Quarantine!

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Our nation – no, our world – is having a crisis right now, and it is calling on everyone to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of this horrible COVID-19 pandemic. For cross stitchers, this seems like a dream come true. But people are quickly finding that it is not all it’s cracked up to be. Toilet paper shortages, food shortages, lost income, and uncertainties about their kids’ educations are causing people to start to crack. I have not felt this stress yet; for me things are still pretty much life as usual. My days are generally spent at home anyway, unless I have to go out for a doctor’s appointment. I’m sure things will change soon, and I will start going a little stir crazy. But for now, I know that my family and I are staying put at home and therefore are safe. Because of my health problems, we are not even setting foot in a grocery store or pharmacy. Luckily the pharmacy has offered to bring my prescriptions to the car for me, and grocery stores have options to shop online and then have an employee bring the items to your car and load them in your trunk. I’m not sure how much longer this pandemic will last, but for now I’m just thankful that my loved ones are safe. I hope yours are as well. We are cross stitchers – we can totally rock this quarantine thing!

XXX
Carrie


A New Toy

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The Christmas holiday has been nice and quiet and pretty uneventful. I have spent my time catching up on much-needed sleep. Besides that, I have managed to find some nice relaxing stitching time. I am going to attempt to finish the red-headed mermaid without working on anything else. I am able to work on this even though it is very dark and dreary and cold outside, due to a wonderful new task lamp that I bought for myself (Merry Christmas to me!)

The Mighty Bright LED Task Light Table Lamp was featured in a recent issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine and it sounded exactly like what I was searching for. Of course, upon doing a search for this lamp, I found out it was sold out everywhere. The company itself didn’t have any, Amazon didn’t have any, no one had any. My guess is that it is a discontinued product. But I was determined to find one, and I eventually did find one at an online quilting shop. The MSRP was $90, but I was able to snag the lamp, a pair of stork embroidery scissors, some bobbins for my sewing machine, and several yards of pom pom trim on Cyber Monday for only $75, including shipping. I have been using the lamp for stitching, reading, even just having added light in the living room when sitting there in the evenings. What I love about this lamp in particular is that it has the ability to be used in its base or clipped onto something. I keep it in the base, and the base has cork in the bottom of the tray to hold scissors, needles, threads, etc. The lamp has three brightness settings (I always use the highest) and it can be adjusted from yellow light to white light. I love this feature! Normally white (daylight) lightbulbs really bother me. I have to make sure the light bulbs in our house are the yellow kind, or else I get really nauseous. I have no idea why, they have just always bothered me since the old incandescent bulbs went out of fashion and compact fluorescent (and then LED) bulbs were introduced. I thought for sure I would want to have this lamp set on the yellow bulb setting all the time, but I found I actually prefer the white setting. It gives a more accurate color representation for the fabric and floss. And as long as it is above me shooting straight down, it doesn’t bother me. This is easy to do with the swivel neck that can bend in any direction.

If you can find one of these lamps somewhere, I highly recommend it. I noticed that the website I purchased mine from is already sold out, and like I said I don’t think these are even being made any more. But it has sure saved my eyesight  and helps with neck strain as well because I don’t have to bend over as much.

Happy New Year!

XXX
Carrie


Something New to Try

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The other day on Facebook I saw a post from a lady who had purchased a kit and was going to start it. It was her very first project. I thought it was adorable – a neon colored mandala displayed in a hoop. Some other people pointed out that it was not cross stitch at all, but embroidery. Others said they had stitched it and loved it, while others said they could not get the hang of it. I have done embroidery before, although certainly not as much as cross stitch. But I adored this project and decided to search for it online. I ended up finding the kit on sale on Amazon for $6.99 with free shipping, and there were only 4 left in stock. I looked at it for a few minutes and then there were only 3 left. I decided to snag one before they were gone, and sure enough later that day they were sold out. I plan on working a bit on the mermaid pattern for a while, but then I want to dive into this. The hoop is only 6 inches, so it has to be a small project. Lately my brain fog has become worse and worse, and even if I am having a pain-free moment in which to stitch, the counting is difficult. I think doing a project like this will be easier since you are simply tracing the pattern on the fabric.

