Monday, November 8, 2010

Part two vacation the west coast

California here I come!!! I have only visited California once before so I was quite excited to visit again. This is the first time I have ever taken a week off by myself and I was excited to see what I could see. I traveled from Pennsylvania to Sacramento, California. The point of the trip was my decision to take a class at Elegant Stitch taught by Jaquie du Pleiss of It's Finely Finished. I have done a PALS convention once and took classes, one Camp Wannasew by Silver Needle and a Merry Cox weekend at the Attic. I was really looking forward to the class. It was "I had a Farm" and centered around three trunks filled with tea and lace. Once I found out about the tea and lace part I really wanted to go. I was able to score the last slot and so then it became the question of what was I going to do between leaving my friend on Tuesday and waiting for class on Friday evening. I decided I would go to Yosemite and see what there was to offer there.  I loved it. I went into the park three times and basically spent the entire day there for 2 of those days. I drove all through the valley one day walking to what I could and driving to a lot.

 The second day I drove to Glacier Point and was so glad I did. I packed picnic lunches and read and stitched at the top for a while just enjoying the view and the quiet. I drove down and hiked until dusk and enjoyed the sunset around the huge rocks.  The third day I stayed  just a while to say goodbye and then hit the road to Modesto to Elegant Stitch and stitching heaven.
I was so excited to be in a brick and mortar store

and see all the things I normally just get to read about online. I fondled the threads, handled all the fabric and pawed through the patterns. It was wonderful. The retreat started with an open house at the shop, catered food and all the shopping your could cram into 2 hours. The next morning class started and the morning flew by with excellent teaching by Jacquie and Lois roaming around giving us excellent gifts to fit into the trunks we would be making. There were not just gifts that she bought but also things that she put a lot of work into making especially for each person who attended (scissor fobs with our initials on it, necklaces with initials worked into) and all fitting into the theme. We learned how to finish the boxes to make them into trunks, we got special bits f lace to add to the design and to make a necklace out of. There was so much to the kit. I was really impressed.  I absolutely loved it and wished I could go to every class offered. Everyone who was there was very welcoming and as a newbie I was made to feel one of the group, always a place to sit for lunch, always a table with a spot to sit and conversations were lively. I met some great people and laughed till I cried at some of it.  I thought the hotel would rock when the stitchers found out the Giants were going to the World Series. It was good to see I am not the only baseball loving stitcher.  Though my team didn't make it all the way this year I had to smile at the ladies at my dinner table with their phones giving a play by play account of the game off of the MLB application for their phones.
The shop was open for more shopping and I took advantage of it mostly just to continue to touch it all but I did pick up a few things, some linen on sale and a couple of things to be made into gifts, fabric and thread for two patterns I took with me for that purpose. Wonderful time.
And that is where I have been and why you haven't heard from me. Back to the routine now. Hope to post more often with stitching updates. Have a stitchy day. Marjo

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Since I have moved to Alaska I have been blessed to be able to travel once a year to spend a week with my best friend of over 30 years (ouch) to catch up and move back into the stream of life of friends. We go wherever the whimsy takes us and do whatever there is to do there. This year we decided to have a stitchy element to the trip and make the trip coincide with the Stitching weekend organized by Stoney Creek in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I have never been to Pennsylvania so I was looking forward to seeing new places and doing something new with my friend. She always finds us the best places and this year was no exception. She found us a cottage on a farm in Mount Joy that was just wonderful. It was named Oasis and with good reason. It was a lovely little cottage with the view of the goats, a horse and chickens from the front porch. We had lovely weather and drove all over in search of used books. We are both inveterate readers and are rarely found without a list of books we are searching for in hand.  We found several books we were searching for and I am excited to say that I found 3 needle work related books that I have been searching out . One small store that we found had several needlework books and I had to get these as he was having a sale and that made the finds even better for me.  We ended up with more books than we had room for so we donated what we read while we were there to the local library book store for friends of the library sales. We ate pretzels, shared a pumpkin moon pie from a local bakery, and took in the Amish markets and antique stores as well as a couple of quilt stores.

 The weekend took us to the Stoney Creek festival to the marketplace. Not that either of us needed to buy anything we looked at each booth and managed to purchase a few things ( of course). It was much smaller than I had expected but each shop or presenter that was there was quality as far as I could tell.  I was most attracted to Karen Kubbla of Rosewood Manor's booth. She had a lot of her models there and all the charts with some of them kitted up and had the Valdani thread packs for some of them available. I fell in love with Quaker Spring after seeing the model even though I had not noticed it much when I saw it online. The color of the fabric is just wonderful and the thread colors are great. She had the model for Quakers and Quilts on display and made me want to get mine out and start it right away (how is yours coming Jacquie?) I could have bought so many of hers but with a WIP list like mine. I will buy Spring Quaker and do it when I get some of my WIP done. I did buy a little Teresa Layman kit as I have wanted to try these for a long time and felt now was the time.  I also bought a Stoney Creek Pattern book to do with snowmen and a Homespun Elegance Christmas ornament.  We spent most of the day looking through the shops that came and had booths and went back several times to the Rosewood Manor booth.
All too soon the time with my friend was over (where did it go) and we had to part until next year. Sigh. I am blessed with my friend and I look forward all year to seeing her. We did spend a lot of time stitching (her more than me, I read) but I did work on an old WIP that my sister asked me to stitch for her that I have procrastinated over. Finally I made some progress on it and hope to have it done by next Christmas for her. Lots of color changes but it will be different to do a picture instead of the samplers I usually do.

Enough for the first week of my vacation it was fun. Next installment, week two on the West Coast. Have some stitching in your day. Marjo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just one stitch

I have a stressful job, not physically but sometimes mentally I am stressed out. It helps that I have a bit of drive home to work out some of the stress before I get home but I really want to be able to stitch more often in the evening because for me it really is a stress reliever. I have been considering this a lot since I got back from vacation and realized that I don't really have time built into the day to do that on the days that I work. I want to be more intentional about that. I was reading some other blogs today and someone else had their finishes listed and the list was huge. I just can't imagine ever getting that much stitching done in  a year. I will be lucky to add even one more thing to the list for this year. I am not worried about it but realized that stitching truly makes me happy why am I not taking more time to do it.
For a long time I wrote on a board who had a section on folks who stitched "the daily strand" and that was a way to work to finish a piece that had been neglected or one you really wanted to get finished. The commitment was to stitch a strand a day on something.  I think I will go back to the daily strand and see if that will help eke out the time to get  a few stitches done and improve my frame of mind.
Hope your day found you time to stitch.  If so what were you working on? marjo