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 fun...you 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 priscillas2000.blogspot.com) 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!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...construction season!

I have been waiting 'patiently' to redo some parts of our house and since it would be just the 4 of us this year, I bought into the whole 'even if I have to set up a Christmas tree on subfloor' school of thought. 

At first I thought that I wouldn't put up any decorations. After all, we have mapped out a plan as to where we are stuffing all of the furniture (don't open that closet!)...but then I decided a little would go a long way until I get the phone call to say the demolition crew would be on my doorstep!

So here is Christmas 'light':

I stitched this Bent Creek snow globe years ago, but it got a finishing do-over after last year!

I have a very few of these snowflake kits left. Email me if interested (handsondesign@ymail.com). They are $14 plus shipping and include chart, linen, woolfelt, button, and backing fabric. 

Love my mantle! It's the one item I insisted on: whatever we did to the fireplace surround, I had to have a mantle! 

I just love it when the only lights on in a room are the Christmas lights!

Enjoy the Stitch 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A little stitching...

...on a snowy night. 

It started snowing yesterday afternoon (I love the first snowfall, but after that, well, you know...)

I usually work while I watch tv at night with my husband. This time of year I am still wrapping up a few finishing jobs, but tonight I felt called to stitch. 

This model was suppose to have been completed last weekend at a retreat, but my body and the flu had other ideas!

Hands On Design and Just Another Button Company released [merry] a few weeks ago. Usually I send this to a model stitcher, but you know me and chalkboard...

Here is my first little corner of merry.berry. It is going to be so sweet! I'm ready to turn the pattern! (Like my toe in the pic?!)

With our home (potentially) in flux with home improvement projects this year, this might just be my sole decoration!

Enjoy your weekend and most definitely enjoy the stitch,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Perfect Pairing

I am just back from Salty Yarns Fall Jamboree in Ocean City, MD!

Let me tell you, this is one great retreat: fun stitchers against the perfect stitching backdrop...the beach! I've loads of pictures if you can stand it!

Last Fall, Sara (Salty Yarns) asked me (Hands On) and Rachel & Cecile (Just Another Button Co) to come teach at the Fall Jamboree (this is one hoppin' shop - tons of retreats & events!). We decided it would be fun to "pair up" on our projects & have pears as our theme. I think it all came together very well, don't you think so?

Here is a closer look at my project (I know we said pears...but I had to throw in an apple for the teacher!)
Here we all are! (including the newest Miss Button - Anna!) Each of us taught a class...we spent 3 hours with a group & then we all rotated between classrooms. A shout out to Sara's son who toted the big items between classrooms!  
Talk about a room with a view! We could not have asked for more perfect October weather!
I knew that Salty Yarns was right on the OC Boardwalk (it's one thing to know this & another to actually be there!)
I learned so much of the history of not just Salty Yarns, but The Lankford Hotel - all owned by Sara's family for generations. I literally walked a few feet from my room, down the boardwalk, to the hotel. This is a commute I could really get used to!
Our first day at retreat was spent preparing for classes & setting up Trunk Shows...but we snuck in a little boardwalk time.
I didn't get any pictures, but it was Hot Rod weekend in OC. We were greeted each morning by a parade of loud cars rumbling down the boardwalk! 

Lots of interesting "artwork" along the boardwalk - looks like a quilt of old advertisements.
Anna enjoyed the fresh sea air!
I too enjoyed the fresh sea air!

Class time! The stitchers figured out why my company is called 'Hands On' - my classes are very hands on!
They were ALL good students!

To a needlework designer, this is the ultimate compliment. She was practically like a one woman Trunk Show of my designs!

I love seeing the various takes on my designs as well! (Podzi personalized her bag with her name!)
This is from a year in chalk - stitched very small & all in color!

The last morning before heading home. I don't think I need to say anything else.
A huge thank you to Sara, Sally & all of my class angels (you earned your wings!).
Enjoy the stitch,



