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,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

So many kids around the country head back to school tomorrow, but here in the Midwest, in homage to harvest season, our local kids have been back for several weeks now. The big yellow busses have been dieseling their way through the neighborhood and when the wind blows the right way, I hear the horn section of the marching band at early morning practice (retired band mom here). Leaves are even starting to turn.

I know it has to come and I know what the Farmer's Almanac is saying about this coming winter, but this Fall is even more bittersweet as our Pastor for nearly 17 years is moving on to his next call. All 4 of us have gotten to know him over the years as my husband served on Council, we have both taught Sunday School & Confirmation, & the kids studied through confirmation classes.

In 2011, I read his letter in our monthly newsletter & was so taken with something he wrote, that I wrote it down. I even e-mailed it to myself so that I would not lose it! Long story short, with his permission, I used his words to create the Everyday Sampler. (New Release at this past St. Charles market)

The large sampler created itself one Saturday morning. I had been hemming & hawing about how to start it, and as my husband left for work, I sat down at the computer to put on the screen what I had drawn in my notepad. Amazingly, by the time he came home, I had the basic framework & details started to fly.

The idea for the smaller banner sampler was purely selfish. I knew I wanted to stitch the sampler, but time would not permit...same sentiment, same rich colors.
Here is Pastor Al with my youngest on his confirmation. Yes, I'm being one of "those" mom's putting this pic out there. Our family wishes him well as he moves on to the next chapter of his life & call.
A quick side note: I had the funniest thing happen not too long ago on FB. I reconnected with a friend I had worked with over 23 years ago. It was a PT job for me at our LNS until I could find my "real" job. After I left, we saw each other once or twice. Now, many states away, we have once again become "friends" and are realizing how both of us have continued very much in the industry in which we first met. Funny how this is my "real" job now.
It's a little early for #TBT but I came across this photo on FB - days back in the college years! 
This was during my freshman year & my future husband is in that picture somewhere!
Enjoy your Labor Day & thanks to all of those that Labor today.
Enjoy the Stitch!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home Again, Home Again...

I'm so confused as to what day it is! We drove home from St. Charles Needlework Market on Monday & it's already, where is this week going & could we skip Monday every week???

Before I get into Market "things" is my tribute to #TBT. I don't have many pics of myself as a kid (youngest of 3 here - they were tired), but I always love this one. I am about 3 here...I look terrified of that snowman!
Enough of the memories...on to market! I don't care how many times you have gone to market as either a vendor or a shopper (& I've done both!), it is always a good time. Now I don't get to do as much shopping as I did when I had my shop, but I managed to sneak out Sunday afternoon.
I am looking forward to having my winter cup-of-soup lunch in this mug. I have been wanting one of these & I finally snagged one! (I also have the t-shirts to match) 
I picked up some other goodies as well. Some will work their way into a future design & others are just for me!!

I had 6 New Releases for Market a large number of them went home with shopowners - yay!
 I want to introduce Indigo Star first. I had several influences during the design process. I had purchased a grouping of hand-dyed indigo quilting cottons and spent some time "playing" with them...that's how the 5-pointed star took shape. Next, I was shooting some pictures for a website...some new Polish Pottery pieces. I stopped taking the pictures to examine the beautiful see what happened here. (I have told you before, there is always a story behind every just happens that way!)
I was thrilled when a shopowner told me that she showed my design photo to a Polish Pottery dealer and they agreed that they could really see the influence!! Very cool.
Here is the cover shot & a few extra close-ups of the hand-painted/stenciled box.
There are step-by-step directions to make the cross-stitch 5-pointed star pincushion. The fun part is that it is really not that hard to construct! (I promise!) 

Close ups of the box - I started with a good old paper mache' box - several layers of paint, a stencil, then a lot of elbow grease with sandpaper! (better directions are in the chart!) 

