Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas !

Hello dear readers,

I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!  Thank you for all of the wonderful comments and kind emails you have sent me throughout the year.  Your friendship means so much!  I sincerely hope that the New Year brings all of you many blessings!

It has been a very busy couple of months here in the Shenandoah and I promise to update you on all of the happenings!  I did find time to put up our Christmas tree. 

Hubby and I open our presents to each other on Christmas Eve and I made out like a bandit!  I received The Longaberger Sewing Notions Basket with notion trays AND the book, Samplers of the Pennsylvania Germans AND the Jim Shore figurine called "One Stitch at a Time" - just to name a few!   Once things calm down I promise to post pictures!

A Blessed Christmas to all!
Valerie

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stitching with friends

Hello fellow stitchers!

It was a beautiful fall day here in the Shenandoah and I must admit I enjoyed gaining an hour of sleep!

I had a wonderful day yesterday...I spent the day with my dear friend, Robin.  She was kind enough to invite me to her house (which is a lovely house, nestled in the woods...absolutely charming!) for a day of stitching.  We spent the day sharing projects, stash acquisitions and of course stitching!  I took full advantage of her Keurig coffee/tea maker...what a wonderful machine!  But it was the fellowship that was the most inspiring.

I brought along two projects to stitch on but ended up focusing on one all day...The Sparrow.  I finished the tree trunk and started the leaves.  Here are a few pics of my progress...



Thanks to Robin and her enabling ways, I am going to employ The Sparrow as my 15 minute stitching project.  The small motifs and fill in (grass and eventual houses) will be perfect for quick stitching.

Thank you to those who left comments about my queen stitches.  I must admit that I enjoyed stitching them...they are so beautiful when they are finished! 

Also, a big welcome to my new followers!  Thank you for finding my little world interesting! 

Till next time!  Happy Stitching!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Queen of Queen Stitches

Well, I guess I shouldn't toot my own horn but I can't help it.  I just finished the queen stitched baskets on the Richmond Sampler...all twelve baskets...approximately 75 queen stitches each...that comes to a total of 900 queen stitches.  So yes, I am calling myself queen of the queen stitches.  Well, maybe I should call myself princess for now; I will be Queen when I finish the queen stitched border!  Here are a few late night snaps....




Can you tell I was playing with the camera?  I have not completely finished the flower baskets, they still need their rice stitched handles.  I will get there...eventually.  


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blessings flow

Hello dear stitchers,

It was a lovely fall day in the Shenandoah...the beautiful red, yellow and orange leaves are still hanging on to their limbs.  Those leaves are troopers after the winter weather we had this past weekend.  As I was driving home from work, I gazed at the Allegheny Mountains to the west and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east (yes, I have quite a beautiful drive everyday) and I thought to myself how very lucky I am.

Blogging has truly been a blessing in my life.  It has allowed me to connect with people that I otherwise would never have met and it has allowed me to share my love of needlework with other passionate people.  One of these people is my friend Robin (no blog...we need to change that!)  I met Robin, a fellow Virginian, when she emailed me to ask where I was from and if I had a LNS and the rest, as they say, is history.  We have kept in touch with emails and visits for almost two years.  Robin is a wonderful person and a very talented stitcher but most importantly, she is a good friend.    She is always sending me the most wonderful cards and freebie designs...truly, she is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met. 

Robin's generosity overwhelmed me once again when I celebrated my birthday.  Threads, charts and linen, oh my! But what really grabbed my heart was this...
Bird in Hand by Blackbird Designs
32 ct. Flax Fields Line
Rubbed Purple silk from HDF
Stitched by Robin

Isn't it gorgeous?  It has a special place in our living room where I can see it from my stitching chair.  It reminds me of how lucky I am and the beauty of having a sister of the needle.  Thank you Robin, you are a great friend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November already???

Hello, dear readers!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween!  I spent the evening cuddled up with my Richmond Sampler attempting to finish the flower baskets.  I have a few more queen stitches to put in before I share my progress...but I promise it will be soon!

