Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I want to take a moment and wish all of you out there a very Merry Christmas.  Though we may be in different places, may we all come together during this season of love.  And let us remember that Jesus is the real reason for this season.

I Have Another Finish!

I have my second finish of 2015!  Now I know that sounds a little pathetic but I do have a good excuse.  I've been working almost nonstop on Sherrie's wedding sampler and just worked on this one intermittently.  This is Prairie Schooler's Autumn from their chart The Four Seasons.  The fabric is really a soft pretty brown.  I don't know why it's looks gray but it's actually brown.  My plan is to find a standard sized rustic frame for it and save on framing costs that way.  I'll buy all four frames at once so they can match if and when I stitch the rest of the series.  Now to decide which will be the next season I stitch.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Victorian Motto Sampler Christmas Giveaway

Nancy over at Victorian Motto Sampler is having a Christmas Giveaway.  Go on over to Victorian Motto Sampler and check out her 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.  This would be a great opportunity to try out some new (to me at least) floss.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Even More Progress

The wedding sampler is coming along really well.  I'm really enjoying stitching it.  Yes, I still get the little knots on the back of it but I've decided not to stress too much about them.  As long as they don't make the back lumpy, I'm okay with them.  It will be a little tricky stitching the center motif.  It's actually spread out on 4 pages.  I plan to copy all four of the corners it's printed on, then cut them out and tape them together.  That way I'm not worrying about what stitch goes where.  But I think I can wait on that part until I can stitch more of the words around the motif.  I'm stitching the border as I go.  That way I'll be sure it ends up where it's supposed to.

Here is another piece I'm also working on.  I joined the Prairie Schoolers SAL a few months ago and am almost finished with this one.

Autumn from The Four Seasons 

This is Autumn from an old leaflet called The Four Seasons.  It's been really fun to stitch and I hope to finish it this week.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Bit More Progress

September 30, 2015
As you can see, I've made a bit more progress on Sherrie's wedding sampler.  Page 1 is almost completely finished while I have made a good start on page 2.  It's going much faster than I ever thought it would.  And now that I've quit worrying about all the little knots on the back, I've been moving much faster on it.  They're so small that it's not going to hurt to have them on the back.  Now I have had a few real snarls and those I have removed.  I've been lucky to have caught them before stitching on so that's been a blessing.  There's only been one that I had to cut out so I think I'm doing okay.  I really do think I can finish this before the wedding.

A Prairie Schooler Update

September 30, 2015
I guess it's time to update my Prairie Schooler I've been working on.  I have made quite a bit of progress on it since last month.  I've been trying to work at least an hour a day on it but more often than not I'm still spending way too much time on the ipad.  I have deleted most of the games on it and have been trying to limit the amount of time I've been playing the few that are left.  Also I've been spending a lot of time stitching my daughter's wedding sampler.  I've made really good progress on it and I can actually see myself finishing it by the time the wedding rolls around next year.  So I guess I'm okay with the way this one looks right now.  It is a fun piece and is working up rather quickly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

More Progress

September 15, 2015
Well, I've made a bit more progress on the wedding sampler.  It's actually going faster than I thought it would.  I'm almost done with page one and am well into page 2.  But I've decided I will never again use sampler threads to stitch with when I'm stitching over one.  Even with using Thread Heaven, I'm having a terrible time with the thread knotting.  Did I mention I REALLY, REALLY hate using this thread?  It is going to be beautiful when it's done so it's just a matter of trying to get past the frustration of turning the piece over and discovering several knots way back in the center of the row.  It's too difficult to rip out that much and the knots are small so I've been leaving them.  I know, sacrilege!  But if I frogged them all, it would never get finished.  So I'm trying my best to make sure I catch them before I get too far. but that makes for slow going as well.  But knowing I'm stitching it for my beautiful daughter and her soon-to-be new husband makes it worth all the aggravation I'm feeling.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Never Forget!

I remember exactly where I was 14 years ago today when I heard about this horrific attack on our country.  I couldn't drag myself away from the news coverage.  I cried when I saw the leaders of our country standing on the steps of the capital and singing God Bless America.  And I will pray that our country remains strong and we will rise above all the rhetoric and become one again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Little Bit of Prairie Schooler Progress

September 1, 2015
It doesn't look like much but this is the progress I've made so far on my Prairie Schooler design.  I only had about an hour or so last Saturday to work on it so this was all I was able to get done.  I figure if I can work on it for an hour a day, I might be able to make good progress on it.  I did find there was an advantage to stitching these as individual designs.  I am able to choose the design I most want to work on and stitch that one before any of the others.  This is the Autumn chart.  I figured it would be appropriate to stitch it since fall is fast approaching.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Oh Oh!

