Friday, May 13, 2016

To The Beach

Yay - Summer's almost here & we have freeze warnings tonight! - that's NW IA life!

Summer has always meant BEACH to me.

Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, my family would pack up the car & drive to NC to meet up with friends - a week of long beach walks - swimming & laying out all day - rabbit ear type TV's - no A/C - make our own beach movies (ask me about the 'bucketheads' sometime) - fireworks in the sand...

Once college, jobs, kids & several moves took over, I didn't get to the beach much. Fortunately, the beach & I have been able to reconnect over the past few years - I've been lucky enough to teach at retreats & seminars near the beach (tough job but someone's got to do it!) and Bill & I have learned to book time away for ourselves.

Naturally, my love of the beach has spilled over into my design work - I've done beach in bright colors, beach in deep colors - but Vintage Beach called to me!

To the Beach is a series of 12 designs - all will fit into a standard 5x7 frame when stitched on 16 or 32ct - each has a sweet saying - I worked to create a play on words or offer up a bit of inspiration - each design stands on it's own. Be sure to check with your shop - many are offering automatic shipment  on the series. 4 are out now - released 2 every 6 weeks or so:

OH Whale - the 2nd one designed - but the 1st released - (did I tell you, I literally sat at my computer for 2 weeks turning sketches into designs - I was like a writer in the groove!) 
A Little Cottage - I think you understand the inspiration behind this one now!
Flock Together - I had to work a flamingo in somewhere! The pelican was in honor of George who used to live on our dock in FL & the tall guy on the right greets us in Sanibel each year!
When life gets a little rough 'Adjust Your Sails' - words to live by! (that's my version of Shiplap in the background! There's more of that to come thanks to my current obsession with Fixer Upper)
That's the 1st 4...8 more to go...shall we head 'To The Beach'?
Enjoy the stitch,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

There & Back Again!

"Came the Spring" - part of the Little House on a Pincushion Class Series

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting 30 lovely ladies that came together for The Hands On Design Weekender - organized by Barb from Country Cupboard in Orland Park, IL.

It was almost a year ago that Barb asked if I would come teach at her retreat, & even then, I knew this was going to be a special trip: My parents grew up in this part of the Midwest woods & I still have relatives in the area. I left Thursday morning & arrived at my Uncle's house in Frankfort... a time when my scattered relations seem to only meet up for 2 of life's momentous occasions, it was great to visit 'just because'.

Friday I headed to the LaSalle Manor in Plano, where Barb hosts the retreat.

That's Barb standing in the center of the picture above (where is my camera crew when I need them?)
Let me tell you, Barb organizes a great retreat: food, door prizes, games (the Yankee Swap was lots of fun!), she sets up a shop with tons of goodies (I brought a trunk show as well).

This was the view coming out of the room where I stayed - I felt like I slept in a treehouse!!
I got everyone on the staircase for an "I finished it" shot after class. They were all wonderful students - many not only finished their pincushion, but a few finished their bonus scissor fob too! (see the photo above)
 I always design an exclusive piece for each retreat I am asked to attend. I offered to re-chart the word Spring to Winter as we had rain, snow & sleet during our weekend (which was OK because we also had fireplaces...very cozy!)

Barb took any extra kits back to her shop with her - she may have some left (kits include everything but the batting - chart, linen, enamel pan, floss, woolfelt leaves, ribbon, pins & round finishing disk). Call her NOW at 708-460-7779.

I came to the retreat only knowing 2 of the attendees - a little nervous to stand up in front of 'strangers' - but these gals were so welcoming & put me right at ease. I made some wonderful personal connections & enjoyed the laughter, the jokes & the stories. Many thanks to Barb for all of her hard work! Be sure to stop in her wonderful shop if you ever pass through that area!

Once retreat was over & the car loaded, I made the 20 minute journey to my cousins house!! I have fond memories of heading out to Sandwich as a little girl with family. Once I drove back into the area, instinct took over & before I landed at his house, I found my way to the long, narrow driveway that used to take me to Grandma's house...

My cousin Chris.

I spent a great evening catching up with Chris & his wife...marveling at how parallel our lives & families are - genetics? age? who knows...we even have similar dogs! (same breed but practically opposite in coloring!)
Monday morning I hit the road to home, but stopped 1st to visit with Cathy of Inspired Needle! Another terrific shop, Cathy is taking some of my models to Celebrations in Nashua, NH soon. After a visit over bagels & coffee - we got to work!
I think I'm getting better at this selfie thing!

