Some Happy News!

Debbie with Misty

Debbie with Misty

About a year ago I departed from stitching posts to share the news of the loss of our pet Sheltie Mandy. Today as I write my post I’m happy to announce the arrival of Misty, our new Sheltie puppy!

I know how important our fur babies are, because so many of you have shared with me your own stories. And I’ve seen your pictures of your stitching companions, and know about the accent fiber that decorates so many of our pieces! So I hope you’ll indulge me just a bit today – next week it will be back to stitching topics!

Misty

Misty

Misty is a 12 week old Shetland Sheep Dog, from Bella Rose Shelties in Ozark, MO. Her parents are champions, but she will not be a  show dog; she’s a pure pet. Her only job will be to keep us company, travel with us, play with us, talk to us (and Shelties do talk!), and live a life of luxury, at least by dog standards.  She’s sable in coloring, with a lot of “flash” – four white paws, a white tipped tail, and white collar. Even though she’s the same breed as our previous dogs, she looks nothing like them and is already exhibiting some personality!

Some will ask why we went to a breeder, and not a rescue or shelter dog. It’s quite simple – we love Shelties. My family got our first Sheltie when I was in high school, and members of my family have had 7 Shelties between us. We wanted a puppy, and breed rescues typically don’t have puppies. The breed rescue closest to us couldn’t do the site inspection they require, and only had senior dogs at this time. That’s not to say that at some time in the future we wouldn’t consider a rescue, but at this time this was right for us.

So we are delighted to welcome Misty home. We know where the “cute as a speckled pup” saying comes from! She’s quite feisty, but also very sweet. Shelties are typically very obedient, so we will see when the training begins. We’ve been going around town meeting friends, and she seems to be outgoing and friendly. We are thrilled, and ready to open our hearts to our third Sheltie love.

Next week – more stitching stuff!

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Down Time

Double Crossed

Double Crossed

What does a designer do in the long stretches of time between trade shows? Do we take that time off? I wish! Sometimes, the “down time” between trade shows is our busiest time, because that’s when we work on new designs, focus on things that we can’t when we’re pushed for trade show new releases and generally retool the business.

During my “down time”, I’m working on class projects and designs for publications. Just a tiny word about publication work – every year I’m approached by several publications for designs, and I try to do as many as I can. It’s not always possible to work these in, but I’m trying to arrange my schedule to allow for this. So on my horizon I have design work for 3 publications, which I’ll release here when I’m able. But, I can let you know that I have an ornament in the Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue, which is already out and available now in your local needlework shop and a lot of book stores, and a design in A Cross-Stitch Christmas A Heartwarming Holiday book, published by Craftways. This hard-bound book is also available now as well; my design of counted canvas gift boxes is on page 98.

This year we decided to add some exclusive teaching projects into our line. What this means is we will have projects that are only available as teaching projects, not available for sale as stand alone charts. You may see these as a cyberclass, or offered through a chapter or guild. We haven’t quite decided what we will do with these projects, just that I will be developing these as an addition to our line of charts that we sell through needlework shops.

Shell Game 2

Shell Game 2

I’ve already taught Shell Game 2 for the Cyberpointers chapter of ANG, and will be teaching Double Crossed for a local chapter in just a couple of weeks. I’m nearing completion on a third project, Explorations, and will share details about that soon. Of course we’ll keep our retailers informed about these, and I hope to be teaching these myself in one form or another during the coming year. More classes will be joining the line-up as I get them ready.

We’re excited about the possibilities of adding an exclusive teaching line to our offerings, while continuing to add new designs that we hope stitchers will love and want to stitch.

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Fall Is In The Air!

 

Falling LeavesI live in an area where we have a definite change of seasons. We have a cold winter – well, not as cold as some, and usually only a little snow, but it’s cold enough for a coat sometimes. We have a hot summer – usually, although this summer we missed most of the days over 100 degrees. We have glorious spring with beautiful budding out and flowers – and thunderstorms and tornadoes, can’t forget to mention those. But we also have a wonderful fall, with a nip in the air, blustery winds, and beautiful fall color in changing leaves.

Laurel Park in our town is rimmed with trees that just burst with color in the fall – gold, orange and even scarlet. It’s absolutely glorious! I can drive down just about street in my town and see one tree after another, trying to outdo each other with their display. It’s a needlework designer’s dream – how to capture all this color?

