Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Giveaway

There always seems to be giveaways going on in Blogland. Here's one that really appeals to me. Go check out Lori's tea towel, floss and pattern giveaway. I would love to win the "Setting The Table" pattern. I think the towels would make Coffee Time even cuter!

Hooray, vacation starts today. I have Mr. E all day. Tomorrow DH and I hit the road!

Sweet P

Monday, June 29, 2009

Christmas in July Swap Goodies

Vanessa was my partner in a Christmas in July swap. We finished our packages and sent them on their way. Since I leave on vacation this week, we decided to open our gifts last night.

When I opened her box I found this wonderful tote bag.
Isn't the fabric gorgeous?
The bag was filled with wrapped presents and underneath the wrapping were these goodies: a handmade stitched card with a recipe for banana bread, Christmas fabric, two Christmas coasters, a cherry chocolate, bar, a few buttons, a snowy mountain stitchery, Mom's Apple Pie pattern, a snowman cross stitch pattern, a pin cushion and three balls of yarn.
She also included this super adorable children's print fabric.
I'm going to use it to make something for Mr. E.
If you would like to see what I sent her, go here.

Thanks for a fun package Vanessa!

Sweet P

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting Ready for Vacation

I've announced the winner for the first week of If It's Tuesday recipe contest. You can read about it here. The contest is still running so enter your favorite chicken recipe today. You can enter as often as you'd like.

Next Wednesday DH and I leave for our 12 day vacation. We are taking a road trip from our home in Dover, NH to Bar Harbor, ME to Saint John, NB. We hope to meet some friends, play some golf and do some shopping.

I've been finishing up my swaps (I know, I've been saying that for weeks, but really I'm almost done). I have one more box to put together in the next week and then I can breathe again. In the meantime, I received my Solstice Package and opened it on Sunday. My partner made me this gorgeous tea cup wall hanging. I love the cups, but it's the gold binding that really makes the wall hanging fantastic.
Here are the rest of goodies that were in the box. Blue baby yarn, cat note cards, two bags of buttons, three FQs of green fabric, a facial in a box, four Tea Time magazines, patriotic socks, a needle card, a tea towel and a box of Suisse Mocha coffee with a recipe for a coffee milk shake.
Mr. E is growing so fast. Last night he and daddy came over to watch the replay of the USA/Spain soccer match. He happily sat/reclined on his boppy pillow, sucked his fists and watched the game. He is starting to make sounds and is trying hard to laugh. He can open his mouth wide, but can't quite get the laugh out.
That's all the news for today. I work every day from now until Monday, Tuesday is Mr. E's day with me and Wednesday we leave for vacation. What a week!

Sweet P

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Happpenings

Up first - I'm starting a Chicken Recipe contest on my At Home blog. Please pop over there and read all about it. I hope you enter the contest.

Yesterday I received my partner's paper bag of goodies for Snickerdoodle's Paper Bag Swap.
Inside the bag were these goodies: pink, green and yellow fabrics, pink rick rack and buttons and a spool of yellow ribbon. I have some ideas planned, but not sure which one I will decide to make.
In the "make something for me" department I'm crocheting a purse for me. We got this gorgeous Spa yarn from Caron in at the store. It's 25% bamboo and 75% microdenier acrylic. It's super soft and comes in several luscious colors. I bought two skeins in Ocean Spray. On their web site they have many free patterns, including the purse pattern I'm making. I hoping to get it done before our vacation starts on July 1.
The roses DH bought for me on Sunday are opening and I couldn't resist snapping a photo of one of them. Isn't it lovely?
This weekend is Mr. E's baptism so we're getting ready for company and a party. I have to clean up my creative space for house guests. That's OK. I always enjoy visiting with DS #3, his GF and this time my niece is coming to visit too.

Have a great weekend!

Sweet P

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2,900 Days and Counting . . .

Appetizer . . . one dozen pink roses
Salad Course . . . Iceberg Wedge with Bacon, Red Onion, Blue Cheese and homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
Main Course . . . Boneless Ribeye Steaks and Mashed Red Potatoes
2,900 days of wedded bliss to this man . . . priceless
Yes, we do count the days we've been married.
It's one of the many ways we stay in love.

Happy Anniversary, my love!

