Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I'm back! Probably. Maybe.

Ah, blogging…

I've started writing a new post so many times over the last year. The last year! It’s hard to believe how quickly it went. I've even debated whether it was worth it to actually keep a blog I update so infrequently. And yet every time, I find myself remembering exactly why I wanted a stitching blog in the first place.

I want, no, I NEED a stitching diary.

I admit, I stitch in starts and fits. I’ll have stitching marathons, where I’ll stitch for upwards of 30 hours in a single week (3 or 4 hours per weeknight, and then most of the day on both Saturday and Sunday). The sore shoulders will remind me that I’m no longer as young as I used to be (and send me to websites on various needlework stands), but the results. Oh, the results. And other times, I’ll barely stitch 30 hours in a month. There are times when (gasp!), I just don’t feel like stitching. Or I’m tired. Or busy. Or the house is so dusty even I can’t stand it anymore. Or [really, insert any reason here].

When I do get back to stitching (as I always do, because I do love stitching), I often don’t want to go back to those “old” projects. There are times when it was the project that sent me running (cough, Polar Mandala’s over one centre, cough), but other times, well, I can’t explain it. I love Siren and the Shipwreck. Ditto, Gypsy Mermaid. But I haven’t really felt like stitching on them in quite a while. When I think back on the last year, excepting the last couple of months, it sort of feels as if I've barely stitched, much less finished anything.

But the opposite is true. I've actually had some finishes. Some were smaller, some were bigger. Some were RRs, some were my own pieces and some were gifts. We will not talk about the unfinished pieces, may they rest in peace until I feel like working on them again.

A new start is just so motivating and, well, fun. There is nothing quite like putting a new piece of fabric in the Q snaps and seeing those crosses spread across the fabric. Which is why I let myself get talked into starting 15 projects in 15 days for 2015. My stitchy friends admittedly didn't have to try very hard to convince me and so (let’s all cross our fingers) I will be posting quite often these next couple of weeks. I will also be taking better pics of my finishes. And my new starts. The ones I've already started. Before I start 15 more. Sigh. 

And so I wish you all a very happy New Year. May all your stitching hopes and dreams come true!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Round Robin Finish

My Mirabilia Round Robin is on its way home to me as we speak! Karen, of My Stitchy Ramblings fame, added the final "angel" to my piece, one of the fairies from Spring Topiary Garden.

I can't stop looking at it. It came out so much better than I could have ever dreamed! I worried so much about the colours clashing, or the scale of the various angels, or whether the fairy would really look out of place with the Madonna and angels. But it's... perfect, simply perfect. And Karen added an awesome halo to the fairy, so she fits right in. All of my attempts at drawing one were not very successful, so I'm again in total awe of Karen's designing skills.

Now to count down the days until Canada Post delivers this home to me. I've had some issues with them of late, so please cross your fingers with me!

P.S. Two months between posts... I'm getting better ;)

P.P.S. I have been doing quite a bit of stitching of my own. I've completed three RR squares, one Mirabilia and two Joan Elliott's, and I've started another pixie. I just need to edit the photos, but my lunch break at work is almost over. I'll try to post again in less than two months :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ok, so I'm not the best or most regular blogger...

I used to do the same thing with my diaries, growing up. I'd write in my diary like mad for a month or two, at least once a day, sometimes twice, and then I'd stop, the next entry dated more than a month later. On a side note, I've decided to downsize and move. I've been decluttering in preparation for the move and found my diaries from when I was a teenager. Boy, was I ever a drama queen. And long-winded. And prone to going off on wild tangents. Anyways...

So it’s been almost five months to the day since my last entry. I went back to work after the Mirabilia Retreat and barely surfaced until the end of June. There were a great many days where I worked past midnight, very long days where focus and attention to detail were crucial and exhausting. Summer came, and with it an unending cold. Huh, who knew Mom was right when she said I’d get sick if I didn’t take better care of myself? And here we are. At least lying in bed for a good part of the summer gave me lots of time to think and make a decision about my life and what I want out of it, which leads back to moving (less house to clean, no yard work and much, much less shoveling snow), trying to attend more stitching retreats and travelling again (Scotland, Summer 2014!).

But you didn’t come here to listen to my ramblings about life. Remember the comment above about being long-winded – that apparently hasn’t changed, and I could go on and on and on, but this is a stitching blog. And I actually have gotten in quite a bit of stitching since my last post.  I’ve grouped things together instead of going chronologically.

Mirabilia Large Stitch Round Robins
We’re nearing the end already! I stitched Dreamer on Andie’s RR (see pics below). This was never a pattern I thought of stitching so I thought it’d be a great opportunity. When I pulled the flosses, I really thought it’d be a dull coloured piece, but instead they were so very rich and lush together. Andie’s fabric, Midsummer Night 32 ct. opalescent Belfast linen from Under the Seas, was a great background for this one.

I also stitched on one of Karen's older RRs. One of the stitchers wasn't able to stitch her part, so I volunteered to help out. I stitched Sweet Pea, which is one of my favourite pixies to date and definitely on my to do list now. 
I’m currently stitching my last square for this RR, July’s Amethyst Fairy for Jo. I’m almost done, but I’d really like Jo to be the first one to see it so I won’t be showing pics until Jo has received it :)
Joan Elliott Round Robin
I posted a preview of my own RR layout way back in February, but only got around to stitching it in May, just in time to make the mailing deadline, although I didn’t quite have enough time to do all of the backstitching, beading and swearing as I tried to do the French knots. The expression at the top is a Japanese proverb which basically means that imagination is awesome. Thank you, Google! I’ve stitched a small iris at each corner – this is from the fan of one of the Geishas in Joan’s Oriental Odyssey book. I also used one of the Geishas from the book to replace the top middle Geisha that I wasn’t too crazy about. I stitched Golden Buddha myself and them mailed him off to Kaye in Australia. The fabric is Dreamer 28 ct. Jobelan from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Steph.

