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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall Retreat Recap

Happy Last Week of October!

My this month has flown by!  The weather has been so beautiful here in Nebraska that it is hard to believe November is just a few short days away.  Before I know it Amy will be home for Thanksgiving and then Christmas!  YIKES!!

Retreat was last weekend.   I was asked in the comments of my last blog post what retreat was so bear with me if this is old news to you.  The shop I work at has two retreats a year.  A spring "frills" retreat and a fall "no frills" retreat.  Spring retreat includes an exclusive design, swag bags, door prizes, massages, sometimes a trunk show, a make it and take it, swap table, brag table and shop night plus the most important thing...4 days of stitching.   I blogged about our last spring retreat a couple of posts back.  Fall Retreat is no frills.  It's 4 days of stitching, an ornament exchange and brag table. Period.  We may re-think the massages though and add those in for next year.  Our ornament exchange this year was Christmas themed.  Last year it was Halloween themed.  I didn't take too many pictures this year but did manage to snap a few of the finishes that happened and of course the brag table and ornaments.  This fall we had a total of 28 retreaters that were able to attend.  I believe, judging from all the laughter, everyone had a good time, I know I did!

I believe Linda was the first to finish something at retreat this year.  But I have to call her out on it. Having only 3 stitches to put in, while technically a finish, is IMHO Cheating!!!  But we clapped for her anyway and I took the dirty little cheaters picture too!

See that maniacal look in her eye?  She knows she cheated and she doesn't care!  Mwah!  Linda you know I love you.

Doreen had a finish from the Hometown Holiday series.



Stacy had a finish in the monthly Cottage series.  She might have had more but you actually have to bring your stitching with you to retreat if you intend to stitch.  Sadly, Stacy remembered her homework but forgot her stitching!!  We had quite a few chuckles at her expense.  Luckily, another gal that was coming on Friday was able to bring it with her and so Stacy just worked on her homework for the first 24 hours of retreat.



Carole had a finish, although unless you know her and recognize the hair you wouldn't know it was Carole.



Deb had a finish too.  When I went over to take the picture she had already balled it up and stuffed it in her bag.  I say that's abuse of a finished cross stitch and she should have to forfeit the piece.  Do you agree?


Mary Ann had a finish while at retreat too.  But she hid behind it when I took the picture.  Possibly another reason for forfeiture?


The following were displayed on the brag table.  Kudos to all for the gorgeous pieces we got to see!  Pictures just don't do them justice.  Especially mine this year as I thought I should behave and not climb up and down on chairs to get a better shot.  I apologize for the quality.













 
 The ornament exchange was fun and everyone did a wonderful job again this year.









Finally, I will close with a couple of WIP's that I thought you might enjoy seeing.

It's not often I see anyone working on a Hawk Run Hallow piece and this one is stunning! Elaine said she hasn't stitched on it since last retreat so I challenged her to have it finished by next fall's retreat.


The last piece I will share is a Prairie Schooler masterpiece being stitched by Patty.  I believe it measures somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 x 55 on 40 count.  This one got several people's attention. So much so that a couple of them went on ebay and bought the charts!


And there you have it, retreat in a nutshell.  I hope you enjoyed seeing all the wonderful projects stitched by the awesome needleartists that attended, and keep in mind this is just a small sampling of the beautiful pieces the ladies were working on.   A big thanks to all of you for supporting our retreats, without you we couldn't have them!

Take care till next time!

Julie

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Another Dan finish and some Julie stitching too!

Happy October Everyone!

The weather in Nebraska turned chilly Friday so I have been starting my days with some hot chocolate in my favorite mug!  I have to say I love everything about this mug.  The weight of it, the color, the way the handle fits in my hand, the size and lets not forget the saying!  It's perfect!


Dan is off in Kansas City having a Nascar day.  Up to this point he has not really been a fan, he'd watch it some if it happened to be on but he could take it or leave it.   I am however, predicting that after seeing it in person he will be a convert.    *UPDATE:  Didn't even get this posted before he called to say he bought a Danica Patrick hat and she autographed it and he is a huge fan now! Silly predictable man!  LOL!

In my last post I promised to share his latest project.  I didn't get a chance to blog this past week though and now instead of a WIP I get to share his finish!

this will be a gift for a friend of Dans
When he started this project, Dan informed me that he will need a matching "man" fob for all his stitching projects and could I please make him one for this project.  He already has a ship fob which I thought would work just fine but noooo, he wanted a lighthouse fob.   I told him I didn't think there would be a lighthouse charm anywhere in the stores here. We live in Nebraska, why would we need a lighthouse charm?  So what did he do??  The man trotted his happy azz off to the store and came home with a lighthouse charm just to prove me wrong.  I then had no choice but to make him a fob.  If only it would stop there.  But I can see the writing on the wall already as hints are being dropped left and right about how he only has one pair of scissors.  Seriously dude, they don't make "manly" embroidery scissors!!

