Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blossom has bloomed

Yesterday I put the last beads on The Blossom Collector, and even though I'm not a big fan of pink, I think she's beautiful:

She has such a sweet face:

I ended up using the red and root beer beads that were called for in her dress, but played around with four other colors for her "swirls". I decided if she was collecting blossoms, she would be picking lots of colors!

I have a model coming in later this week, so that will be my main focus until it's finished. However, I have made a small start on The Moss Collector, so hopefully I can squeeze some time in on her once in a while.

Hope everyone has a great stitchy week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Find a penny, pick it up...

...later on you'll find a duck? Yep, that is exactly the kind of luck I have.

I've been trying to get back into a walking routine for the past few days, and today I happened to see a penny in my path. Never one to pass up free money, I pick it up, even though it was tails-side up. Apparently, that whole face-up-to-be-lucky part is true, because about a mile later I ended up not with luck, but with a duck...ling. And it wasn't even that nice of a penny, as it's all dinged up:

A mile later I'm walking by a house and an older gentleman who I've exchanged greetings with in the past asks me to come help him catch a baby duck. It's a sad fact of the times we live in, but the first thing that pops into my head is that he's trying to lure me into some kind of trap! But we're outside on a fairly busy road and I'm pretty sure I can outrun him, so I follow him to the side of the house and sure enough, there's a duckling hiding in the shrubs. His Doberman had chased the mom away, and the duckling's peeps were drawing his cats to it, so not a good situation.

He finally manages to catch the baby, and then hands it to me, making it my problem! We wait a while to see if the mom comes back, but she doesn't, so now I hold this little life in my hands. Nothing to do but walk the last mile home with him/her cradled to my chest.

I put her (I'll call it a "her" just to make it easier) in, kind of ironically, one of my cat carriers while I call my vet. My cats, who usually run at the sight of the carriers, are fascinated by her peeps; they probably thought I'd brought them another toy!

Luckily, my vet told me about an avian rescue group about 20 miles from my house, so off we went:

Our timing was good, because the woman who runs the place said they were going to be busy this afternoon performing surgery on a peregrine falcon. She also said that they already had a solo duckling, so this little baby would have company right away. Here she is getting ready to enter her new (hopefully temporary) home:

So, it turns out that "lucky" penny cost me about $3 in gas and a $20 donation; but hey, I'm only out $22.99!

Sorry for the non-stitchy post, but I just had to share this little cutie. More stitching to come next week!

Edited to add a happy ending: the rehab center called just now and said that they were able to foster the baby into a wild duck family, so she is now back in the world with a new mom and eight siblings. I'm so happy!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Back to Blossom

Fittingly enough for spring in Wisconsin (finally, maybe...), I'm back to work on Nora Corbett's Blossom Collector. She just needs her legs, some more "swirls" and a bunch of bugle beads:

As charted there are two colors of bugle beads, red and root beer; I really love the red, but not so much the root beer. So, just in time for the finish, I received an order from 123Stitch today with four different colors of beads that I can play around with:

I'm hoping to have her finished up by the end of this coming weekend, so stay tuned to see which colors win out.

Today I also received a package from Polstitches, with two of the new Bothy Threads kits:

I really like that when you order these from Polstitches you can get fabric other than Aida. I got opal Lugana in both of these, though they mistakenly put non-opal in the Fairy Glade kit. Fortunately, as soon as I told them about it, they told me to keep this piece and they would put another piece in the mail right away; great customer service! Aren't the dandelions in Fairy Glade just adorable?

Hope everyone has a great stitchy week!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Very little stitching...

...has been done in the past couple of weeks, as first my son and then I got knocked out by the flu. During the worst of it, I didn't get out of pajamas for four days, and pretty much lived in bed or in the recliner. I'm still trying to get over the coughing part of it, but have once again joined the land of the living (and stitching!).

What stitching I have been able to complete since my last post has been on a model, so no pictures to share of that. However, yesterday I picked up my framed Gypsy Queen and I am just so in love with the finished piece:

I chose a sueded outer mat and a metallic inner mat, and the frame itself is brushed with a couple of colors found in the design:

I also had one of Nora's paintings framed, and I think it's stunning:

These two pieces have already joined my ever-growing guest room gallery:

I still haven't had the nerve (or the time) to start my HAED yet, but I now have another one that I'd really love to work on. A kind member of the 123Stitch MB had a giveaway for the winner's choice of a chart, and I won! My favorite artist there is Aimee Stewart, and she had recently released a chart called A Stitch in Time, which I fell in love with. I couldn't bring myself to buy it, since I hadn't even started the other one I already had kitted up, but winning it is a totally different thing!