Sweet P

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Project I Can Show

I can show one of the projects I finished yesterday. I made a version of Leanne Beasley's Couch Companion from one the Australian magazines. Instead of making the stitchery, I used coordinated ribbon and rick rack to decorate the companion. Here it is closed:
Here is is opened:
Here is a close-up of the three pocket side:
I really like how it turned out. I picked up a different package of coordinating ribbon today to make a couch companion for me.

We were given gift cards at work because our Shrink (the amount of merchandise lost during the year) was below the company's goal. I used mine to buy a box of Kreinik Silk Bella thread. There are 25 half-skeins of floss, plus a pattern, in the box. By using a 50% coupon and my gift card I didn't have to a penny for it!
Now I need to find a special, just-for-me, project to make with the threads. Any suggestions?

Sweet P

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baseball Swap Goodies

Last summer Kim and I made a bet about the Red Sox/Yankees games over the summer. The winner would send the loser a package of goodies. Well, they finished the season series 8-8 so we decided to send each other a package. Monday I received my package from Kim. Last night at the first pitch of the game we opened our boxes. Wow! Kim really spoiled me! Here's what she sent.

This awesome baseball wall hanging,
One yard of this cool coffee fabric,
Plus all of these goodies. Two more pieces of coffee fabric, Aunt Martha's transfer pencils, a butterfly cross stitch project, pillowcases to embroider, In The Garden redwork kit, Aunt Martha motif a month transfers, Ricky Tims playing cards, NY stickers, a collection of baseball charms with coordinating fabrics, a Big Papi poster and two Yankees souvenirs - a Yankees hat and an A-Rod keychain. She also included an Australian Craft magazine that didn't make it in the photo. You can see what I sent her here.
It's probably a good thing we're not making the bet this year. As of last night's game the Red Sox have beat the Yankees all six times they've played this year. Sorry, Kim.

Yesterday was Mr. E's day with me. He was sleeping when mommy dropped him off. When he woke up he greeted me with tons of smiles. He has learned to smile and like to do it. I love this photo I got of one those cute smiles.
Well, I must get to my swap projects. The clock is ticking and I'm running out of time getting them done.

Sweet P

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sneak Peek Piles

Last Thursday I spent the morning creating piles in my studio. These are good piles. Piles of cut fabric for the various swaps I'm in this summer. I started working on one of the piles this morning. The rest of them will get played with tomorrow and Wednesday. Would you like a peek at the piles?
Could this pile be for you?
Or maybe this pile - which is actually two projects . . .
Or maybe this colorful collection of fabric is yours?
These are my goodies for the Snickerdoodle Brown Paper Bag Swap.
They will be headed to my partner later this week.
This isn't a pile, but it's what I started for me last night. One of the potential downfalls of my job is that I'm responsible for making the price changes every week. Yesterday there were several yarns that went clearance at the store. This was one of them - Patons Stretch Socks yarn in Plum. I'm making a pair of socks for me using the adult pattern from the Red Sox I made last week.
It's time to get ready to work the afternoon/evening shift. I'll be back tomorrow. Maybe with some more sneak peeks!

Sweet P

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Catching Up On Blog Links

I have over 300 blogs in my Bloglines subscription list. They are divided into Family Blogs, Stitchery Blogs, Designer/Shop Blogs, Life and Home Blogs, two folders of blogs of members of on-line groups I belong to, and then a ton of quilting blogs. With so many blogs I generally read all the new entries first and mark the ones I want to comment on later or entries that inspire me to write a blog entry. Sometimes I get behind on making comments and the ideas I want to write about get lost in the list.

I decided this afternoon is a good time to get caught up on two of the entries that have inspired me to write a blog entry. Hopefully you'll indulge me and keep reading.

I've had Jodi's My Creative Journey bookmarked since she wrote it over a month ago. Over the last several months I've been giving a lot of thought to my own creative journey. My Irish grandmother, Dema, taught me many needle arts when I was growing up. I was lucky she lived with us until I was 6 years old. Then she married the widower across the street from us and moved over there. She was always close by.
Dema was always making something - sewing clothes or quilts, needlepoint, beading, or crocheting. I remember making quilts with her using a 4-inch cardboard template, tracing each square and then cutting it out carefully. Our quilts were always tied, never quilted. My first quilt was a red, yellow and blue calico 4-patch quilt for my first born (I was a very young mother).

