First TUSAL of 2013

 Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Well, I’m late.  I’m always late.  The start of this year has been somewhat hectic for me, so I’m quite behind on just about everything.  I’ve had a lot of teachers cancelling programs (which really hurts the pocketbook since I only get paid if I actually work, but there’s nothing to be done but wait things out!) and I’ve been adjusting and rearranging my booked dates all over the place.  I was supposed to work most of last week and almost every day this week and I was reduced to just working a half day yesterday.  On the upside, one school that cancelled for last week has rebooked for March.  I’m hoping this trend continues. 

In stitching news – here’s the ORT jar, after I dumped out last years ORTs:


Pretty sad, isn’t it?  Well, despite having an extra long Christmas vacation from work, I didn’t really have much stitching time.  Before Christmas I was completely occupied with my annual bake-a-thon and then once Christmas was over, I managed to get pretty darned sick and felt cruddy for the better part of a week.  I’m on the mend now although I’ve got a lingering cough that rears its head when I talk too much.  So my family is enjoying the peace and quiet!  Smile

Don’t know what the TUSAL is or why I’m taking pictures of my ORTs?  Well, you can read all about it over at Daffycat’s blog.  Sign up if you haven’t already!

So, why is the jar looking so red?  Well, I picked up another piece from the CreativFestival and got to work:


This is called Canvaswork Dragon and it’s a hand-drawn canvas from Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams.  This class was challenging since each stitcher had to pull their own colour palette for their dragon.  I’ve gone with red and am really enjoying stitching it.  I’ve hit a bit of a wall with the interior of my dragon’s wing, which is why there are three different fibres in it right now.  I’m auditioning fibres.  I’ve decided I don’t like the red and I don’t think the two copper fibres I pulled from my stash are working either.  So, it’ll mean that it’s time for another stash dive.  I’d love to find something pearly.  I think.  Stay tuned!

I did have another little finish over the holidays:


Another CreativFestival class from Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams.  This is called Sparkle Needlecase.  I will eventually make it into a needlecase and hopefully it won’t take me as long as the last couple of needlecases took me.  I think one took me almost 4 years before I turned it into a needlecase.  Keep watching in case I finish it before next month’s TUSAL.  Won’t that be miraculous?

I also picked up an old WIP that I hadn’t touched recently.  I don’t know why I keep putting this piece down.  I like it a lot, but for some reason I keep putting it down for months at a time.  Legends of the Dragons:


When I last picked up this piece I had about half the border stitched around the middle block.  I finished most of the border around the block and have started stitching the adorable, chubby blue dragon.  I’m hoping I’ll keep moving on this piece.  It is really beautiful.

You know how some days you just struggle to get things done?  I have that problem regularly.  I realized the biggest contributing factor to my problem is this:


Her name is MoJo and I think she’s trying to tell me to get off the computer.


Late, Late TUSAL

 Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Well, I was going to post on time – or close to it.  Really!  But the day I intended to post, the tragedy at Sandy Hill occurred and I just haven’t had the heart to post.  I am so saddened by what happened at that school.  So sorry for all those families who have lost a loved one.  My heart aches for all of them.




Time moves forward and one can’t stay still.  I will remember the names of the victims of this tragedy.

So, it’s time for the last TUSAL post of 2012.  I missed last month entirely – but when the date came around, I realized I hadn’t been stitching at all and actually had no ORTs to report.  November was an exceptionally busy month for me (just like last year) and I really worked hard at getting lots of rest so as to not get as sick as I did last year.  I did manage to avoid getting sick although it wasn’t for a lack of trying.  I’ve had two kids attempt to throw up on me in November – different school and different grades!  And apparently I almost had a 3rd barfer at another school – he threw up just 10 minutes before we were supposed to start.  I’m very glad to be done work now until January.


So, on a more pleasant note – here’s the ORT jar:

There haven’t been many additions to the jar, but there are a few new ORTs.  I did manage to finish something:


Silver Dragon Sampler

By Dragon Dreams
Stitched on 28 count White Opalescent Lugana with a mix of DMC, Caron Waterlilies & Kreinik #4 VFB

This is a class that I took at the CreativFestival this past October.  I really wanted to finish this piece before the end of the year and it was a nice easy stitch to work through.  I have a feeling I’ll finish-finish this as a flat fold.  I really like all the silvers in this piece and it is quite a change of pace for Jennifer Aikman-Smith, the designer.

My Halloween Fairy got a little attention as well:


She’s starting to look more like a person and less like a blob.  Always good progress to make!

