Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Going to California...

Well, tomorrow is the big day...I make my first trip (ever) to California. I am heading to Elegant Stitch in Modesto, CA to teach a workshop...and I couldn't be more excited! I absolutely adore traveling to meet fellow needleworkers and spending time with each of them in class. I will be teaching "Harvest Huswif" to a sold-out group...this special autumn stitching case has fun-shaped wool pockets inside and a matching scissor fob. This project is stitched on Weeks Dye Works linen with Gloriana Silk Threads...the wool fabric is from Moda and WDW...and the gorgeous hand-dyed ribbons are also from Gloriana. Inside: the wool pumpkin is for needles and pins, the upper acorn will hold a thimble or needle threader, the left leaf holds scissors, and the right leaf holds a 3" you have the large stitched pocket across the bottom. I really enjoyed designing this piece and can't wait share it with the attendees! This project is currently exclusive to the Elegant Stitch Workshop and will not be available for consumer purchase for at least one year.

I am currently packing my bags and getting my camera ready - I plan to take lots of photos to share with you (Lois has been kind enough to let me stay a couple extra days and be my tour guide...she has no idea what she is in for)! I will not be taking my laptop on this trip, so my communication will definitely be limited - please be patient with my response time....also the monthly newsletter will be delayed until my return.

To those of you attending - I can't wait to see you - we are going to have a MARVELOUS time!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Fall Ya'll

This post is for two very special friends: Elizabeth S. - her phrase was used for the title of this post (and make sure you say it with a southern accent)...and Teresa who just recently commented to me that every time I sew a project I make a bunch of them (yep, this time I made thirteen). I love you both dearly.

I had to share my most recent batch of pincushion tuffets - can you tell I had a bunch of autumn fabric scraps leftover from a large project?! These lovelies are already spoken for and shipped to new homes - one set of six and one set of seven. I just love making these...and this time I cut the strips for all thirteen and then chain pieced them, so it went rather quickly - it took me a couple hours to make all of them...then I stuffed and whip stitched them closed in an evening while watching television. I have a list of eleven more I would like to make in the next week or so...we'll see if I can make time...I already have some great fabric scraps picked out!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Purchases, Presents, and Perks

To wrap up my posts about the New England Stitching Retreats, I have to share the goodies I brought home from my teaching excursion....and yes, there is quite a fact, I couldn't fit everything in my suitcase, so I had to ship a box home.

We'll start off with my quilting/fabric stash from Keepsake Quilting...I thought I did pretty well, considering this shop was on my bucket list. If you took a look at the photos I posted of this amazing shop on October 10th, then you know I really had to show some restraint. My favorite purchase: the owl fabric in the upper right corner (it makes me so very happy!)...

Then of course I made multiple trips to ABC Stitch Therapy - one before the events started and then once with each of the retreat groups....and of course, three trips added up to three purchases. I rarely purchase any cross stitch charts because I am so swamped with my own designs (plus I have an enormous stash already) - but I couldn't resist the Glendon Place "Outrageous Owls" chart. I also picked up Homespun Elegance "Bird Pincushion Box", the limited Liberty Hill "Halloween Night Scissor Block", two pairs of Halloween scissors, the Just Nan "Give A Hoot!" Wee Whimzi Box, and a large assortment of pins from my very favorite Puntini Puntini (so fabulous!) and JABCO.

