Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome to the Grow Your Blog Party!

Last year I packed up my 6 followers & went to the party...the Grow Your Blog party! It was so much fun, I thought I would go again. I've added quite a few followers & I love all of the comments & emails I get after each post! I feel like I have all of these new friends.

They say we are supposed to introduce ourselves at the party. You can pretty much read my little bio to the left under my picture and understand who I am. I keep my blog as a diary of what is going on in my it with my design business, my finishing business, or my family.

Recently I celebrated my 1 year Blogiversary! I took some time to read back through my posts. What fun to remember some, markets, life changing moments.

I intend to keep doing the same thing, including a fun feature I started last year - Finish it Friday: a post about some finishing tips for various types of cross-stitch projects. I often include a complimentary pattern!

As I type this - I am packing to head out to my Winter Stitching Getaway - I rent a conference room at a local hotel. Cater meals in & 14-15 stitchers & quilters gather to have a warm retreat in the middle of a cold winter!

Here I am all packed for retreat! Oh, I still need to pack a few clothes...but I got the important stuff ready to go!

I wasn't sure what to take pictures of for this blog post...I mean all of my stitching and current projects are packed! So, I took a shot of my mantle...mostly because I usually forget to put the Valentine's decorations out in time to really enjoy them (I usually think about it on Feb 15th!).
This year I made a point to display these things just as I was taking Christmas down. Plus...
that leads me to my little giveaway! Leave a comment on this blog post - no need to "follow me" but it sure would be nice to get to know you better. If you are on Facebook - you can "like" me at Hands On Design - I keep that spot pretty active with pictures and posts!
After the party is over - I will select a winner by random number generator - so be sure to leave a email address where I can contact you! I will send you a few goodies - a made-with-love pincushion and a sweet little booklet for your thoughts covered with original artwork from Michelle Palmer (you HAVE TO check out her Etsy shop)...I'll add some extra goodies as well!
Have fun at the party - I plan to get out & blog hop as well and enjoy myself his weekend at the Getaway!
Happy Stitches!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's Market Time!

I really should say - It's Market Prep-Time!

This is a seldom seen "behind-the-scenes" look at what will eventually be new releases at the Nashville Needlework Market. You will note that the quilt hanging on my design wall has been there for, ummm...quite some time. I hope to remedy that situation soon. I purposely made the photo a little blurry - to soften the view of the mess, peeking!

Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine has released the 2nd in the Year of Celebrations series. I have gotten a lot of feedback about this series & I want to thank you for all of your really nice emails! I'm putting them in a special folder I keep - nothing like reading some positive affirmation on a bad day!

DMC equivalents are as follows: (before I list those - I do need to say that yours will look a little different than mine if you choose to use DMC. Hand dyed threads are a lot of fun to use. If you don't already have a collection, try buying 1 or 2 of the most used colors in a design - this is a great way to start your collection!)

February: 498, 3354, 598, 938, 434, blanc
March: 310, 598, 561, 704, 725, blanc

Send me pictures as you stitch yours & let me know how you plan to finish your series!



 These are available in the March 2014 issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine.

After the holidays life has pretty much gotten back to "normal". The decorations are down, we are all back to work and/or school. We have not had a lot of snow so far this winter, but we have had more than our share of SUB-ZERO temps! My son went back to school soon after the New Year for his J-term - a quick 3-week semester where students take 1 class usually in an area outside their major. He took "the sub-culture of professional wrestling". Someday I'm sure that will come in handy. (?)

Anyway, his campus is on the shores of Storm Lake - a large, but very shallow lake in NW IA. It's probably been frozen since October. He recently sent me a beautiful picture of I was hoping he wasn't standing out in the middle of it - he sent a second text saying that they were running radio control cars all over it! Fun memories in the making I'm sure.

Later he sent me several photos that someone snapped of him. I keep these handy on my phone & iPad so I can take a peek - it make me happy, because he looks so happy, and that's pretty much all I can ask for.

I'd better get back to work - pillows to stuff, stitching to stretch, charts to chart...falalalala!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Resolutions Anyone?

Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions? I did...