There is much to see at this wonderful shop - I had to look fast as I needed to hit the road & head for home.
So I made it there & back again...time to work on new projects, designs & classes...but very happy to have the memories of this trip!
Enjoy the Stitch,


Monday, April 4, 2016

A Big Day at Our House

There are 2 'anniversaries' of sorts today at Haber-house!

First, my youngest (my baby), turns 21!

Bill & I spent time looking back at old photographs yesterday, so you can imagine a lot of laughs at good memories & of course Kleenex too. A new item on the 'to-do' list...scan all of those old photos into the computer! (Imagine, taking baby pictures before I-phones!!)

There has been a lot of 'where did the time go' kind of talk between Bill & I lately. Some of it is sad & bittersweet, but I choose to focus on the 'what's to come' part of it all. We are so excited as soon Chris will start his senior year of college & then lookout world! We are so very proud of him, but also hold much respect for the child that has grown up: he is smart, loyal, strong (& perhaps a little stubborn & sarcastic...but I'm not sure where he got that!)


What about Anniversary #2?

Well, on Chris' 3rd birthday (I don't remember why we did it that way...), I opened Hands On Needleshoppe & began my career in the needlework industry!

I often find it hard to tell people what I do for a living (a needlework shop..what's that?, you finish needlework?? you design cross-stitch?? my grandma does that!)...but the reality is, 18 years & I'm still here!

The brief bio:
- Hands On started in the lower level of my home - retail space was at a premium ($$$) - I stayed there for 3 years, building, learning, growing. We moved to a teeny tiny 450sq location & stayed less than a year! Moved to 2400sq ft and stayed almost 6 years. Cross-stitch, yarn, classes, retreats, gifts...we had it all, but time with family was tight & necessary.

- the year after I closed the shop, I did finishing full time for various shops & customers. While I loved the flexibility, I missed contact with stitchers & teaching! Enter: CherryWood Design Studios, where I hung my design hat for 5 years and learned a whole different side of the industry. 3+ years now on my own as Hands On Design & I still feel like I learn & grow with each design!

My husband's favorite thing to tell me during some of the early growth years: 'it's all a process'! Man, I really disliked that saying, but 18 years later, I know what he said was the truth...

Releases from this year's Nashville Needlework market.
I'll talk more about them soon...but today we have much to celebrate!
Enjoy the stitch,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

28 years...

If you've been a follower & have a really sharp memory - you will remember that I always have a gift at the ready for my dearest on our anniversary...which of course was last Saturday...

...well, it WAS stitched in time but just not finished.

He certainly understood as our house has recently been in turmoil with construction (almost done there), kids activities (they may be grown but are still busy little buggers!), AND market is in less than a month now!!! Let's just say he's used to coming home to see me with my hair on fire! (it's not a good look for me)

Anyway, BE MINE is this year's Valentine. It's a dainty one & only took me, slowest stitcher on the planet, an evening to whip up!

I've listed the fabric & threads on the page but with such a petite piece, scavenge your surroundings! My surroundings included a piece of 32ct Glastonbury Tor (thanks Stephanie!) - a neat shade of green I know DH will like. I gave mine a great big Chenille hug from Lady Dot Creates & the perfect pins from JABC.

I have updated the webpage with some looks as to what's about to release so take a peak & in the meantime, enjoy Be Mine.

                                                                   Be Mine Chart

Want designs from the past 3 years? - search the blog history for the past 3 February's...the links are still there!

                                                                 Enjoy the Stitch,

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A whole latte like...

You have no idea how many bad coffee jokes we have been making around this house with the release of the 3rd Block Party - JAVA.

As with all of the Block Party pincushions - no 2 sides are alike (that would be boring). This, however makes it really difficult to photograph for the cover shot!
Here are the other you can see, short tall, stacked & to go- something for all!

So what's with the spoons you ask? Kind of a weird thing: my family (mom, dad & sisters) loves (I mean L-O-V-E-S) ice cream. When I was little we had a smattering of spoons that didn't match the rest. They were always in the back of the drawer. Somewhere along the line - I  knew it to be so, that ice cream tasted better when eaten with the 'fun spoons'. Even today, I love my yogurt (love the ice cream - it just doesn't love me) with a few fun spoons of my own. 

JAVA is on it's way to shops right now! Oh & the pinset? JABC always comes through when I say pretty please. After knitting needles in the last set (see Block Party WOOL pins), I just knew they could fashion a fantastic to-go cup...right down to the little green Starbuck's-like stopper!

