Monday, October 25, 2010

Progress is progress...I guess, I guess!

Hello dear blogging buddies!

I hope that everyone had a fabulous fall weekend!  I had a wonderful time at home.  It was the first weekend  I have spent completely at home in months and it was glorious.  I cleaned and stitched and loved every minute of it!  It was difficult getting up to go to work this morning but it was made easier by the fact that we only have a half day of school today.  It was a teacher workday to begin with but my principal decided to give us leave at 12:00!  We have had a very difficult and long couple of weeks.  I don't teach in a "normal" school (if there is such a thing!,) I teach in a school that is located within a psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents. October is a very busy time because we have numerous admissions.  We have been at capacity for several weeks and we are all feeling a little crazy!  Our principal decided to give us a half day off just to say "Thanks for doing what you do!"

I have had several friends ask "Why is October so busy?"  Well, we are not sure but we think it is because generally schools have been in session for over a month and children with mental issues begin to present their abnormal behaviors more frequently after the few beginning weeks.  Those of you who teach school (or just have kids in school) know that there is a "honeymoon period" at the beginning of every school year.  It lasts from two to four weeks.  If there is a student who is possibly struggling with a mental illness/behavioral illness, it usually takes about four to six weeks before any serious intervention is made.  Students with serious mental issues (many are behavior related, such as oppositional defiant disorder) are then sent to the center where I work.  It is operated by the state and is an acute care facility.  Students live at the center (similar to a hospital) so that they can receive around the clock psychiatric care.  They are also provided with a true school experience so that they do not get behind in their studies.  I teach teach World History and middle school social studies and some elementary social studies.  So, I work with students in grades K-12.  In short, I teach the kids that nobody else can momentarily deal with. We try to stabilize children so that they can return home and continue moving forward.  The job can be stressful but in the end it can be very rewarding. 
Ok, enough about work...time for some stitching!  Here is my progress on Richmond Sampler (Anne Maria Clarke)...

I am almost finished with the over one verse...thank heavens I only have about three to four lines left.  I have Anne Maria Clarke's name still to stitch (on the left above the birds) but I have decided to wait till the end to "sign" it for her! 

I just love this sampler and even though I am sure that I will still be stitching it a year after starting it (February 2010,) I am happy to be comfortably stitching with Miss Clarke.  When I find myself wishing her finished (which I must admit, is quite often) I go to visit Margaret over at Days of a Sampler Lover.  She is currently stitching the beloved Richmond Sampler as well and making significant progress.  I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Margaret stitch this sampler and I have also enjoy dreaming that her progress is MY progress!

The birds on the left are looking a little lonely, they are supposed to be flying over the house.  Guess I should help them out and start on the house next?

I also made some progress on my Mom's Christmas present, La D Da's "Bushel and Peck."  This is a special piece for me...my mother used to sing the "Bushel and a Peck" song to me as a child.  At the end of the song, when she sang "hug around the neck" she would grab me, give me a huge hug and shower me with kisses. 

I am 34 years old and still feel warm and fuzzy inside when I hear that song!  So, when I saw the model stitched at my LNS, I knew that I had to stitch it for my mother.  I am using a different fabric than what is called for and different threads (they escape me now) but I like what I have stitched so far.

I also started another project, Cinnamon Stick Christmas IX "Santa and the Merry Animals" by Homespun Elegance. 

Teri, the owner of my LNS has several of these model Santas in her shop.  I have always loved them and decided this year I would stitch one.  Santa can be stitched on linen as a framed piece or he can be stitched on 7ct. Klostern as a 3-D free-standing Santa.  I am stitching on the 7ct Klostern with the hopes of finishing him to stand freely.  So far, I have only finished his mittens.

I am stitching with DMC since this Santa EATS thread.  I hope to have more to show later.

Well, thanks to everyone for stopping by and making my day!  Your wonderful comments mean so much!  Oh, and a big thank you to everyone who commented about my Clark's Spool Cabinet.  Yes, I realize that I am VERY lucky to have one and I promise, once I get her polished up, I will share more pictures!  Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back from another world...

Hello my dear blogging buddies!

My, how long it has been!  I apologize for my extreme tardiness in posting.  All I can say is life just sometimes gets in the way.  I started my new teaching job (love it!) and am still trying to adjust to my new schedule.  I have been wearing my teacher hat late into the evenings and unfortunately, my stitching has taken a back seat. 