I can show some progress on The Sparrow...but the word "Sparrow" gave me quite a fit Saturday night.  I ripped it out not once but twice!  Thankfully, the third time I stitched it, it was correct.  As I was ripping out "Sparrow" for the second time, I could hear my grandmother's voice in my head asking "Are you pulling it out with your teeth?"  What does that mean?  Well, when I was younger, my grandmother told me never start a project on a Sunday because according to superstition if you do the devil will have you pulling your stitches out with your teeth!   And no, I did not start The Sparrow on a Sunday but if you saw me frogging on Saturday evening you would have thought so.  Without further ado here is my progress in The Sparrow...

Thank you for all of the kind comments about DH and his first 5K.  I showed him all of your wonderful comments and he was thrilled!  You guys made his day!  Thank you!

Off to finish those queen stitches...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Proud as can be!

Hello, dear readers!

I wanted to share a wonderful event with you.  On July 4th my husband and I visited Poplar Forest near Lynchburg, Virginia.  For those of you who are interested, you can read my post on our visit here.  While in the gift shop my husband found a brochure for the Poplar Forest 5K race to be held in October.  He picked up the brochure, brought it home and promptly signed up.  Now, I must tell you that my husband and I struggle when it comes to exercise and eating right.  Well, I guess I struggle more than my husband, but you get the picture. So, I was surprised when DH said that he signed up for the Poplar Forest 5K!

Over the next few months DH worked hard at the gym and ran the local roads.  He had his eye on the prize and in the process he lost over 60 lbs!  Finally, October 8 arrived and we made our way to Poplar Forest.  It was a chilly, sunny morning and I could tell that DH was nervous. 


Warming up before the race


Sporting the new 5K t-shirt


Waiting for the race to start


And their off!


Runners ran down this hill and then up the hill in the distance.  Then, they had to turn around and come back...those hills were brutal!


DH is coming up the hill...


Many runners were walking the hill (I probably would have too!) but my DH ran both hills!


The race took the runners around the house and here is DH hitting the home stretch...


What a FINISH! 


 My handsome husband...he never walked once during the entire race!  


You are my hero!  I love you!

Thank you for letting me share such a special day with you.  Now, I am off to get some stitching in so I can share a stitchy post soon!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

IHSW Update

Hello fellow stitchers!

Once again I am late with my IHSW update.  Well, I guess better late than never.  I was not a hermit last weekend, but I promise I had a good reason for not holing up at home and developing one good case of Stitch A@@.  More about that in another post. 

I did want to show you my progress on the piece I was able to stitch on last weekend.  It is my SAL with my dear friend, Robin (no blog.)

The Sparrow by Tree of Life Samplings
DMC Threads and mystery hand-dyed 32 ct. fabric

I hope to have some Richmond Sampler progress to report very soon...

I have not been a very good blogger nor have I been very good about visting blogs.  I hope to get around and visit with everyone very soon! 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

IHSW Update

Ok, so I am a week late and $10 short but I figured that you would like to see my progress from International Hermit Stitching Weekend.  While I was not able to stitch the entire weekend, I did get in quite a few hours between Friday night and Sunday evening.  My attention was focused on Rebecah French and The Sparrow.  I will share pics of The Sparrow after I share them with my SAL partner, Robin.  Here is Rebecah so far...





Rebecah French - The Essamplaire
AVAS and Zweigart 35 ct. Lambswool Linen
 I am enjoying Rebecah French.  She is a delightful sampler!  I finished the eyelet alphabet and once I finish the eyelet border I will move on to the satin stitch alphabet.

This weekend I will once again pick up Richmond Sampler.  My 24" scroll rods from StitchMate arrived and now I can stitch on Richmond with both hands!  Hopefully we will see a finish sooner rather than later!

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments.  I am feeling much better and your warm thoughts were instrumental to my recovery!  It is hard to believe that fall is officially here.  I am already enjoying the cooler weather.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Hugs and stitches...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Where did the time go?

Hello dear stitchers...

Since I cannot seem to focus (or make a lot of sense for that matter,) I am going to "borrow/steal/take" another Valerie's rambling blog idea (Fog City Dweller) and hopefully make more sense.  I realize that bad spelling and grammar can cost points here in Blogland, especially when you are a teacher.  Yes, I am a teacher and yes, it is my job to educate the youth of tomorrow but sometimes a girl just needs to throw on some PJ's, put her feet up and not worry about wearing the "teacher hat" 24/7.  So, if my spelling is terrible and my grammar stinks...don't hold it against me...just look at it as I am saving my educated self for the kids. 