Our needlepoint projects were done on plastic canvas with yarn. I had a book called 97 Needlepoint Alphabets that I loved to use. I needlepointed my niece's name on squares of plastic canvas and made a wall hanging for her. She is now 26 years old and I think she still has it!

Somewhere my grandma learned beading. She made wonderful bead mats. I am honored to have two of them. Here is a blue and yellow one I have and keep on a table in my home. I made beaded mats too, but unfortunately the box they were in ended up in the trash during one of our Navy moves.
I made many projects with my grandma until my first DH and I moved away when he enlisted in the Navy. For a few years I didn't make any creative projects.

When we were living in Norfolk in the late 80's and early 90's I started cross stitching. Here are four Paula Vaughan projects I stitched then. They need to be cleaned up and mounted so I can properly display them. Little did I know then that quilting would become an important part of my creative life.
When I left my husband my creative endeavors took a back seat to supporting myself and my son. It wasn't until the summer of 2004 when I saw a quilt on DH's aunt's bed that I thought I would like to start quilting again. I took an on-line quilt course from Quilt University and the rest is history.

Somewhere in my upbringing I was taught that you could only do one creative activity at a time - if you quilted, then you only quilted. If you crocheted, then you only crocheted. I've tried to figure out where I learned this behavior and I've often struggled with the concept. When I started quilting again I gave away my overflowing box of DMC floss because "quilters don't do cross stitch or embroidery". Boy was I wrong! When I discovered Australian designers combine stitching and quilting I was in heaven. Now I have a wonderful collection of Presencia Finca floss and a growing selection of projects on my To Do list.

Two weeks ago the crochet bug bit me and you've seen the results - a baptism afghan and a pair of Red Sox for Mr. E. Mary Grace at Hooked on Needles wrote about her daughter starting her own Babette afghan. I checked out the afghan, fell in love with it and bought the pattern. Now, I have no yarn stash, but I think that having to shop for yarn on our upcoming vacation will be lots of fun!

So now I have to think about rearranging my studio. It is currently set up for sewing, but I need to make room for yarn, for embroidery and for scrapbooking (another new endeavor).

You know what? I think I've finally accepted the fact that I can be creative in more than one medium if I want to be. Who's going to stop me?

Tell me, do you work in more than one medium? Do you have a favorite medium? How do you decide what to work on? Are you driven by deadlines? Or do you let your Creative Muse lead you?

I'll answer these questions in an upcoming post.

Sweet P

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Crochet Projects

I finished Mr. E's baptism afghan yesterday morning.
I'm happy with how it turned out.
I had one leftover skein of white yarn. So Mr. E and I went to the yarn shop to exchange it. I asked the owner for their best red sock yarn. Mr. E doesn't have any "Red Sox" and I still have the crochet bug. Yesterday afternoon I started one sock and finished it this morning. This morning I stitched the other sock in about two hours. Making these booties could get addicting!
Finally, here is Mr. E in his newest outfit from Dema. Before we went to the yarn shop I had shopping to do at Target. I went to the baby department first and didn't find anything I liked. I did the rest of my shopping then I decided I couldn't leave without something for Mr. E.
I must get working on my swap projects. Deadlines are looming! But first I have to satisfy my crochet bug.

Tell me, do you ever get sidetracked into a different project and find you can't work on anything else until that project is finished?

Sweet P

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kitchen Swap Package Arrived

This weekend I received my Kitchen Swap package from Lizzie. She sent me a wonderful selection of kitchen goodies.

Here are the goodies as they came out of the box. Lovely wrapped packages and three Australian quilting magazines. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love Australian quilting and craft magazines.
Here is what was inside those packages. The Weekend Cook cookbook. I've never seen an Australian cookbook so this is a wonderful treat. A set of three coffee-themed tea towels - perfect for hanging on my fridge. And a lovely set of green salt and pepper shakers and creamer. The color matches my kitchen perfectly. I've already used the creamer for breakfast in bed.
And finally a gorgeous set of placemats with appliqued coffee cups. I love how she made them with one cup on the left and one cup on the right. Perfect for DH and I. He is right-handed and I'm left-handed. How cool is that!
I didn't get any sewing time in this weekend. I hope to get a little bit in this morning before work. I'm working evenings this week so mornings will be my creative time.

Happy Stitching!
Sweet P