Saturday, May 30, 2009

Progress on Autumn Topiary

I have not gotten as far as I thought I would but I have to take the topiary off my stand and put the Magi on. I have to finish the corn, the last pot and the border. Hope to get to it as soon as the Magi is done.

On June 10 and 11 Denise and I are taking a canvas embellishment class with Tony Mineri at our LNS. We will post all our experiences about this class. The canvas I will be stitching for this class is a Shelly Tribbey canvas, called Tea Time Tilley. Denise is doing one of her Ponza canvases that Sharon G painted. We will be posting pictures of our canvases and hopefully pictures of the class.

I have two favorite tools I would like to share with you. I purchased my favorite laying tool from Ruth Schmuff, it is called "my favorite laying tool". It is a long metal laying tool and I just love it. I purchased my favorite scissors from Amy's. The scissors are Dovo scissors and I just love them. They are very sharp and cut threads beautifully. I am now reminded of my two favorite people, Amy and Ruth, everytime I stitch. Cannot get any better than that.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fourth All That Glitters Plus More

The first picture is of my current project. When I was at Amy's, the Stitching Nuts, had these mesh cubes that they used as ort boxes. They had them in white. I thought this was a great idea - so I went to the Container store and bought five in pink. I decided to personalize mine and am doing my initial in pink with a darker pink border and the background will be done in Splendor in a very pale shade of green. Jen will finish it off for me and will attach the ribbon to the needlepoint and box. How cute is that? When it is finished, I will post a picture. It should be done this weekend since Jen is going to be making a baby bag for a baby shower and will be sewing anyway. I forgot to mention that Jen is a fantastic bag designer. She makes her own designs and then sews them. I have several that we have put needlepoint in.
The second picture is my fourth All That Glitters ornament. It went off to be finished about a week ago. Will post pictures of all three that are out for finishing when I get them back.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stitching Progress

The first picture is of one of my built-ins in my sewing room. I put the picture of Amy, Jen and myself in a needlepoint frame I made when Jen was a baby. I placed the picture next to my Amy Cookbooks - thought that was appropriate.
My progress on the Autumn Topiary is coming along. The second pot is done except for a small section where the corn overhangs onto it. I want to get the corn in before finishing the green in this area. Am finishing up the background now that I have the thread. Next onto the third pot and then I will have to put this down to start the Magi. Want to start the Magi by Thursday. I have finished my fourth All That Glitters (even put it in for finishing) and will post a picture of it tomorrow. Jen is really progressing on her piece. All she as left are the flowers and leaves. Her green plants on the bottom are really great.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Last of the Candy Canes

                                              I  interrupt Linda's reports about her trip to Amy's with an update of my own--I finally finished the last of the candy canes last night!  These last two seemed to go very quickly, partly because I think they had the most glitz.  

I was so impressed with myself on this ornaments candy cane--I incorporated something I learned from the Stitching Needle Society Christmas Stitches 1 class.  If you look at the tops of the gift boxes, you can see the ribbons actually are three dimensional.  I used the lazy daisy stitch to give the bows dimension. It was pretty fun to do. I also used Accentuate with Burmilana on these last few candy canes for the background.  The Accentuate allowed me to have a nice, open (quick) background stitch, with a little flair. 

Oh, & the top  photo is what I did LAST weekend. That was a lot of fun too! 

Have a wonderful Memorial Day; have a thought for those who served.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Linda and Jen's Class Canvases

Here are the canvases that Jen and I gave to Amy for the Cook Up A Canvas class.

I chose the Autumn Topiary from Kelly Clark and Jen chose a Sandra Gilmore canvas.

I finished the first pot last night and after a bit of a struggle with the tassels and some help from Amy I think I succeeded. I am very happy with the way they came out. Amy's tip was for me to loosen up and not be so uniformed. I have a hard time with random stitches since I am more rigid but I loosened up as best I could and I think the tassels really look good. I love the ribbon on this pot. Amy suggested this stitch in her stitch guide but I was thinking of doing a tied ribbon to the canvas. I decided to do Amy's suggestion first before doing my idea. Needless to say Amy was right. The ribbon looks perfect. I am now onto the second pot. Hope to get it done sometime this weekend.