~ I guess there is somewhat of a sorority/fraternity of MIA Bloggers who are making their "comebacks." I shall count myself in their numbers.  Sorry to be gone for so long...

~ I am shocked but very pleased that I have quite a few new followers!  Welcome! 

~The month of August was a real rocker! Earthquakes, aftershocks, and hurricanes, Oh My! My own personal life has also been rockin' with the beginning of a new and very busy school year. Then to top it all off, I contracted a lovely staph infection which left me with very little energy. For weeks I have been exhausted and drained but I am on the mend thanks to some really good drugs! I have kept all of you in my thoughts and will be visiting blogs very soon.

~ Speaking of earthquakes, I was home sick from school with the "BIG ONE" hit.  I thought it was the drugs...nope, just the earth moving. 

~ My StitchMate needlework stand arrived exactly a week and a half ago.  I.  AM.  IN.  LOVE.  If I was not already married to hubby, I would seriously consider devoting my life to my StitchMate.  Stitching is a breeze and I actually feel like I am making progress on some of my BAPs! 

~ Not only am I in love with my new StitchMate, I am also in love with the scroll rods that came with the stand. They are just perfect for my samplers.  I have ordered a new 24" set for Richmond Sampler.  I will have her done before I know it!

~ Since the StitchMate arrived, I have made progress on two projects.   Here is Rebecah French:

Rebecah French - The Essamplaire
36 ct. Lambswool
AVAS silks

Here is my SAL with Robin (no blog)  I am stitching Tree of Life Samplings "The Sparrow."
The Sparrow - Tree of Life Samplings
32 ct. something hand-dyed
DMC threads

~ I started stitching goals in July.  I have not posted my finishes or my new September goals.  So, without further ado, here they are:
 
July Goals:
 
1. Finish Lizzie*Kate ABC Lessons  DONE!

2. Finish Richmond Sampler (this is a big challenge!)  So big, that I did not finish it.... :-(

3. I will be starting a new Saturday SAL with my dear friend, Robin. It is a Tree of Life Samplings SAL and we are stitching a design of our choice. My goal is to stitch on our new project EVERY Saturday!  Well, I started the SAL and I have stitched on it most Saturdays. 

4. Pull out Psalm 23 and start working on it again. It needs to be a 2011 finish! Probably make this piece my 15 Minute A Day Project.   Yeah, didn't happen. 

5. Continue working on Rebecah French. It would be nice if I could finish the first lesson...however, I am trying to be realistic and keep my sanity. She is new and I will post more about her very soon...
I am not finished with the first lesson, but I am getting there.  Rebecah has been my main project.

6. I would like to start something new...Shores of Hawk Run Hollow is on my mind...and has been for some time. Actually, I cannot stop thinking about it. So, I guess that means I need to start it?? How about this...I will start it AFTER I finish Richmond Sampler...hopefully both will be this month!!
I did not start anything new.  I have tons projects ready to go but I want to get a finish under my belt before I start a new project. 

September Goals:

1.  Finish Rebecah French Lesson One.
2.  Continue working on The Sparrow SAL - every Saturday!
3.  Put Richmond Sampler on new scroll rods and get her in the rotation. 
4.  Start Primitive Needle SAL -  I will be stitching "Of Female Arts" and I will attempt stitching on it one day a week. 

Well, that should do it!  I hope everyone has a lovely holiday!  I look forward to catching up with everyone!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We have a Winner!

Hello dear readers!

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes and for your fabulous participation in my birthday giveaway.  I have learned quite a bit from hosting this giveaway...especially that I have many more blog readers than I could have ever imagined!  Thank you to my new followers...and welcome!!  I am still in the process of visiting everyone whether it is though email or their blogs but I promise to get around to meeting everyone.  To my "oldie but goodie" followers and readers, you guys are the best!  To everyone...thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings.  You put a smile on my face everyday! 

So, without further ado I will announce the winner of my Birthday Giveaway.  I used the Random Number Generator (http://www.random.org/) and the winner is......JONETTE!!!  Congratulations Jonette!  I will be sending you an email very shortly!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Giveaway Reminder and Some Stitchy and Williamsburg Stuff

Hello blogging friends!  It is a very hot here in the Shenandoah; temperature records are being set right and left.  

