Friday, June 30, 2006


Here is my block on Carol's neighborhood. I stitched it beside Annemarie's, so now the top row has been filled. I was so nervous about stitching this - terribly afraid I'd wreck it with my usual primitive style. Perspective? What the heck is that? I did a lot of frogging on this one, but I'm happy with how it came out and I hope Carol will be, too. I will try to get a picture that includes all three houses, but right now I was in a hurry to catch the last of the daylight outside.

So, where to begin with this? I started with the cottage, which is from Elizabeth's Designs, as is the smaller tree beside it. But I changed it so much that I don't know if even the designer would recognize it! The house is stitched in light silks that don't photograph well, but they do look very nice IRL. The tree is done in Danish flower threads. Then I decided that I wanted a bee hive and an orchard. The two kittens by the beehive are Hank and Jake, brother kitties that I had long ago & far away, in another life. Hank was white with some gray, and about as dumb as a living creature could be - but oh so sweet! Jake, his brother, was "black with black stripes" as Someone requested, and scared to death of his own shadow. Jake never learned to meow, but would instead bark at the birds outside our Boston brownstown window. There's a miniature herb garden with chamomile, marjoram, and lavender that I made up. The bike - very Dutch! - is from a French designer, as are those fabulous apple trees (which were not originally apple trees, but I changed them). The sheep and the romantic gate are from Shepherd's Bush.

Thanks, Carol, for trusting me (though I didn't exactly trust myself)!

Monday, June 26, 2006

A peek at Barbara's NRR

I've been working on this diligently this last week. It's pretty, but simple. I have pulled about 6 other design books out for the space left around the church. Just wait and see. ; )

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Annemarie's NRR

I did get Annemarie's NRR in the mail yesterday. I unpacked it - and packed it right back up again to go into my suitcase. The detail is beautiful Barbara. I am going to try and finish this and mail it to Dianne while I am in CA.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

i jumped right in!

One thing I've learned in life is that if something intimidates me, procrastination is definately not the answer. (Which is not to say that I've always followed this bit of wisdom, but that's another story!) As I mentioned, I was pretty nervous about putting needle to linen with Carol's NRR. She and Annemarie have done such a lovely job with their exquisite, teeny, beautiful designs ... I felt a bit like a bull in the china shop, with my usual primitive "perspective exists to distort" attitude. I stayed up far too late last night pouring over patterns, printouts, pictures, and anything else I could lay my hands to. Even Niek was pulled away from his work several times to offer opinions. Finally we both decided that a sort of rough image of a cottage by Elizabeth's Designs should be the focal point. I went to bed wondering "but what else?". Before dropping off to sleep, I remembered this little design of a beehive and birdhouse in my (otherwise largely useless) Cross Stitching Bible. Aha. Sleep came for me.

Today I started stitching. I noticed that Carol and Annemarie were using GAST fibers as well as DMC so I assumed (and I hope I was right) that Carol was not one of those who wanted only DMC fibers so the linen could be washed.... I've used several silks (Vikki Clayton and Thread Gatherer). If I am wrong, Carol, and you do want to wash this, shoot me now. I mean, let me know and I'll just pick out the silks and re-stitch. LOL.

I hope you like this, Carol. I'm rather pleased with it so far. Check out those French knots - I can't believe that up till a few weeks ago, I couldn't make one of those to save my life. (Excuse the kind of weird colors - it's late night and I have only artificial lighting.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Great news! Veronica's RR has arrived!

It arrived today - woohoo! I hope Su or Lena-Lou will not mind letting Veronica it is safely here in New Hampshire :-)

The whys and wherefores of Carol's RR

Thank you all for your kind, kind comments on my house in Carol's Neighbourhood. And a special thank you to Barbara, for taking a such a beautiful picture. You all know the problems I have with posting pictures, so I asked Barbara to take one. And now that I've seen it, I think I might have to ask her every time she receives an RR!
While I'm waiting for my son to -finally!- fall asleep after keeping me up all night, I thought I'd tell you a little about the designs I stitched on Carol's RR.
When I read in Carol's questionnaire that she wanted at least one cat in each of our blocks, I immediately thought of a Sheepish Designs freebie called 'Here, Kitty Kitty'. At first I was afraid (but then I'm always afraid of everything, aren't I?) that it might be a bit cheap to stitch a freebie, but I couldn't get it out of my head. One thing, though: I didn't like the surface of the house, which was meant to be blueish-grey, so I replaced it with a brick surface, inspired by - well, actually, quite shamelessly nicked from - Houses of Hawk Run Hollow house nr. 10. I put in a blue door, because it's my favourite DMC colour.
The trees then, which are taken from The Workbasket's 'Barnyard'. I know Carol likes The Workbasket, and so do I, so that wasn't very difficult. Then I built the fence, stitched the clouds (from 'The Shepherdess' by Homespun Elegance) and the birds (by The Drawn Thread), and put in some dainty flowers (from 'Fluffy Ewes' by Paw Printings). I was worried (yep, yet again) that my garden was more sort of a primitive garden and was too much of a contrast with Carol's beautiful garden, so I went a-ploughing through my charts and found these flowers.
And still there was something lacking, and I couldn't think what. Until I read Carol's post about her night-time visitor and suddenly it hit me: a bear! And I knew exactly which one. After checking in Carol's questionnaire that I wasn't adding something she wouldn't want, I dug up a design by Dixie Darlin', called 'Bear Mountain'. I have to say, this is a special design for me, and it's not just for Carol's benefit that I added the bear. When I was in the States two years ago, I saw a family of black bears (two adults and a baby) in the wild. We took pictures and were even able to film them. When I was at Dixie Darlin's in Pigeon Forge TN, I couldn't resist the Mountain Bear chart, and I'm very happy that I had the perfect excuse to share him.
Well, I'm sorry for this HUGE entry, but I really liked to read why Barbara stitched what she stitched on my RR, and I thought I'd steal her idea...
I would just like to say how much I'm enjoying this RR, and how much I enjoyed stitching this block on Carol's RR. Now on to Su's RR, which I'm looking forward to as well.
Off to the world of dreams.