Jen's piece is really coming along. She does not have much left to do at all. Just finish up the greenery on the bottom of the canvas and then do all the pink flowers.

Amy's stitch guides are really fantastic. She not only gives you written directions as to what stitches and threads to use where, she also give you drawings of portions of your canvas with the stitches to be used and in which direction to work them, and then she gives you a graph of the stitch to be used. They are truly a work of art. Her drawings really make stitching your canvas very easy. It is like having a road map. Not only is Amy's stitch guide fabulous but her selection of threads is what really brings her stitch guides to life. The thread selection is just perfection.

I hope that someday you are able to take a class from Amy. It is truly an experience you will treasure forever. Don't all rush out to sign up to soon - I want to make sure that there is room for me and Jen and also my stitching sister, Denise.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Amy As Hostess

Amy as you all know is an amazing teacher and stitcher, but she is also the best hostess. We all got a surprise on our second day. It did not show up that well in the picture but it is a charm. It is rectangular shape and says Stitch on one side and At Amy's on the other. I just love surprises and I especially love this charm. I put mine on my charm bracelet and Jen put hers on her scissor flob.
Lunch everyday was just spectacular. The first day we had all different type wraps (ham and cheese, turkey and avocado, chicken Cesare and vegetable) with the most delicious pasta salad. For desert we had strawberry cake, to die for. The second day we had a cheese and pimento spread, egg salad, broccoli salad, fresh fruit, and brownies. There was an assortment of breads (freshly baked) for the salads. The cheese and pimento spread was delicious (Jen's favorite) but the broccoli salad was my favorite. The last day we were not able to be there but Amy told Jen they were having chicken salad with pita cups, assorted salad greens with different toppings and dressings. For dessert they were having butter cookies.
The refrigerator was stocked to capacity with any beverage you could possibly want. In addition, there was coffee and tea. Your every need and desire was fulfilled. Amy truly catered to our every whim, whether it be stitching or nourishment. How I miss being there.
I have also attached a picture of my tassels on top of the wheat. I am probably going to take them out again. Think I will start from the right side and work my around that way. Just not happy with the way they look. But I am sure that I will get it eventually.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Autumn Topiary for Amy's Class

Here is the canvas that Amy used for the Cook Up A Canvas Class. I have 90% of the background done. I ran out of thread so I could not finish the background. The two pots on the left side are done and the wheat shafts are complete. Tonight I will be working on the wheat tassels and the ribbon. I am stressing out over the wheat tassels. I will be doing Random Leaf Stitches. I am not very comfortable doing random stitches. Amy did a really good drawing of the tassels which I plan to follow. Hopefully, I will not have too much trouble. I should have worked this in the class but I did not want to work over my background. I hate ripping out and I really did not want to cut this out.
Amy is one of the best teachers that I have taken a class from. She has a lot patience and answers every question with both drawing on the board and doing a demonstration on your canvas. After Amy explains a stitch and demonstrates it, even the hardest stitch is simple. I know from experience how easy she makes stitches seem. The Nativity had a few stitches that really stumped me and after watching Amy's DVD I was able to master the stitch.
During class we had a discussion about scissors and Amy mentioned her favorite scissor. Needless to say, I ordered it and it came yesterday. Amy is right. It is the best scissor I have used. The name on the tag is DOVO Solingen. Just call Amy and she can send them out to you.
I hope Jen will bring over her canvas so I can post a picture of it for you to see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Class at Amy's

