Friday, February 6, 2015

Happy Anniversary My Dear

Today, February 6th, is our 27th wedding anniversary. For the past few years, I have dedicated a small, heartfelt design to the love of my life and this year is no different.
I could go on & on about the many joys we have shared over the years: joys that include highs & lows, good times and trials. I'm just going to hold these thoughts to myself this year and let them bring peace to my heart.
Please feel free to print the PDF. Although it is listed on the chart, I used 30ct Bitter Betty Brew R&R, GAST Endive & WDW Madison Rose. From the Cauldron rick rack was used for embellishment.
The heart is charted for cross-stitch, but if you would like a woolfelt heart to include on your design, please send a SASE to :
Hands On Design
2400 Apache Dr., Sioux City, IA 51104 & I will send you one.
I will send until they are all gone. One per SASE please.
Please see prior Year's February 6th posting for previous designs.
Enjoy the Stitch,


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Want to come to my Board Meeting?

I started this blog several years ago as a way to create a diary or history of what happens not only with my design company as it grows, but my family as they grow and move about their lives. My boys are (almost) 20 and 21 now & really there are times when I forget little things...time really does fly!

Our youngest had the opportunity to travel to Japan this month as part of his J-term -a one month intensive course of study before his 2nd semester of his sophomore year. (Yes, I said sophomore year!) He enjoyed himself immensely as he got to experience the culture & lifestyle of Japan. I'm pretty sure a return trip is in his plans somewhere.

He brought us several lovely gifts - even items from his host family. I'm enjoying my new mug and the many different flavors of Kit Kat bars - orange, green tea, wasabi to name a few.
I was excited to see how the experience affected him. We live in a small town and this was really his first experience with very large cities and travel without us. He hasn't stopped smiling about it - except for maybe the jetlag.

January was also the month of the car... :( When everyone drives an older vehicle, you hold your breath & hope the duct tape sticks. We took my son's car in while he was away...yikes. Our oldest car developed a cracked block...double yikes. I have the luxury of having a winter car (we live in IA at the top of a hill) and a summer car (better on mpg). It was like auto Jenga, but we traded one in, sold one, fixed another, and bought a new one! Heavy sigh.
At the beginning I asked if you would like to come to our board meeting. Our dining room has been turned into a mini board painting, sanding, & staining sweatshop. (We were blessed with a few warm days so the sanding & staining moved to the garage.)
Just a small stack of finishing boards for "a year in chalk".
These racks are leftover from the shop - imagine them filled with yarn! We almost threw them out in the last "let's get the garage organized" binge. Hubby assembled these one Sunday afternoon - he's the best.
This was his grand plan. I'd say it worked pretty well to allow the finishing boards for the chalkboard series to dry. The dining room...aren't you supposed to eat there?
As you can see, it's never really a dull moment here...seriously, I could use a dull moment every once in awhile.
Market prep continues & I shall have more updates from the board meeting soon!
Enjoy the Stitch,


Friday, December 19, 2014

Sorry November...

...I missed you! Not that I didn't have anything to blog about - let's get real, I could post everyday if there were actually more than 24 hours available in a 24 hour time period.

If you follow me on Facebook - you know it's been a little crazy!

- Finally got the last of the finishing for customers to the posty! I already have quite a line-up to start in 2015! Travels & the design side of Hands On keep me hopping. I still plan on doing finishing work, so if you are patient, I am willing!

- My folks came in for Thanksgiving - a first for them to travel west for that holiday. A good time was had by all! Grandpa helped decorate the outside of the house & Grandma helped us get a head start on holiday baking!

- Design Deadlines!!!!! A magazine here, a calendar there, new series, class pieces, and collaborations. That is not a complaint, because the alternative sure would be!

- Finally got some decorations all around! I have got GOBS of decorations - I could probably use 6 full size trees and still need more! I change it up every year and for 2014, I decided to pull out some of the older decorations that I hadn't used in awhile. Such memories are attached to them all.

A special place for Christmas cards in the front hallway. Why yes, that is the box I designed for Just Cross Stitch - perfect for holding our incoming cards! I stitched the little "crackers" many years ago and that is the one & only Dutch Treat design I ever completed!