As if all that wasn't enough, I received an AMAZING assortment of gifts from the retreat attendees. I am always blown away by the thoughtfulness and kindness of my students...they truly spoil me rotten! At the first retreat, Debbie gave me the most adorable Halloween bracelet with whimsical owl beads...Donna gave me a BEAUTIFUL Shaker pincushion from the museum gift shop (LOVE IT!)...Ruth brought me a lovely gift bag filled with mementos from New Hampshire (including a moose-shaped dog biscuit for Simba - yep, she even spoiled my dog!)...Elizabeth gave me a GORGEOUS knitted scarf...and since I made my first ever visit to a Dunkin' Donuts (which caused quite a bit of laughter), I received a DD trick-or-treat bag and a Halloween Munchkins box...not too mention I was given all sorts of snacks and beverages! At the second retreat, Gail brought me the most delightful Lavender Vanilla candle...the group from Australia brought me a couple cute tiny koala bears and a kitchen towel featuring the words of Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Peterson (an Australian poet, journalist, and author)...and Teresa (Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches) brought me an array of fantastic gifts. The homemade goodie bag from Teresa contained a bunch of See's Candy (DELICIOUS), smoked almonds, an autumn Kleenex pouch (she made), and the most adorable little snap pouch for lip balm (she cross stitched and sewed it!) - and best of all - she knows how much I like my food SPICY and got me tiny bottles of Tabasco Sauce that fit inside, so I can always spice things up!...and to top everything off (knowing I am heading to California for the first time next week), she gave me a "California Here We Come" tote bag - how thoughtful was that?!! Seriously - I couldn't ask for better stitching friends. Oh and yes, there is a ladybug Halloween costume for Simba that Nataly found for me after I told a story in class about the 5-year-old twins across the street wanting Simba to dress up as a ladybug for Halloween...

So I know your are thinking that has to be everything...BUT WAIT...there's more! For both of the retreats, I was included in the Yankee Swap event- yep, the teacher got to play too (how awesome is that?!)...the gift I ended up with at the first retreat included a vintage looking pincushion box, a pair of Dinky Dyes scissors, and a My Big Toe Needle Threader (woohoo!). At the second retreat, various gifts passed through my hands...but in the end I had a Clover Mini Iron and a bottle of fray check - both perfect for me and all my crafting endeavors! I also had to share the card that was in my room when I arrived - it had a Puntini Puntini exclusive Loon button made especially for the retreat attached - so very special. Nataly also included me in several of the evening gift bags with threads, chocolates, and tiny embellishments - it was pure joy to return to my room late at night and find a little organza bag tied on my door handle filled with little pressies.

Finally, after all the attendees had a chance to visit the gift shop in the Enfield Shaker Museum, I made a few purchases myself! If you checked out my blog post about the gift shop on October 17th, then you know it is filled with unique Shaker items from local artists - so many, it was hard to choose what to bring home this year. After much thought, I decided upon a Round Dresser Tray, a Shaker Tomato Pincushion (they are so lovely, I had to purchase an additional one), a Swallowtail Utensil Holder, four pegs, and four peggies. If you would like to do a little shopping yourself, visit the Enfield Shaker Museum Store online at:

There you have it - my fabulous purchases, presents, and perks! Next week I leave for a teaching engagement at Elegant Stitch in Modesto, CA - I am staying a couple extra days, as it is my first trip (ever) to California - Lois (bless her heart) has sightseeing and shopping planned for us - this post just might make her regret that decision...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Hampshire with Nataly

Today's post focuses on some beautiful sightseeing I was able to do while in New Hampshire. Between the two retreats, I had a little time off and I was lucky to have Nataly (Nataly's Needle Creations) show me some of the local landscape - she gave me a choice of going shopping or going hiking...and since I can go shopping at home, I chose to hike the trails at The Lost River Gorge and The Flume Gorge...and I am absolutely certain I made the best choice! The autumn leaves were in the midst of changing colors and were gorgeous shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown...the scenery was SPECTACULAR.

We started out first thing in the morning and had an enjoyable ride to The Lost River Gorge - I was quite impressed with this destination - there were fabulous boardwalks that led you through the gorge and along the way there were unbelievable views of the foliage, the river, waterfalls, caves, wildlife, and was such a unique experience and far removed from anything I see in Iowa. Here are a few favorite photos:

After a refreshing hike through The Lost River Gorge, we drove to The Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park. The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty...and again, there was a fabulous boardwalk that gave us an up close look at the Flume Covered Bridge, the Flume Brook, Avalanche Falls (a 45 foot waterfall), Table Rock, and Glacial say this hike was breathtaking is an understatement - I was speechless as we followed the (seemingly endless) boardwalk to the top of the waterfall - it was incredible! Again, here are just a few of my favorite photos...

