 


Next month I plan on doing two more from this set: 


I think I'll do the cat and the witch as both of them make me smile. 

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


Sunday, April 28, 2024

Christmas Banners Stitch-a-Long, part 4

Hi everybody -- how has it been three weeks already? Last week I shared the second Christmas Banner I had just started, and -- because of the way this kit was structured -- starts to come together more quickly. In a very short time I had gotten to this point, by appliquéing "Christmas is Love" and two bows, and embroidering pine branches: 


Again, because the sequins get added at the end, I was able to make more progress than I expected. Here's where I am now: 


I added Santa, his sack, the trees, and started a couple of animals. I decided that I would do all the felt appliqué first, and then do the embroidery later. Honestly, I really love cutting out the tiny pieces and sewing them on one by one. 

I also realized that I said how much I loved the pine branches, but didn't include a closeup: 



For our next check-in on May 19 I hope to have all of the animals attached and be ready to start on the embroidery. 

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects. Go check out their blogs and get inspired! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaMary Margaret, and Cindy.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Halloween Ornaments Project, April 2024

I'd like to take a moment to say how much I enjoy these little projects. It's a nice break from larger projects like the ones I make in my stitch-a-long. These small ornaments that are highly portable and I can finish quickly are PERFECT. 

In March I made another little cross-stitched ornament taken from a pattern in an old Cross Stitcher Halloween issue: 


I stitched it on another bit of ice-dyed Aida from a couple of summers ago, and changed how I finished it. I also skipped the beads on the edge as I wanted a different look. I'm really happy with this one:


For my next project I'm going to start a series from this Prairie Schooler leaflet, Boo To You:


I plan to start with this friendly fella: 


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


Sunday, April 7, 2024

Christmas Banners Stitch-a-Long, part 3

In this year when I'm going to try to go through my stash of vintage felt-and-sequin holiday kits, I'm THRILLED to announce that I have a finish! It's an unexpected happy dance!

Here's where I was last time:


And after a weekend where I didn't feel well so stayed in, I finished it!


Finishing this one gave me a little boost so I pulled the next kit at random out of the GIANT BOX OF STUFF in the basement: 


I should confess something here -- I already don't really like this design -- the beige color of the background doesn't seem very festive! It's also really big compared to the last piece, but has fewer sequins and more embroidery.  

But I settled in to do some of the applique -- which goes faster because in this project, all the sequins come LAST. This means the applique is much faster. So in a short period I attatched the bows and the "Christmas is Love" letters. And then -- and this I think was my favorite part -- I embroidered the pine boughs. Super duper satisfying!


For our next check-in on April 28 I hope to have the tree and Santa attached and be ready to start on the critters. 

The other stitchers in this stitch-a-long are always working on amazingly beautiful and diverse projects. Go check out their blogs and get inspired! Avis, Claire, Gun, Christina, KathyMargaret, JackieMegan, Deborah, Sharon, Daisy, Cathie, LindaMary Margaret, and Cindy.