I am not sure what his next project will be.  He keeps telling me to choose his next piece and I keep telling him to choose his own.  It will be interesting to see what he comes up with.  

I have eased back in to stitching and am doing well.  I take frequent breaks and do my exercises and and so far so good.  I finished Blackbird Designs Midnight Watch last week but forgot to take a picture and I left it at work.  I was almost done with it before my neck went to pieces so I didn't have much left to do and I am beyond thrilled that I finished it.  I had set a goal to finish it  and Tuscan Rose this year and was shooting for before Fall Retreat.  One out of two isn't bad considering.  We're having a Christmas Ornament Exchange at Retreat this Fall and I was thinking I would be able to participate but I was wrong.  I stitched up a piece this week and now I just need to finish it.  I will have to wait to show you that one after retreat though.  And I dug out Tuscan Rose last night and put a few stitches in it but not enough to take a picture.   Which leaves me with showing a couple three pin pillows I stitched well over a year ago and finally put together a couple of weeks ago although I am still debating trims on them.

L- Jeanette Douglas,  R - Blackbird Designs 

 And a Lizzie Kate that I stitched right around Mother's Day last spring but haven't decided what to do with it yet.    


If I remember correctly, I switched up the colors a bit on this one.

Quick update on the kids,

Adam and Marcia are doing well and looking forward to finding a town house when their apt. lease is up.  We've seen quite a bit of Adam the last few months as work has brought him to town and Marcia popped in for a weekend before my surgery.  Both will be here for Christmas this year and we are very excited for that!


Abby is still dating Joe and they are doing well.  Joe just bought a house so Abby is busy trying to figure out how to decorate as Joe says she can do what she wants within reason with the main living areas as long as she doesn't touch "the man cave".   No girly stuff though.  Abby starts her new hours at work this week and is looking forward to seeing more of Joe.  Grandpuppy Lola is a spoiled rotten little ball of fluff but we adore her!

hard to find a pic where one or both of them
aren't making a silly face!  Sorry Joe!
Amy moved to Ohio for grad school in June and is doing well although busy doesn't quite cover it.  She was told grad school would be entirely different from college and they weren't lying but she is thriving and making new friends.   She calls almost every day and fills me in on what is happening but to be honest, most of it goes over my head!!  We miss her constantly and are looking forward to seeing her at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Amy is on the far right
And with that I will call it a day.  I hope you all are having a great weekend full of stitching!

Take care till next time!

Julie
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More on what Dan did this summer


Happy Hump Day!

I'm so pleased you all were impressed with the Mr's stitching.  I've chosen a wonderful frame for it and am just trying to decide on whether to mat it or not.  I'll share when it's finished.

Some of you might remember a few years back when I had my Achilles Tendon surgery.  To keep me entertained Dan remodeled the kitchen while I was convalesing.  Every day I would make my way downstairs and find that he had worked on one thing or another.  It was almost like Christmas!

Dan did not disappoint this time either!  It all started with the fireplace.  We had a lovely orangey oak surround that neither of us liked and since I had nothing but time to think about things, and the sofa faces the fireplace, it became the pea underneath my mattress until finally I couldn't take it and I begged him to do something.  We put our heads together and decided to paint it the same color as the kitchen cabinets but keep the mantle itself stained, just darker. It took him the entire 3 day 4th of July weekend but he got it finished and we both were thrilled with how it turned out.