Even though I haven’t done a ton of stitching lately, I have been torturing other fibres by attempting to knit with them.  I haven’t picked up another pair of socks just yet – I’m still looking for the right pattern, but I did start playing with some scarves for some simple knits.  First I’ve been working on this snake-like thing:


It’s a really pretty pattern, but this scarf will need some major blocking when it’s done (I’ll call it done when I run out of the fibre I’m knitting it with!).  Here’s a close up of the pattern (please, no comments on my dreadful knitting skills, ‘K?  I’m new at this!):


It’s called Spicer’s Autumn Leaf Scarf and I found it as a freebie here.  There’s also a hat to go with it, but I’m not a hat person, so I’ll skip it.

And since the holidays are so close I found some fluffy novelty yarn on sale and decided to make a shiny, pretty scarf to wear over the holidays:


I only need to knit a teensy bit more and this one will be finished.  This fluffy yarn is fun to play with and requires no skill (which is a good thing, considering who is torturing the yarn, after all). 

I’ve been working hard at resisting the urge to start the Dragon Dreams 12 Days of Christmas ornaments that Jen has been posting on FB.  They are *so* cute though!

Anyway, I’d better get back to the annual holiday bake-a-thon!  Lots left to bake!


The Internet ate my blog post

 Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I know I posted my TUSAL.  I’m sure of it.  I’ve got the pictures on my hard drive.  But for reasons that escape me, there’s no post.

Rather than pulling my hair out over it, I’ll just slip this post in before the next new moon is upon us…..

Here’s my jar from October:


The jar took a very pleasantly large jump in October mostly thanks to my classes at the CreativFestival.  I had such a great time at the show – catching up with friends and stitching my little heart out.





Warning: the rest of this post is very picture heavy and covers my 5 days of stitching at the CreativFestival. You may want to get a cup of tea and a warm cat before continuing.

Here’s some things I was working on at the Festival.  I haven’t had much time to stitch since the Festival because my work schedule is crazy busy, which is leaving me crazy tired.

First up, Creative Persuasion, a class I took with Carolyn Mitchell on the first day of the Festival:


I got a fair amount done over the course of the class.  My kit was missing one of the balls of pearl cotton, so I opted to switch out my colours a bit – where there is supposed to be a darker pearl cotton, I’m using a lighter colour and where there is a lighter pearl cotton, I’ll be using a darker one.  I’ve had to order the darker pearl cotton on-line, but that’s hardly a bad thing.

Next up, I took my out-of-my-comfort-zone class – I made a crystal pendant with Lisa Pavelka.  I was quite intimidated at first, but quickly got the hang of it.  We weren’t able to finish the pendant in class (it needed to cure overnight), but I got plenty of instruction on how to finish it off.  I just need a cloning device so one of me can actually sit down and do it.  Here’s where it is right now:


I need to put the bezel on the back and cover the back up properly and it’ll be all ready to wear.  It’s super sparkly in the right light.  I’m glad I took the class – it was really enjoyable and Lisa was an excellent instructor (and also happens to be a body double for Julia Roberts…..).

Then I took a class with one of my favourite people (and one of my closest friends), Jennifer Aikman-Smith from Dragon Dreams.  We had an adorable little snowflake ornament to stitch.  For reasons that elude me, I failed to take a picture of my progress and today is too dreary to try now.  It’s a companion for Jen’s other two snowflakes.

Next I took a class with Linda Lachance from Northern Pine Designs.  I thoroughly enjoy Linda’s designs and classes.  I admit to wishing for better photography on her patterns because the pictures just don’t do her pieces justice.  They are so stunning in real life!  The class I took was called ‘Silvery Christmas Tree’ and I’ve already finished it.  I had most of it done in the class, as a matter of fact, but I’m a fast stitcher.


It’s such a pretty piece – perfect for winter and the holidays.  Fun, easy stitch too!

Then I spent some more time with Jen in her Sparkle Needlecase class.  I mostly worked on Nun stitch in the class and haven’t worked my way back around to it just yet.  It’s an adorable little dragon and he’ll got really well with my wizard needlecase of Jen’s that I did a few years ago.

I finally managed to squeeze in a class this year on how to make Dragon Boats.  This class has been offered before by various instructors but the timing never seemed to work out for me.  Carolyn Mitchell was teaching this time around.  Here’s where I got to during the class. 


All of the green tape and white cardboard will be all covered up with thread.  The dragon boats are very easy to make, but consume scads of thread.  I’ve inherited a large quantity of thread from various family members in the last few years – I think it’ll be a good way to use some of it up.  Plus, they’re just pretty.

