Monday, December 23, 2013

Winner Winner!

Brrrrrr....I wanted to post the winner earlier this morning, but morning errands took a little longer than I had planned because it was THIS cold...
The deep freeze, ice & snow have hit many parts of the country, so my wish for all is a SAFE & Merry Christmas!
Anyway... the random number generator picked #9 & that is Phyllis! Cue the streamers and balloons. I will be in touch with you Phyllis to get your address.
Thank you to everyone that took the time to leave such nice comments.
I leave you with a closing shot of our tree this year. I cannot wait to spend the next few days with my boys and take part in the traditions that help to make our family holidays special.
Enjoy the season,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Blogiversary!

One year ago, I wrote & published my 1st ever "post". I talked about a lot of "change" in that first post and it was probably a little confusing to some. I believe I said, Change is good...change is bad... Well, a year the wiser, I can say that change is good...change can be hard, but the results can be good!

Now 16 years in this industry: a shopowner for 9 years, finisher for 7, design partner for 5, and now solo designer for 1, I feel as if I am constantly changing...and, while the change has been hard at times, the results have been great! (and for those of you doing the math...a few of those jobs have overlapped!)

What I didn't realize, but certainly should have, was the huge amount of change that would happen in my personal life as well. I won't go into details, and if you have been following me, you already know all about me...and will certainly hear more about life in the year to come!

Now on to the celebration! I've got a fun Blogiversary giveaway: a Spring Bud kit from yours truly (includes everything you need to stitch a sweet little cushion!), a kelly rae roberts bookmark, a custom made Journal from artist Michelle Palmer (you have to check out her etsy shop), and some fun snowflake ornaments - it can snow anywhere with these!

How do you win this? Just leave a comment on this blogpost. It is not necessary to follow (but I do several giveaways throughout the year). You are welcome to visit my facebook page as well. I keep that page hopping with lots of pictures! (
I will choose the winner by random number generator on Sunday, December 22nd at midnight (cst)
and post the winner's name on Monday. Be sure to check back to I can get the winners address.  
How about one more giveaway? I designed this little guy for Cindy of FanciMats & More last summer for her shop hop & have distributed it at other getaways. I thought it was time he made a debut for everyone!
(BTW Cindy is just one of the terrific people in this industry. Someday I hope to get to her store in CO & visit her Mom's studio...haha. I usually visit with "Mom" at markets to talk finishing and we joked one year about our studios...mine was in the basement and hers was the laundry room!)

Click here for a printable pdf.

Thanks for the like, for the follow, for the comment, for the year. The next one is already setup to be a busy, design filled year!

Happy Stitches,


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tis the Season!

This has been a slightly different pre-Christmas season for my husband & I. With no one in High School anymore, there are no winter band concerts, no Christmas Sunday School programs, chasing to find the "hot" Christmas toy. Different, but not bad. Maybe the nest is empty, but as they slowly make their way back home and project deadlines seem less intense - it is easy to see that the joy of the season is still the same!

Thank you for all of the questions about the Year of Celebrations. The series started in the January issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine that was released November 19th. This has been a fun project to design - at this point, I have turned in all but 4 of the releases. It is sometimes funny to work on designs out of season. I was stitching December & January at the beach this past summer! Each one comes out to be a 3" square when stitched on 32ct.

Here are the DMC equivalents for each piece: January - 947, 518, 704, 310, 300, blanc and December - 902, 321, 699, 791, 972, blanc. I will assume you can figure out which color goes where!
I really hope you have as much fun with these pieces as I have.
The photo at the top is a panoramic of my mantle. I have accumulated enough holiday d├ęcor in nearly 26 years of marriage, that I am able to change it out each year. This year called for bright colors - multi lights & lots of bright red & green. It's always fun to figure out what I'm going to put where each year!
Christmas Blessings to all,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Playing Catch-Up! has been a busy Fall!

I do not normally "move about the country" (stolen borrowed from the Southwest commercial...who has let me build up an impressive number of frequent flier miles btw) as much as I have these past few months.

Before I continue the travelog, I want to share a (bad) picture of a new Year of Celebrations Series that will be featured in Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine. Each issue will feature 2 months. January 2014 will hit newsstands next week. Since Hands On Design did the designing & stitching...but not the finishing (weird for me I know!) it was fun to see them all framed up.