Fireplace before

fireplace after
Meanwhile, the upstairs toilet leaked leaving stains on the kitchen ceiling, we got the toilet fixed but the stains remained and they bothered me every time I saw them.  So...he painted the ceiling and since the kitchen ceiling is open to the family room ceiling he had to paint the whole thing.  Dan watches HGTV  and he sees how they always empty out the room completely when they paint and remodel.  However, as much as he will moan and groan about having to work around the furniture the man will not empty the room.  Nope, he'd rather complain the entire time and this time he had to work around me since I was flat out on the sofa 99% of the time.  But in spite of the cursing and stumbling over things he got the ceiling finished and it looks quite spiffy.  But he didn't stop there.  We had been talking about how badly the walls needed painting for at least a year.  It's been over a decade since the last paint job and since it was suede paint we hadn't been able to touch it up because you can't touch up suede paint, it looks worse than the holes and black marks if you do.  But I loved my suede paint and didn't want to paint over it  with regular paint and Ralph Lauren,  the suede paint we liked, had been discontinued many years ago. However, as it so happens, with some research I discovered that Home Depot had just re-introduced Ralph Lauren's suede paint this past June!!! So Dan trotted his happy self to the store and brought home every last paint chip color in the line for me to look at.  And ponder.  And then ponder some more.  And then choose one color only to change my mind the next morning.  And then I would ponder some more.   I finally had it narrowed down to 2 colors, a brown, similar to what is in the kitchen or a sage green.  I went back and forth and back and forth between them so much that time passed.  Lots of time passed.  I had my surgery and still hadn't decided.  In fact it wasn't until I was somewhat mobile after my surgery that I finally chose and then it was at the store when we were getting the paint!  I intended to get the brown paint but at the last second I went with the green and I am so happy I did!!  It looks fantastic!  It looks so fantastic that Dan couldn't stand to keep the carpet in there.  He said he didn't spend all that time painting the suede paint (not the easiest technique) just to keep the ugly carpet when we both really wanted something else.  I wanted a medium colored hardwood and he was leaning more towards a dark laminate wood and in the end I let him have his way and we went with the laminate.  Again it was an interesting process since the man wouldn't completely empty the room.  He emptied the smaller pieces into the kitchen but left the entertainment center, sofa, recliner and the love seat.  He did half the room and then had to shift everything over to do the other half.  It took him over a week to finish and almost as soon as he did he said it was a mistake,  3 dogs, dark floor...lots of upkeep and I can't do any of it yet.  But it does look really nice.   We found an area rug at Lowe's and a clearance ceiling fan at Menards and with the exception of needing new furniture at some point (it's also a decade old and my lounging on it for the last 4 months didn't help it out any) the room is finished and we are both thrilled with it!

Family room before

all the many holes that needed to be filled.

north wall looking towards the kitchen
 .
nw wall

west wall/sw corner

sw wall again
 
sw corner

se corner.  we removed the top of the entertainment center

south wall

new rug

new laminate floor
I think  we're done doing any further remodeling since it seems like the only time we do it is when I have surgery and quite frankly I don't want to have any more!  I'm sure you can understand that!

Dan has started a new small project that he intends as a gift for Christmas so I will share that with you next time and  will also share some pin pillows I had stitched before things with my neck happened.  

Hope you enjoyed seeing the remodel!  

Take care till next time!

Julie    


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All about Dan

Hello again!

Today is all about Dan, the stitching man!  While I was laid up he was able to squeeze in some stitching time in between working 2 jobs, having to cook, clean, do laundry and wait on me hand and foot.  Pretty sure I remember telling you all about the wonderful chart I was able to find at  February Market in Nashville.  Well, he finished the stitching on it but has yet to build his Mi'Lords necessities box to mount it on.  I think he's been a wee bit busy doing other things and box building isn't something you want to do late at night after you tuck your wife in bed!  He'll get to it eventually but in the meantime here is his finished piece.  Sorry no ironing, it's not on my list of approved activities.



This was his first time working on evenweave and his first time working with an overdyed floss.  I think he did a wonderful job!

Once Mi'Lords Necessities was finished he was ready to tackle a huge project.  One I wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole.  Stitched on 32 ct Fog Linen from PTP using DMC floss he started the stitching in May I believe, since he brought it with him to retreat.  Yep, that's right, my man came to retreat!  The official reason he was there was to help bring the shop out for shop night but once we had things set up the man disappeared.  When I next saw him he was happily ensconced at a table full of women stitching away and laughing with the girls like he'd done it a million times! I wish I had taken a picture of it but I was busy working and didn't think about it.  The girls were very kind to him and even hooked him up with  his own stash that they pulled from the swap table.

Dan's Stash courtesy of the retreaters
There was a reason I am told for each chart they so thoughtfully chose for him but I am not aware of what those thoughts are.  Maybe some of them will chime in on the comments and let us all know.  One of our regulars, Carole, even made him a manly fob to go with his project.

Can you tell what the project is?  
But I digress...I have to give the man kudos, lots and lots of kudos.  Not only was this chart full of confetti stitches but it looks like one of the most boring pieces to stitch ever.  Cool when finished but one wouldn't get a sense of accomplishment as one stitched due to the nature of the chart.  You don't really see the picture until it's all done and you step back.  But I am happy to report that he finished this project this week and I think it's awesome.  Even his back looks good considering it's only his 3rd project.  Are you curious yet as to what it is?

Can I have a drumroll please!


back
This is a Ronnie Rowe Pen and Ink design called Concordia.  It's one of 3 ships, I'm pretty sure Dan won't stitch the other 2 but who knows?  It could happen.

Started back to work yesterday and stretched my first piece of cross stitch. I think it went pretty well.  I don't seem to have a lot of increased pain because of it anyway.  My arm is a little more sore but I also started PT so it could be that or a combination.  I plan to take it slow and easy, only working 2 hours a day at this time.  Still no stitching, I don't think I could handle having my head down to stretch and to stitch so stitching will keep till I get caught up a bit at work.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about Dan's stitching.  He's pretty proud of himself as he should be!

Take care till next time!

Julie