Since I no longer have to work weekends, I have been happily attending estate auctions around the area.  I was very lucky to attend an auction that had this beautiful piece...


Yes, that is an original Clark's Company Spool Cabinet.   Was I lucky to be the winning bidder or what?  I was so excited (still am!) and have been working on "sprucing it up."  Really all it needed was a good washing with some Murphy's Oil Soap.  I have now taken to oiling the outside with good ol' furniture oil.  Once I polish the brass knobs, she will look almost new! 

Although I have been busy with school and estate auctions, I have been able to put in a few stitches here and there over the past couple of months.  Here is my progress on Richmond Sampler...ignore the water on the right side...I was trying to blot out a small spot...

Believe it or not, when I have a moment to spare, I try to read the blogs.  I have been pea green with envy watching Margaret's progress on the same sampler over at Sampler Lover's Blog.  This is such a beautiful piece and I am thrilled that Margaret is stitching it too.  Watching her reminds me that yes, I can finish it too!  I just love the Richmond Sampler and have been doing a little research on the young lady who stitched the magnificent original.  Anne Maria Clarke was from Virginia and is buried in Richmond.  I hope to have more interesting tidbits on Miss Clarke soon...I do enjoy getting to know the young ladies whose stitching I love to reproduce.

Again, I apologize for being absent for so long.  I have numerous emails to send out and even more blogs to visit and comment on!  I promise to catch up and I will enjoy every minute!  Thank you all for stopping by and I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Richmond Progress, Blue Ribbons and a New Job!

Hello everyone!

I trust that all of you are keeping cool while your needles are flying!  It has been hot here in the Shenandoah, however, over the past two days the heat has broken a bit and the humidity has thankfully lifted.

I do wish to mention a great giveaway over on Kim's  blog Threadheads Unite. She is a stitchy/quilty person and is having not one but two giveaways...one for a stitchy person and one for a quilty person!  Make sure to head over and check it out!

Well, I have been madly stitching away on Richmond Sampler.  I *finally* finished the flowers on the top border!  Woo Hoo!!  Now, I get to start the lovely over one verse.  I think that I am going to focus on two or three words a week.  That way I can get started on the birds and the massive house.  I apologize for the horrible pics.  I have tried everything to get a good snapshot of this sampler and to no avail.  However, I have included a couple of close-ups.  Eventhough the flowers have been annoying me, they are rather pretty.




I decided to enter two of my latest framed pieces into our local county fair.  And guess what???  I won FIRST  PLACE  for both!  

Needlework is part of the 'Homemaking Division" and therefore shown with such things as knitting, crochet, canned goods, apparel, etc.  Where were the quilts?  Well, they were shown elsewhere.  This is where I get a little hot under the collar.  My stitching, along with the knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, and other hand crafts are shown in the 4-H Livestock show ring.  Yes, you read that right.  My beloved stitching was on a table right next to where the cows, sheep, goats and chickens were shown.  The quilts, however, were shown in a large, air conditioned room separate from the livestock.  The art show was in the same room, and get this, the horticulture exhibits.  Yes, the plants were kept in an air conditioned room, free of dirt and debris while my precious stitching sat for six days in an open, dirt floor arena.  Now please understand...I love quilts and I appreciate the time and effort that goes into making quilts and I do not in any way think that the quilts should be shown anywhere other than where they are currently shown.  I DO think, however, that maybe the homemaking exhibits (which include my stitching) could be moved to the indoor room and the horticulture exhibits moved to the outdoor arena.  Just a thought....

(stepping off of my soap box....)

Now, last but not least, I have more fabulous news to report.  It is official, I was offered a full-time teaching position and I accepted!!!  I am absolutely thrilled and I cannot wait to start (next week!...eek!)  For many months, I have had my eye on the Lizzie*Kate design, "ABC Lessons," and told myself that as soon as I had a job I would buy it for myself.  And that is exactly what I did. 

I plan to stitch it and hang it in my classroom.  I think that it will be perfect next to my desk.  Thank you to all who have kept me and my job search in your thoughts and prayers.  Your positive thoughts and well wishes worked!  I am truly blessed to have such wonderful stitchy/blogging friends...you guys are the best!