They will all be the same size (50x50) - so quick to stitch!
Late September, I was a temporary employee of Ink Circles at the St. Charles Celebrations show. Lots of fun catching up with shopowners, designers, and most important of all...stitchers!
October took me to the beach. I showed a few pics last time of the Cross Stitch PALS retreat. Amy of Down Sunshine Lane invited Hands On Design to exhibit at the retreat and take part in all of the fun exchanges. Here are a couple of pics of what I gave away!
A paper-pieced pincushion (say that 10x fast!) stuffed with walnut shells.

An original design needlebook - look for this as a complimentary chart & Finish-It-Friday soon!
These were some of the items I received as part of the exchanges! The retreat was a blast & I highly suggest you go. I hope to be able to put it on the Hands On calendar for next year!
 Part of what I really enjoyed was meeting other stitchers and I met 2 of my favorite bloggers. Funny to meet someone for real after getting to know them in cyberspace! I spent some time talking with Meari of Meari's Musings & Faye,The Carolina Stitcher - both are also needlework finishers so it was cool to discuss finishy things!
Once I got back from the beach, it was a short turnaround to Houston. I became an official buttoneer on the Just Another Button Co. crew for the International Quilt Market. 27 rows of vendors!!! Can you imagine?
I wish I could have set up a time lapse camera...the transformation from HUGE shipping crates & stuff everywhere is amazing and in such a short period of time!

Day 1 & I got my workout. After arriving off my 6am flight, we emptied the large panel van that Cecile & Rachel drove from JABCo home offices in IL. Rachel was about 5 weeks from having her baby at that point...the newest buttoneer might have even arrived as I type this! 
Flooring was laid, walls were constructed, electricity was arranged...yes, we are designers - NOT contractors (there was much discussion of how many hats we actually wear in his industry!)
Most of my looking around was after the show closed for the day. I took lots of pictures of pretty quilts, but I thought this display was worthy of posting! Yes, that is what you think it is! Guess they had a "Sharknado" theme.

Finally market was open. Here Cecile & Rachel are talking with the 1st customer of the day. I met so many wonderful people involved in the quilting industry & caught up with quite a few that crossover between quilting & cross-stitch.

This is the newest book that Cecile & Rachel published through Martingale Press. They were the "big deal" at market with a Schoolhouse session (I got to play Vanna & hand out treats!) & a book signing. The book will be out in early December.  
After market, I handed Cecile & Rachel off to Josh (Rachel's husband.) He was coming in to help out as the JABC team was staying on for Festival - the retail part of Houston Quilt market. I headed home...for sleep!
While I was gone all that time, my husband was very busy. His company did a complete remodel of its offices. What should have taken 6 months got done in 1 1/2! He brought home the family pictures from his office...I'd say he's due for a few updates! I made this collage for him when the kids were about 1 & 2! I could still just squeeze them!
Thanks for sticking through this long post! I promise a Finish-It-Friday next time! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stitching At the Beach!

I'm back from the beach - sand, surf, and stitching...what a combo! (I highly recommend it!). I am getting on the road again so I thought I would post a few quick pics with more to follow later.

After what seemed like a journey that took forever, my friend & I landed in Myrtle Beach airport late wednesday night!

I know it's a little goofy to take a pic in the airport, but hey, I live in the middle of the country where we are already looking at snow flurries! Palm trees are a very welcome sight!

This was the view on our way to breakfast the first morning.

I have a thing for piers...there is something so cool about the structure of them. I also always feel like I'm on an episode of CSI...the body is going to wash up here (I watch way too much TV I think!).

Hmmm...if I can't fish for them, they better not be fishing for me!

Oh yes - the retreat! One of the fun parts is all of the crazy exchanges they have! Here is a Halloween ornament exchange. During this one, you had to draw a card and follow the with the person 7 to your left & across the table, etc... One night we played a musical chairs kind of game! So much fun. I will share pics of exchange gifts next time!
 I did bring a New Release with me that retreaters got to see, even before shops & distributors! This is the start of the Family Tree series: ornaments based on one of my family members. Joyeux Noel is in honor of my sister-in-law and her family who make their home in Paris. We don't get to see them too often, but last Christmas we all gathered at my in-laws house to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. I had such a great time getting to know my sweet little nephews.
I will post some exchange pics next time, but now I must pack again to hit the airways to Houston. I am looking forward to working the Quilt Market floor for my friends at Just Another Button Co.
Happy Stitching! Cathy

Monday, October 14, 2013

To The Beach!

As I sit at my computer, it is rainy and dreary outside. It is not supposed to let up until Wednesday! I suppose I should be thankful that it is not the white stuff coming down.

What I am most thankful for is that this wednesday I am boarding a plane (cue "leavin' on a jet plane" music) bound for Myrtle Beach & the Cross Stitch Pals Retreat. I am looking forward to meeting fellow stitchers & showing off a few of my wares. I've got a special design for attendees, a couple of fun kits, and of course my small, but growing, catalog of designs. I will also have a New Release to premiere!

The list of to-do's does not seem to be shrinking, so I will keep this one short with a sneak peek photo. I hope to post some retreat pics along the way.

Once I'm back home I will pull a fast turnaround and head to Houston Quilt Market where I will, for a few days, be an official "buttoneer"! I scratched off "stand in the button room of the JABCo offices" from my bucket list a few summer's ago and now I am excited to go help out in their booth during Market.

Before I go's that sneak peek!

I almost forgot to mention - I am taking a selection of pre-drilled sunglasses and "cheaters" from Noteworthy Needle. Janis graciously allowed me to bring to some for you all to tryout and purchase. I stitched mine up in a quick evening.

Have a wonderful week & Happy Stitching!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Finish It Friday...on Saturday!

My computer decided it didn't feel much like working yesterday! Thanks to my techie husband, he got me up & running again and I can leisurely look for a new laptop instead of runing pell-mell to the nearest Best Buy...

So my Finish it Friday is coming to you on Saturday! The actual title for this post is...

Even the Pros Make Mistakes!

Now, anyone who really knows me understands that I wince at the thought of being called a "pro" at anything...but DH reminded me that since I get paid to do what I do, then I was indeed a pro (or at least I hope that's where he was heading with that conversation!)

So your Finish it Friday session is a lesson on how to fix a goof. Sometimes, what you had in your head doesn't turn out quite the way you planned and instead of chucking the piece, you need to re-think, re-use & maybe even re-purpose. In other words...make lemonade!

Lots of pics here & I will do my best to explain!
So here's what I had: I flat finished an ornament on cardboard mounted to a fabric covered board then mounted to wool...cute right? Face it, the only thing that really looks good in this picture is my manicure. I not only did one of these, I did 2 of these & both got what I call the "butterfly effect"...thicker on the corners that the middle.
 There are several reasons for this. 1. I should have used a thicker mounting board for the needlework part so it wouldn't bend so easily. 2. I should have trimmed out my corners more when I laced it & then it wouldn't be so thick in the corners. 3.While knowing I should have trimmed the corners more, I didn't because this was stitched on a thicker even-weave which unraveled easily. With a little extra care, you can trim corners & lace even weave type fabrics...I just thought I would be able to get away with not doing it (apparently I didn't)
So here's what I did to fix it!
 I carefully undid the lacing, mounting glue, and acid free tape holding everything together.
I pressed, trimmed the edges, and saved the bows, hangers & wool that I had already used.
I sewed fabric to the bottom of the ornament (I had some of the fabric left that I had used for the 1st try on the ornaments)
Next, I added a little trim of the wool I had already used. I just trimmed a strip with my pinked rotary blade, placed a little tacking stitch on either side. I re-used the ribbon hanger from the original ornaments and grabbed fabric for the backside of these pillow style ornaments. With right sides together, I sewed pillow style (remember my tip from last time), clip corners, turn & stuff!
Here they are stuffed, & ready to go. I actually like them better this way! My customer loved them. I did let her in on my little secret about what happened and got her permission to blog about it. The only thing extra that I added were the little poinsettia buttons at the top.
I hope you either picked up some tip along the way or will add this type of finish to your repertoire.

I finally got a chance to put up some Fall & Halloween decorations. The Halloween tree is new for me this year. I didn't realize exactly how many Halloween ornaments I had!

I love this time of year. Today is our first real "Fall-like" day & it's already October 5. 20 years ago today, my oldest son was born. We celebrated a bit with him last night & will again today with him & some friends from his group home. I continue to be amazed at how much he has grown & matured since he moved into his new home 6 months ago (6 months feels like 6 years!) He is at a good place right now & I am so thankful for that. This past year has had a lot of changes for me both personal & proffesional. I have my husband and my boys to thank for their strength & support. I've practically worn out my Kelly Clarkson CD (What Doesn't Kill You...) Thank you for following this blog & I love reading your comments.
Happy Stitches,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Finish It Friday!

I have had many questions about some of my finishes that I occasionally post on my Hands On Design facebook page and also here on the ol' blog, that I decided to try Finish It Friday's. Every once in awhile...on a Friday, I will post about a project that I finished with some great pics and a little explanation.

Today's project also gets you a complimentary chart! I designed this for a friend who was having a retreat. Her theme was "Come Sail Away".(My son thought that I designed a tsunami with those big waves!)

Click here to be able to print your copy of this complimentary chart: Come-Sail-Away chart

As always, if you have trouble opening this link, please email me. I know some have had problems previously...web site is almost online & those issues will go away! Yeah!

I finished this as a little walnut shell filled cushion. I sometimes prefer the crushed shell pieces over the fine powder, but both work. Here we go:

I was asked to test out some new WDW hand-dyed linen & I thought I would give the 36ct a try. It was very easy to see (thought my 32ct+ days were long gone). I played with 2 strand & 1 strand. I went with 1-strand - 2 just crowded the holes too much.
I used lightweight iron on interfacing on the back of the stitched piece and backing fabric. This keeps the walnut shells from seeping through the linen and gives it a little form! You will notice I also marked my sewing lines. 

I sewed all around leaving an opening. Friday Finishing Tip: see how I turned up and pressed the seam allowance on the front and back of the opening before I turned the piece! That really helps you get a nice smooth edge when you close with a whip stitch!

Turn and fill with walnut shells. A funnel is a handy tool, but if you don't have one...roll a piece of paper to use as a funnel. (A bonus tip!)


Here it is all closed up. We will talk about a good whip stitch another time!


I added twisted cord and TaaDaa! a lovely little small for my collection!

Enjoy the chart! Email your finishing questions...we may have a Q&A finishing session sometime...I could be like the Dr. Phil of finishing! (How's that whip stitch working for you....haha!)

Happy Weekend and Happy Stitches!


Monday, August 19, 2013

New Releases

I was thrilled to hear that the Fall TNNA Needleart market was moving back to St. Charles. What a great place to come back to markets with my new company! That was not to be when I saw the dates. As I have talked about in posts & on FB...we will be moving our baby into his dorm room...enough said!

I usually like to wait & showcase designs at market for attendees first, but since I can't be there, I am helping Norden Crafts (who is taking my precious models with them!) by doing a little pre-marketing.

Here we go...

HD-6 Count Stitches
I used both the yummy colors from Wichelt: 28ct Milk Chocolate & Chocolate Raspberry. Elizabeth from Dames of the Needle/From the Cauldron has a new line of terrific dyed trims. I used 2 different sizes on the finishing for the perfect touch. I will definitely be using these again.
Here's a close up shot of the Piece-o-Cake wedge finish. I had fun with those red felted balls! I used about 4" of heavy gauge wire - wrapped 2/3 of it around a pen - freehanded a leaf out of wool & tacked it into place - opened a space in the wool ball with a big needle & inserted the wire with a bit of glue - tada! Cherries - to match the cherries on top of the cake!
You can have your cake & eat it too!
HD-7 A Proper Young Lady


 The sampler is stitched on 35ct WDW Parchment. Since we must all be "Proper Young Ladies" - the red flowers are different specialty stitches. The tray insert & pincushion are stitched on 30ct WDW Parchment. I've included a tutorial for the mattress finish on the pincushion. It could easily be done on the 35ct too...wouldn't that be dainty?
I had a lot of fun with both of these pieces. As usual, you can purchase them through your LNS or ONS. They can purchase them at market or through any one of 4 distributors!
If you have seen my chart "Come Sail Away" on my FB page...I will be posting the complimentary chart here next week. I have had lots of finishing questions over the last few weeks that you all got me thinking...and you should be scared! (not really). I will give out more details as I they take shape.
Think of me this Friday as I lug boxes, bags, suitcases, etc up 3 flights of will be sad, but a good kind of sad. It is the next step in the process. By his going away, it tells me that I have done my job to this point. I will certainly miss my market friends, but we will meet again very soon.
A wonderful week to you all,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Keep 'em all in the air!

Does your life ever feel like a juggling act? WOW - since coming back from vacation we have been doing so many things between getting Chris ready for college, Billy back to his Year 13 program, DH for big renovations at work & of course there's me!

If there is a time when you don't see much chatter on Facebook, blog lists, yahoo groups, etc from designers, that can only mean one time! No matter how much advance prep, it is always a mad dash to the much so, that this will be one of the shortest posts I ever do!

I will show you the new releases soon, but here's a sneak peak...sort of. It's more of a camera shoot gone wrong!

Photo shoot tip of the day: check your backgrounds! You can see what kind of fridge Chris got for his dorm room and stacks of essentials for every freshman! Also be aware of animals. Zeza, one of our cats, likes to photo bomb these sessions all the time (upper left corner). At one point the dog wagged her tail so hard, it got caught in the lace scarf on the table & sent all the models to the floor!

Assembling charts all weekend, yep that's what is happening in our exciting house. We really know how to live on the edge!

Have a great weekend & Happy Stitches!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Surf, Sun, Sweet Tea & Stitching

This week I took a trip that was 30+ years in the making.

Topsail Beach, Topsail Island, a NC barrier island was my family's vacation destination while I was growing up. As the youngest of 3 girls, I spent that precious week growing through those awkward pre-teen and teenage years and enjoying the freedoms of endless walks on the beach with a good friend and enjoying the independence that seemed to come each year in this sleepy, family friendly beach town. 

I dropped in on family vaca's a few times as a young adult with my "boyfriend" and then later when he became my husband. At that point in my life I was too busy trying to figure out who I was (an issue I still work at btw!) and how I fit into my world, to make new beach memories.

Last summer, I joined my sisters in Topsail to celebrate a milestone birthday (you know, the kind that end in "0") of my middle sis. I was pleased to see that while times have changed the island and hurricanes have, in some cases, made permanent changes to the geography, the beach of my youth was pretty much still there. While on this trip, I decided it was time to come back with my own family, on my own terms.

Let me tell you, getting to the beach when you live smack dab in the middle of the country, can be interesting, but this was an important year to do this. The last 3 summers have been spent on the road traveling the jr. tennis tournament circuit. With Chris off to college this fall and Billy thriving in his group home, the family dinner is a rare occurrence.

Topsail welcomed us with perfect weather. We swam, collected seashells, walked to the piers, saw dolphin, climbed all over a battleship, saw an alligator, went on a ghost tour, played tennis (next to the ocean, how cool is that), and ate more fried shrimp than is probably legal. I failed to make my boys lovers of sweet tea, but I had 22 consecutive meals with my family, and that made it all worth it.

What about the stitching you ask? I did some of that too. I forgot to bring a little
clip-on light (which will never happen again!), but I did get some of my "homework" done. I have the first installment of a year long series due to Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine. Monday morning starts the mad dash to get market releases finalized.

I wrote this blog post while waiting 3 hours in the Raleigh airport. Since coming home, it has been market prep central. I will be posting more stitching related pics in the next few weeks so first enjoy a few beach shots. I know I will look back at this post next February when it is freezing outside!
Happy Stitching!
The view from our balcony...just a quick hop down the stairs to have feet in the sand!
Chris doing a little night surfing! He was OK until he stepped on something "that moved".
Me reading on the beach! Heaven!
Me with Chris & Billy. Here we are in Wilmington waiting for our ghost tour!
 Fun tour & no ghosts followed us home (that we know of!)
Walking around Wilmington we came across this empty lot with a fence covered in keys.
We were able to find out that it was an art installment.
There are over 4,000 keys attached (people just add their own).
A cool panoramic shot under one of the piers. Most of the piers I grew up spending time on have been destroyed by hurricanes. I read up on the history of these piers & I realize how lucky I was that I got to spend time on some of these icons of the beach.
Sunset on our last evening. We were on the narrow south end of the island so we had front & back views of ocean & sound side.