Okay maybe it's not a disaster but I made a mistake when I calculated the amount of fabric I would need for my Prairie Schoolers and it means a complete change in plans.  I think I mentioned that I was going to stitch all 4 of the designs on the same piece of fabric.  I had discussed it with my framer and we decided it would be easier to frame that way.  Well, I forgot to take that into account when I was figuring out how much fabric I need to cut.  I only measured it as though I had one design going across and top to bottom instead of two.  I was getting ready to start stitching and realized the fabric looked really small for what I wanted.  I do have enough of the same fabric for all 4 pieces.  I'll just have to stitch all the pieces separately.  That's not a big problem but it will make it harder on the framer.  Oh well, what's the old saying, measure twice cut once.  I should remember that for next time.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Little Progress

August 19, 2015
I've managed to make some progress on my daughter's wedding sampler.  Now that I'm not frogging every other letter, I'm quickly making my way across the top.  I am going to work on the page to the right so I can roll the scroll frame up a bit.  It's getting a little difficult working at the bottom of the frame now.  If I keep at this, I can actually see myself being able to finish this in plenty of time.  Knock on wood!  Hope I haven't jinxed myself now. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Prairie Schooler Fabric Choice

Well, I came to a decision about the fabric I'm going to use in my Prairie Schooler, I'm stitching for the SAL.  Here were my choices:
Floss Toss 26 count Heatherfield

Floss Toss 14 count Linaida
I've decided to go with the Linaida.  I really like the Heatherfield but I'm afraid the darker browns won't show up as well on it.  So the Linaida it is.  Of course, I do reserve the right to change my mind before I start.

Oh and just a heads up.  Nancy over at the Victorian Motto is having a give-away on her blog, Victorian Mottos Sampler Shoppe.  Hop on over and see what she is offering.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Prairie Schooler SAL

I was so disappointed when I heard the designers of Prairie Schooler had decided to retire.  They have been some of my favorite designs since I began cross stitching.  That being said, I have never actually stitched any of their designs.  I don't know why, there has always been other things that have taken priority over them.  I do have many of their older patterns in my stash though.  So when I saw that Kaye (Kaisievic is her blog title) was hosting a SAL, I knew I had to join in.  This is the pattern I have chosen to stitch to honor the ladies of Prairie Schooler.

It's called The Four Seasons and I think it's my favorite design of theirs.  I found it years ago in a Ben Franklin's (that tells you just how long ago it was!) and for some reason, as much as I liked it, didn't buy it at the time.  Of course, when I went back to get it, it was gone and OOP so I gave up on the idea of stitching it.  Then several years later, I was browsing in a used bookstore and found it lurking in a magazine rack just waiting for me to get it into my hot little hands.  This time, I snatched it up.  I wasn't going to let it go a second time.  I stuffed it into my filing cabinet and just never got around to stitching it.  But I have decided that this will be the perfect chart to use for the SAL.  I have pulled all the threads but am still undecided about the fabric.  It's between a 14 count Linaida or a 26 count (over 2) Hickory Heatherfield.  I'll probably decide this week and get to work on it soon.  I am going to have it framed just like it shows on the cover.  I love the idea of a window pane mat.  It will be stitched in one piece since my framer thinks it will be easier to frame that way.  I'm really looking forward to starting this one.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Wedding Sampler

Well, here we are another month has gone by and I've neglected my poor blog.  I really need to schedule a time every week and just make it a priority.  Maybe that will allow me to post more often.

I have started another project.  This one is a wedding sampler for my daughter.  I let her choose from a number of different samplers and she chose this one.
1st Corinthians 13 by My Big Toe
This is 1st Corinthians 13 by My Big Toes Design.   It is so special to me because this was the Bible reading Dave & I had at our wedding 36 years ago.  My plan is to lengthen the border on the bottom and add their names and date of their wedding.  I'm working the border as I go so as to not have a disaster at the end if they don't meet.  I am stitching it over 1 on 28 count ivory lugana with Gentle Arts threads.  Hate these threads for stitching over one.  Should have tried to find an equivalent color in Threadworx.  They are much easier to use than the sampler threads.  But this is what she wanted and like a good mom, I'm going to make it her way even if it kills me.  I have already frogged it several times.  Oh, the things we do for our kids.  Here is my progress as of yesterday.
I promised her I would have it done by their wedding which is June 11, 2016.  I should make it as long as I don't have to frog too often.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Latest Treasure

Now I know the word treasure conjures up different things to different people But I love finding things that are beautiful as well as useful and most importantly I love a good bargain.  Let me further say that I love purses the some women love shoes.  I have so many bags and totes I could open my own shop (haven't we all said that about our stashes?)  So imagine my delight when I discovered a Vera Bradley factory outlet only about 20 minutes away from my house.  I hadn't really thought much about her bags because I thought they were too expensive but the outlet prices make it so easy to have several (okay, I admit it, I have more than several) of them.  What's even more fun is they have a clearance corner where items are marked down by as much as 85%!  So when my daughter was here at the beginning of the month, we went to the outlet center and I dragged her into the Vera Bradley store.  We had so much fun.  I was looking for a larger tote to carry my scroll frame in when I go to stitch with a friend.  Look what I stumbled upon!

My Vera Bradley Treasure
It's a weekend duffle bag and it's huge!  I have room for my scroll frame, my lapstand, my projects and even a small light.  And the best part is I only paid $25.00 for it.  I would have had to spend 5 times as much as that if I had paid retail.  My kitty loves it as well.  Several times I've found her laying in it when I had it open on the floor.  

I'm thrilled that we have the outlet mall so close but I need to stay away from it as well.  I could get in real trouble there.  Know what I mean?

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Alittle Late Update

I promised myself at the beginning of the year that I would do a much better job of keeping up with my blog this year.  Well, I was doing well until this month.  Somehow with the kids visiting and working I find it's June 29 and I haven't blogged once this month.  So I thought I'd better get this going again or I'll miss June all together.  Here's an update on the wonderful design I had started earlier.
Winter Fun
As you can see, I've made quite a bit of progress on this one.  I've decided to do the backstitching as I go simply to give the little critters their personality.  I love backstitching and don't mind if I wait till the end to stitch it but I did want to see these little guys come alive as I stitch.  I want to get as much done as possible because this one is waiting in the wings.
1 Corinthians 13
This is the wedding sampler I'm going to stitch for my daughter.  She picked it out and I promised her I would have it done by her wedding.  I would have started it already but I'm waiting for the fabric and the rest of the thread to come in.  I'm stitching it in the colors it calls for (I offered to change the colors to her wedding colors, coral and mint but she preferred the original colors) on (hopefully) 25 count white/opalescent lugana over one.  I think it will be a more manageable size and thus less expensive to frame.  I'll be extending the border and adding their names and the date and maybe the location.  I'll be concentrating all my time on this one so as to have it finished by the wedding.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring in Colorado

I know I've posted several times about how I really dislike the winter weather we have here in Colorado.  I am SO a hot weather gal.  But I have to admit spring in Colorado is gorgeous.

Yesterday Dave and I decided to take a hike up the highest point in Highlands Ranch.  Now I haven't done any kind of exercise since I hurt my back in December.  For a while I could barely walk.  But I have become a big advocate for acupuncture and am finally in a position to start exercising again.  I actually made it up the hill with only a few stops to rest and the view made it all worth it.  We were more than 6000 feet up and could see in all directions.  
A view from the top
This is one of several 14,000 peaks we could see from the top of the hill. I don't recall what the name of this one is but we could see Pike's Peak from there as well.
Colorado Wildflowers
What I really loved was all the wildflowers we saw on our way up the hill.  It was such fun to see them peeking out along the side of the road.  I don't know all their names yet but they sure were pretty.

So I have to say Colorado certainly lives up to its reputation as a really gorgeous state.  I still don't like winter and love the desert but I could get used to this.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Greetings

I want to wish everyone a very happy Memorial Day!  I also want to thank all of the men and women who fought for our freedom.  You will always be remembered with much gratitude.  Thank you , Daddy (WW2 veteran, Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Progress Report

I've made some more progress on my Purrfect Pals chart.  Except for the backstitching, the kitty is done.  I think I'm going to backstitch as I go along.  That will make the furbabies come alive as I'm stitching them.  I've also started on the snowman (well, an arm is started).

I did do one thing that I hadn't anticipated.  I was using both DMC and Anchor floss since I couldn't locate all my colors after the move.  So I used an DMC and an Anchor color in the sky.  Little did I realize that they are substitutes for each other!  Agghh! Guess what?  I'm leaving it in.  The real colors are so close to each other that it's not worth my time to frog it.