I made this nativity with my kids YEARS ago when I attended MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). There is usually a star on the stable, but the cats keep knocking it down behind the shelf. Apparently it is too bright for them, :)

The boys get a new Santa ornament each year. I made the main tree all stitched ornaments, so the hall tree has the Santas. We only put out the lightweight & non-breakable Santa's. As predicted, this tree has fallen over several times already. (cue the cats again)

I love my mantle. The one thing that doesn't change is the little white lights in the garland. It's so pretty in the evening. I went with red sparkly ornaments tucked in between Santa & his sleigh.

I stitched stockings for the boys when I was pregnant with each one of them. I look back at my finishing every year & shudder. I've learned a few things over the years!

This year I am participating in iStitches Advent SAL. It has been so much fun. Every morning I wake up to an email with the day's block. I'm further along than this picture, but I'm still a few days behind. You really should check it out!

And here is my biggest news! Taa Daa! A Year in Chalk! I was inspired by the chalkboard type of art that is everywhere these days. I have always loved the look. The actual chalkboard in the picture hangs in my laundry room. We write notes on it. (I had to erase some that were 2 years old from the last High School graduation to get it into the picture!)
12 separate charts to celebrate each month. I stitched on 30ct WDW Gunmetal. (Picture the Plus, Shadow & Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie, Silver Mist (request it dark) are good aida substitutes.)
I feel like a proud Mom to bring this series to you. Each month is different but all use GAST Chalk and one other hand-dyed. (GAST Tropical Ocean for January) I am offering the boards for finishing as well. Many shops are starting automatic programs for this one. I will be getting that list onto my website next week!
Shipping starts in January.

I hope you enjoy stitching the whole series. It was so much fun to design for you!
A very Merry Christmas to you and all of the Blessings of the Season for your family!

Friday, October 31, 2014

I Made it through October!

Well, technically, it's only 10am, so the day is still young.

What I'm really referring to is the massive amount of miles I have put in on the road & the air! Between retail shows, retreats, The Trail of Orts Tour & Houston Quilt Market, I am one out-of-gas puppy! (Good thing I'm heading to the beach next week for some R&R!)

1st things 1st: New Releases!

I've got 2 shipping to shops right now. You can always see my shops that receive charts automatically on my website. Many other shops order as well so please email me if you need the name of a store near you & I will gladly refer!

Holiday Bells - a counted canvas design

2 colors - 4 shades - so easy to customize - a larger ornament size finish (I framed mine) - I had one stitcher tell me she was going to stitch it 4x & rotate so all of the red was in the middle! (Brilliant - a  "why didn't I think of that" moment!)

Winter Solstice - 2nd in the penny pillow series
This wasn't even supposed to be a series - but when several shopowners listen! Once again, woolfelt pennies are included. This just makes me want to curl up under a quilt to stitch! (1st in the series is Twice Blessed)

On to the Trail of Orts Tour wrap-up!
 I teamed up with Tracy Horner of Ink Circles to drive from St. Charles, MO (Celebrations of Needlework weekend) & travel to Myrtle Beach (Stitching at the Beach retreat). We cooked up a plan to visit 5 shops along the way & have a live trunk show at each one.
My car has a lot of room & my Trail of Orts partner & I got very good at filling it up!

1st stop was Stitches, Etc. - Gail has a lovely shop located in the heart of historic downtown St. Charles!

Quite a few stitchers who attended the Celebrations weekend stopped by for more time to visit with us. Cathy Roginela from Inspired Needle & Cathe Ray of Needle in a Haystack came by to wish us well also! (It was Cathe's birthday!) Gail was the 1st shop to say "I'm in!" as we were planning the trail.
We left St. Charles behind that Sunday & drove north to Stitches from the Heart. Shopowner Susie opened up on a Sunday evening for us & had quite a crowd come to welcome us.
Susie's shop is packed - I mean packed with all sorts of charts, kits, fibers, canvases - everywhere we looked there was a new treasure trove of color & texture! 
Look at the cookies! Yum. We did partake of the fruit as well (just to be healthy!) An awesome group showed up on that rainy Sunday evening!

Monday morning we traveled south to Nashville and a stop at the Stitchin' Post. Pat had us set up in her front room where we each took some time to talk about ourselves and answer lots of questions. We held most of the live trunk shows over lunch hour - so we had lots of pop in visitors!

Here's Tracy explaining one of her pieces (I thought I knew a lot about Tracy - but there's nothing like spending nearly 2 weeks with someone on the road to make you realize how much you don't know!)

While I was giving my presentation, I kept looking at a gal in the crowd - turns out, she used to live in my hometown & was a customer of mine when I had my shop! Small world!