After a quick break from Dragon Boats, I was back hanging out with Jen, taking her ‘Year of the Dragon’ Sampler.  This is a beautiful piece that I am very much in love with.  The colours are very unusual for Jen as there is no green in the piece!  There are lots of lovely greys and silvers though and I’m working on this when I can.  Here’s where I got to in the class:

DSC_0790I probably would have gotten further if I hadn’t been an idiot and skipped the word ‘the’ before ‘dragon’ the first time I stitched it.

The next day, I took a class from Lorene Salt – a new-to-me instructor.  She had an intriguing project that will make a bracelet (or cuff) when it’s all finished off.  The colours aren’t really ‘me’, but I wanted the experience of a new and different teacher and an interesting project.  Here’s where I got to in the class:


It’s actually quite an interesting stitch and I’ll probably get back to it.  Eventually.  In my spare time.  (I can hear you when you snort, you know……)

My last class of the day was another 25th Anniversary Sampler but this time, with Carolyn Mitchell.  (It was the CreativFestival’s 25th Anniversary this year, hence all the silver and anniversary-type things going around this time….)

I really enjoyed this class, particularly because Carolyn spent a good amount of time explaining all the various design elements and how precisely they were designed to relate to the Festival.  Plus, there’s purple.  Lots of purple.  How was I to resist?


The top portion is is meant to be a neckline of a dress.  It’s so pretty and sparkly.  Swarovski also donated a gorgeous crystal that will hang as a necklace within the dress’ neckline.  I’m looking forward to getting back to this one – but it’s super long – 9” x 20” on stretcher bars.  Makes it a little awkward for working on.

The last day of the festival brought me to two final classes.  First up was a class with Jen again – ‘Canvaswork Dragon’.  This was the most challenging class that we all took.  Jen provided us with a materials list but it wasn’t specific beyond ‘one skein of this type of thread, one skein of this type, etc.’ – we had to build our own colour palette.  Many of my classmates are cross-stitchers and are used to being told ‘put this fibre in this colour in this spot’ but Jen was shoving everyone out of their comfort zone by making them instead build a colour palette and then figure out where to put it all.  Doing this isn’t completely alien to me, but I pushed myself outside of my preferred colour range.  I didn’t go for purple this time, but instead went red.  I started doing a little bit of stitching in the class, but spent more time fiddling with my palette and deciding what I might put where….


I really want to get back to my dragon and finish bringing him to life.  He’s going to be *gorgeous*!

My last class of the festival was again with an instructor/designer that I wanted to meet – Carol Scott Higeli from The Stitcher’s Habit.  I’ve always admired many of Carol’s pieces for their fun and whimsy.  I took a class called ‘Zen and the Art of Cross-stitch’.  Then Zen portion didn’t really float my boat, but it was a very calm and relaxing way to end the festival – never a bad thing.  We worked on a cute little snowman ornament, which I almost finished in the class and it took me only a few minutes to polish off at home the next day:


I need to get him ‘ornament-ified’ and up on my tree this year.  He’s a cutie pie!

I’m still plugging away on my other projects as well – here’s a few update pics:


My Halloween Fairy wasn’t finished for Halloween, but I wasn’t expecting her to be – since I took this pictures she’s now got a head, hair, arms and legs.  She’s trucking along at her own pace just fine.

Well, if you’ve stuck with me this far – you deserve a medal!  Maybe it’s time to reward anyone who still reads my little blog – but I’ll think about that a bit more….  Maybe next post!

Hope you’re curled up somewhere warm!


It’s a snap!

 Friday, October 05, 2012

Well, a snap tray anyway….  If you’ve spent any time at all hanging out with needlepointers, you’ll have heard of a snap tray.  If you haven’t, then I’ll introduce you to a handy little needlework tool.

Here’s what I made a couple of days ago:


This is called a snap tray and it’s a really handy thing for anyone who travels with their needlework.  Have you ever been someplace (like a classroom, someone’s house, sitting on the beach, etc…..) and managed to scatter your needlework supplies (like my scissors currently reclining in the snap tray) over hither and yon?  Well, a snap tray is a handy little accessory to corral all the little bits of flotsam and jetsam.  And the bonus part is that it will lay flat when you’re not actually using it!  See, like this:


I can also see myself using one of these just when I’m staying away from home – when I take off my rings, watch, glasses, etc. I’d have a safe place to keep them all.

Nifty, eh?  (sorry, my Canadian is showing!)

