New SAL Choice

Finishing my son’s Christmas stocking in time for Christmas was such a great feeling. He loves it and I still haven’t put the stockings away because I like looking at them. The next stocking to make is for another daughter but I am really not feeling like starting that right now. I spent quite a bit of time going through my WIPs (there are MANY of them). It was so fun and kind of felt like I was visiting old friends. This past summer the embroidery guild I belong to started a project to work on together (virtually). Several of us chose the same one.

Heirloom Family Sampler

I’m in love with this one. One of our members is quite close to finishing and another one chose to do the top part only and she is done. This was my choice because not only do I find it beautiful and have never done a sampler, but there are so many elements I have never tried before.

1/17/2021 SAL update

First, I am working on linen. I have been afraid to do that. Aida cloth has been my “go to”. This pattern calls for linen. I could have done it in Aida, but decided to go all out with the new experiences. My kids actually roll their eyes when I use the words “new experiences” to describe embroidery! Hahaha!

Birds over 1 thread.

The top part of this pattern is done over two threads (this is a first for me) for the most part. Some elements, like the birds, are done over one thread. The contrast between stitching over two threads and then stitching over one thread is so fun!! I love the added texture and dimension. The floss I am using is not the recommended thread. This has been a stash busting project (except for the fabric).

More birds and bunnies over 1 thread.

This is going to be a very challenging project for me. It has pulled thread elements, hardanger and more, but I am excited to make this my SAL project!! This will hold me accountable to keep going and not to put it aside when things get tough.

Please take a look at the others who are joining along in this SAL. They are super talented stitchers and are working on all kinds of fantastic projects.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

Postcard Fabric Art

There is a fun FB group, called Postcard Fabric Art on Facebook that I have been following for awhile. They have challenges every month. This month is interesting as it combines fabric, paint and stitching. I am going to try my hand at this!

I found an image in this book that I want to use for my postcard.

This is the chosen image – it has been reduced by 10% and I am using only the center part where the two flowers and birds are.

I am using this piece of linen – the solid lines mark out a 4X6″ section.

The portion of the image that I want to paint and stitch has now been transferred to the fabric. Then I sewed batting to the back to add a bit of “plump” when it is stitched. The next step is to choose paint colors and make a stitch plan. Exciting!

TAST – Week 1

I decided to take part in Pintangle’s TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) this year to hopefully learn some new embroidery stitches and different ways to use them.

Last Tuesday, 1/5/2021, was the first week and she focussed on the chain stitch and the linked chain stitch.

First page for my book of stitches for TAST.

I’m very excited how this page turned out. I plan on having a different page for each stitch.

Chain Stitch

I am familiar with the chain stitch and have used it, although not regularly. Here I am using DMC Perle Cotton #5 in color way #727. This one was fun and quick to do.

Linked Chain Stitch

I had never done the linked chain stitch, but the directions and photos were amazing. This is a very fun stitch with a very interesting look to it. Of course I had to add beads!! I can’t wait to see what the next stitch is and to work on it.


Yes, I’m still knitting dishcloths!! I love them in the kitchen and now my oldest daughter likes them as well. I have been cleaning and organizing my crafts books and came across a knit dishcloth book that I remember liking so well when I bought it.

Knit Dishcloth Leaflet

I decided that I wanted to knit some of these and started with the first one in the book.

Cloth #1 – Bee Stitch

I used size #7 needles and Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton yarn in the color way Psychedelic. I quickly moved onto the second one in the book.

Cloth #2 – Crocus Buds

Size #7 needles and Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton in the color way Countryside Ombre. I decided not to block either one so that’s why they look a bit wonky, but these are to be work horses in the kitchen and will be washed regularly. I like how quick these are to knit up; however, I think I will use size #5 needles for the next one as these are pretty loose and I like a stiffer fabric.

TAST 2021

I am an avid reader of the Pintangle website and a member of the Facebook group, TAST-Take A Stitch Tuesday. I love how the stitches are taught and how they are embellished and built upon. I have decided to take part this year and am planning to make a little stitch book for the stitches each week.

First page ready for the first week of TAST starting 1/5/2021.

The fabric I plan on using is linen that was given to me by a friend. It is cut into pieces that are 5 1/2 X 7 1/2 and interfacing was applied to the wrong side then turned under 1/4″ on all sides. I then did a blanket stitch around the perimeter in DMC5 Perle Cotton in color way #820 – it’s a beautiful blue color. My plan is to make all the blank pages the same and then at the end of the year I will have a book of stitches to refer to.