Monday, June 19, 2006

oh my gosh, what am I going to do?

The mailman obligingly brought Carol's neighborhood today. I was still at work, but he left it with my neighbor (who was very curious!) and I've since taken it outside to photograph how it looks so far. I'm happy with this picture, which shows up the subtleties of the gorgeous linen Carol chose. The exquisite stitching that has gone into this neighborhood is also evident. And leaves me wondering whatever am I going to stitch on it? As you've probably noticed, my tastes run more toward the primitive but that would ruin the beauty of this neighborhood. I'm going to go look at a French chart (that I had actually ordered for Novia's neighborhood) and a Chessie & Me chart in my stash ... they're ringing little bells in my head. I wish I had something by Elizabeth's Designs, which would fit in beautifully. Carol and Annemarie, I tip my hat to your skilfull stitching and design. And Carol, your "welcome packet" is so orderly and helpful - thanks!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Barbara-your NRR is here in Penna.

Just to let you know your NRR is safe and sound here in Pennsylvania. I can't wait to start working on it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

this, that, and a little bit of the other

Now that I'm back to my normal Monday routine of working at the office and then going to fitness after the kids are in bed, I lose a few hours of stitching. But this morning as soon as I'd tidied up the house a bit, I snapped together my big Q-Snap and mounted Annemarie's neighborhood so I could get it done before the heat became really extreme (I hate the feeling of stitching with sweaty hands!) and here is the result. I'm pretty pleased with it, and I hope Annemarie will be, too.

Texture is as important to me as color, and I really had a great time "texturizing" this one. The gravel path is a blend of light gray silk and a coarse dark gray cotton to give it a pebbly look and feel. The meadow grass is done using the DMC linen (L3012) and I love the thick & thin sort of fuzzy effect it made. Stitching with linen thread isn't for the perfectionist, though - the final effect is very irregular - perfect for meadow grass, but I'm sure it would be a headache for some other applications. And still on the theme of texture, I was delighted to finally figure out the secret of French/Colonial knots because they made my lupins really pop out. (The rather odd-looking yellow flower on the far side is actually my name written sideways.)

Annemarie's asked that we write something to accompany our houses on her neighborhood, and since I'm at the keyboard now, I'll jot down a few thoughts. I hope no one minds a long-winded post!

I tried to incorporate designers that I knew Annemarie likes (as well as being some favorites of mine) so you'll see elements from Carriage House Samplings, The Workbasket, Prairie Moon, Shepherd's Bush, Brightneedle, and Elegant Designs (for that fabulous sunflower). I also tried to aim for design elements she'd like - barns and sheep - while adding one of my favorites - birds. I popped in a little lass from Brightneedle playing a game of roll-the-hoop because kids are such a source of joy & fun, which are important themes in Annemarie's wacky neighborhood. Finally, I added the bluebird of happiness to always bring Annemarie luck and happiness.

I'll post this off to Rachael tomorrow afternoon, with signature-required delivery. And once again, I'd like to tell Rachael how absolutely thrilled I am with the block she did on my NRR!!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Just me again

Barbara's RR is in the mail. Prority , delivery with signature only. Watch for it in a week or so Dianne!


I just finished Barbara's RR- took pictures and packed it in a zippy. I will pack it in a padded envelope and tonight and mail it tomorrow or Wednesday. Tuesday is tough for me to get to the post office.
Oops- two of my afternoon classes just got cancelled so I am going to try and get this into the mail this afternoon.
Here is a picture of the square I stitched and one of the squares together. I hope you like it Barbara. I pretty much filled the square. Patrick commented that he liked the fact that the house is "3d" . I just finished the backstitching today after working on the thing for 11 hours yesterday!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rachaels RR has arrived!!

On behalf of Veronica...just to let you know Rachaels RR has arrived safe and sound today. It is looking lovely and she is already planning her ideas for it :-) Veronica really likes those those envelopes you get Dianne...very nice!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Carol's house is up

This is Carol's house so far. You have been wonderfully patient, Carol, so even though there isn't much to see, I thought I'd share this picture. It turned out really pale though. Don't know what's wrong with my camera...

Friday, June 02, 2006


I'd hoped to finish this yesterday (sort of my birthday gift to myself) but the day became busy and I was knackered from two nights of no sleep (Nicky's entered the I'm-afraid-of-the-dark phase), but I want to share a picture of Annemarie's neighborhood before we go away for a long weekend. We're going to the Veluwe for the holiday weekend - do I have the greatest husband or what?!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On it's way!

Rachael's RR was sent to Veronica this afternoon in a pretty padded pink floral envelope by global priority mail. : )