Well, I am off to watch my annual summer addiction...Big Brother!  Stay cool and keep those needles flying!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday Night Stitch-In Progress on Richmond Sampler

Hello dear readers!

I decided to participate in Heidi's Friday Night Stitch-In with the hopes that I would start to see some real progress on Richmond Sampler.  Well, I can honestly say that I am approaching the end of the top border and could not be happier.  I am enjoying Richmond Sampler, but I must admit, I am tiring of the border flowers.  I am ready to move on to other things...like the house!  Please excuse the terrible photos...the house is dark because of the shade trees surrounding the house.  Also, my camera is old, tired and a bit crotchety.  The flash, especially, was not cooperative.  The scissors, scissor fob and frogging tool were all birthday gifts from DH. 



Here is a close-up of what I got stitched last night.  As I mentioned I finished the flower in the center and began the flower on the right.  I just have to finish the flower on the right and one more flower in the top right corner (where my needleminder is) and I will be finished with the flowers on the top border...woo hoo! 

In case some of you are wondering...I have not been stitching the queen stitches in the border or the flower pots.  I have decided to wait until I am finished with the cross stitching to finish the queen stitches.  I decided this because I noticed that the queen stitches were getting a bit crumpled and crushed.  So, I will stitch them last. 

Yesterday was a bit busier than I anticipated so I only had about three hours to stitch and as I mentioned earlier, I was able to at least finish one flower and start another.  There was a salvage sale at the University where I work part-time as a docent.  They are getting ready to remodel one of the academic buildings and basically everything (desks, bookshelves, filing cabinets, etc.) was on sale.  DH and I got a 6'3" bookcase and computer desk for...are you ready for this...5 DOLLARS!  Yep!  You heard right.  We borrowed our pastor's truck, loaded 'em up and brought 'em home!  I am so excited to have a new computer desk!  Our current desk leans to one side and honestly, if a stiff wind came through, I am not sure that it would survive!  Also, the large bookshelf will come in handy because we are both book lovers and have way too many books stored in boxes.  Now we can put them out and maybe actually USE them!

Stay cool everyone...till next time! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A finish, a birthday and an anniversary...

Hello dear blogging and stitching friends!

It is a hot, muggy day here in the Shenandoah and there is a storm a' brewin'.  The wind is nice and the rain will be even nicer.  It is good thing that I did not have time to put out a garden this year because rain has been a rare occurance. 

I have been busy with life and stitching lately.  Things are slowing down and speeding up at the same time.  I have more time for family and friends and they have quickly scooped up my extra time.  No complaints here...it has been quite nice spending time with them. 

I finished my husbands anniversary present in time for our anniversary on Monday.  I did not have time to get it framed but that will be taken care of soon!  DH loved his present and I enjoyed stitching it for him.  Here is the finished product...

I also celebrated my birthday last week (yes, my birthday and anniversary are only three days apart) and had a very special day.   Hubby and I went out to dinner and tried our hands at a few games of bowling.  Lately we have really taken to bowling and love when we get the chance to play a few games.  My mother spoiled me with a homemade German Chocolate Cake (my favorite!) and history books galore!  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a book lover, especially books on history!  Thanks Mom!  My grandmother gave me a generous gift certificate to my LNS and hubby gave me needlework scissors, a cute scissor fob and a frogging tool.  My dear friend Robin sent me the most amazing birthday package...just chock full of stitching goodies!  She sent me some gorgeous linen (Days Gone By - hand-dyed, and Sassy's Fabby's in Mud Pie, Bluebell and Tan Temptation,)

Blackbird Designs "Blessings and Wishes" with the threads and a choice of linens!! 

Also, she sent me the "Winter Sheep" ornament by Little House Needleworks and a lovely Longaberger pink bag - perfect for taking my stitching on the road! 


How lucky am I???  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Robin!  You are a great stitching friend and I cannot wait to get started stitching on my new stash!

As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary on Monday.  We spent the day tooling around and shopping.  We had a lovely day together and kept remarking to one another that we cannot believe that we have been married for two years!  It feels like time has flown by!  I love looking at our wedding pictures and I could not help but share a few...

