Saturday, March 12, 2011

Maple Festival!

Now I know that Spring is really around the corner! Today was the Hebron Maple Festival held in Hebron, CT. The sap is running from the Maple trees and syrup and other goodies are already being made. Dad and I went and had a fun day just taking in the warmer weather and the festival.

Our first stop was to a local church, which held a craft fair. We saw some beautiful items there -- handmade beaded jewelry, colorful scarfs and pocketbooks, hand-blown glass, unique bird houses, and so much more. I purchased a round mirror that had been decorated to capture a bit of the sea. If I can figure out how to take a good picture of it, I'll post it here. My plan is to hang it in the bedroom wall of my cottage.

There were some fun food items offered at the festival - maple cotton candy, maple nut ice cream, maple ham sandwiches, etc.

Next we visited several antique shops. I love to look at old linens and such. You just never know what you'll find. I picked up two items. I'm not sure exactly how this piece was made. When I first glanced at it I thought it was crochet -- but when I looked closer at it I thought it was woven with surface work added. Click to see it larger and see what you think the technique might be. It feels like cotton.

I found this little appliqued hand towel that was just sweet. I'm hanging that one in my bathroom -- a perfect color match.

I can't seem to resist little hand towels and hankerchiefs with embroidery and cutwork. They are usually sold very inexpensively - a couple dollars or so. I have a drawer of them and like to just take them out and fondle them all! LOL!!

I can't help but wonder who made the pieces I find. I end up paying a few dollars for something that probably took who knows how many hours to make. I wonder who made the pieces and how they ended up in a pile in some antique shop.

Afterwards, Dad and I continued our Maple Festival fun by going to a small cafe for a yummy lunch of maple nut waffles with real maple syrup, sausage, and hot coffee. Mmmm. As we waited for our order to arrive, I put my new linen finds on the table and was examining them again when the waitress came over to look at them. Her name is Becky, and as it turns out, she loves cross stitch and embroidery! Becky was also wondering if the piece above was woven rather than crocheted. We were very curious about it! It was a nice surprise to meet another needlework fan at the cafe.

It felt so good to get out and about after this looooong winter. After we left the festival, I just wasn't quite ready to go home so we drove to Michael's to pick up a frame for the "Always Kiss Me Good Night" stitching I did for my husband. After I get it stretched and framed I'll post another picture, which should do it better justice.

Speaking of pictures, I'm thinking I need to invest in a better camera because so many of the photos I take are blurring up on me. I had to scan the pictures of today's finds in order to post them here. Looks like I need to do some research on cameras!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hallelujah! Spring is on the way!!! Our snow is only about a foot deep now, and in some places we can see patches of ground!

What a winter!! It was really starting to get to me. At one point when it was about 4' deep I "planted" some flowers to cheer myself up -- and to entertain my neighbors.

It was a very welcome break from my cabin fever to go to the Stitcher's Hideaway Alumni Winter Escape retreat. What a great time we had! It was totally Stitcher's Gone Wild! The conversations and laughter were so wonderful. We stitched, talked, accumulated more stash, laughed, and feasted on catered meals for 2 whole days and nights! Paradise! I'll be writing about our time together to post on the Stitcher's Hideaway website soon.

I actually managed to get some stitching done in between being silly and chatting with everyone. I finished up these two "Songs of the Seasons" by Prairie School (sorry, folks -- it's out of print now). I stitched them over one and changed the linen and some of the floss colors.

By the way...I found out that you can click on these photos to see them larger.

Next I did all the basting for my next project -- "Sweet Pea Gazebo Sampler" by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler. I'll be working on that as soon as the weather starts warming up. Why? Because I have SSD (Seasonal Stitching Disorder) and don't like stitching on summery designs in the winter, etc. Weird, I know.

Then I worked on "The Bunny Run Around" by Theresa Layman. This design is done all in French and Colonial knots on muslin. I have quite a bit of this design done and am now just filling in background color, which made it a great project for me to work on while chatting and laughing with all the other stitchers. The instructions say that there are approximately 1100 knots per square inch. I find it hard to believe -- but that's what it says! So, I'm thinking I'm a pretty sick individual for taking on this design -- but I do love it!

I finished up some great projects last year. This one was made for my niece Hilary and her husband Alex Rose. I altered "Good Friends Sampler" by Victoria Sampler to turn this into a wedding sampler. The colors and design were so perfect for them. At some point, now that the winter will soon leave us, we'll be getting together to pick out a frame for it.

I also completed another Victoria Sampler design -- "Sturbridge Kitchen Garden" -- which Thea Dueck designed and taught at the Sturbridge Stitcher's Hideaway Retreat in 2009. The design depicts scenes from Old Sturbridge Village.

I finished the "Martha Washington Sampler" by Dawn Fisher of Morning Glory Needleworks. Dawn designed this piece for the Sturbridge 2010 Stitcher's Hideaway Retreat. Each band represents something in Martha's life. Dawn was an awesome instructor! She is also a history buff and so she shared a lot about Martha's life with us. It was so interesting and fun!

I also finished "Always Kiss Me Good Night" by Dawn Fisher of Morning Glory Needleworks. This was a Christmas present for my husband but I had a difficult time getting it done. I had plans to complete the very last part on Christmas Eve -- but my husband just wouldn't go to sleep so I could work! LOL!! So when I gave it to him on Christmas morning, it only said "Always Kiss Me Good"!

I have a WIP I'll be working on during the next few weeks before my SSD kicks in and I switch to the Sweet Pea Gazebo Sampler. It's "The Bay State - Massachusetts" by Jeannette Douglas Designs. She taught this at the Sturbridge Stitcher's Hideaway 2007 retreat and I have it on a frame about 40% done. It's gorgeous. Gee, I hope I can finish it before my SSD hits me!

Jeannette will be teaching at the Mystic 2011 Stitcher's Hideaway Retreat -- another new project. Can't wait to see it!

One of the many things I enjoy about the retreats is seeing what everyone else has stitched during our Show 'n Tell sessions. I am truly amazed at how awesome we are!! LOL!! At the recent Alumni Winter Escape Retreat there were so many amazing works of art -- many different techniques involved -- and even some knitting and jewelry to see. Some items had been entered into fairs and had received Blue Ribbons and Best of Show! I'm telling you, stitchers are cool!!

Until next time -