I would like to remind everyone that TODAY is the last day to enter my Birthday Giveaway!  I will accept entries until late tonight/early tomorrow morning (trying to take into account time zone differences) and I will draw the winning name tomorrow morning.  If you are interested, scroll down or click here to enter! 

I don't know if it is the heat or just the lazy days of summer but I have had a hard time focusing on my stitching.  I stitched on two projects last week, Richmond Sampler (Anne Maria Clarke) and The Sparrow.  I did more frogging on Richmond than actual stitching so I got disgusted and put her down for a few days.  Hey, sometimes friends just need a short break from each other and this is one of those times for me and Anne Maria. 

The Saturday SAL with my friend Robin (no blog) has been progressing rather nicely.  Here is my progress so far...

Now for some stash enhancement!  As many of you know, I recently had a birthday and my friends and family certainly know how to spoil a girl.  My family gave me a StitchMate Needlework stand (woohoo!), my dear friend Robin spoiled me with lots of goodies and hubby gave me my first Scarlet Letter chart!  Here are some snaps of my goodies...

From Robin - La-D-Da "Praise God" with Lakeside Linen and over-dyed threads...how did she know that I have a special love for the doxology?

More from Robin - Tree of Life Samplings "Emma Rose" (our next SAL!) and a great pattern for WIP Pouches!


More goodies from Robin (what a great friend!) - my new pocketbook addition, a Sampler notebook, needles, a bookmark and some beautiful HDF silk!


From hubby - The Elisabeth Hoover sampler - Hubby is from Harrisburg, PA and this sampler was stitched in Leah Bratton's Harrisburg school in 1803.  It is part of a group of samplers called "the Susquehanna Samplers" identified by their compartmentalized borders and central human figures.  This may look like an easy stitch but after careful perusal of the instructions, Elisabeth will be anything but easy!  That's OK, you know how I love a challenge!

On to Williamsburg and Yorktown!  For our anniversary my husband and I took a sunset sailboat ride around historic Yorktown.  It was a wonderful experience and the sunset was spectacular!  I thought I would share some pics with you...
Our boat before the sails were lifted...we sailed on the schooner Alliance
The sails were raised just as we left the pier...


The sun was beautiful...


It was a magical time watching the sun set over the York River.  After we docked hubby and I had a lovely late dinner at a neat little restaurant right on the water.  While we were walking to our car we could not help but notice the moon rising over the river...and it was RED!  Here is a picture...

Isn't the moon stunning!  It was a fabulous evening...an amazing sunset and an equally amazing moon rising...definitely a memorable anniversary!

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope everyone has a great week!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Giveaway Reminder!

It is hot, sweltering hot, here in the Shenandoah.  The mercury hit over 100 today.  Whew! 

I was absolutely overwhelmed at all of the wonderful birthday and anniversary wishes!  What a lucky girl I am!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear blogging buddies!  You made my birthday that much more special! 

***My birthday giveaway is still underway.  So, if you have not entered, simply click here and enter!***

I received lots of goodies for my birthday but I have not had a chance to snap their pictures. I promise to share my new stash with you very soon!  However, there is one BIG gift that I cannot wait to open...
My family spoiled me for my birthday...they gave me the money to purchase my very own StitchMate needlework stand!  I have heard so many wonderful things about the StitchMate needlework stand I am hoping that it will allow me to stitch that much faster.  I am very excited and will be ordering my new stand very soon and promise to share all of the wonderful details. 

I would also like to share with you a SAL with my dear friend, Robin (no blog.)  We finished our Lizzie*Kate SAL and decided to embark on a Tree of Life Samplings SAL.  I am stitching "The Sparrow" and Robin is stitching Quaker Peace. 


I am enjoying the bright colors on the sampler...here is my progress so far...

Tree of Life Samplings - The Sparrow
32 ct. Vintage Cafe Mocha
DMC threads


I have lots of pictures to share from our anniversary trip to Williamsburg and I promise to post those soon!  Again, thanks for all of the well wishes and kind comments!

Valerie

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Birthday Giveaway and a New Start

Hello everyone!

It is a nice, cool morning here in the Shenandoah.  Ahhhh...a little relief from the heatwave that has been Summer 2011.  Perfect weather for my....birthday!  Yes, it is my birthday today and I am another year older but I try to look at it as just being another year wiser! 

So, to celebrate my birthday, I am holding my first ever GIVEAWAY!  I love parties and since I cannot gather everyone at my home, this is one way I can celebrate with you, my blogging buddies!  I am keeping the gifties under wraps (hehehehe) but it will include some fun stuff and maybe even a gift certificate!  So, here are the rules...

1. You must be a follower...leave me a comment on this post with your email address or some other way to contact you.  If you don't want your email out there for everyone to see just pop me a private email at valiehokie@gmail.com
2.  Score an extra entry if you post this giveaway on your blog;  please mention in your comment if you have/or promise to post the giveaway somewhere on your blog. 

That's it!  I understand this is a busy time of year for many of us due to vacations, parties, family gatherings, and just plain summer fun!  So, the giveaway will close on Monday, July 25 to give people plenty of time to enter.  I will choose a winner the next day.  Good Luck!

Now, on to the stitchy stuff!  I mentioned in my July stitching goals post that I started the Rebecah French class from The Essamplaire.  I was in love with this sampler the minute I saw her...so pretty!  I contacted Margriet, owner and designer of The Essamplaire, and she gladly gave me permission to use the photo of Rebecah French from The Essamplaire site.  So, thanks to Margriet, here is Rebecah in all her stunning beauty...

The class started the first of July and I thought I would share my progress thus far...

I am currently working on the satin stitch border...I have been playing with the macro settings on my camera and took a close-up of the satin stitches (sorry the pic is dark...light was terrible when I took it)


I hope to get some serious stitching in on her next week with more progress to follow!  If you have not been to The Essamplaire website, you must go and have a look!  There is some serious eye candy...it is calorie free, but maybe not for your wallet!

Hubby and I will be taking a trip to Williamsburg for a few days to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary (they are only four days apart!) and I cannot wait!  I promise to take lots of pics...so get ready for a few more history lessons!

Also, I would like to mention that I have tried to comment on several blogs but have been unsuccessful. For some reason, on a select few blogs, have been unable to leave comments because Blogger keeps asking me for my log in info over and over and over again...and then I still cannot actually leave the comment! It has been quite frustrating. I have tried emailing these individual bloggers but several of them do not have their email available publicly. So, if you have been leaving me comments, but have not heard from me...believe me, I have been trying! I hope this Blogger comment issue gets resolved soon!



Before I go, I would like to thank you, dear readers, for all of the kind comments regarding my ABC Lessons finish and our trip to Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest.   I am very blessed to have such great stitchy friends! 

Take care dear friends, and good luck in the Birthday Celebration Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Celebrating with Thomas Jefferson **** Picture Heavy

On July 4th, hubby and I headed to Poplar Forest, a home owned by Thomas Jefferson, to partake in the celebratory 4th of July activities.  Poplar Forest was Thomas Jefferson's retreat and like Monticello, is only about an hour away from our house.  Monticello is located outside of Charlottesville, Virginia and Poplar Forest is near Lynchburg, Virginia.  Hubby and I had never been to Poplar Forest and decided to hop in the car and go!  There were numerous activities and period demonstrations including several dealing with textiles (we saw flax turn into linen!)  I took some snaps and thought I would share them with you.


The house is like a miniature Monticello...so beautiful


Housing for the farm workers


This is one of the outhouses...it is a hexagon just like the house!


Current archaeological digs at the house


This is the back of the house


Wool spinning - this lady was so nice...it was at least 95 degrees...I know she had to be HOT!


Hand-spun, hand-dyed wool.  All of the dyes are organic with the exception of the lime green and bright pinky/red...she used Kool-Aid for those!


Lace making...just amazing!


More beautiful lace making,..it was a joy watching the those two ladies work their bobbins!


This is the flax demonstration.  We watched how linen was made!  Fascinating!


First, the flax is smashed...


 Then, the chaff is beaten from the flax fibers


After removing the chaff, the fibers are combed.  First through the wide tooth comb (on the left) and then through a finer tooth comb (on the right)  The finer the comb, the finer the linen. 


This is the amount of line acquired from one quarter of an acre of flax. 
This is what is used to make linen!  

Spinning the linen...


Finally, the linen is woven.  The gentleman is weaving linsey-woolsey, a basic linen used for clothing and at times used for samplers! 

Well, that is all for now.  I hope you enjoyed the step back in time.  Have a great week everyone!