This was taken through the window of the church right after we recessed and walked outside...our guests and wedding party were still inside the church and it was the first moment we had alone before people came flooding out of the church.  I love this picture and am so glad the photographer caught it!  The church where we married dates back to 1756 and many of the windows are original so it is neat to have a picture of us through one of the windows.

This was taken before the ceremony in a field right behind the church.  My bridesmaids were making me laugh right before I walked down the aisle.  I was having quite a bit of fun and enjoying the day!


Here is another picture from the field...this is my favorite and hangs in our bedroom...


The next picture is taken of us right outside of the historic mansion where we had our wedding reception (do you notice a history theme here???  :-)


The next picture was taken on the porch of the mansion.  Michael and his groomsmen were, shall we say, channelling their inner "Goodfellas."  I chose morning suits for them (since it was a morning wedding) and at first they balked at them.  However, I think they eventually liked their morning suits!

We had such a glorious day...a morning wedding, luncheon reception and then off to the beach for our honeymoon!  Thank you for humoring me and my wedding pictures.  I enjoyed looking through them and appreciate your allowing me to share them with you! 

Till next time dear friends...I promise progress on Richmond Sampler...so keep your eyes peeled!





Sunday, July 11, 2010

A New Project...

Good day everyone!

It is sunny and HOT here in the Shenandoah today.  I am trying to keep cool and get some things accomplished today.  I am finishing up some lingering job applications and wrapping up a few odds and ends that need to be mailed.   My post office has the strangest hours but I should be able to hit them when they are open tomorrow. 

I have started a quick little project that I will hopefully be able to finish soon.  With the craziness that has been my life lately, I neglected to ponder my husband's anniversary present.  I am trying to keep up with the traditional presents.  For instance, last year was our first anniversary and the traditional gift was to be something paper.  Well, I found a print of a gristmill inn that we visited and held special meaning to us.  I had it framed and it hangs in our living room.  This is our second anniversary and the traditional gift is cotton.  Well, I am stitching him a simple sampler on linen (well, it is in the natural fiber category with cotton) and using cotton threads.  Problem is, our anniversary is next Monday.  I may get it framed in time but probably not.  At any rate I chose to stitch Heart in Hand's "Family Medley."  I am using 32 ct. Summer Khaki and a mixture of over dyes and DMC. 

This is what I have stitched so far...

Heart in Hand "Family Medley"
32 ct. Summer Khaki
Weeks Dye Works, GAST, CC, DMC

I am enjoying this piece and hope to have it finished in the next day or so.  Keep your fingers crossed!  I hope that everyone is staying nice and cool and logging lots of stitching time.  Till next time everyone...


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!!

Hello dear readers!

Oh, how I have missed seeing everyone and reading all of your wonderful posts.  Life has been crazy and focused on work, work, work.  I have dearly missed everyone and am so glad to be able to poke my head in and say "Hello!"  Hopefully you all are doing well, stitching like crazy and keeping cool!  I look forward to catching up!

As I mentioned, life has been crazy and I have been searching for some balance.  What good is life if it all work and no play, right?  I do have good news though...I finished the requirements for my teaching license and I received my official license in the mail just a few weeks ago.  I have been madly filling out teaching applications and then hurriedly waiting for telephone calls.  I have had some calls and interviews, so things are moving forward! 

I did get two of my 2010 finishes framed...I am rather pleased with the results.  I framed "Blessed Be..." by Blue Ribbon Designs and Sara Schultz by Ginger and Spice.  Here they are...


Friday was a glorious day filled with fun, fellowship and a trip to my LNS.  My dear friend Robin met me at my LNS, Cross Stitch Station.  We talked, shopped, talked and shopped some more!  It was wonderful being able to spend time with someone who is as excited about stitching as me!  We both found some great stash...unfortunately, I did not snap a picture of what I found...guess I will have to do that next time! 

Believe it or not, I have had a *little* time to stitch over the past month and a half, but unfortunately do not have any finishes to report.  Here is a snippet of what I have been working on.  First, I was able to get about a third of Twenty Third Psalm done...now I am over half done! 


I have also logged a few hours on Richmond Sampler.  I have had so many people contact me about this beautiful piece and I am thrilled that so many of you are planning on being a part of the online class through the Essamplaire.  I have finally stitched the border outline all the way across the top.  Now I feel like I am getting somewhere.  Here is a pic of my progress so far...(please excuse the wrinkles...the iron was not handy at the time)

I was stitching one of the flowers a couple of days ago and thought my eyes were going to cross!  I was stitching with the same color thread as the linen.  Whew! 