I'm having such fun stitching this.  And I'm so glad my mojo has come back.  I've missed not stitching!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Another Throwback Thursday

Snowflakes by Art-Stitch
Welcome to another Throwback Thursday!  This is one of my favorite recently stitched pieces. Actually it's not cross stitch.  It's needlepoint.  When I worked for Needler's Nest, I was the Inventory Manager in charge of making sure all the inventory was entered into the computer.  So everything that was ordered crossed my desk.  I felt like the luckiest person in the world.  I got to see all the new stuff first. This is actually a cross stitch chart from Art-Stitch called Snowflakes. I really liked this pattern  when we ordered it, so I got an extra copy for myself.  I thought it might be a little boring to cross stitch (I know, sacrilege) but wondered how it would be in needlepoint.  I converted all the colors to perle cotton and set to work.  It was a really quick stitch.  I think it only took me a month to stitch it.  The backstitching was a little rough but I like the way if finally turned out. I had so much fun with this that I actually converted another piece as well.  That might be another Throwback Thursday post.  Anyway It's fun to think outside the box sometimes.  You never know what masterpiece you might come up with.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Very Happy Day!

The happy couple!
 I just have to share my news with everyone. Wednesday was a very happy day in our family.  Our beautiful daughter Sherrie celebrated her birthday in a most wonderful way.  She became engaged to her boyfriend Eric.  As you can see by their expressions, they are both thrilled with this momentous step in their lives.  We have been praying that she would find a godly man to spend her life with and God surely answers prayers.  No date has been set for the wedding but they are thinking about June of 2016.  Sherrie is a teacher and would like to get married during a school break and December is just too soon to get things planned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Finally Got My Mojo Back!

I love these guys!
After more than a year, I have finally gotten my stitching mojo back!  With everything pertaining to our move last year, I just haven't felt like stitching.  So today I was off work and decided to spend the day stitching.  I haven't done that in years. There has always been something else that I had to do or got caught up in.  Electronic toys are the worst.  So as soon as my chores were finished this morning I sat down to stitch and will probably stitch some more this afternoon.

The piece I'm working on (aside from my granddaughter's birth sampler which I can't show cause I'm hoping it will be a surprise) is one from Cross Stitch Quick & Easy from Great Britain.  I'm so sorry this magazine is no longer in publication.  I used to love getting it and spending the day reading it cause I knew there would always be several patterns in it that I just had to stitch.  This is one of those charts.  In fact, I originally subscribed to the magazine because of it.  I had seen in it a later copy of the magazine and it just spoke to my heart.  It's from the DMC Purrfect Pets line that supported animal rescue organizations in Great Britain.  I'm not even sure you can get their patterns any more.  I know they have a few kits available but sadly no more charts.  I got up early in the morning in Arizona just to call Great Britain (at the time there was no way to order an online subscription) and ordered the magazine.  I also decided that I had to subscribe to it as well.  It's been sitting in my stash for about 10 years now but I never forgot about it.

This year I decided I would stitch up several charts that I had been wanting to stitch for a long while.  The first one that jumped on the list was this one.  I dug out a piece of white 28 count lugana from my stash and gathered the threads.  I'm stitching with a mixture of DMC and Anchor.  It's been fun because you'll use half stitches as well as full cross stitches and backstitch and it seems to be stitching up rather quickly.  Here's my progress as of today.
That's a cat sitting on top of the snowman's head.  One thing I do have to remember is that the chart is printed on 2 pages.  Only the 15 stitches on the left hand side are on another chart.  That's why there's a missing stitch (well, it's not really missing, it's going to be a snowflake) on the left edge.  I forgot to read the other page!  I figure it's the sky and a snowflake so no harm was done.  But I will be more careful in the future.  

I'm so glad my desire to stitch has come back.  There are so many things I want to do now.  Not the least of which are a couple of birth samplers and my daughter's college graduation sampler.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Oh Come On!!

My Front Yard
This is Mother's Day, right?  Almost the middle of May?  Well, the weather here in Colorado sure isn't cooperating.  Yesterday we had 6-8 inches of wet, heavy snow.  That was on top of a torrential downpour earlier in the day.  As you can see, the trees took the brunt of the snow.  So many branches are laying on the ground, some still attached to the trees, some not so much.  By this afternoon the snow was mostly gone, but the damage had been done.  The tree in the front yard came back.  Our neighbor wasn't so lucky.  His tree is still in his neighbor's yard.  The tree shown in the backyard lost a lot of large branches.  Now there's a big pile of branches in the backyard that Dave sawed off the tree.  And the flowers!  My irises were just beginning to bloom and now they're all broken and battered.  I had so been looking forward to having fresh cut flowers in the house this spring.  But I guess Mother Nature had other ideas.  Honestly, I'm done with the snow and winter in general.  I now thoroughly understand how people become snowbirds.