This was very simple to make (and I’m sure Heather recognizes the fabrics!) from this free tutorial I found online (you have to sign up for an account, but it’s free).  It took me longer to hand sew on the snaps then it did to sew it all together.  And one of the sets of snaps is a little, ahem, over-exuberant and doesn’t want to come apart once it’s put together.  Perhaps I need slightly higher quality snaps, but anyway….. It would be very, very easy to scale this up or down to make it larger or smaller.

If sewing isn’t your thing, my friend Jane posted a bunch of links to different snap trays that are available.  It was her post that got me remembering the free tutorial and finally got me to get off my duff and sew one.  So, thanks Jane (Jane’s blog is also the most amazing needlepoint resource for anything and everything – go read it – the inspiration is endless there!)!  I’m tempted to make a frame weight too, or I may take a page from a friend’s book and buy myself a stuffed animal to disembowel and re-fill with glass beads or something heavy.  We’ll see where that goes!

The CreativFestival starts in less than a week!  Can’t wait to catch up with my friends and play with fabrics and fibres for 5 whole days.


September TUSAL

 Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wow!  It’s hard to believe that the new moon has come and gone again.  The summer sure seems to have dashed by quickly! 

Today it’s a bit of a grey and rainy day, but it’s hard to mind overly much when I’ve got a kitty curled by my side.  Here’s my jar for this month:


There’s a few ORTs in there – but not nearly as many as I might have dropped in there.  I seem to have lost a little of my needlework mojo.  Although I tend to think of it more as conserving energy since the CreativFestival is coming up in less than a month.  5 days of classes, shopping and fun with friends I only get to see once a year.  This year will be even better for me since I had to miss last year’s Festival.

I did have a small finishing-finish this past month:


This is a biscornu I started ages and ages ago after I won a drawing over at ‘The Sparklie Things Blog’ (still one of my favourite blog names of all time!).  I won the linen, the Kreinik, the WDW and the buttons – beautifully handmade by Karen herself…..  I stitched up the biscornu quite a while ago but got stalled on the putting-it-together part.  I kept forgetting to buy stuffing.  Finally I got my act together and my butt in gear and got it finished.  I’m really happy with how it turned out. 

So I mentioned last month how much of a menace I am to wool and all things knitterly…..  Well, I decided it was time to buckle down and get serious about things.  I’ve been trying to knit a pair of socks for ages and failing miserably.  I tried different patterns, different needles, different wool…….  Apparently I am the problem.  But I persevered and look what came off the needles a couple of weeks ago:


Look!  A sock!  It’s got a ton of flaws and mistakes in it (and I genuinely suck at picking up the heel stitches), but it’s the first thing that I’ve knitted that looks sock-like.  And I can even get it on my foot.  I still recall another sock that I could barely get on my foot…..

Flushed with the success of sock 1, I elected to see if lightning could strike twice and miracle of miracles, it did:


They are actually the same colour – the picture is a bit off.  I am amazed that I’ve got a pair of socks that actually fit.  Far from perfect, but for my first successful sock knitting attempt, I’m not going to complain too much.  I just won’t wear them where anyone who can knit can actually see them.  I’m not that dumb.

If anyone is interested, the pattern is a freebie I found on Ravelry called Dragonfly Socks.  I think I may not have made the best wool/pattern match up here, but I’m still happy with the result.  And they’re finished.

Naturally, in honour of all this finishing going on, I immediately started something new:


This is a start on Mirabilia’s Halloween Fairy.  It’s a limited edition kit that I picked up quite a while ago when I found it on sale for a great price.  I’m getting in the mood for Halloween right now, so out she came.  I’ve wanted to stitch her for so long! 

Anyway, I think I’ll go stitch for a bit.  I’ve got to get some things done for work as things are gearing up for me in that arena, but I think I need a little me time.  I’ve been spending days and days counting beads, sorting pipecleaners, counting paperwork & bookmarks and just getting a million little jobs done.  All this work now will pay off later when I’m super busy again.


August TUSAL

 Monday, August 20, 2012

Well, time has zipped away again and another month has passed and it’s TUSAL time again.  Here’s this month’s jar:


I still can’t find one of my portable ORT-ports, so not all my ORTs are present and accounted for.  There are days that its a wonder that I can manage to both clothe and feed myself.

