Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wayback Wednesday

Okay, I've been doing the commuter/stitching things for a long time now.  I just never realized exactly how long it's been.  I found this last weekend when I was cleaning out an old jewelry box.
From the 80's!!
Way back in the 80's, when Prodigy reigned supreme (anyone remember those days when they gave you a floppy disc to load on your computer?), there were a group of stitchers who corresponded via a REC group.  We eventually coalesced into a semi-formal group calling ourselves Online Cross Stitchers.  For a couple of dollars you could buy the pin.  That way when you met up at a stitching festival, you could identify with someone you might have met on line.  Times sure have changed!  Nowadays with all the different Facebook groups, message boards, and bloggers out in the world, there probably is no need for a pin such as this one.  But it's fun to look back and see just how far we've come in the world of cross stitching.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

You've Got to Be Kidding Me!

Okay, I know it's spring.  It's supposed to getting warmer, the birds are supposed to be singing, flowers blooming, yada, yada, yada.  Yet what do I see outside my window this morning?  This!
My backyard
A spring snow!  Now I know Colorado really needs the water so I am grateful for that.  But I'm so used to wearing shorts in April in Phoenix that I was really taken by surprise.  People have told me that if you don't like the weather here, just wait an hour and it is so true.  I had an appointment at 9am and a drive that would normally take me 10-15 minutes took me over half an hour.  It was so foggy you could only see about 100 feet in front of you.  And it's cold!  It went from 70 yesterday to freezing today.  I just had all of Annie's winter coat taken off yesterday and I felt so bad this morning when I had to let her out.  It's still snowing and it's predicted that we will get 3-6 inches more tonight.  Now I really understand how people become snowbirds.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Have Your Tastes Changed in the Last Several Years?

I know mine have.  When I started out cross stitching some 35 years ago (yes, it's been that long), I had very simple tastes.  I think the first cross stitch I finished was a Precious Moments.  After I stitched that first one, I bought all the Precious Moments charts I could find.  Now I'm not even sure where most of them are any more.  Then as I got a little bit more skilled (okay, a lot more skilled), I started stitching samplers and discovered Just Nan.  I bought every pattern she came out with.  About 5 years ago, I discovered I hadn't stitched any of her designs in several years.  I wasn't buying to stitch, I was buying to collect.  And honestly her designs have become a LOT more expensive then they were.  I love the old style Shepherd's Bush.  Here's their Noah's Ark that I did about 10 years ago.Then they changed their style of writing and I really haven't found any of their new designs I would spend money on.  Thank goodness I still have a bunch of their older kits still to be stitched.  
Noah's Ark
Here is another of their designs that I really like.  I have to admit I did not stitch this.  It was a model in a LNS that I bought when it went out of business.  It was only $13.00 and let's face it, the kit by itself was more than that.  When you're able to get a deal like this with it framed with the hand painted mats, you'd be crazy not to jump on it.
My Garden

There are a few designers that I have loved from their beginning and still love them.  Lizzie Kate and Prairie Schooler are two that come to mind.  I love Lizzie Kate's use of color and I really like Prairie Schooler's modern primitive look.  I'm still drawn to their designs after all these years.

So while my tastes in designs have changed, one thing hasn't after all these years (really, 35?!).  And that is my love of the art of cross stitch. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Another Thing I Do

I have found over the years that I basically love any kind of needlecraft.  From hand embroidery to knitting and crocheting, needlepoint and counted cross stitch, I love it all.  Obviously I love counted cross stitch the best.  But needlepoint comes in a close second.  Especially counted needlepoint.  Once again it's taking that blank canvas and painting with fibers.  Granted I am usually using someone else's pattern, but for the most part the work is mine. This piece is one of the first counted needlepoint pieces that I stitched.  We were allowed to choose our own colors and as you can see I went with an autumn hued palette.  I loved working with the different stitches to create different textures.  I was really pleased with how it turned out.    It's hard to believe it's been 8 years since I stitched this piece.  I guess time really does fly when you're having fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Pretty Little Scarf