Thank goodness the weather had cooled down because I had to go outside in order to see what I was stitching!  If it had been 100+degrees like the past couple of weeks, that flower would have waited!

Again, it is good to be back and I look forward to catching up with you all!   Hubby is at work, but I am off to meet him and watch the fireworks!  Stay cool and enjoy the holiday weekend!

Valerie

Monday, May 17, 2010

Finally Finished and A New Start!

Good day my dear stitching friends!

It is a rainy, dreary day here in the Shenandoah but that is fine with me!  We need the rain and I am just enjoying being inside...cozy with the kitties and my stitching! 

I am proud to announce that I am finally finished with the classes for my teaching licensure.  I applied for my license on Saturday and I could not be happier!  Hubby and I celebrated by going out to dinner not once but TWICE!  Hey, the greatest gift is no dishes to wash, right?

I spent most of Saturday night and Sunday night stitching on my newest project, the Maria Monroe sampler. For the next three weeks, I will be proctoring the State Standardized Tests at one of the middle schools where I have been substituting.  So, I needed to have something small that I could throw into my bag and pull out when there is a little free time.  I decided on a cute sampler adaptation.  Maria Monroe was the oldest daughter of our fifth president, James Monroe.  Hubby and I visited their home, Ashlawn, just east of Charlottesville, VA about a year ago.  Maria stitched a sampler in 1814 and the original is on display at Ashlawn.  I was dying to find the reproduction chart and found a kit in the Ashlawn gift shop.  However, it was not an exact reproduction of the sampler but an adaptation.  Still, I had to have it.  Here is a very bad picture of the finished sampler:


I discarded the aida that came with the kit and supplied my own ivory linen.  I decided to use the cotton floss that was contained in the kit since it was already there.  Here is my progress so far:

Sadly, I do not have any progress to report on Richmond Sampler.  She is on the back burner for another week or two.  I will have two projects on my list for the next couple of weeks, Maria Monroe and the 23rd Psalm samplers.  I had promised the 23rd Psalm sampler chart to someone several months ago and need to get that one done ASAP!!  Here is my progress on 23rd Psalm...


I hope that everyone has a great start to the week!  I plan to get caught up on my blog reading and email responses.  If you have emailed me, I promise to respond soon!  I apologize for getting behind, but life has a way of forcing you to focus on other things!  I look forward to seeing all of the wonderful progress being made here in blogland!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some Richmond Sampler Progress and Lovely Awards!

Hello fellow stitchers!

I am in the home stretch for my teaching licensure...only a few assignments and two projects to go!  I had to video myself student teaching, so I have been suffering through that today.  Boy, was it eye-opening...good thing my gym membership is still valid because I will be hitting the gym VERY soon!  I have not been around much lately, and I apologize.  Many of you have stopped by to say hello and believe me, those little "hellos" have meant the world to me.  It is my intention to slowly start to get caught up on all of the wonderful things happening around here that I have missed.  I have not been stitching very much, but it has certainly been on my mind. 
Over the past few weeks, I have been ever so graciously awarded two blogging awards.  Unfortunately, due to the craziness of life, I have been unable to treat the awards with the respect they deserve.  However, it is high time that I do.  I want to thank Sharlotte for nominating me (weeks ago!) for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Honestly, I was surprised and quite excited when I received word that she nominated me!  I felt like I had "arrived" in blogland society!  Then, shortly after my nomination by Sharlotte, I received another fabulous blogging award from one of my favorite designers!  Belinda from Blue Ribbon Designs graciously nominated me for the "Sunshine Blog" Award!  Needless to say, I am very honored and grateful.  Thank you, Belinda!  When I started blogging I simply saw it as an opportunity to share my work with anyone that might be interested.  Really, I needed a way to stay motivated.  Little did I know that I would meet so many fabulous people!  The inspiration that I have received from all of you has been enormous and to think that you all might enjoy reading about me, well, that is just icing on the cake! 

There is protocol that I must follow in order to formally receive my blog awards.  So, here are 7 "interesting" things about me...