1- Let Go, Next: my new mantra...let go of the things that hold you back, look forward to what is next. I did a bit of that in 2013, but this year, I hope to put it into practice a bit more. (repeat after me, Let Go, (breath a space) Next)

OK - that was the deep, touchy, feely moment of this next resolution is:

2- Cook better. ummm...let's just say that since becoming empty nesters, we have let the dinner plans go by the wayside. Thrilled as we are that we don't have to back a pick-up to the grocery store is time to cook like a grown-up! I told my husband, let's be like those couple's on the HGTV shows that are always chopping veggies in the kitchen. They always look like they are having so much fun!
    - to start the new year off right, Bill looked up a delish sounding recipe to use the leftover pork tenderloin I made the other night. mmmmm

Speaking of my dearest...he turns a BIG birthday this coming February and I wanted to do something special for him! Man did I blow him away...practically everyone in town knew about it - I even got my parents in on the act!

He thought we would be driving to the airport the Sunday after Christmas to pick my folks up from the airport. The reality is....we were heading to sunny El Paso, TX for the Sun Bowl to watch our alma mater (VA Tech - Go Hokies - class of '86) play.

I think I actually rendered him speechless & a little choked up when he opened the tickets on Christmas day. (Of course I disguised the package - several wrapped boxes weighted down with catalogs). Let me tell you, I didn't care at all what Santa gave to me, I was so excited to give him this gift, I could barely stand it! Enjoy some of our pictures!

The view outside our seats on the 1st flight of the trip. (I learned something...sometimes they move your seats around after you book them...each one was different from what I booked - no real worries - we got there just the same!) 

Even though Bill & I met while attending Va Tech & even lived in VA for awhile, we have been IA for the last 20 years - not many Hokie sitings out where we live - not a lot of maroon & orange either! This banner welcomed us as we got off the plane with a lot of fellow Hokies.

Day 1 - we took a taxi to downtown El Paso & just as we got there, the marching bands were serenading visitors as they headed into the Rotary lunch. As a former band Mom - I can't resist stopping for a good marching band.

After lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant (with some killer salsa!) - we walked around the city a bit. The photo does nothing for this cool wall - it looked like a patchwork quilt with all of the old advertisements.

The architecture and detail on some of the buildings was incredible! I was standing in the middle of a number of shoppers that cross from Juarez, Mexico to do their shopping for the day.
We stopped inside one of the historic downtown hotels to glimpse "The Dome" restaurant. It was beautiful!

While waiting to go into the Fan Fannatic - we got some snaps with the Hokie bird - that was the number 1 question we got asked by UCLA fans & El Pasoans - "what is a Hokie?" (Hokie, Hokie, Hokie high! Tech, Tech VPI!)
Day 2

40 yard line, 10 row up - yeah buddy, I got us some good seats!

The Sun Bowl is a very cool stadium - carved right out of the mountainside! Here the cheerleaders are leading the team onto the field.
Day 3
The bad news: our team lost...I mean LOST! The good news: we had one more day to spend in sunny, warm El Paso (the avg temp back home was about 5 degrees while we were gone!)
We rented a car for the day & went up into the mountains. From this view - about 9,000 ft up, we could see all of El Paso, Juarez Mexico & into NM.

We drove backroads up to Old Masilla, NM. The missions and miles & miles of Pecan groves were amazing. I have never been in this part of the country & thoroughly enjoyed myself. (I was so caught up in looking at everything, I forgot to take pictures. I snapped this church as we left - it is supposedly haunted!)
This trip was such a great way to relax, wind down 2013 & kickstart 2014. We met many wonderful people from everywhere - UCLA fans from CA and Tech fans. El Paso was very welcoming & friendly. Happy Birthday, a little early, to my dearest.
I have a lot of plans for 2014 - the Year of Celebrations series I am working on with Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine continues - February & March are out in this issue on newsstands in a few weeks. I have designs already shipped off to Just Cross Stitch magazine for release throughout the year & I am heading back to market! I've been to market many times over the years - but this is the first as just me - Hands On Design - so look for many new releases in February. 

Thank for sticking with this long post. I have found blogging to be a fun way to keep a diary - a way to look back over what I have accomplished through the year - so I blog for me, but I love to keep in touch with you!

I must close here & get back to work - those models aren't going to stitch themselves you know!!

Happy 2014 to you,

Let Go, Next