Some of my backyard trees

Happy Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day and I would like to wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day.  Honestly I was not close to my mother so I wanted to change that with my children.  I have 3 of the greatest kids ever.  Brian living in PA with his lovely wife Alicia, Christopher who along with his beautiful wife Annette made me a proud grandma and Sherrie my gorgeous daughter.  You all have made me so proud to be your mom.  As you grow older, I pray that you will continue your walk with the Lord and remember to trust Him for everything.  Thanks for allowing me to be the best mom I could be.  Thanks for sticking with your dad and me throughout the good times and the bad.  I (we) love you lots.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another Wayback Wednesday

This Wayback Wednesday post is related to last week's.  Remember how I mentioned I was cleaning out an old jewelry box and found the old Online Stitchers pin?  I also found this gem in there.  I used to go to the cross stitch festivals that were held in the early 90's and a group of us decided to make name badges for ourselves.  They were supposed to depict things that were important in our lives.  So I designed this name badge and stitched on it all the little things in my life that made me happy (okay, maybe not all the things but let's face it, it's a small badge).  The little kitty is my gray tabby, Tiffany, the dog represents Sam & Lady, our two loveable mutts, and I used to have an aquarium, hence the fish.  I also loved reading (still do) and of course, cross stitching.  I lived in Central Pennsylvania at the time so I had to include the little map of the state and the name of the town I lived in.   And let's not forget the little Prodigy symbol stuck up in the corner.  The fun thing about this badge is that I designed all the motifs myself except for the cat and I'm really kind of proud as to how it turned it.  It's stitched on perforated plastic (I figured it would hold up better and boy, was I right!) with DMC floss.  So this is just a little bit of nostalgia that's going back into storage.  But it was fun reminiscing about the past.

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.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
May the luck of the Irish be with all of you today and every day.  Keep searching for the end of the rainbow and you may find your own pot of gold!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday

It's time for another Throwback Thursday.  These are some poppies I made for my best friend at the last shop I worked at.  Don loves poppies; they are his favorite flower.  I wanted to do something special for him so I found this kit from Maia and knew I had to make it for him.  Now I know some stitchers will never even think about using a kit but honestly this was a quality one.  It did come with aida cloth but it was a really nice fabric and since I am basically cheap  thrifty, I couldn't see not using it.  It also had Anchor thread which I absolutely love using.  I did have it framed for Don and he loved it.  It's really nice giving stitching to someone who really appreciates it.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

I Found a New Favorite!

I found a new favorite toy.  Now I think I've mentioned it before but I love gadgets.  I love any kind of small tool that I can use in my stitching or hobby playtime.  And I have found some some really neat ones lately.  I'll post some more later about one of my favorite companies but right now I have a new favorite.  I discovered it just a couple of weeks ago and wondered why no one had done anything like it before.  It's a Thread Hopper from My Big Toe Designs.

This simple little gadget helps you when you need to count over a long (and I do mean LONG) row of stitches.  Just mark your starting place, count 10 (or 15 or 20) stitches over and place the first counter.  Count 10 more stitches and place the second counter.  Then take the first counter and hop (hence its name) over the second to count 10 more stitches.  Before you know it you've counted all your stitches and you can mark the end of the row.  Easy peasy!  It's fun, it's cute and it makes so much sense.  I just have one more thing to say about it.  Why on earth didn't I think of something like it?!

BTW, in case anyone's wondering, I'm not affiliated at all with My Big Toe Designs.  I just like to share what I find with other stitchers.  And maybe help out the designers as well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Several years ago when I started this blog, I knew I wanted it to be more than just about my stitching.  I also wanted people to learn a little more about me.  I'm more than just a stitcher, although that is a big part of my life.  But I have a few other favorite things too.  So I occasionally will post about one of my favorite things and today I thought I would post about my love for cats.

Squeak Our Calico Kitty

I have been a cat person since I was a little girl.  I grew up wanting a cat to call my own (I do realize that you don't own a cat, it owns you).  But for some reason my mother would never let me have a kitty.  Later when I had grown and left home, she ended up with 10 of them but that's a whole nother story.  So after we had kids, Dave and I added a kitten to our brood (which consisted of 3 kids and 2 dogs).  Tiffany was the quintessential  cat.  She was aloof and regal and occasionally grumpy.  She would only sit on my lap and had to be carried up the stairs every night in order to sleep with us.  But we all loved her and were devastated when she left us to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

When Tiffany left us, I knew I had to get another kitty.  So off we went to the pet adoption event and Squeak crawled her way into our hearts and has been there ever since.  Squeak can be the sweetest cat in the world then in the next second be so ornery that you wonder if it's the same cat.  But I guess that why I love her (and all kitties) because they keep you on your toes.  She's almost 11 now and I hope she stays around for a long time.

So cats are cool.  They do what they want, go where they please (within the confines of the house), love whom they want.  Who wouldn't want a cat?