7.  I used to be the General Manager of a fine dining restaurant.  I also managed the 200+ wine list and 1500+ label wine cellar.   I was twice awarded the Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence.

6.  I did not finish college until I was 32 years old.  I was mangaing the aforementioned restaurant full time when I went back to school.  It was one of the hardest, most challenging things I have ever done but it is, to this day, I consider it my greatest accomplishment. 

5.  My husband and I met at the restaurant where I used to work.  He was a chef and I was his General Manager.  In other words, I was his boss.  We dated secretly for 8 months and did not announce our relationship until we were engaged!  Our co-workers were shocked!  Originally, we thought that my now husband or even I would be forced to find employment elsewhere.  However, the owner was so impressed with our ability to keep our relationship professional that he allowed us both to keep our jobs. 

6.  I love history (it was my college major!)  During the summer months I work as a docent at Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee University.  Robert E. Lee (of Civil War fame) was president of Washington College after the Civil War.  He built a chapel on the campus and he and his family are buried in the chapel.  The chapel is almost like a visit to the Holy Land for Confederate Civil War fans.  I am a southerner, but regardless of which side he fought on, Robert E. Lee was an admirable man and I love to be able to share his story with people.

7.  I love animals and my husband and I walk the dogs and spend time with the cats at our local SPCA.  The dogs should be walked at least twice a day but since the SPCA is so short-handed, it does not always happen.  We don't get there everyday, but we do try to get in any time with the animals that we can.  Generally, the dogs lead me but I love being able to give them some freedom and attention.  The cats just love being petted and brushed.  I implore everyone to check out their local shelter and give of their time...the animals will appreciate it!

Well, that is about it on the interesting front.  I hope that I did not bore everyone!  Now, I have to nominate several other blogs, but to be honest, I don't know how to choose!  So, over the next few weeks, if I visit your blog and notice that you have not been awarded...look out!  You may end up on my nominations!

Now on to some stitching!

Alas, I wish that I had more to report regarding the lovely Richmond Sampler.  The only real news to report is that I have decided to use scroll frames.  I have been picking up and putting down this beautiful piece so much that some of the specialty stitches are starting to look worn.  Also, I am frightened that she will get dirty.  So, I pulled out a lovely scroll bar lap stand that my in-laws gave me a couple of months ago.  The scroll rods are a bit too short but they will do till I can get longer ones.  I like having Richmond Sampler on these rods...while the tension is not the best, I do like seeing it in all its glory and I can keep it on display in the corner of the living room.  This is a picture of the stand and the sampler...Simon was napping on the daybed but was most accomodating by posing in the picture



Like I mentioned, the rods are too short but has anyone ever laced the sides of their linen to keep tension there?  This is my first time using scroll rods so any ideas or help that anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Well, I am off to contiune viewing and editing my teaching video.  Great fun.  I look forward to visiting the blogs to see what everyone is up to....Happy Stitiching!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Kindness of Others

Good day fellow needleworkers and friends!

Spring has sprung and I could not be happier.  I have four more weeks of my teaching licensure program and then, well, the sky is the limit!!  Once that is behind me I am going to be a stitching fool!

Thank you all so very much for your wonderful comments and words of encouragement.  When I started this blogging journey, I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet.  The individuals that I have encountered here in Blogland have been like angels and they have renewed my faith in humanity.  My good friend, Robin, is one of those people.  We have struck up a lovely email friendship and she was kind enough to send me some wonderful freebie charts and "The Little Red R Sampler" by the Good Huswife, just because she had them on hand.  Here are all the goodies that I got!!


Now, several weeks passed and my stress levels were rising.  One day, as I was sitting at the computer working on a school assignment and ready to crack, my husband announced that I had a package.  For the life of me I could not imagine what he was talking about since I was not expecting a package.  In the computer room he came, with an envelope addressed to me from...Robin!  As I opened the package to reveal the pretties inside, I started to tear up.  What a beautiful thing to have a friend who sends things "just because."  As I laid out the beautiful over-dyed threads, Belle Soie silks, hand-dyed fabric and sampler charts the tears really began to flow.  In a world where I felt like people only cared about what I could do for them, I had someone in my life that thought of me instead.  What a beautiful gesture!  Here is a picture of the second envelope of goodies...(you can see that Simon, the cat, just had to get into the picture...his leg is in the upper left hand corner)

Am I a lucky girl, or what?  To Robin, thank you so much.  I know that we have exchanged numerous emails since I received your lovely packages, but please know that your kindness is not forgotten!