This was one of the best class experiences I have ever had. It was a totally relaxing setting. Absolutely no stress to rush to keep up with everyone else. The main reason for this was everyone was working on their own piece. Amy also set the tone for the class by telling us we were there to have fun.
When we first walked into the classroom, all our canvases were out on the tables with our threads and stitch guides. After we all introduced ourselves, the class began. Amy told us that she likes the background worked first but in this type of setting that was difficult to do but to try to work in areas where our stitches would not work over the background. Amy then began going around the room to everyone to get us started. Amy made her way around to each of us several times during the morning and afternoon. She would answer questions we had, demonstrate on the board, graph paper, and also on our canvas. I found this a very relaxing atmosphere in which to learn. I know that I learned a lot in the class. You not only learn on your own canvas but you also learn from what everyone is being taught. Amy was very open to switching threads if you did not like them and changing stitches if they were not working out the way she felt they should. Amy has no problem admitting she made a mistake.
The class was really great fun. We had one group of 5 stitchers, The Stitching Nuts, who came with matching tote bags with a needlepoint canvas of their Stitching Nuts' logo. They kept us laughing with their stories. Their name was perfect for them. Amy also had some very funny stories for us.
Jen and I had such a wonderful time that we are planning on going back next year.
I highly recommend that if you can afford it you should do a Cook Up A Canvas Class with Amy. You will truly be in stitching heaven. You are catered to and you have three full days of just stitching with no interruptions. When I returned home, I can honestly say that I was very sad not to be able to stitch all day but your everyday live and chores just do not allow this. So treat yourself to a stitching vacation and really get pampered.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amy's Store and Classroom

Here is a photo of the outside of Amy's store. You can enter the store by walking down the drive way (second picture) and going into the door on the left of the landing. The door on the right is to the class room. The picture with the wrought iron fence is the backyard of the building that houses Amy's wholesale business. Everything is very self contained but separate.
Amy's store is a needlepointer's candy store. The selection of threads are just unbelievable. I think that any thread you need can be in the store. Her selection of canvases is just totally amazing. There have to be hundreds in the store. You would need days to go through them all.
I have never seen a store with some many finished pieces displayed. Every room in the store has finished items in it. There are several rooms in the store filled with canvases, threads, frames, stretcher bars, accessories and books. It is truly a needlepoint paradise. I wish I had more time to explore every nook.
The classroom is the door on the right off the porch. It is a large well light room. There is an area set up like a small kitchen with a very well stocked refrigerator. Anything you would like to drink is the the refrigerator. We also have our own private bathroom. There were plenty of lights on the table for extra lighting and the library in the back of the room is a stitchers' dream. Everything you could possibly ask for was in the classroom. We had plenty of room to spread out our supplies yet we were close enough to socialize. A very friendly and comfortable atmosphere for us to stitch and relax.


Monday, May 18, 2009


I apologize for the picture but I do not know how to invert the picture.

I am going to spread out our great needlepoint trip into five days.

Day one will be all about Amy.
Day two will be about the store and classroom.
Day three and four will be about the class and my piece, and I saved the best for last, day five will be about our lunches.

Amy is the most amazing person. She is truly the most friendly, outgoing, caring, loving and funny person I have ever met. Jen and I were welcomed with opened arms. We were made to feel like we old friends returning home.

She is truly a walking book of knowledge about anything needlepoint. Amy answered any question put to her quickly and accurately. Her library in the back of the classroom was totally mind blowing. I thought I had a good library but it does not hold a candle to Amy's.

Amy was more than willing to share with us. I have experienced some teachers that are not so willing to share information with you but Amy was more than willing to share her knowledge with us.

Amy is a very good business woman also. I was very impressed with way her shop is run. All of Amy's staff were friendly, caring and knowledgeable. They made us feel like we were regulars in the store and really catered to us.

Amy is also a great hostess. I will go into this further on Day 5.

Jen and I were very sad to leave and I know that I am having Amy withdrawal.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Linda and Jen's Great Needlepoint Adventure

I was very nervous about going to Amy's. I had such high expectations that I was really afraid of being disappointed. My high expectations were meet and then some.

We had a wonderful time. I will post something each day this week about my adventure at Amy's. Stay tuned.