The kit is by Leisure Arts and is called Mini Maker Neon Mandala, item 49808. It retails for $7.99.

XXX
Carrie



How Crazy is This?

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Many weeks ago, I was contacted by Cross Stitch Crazy magazine and was asked if I would allow them to mention my Mason jar tutorial in an upcoming issue. Of course, I said yes! I created the tutorial after making up an elephant for one of my daughter’s preschool teachers. And in just a few weeks, my daughter will be starting 5th grade!

You can find the Mason jar tutorial here.

Be sure to check out issue 259 of Cross Stitch Crazy, which contains so many neat designs. I’m very partial to the Halloween designs by Emma Congdon, and just love the way they are framed in embroidery hoops decorated with ribbon.

XXX
Carrie


Llamas!

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The new issue of Cross Stitch Crazy is out, and I absolutely adore these cute llama charts! I am especially taken with the pink one, because what’s not to love about a fuzzy pink llama?

The only problem is, these charts utilize Madeira Lana threads to give the llamas that fuzzy look. It is a 50% wool, 50% acrylic blend that turns fuzzy when applying a wire brush to it after stitching is completed. I have searched online to no avail, this thread simply doesn’t seem to be available in the US. Rainbow Gallery does make a thread called Wisper that is supposed to create the same effect, but it does not come in as many colors as the Lana. And it is 70% mohair and 30% nylon, so it is a bit different. I do have some kid mohair threads in my stash which I have never stitched with because they are so fuzzy. I figured using them would be a royal pain. But I will have to dig my stash out and see if I have any colors that would work for this design (I highly doubt I have two shades of pink, if I have any bright colors at all).

I just love how they painted wooden hoops in bright colors and framed these designs in them. This whole set would look so cute hanging up by my desk!

You can find these charts in the June issue (255) of Cross Stitch Crazy.

XXX
Carrie


Margaret Sherry

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The cross stitch world lost a beloved designer recently, Margaret Sherry. Margaret designed adorable critters that stitchers just loved, and she will be greatly missed in the stitching world. Margaret’s daughter issued the following statement:

“It is with the deepest sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Margaret Sherry, aged 72. She passed away peacefully and surrounded by family after losing her battle with cancer. She was a devoted mother and grandmother and she has left a huge void in our family. Margaret was an incredibly talented and inspirational artist, who over many years created a massive range of much-loved characters for cross stitch magazines and greetings cards. She was aware of, and extremely humbled by, her following, and her wish was not to let her characters die with her. Therefore, she passed the legacy on to me, her daughter, to continue the company and ensure The Margaret Sherry Collection and the vast catalogue of published and unpublished designs continue to be released and enjoyed long after her passing.”

Here are a few of my favorite Margaret Sherry designs I have stitched.

   

RIP, Margaret. You will be missed.

XXX
Carrie


It’s Finger Stitchin’ Good!

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If you have an obsession with cross stitch, and with KFC fried chicken, you’re in luck. You can now purchase cross stitch charts from your favorite restaurant. KFC has set up an Etsy shop called HandmadeByKFC, where 5 patterns are available for instant download at a cost of $4.50 each (kits are also available but it looks like they are only being shipped within the UK). All of the proceeds go to charity, and supposedly you can even get free chicken by actually stitching one of the patterns. But the details on how to get your free chicken are not very clear, and that offer is definitely only for residents across the pond. A spokesperson from KFC UK & Ireland siad: ”The real secret behind why our food tastes so Finger Lickin’ Good isn’t the secret recipe – it’s the way we bread it each day by hand. What better way to share that with our loyal fans than by inviting them to hand craft their very own KFC masterpiece whilst giving back to our local communities in the process”.

If you are interested in these charts you better hurry, because these patterns are available for a limited time only.

View the Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HandmadeByKFC

XXX
Carrie


All Things Alice

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I love Alice in Wonderland, both the books and the Disney movies. I even dressed up as Alice one year at Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. But I have never cross stitched anything Alice related, probably because Disney does not license many cross stitch charts to begin with. But I just found a ton of Alice charts on Etsy, and a few of them really stood out. At first, I figured these patterns were totally illegal if they had the likeness of the Disney Alice characters, because there is no way these small time designers get permission from Disney to make money off of their copyrighted images. But, Etsy is somehow allowing people to get away with this, and Disney is obviously not going after anyone.