Well, I tried! Falling Leaves is a little project of just leaf stitches, stitched with vibrant fall colors. I’ve seen all of these colors in the fall just in my town – no need to take a fall foliage viewing trip! When I pulled the threads and was showing them to someone, the red-orange was questioned, but we have several trees in our town that explode into just this color – I wish you all could see it!

Falling Leaves is also very quick to stitch. I stitched it in about 3 days, and wrote the instructions at the same time, so I know it can be done in time for your fall decorating. And, the finishing couldn’t be easier. Just pop it into the darling tray from Patches ‘n Planks, or a wooden tray or box from another purveyor, and you’re done!

I chose only DMC cotton flosses, DMC #8 pearl cottons and 1 DMC Color Variations for this project on 18 ct. white canvas, all of which should be readily available at your local needlework shop. This design joins Tricky Treats, Lovey Dovey, Hippity Hoppity, Wave The Flag and Ho! Ho! Ho! in the line up of seasonal and holiday tray designs; you can see those designs on the website.

Enjoy the turn of seasons as summer gives way to fall! Dig out those sweaters and boots, rake the leaves into a pile, and enjoy some time outside before it gets too cold!

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Only 106 Days to Christmas!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

But who’s counting? Probably even more pressing for stitchers – finishing deadlines are looming large on the calendar! Perhaps some of you have favorite finishers and their holiday deadline has already passed! Oh no!

Finishing, and easy finishing, is one of the reasons I developed the tray series that features seasonal and holiday colors. As soon as you finish stitching, you can pop it in the tray – easy peasy finishing you can do yourself. I know because I have finished every one of the designs myself, and if I can do it, you can do it.

Ho! Ho! Ho! features traditional red, white, green and gold colors, designed to go with your other holiday decorating. I chose textured stitches for two of the corners, and satin stitches for the other two corners, with waffle stitches running through the center. As an added bonus, any of the corners can be stitched by itself as an ornament!

Many years ago I began stitching projects that were interchangeable for the seasons, or that could share one frame and be switched out. It’s an economical way to display projects, and keep a fresh look for holidays and seasons. And I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “stitch when you’re young and poor, frame when you’re old and rich!” Many times finishing our pieces is one of the costliest parts of our hobby.

That’s why I love these little projects that stitch up fast, and share the same tray. I got my tray from Patches n’ Planks, but there are other trays and boxes that will suit the 6″ x 6″ square design. And I can just see this little tray filled with holiday goodies or candies, or holding holiday cards, small ornaments. Although it would be a shame to cover up the design! You could also do your own finishing to create a stand-up, or even in a small frame in an easel.

I hope you enjoy Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, and maybe this will spur your stitching efforts. I won’t start humming holiday songs, just yet!

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Color Inspiration

Last week I promised I’d start catching up, so I’m going to work a little backwards and start with the most recent first. We’ve just returned from a trade show, and trade shows always mean new designs. “Radiance” was our big release from the show, so I’ll start with that one. Next post I’ll fill you in on the other new releases.

Usually when I design I start with the design and add the color later, after the design is completed. This time I started with the color inspiration, and designed with that color inspiration in mind. The colors were very bold, taken from one of my favorite dresses:

Dress corrected

 

Wowzer! I love these colors, but knew that the design would require some careful handling or the design would look muddled. Orange, fuchsia, purple and bright green normally do not reside happily together!

So I decided that the best way to handle all these vivid colors would be to assign them to quadrants, and keep them separated, to allow each color to shine in its own light. I bordered the colors with black, because my dress is bordered with black and I liked the way the black set off the colors. I toyed with the idea of black canvas, but gave that up early on.

As I began laying out the design elements, I started with an 8 pointed star in the center that the design “radiated” from. That’s the only place where the colors are mixed, in the center. I used a lot of optical blending of the floss colors, to get some fine shading in the limited palette. And, I played with the sword Amadeus that divided the quadrants to provide the color separation, one of the first elements that I knew for sure would be in the design.

This design reflects a lot of my love for bright vivid colors. And, it also employs a lot of Jean Hilton stitches – crescents, walnetos, Jessicas, sword Amadeus, and other stitches that are loopy and lots of fun to stitch. “Radiance” developed because I loved the colors in one of my dresses, and I hope you enjoy the colors as well.

Radiance

Radiance

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