This is a pic I’ve borrowed from Ginny’s blog – she just finished stitching the Geisha on the bottom right, with the orange background (there's a great close up on Ginny's blog). Kaye and Karen stitched the other two Geishas. I just about squealed when I saw Ginny’s pic earlier today. I am so in love with this RR and can’t wait for it to come home!
In the meantime, I stitched Lily Fairy for Rachel’s RR and Rose Fairy for Deb’s RR.

My own stitching
I have some finishes!!!
I stitched Summer Faerie Love this summer, one of the newer Mirabilia patterns. It was love at first sight – the teals, the greens, the attitude. I had to stitch her! I chose Tarnished Silver from Under the Seas, on 28 ct. opalescent Lugana, and it really was the right choice! The opalescent fibres really brought out the shine in the beads and her wings, and the light grey colour let the colours of her dress shine. Plus, honestly, it’s been a pretty grey summer here this year, so I thought it was particularly appropriate. I made a few changes to her face, using DMC 632 rather than the dark grey called for for the backstitching, and giving her an open eye. I may eventually change it further, but for now, I find her quite lovely.

And this is Buttercup Pixie, also from Nora Corbett, finished tonight. I had a blast picking fabric for her from my pretty extensive stash, with help from Lynne, a fellow stitcher from New Zealand and Facebook friend. I dragged out dozens of fabrics from my stash one sunny Saturday morning as we messaged back and forth, yay-ing and nay-ing various fabbies. This is the one we both agreed was best, a Limited Edition from Polstitches, Lust and Laughter, on 28 ct. Jobelan. I’m not usually a fan of yellows and oranges, but I had so much fun stitching this one. The colours were just so bright and happy they made me smile whenever I picked her up. She's also very beady - there's a pack and a half of the light yellow beads on this piece. 

I’ve also stitched some more, here and there, on both Siren and the Shipwreck and Gypsy Mermaid. I really do love them both so much. I can't wait until I finish and mail the two RRs I currently have so these ladies can get a bit of stitching time.  

The rest of my WIPs didn’t get any lovin’ but I’m thinking it might be time to change that, especially the Chatelaines. Well, after the RRs, my mermaids and the move.
Happy stitching everyone, and thanks for sticking with me, despite the irregular posts :)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Mira, Mira on my wall, a recap of the 2013 Mirabilia Minions Retreat

OMG, I met Nora Corbett! And she's awesome. And she likes my angel RR. Heaven, for me, was in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend as I attended the Mirabilia Minions Retreat organized by the awesome, amazing and fabulous Leslie of Under the Sea Fabrics.

There were about 45 of us there, from most parts of the US and we were two from Canada. We laughed, we shopped at one of the cutest and friendliest needlework stores I've seen, Panda's Crossing, we mobbed and fawned all over Nora, we fondled fabric, we ate, we laughed, we even cried a couple of times. Oh, and of course, we stitched, though some more than others. I fall into the category of "talked too much, didn't stitch much" and I let myself be talked into a new start. Leslie had made arrangements for copies of the newest Mirabilia pattern, Gypsy Mermaid, and I had ordered her along with the threads and embellishments called for. And then I found this amazing piece of fabric that Leslie had dyed, Volcano, on 28 count opalescent Lugana. I had been thinking navy blue for Gypsy, but the fabric was so beautiful and the colours amazing against it. Plus, it was right there!

And so I've started Gypsy Mermaid. Below is my WIP, which is pretty much all the stitching I did this weekend. I'm also including a pic of my other new project, Siren and the Shipwreck. That's on a piece from Sunny Dyes, Hydrangea Garden. I decided to use Spring Glade for another Mira mermaid, Merchant Mermaid. What can I say, I like Mira mermaids!

In the next few days, I'll post pics from the retreat after I've sorted and organized them. I will also post pics of all my new stash -- expect your computers to freeze up as I was spoiled this weekend and also bought quite a bit. And I will have pics of my new, freaking amazing artwork by Nora.

Like I said, Greenville was heaven.

P.S. Full disclosure, the title of my post was borrowed from the t-shirts some of the local attendees had done up. Don't you love it?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mirabilia Minions Retreat, here I am!

This Winter, Leslie of Under the Sea Fabrics decided to organize a Mirabilia Minions Retreat as a way to celebrate the artist whose works we all adore. Greenville, SC is of course not right around the corner from my hometown of Ottawa, but at the time, I was on an extended "holiday", so I decided to make a road trip out of it and attend my very first stitching retreat. It didn't hurt that Nora Corbett, the artist behind Mirabilia, would be attending.

Fast forward a few months and here I am, with a brand new job, and the timing isn't exactly awesome. I thought about not going, but the truth is, after I lost my job, I was pretty depressed and planning for the retreat is one of the things that helped me get past it and look upon that forced break as an opportunity. The thought of not going after all that was pretty bleak and so I thought hell with it, how can I make this work. And so I found a ticket that was within what I wanted to pay, got up very, very early this morning to catch it, spent half an hour finding an alternate flight since the original plane was still stuck in Chicago because of bad weather and am now standing outside the Greenville airport terminal waiting for my taxi.

I can't wait to meet up with the other girls and I promise to post lots of photos. I'm also finally stitching. I went almost four weeks without stitching as I started my new job and adjusted to being a working girl again. I've started Siren and the Shipwreck and I LOVE her! A new mermaid was also released this week and I'll be among the first to get the pattern, thanks to Leslie's awesome work.

Tata for now, my carriage (ok, hotel shuttle) arrives!