The chart that I really want to stitch is by CutePatternsByMaria, from the Ukraine. I absolutely love all of her designs! But this Alice in Wonderland design is like a watercolor painting, and so lifelike. It doesn’t have the cartoon-y feel to it like the Disney images.

You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/595272049/alice-in-the-wounderland
And do be sure to check out the rest of her beautiful patterns.

The next pattern I loved was a splatter watercolor by SilhouetteStitch. At only $3.00, this one is a real bargain. I love the bright colors! And it looks like it would contain whole cross stitches only.

You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/686292205/alice-in-wonderland-watercolor-cross

There is more to Alice in Wonderland than just Alice, however. I adore the Cheshire Cat (or as my daughter calls him, the Treasure Cat. She could not pronounce it correctly when she was a toddler, and the name has stuck ever since!)

This design is by RockingHorseCS and features the saying “we’re all mad here”. You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/503831354/cheshire-cat-cross-stitch-pattern-alice

I also love NataliNeedlework’s set of card suits, which gives you patterns for “curiouser and curiouser” and “twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder what you’re at”. These are a bit pricier at $4.95 considering they are just words, but they should stitch up in a jiffy.

You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/503831354/cheshire-cat-cross-stitch-pattern-alice

Which Alice in Wonderland character is your favorite? Drop me a note in the comments below. What I really was hoping to find a chart for (and could not) was something along the line of “don’t step on the mome raths”! That is a favorite quote of my daughter’s and mine. Maybe I will just have to design something myself!

XXX
Carrie


Egypt, my obsession!

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My daughter’s Girl Scout troop recently celebrated World Thinking Day. Each participating troop had to pick a country that they wanted to learn about and my girls chose EGYPT! I was actually pretty surprised (and excited) because I’ve had a fascination with ancient Egypt for a long time. The girls had to learn about Egypt’s climate, religion, people, sports, foods, and more. They created a display, wore scarves to cover their heads, handed out “swaps” done in the colors of Egypt’s flag, and served everyone that attended an Egyptian dish: watermelon salad. Did you know watermelons were first cultivated in Egypt? Part of their display consisted of my books on ancient Egypt and how to read hieroglyphs. Flipping through these books got me interested in the cross stitch aspect of Egypt again, and making me wish I had more pain-free days for stitching. I decided to search Google for Egyptian themed charts, as I’m sure a lot of new ones have come out since the last time I looked. Look at these gorgeous cross stitched creations!

  

  

    

  

I’ll need to search for the kits or patterns for some of these, to add to my collection. What cross stitch theme do you always need more designs of?

XXX
Carrie


DMC Étoile

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It has been a while since DMC introduced their new Étoile embroidery floss, but I have never had a chance to actually stitch something with it. I decided to take a closer look at this floss and see if I couldn’t find a small, simple pattern utilizing these colors.

DMC says this floss is made of “73% coton –27% Polyamide métallique”. I wasn’t sure what Polyamide was, so I decided to Google it. The definition: a synthetic polymer of a type made by the linkage of an amino group of one molecule and a carboxylic acid group of another, including many synthetic fibers such as nylon. Well, I’m glad that cleared things up! Upon further examination of the floss, I found that it is 6 stranded just like normal cotton embroidery floss. Each strand is made up of two thinner strands, tightly wound together. It appears that one of the strands is just plain cotton, while the other is a mixture of cotton and metallic. By winding these two together, you get the sparkle of the metallic at even intervals along the length of the thread.

The colors are very loosely numbered after their cotton floss counterparts, but with a C in front of the number. I say very loosely because some of the colors don’t really match at all. Blanc, for instance, is not white at all, but a dingy gray color. It actually appears to be the same as C415, which is a gray color. At first I thought the floss I received had the wrong label on it, but after searching online I found that others were saying the same thing. I’m not a big fan of the stock photos DMC has put out for this floss, because they obviously have the flashy stars Photoshopped onto them. And the colors do not seem to be the same to me. There is only one light purple skein, and it is much darker than what is shown in the photo above. It also has more of a mauve tone to it instead of the pale lavender that they show. The light pink they show is also much lighter than in real life. That is C603, and it is actually a dark bubble gum pink. Ecru (not shown) has a sort of greenish hue to it. I’m not saying the colors are bad, just that they don’t match the promo photos DMC is using in the media, and they won’t be exactly like their cotton floss equivalents.