We hit the road to Pigeon Forge that afternoon after we had lunch at the Jamaican restaurant that Pat suggested - it was delish!
Tuesday found us at Dixie Darlin, It is located in the tourist section of Pigeon Forge, but it has such a homey atmosphere inside - you just want to sit down & kick your shoes off!
This is what greeted us when we walked in the door! Very cool - our tour frosting!

Here we are with shopowner Cindy - you may also know her at the designer behind Foxwood Crossings & all of those wonderful little sleds! Cindy has a lot of pride in her hometown - you could tell as she showed us all around the historic area.

Wednesday morning we arrived at Stitch & Frame shop in Rock Hill, SC. The ladies greeted us in the parking lot, ready to empty our car! We were met with all sorts of southern hospitality - including a group of ladies that drove from Savannah just to meet us! I have to say that by this time, I was so overwhelmed with everyone's kindness.
They had created the perfect little spots to showcase our trunk shows.

Lots of stitchers, lots of hugs, lots of new friends!

We left Rock Hill with full tummies & a gift bag of homemade goodness!
At this point it was on to Myrtle Beach with a quick stop to steal...borrow...harvest some cotton, fresh from the field.
Made it to the beach!

I would like to thank each of the 5 shops for opening your doors to us & making us feel so welcome.
 This all started as a late night conversation of "hey, what if...". Along the way we made friendships & memories... ran for coffee in the rain, scavenged late night dinner at Kroger, talked to the GPS lady as if she were the 3rd person in the car... and discovered that needlework is a pretty strong bond. 
Enjoy the stitch!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Finish It Friday - the 5 pointed star

I made some updates to the website today ( Most notably I made some changes to the "now appearing" page. Of course I am excited about my upcoming travels to Celebrations, PALS Stitching at the Beach retreat & the Trail of Orts Tour, but I've got some fun happenings already lined up for 2015!

Of course, I will be at the Nashville Needlework Show in late February, but March & April I get to do what I love...go to retreats, meet stitchers & teach!

March 2015, I will be in residence at Camp Stitch-a-lot hosted by Deb of Stitches 'n Things. I've got a fun project in the works for that - pre-stitching will head out Decemberish (yes, that's a real month).

April, I head a little more south to Wichita where I will spend the time with Debbie & the crew from Heart's Desire for her Camp. More classes there & I get to (hopefully) reunite with some stitchers that I haven't seen in years - former customers of mine that have moved south.

Please contact the shops or check out their websites for sign-ups & registrations. I will post more info with links later. I think I need a new suitcase??
Just thought I would share a quick pic of my ornament from this year's Just Cross Stitch Ornament magazine. Snowflake House pairs with Garland House that was in the Preview issue & Wreath House that was released at market. Stitch alone or as the Home for the Holidays neighborhood (border included with Wreath House).
Now for the finishing. I had several emails about the 5-pointed star in Indigo Star. Directions are included, but we are a visual sort - so here are some pics that hopefully will help.

Stitch your 5 little panels - you are given 8 to choose from in the pattern.

Once stitched, iron on a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing to the back side. You will notice that my corners are not fused. I find it helps to decrease the bulk in the corners and that is outside the 1/4" sewing line. Anything that "matters" will be fused.
You will trace the pattern onto the back of the sewing (pattern is included in the chart). 1/4" seam allowance is included. The flat tip points to the outside of the star, so take that into account when you are laying out which of the pattern panels you stitch & how you place them in your layout.

Here's the part that freaks everyone out! Using a ruler & rotary cutter, cut along the lines of the pattern you traced. You got that are cutting through your stitching! 
Take a deep will be OK.

Lay the panels out in the order you would like them to finish - flat points to the outside. Take 2 panels, right sides together, and sew 1/4" starting from the outside edge & ending 1/4" before you get to the other edge. This will help as you work you way around the 5 points. Press the seam open & the add on the next until you have completed the star.
I sewed mine pillow fashion with Weeks Dye Works wool on the back. Leave a small opening, clip corners (both inside & out), turn, fill with ground walnuts shells (lizard litter) and close up. I used a vintage button in the middle.
I hope this helps add a visual to the written words in the pattern. It takes a little patience, but you get something really cool in the end.
I am creating a way for you to access my Finish it Friday posts easily for later reference. I am trying not to put them out as pdf's - it is just too easy to copy & claim. Imitation is a form of flattery, but sometimes it is just a plain rip-off. (long story for another day...). I like to de-mystify finishing for you - it just takes a little patience and practice.
I hope you have a great weekend. The weathermen are calling for a hard freeze here tonight & this time, I think it will happen. I look forward to some stitching, some working (packing to leave for Celebrations) & best of all - celebrating my oldest "baby" turning 21! Wow - when did that happen?
Enjoy the stitch!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bye Bye September...