Friday, May 15, 2009

A Little More Candy

A few more candy canes have been accomplished over the past few weeks. 

I have done a lot of open background stitches on these, from skip tent to an open brick to a stitch I sort of made up.  I try to do the backgrounds first, for, as Jane from Chilly Hollow & I agree, backgrounds are endless. 

I have two more candy canes left, which will hopefully be completed in the next week or so. I have only  couple more Christmas canvases I want to finish for this year, so I'd like to stitch those up soon too.  Then I will be moving on to some large canvases, my Sharon G Ponza canvases.  

My stitching sister is in Memphis right now, as I type, with Amy Bunger.  I am so jealous, even though I couldn't go for a good reason--my DD's college graduation!  Yeah for Ashley!  

I am sure Linda will post lots & lots about her excellent adventure when she comes home.  Please keep your fingers crossed for good weather in Philly on Sunday.  Otherwise, I won't be stitching AND I'll be cranky because of the rain messing up the big day.

Talk to you all soon, 


Monday, May 11, 2009

A finished product

My cute little white nutcracker is back from the finisher.  I think he's pretty handsome.  The bottom edge is done in turkey works , so that it looks like he has fur on the bottom of his coat.  There's also turkey works along the edges of his sleeves, by his hands.  His clothing was done in Splendor, & the turkey works in Burmilana.  I had some Petite Alpaca for the beard & brows. There was plenty of Kreinik for his crown, belt & collar as well.  After all, what's a nutcracker king without bling??


Friday, May 8, 2009

So Much Fun

I had such a great time stitching this ornament from Ruth Schmuff's Santa Club. Ruth designed the canvas and did the stitch guide. I love Ruth's stitch guides. They are very easy to follow and her thread selection is really great. Jennifer and I are sharing this club. Jennifer has stitched three and is on her fourth and I have only done two. This Santa is my favorite. I just love the colors. I am a pink and green girl. I hope to get the four I have left to do completed before the Christmas finishing deadline.
My fourth All That Glitters Ornament just arrived. I hope to get this finished before I leave for Memphis on next Thursday. This time next week I will be stitching with Amy. I am so excited.
Hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Couple of Candy Canes

I've been furiously stitching away on the Melissa Shirley Candy canes over the past few weeks. I have a total of 10 I want to do this year--two more from the "red"series and eight from the "green" series.  I did six from the red series last year. So far I am halfway through to my goal.  I've completed the two from the red series, and have done four of the green series.  

I really enjoy working up these candy canes. First of all, I get to make up my own stitch guide.  I always start with determining my background stitch.  I surround myself with my currently favorite books.  For this Gingerbread Men canvas, I selected Sandy's Slide. The cookies were tent stitch, with french knots for the buttons and cross stitches for mouth & eyes.  They even have little french knots for hair--impossible to see here, I know.  

For this Swirls candy cane, I couched some Flair, & did mosaic stitches for the white squares.  The background on this was tent stitch.  I do listen to the experts who say that every canvas needs a little tent stitch to rest your eyes.  

For this Wreath candy cane, I used Alabaster for the skip tent background.  The wreaths are done in Fuzzy Stuff, long & short stitches.  There are beads (gold) for the balls on the wreaths. and the squares are again mosaic, in Petite Velvet.  Thanks to Ruth Schmuff for this idea; I did this before on a cute little giraffe with a wreath around his neck.  

This Mittens candy cane had the background that took the longest. Worked in Threadworx, the stitch is Criss-Cross Hungarian, which makes for an excellent background stitch, especially when there are polka dots. But it is a little annoying to compensate sometimes. The mittens were tent stitched, with Vineyard Silk. The leaves were a kind of leaf stitch (I say kind of, as they were not perfectly straight leaves), with a little bit of Petite red Velvet again on the cuff. 

I have five more left to work up; I just put the next one on bars last night. But before I get back to it, I am working on this months' ANG SOTM.  This month's stitch has been a challenge--I really don't like couching!  But it is going to be a beautiful piece, I am sure.