Since there are only 35 colors, the options are quite limited; there is a dark purple and a light purple, there is a dark pink and a light pink plus 3 burgundies which are similar to each other . Green comes in 4 shades – regular green, darker “Christmas” green, lime, and olive. There are more options when stitching with neutral colors – black, dark gray, medium gray, light gray (plus the white that looks gray), and 6 shades of brown.

In terms of how well this floss stitches up, and how easy it is to use, that remains to be seen. I have found a few free patterns from DMC’s website and I will pick one and give it try. I’m thinking Thread Heaven will help keep the threads from tangling, but I would really like to see how this floss does on its own to give it a fair rating, so I probably won’t use it. I will also take my own set of photos of what this floss looks like and how the shades match the original cotton floss.

XXX
Carrie


New Year’s Resolutions

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I generally do not make New Years Resolutions. They are hard to keep, and you generally end up feeling more frustrated that they didn’t work out than you did excited that they will. But I do have some goals that I would like to accomplish in 2019 in terms of stitching:

  1. Finish the gingerbread houses project.
  2. Finish the mermaid project.
  3. Stitch a few Lucie Heaton’s Furry Tales designs to end up with a collection that I can change out during the year. (I currently have only done one, this St. Patrick’s Day mouse, and that was 3 years ago!)

What do you plan to stitch this year?

XXX
Carrie


I’ve Been Nominated!

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I am so pleased to once again be nominated for the British Craft Awards! Last year I was delighted to win second place in the “blog of the year category” and that is the category I am up for again this year. I would really appreciate your vote! You can also vote for several other cross stitching retailers and products during the survey.

Just click on the link below and then choose “Cross Stitching”. Once the survey starts, simply answer the multiple choice questions about each category. When you get to cross stitch blog of the year, choose “stitchingcorner.com” to vote for me. Your votes are appreciated!

Vote now: www.britishcraftawards.com

XXX
Carrie


New From DMC!

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I just got an email from my DMC rep which said that DMC has created a new floss called Étoile! This premium embroidery thread features an added sparkle. The new 6-strand divisible thread comes in 35 shades, that all feature a unique twinkle effect.  This floss is made of 73% cotton and 27% Lurex. The skeins are 8m/8.7y and will retail for $1.95 each (in the US).

We will be putting in an order for all 35 colors as soon as they are available, probably around the end of September. The 35 colors correspond to the most popular embroidery floss colors, and not the 35 newest floss colors that were just released last year. The numbers will be the same as the regular floss numbers, but starting with a “C”. For example, black floss 310 will be C310 in Etoile.

The floss also will come in a collector’s tin featuring one skein of each color. This will retail for $69.99.

XXX
Carrie



Made in America Tax

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I have just received information from my sales rep at the main wholesaler I use for ordering the merchandise for my store. It appears that there is a new “Made in America Tax” on the ballot. Under a series of proposed tariffs, the price of commonly-used craft supplies and fabrics could increase by as much as 25%, unintentionally putting a tax on products “Made in America.”  Crafters, craft suppliers, small shops, and manufacturers are urging people to sign the petition to tell USTR and Congress to exempt craft supplies and fabrics from proposed section 301 tariffs.

This new tax, as well as the recent decision to make small businesses collect sales tax in each state and even city (which would be about 10,000 different tax locations) could absolutely put small independent needlework stores (like me) out of business. It could also harm anyone who makes and sells finished craft items for a living. Please find out more information about this proposed tax and do what you can to tell our leaders in Washington why it is a bad idea.

You can read more and sign the petition at https://madeinamericatax.com

XXX
Carrie


It’s Almost Halloween

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It’s almost October, and that means it is time to start thinking about Halloween stitching. If you need a new project or two, just turn to the 2018 issue of Just Cross Stitch Halloween. It is packed with scary (and cute) projects of all sizes. Here is an inside peeks of just a few of the designs you’ll find!