Just so everyone knows, I do more than just cross stitch.  I haven't been able to show what I am currently stitching because both projects are gifts and I don't want to reveal them until I've been able to give them to their respective recipients.  So I thought I'd show you what else I can do.
Most people who know me know I like to do all kinds of needlework.  One of my favorites is knitting.  I learned to knit when I was about 9 years old.  It was summer vacation and I was bored.  To keep me occupied, my mom taught me to knit.  My first project was an awful purply-mauve dress for my Barbie doll.  I was so proud of it!  I've come a long way since then.  I seem to knit in spurts though.  I knit when I move to colder climes.  I knit a lot in Pennsylvania then slowed down considerably in Arizona.  Since moving to Denver, I find myself picking up my yarn and needles more and more.  It also helps me to stay awake at night while watching tv.   This is what I am currently working on.  A pretty little scarf for next winter.  I saw a model made up in the LYS and decided I had to make it.  I didn't have the correct size needles but knew I could find some yarn in my vast stash.  So the needles and pattern came home with me.  I dug out a skein of yarn from the basement and this is what I have so far.  The yarn is a sock yarn and there is enough in the skein to knit the whole scarf.  I love it when a plan comes together!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet and Greet Friday

Since this is the first day of spring for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm participating in the Meet and Greet post started by Madame Samm over at Sew We Stitch.  This is a chance for stitchers from around the world to come and visit blogs that they may have never noticed before.  I thought this would be a fun way to connect with stitchers who may be new to my blog.  So without further ado, welcome to my blog.

A little about myself for those of you who are new to Reflections of a Desert Rat.  I've lived in Phoenix for over 20 years, hence the name.  We recently moved to Denver and while it's beautiful here, my heart is still in Arizona.  I guess it's a case of once a desert rat, always a desert rat.  I worked in 3 different LNS's over the course of 20 years and I really miss not going to work every day and seeing all the lovely fabrics and threads.

I do (and have done) all kinds of crafts but my favorites are knitting/crochet, jewelry making and most of all, counted cross stitch.  I have been cross stitching for almost 36 years.  I learned shortly after I was married and I haven't stopped since.  I have found that my tastes have changed over the many years that I have been stitching, but my current favorite designers are Lizzie Kate, Ink Circles, Prairie Schooler, Blackbird Designs, old-style Shepherd's Bush, The Drawn Thread and Margaret Sherry (I just adore her little animals!).  I'm sure there are many more that I like but these are the ones that come to mind.  Some of my favorite subjects I like to stitch are flowers (I love EMS Designs for her wonderful flowers), cute little animals (in addition to Margaret Sherry, I love the Country Companions series), and some of the primitive designs.

Here are several of my favorite pieces that I have stitched.

Summer Bouquet by EMS Designs

I absolutely love this design.  I love the color, I love the arrangement.  I love the framing.  There just isn't anything I don't like about the finished product.  Stitching it was another matter.  There were times when I wanted to toss the whole thing in the trash.  But I persevered and I'm so glad I did.

Prairie Garden by The Drawn Thread

This is a very special piece to me.  It was stitched for my by a very dear friend back in Phoenix.  I was asked to help her pick out the framing never knowing that it was a gift for me.  It was such a surprise when she gave it to me.  She always made me feel like her granddaughter so that makes it even more precious to me.

Bee Keeper by Shepherd's Bush

I love Shepherd's Bush.  Old school that is.  I am definitely not a fan of their new style of writing.  In my not so humble opinion, it's rather difficult to read.  Lucky for me, I still have plenty of their old kits just waiting to be stitched.  I love their use of color, it's so soft.  And their designs are so whimsical.  Combine all that with a mat from Jill Rensel and you definitely have a winning combination.

Well, I do have lots more pictures but I think I'll save them for some future posts.  I hope you'll come back to visit me and perhaps choose to become a follower.  I welcome all comments and would love to make some new friends.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Coming Up

On March 20 (the first day of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere), I'll be participating in the Meet and Greet event from Sew and Stitch This is a fun way to meet other stitchers from around the world and see some of the creative works that they are most proud of.  I'm excited to be showing off some of my cross stitch pieces.  Some have been hanging in a shop for years and I never got the chance to display them here.  So come on and visit me on Friday then spend some time touring the other blogs which have signed up.