It was such an inspiring and relaxing day...and the weather was perfect! Nataly - thank you so much for spending a big part of your day with me and for showing me just a touch of the beauty New Hampshire has to offer - I could not have asked for a better tour guide and friend to show me the sights - you provided me with many fond memories that I will cherish!

I think that about does it for the the sights of New Hampshire and the New England Stitching Retreats...there will be one more post featuring my stash and items I purchased during my visit - and a few of the gifts I received from attendees...and since I had to ship them home, you will have to wait until they arrive (which can't be soon enough for me!). I am hoping to do some sewing before I head to California next week - so new creative posts are headed your way soon, as well...

Thank you for taking this journey with me...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New England Stitcher's Retreat: Events

Meeting new needlework friends is such a joy - I absolutely adore teaching and spending time with fellow stitchers! I always tell my class attendees that they are part of my stitching family and are stuck with me for life (and I mean it!) - each one (in the wise words of Dodie) leaves an imprint on my heart...I feel truly blessed to meet and work with each individual. Below are just a sampling of my photos from the New Stitching Retreat events (I took hundreds) - obviously I can't share every picture in my photo album here, so I apologize if you attended and are not present in this post (it is definitely not intentional)...I did my best to pick an assortment of fun, flattering photos...

I actually taught two separate retreats - this first photo shows the class binder, class kit (in the box - tied with ribbon and maple candy - thank you Nataly for assembling the beautiful boxes!), and the goodie tote bag (filled with charts and stitching items)...these three items were at each place setting in the classroom...


Before the reception on the first night, we had a quick tour of the Enfield Shaker Museum - this photo shows Rosemary wearing a Shaker cloak - these hooded cloaks were made of heavy wool and lined in silk.
Here are a couple photos of the classroom...
Many of the students finished part of the project (either the scissor fob, and/or the chair seat, and/or the pin pillow) in class.

Here is Debbie with her completed chair seat:
Here are Judy and Diane with their completed chair seats:
Friends for 40 years - Linda and Ruth:
Mother and daughter, stitching together - Donna and Stephanie:
...and here is a fabulous photo of Bonnie and Lisa:
Dinners during the retreat were always entertaining...and I try to sit at each and every table during the events to get to know each of the attendees...
On the second day of the retreat, we took a "field trip" to ABC Stitch Therapy for shopping and a lovely tea party. I adore this photo of Sue and Bree at the tea party table - isn't the table setting delightful? There were lots of tasty treats, including homemade scones, macaroons, petit fours, and cookies....and jam that Marie had her sister bring from New Zealand. There were multiple types of tea (including English Breakfast, my favorite) served in fancy vintage teapots...and you got to choose a teacup from a wide was a perfect afternoon.


Here are a few classroom photos from the second retreat. I was quite impressed that many (at both retreats) returned to the classroom after dinner to stitch on the project late into the night...
This next photo was taken in the stitching lounge...a little show and tell...
Marilyn and Kathy (from Australia) enjoying a "cuppa tea"...
Debi and Janette discussing a gorgeous piece Debi brought for show and tell:
I'm always excited when class attendees finish a piece to take home...just check out these proud smiles...
Teresa with her finished chair seat:
Lesley with her finished chair seat:
Jackie showing off her finished chair:
Gail with her finished chair seat:
...and Patricia with her finished scissor fob!
...and here is Debi finishing up the cross stitching on her chair seat:
And finally - a photo of the mouthwatering treats at the tea party:
So there you have it - a look inside the two New England Stitching Retreats...can you tell we all had a great time?! I seriously couldn't ask for a better job! To those of you who attended - thank you for making my time in New England extra special - I enjoyed each and every one of you...thank you for the laughs and smiles...and for sharing my passion - it was truly my pleasure to share "Botanical Blessings" with you!