I should also mention the numerous emails that I receive from people.  You have no idea how much those wonderful comments make my day.  They remind me that there are good people in this world...we just have to keep our eyes and hearts open to them.  Those comments and emails are like Robin's packages, reminders that there are people who care.  Everytime I read an email or comment, know that it brings a smile to my face...every, single time!

While this is not a "stitchy" post, I felt that it was important to share with/remind everyone how lucky we all are.  We have found a community of people who not only share our passion, but share our joys and sorrows.  What a blessing to have electronic hugs and postitive thoughts sent our way when we need it most.  To all of my blogging friends, thank you.  You mean more than you will ever know!

Till next time...and hopefully a progress pic of Richmond Sampler!

Valerie

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's been too long!

Good day fellow needleworkers!

It is cloudy, cold and drizzling here in the Shenandoah.  However, I am tickled pink to finally be back here on the blogs with my fellow needleworkers.  It has been a crazy couple of weeks and I greatly appreciate your kind words and positive thoughts.  I have missed being here more than you know.  I promise to get caught up on my emails and comments soon! 

While I am still working two jobs, I am really trying to carve out more "ME" time.  I came to the conclusion that I am not 21 anymore and cannot run on a few hours of sleep a night anymore.  I took my Social Studies Praxis, so that is out of the way and I only have five weeks left of class for my teaching licensure.  The end is in sight and I could not be happier!  I am posting this before I go to bed but I will be back in the morning ready to catch up on all of the wonderful progress that everyone has certainly been making.  Eventhough I am still new to the blogging world, I can honestly say that not commenting or blogging was like being away from a really good friend for too long.  I am glad to be lurking and blogging again!

I did get some stitching done over the past few weeks and I thought that I would share with you.  Again, I used my scanner and if you click on the picture you can get a close up of the stitches.

 I was able to get the flower pots and the flowers stitched as well as a bit more of the border.  The flower pots are queen stitches but the handles are rice stitch with two different colors of silk.  I am not sold on how they look but the directions said to cross over the four crosses in ecru with one large cross in the blue.  This week I will have a bit more free time and hope to have another picture soon!  Like I told my husband, money is nice but now more than ever I need to keep my sanity and my needlework is my therapy!  A girl has gotta have her priorities!



With all the craziness lately, I did get to my LNS a couple of weeks ago.  Many of the things that she bought at market were still coming in so I did not get to see all of the new pretties.  However, I did purchase a wonderful new needlework organizer.  At first I was not sold on it but Teri, the owner swore that I would love it.  Boy, was she right!  It folds up so I can take my needlework with me and there is even a handy dandy strap so I can throw it on my shoulder and go!  There are eight different outside pockets for various tools and threads and the inside is large enough for several projects and patterns.  What I love about my new organizer is that I can get everything out and put everything away by just folding the organzier.  It is so nice not to leave things out to get lost, stepped on or...well if you have animals, you know what other accidents can happen!  It is called the "Handy Caddy" and they have a website http://www.handycaddy.com/. Oh, and another plus is that it is clear...so I can see what I have or haven't got!

I also purchased a new hoop.  Now, it has been years since I used a hoop and as some of you may remember, I have been obsessed with stitching in hand lately.  I was discussing my queen stitches with Terri, the owner of my LNS, and she recommended that I use a new type of hoop.  She said that I would fly through queen stitches with it.  Well, honestly I was not sold on using a hoop but she was so adamant and I've had several of the good folks here on blogger also suggest that I try hoops again....so I agreed to try it.  Thank you to all of you who persuaded me...I can now say that I love my new hoop!  It called the Morgan No-Slip Hoop.  It has a patented tongue and groove that keeps the fabric from slipping so it stays taut all of the time and I do not get a sore wrist like when I was constantly tightening my q-snap.  Because the fabric is nice and taut, I can fly through those queen stitches!  The only way that I got as much done on Richmond Sampler over the past few weeks has been because of my new hoop and organizer. 