We've had a lot going on the home front as well. I have been wanting to redo our floors for some time, but re-doing floors meant re-doing the paint & the fireplace, & the laundry room  & on. I will do some better before & after pics at some point but you get the gist:

You can see at one point I tried to paint the back of the bookcases red (which promptly got covered by fabric)

The finisher in me was fascinated to watch the hearth come apart. I told them if they found treasure in there it was mine...bodies were theirs!

Cassie loves the contractors, but not the noise they make.

Floors are in, walls are painted & stone is laid. At this point, I am waiting for the hearthstone & mantle (& DH has started new TV shopping now that we have more room for 'bigger'!)
As always,
Enjoy the Stitch


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What A Year!

It has been an eventful year for Hands On Design. As I think about it, I realize that I get to stitch, work & play with some pretty amazing friends.

Part of our stitching group - we still gather when possible. We stitch, talk, listen & basically solve the world's problems. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to one of our group this year: a reminder to say & do the things you mean to say & do.
Stitching Group selfie! I have to say that without these women (we're missing a few in the pics) - I would not have been ready for Market this year!!
Without them, this would not have turned into...
I'm fortunate enough to call these 2 designing women my friends. (Tracy, Ink Circles & Beth, Summer House Stitche Workes) We collaborated on a small project last year & had so much bet, we're doing it again! We manage to Skype: the hardest part is managing 3 different time zones!
I was thrilled to work with several shopowners this year. I designed this piece for Pat of Stitchin' Post in Nashville! Her shop celebrated a milestone birthday this year!

I also enjoyed teaching at several shops this past year (apparently I need a camera crew because I have NO pictures!!)
Stitches 'n Things in MI kicked of the year followed by Heart's Desire in KS. A quick stop into For the Love of Stitching in NE and ended the year at Cecilia's Samplers in MO & Salty Yarns in MD! All over the country, shopowners & stitchers were so welcoming!

I made a new friend this year! Priscilla (of the uber-beautiful took a chance & allowed me to interpret her wonderful chalk art into cross-stitch. This series has just kicked off in the Jan/Feb 2016 Just Cross Stitch issue. Priscilla & I have been working together since last March & we haven't even officially 'met'! I hope to solve that sometime in 2016! I'm so excited to see this series unfold (see the previous blogpost for more info about this project).
Speaking of designing with friends: it has been a treat getting to work with Cecile & Rachel of Just Another Button Company on our design collaboration [square.ology].

Bumble is probably my favorite design from [square.ology] mostly because I remember so clearly how he got designed: it was like a design dance one evening as we sat at the dining room table, passing around sketchbooks, computers & even babies!
 In the midst of it all, Rachel decided we needed cake! (which is never a bad thing!)

Working with these ladies is a lot of this:

 & even this.
(Anna, Rachel's youngest, grew bored with the design process but found my thumbs, necklace & glasses fascinating!)
The #1 question I get asked: Will there be more chalk?
...and the answer is - Of Course! While I have the Chalk Art series already kicked off in JCS, there are more reveals to come very soon...
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to All!




Tuesday, December 8, 2015

When A Plan Comes Together

Where to start?

- I had this little idea for the "A Year in Chalk" series. 
- I do all kinds of research on chalk art: fonts, styles, borders, etc...
- I keep running across this blog with beautiful pictures of someone's home and all of her chalk art (seriously, this is a home worthy of HGTV!)... & she stitches!
- I 'turn off' all images before I start sketching my series, but her blog never really leaves my mind. 
- As 'A Year in Chalk' winds down, I think about what's next...

Enter Just Cross Stitch magazine with a request for a series. 

So, I pitch my idea and hear those magical words that any designer loves to hear..."we're happy with whatever you want to do".

Then, I had to not only introduce myself to Priscilla via FB, but pitch her the idea too. days later, we were busy chatting on the phone discussing colors and themes (& kids and families...go Aztecs! I have been watching her son on TV playing college football!)

What a fun friendship & project this is turning out to be! I know I'm learning a lot and I always like a project that pushes me creatively.

We send pictures back and forth as we each stitch our own models. I have committed to stitching the magazine models myself since I'm making a lot of changes as I go. 

Here's a few 'behind the scenes' photos that didn't make the magazine!

My first photo to Priscilla as I model stitch. 

Priscilla's first photo to me!

Me again!

Priscilla again! It was really cool to see how we both stitched in a different order!

Once my piece is complete, I ship it to Priscilla so she can photograph them together in her home. 

Finally! Just Cross Stitch Jan/Feb 2016. We started this project last March! I'm so excited to bring you a year full of Seasons in Chalk Art (7 in all). (FYI: each piece will be the same stitch count. The model is stitched on 32ct Slate from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie)

Visit and follow Priscilla's blog:

Enjoy the stitch, I sure have!