There is a secret 3rd pattern included in the chart. You get the template for the 5-pointed star and directions to make these basic but adorable wool star pincushions. Stack them and adorn them with buttons, charms, all kinds of cool stuff. (I went for a simple twine look.)

Have a great weekend. I am getting to the end of my post market to-do list just in time to help move my baby back into his dorm room this weekend. It has been a different summer with just plain weird weather, lots of work & deadlines, but good having him home for a few months. He is excited to head back & how can I be anything else but happy for him!
Enjoy the stitch!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August Ramblings in a Pre-Market Haze

Early tomorrow morning, the car gets packed up as if I was filling a dorm the gills! But...I'm not heading to college...I'm heading to market.

Last Sunday night, I was sitting in the deck with DH and I said "you know, a week from now, it will all be over!". 6 months of work and all done! At first I was kind of sad, then I got happy, because it means I get back to the part that is most fun...designing. 

This year's market comes at an appropriate time...I unleash 6 of my designs on the "world" at the same time as I let my 2 masterpieces go into the world: one heading back for his final year of his Life Skills/Year 13 program and the other to his Sophomore year in college.

It is 2 years since I started Hands On Design and it has been a very satisfying journey so far. I have met some fantastic people, had some wonderful opportunities in this industry, and have loved challenging myself to push boundaries. Ok, we are not talking brain surgery here, but it does make me happy!

If you follow me on Instagram or facebook, you might have thought "what was with the #30days?". For 30 days, I took a picture of something in my life, a picture I took that day. The pictures are a memory of a thought, experience, or a joy that was in my life and something to focus on...the blessings in my life. Some days were more of a struggle than others, but it did kind of force me to look for the positive! Try it for yourself!

Time to pour another cup of coffee and tick off the final items on the "to-do" list. Find a copy of the newest Just Cross Stitch issue. "Give thanks for this day" is featured on page 12. The colors grab you, the finish is easy and fun, and the sentiment is spot on!

Enjoy the stitch!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Year of Celebrations

The Year is quickly coming to a close!

Hard to believe, but true - the 5th installment of the series is in the September 2014 issue. My involvement with the series has been much longer than a year, and I have to say, I was more than a little sad when I shipped off the last 2 designs. Since I did not frame or finish any of these, it has been exciting to see how the editors of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine have chosen to frame each month.

I won't be sad for long...I have been asked to take over the "Motifs" column for 2015! What fun! This is a regular magazine feature that includes a theme & lots of small motifs to coordinate with the theme. I've already turned in January & have to get going on March! That is probably the hardest part about seasonal designing...not designing that season during the matching season!

Enough seasons: I am including the DMC substitutes for August & September.
August: this has been a summer for ants - the uninvited guest to every picnic!
721, 826, 3801, 987, blanc, 725, 310, 400, 166

September: Time to hit the books! 838, 720, 930, 3347, blanc, 349
I hope you have enjoyed this series - I had a blast designing it!
Enjoy the Stitch,

Friday, July 18, 2014

Finish It Friday - thanks to Cherished Stitches!

Thanks to the wonders of Social Media, I have gotten to know a lot of my fellow designers in the counted thread industry. Yes, we meet up at markets, but sometimes...there's work to be done at those shows & you just can't meet everyone! Fortunately, I get to know designers on a whole other level...I do a lot of "finishing" of their designs that customers send to me.

I have put together quite a few of these wonderful little pillows for customers & I went looking for Louise, designer of Cherished Stitches, on Facebook one day. After figuring out who each one of us was & that we have been to the same markets, but just never met, I asked her if it was OK if I featured her finishes on a finish it Friday.

Now, Louise gives great directions...perfect for a beginner. I don't brag about many things in my life, but putting little pillows together...I've got that down. I'm showing you how I put these together - it may vary a bit from your style...I'm just showing you what I do. Take what you can from it & don't be scared of finishing these little beauties!

My customer sent me these little beauties, all stitched up, neatly pressed and ready to go.