                

You can purchase this book at my website: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/store.php?&view=JCS2018H-75

XXX
Carrie


DMC Price Increase

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DMC has announced a price increase on their floss (AGAIN)!  The MSRP will be $0.91 per skein and the MAP pricing will be at $0.56 per skein. MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Pricing and will be the lowest price a store can sell their floss for. So this price will be for all the big chain stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. The price increase will take place on September 10, 2018.

XXX
Carrie



Exciting News!

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On May 11, issue 267 of The World of Cross Stitching (British magazine) came to my mailbox. At the very end of the magazine there was an article about the winners of the 2018 British Craft Awards, and who all the winners were in the various categories. I thought it was hilarious when I saw the 2nd place winner of the Best Blog category.

It was funny to me that my blog would share the same name, Stitching Corner, with the 2nd place winner of the Blog of the Year. I got on Google and tried to find this other blog. But I was puzzled that I couldn’t find another blog with that name, just my own. My husband suggested that maybe it WAS me. But I thought that was extremely unlikely. For one thing, I’m American, not British. And this past year I’ve really neglected my blog, so I didn’t think it was all that great compared to others out there. I had planned to contact the magazine and ask them about it, but time slipped by and before I knew it, the next issue of the magazine came out. I always start at the beginning and work my way through to the end, so it was almost a week before I came upon THIS:

My jaw dropped and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The British Craft Awards are a HUGE deal, even in America. Although we do have some great designers here in the states, as well as shops, there just is no competing with the Brits. They know cross stitching, inside and out. And you’ve seen my posts here about how fantastic their magazines are compared to our American counterparts (which are dwindling fast). To be mentioned in WOXS, which I treasure dearly, is big for me. I’ve subscribed to it in print form since 2012 and have kept every issue (as well as some back issues that I have been lucky enough to find at yard sales).

Congrats to Vonna for being the winner this year!

This is the cover of issue 268, which is packed with some great patterns including two from one of my favorite designers, Faby Reilly.

I am just so excited about this and I am going to try my hardest this year to blog even more, and to post interesting things that stitchers would want to read. Maybe next year I can go for the #1 spot!

XXX
Carrie



Snowed In

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It has now been 4 days since I left the house. The kids can’t go to school, I can’t get to my shop, and it would be dangerous to try to head to town for groceries or to run errands. That’s all thanks to a freak winter snow storm. No, that’s not right. It has been spring for almost a month. Well, tell that to mother nature. She has been dumping snow on us for days, along with freezing rain. On Sunday a lot of churches were closed. Today (Tuesday) several colleges and universities are closed. We could not get our driveway cleared until late afternoon yesterday, but it didn’t really matter because the county had not plowed our road yet anyway. It was dinner time before they plowed the “main” road, and then after that when they got around to our street. Luckily I had my taxes done early, because there is no way I would be able to make it to the post office either yesterday or today (this year they are due on the 17th). There have been about 3 days in the past week where we did not get any mail at all. When I woke up this morning I looked out the window to find that we had been dumped on yet again. It is a never-ending battle of plowing, shoveling, and trudging through snow. Since snow here is very common in October and can even start in September, this is a very depressing time of year. After 7 months of looking at this stuff, you just want it gone. Other parts of the country are busy mowing their green lawns, and their spring tulips and daffodils are long gone already. Here, I am seeing friends post on Facebook pictures of their car temperature gauges registering below zero temps, and photos of the snow only a few inches below the street signs on the corner.

The past two days I have spent “spring” cleaning the house, doing laundry, and organizing. I guess today will be more of the same, with maybe a bit of time for stitching as well. I just completed the 4th of 9 gingerbread houses (pics to come!) and I am going to kit up the materials needed to finally start the red haired mermaid from long ago. I just got some new fabrics in, and I can’t wait to play around with the fabrics, floss, and beads to see which one I should use.

XXX
Carrie


A New Year, New Problems

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Today I finally mustered up the strength to sit down at my computer and write a blog post. It has been 5 months since I last wrote, and this is feeling like so many other years in the past where I say, “I have been so busy, I haven’t had time to blog, but I will get back into it now.” Unfortunately, I now realize I won’t be able to blog (or stitch) the way I used to. The last few years have been a struggle for me dealing with raising kids, household chores, work, volunteering, and so many other things – all on top of not being very healthy. My joint issues have been a problem for a long time, and the pain that comes with it is something I just learned to deal with. But, the overwhelming fatigue is what really started to do me in. Add to that a lot of tasks that I took on which I really shouldn’t have, and I unraveled pretty quickly. I have had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome since I was born, and had issues with it as a child, but I didn’t actually find out that I had it until after my second child was born. For the last 10 years my joint pain and dislocations has been pretty bad. But I was dealing with it, and able to live a pretty full (although tired) life. Last fall, right before I stopped blogging, I was really not feeling well at all. I was nauseous a lot, losing weight, and my hands were constantly in pain – right across the knuckles. I knew I had my yearly physical the end of November, so I just dealt with it until then. At my appointment, I told my doctor what was going on and that I was not sleeping more than 3 hours a night, every night. He ordered more than the usual blood work, referred me to a rheumatologist, and gave me something to help me sleep. When my blood work came back I found out that I was iron deficient and vitamin D deficient. I was put on supplements and had to check back in 6 weeks later. When I went back, both numbers had gone up. Yay! I still had to be on the pills, but at least I wasn’t really low like I had been. My husband noticed that I wasn’t in as much of a “brain fog” as I was before. I was also sleeping better. In February came my appointment with the rheumatologist. She examined me and found I had more tender joints than a person with uncontrolled Rheumatoid Arthritis would have. She decided to do blood work for RA, and I got the call a few days later. I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. This was a huge shock to me, because I figured my problems were all related to EDS. I started on medication which will take about 4 months to start working, but the side effects were immediate. Unbearable fatigue, nausea, weight loss, and joint pain have been my constant companion for a couple of months now. I think what is making it worse is that I have so many irons in the fire. I did become a Girl Scout leader (I know, I said I wouldn’t!) and we just finished up with Cookie Season a couple of days ago (it started in January). That has been a huge time consumer for me. I still have 11 classes at school that come into the library, and I am still my local DAR chapter librarian. This has meant that my “real” job, which I do from home, has suffered. If there is a plus side to all of this, it is that I now have an “excuse” to focus on ME. Since school will be over in a little more than 2 months, I have decided that I am going to have to take it easy next year. Working is the most important thing, and volunteering is just going to have to be put on the back burner. I still want to be a Girl Scout leader, so I am pretty sure I will be giving up my school library duties. Hopefully this summer I will be able to catch up with work, housework, and of course spend more time with my kids. I do feel like I have been a pretty lousy mom lately, having to go to bed by 8:30 and not really wanting to do anything on the weekends.

I also want to get back into stitching and blogging. I have actually worked on my gingerbread houses a little bit since October, I just haven’t found time to take photos of my progress. Spring Break starts in a few days, and although my house is currently a disaster and desperately needs to be cleaned, and my taxes are sprawled all over the kitchen table waiting to be worked on, I am determined to get in some stitching time for the 11 days that my kids have off from school. It might not be much, since I don’t know what my hands will be able to handle. But it is my “me” time, and I am desperately in need of that. I think I deserve it!

XXX
Carrie


A Summer Ball is available again!

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I’m pleased to announce that A Summer Ball is once again available for purchase! Sandy Littlejohns and Deborah Lester have put the pdf version online for purchase through their Facebook Page, Cross Stitch Arts. The cost is £5.00, which is about $6.50 US. I think this is an exceptional deal, since I spent at least double that when it was offered before.

I have started working on this chart again, although it is slow going because I am working with white floss on white fabric, and even with the gridding the counting is difficult. I am at the edge of two pages, and I am trying to finish up those pages but also looking ahead to the next set of pages to make sure I don’t neglect a few stitches of white on them. I would hate to have to go back and fill in a few stitches here and there when I could have just done it now.

Please note that this version may vary slightly from the pattern that was in the magazine, because it is the “designer’s own version”. I am guessing it is the same version that I purchased, though. This is probably just a little technicality to be able to publish the design a second time, and there probably isn’t much difference from the original.

XXX
Carrie