Well everyone...I am heading off to bed.  I will be back tomorrow and I cannot wait!  I am looking forward to "seeing" everyone again and catching up on all of the stitching that has been going on!  Till next time...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just checking in...

Good day my fellow needlewomen/men,

The weather has been glorious here in the Shenandoah.  I, however, have been mired in assignments for my teaching license, substitute teaching, student teaching, studying for my Social Studies Praxis and bartending.  Yes, bartending.  I hated to take on another job, but with the bad weather over the past few months, substituting has been far and few between.  So, I am back at my old, old job of bartending.  This is not an ideal situation but, at least it is a profitable one.  Of course, once I took on another job, the schools started calling again and time came to complete my student teaching.  When it rains, it pours! 

Richmond Sampler has taken a back seat for the time being, but I miss her so much!  I wish that I had pictures but I am writing this from the keyboarding class at the middle school where I am subbing.  Sorry!  But I at least wanted to check in with everybody and say hello.  I am woefully behind on my blog reading, so if you have not heard from me, I promise to get caught up and write soon!  The comments that you all have left on my blog mean the world to me.  My stitching friends have really brought rays of sunshine to my otherwise overly busy, stressed world.  Thank you so much! 

I hope that everyone's projects are coming along and your needles are flying!  I am looking forward to seeing all of the pretties!  Again, thank you so much for visiting...your comments brighten my day!  Till next time...which I hope is sooner rather than later...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Queen Stitches...the journey continues....

Good day everyone!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has left a comment or has visited recently.  I was completely overwhelmed when I saw that I had 24 comments on Sunday's post.  Now, I realize that for most people, 24 comments is a low number, but the highest I have ever had was 9.  I am still rather new to blogging but I can honestly say that I have been grinning from ear to ear all week! Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments.  I have been trying to respond to everyone, but I am not sure that the emails sent properly.  I am still trying to figure out how exactly to respond to email notification comments.  If you did not get an email, I am sorry!  I might just try and post the emails as comments but please know that I did "respond!" 

Most of you sympathized with my queen stitch dilemma, but some of you said that you enjoyed queen stitches.  So, I guess there is hope!  One of my fellow Richmond Sampler classmates even found me a left a lovely comment.  Thank you, Susan!  I hope to see you back here soon...and yes, you will see me next year at the Gathering!

I have been very busy this week with work and school.  I had class today for EIGHT HOURS!  However, when there are a few free moments I am happily stitching on Richmond Sampler.  I stitched part of the border outline and figured that I had better start on the dreaded queen stitches.  At night when I was trying to sleep, when I was driving, and even when I was teaching, I was envisioning how I would stitch a queen stitch.  I kept visualizing until I felt that I could comfortably stitch a queenie and then Monday I just did it.  I stitched nine whole queenies!  I was so proud and they were so pretty...but boy did they take some time!  There is a real postitive to stitching queenies though, I don't really need a chart.  Once I make the outline, I can take my linen, some thread, plant myself on the couch and stitch away.  That is what I am really liking about queenies!  Honestly, if it were not for everyone encouraging me that I could master queen stitches, I would have taken the easy road and just stitched cross stitches instead.  Thank you for your encouragement...these queen stitches are for you!  I scanned the piece hoping to get a better view of the queenies...not sure that it worked.  Anyway, the inside of the border and part of the flower basket are queenies.  Here is a picture of what I have gotten done so far.  If you want a closer view, just click on the picture and you should be able to see the stitches better...the border is going to be gorgeous!


Richmond Sampler has been the apple of my eye lately but I should really pick up Psalm 23 soon.  I had hoped to get it done by the end of February, so now I guess I will shoot for March.  I have been stitching on and off for many years but in the past have only worked on one thing at a time.  Lately, I have decided to get a rotation going, however, I feel like I have stitching Attention Deficit Disorder.   I guess that I should not stress about it especially since stitching is my stress reliever!  What does everyone else do?  Any ideas?  Is there a cure for stitching ADD?

Well, I guess I should scuttle off and finish my weekly assignments.  I only have 9 more weeks to go and then I will be finished with these assignments...thank goodness.  I have learned a lot through this teaching licensure program and I would not trade it for the world, but I will not miss having to write three research papers a week.   Besides, it takes up my precious stitching time!  Till next time everyone...Happy Stitching!