Thursday, January 31, 2013

Queen Stitches are fun!

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to stitch more...a lot more.  After 17 years in the business, 2012 left me feeling pretty burned out, and a few times I felt like packing it in.  But, I am a thinker, and so I thought...I still love needlework.  How could I continue doing what I love?  I'm in the process of re-configuring how I operate my business to make certain aspects of it easier, I'm down-sizing in other areas (I don't want to travel much anymore), and I want to focus more on what I love...reproducing and designing samplers and running the store.

I started the Elizabeth Hudson Sampler (by The Scarlet Letter) a while back...maybe two years ago?  It is a BIG one.  I'm stitching it on 36 count hand-dyed linen in the Au Ver a Soie silks.  There is a TON of over-one (all of that verse).  And some Queen Stitches.  Which I happen to love.  In the picture above, lower right corner, you can see one of my Queen Stitch strawberries.  How fun is that?  I just really enjoy them.

I'm pretty pleased with the progress I'm making so far -- the colors are cheery and bright, and when this one is done, it will be a STUNNER.  And all that it!

Here's what the original sampler looks like -- and yes, I've got the charts at the shop if you want to order one (they're $18.00).  At the bottom, Elizabeth stitched family names...I plan on stitching in my family names to make the sampler really mine.

Just this week, we said good-bye to our last foster kitten of 2012, Magi.  We called her "Little Boopie," "Cookie," and "Sugar Foot."  We took her in to help her get used to humans.  She adjusted really well and is now over at the Southern Pines Animal Shelter's Adoption Center waiting for her new home.  We do miss her -- she'll be a lovely pet for someone, and it was fun to host her for a few weeks.

In the meantime, our cats are LOVING all of the extra attention at home.  So much purring.  So happy happy.  This year, I have promised my family only three fosters (at most) at a time.  I am working with the shelter on a new fostering program to help shift the burden onto other volunteers.  I can't foster them all!

Here's my November's Angel (Raise the Roof Designs).  She was actually really fun to stitch, and I love the golds/browns/dark chocolate.  Just two more angels left to do -- December and January!  I'll have to put a picture up soon of all of these angels in a grouping -- they look so CUTE all together!!!

I hope you are well and happy -- are you getting time to stitch?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New year, new news

Has it been a month since I last posted (Yes, I can hear you saying.  It has.)  Well, hey, if I wasn't so full of Christmas cookies and egg nog (still), I'd wade through the piles of wrapping paper, and ... oh, I don't have the energy.  Sorry for the long delay, and it is good to be back writing.

We are down to, can you believe it, ONE LONELY FOSTER KITTEN.  I counted this week and discovered that we fostered/saved 56 kittens this year (six did not survive, but they did get a lot of love and are sorely missed.)  So, 50 cats got to celebrate Christmas this year, because we opened our home.  I'm not wanting to toot my own horn, but ... TOOT TOOT!!!  We love fostering.

This one lonely foster kitten is Magi, who we call "Boopie," "Sweetie," "Honey," and sometimes "Cookie."  She was surrendered by a community member who found her wandering around in the cold.  She was so nervous of humans, that when you picked her up, she shook like a chihuahua; she didn't try to get away, but she was terrified.  We took her home, picked off the fleas, gave her a bath, and she spent the first week hiding under a bed.  Now she has the run of the house.  What a darling dear.

Super Cat was adopted this last week.  We had him for FOUR months, which could be some kind of record.  He will be a tiny guy -- at four months, he still only weighs about two pounds.  He was adopted by a college-age woman who just lost her elderly (blind) cat at a ripe old age.  She also adopted another cat from the shelter, so "Soup" will have company.  She was accepting of Super Cat's vision deficiencies (especially since she has expertise in this area.)  We are so happy that this little friend of ours found his way to a real home, and out of the way of tough old 'possums.

Jack and his sister Pumpkin (see previous posts) were also adopted.  And Jack was adopted with a fellow shelter-mate, Doe.  Salem, Wolfgang, they were adopted, too.  It was a great year for saving kittens.  This coming year, I will be doing less fostering.  I am currently working with the shelter to organize a better foster care system, so I won't feel like I have to take in so many...but I will take in three at a time.

Here's a new sampler to start the new year.  Some of you collected the parts and pieces to this last year for free by placing orders through me.  But now I'm releasing this pattern to the shops.  It's Elizabeth Milner's Sampler from 1848, and it's a beauty.

My good buddy, Jennifer (see "Jen's Stitching Projects" blog link to the left) finished this sampler lickety-split last year, and she brought it to the shop, so I could share photos with you.  Isn't she an amazing stitcher?

You may notice that old Elizabeth had problems with hitting the brakes...some of her lines continue on outside of her border, which she stitched last.  Jennifer said she had trouble with the verse that says a woman should just shut up and make sandwiches already (essentially), but I told her that it should serve as a reminder to her about how far we've come.  And WHOO can resist cute little owls hiding underneath a big bouquet of flowers...see if you can find 'em.  The charts are printing this week and will retail for $12.00.  You can order them through me, or through your favorite-est needlework shop.

Gift break!  (It was a coffee mug -- this picture was taken at mom and dad's in South Carolina -- I went for a quick visit for New Year's.)

One of the fun things about Christmas this year is that we had someone new to celebrate with -- Christiana!  We have taken to calling her "Cha Cha," and she spent Christmas eve with us watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and then she came back over Christmas afternoon for cookies and such.

What-ta-great-family.  We actually all got up at 6 a.m. on Christmas and went (on Harrison's day off) to the animal shelter to scoop poop and feed everybody, so the staff who had to work could get to their Christmas celebrating earlier.  Instead of a crew of three, the seven of us got about 150 animals or so taken care of in a couple of hours, and we got to see the sun rise.  We came back, showered, opened gifts...then took naps.  Well-deserved naps.

Zero the Amazing was most-enamored with the tree this year.  I took this picture of him as we set up the tree.  He wanted to be the first ornament, I guess.  Climbing through all of those branches made his fur very soft, but we found clumps of him here and there.

I will mention, too, that I'm in the process of reproducing another sampler.  I thought THIS TIME it would be fun to do a surprise.  I own a fantastic sampler (along the lines of some of my bigger ones like Ann Grant, Jane Philpott, Sarah Woodham, etc.) that you HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE.  I'm 20,000 stitches charted so far, and will soon be sending this to my model stitcher/friend, Kathy.

I don't want to give much away, and I am NOT going to post photographs until it's ready.  I think some surprises are good, don't you?  I will tell you that it's got a fantastic red house, a verse in a very unusual U-shaped border and a few peacocks.  As I get closer to release, I will post a supplies list, so shops and stitchers can get ready.

I promise it won't be such a long time before my next post.  Hope y'all are having a very happy new year.