Louise does a great job with her kits - includes everything you need packaged up in these adorable envelopes.

I trim the top, bottom, and left sides to 3/4" away from stitching.

On the remaining side, I draw a sewing guideline on the back of the linen, 1/4" away from the stitching. Match up the right side of the stitching to the right side of the cotton fabric, and sew along the guideline.

Trim the linen and cotton to 1/4" away from sewing line & press to the cotton fabric side. Refer to the pictures provided for placement of the lace & buttons required for each design. Here I laid the lace across and sewed right through it with a neutral thread.

Louise has done such a good job cutting the cotton fabric , that I just fold the fabric over the whole piece to finish the pillow. 
Now...I usually line the back of my linen with a thin batiste weight muslin...but for these, I did not, for several reasons. Having the lining helps the pillow to keep it's shape when stuffing, keeps the corner from being weak when you trim close, and, as I said, when I do larger items or pillows that are going to be firmly all means, use a lining. For these small pillows that will sit in a bowl, and since I know I'm only turning them inside out once, we are good here without the lining. (Sometimes lining also adds too much bulk in small items)
I mark with my pen (I use a fine tip, archival type) 1/4" away from the image on the back sides of my linen. I wanted the pillow to be 6" wide, so I measured from the linen side and marked on the cotton side. Sew around all guidelines, but leave an opening for turning in the cotton fabric side.

Here, I have sewn along the guidelines, trimmed, and pressed open my opening along the seams (this helps create a guide for the slip stitch later when closing the pillow up)

I do push out my corners with a blunt tip knitting needle, but I use a gentle poke/push motion and I always have a finger placed on the outside of the corner - so you don't have the dreaded poke through! 

Wool roving for stuffing - another reason I can go with no lining. It is very fluffy, fills corners nicely, and you don't have to use nearly as much. (which is good since it is also more expensive that fiberfill)

Here are all 4 pillows ready for stuffing!
Louise has designed quite a few of these lovely little kits & I thank her for letting me show them off (and showing my own take on finishing them!) Visit her website at and she is also on facebook.
If you follow my designs, you know I'm into the pillow finishes as well. I released Just Bee - a chartpack that includes cotton fabric, baker's twine & bee charm. This is a Limited Release, so contact you shop. Shops may order these from me and can see the details on my website:
A few housekeeping notes: soon,  I will be posting links to the previous Finish it Friday posts in the column so you can look back at them easily. I will also be posting the DMC substitutes for the Year of Celebrations early next week. Finishing deadlines for Holiday finishing is still Oct 1 - that means it must be here by then. I enjoy finishing, but currently have a very full  overflowing log book. Finishing takes time & I have lots of Fall markets.
Have a great weekend & enjoy the stitch,

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's Been a Great Week!

I've got winners!

Thank you to everyone who responded to my At the Beach contest - may this summer find you at the beach - or at least at the place that makes you happy!

I had entries come in through email as well as the blog (blogger glitch...) so we put everyone's name on a piece of paper.
I had my son scramble the entries & pick 5 names! (He's used to being asked to perform the occasional odd task around the house...)
& the winners are
I know, I know - hard to read. I'll be in touch with: Howdy68, Renee, Judybob3, Marilyn, Nicolesender

As soon as we connect, I will send you my latest release - At the Beach!
It's been a awesome week for me as well. Over 8 months ago, I was contacted by the editorial staff at Just Cross Stitch to set up an interview and design a piece for the August issue.
The issue is now available and man, is that cool! I had a great interview with Vickie Jennett (of Needlework Press) and designed the Black & White Garden Pinkeep. I have been so excited to share this piece with you.
Check out my photos - but wait - there's more...I also have an ornament in the issue as part of the annual Ornament Preview section!

I shot a couple pics before I sent the model of to the editors. The message unfolds as you open up the pinkeep! 
Congrats again to the winners.
Enjoy the stitch, Cathy