So last month I posted my ORT report and then headed off camping with the family.  My husband decided to make a fun family event for all the nieces and nephews – he planned an Olympics for all the kids to participate in.  I helped out with rounding up prizes for everyone.  We didn’t award any first, second or third place prizes as it would make things too competitive and we’re just trying to have fun (plus the fact that the youngest competitor is 6 and the oldest is 16, it just didn’t seem fair!).  So we had a Torch Making ceremony (we were going to set them on fire at the end in our own Olympic cauldron, but there was a fire ban on, so no fires for us!), and ping pong ball blowing contests and stilt walking competitions and obstacle courses and canoe sinking and raft building and water-fun shooting and……  It took us 2 full days to get through all the events my hubby planned.  We had lots of fun!  I’d share pictures, but I haven’t asked for permission from the parents of my nieces and nephews, so you’ll just have to trust me.

I did fit in some stitching while we were away.  I started (and finished) this little Mill Hill kit:


It’s really pretty and sparkly.  I still need to cut it out, back it with some felt and make a hanger.  That likely won’t happen until closer to Christmas.

I also finished something else!  (I know, a record!)


Witchy Washy by Raise the Roof Designs

Stitched on 32-count Belfast hand-dyed by PTP “DaVinci”

Using most of the recommended fibres (subbed DMC 310 for Black Crow, DMC 414 for  Barn Grey, DMC 612 for Cidermill Brown, DMC 3829 for Schneckley)

This was a thoroughly enjoyable stitch and I had this piece kitted up for ages!  Don’t know why I waited so long to stitch it.  The only thing that I still need to locate are a couple of buttons shaped like black crows to sit on the branches of the trees.  The recommended buttons are from JABC and are a little (lot) pricey for my tastes.  Hopefully I’ll find a good substitute that won’t cripple the wallet!

I had a sudden urge to do a little finishing too, although I still need to find some trimmings to completely polish these two things off:


On the left is ‘Cold & Cuddly’ (I think that’s the name, anyway) from Cherrywood Design Studio and on the right is Lizzie*Kate’s ‘Life’s a Stitch’.  Both of which I stitched in the last year or so.  They’re both finished as cubes, but both need some ribbon and bows to really finish them off.  Need to do some shopping!

I have managed to convince myself that I should do some knitting.  So far I’ve mangled one ball of wool (and the project is in time out until it behaves itself and until I can find one ball of replacement wool) and I’ve attempted a sock – twice.  Apparently I don’t read directions well.  Really, I’m just a menace with wool and should give up.  Oh well, at least it’s entertaining remembering swear words in foreign languages.

I’m off to torture some wool again.


TUSAL–and it’s almost on time!

 Saturday, July 21, 2012

Well I noticed around blog-land that it’s TUSAL time – I’m late, as usual, but at least only by a day or so, rather than an entire month!




Here’s my jar’s beauty shot for the month (taken at night in bad light – apologies for its absolute crap-tastic-ness!):


Its taken a decent jump in the last month.  It would have taken a larger jump if I hadn’t misplaced one of my portable ORT-ports that I carry around with me.  It seems to have grown legs and wandered off unattended.  I’ll find it eventually.

I’ve made great strides in my Fleur-de-Lys class from Laura J. Perin – I’ve finished just about everything – I just need to do a little backstitch around the leaves and petals of the centre iris and it’ll be finished.  I so enjoyed this piece and am sorry to see it end.


Fleur de Lys

Cyber-Class from Laura J. Perin Designs
Stitched on 18-count Sage Mono canvas using DMC floss & pearl cotton, Caron Collection Watercolours, YLI Ribbon Floss, ThreadworX Overdyed Floss & Kreinik #8 braid

I also got my act together and managed to frame up a couple of pieces.  They’re far from perfect, but are good enough to hang on the walls.  First up is Moon Garden from Blackbird Designs:


I’m not sure just where I’ll hang this just yet, but I have a feeling it’ll end up in the guest room.

Then there’s Poppy, from Mirabilia/Nora Corbett:


I stitched this piece shortly after it was released as I fell in love on sight with it.  It’s going to hang in the newly-refurbished powder room.  It’s finally finished thanks to DH’s hard work:


The red in the left-hand picture is truer to the actual paint colour.  I’m quite happy with the finished product overall.  The room seems much bigger now that we removed the old vanity and went with a pedestal sink.  We just need to hang Poppy and a piece of artwork my friend, Teresa Wentzler, drew for me a few years ago.  I need to get the right frame for it and then it’ll hang in this little room too.

We’re off to the wild for the next week – camping with family.  DH has quite an event planned for his nieces and nephews (and our own sons too, of course).  But I’m not sharing details now – you’ll have to wait until we get home.  It should make for an entertaining trip!


Blog template by

Back to TOP