I got the maximum color version, which uses 237 different colors; I am very tempted to kit this one up and start it before I start Foxglove Ball. However, before I do either I need to finish the model, so I guess I'd better get to work.

Hope everyone has a great stitchy weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wonderful retreat weekend!

This past weekend was the fourth annual Mirabilia Minions Retreat, and it was such a great weekend! I have been in love with Mirabilia patterns since I saw my first one back in about 1996, and it is so amazing to get together with like-minded people. This year there were a total of 166 finished pieces in display, which is almost overwhelming; so much beauty anywhere you looked in the room.

I took Blossom Collector along with me, and did manage to get quite a bit done on her:

Now she just needs her legs, some "swirls" and beads; it shouldn't take too long, but a new model came in just before the retreat so I'm going to work on that for a while. Happily, it's a relatively small pattern, so I'm hoping it will only take three or four weeks to complete.

Nora has designed a new Mirabilia free pattern, which will be released by Wichelt at some point in the future. As a retreat attendee, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy, along with the silks and beads needed for it:

I'm thinking I'll stitch her up after I finish Blossom, unless the new Mira being released in four days calls to me to start it first. I also have now received all three parts of the Wherefore Art Thou design, as well as the over-dyed threads...I will never live long enough to stitch all the Miras that I want to!

I won a door prize as well, a cute little bobbin needle minder and a pretty needle threader:

As in previous years, Nora brought along some paintings, which were sold by silent auction. Here are the ones I came home with:

The two on the right are from an awesome "series" she did in which she used old newspaper advertisements that her mother drew in the 1970s, then painted over and around them; I absolutely love them!

Here's a picture of the amazing group of women (and Kenny!!) who attended this year (Nora is in black in the front bottom center):

I'm already looking forward to next year's retreat, where the theme is going to be Alice in Wonderland.

Now it's time to catch up on some sleep, get some chores done around the house and then get to work on the model. Hope everyone has a great stitchy week!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

One week from now...

...I will be in (or hopefully almost in) Cincinatti, Ohio for the Mirabilia retreat. After attending the first two events, I missed out last year, so I'm looking forward to seeing my Mira friends again.

I've made a start on one of the newest Nora Corbett releases, The Blossom Collector, so I can take it with me to work on during the retreat. The chart photo makes her look very pink, so I chose SMF Hummingbird Lugana to try to soften that pink up a bit; so far, so good:

Judy Odell of Just a Thought Needlework Design recently asked for some small stitched pieces to finish for a new technique that she was working on. I sent her my Monsterbubbles Twitter finish, and she sent it back to me like this:

How cute is that?! She has shared the pdf with the instructions in her FB group, Just a Thought Needlework Design.

Judy has also started selling a stretcher frame set (info can be found in the group), and I bought one from her almost as soon as she released them, as I have long been wondering how to handle the piece of fabric I need for the HAED I bought over four years ago. The design is Foxglove Ball, and the stitch count is 625 x 833; on 25ct fabric over-1 the fabric needs to be at least 31" x 39". I got the 36" rods from Judy, cut my fabric to 32" wide and loaded the whole yard length onto the frame:

It has great tension, and of course works perfectly with my JAT stand. I recently printed out the entire 129-page pattern (which has it's own binder!), and I've had the floss ready for years:

Now I just need  to work up the courage to actually start something that daunting! To paraphrase an old saying "The masterpiece of 520,625 stitches starts with a single stitch". If I worked on nothing but this project (as if!), and completed one page a month, I could have this done in 10 years...

Hope everyone has a great stitchy weekend!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Flitting about

We've had a few days of unseasonably warm temps here in Wisconsin, so I tried to get outside and do some yard work while it was nice; those first few days of spring-like weather are so liberating! As a result, I didn't have as much stitching time, which is okay because I'm having a hard time sticking with any particular project

I did make a start on the anniversary piece, which has a beautiful blue palette but is going to get pretty repetitive with the border:

I managed to get the stitching done on the next two birthstone designs, but don't have the beads to finish them. To save on shipping from Canada I'm waiting until a couple more are released, and the last time I ordered it took five weeks to get here, so I'm guessing it will be a while before I get back to these!

This past week I noticed that Mill Hill had released six new Laurel Burch kits, dogs this time, and I just had to order them. Of course, I already have the six cat kits, so I pulled one out and made a start on it; this one is called Feathered Friend:

Hope everyone has a great stitchy weekend!