I can’t wait for the 5th!!

Jan 2021 HQAL Update

Wow!! It’s finally 2021! Let’s hope for some improvements on all fronts this year! Today it is time for the first HQAL update of the year.

I have worked on this VERY little as of late. Life and Christmas got in the way, but now I am back at it. I am working on finishing with the green hexis on this row and then can add the next row of flowers for this table cloth.

Yesterday I was working on getting the last of them added. Only a few more to go!

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyMargaretDebNanetteSharonKarrinGretchenDaisyMonica and Sherrie

I’m also linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Hello 2021!!!

Happy New Year to all of you! I am looking forward to this year and the possibility of seeing friends and family in person! I hope your New Year’s Eve and Day went well.

We went for a hike on New Year’s Eve Day. It was a very nice 5 mile hike with a couple of hills – not too bad – and wonderful weather.

Wunderlich Park 12/31/2020
Not bad!! I love how my watch always says, “Nice Work!”

After the hike, the kids played, read or napped while the hubby and I got ready for the evening. We surprised the kids with a fun activity!

Murder Mystery Party, Death by Chocolate

We had purchased one of those Murder Party Games. We gave the kids invites which detailed which part they would be playing and what they were supposed to wear. In hind sight we should have done this earlier so that they could prepare. But it worked out pretty well.

It was really fun to get out a nice table cloth and our china.

The hubby bar-b-qued and I prepared the sides.

Chocolate Mousse

Dessert for the family was Chocolate Mousse. Not pictured was my bowl of strawberries. They were very yummy!

Having fun in costume!
Our New Year’s Eve crew.

All in all it was a fun evening. We’re heading out for another walk, have a great day!


Everyone is on break right now. The older kids had taken 10 days off for the holidays as we had rented RVs and were planning a camping trip to Joshua Tree and Death Valley. We had the campgrounds reserved and had planned on bringing all food from home so as to not have to come into contact with anyone not from our pod. Well…COVID had other plans and California, Santa Clara County in particular, is shut down. The campgrounds are closed and our fees returned, the RVs have been cancelled and we are at home. Initially I was soooo very disappointed! I’ve come to terms with it and have embraced being home – the kids are actually enjoying a VERY slow pace, sleeping until noon, some activity or another and hiking every other day. They think hiking everyday is WAAAAY too much. I’ve also been baking and trying out new things.

Salted Caramel Scones

I made these from a mix that I picked up at Cost Plus World Market. We have tried their scone mixes before (raspberry white chocolate is a favorite), but not this flavor. They were a hit!!

I’m not eating any sweets right now (so no scones for me!) and not drinking any alcohol. I am doing the 75Hard program. It’s different than other programs in that the goal is really to create mental toughness and grit – actually the ability to follow through on one’s own goals and not give up or stop. I listened to his podcast and didn’t especially like it – too much profanity for me, but it did strike a cord in me and I was ready for a change.

The rules, I thought, were pretty easy. I was doing most of them anyway – the biggies I thought would be giving up sweets and alcohol.

Things I have learned:

Rule 1: Two 45 minute workouts (at least 3 hours apart), one of the workouts must be outdoors. I thought I had this nailed. My husband and I walk every day at 6:30 before he starts work (from home) and then we lift weights or hike in the afternoons. Weeellll… it turns out that we were not being consistent. Sometimes we didn’t feel like the second workout. We were tired or just didn’t feel like it. Now we do our two workouts EVERY day – no days off. It’s tiring but feels good now. I actually crave those workouts now.

Rule 2: Drink one gallon of water a day. I also thought I had this one nailed. I was drinking a gallon of water a day (I thought). It turns out I was, but not EVERY day. Some days I drank a lot and some days not so much. Now I drink my gallon of water EVERY day.

Rule 3: Read 10 pages a day from a non-fiction book, an actual book. I thought I had this one in the bag as well as I read a ton. Do you see a trend here?? It turns out that I do read a ton, but mostly online. The news, school board docs, articles about things I’m interested in etc. Not an actual book. This has been the hardest for me. To sit down and read 10 pages – not 10 minutes – 10 pages. In order to make this happen I have incorporated it into either my breakfast or lunch. I read until I’ve read my 10 pages. If my lunch isn’t done yet, I keep reading until I’m done.

Rule 4: Take a progress picture. I knew this one would be hard. I have never liked taking photos of myself. I do it, I still don’t like it, but I’m glad I’m doing it. I’m 30 days in and I can visibly see the difference if I compare day one to day 30.

Rule 5: Follow a diet. He doesn’t specify any particular diet. It’s up to me to choose a diet, but I have to stick to it. I don’t really have a diet per se, but I decided to eat healthier. I substitute fresh fruit if I feel like something sweet and eat nuts when I feel like chips. The rest I was pretty much doing anyway.

Rule 6: No alcohol, sweets or cheat meals. This one has been interesting. I have learned that for both the alcohol and the sweets that I am a “situational eater/drinker” (my term). When we go into the hot tub, we used to have a beer or a glass of wine (hubby still does this). I wanted the alcohol at that time. Also we would have a bowl of ice cream and beer/wine after dinner. Once I decided this was not for me, I’ve been fine with it. It’s the situation, not the food or drink. I haven’t missed either the alcohol or the sweets and THAT has been super interesting as I’ve always thought I had a huge sweet tooth. The cheat meals things worked out fine as I had made provisions for when I was hungry and didn’t know what to eat – think 2:00pm, I’m dragging, I used to have something sweet or chips. Now I either grab a piece of fruit or a small handful of nuts.

If you fail to complete any of the rules, you fail the program and go back to day 1. This is a 75 day program – about 2 1/2 months. I started the very first day I heard about the program 11/30 and failed that day because I had eaten a bit of cake after breakfast. I restarted on 12/1 and have been going strong. There have been some really tough days where I didn’t want to do the second workout or really did want one of the cookies I was baking, but I have held firm and feel good about it. I include my own goal now to run 3 days per week – MWF – and I’ve been doing that since the 2nd week of Dec. This has been a goal of mine on and off for years, but something always comes up and I skip a day here and there. Now my mind set is a little different. I don’t skip running day (even on Christmas), I get up and go running on running day before anything else happens.

In 30 days I have lost just over 15 pounds. I don’t feel hungry, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. BUT it does make me think, “What the heck was I eating, drinking and doing prior to this!”. More importantly though is my mind set. I more carefully think about things, try to envision where I might want to be in 1 year or 5 years and am working on making that happen. Lots of work still to do!!

Gingerbread Houses

Every year we make gingerbread houses as a family. We don’t buy pre made houses and we don’t cook the dough in a mold. Each person comes up with their own design, makes a pattern and then cuts it out of gingerbread dough. This year we made 9 batches of dough (we do have a little bit left over for cookies!). The design process usually takes the better part of an afternoon, then the cutting and baking. We have found over the years that stale gingerbread is better for building so we leave the baked pieces out for a couple of days.

Then the building begins and then the decorating! 5 batches of frosting and many hours later, we finished our creations. I love this tradition!!! We are all around the table, music is playing, and we are laughing (especially when things go awry with the building as they usually do!), joking and just having some good old fashioned fun.

We finally finished these last night!

The hubby’s pirate ship
Oldest daughter’s tree house complete with smoke from the chimney and ladder.
Minimalist youngest son’s creation, tent and paths. He’s really only in it for the candy!
Older son’s tent house. Do you see the chimney at the back. Every year he does some sort of tent cabin. I’m convinced that he is going to live in a tent in the wilderness one day.
Middle daughter’s two story affair complete with balcony and cotton candy bushes. The door is the perfect size for a little gummy bear.
Oldest daughter’s boyfriend’s Lord of the Rings Tower.
This one is mine. A simple little house with a chicken coop and duck pond.
I left the back part of the roof off so that I could put in a little tea light. Doesn’t it look homey?!

It felt a little weird to be making these without one of my daughters here (she is with her boyfriend’s family), but I guess as they grow I have to learn how to share.

Today we are set for another hike and some cookie baking!!

Last SAL Update for 2020

i am thrilled to share my big happy dance! If it wasn’t for this SAL and my embroidery guild, I’m not sure this would have been completed this year!

Where I was at the last update:

And as of the day before Christmas:

Finished 12/23/2020
Closeup of the patch. I used a velour ribbon thread to hide the overlap piece.
My son chose the fabric for the back as well as the lining. The back is quilted in a simple hatch line 1.5 inches apart.
Two of the three that are complete now. The third is waiting to be opened until she gets home.

I was really happy to finally finish this project. I have a few more stockings to do but I am going to take a break from those for a little bit and choose something smaller. I haven’t decided what my next project will be but will be ready next time.

Please take a look at all the other talented stitchers taking part in this SAL:

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen