Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hometown Holidays...

TWO...posts in ONE day....

But I was asked another question and this is pertinent to the upcoming Holiday season, so I thought I would put it out there for all to consider.

The question comes from Happy Stitching, who asks:

"I so enjoy your blog and your YouTube channel! I am planning to stitch LHN Hometown Holiday series and wondering how you are finishing? I was thinking either separate cubes or maybe all together as one large piece but I wasn't sure how it would look all together as one piece! Thanks so much!"

Hometown Holidays is a popular on going design line by Little House Needleworks.  You can view the designs that have been already released at this link:
HOMETOWN HOLIDAYS by Little House Needleworks 

Well...lets talk about how I am finishing my Hometown Holidays. 
I haven't gotten very far in the series because I have been stitching lots of models in the past few years including several of the Hometown Holidays for Little House Needleworks. However the few that I have stitched, I have stitched over two on 40 ct. linen to make the design area smaller and am making them into ornaments for our tree. Here are a couple of my personal Hometown Holidays:

My House 1

Main Street Station



The original designs, Diane finished herself using the cube method. She even did a tutorial and posted it on the Little House Needlework website and you can view it by clicking on: 

Later, Diane asked me to finish the Hometown Holiday series as a large mounted tag ornament.
You can view my pictorial and written tutorial
Layered Tag Ornament Written Tutorial

or in video form on my YouTube Channel:
Layered Tag Ornament Video


You can make this series into small flatfolds, they would be darling done up as flatfolds. Again I have written and video tutorials to view featuring those type of finishes at my finishing blog and on my YouTube channel.

There has been a number of people stitching these all on one piece as a "village scene" there has recently been a couple of people that have shared their layouts in the Facebook Little House and Country Cottage Needleworks Stitching Group. Diane herself will sometimes post to that group layout "ideas" for the Hometown Holiday series as she sometimes plays around with layout arrangements. If you are a member of Facebook, I encourage you to search for the Little House and Country Cottage Needleworks Stitching Group and ask to become a member by clicking on the "join" button. You can gain admittance and see how many members are working theirs up and also get some ideas that Diane has posted about in the group as well.

Happy Stitching!
Vonna 

Starting and Ending your thread....

Good Morning and Happy Sunday Folks!!

I have had a question left for my "Ask Vonna..." section of my blog.

Q: Janaplmr Asks..."Would you consider showing how you start and end your thread?"

A: Thank you Janaplmr, I'm sorry it has taken me so long to address your question. I have done it in video form because I believe that just showing is the best way to share.
Please view my video on my YouTube Channel...HERE

**NOTE** Please remember that I am just a woman that has been stitching for many years. This is the way I start and end my threads based on my collective years (30+) of learning through my own experience of stitching and having my works judged at my county fair. This is how I do it. That does not mean it is the only way to do it or even that it is the best way to do it - rather this is my way to do it and I have found that I have good results; especially being that my judged pieces (following my beginning to stitch in this manner) has all received very high marks. Thank you.



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Smoky Mountain Chrstmas SAL...

For those interested it is on Facebook, I can't link it because it is a private group but search for:
SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS SAL  (no E in Smoky)
Once you find it just click join and you will be admitted!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Hello September...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to my friends ~
I hope this finds you all well!

Helloooo September!
Can you believe it? I surely can't, but then again I feel like I've been chasing after myself all year long. 

What have I been up to?

Well in late July I finished the first part of the Little House Needleworks 
ABC Sampler series. It is a nine part series that can be stitched alone as bowl fillers or as one piece. I decided to stitch mine all on one piece. 

Here is my ABC block #1

ABC_500 

Here is my DE - Block #2 that I finished in late August (think August 30th) 

  DE

And here is what mine looks like all together. 
ABC_DE

A few notes on this one....
ABC Samplers is charted to have a block around each house. So if stitched as charted each home/design is like a building block to the next one, skipping two stitches in between is what Diane suggests if stitching them all on one sampler. 
Me?
Well you know me...I can't do anything exactly like what the pattern calls for.
I wanted a "neighborhood" feel to my sampler. So I am leaving off the square surrounding blocks.
BUT....
I am adding my "own" block that will encompass the whole sampler. 
It is simply a solid square and then a broken line square inside the solid line square. I am using Classic Colorworks Caterpillar for the solid line (the darker brown) and then Classic Colorworks Sassy Brassy for the broken line square (golden rust color). I knew these two would look good together and with the color palette of the others according to the sneak peek that Diane shared on her company website. So I went with it.
They are...
looking so good :) Can't wait to get to the "FGH" which is the next installment. 
I am doing mine three across and three down. 
Have a tempted you to give these sweet patterns a try?!
:)

Next up....
for the remainder of this year and for the foreseeable future, I am going to try to do more "me" stitching. Stitching centers me and I need to feel free to stitch what I want to stitch and when I want to stitch it instead of rushing to meet deadlines that I all too often put off until the very last minute due to my family schedule and working schedule. With me off-loading my job at the hospital (which has been nothing but positive!!!) I am trying to work harder than ever on my finishing business, so I have to be cognizant of not overdoing there to incorporate stitching every day on things I want to stitch. 

This summer...
watching FlossTube which has steadily become a very important part of my day. I watched Dena @ Half Stitch Channel stitching on a pattern I had seen once before from a client of mine who showed me her finish (Hi Linda!). I mentioned it on my FB page about WOW what a beauty and then my good friend Jane @ Henley's Landing Blog sent me a pictures of hers:

Jane's Smoky Mountain Christmas Jane

This is Smoky Mountain Christmas which is an adaptation of the artwork of Linda Kotila. The design was originally put out by Stardust Design Company but they are no longer in business. This pattern however (I was happy to discover) can be purchased for PDF download at Patterns OnLine RIGHT HERE

So....after putting this bit of info on my FB page, lo and behold I soon realized that there were MANY stitchers that owned this pattern (or wanted to own this pattern) and a dear buddy Natasha started a FB page Stitch-Along entitled "Smoky Mountain Christmas SAL" 
So...
if you are inclined to jump in and have the pattern already or want the pattern search the above name on FB and ask to be admitted as a member. 

We started on September 4, 2016....
but I didnt' get started until September 5
Here is my two days of progress so far:

SMS_Day 1

SMC_Day 2

The needles you ask?
Well this is basically a full coverage pattern (minus the snow - all white is just the fabric)
I could quickly tell that I would need some sort of counting "gauge" and I didn't want to stitch those grid lines. So...I just improvised. This is page one basically in 10 stitch guides all laid out on my fabric using needles. (I was in a car when I started this - we were taking Katie back to her dorm after the holiday weekend, so needles were all I had available. I've already purchased some dressmakers pins with plastic heads that I'm going to use when I move to page 2)

I am stitching mine on 18 ct. Aida...
I am not a linen/evenweave snob. Full coverage is difficult enough I wanted easy counting!

I am using DMC as charted. 
The charted white beads (which will be snowflakes)
The charted Whisper Thread for Santa's beard BUT I am taking Jane's lead and also using dark brown-black Whisper for the bears. 

I think it is going to be lovely! and I am having so much fun stitching/planning again.

THAT...
is what was missing in my life. Dreaming up finishes and dreaming up stitching plans. 
When you have stitch all scheduled...that took the fun, the dreaming, the planning, the anticipation away. I am dreamer. That is who I am. That is what I do best. 
What do I do best? Inspire others to get excited about stitching. I know that. That is what my "thing" in life is. 

Life....
kicks you in the butt to make you take a step back, take a good hard look, and then realize that changes need to be made. That is what Life did to me this summer. Kicked me in the butt. What did I do? I didn't give up! I completed my commitments to myself, to others, then I made a change. It was scary, but I did it! AND it was for the best. I'm happy to report that I am happier today than I have been in months! Literally months. I know who I am, what I do best and people can take it or leave it and that's OK, because I'm staying true to me. I lost myself a little bit there...but I'm back and better than I was before I walked down that path.

Finishing...
Yes. Lots.
I'll let the pictures do the talking....

SD_LHN 7 Pines SD_LK Halloweenie SD_LHN Liberty and Justice JP_Brooks Books Advent Animals JP_Shepherd's Bush Wish JP_LK Oct 31 JP_LK Jack JP_Frosted Pumpkin Halloween Town JP_DT Autumn LO_LK Red, White and Blue LO_CCN London LO_PSS Patriotic Stockings W1_Shepherd's Bush Stocking SG_Sewing Room LS_WTNT Land of  Liberty LS_The Scarlet House Penny Pumpkin IC_CCN Red White and Bloom FW_SHSW A+B FW_LK God Bless America FW_LK Boo DW_LK Snowman Tiny Tidings DW_LK Santa Knows Tiny Tidings

Whew...
there's more, but that's all I'll share this time around :)

My kids are doing fabulous....
Katie LOVES college


Ian and Jacob are doing great as Juniors in High School and in the middle of their Cross Country Season.
(in this photo Ian is out front and Jake (in white head band) leading second pack)


Ian 



Jake


Ellie is chomping at the bit to start 4H meetings again and thriving as a 5th grader.



Speaking of 4H...
My fair results this year:

Carriage House Samplings "Quaker Stocking"
Honor Ribbon

Pineberry Lane's "Bringing Home the Tree"
Reserve Champion Ribbon



Little House Needleworks "Melicent Turner"
Reserve Champion Ribbon


2015 was a lean stitching year across the board, so not as many to enter as previous years. 
Let's hope 2016 is a better stitching year :)

Until next time...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and my heart to God just like always. 
Letting my little light shine for all the world to see, while I continue to be me and reach for the stars!
Hugs and love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx




Friday, August 12, 2016

The Big Save....

~ Greetings Friends and Warm Welcome ~
I first want to start off this post with a very sincere

"THANK YOU"

to all of those that left positive notes/comments or personally sent me positive notes/comments.
You do not know, how much your kind, considerate, thoughtful concern touched my heart.
I was struggling, I truly was, with a multitude of things that occurred over the last 2 months and it wasn't just Katie's move to college, albeit that was a very large concern.

You see...
I also resigned from my position outside the home.
For the last 23 years, I have juggled a job, a home, a family, volunteer positions, a job inside the home...and I found it very fulfilling.

8.5 years ago....
I started working at this small county hospital here in my city. What I thought would be the perfect set up, I soon realized was much the opposite. A very difficult to get along with coworker, who was in a place of authority, coupled with the fact that the hospital (due to the healthcare climate in our country) changed ownership 5 times during the last 8.5 years - spells n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e. That meant, any counseling, any write-ups, any issues at all in a person's HR file was wiped clean with every change of leadership. The perfect storm to cover up a perfect problem employee. After a very critical situation that I was once again placed in because of this person, and the resulting "our hands are tied, we can't do anything about this" being told to me yet *again*, I resigned. You see my job outside the home, which was in a part-time capacity, with part-time hours, and although I begged for years to be put into a  "position"..... I was never granted one. Why? Because it looked "good" on paper. I was the cheapest person on the books, because they kept me (who was working regular, part-time hours for 8.5 years) as a Per Diem employee (PRN).  What does that mean? It means: I was never paid for holidays, never got paid vacation, no sick time, no leave, no nothing. 
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
What were the benefits for working? A lot of hell and a lot of stress.
So...starting a new chapter of life. 
My last "crash and burn" blog...
was written 2 days after I had worked my last shift at the hospital. 
Yep, I didn't walk out. I had agreed to cover the vacation of a co-worker who was taking a 3 week vacation. So...I kept my word, my dignity, my values...and worked those agreed to days.
I left with my pride and my dignity.

Not only did all that happen...
but I'm also the "funeral luncheon lady" at our church Starting June 30 and continuing the following 3 weeks our parish had unprecedented deaths. 6 deaths in 3 weeks. The last week I had 2 funerals in one day and both families requested me to sing the Funeral Masses. So that meant 2 meals to plan and execute (garnering donations for the meals, ordering fried chicken, setting up, cleaning up, etc) and 2 choral practice sessions as well as 2 Masses. Katie and I arrived at 8 a.m. and left at 7 p.m. 

Some of you may be thinking....
WHY? didn't she have help? Well I did have help and donations were given, etc. However smack dab in the middle of the 6 funerals, my co-chair quit and so where I would have leaned on her, I was left to stand alone. But I got it done. I have recruited NEW CO-CHAIRS (I refuse to be the only ONE in future left to deal) and things have calmed down.

I have been learning to say NO!
I'm not good at it...but I am learning.

On to Katie....
She was delivered to college safely. 
We had a fabulous, spectacular day. I could feel of you who were praying for me. I was calm. I was cool. I was collected. Not a tear was shed in her presence. We left her in high spirits and she has continued in her little college world just as I knew she would. 
Here is a pictorial review of the 

"Dorm Day"

Katie's Room 

  Dorm desk

Dorm Panorama

Us all together one last time before we left....

Dorm Day

Katie sent me this picture the very next day....

Dorm 2016


Katie on the Canal

Katie's Scavenger Hunt Team

She is attending...
Indiana University - Purdue University of Indianapolis
(IUPUI)
She is majoring in Electrical Engineering (EE). 
She is the only female in the 2020 class of Electrical Engineering (thus the boys above)...apparently EE is one of the hardest engineering disciplines and not as popular with females as Mechanical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering, which both have high female percentages. Because she is the only identified female in the 2020 EE class...she is garnering LOTS of attention from the Engineering Dean and Professors, as they want her to be a success story for the program (and thus a sort of feather in their cap). 
Could I be more proud? 
Probably not.

I also want to highlight....
that God provides. Katie has been struggling with the fact that it may be difficult to get to Mass. She's in downtown Indy (not known for it's safety) and the Catholic Church is quite a hike, straight through the middle of downtown Indianapolis. There is not a Newman Center on Campus that holds Mass on the weekends. I have been praying about this.
Wednesday I got a text from Katie with a GUESS WHAT?!
Well, it turns out...the young lady with the glasses in the picture above is Catholic, she doesn't consistently practice, but was raised as Catholic. She saw Katie's prayer books on her bedside and crucifix and asked her Wednesday if she could be her "Mass Buddy" because she said: 
I want to practice my faith and grow my relationship with God.
If that is not an answer to prayer, I don't know what is. 
Prayer works...

In the meantime....
my other three kids started school on Wednesday, August 10. 
Here is their yearly: First Day of School Picture

First Day of School 2016

They are growing and thriving. The boys are becoming very "manly" if I do say so myself :)
Ellie is in 5th grade
Ian and Jacob are Juniors /11th Graders.

We recently celebrated Ellie's 11th Birthday, right before Katie left for college on August 5th

IMG_3581

IMG_3605

I've been busy in my Finishing Service...

MB_LHN Loving You HC_Brittercup Designs Kitty Tree HC_Brittercup Designs Britty Kitty HC_Brittercup Desgins Poinsettia GS_CCN Snow in Love GS_CCN Holly Jolly GS_Angel Star NS_TLS Cardinal NS_Land of Liberty bag NS_CCN Happy Holidays LW_Bowl Fillers DH_LHN Under the Tree DB_TSH America Class Set DB_Dried Marigolds DB_PSS Bowl of Scaries 1 CS_PSS Serial Bowl CS_PSS Daily Labors of theBee

This isn't even all of the finishes I've done in the last couple of months...but you get the idea ;)
LOTS

Until next time...
I'm marching on, feeling good, and being a supportive, good neighbor to those that need a shoulder to lean on. Because the good Lord knows, that when I needed positive, kind words most of you were there for me and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thank you!

Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx