Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Here we go...

Happy May Day...almost! I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I had a few spare moments and some thoughts I wanted to get out.

I have written about my oldest son, Billy. Today I dedicate to Christopher, my "baby". Chris will graduate High School in a few short weeks, so life has been kicked into high gear at our house. I'm still working on finishing & always new designs..but those are taking a back seat until June. (2 shop pieces and one magazine piece WILL get out by the end of this month!)

Anyway...if you are "friends" with me on FB, you know Chris plays tennis. He plays A LOT of tennis. Yes, he is good. Yes, he has put a lot of time, dedication and hard work into it. We have spent the last 3 summers traveling all over to watch him play in various tournaments. My husband calculated the miles we put on the car one summer...it was not pretty. Any parent of a child that plays a traveling sport understands, but tennis is a strange bird. It is a solitary sport. When you step onto the court, it is just you baby & that can be a lot for a kid.

Over the years, My husband & I have learned a lot from him and this sometimes frustrating game. We know (mostly) when to give the "pep talk", when to give the "pull your head out" talk. Dad is strategy & numbers. Mom is feelings & emotions. (Mostly, I think that's the harder job...) We can pack the car for a tennis weekend with the stealth & ease of a SWAT team. Many hotel staff welcome us with open arms. Tennis is our "thing".

As he gets set to graduate, we look forward to a "normal" summer...we get to take a real vacation and, as I keep reminding him...he needs a JOB!

One chapter of our life is closing on his time in Junior tennis, but we look forward to traveling to his college meets. I have really enjoyed watching him grow in this sport over the years, enjoying great success with it & using those skills to become the wonderful young man that he is. (& I don't just have to say that!)

I always love to get the "walking away" shot. Dad talking numbers with Chris today at the MRAC Tennis Conferences in Omaha today. It was a lovely day considering the Spring we have had...tons of snow! This meet is always so much fun!
Finally got a smile! Chris lost a heartbreaker today to a friend of his & got 2nd place in the meet. Today's peptalk agenda: "You have medaled all 4 years you have played here, so smile!"
On to district finals next week for the last time. Sigh.
Someone mentioned to me that I have talked about all of the designs I released at Nashville but these little guys! Owl Love was....yes, I'm gonna say it...a Hoot to design! The fun colors, the "tummy texture" (thanks Monique for calling it that...too funny!). I started with the Owls in the Trees design. I have bigger ideas for that one...think illustration and story...we'll see where that goes. I had designed all 3 owls & was going to scratch the Argyle Owl, but then decided to give him a little design all of his own.
The quilt square...I'm finally going to talk about those! I would love to have a tree covered in stitched quilt squares someday - good to have goals, right? So, with a design, every once in awhile, I will include a quilt square using the colors from that particluar design. When I have amassed enough of them, I will release them all in one pattern for those that just want the squares. Sound like fun?! I thought so. 

Whoo Loves Ya Baby!

I will leave you with a May Day flower of sorts. This is a recent finish for a customer. The needlepoint blocked up beautifully & while it's hard to tell, the Weeks Dye Works wool worked up well for the pillow.

Happy Stitches,

Hands On Design

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What do you do for a living?

Last week, I had to go to the bank to make some changes to my account. (Alas, I no longer "employ" people, so I no longer need certain #'s that are recquired for payroll taxes, etc...)

As I was explaining to the banker what I needed to do, the usual question came up when filling out certain forms...occupation. Now, I never know what to say exactly. Self-employed is my usual response, which always seem to invoke the "at what" reply. Now, I actually have 3 jobs which somehow all meld into one full-time occupation that is just not easily labeled.

I tend to say that I work PT in a quilt store 1st - people seem to understand that more easily. My husband thinks I tend to downplay what I do for my other 2 "jobs", so I thought I would try a different approach...

Actual conversation (well, embellished a little):

Banker: What do you do for a living?
Cathy: I am a Needlework Designer & Finisher

B: You finish needlework?
C: Yes

B: You stitch for people?
C: No, I finish needlework for people.

B: You don't stitch it for them?
C: No, I finish it for them.

B: But if you don't stitch it for them, what do you finish for them?
C: I finish the piece for them...you know, make it into something. (Here's where I whip out my Ipad & show her some lovely photos of items I have finished. She makes appropriate positive comments)

B: OH, I get it! You make a living doing that?
C: Umm, well, you see my bank account...

C: I also work PT in a quilt store.

We fill out the forms & make the necessary corrections & as I leave, I hear the convo between cubes..."What does she do?"..."She works PT in a quilt store."

Oh to be able to just say "I'm a _______"...but then life wouldn't be nearly as much fun!

Speaking of finishing...

I decided to finish my complimentary Tulip Time into a box with a little different bow configuration. I haven't decided if I'm done embellishing for now, but I do like the bow.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook saw the rocking horse I finished last week! He was a doozy. These pretties are getting shipped back to their owner tomorrow. Lots of fun finishes!

Last time I showed off my new Market Basket and I mentioned another little goodie I purchased...

OOH - I just love it! Looks just like an Easter basket full of scissors! This talented lady makes baskets to fit vintage glass flower frogs (the good kind of frogs for needlework). No, these are not all of my scissors. Yes, I know I have a problem...& I'm grown up enough to admit it!

So many things left to say, but I have gone on long for now... til next time!

Hands On Design
Hands On Finishing

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's That Time of Year!

Spring...time for blooming tulips (bunnies eating blooming tulips), last minute snow showers (this is NW IA), school activities, graduations & graduation parties...so much & I am thankful for every bit of it!

I designed a little something for Wichelt Imports that is featured in their April Newsletter. Any shop that receives the newsletter has a copy of it. Around here, tulips are serious business. The Dutch communities faithfully replant thousands & thousands of bulbs each year to keep their Tulip Festivals among the best in the country. When I see the 1st advertisement for the Orange City Tulip Festival, I know that Spring is truly not far away!

I am playing around with fabrics & finishing ideas - got any suggestions?

Last week was Spring Break for our schools, so while I monitored the comings & goings of kids, I took time to catch up on some finishing jobs for customers. I am working on a particularly interesting project right now and didn't realize the "state" my work room had gotten in...

It's kinda hard to see the mess I made creativity at work...but trust me, it's all in there!

I am working on some new design ideas - I took a little hiatus after getting projects off to Just Cross Stitch magazine. I like to clear the brain every once in awhile with either a quilting project or some stash stitching.

I pulled Bent Creek's Big Zipper (remember this one?) out of the vault and figured I would put a few stitches in. I also had the joy of finding a pair of scissors I thought I lost & my cute little JABCo needle magnet. We really should look through our stash more often! There are some great treasures hidden there.

Do you love my new Market Basket? This is a recent purchase while I was away at Stitching Retreat. They always have a Market Night with shops and other great vendors. I got another little gem from her I will show off next time!

Billy Update: Before I close, I want to thank those that took the time to leave me their wonderful & supportive comments about Billy's big move into his group home. They really helped. I am happy to report that he has settled in well. The staff at his house are the best and although its only been 3 weeks, I can already see him blossoming with independence.

Enjoy your Springtime Stitches,