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gather a Harvest

I admit it - I love designing for the Fall season. With it's rich colors & textures, the words flow easily.
 I wrote this ditty a few years ago when I was asked by Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine to design an acorn door hanger (do they sit in a meeting and say 'we want an acorn doorhanger...let's ask Cathy')? 
At the time, I actually designed the larger sampler as well, but the acorn was the only part in the magazine. This Fall season, I felt it was a good time for that sampler to see the light of day - so it got a make-over - yes, kind of like the make-over TV shows: the squirrel got a re-do as did the colors.
Now - when you say the words in your head - you must say 'Leisure' the hoity-toity way...'le-sure' to make the rhyme work. That's the way I wrote it...you can make our own adjustments.
I had some emails about the acorn doorhanger finishing. I've come up with a crude, but useful pattern. There will be a link below to print a version, but 1st a few directions:
Acorn Cap - cut 2. I don't know if the sizing will stay true when you print the pdf, so I've included measurements for a point of reference. The 2nd picture is the back of the doorhanger so you can see a little more of it's construction.
I've given directions in the chart for finishing the stitched portion. You will insert the stitched portion between the layers of wool (I pinked my edges for that extra cuteness factor) as well as the acorn stem (you will need 2 of those as well; stitch the 2 stem pieces together with a running stitch all around before inserting into the top of the acorn cap.
A few well placed pins will keep everything (stitching & acorn stem) in place as you stitch cap front & back together with a running stitch (I used 3 strands of a coordinating floss color).
I chose several yummy colors from my wool collection (yes, I have a wool collection) for the leaves. Cut 2 in each color. I like the depth that 2 layers gives. Sew them together with a running stitch all around & add a few veins & lines in the middle of the leaf for added texture.
I also added the JABC Herringbone button with a touch of cool ribbon (yes, I have a ribbon collection too).

Thank you for your emails & comments...now go out there & Gather your Wool...umm I mean Harvest!
Enjoy the Stitch,

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's All 'bout That Tray!

It's almost October & no post since July...not gonna' apologize. It's just been that crazy getting ready for markets, teaching, kits, company, kids...ya' know - life! So, good to 'see' you again - I've got some important info!

A loooong time ago (which is like yesterday in magazine publishing terms) - I was approached to put a design in Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. If you follow me at all, you know I get inspiration from all kinds of places & often it's the finishing aspect that starts the process.

Enter - that tray!

I was at Hobby Lobby trolling up & down the unpainted wood objects aisle (I don't now what it's really called, but that's where you'll find me.)

This tray was cool. This tray was inexpensive. This tray came in various sizes. This tray could easily be painted, and sanded, and stained.

Nobody said, this tray would be DISCONTINUED!

Calls, emails, posts, instant messages - thanks for the supportive words (& I've developed a thicker skin for the not-quite-so-supportive words). At least I knew you really liked the design & wanted to stitch it! Woo Hoo!
So options:
Back to Hobby Lobby I went to stamp my not quite so little foot & ask about the secret cache in the warehouse. Being told there was no secret cache & indeed they could not help me, I went back to the unpainted wood objects aisle (it's like my 2nd home).
I found these:

That could look like this:

Of course, they need to be painted, and sanded, and stained.
The number for the rectangle tray is 130559S & the octagonal plaque is 709139.
As an option for the rectangular frame, you could sew fabric to the sides & corners to help it fit to the shape (personally, I think it would look better once the tray was painted).

Here's a shot with the idea of fabric attached.

Some more options - flat finish the piece as you would to fit the tray, but make a wall hanging. Here I've shown it with rick rack trim & ribbon hanger. (Check out my "Blissfully Unaware" design - that's I how I finished this piece)  
Enter this awesome company I've been working with lately: Retromantic Fripperies. They make those cool Thread Holder cards in all sorts of fancy designs. They've been a huge help with the [square.ology] line of designs. I'm pretty sure they are the MacGyver of woodworking.
I sent them a plea, a photo & a few measurements.

Ta Daa! (& no painting, sanding & staining!)

The big question - would it fit? I assumed I would have to restretch my piece, but after I removed it from the original tray with a spatula, it went in like like butta'! Molly & Kath - you outdid yourselves!

The Retromantic tray is a little more shallow, but the tongue in groove construction speaks to the quality of this piece. ( www.retromanticfripperies.com) Ask your shopowner to order it for you. I believe the tray will retail for $38ish - still way less expensive than custom framing!

I don't know an item number & I don't think it's on the website yet (it's that new!) - but I do know you could say Octagonal Tray & they would know what you were talking about!

Well, there you go! (thrilled to be crossing this off 'the list')

On to the next chart question: Gather a Harvest. I had a few questions about a pattern shape for the acorn cap. I will be receiving my model back from it's current Trunk Show tomorrow & will make & post a pattern.

Have a great day - I'm off to Hobby Lobby...you know where to find me.

Enjoy the Stitch, Cathy