October isn't going to stick around long either at this rate!

Our house has once again turned into a factory of charts, kits, boxes, trunk shows, new releases, and finishing jobs! The dog is already nervous because she knows what those stacks of boxes means!

Next Wednesday I leave on a fun journey! All the hard work of these past few months since market will be literally rolled out over the southeast portion of the country! More about that in a minute, first, a fun Halloween pic - I recruited my hubby to help me decorate for fall in early September, it was then or never and today with the rainy, dreary day, I turned the lights on my Halloween tree and I'm enjoying the atmosphere!

Back to business! I am heading to St. Charles, MO to participate in the Celebrations of Needlework show. It kicks off a week from Thursday. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of stitchers and sharing my newest designs. I'm bringing a basket for the Breast Cancer Awareness auction and 4 different trunk shows: (Designs by Lisa fobs, Hands Dyed Linens by Stephanie, sewmuch2luv bags by Karen, and hand dyed trims From the Cauldron/Dames of the Needle by Elizabeth)
 Once Celebrations is complete, I head towards the PALS Stitching Retreat in Myrtle Beach. This won't be a simple Point A to Point B drive. Tracy Horner from Ink Circles & I have cooked up a fun journey.
What do you get when you ask an engineer to figure out the best driving route between 2 cities encompassing the most number of needlework shops?? You get the Trail of Orts Tour - coming to a city (hopefully) near you! See the poster below! If you can't make the tour - follow us on FB & Twitter with #trailofortstour.
This will be my 2nd year at the PALS retreat. I'm looking forward to catching up with stitchers I met last year that I keep in touch with on FB and meeting a whole bunch of new attendees.
In preparation, I was updating my Square register (the little credit card thingy) - last year when I was at PALS, I had 7 designs in my catalog. I now have over 27 (plus a whole lot more if you count the magazine designs!) The "number-crunching" part of me is really excited about that. Once again, I will be bringing some extra goodies to tempt stitchers (can you say PALS Retreat design?). 
It will be a 2 day drive home, and a quick laundry turn-around and I'm off once again. This time I am Houston bound where I get to be an honorary buttoneer with the wonderful ladies of Just Another Button Co. at Houston Quilt Market. I went last year and it was a terrific experience from set-up to tear-down and all in between. I got so much design inspiration when I was there - that's where I first saw that wonderful fabric I purchased for the Gather Friends Close series! Who knows what I will see this year!
Gotta' run & assemble more kits! I hope to have a Finish it Friday post this week - I've had several questions about the finishing of the 5-pointed star pincushion so I thought I would do a tutorial.
Catch ya' next month (haha!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The end of the Celebration!

The November issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine is out and with it comes the final two pieces of my Year of Celebrations series.

I have said before that my actual participation - designing & stitching - has been done for awhile, but I have enjoyed the pictures & emails that I have been receiving from stitchers. It is still the coolest thing for me to see that someone has stitched one of my designs!

Here are the DMC conversions for October & November! (pics first - I don't have my magazine yet, so I snapped these before I shipped them off to the publisher).

October: 3823, 553, 922, 317, 310, 703, b5200, 415
November: 310, 435, 898, 729, 3865, 987, 3808
Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine has been wonderful to work with on this project. I won't be going away from the magazine as the next issue starts right up again with my contribution to this year's "motifs" column.
Some quick updates will be coming soon to announce the whirlwind of activity & travels that will be starting soon! It all kicks off in a few weeks with Celebration of Needlework in St. Charles, MO - October 9-11. Keep in touch for upcoming information - the elves are busily working behind the scenes arranging things!
Here's another one of my Fall releases: Blissfully Unaware
I had these hands charted forever, just waiting for the perfect companion! It was so funny to watch shopowner reactions at market as they carefully read it & then it dawned on them what it was saying!! Priceless. Stitched on 32ct Hocus Pocus linen from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie!

Gotta' end it here as we are taking off today to cheer my youngest on at the IIAC Men's Individual Conference play. He is number 1 again on this year's tennis team & we always enjoy watching him & his teammates play. I will be bagging little buttons on the car ride over...can't waste any time!
Enjoy the stitch,