Sunday, December 30, 2012

Where did 2012 go ??

I mean REALLY......where did this year go?????  Spent the day trying to tone down the Christmas look into a more general winter look around the house...except for the above tree, which Chessa has taken possession of and it's just hitting me that tomorrow is the end of 2012 !!!!!  Yikes!!  I guess it's another special "perk" of growing old !!

Since we don't have kids, we always do the traveling for Christmas.  Here's John and I with Nick, Jenny, and Jonathan (3 of our 13 nieces and nephews) on Christmas Eve at my brother's house.  Spent the afternoon with them, then dinner with old friends and their family and then Christmas Day with John's sister and family......and in between talked to most of the out of state family members while traveling the "Wisconsin Christmas Circuit".  It was a hectic, but really fun two days!!!!

Woke up this morning to bright sun and a sparkling cover of frost on all the trees......the pictures don't do it justice, but trust me, it was truly SPECTACULAR!!!! 

Spent most of the day "simplifying " to a look that will get me through to Spring.

My favorite part is that I actually got my paper whites to bloom at the right time.......they just add such a fresh look to a room!!

 Every time I see them, they just makes me smile!!!!

And the entire time I've been changing things around, hauling stuff up and down two flights of stairs, my normally VERY curious kittens have been in the same spot and nearly the same evidenced by the following pictures!!

These were honestly taken over the course of the day.

As this will be my last post of 2012......I'd like to thank you all again for your loving support and encouragement and wish you a very happy , healthy and Blessed New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Finally, it's looking like Christmas!!

Last week, my BFF Jeanne and I made our annual trek in search of  "Christmas".......which entails a trip to Monches Farm (outside of the Milwaukee area) for fresh greens and other wonderful goodies.

Even without the snow, just walking about all the tables of outdoor gift ware and greens always puts us in the holiday mood.

There's always a lovely bonfire going where they sell Xmas trees , so we alternate between scooping up arm loads of treasures and warming our numb fingers.

This year I even got into a conversation with a rooster who felt free to make editorial comments on my purchase pile.

And FINALLY , yesterday it SNOWED!!!!!!

A view out into the back yard.............

the back deck.............

and out our bedroom windows (yes, I sometimes feel like we live in a tree house).  It was absolutely wonderful!!!!

Now I'm ready for the holidays!!!

Chessa spent the day watching the birds swoop in and out of the feeder and finally settled on a small piece of bunny fur in the laundry room .  It's positioned over the heat duct in the floor near the wood burning stove and is the warmest spot in the house.......of course!!

When I could finally tear my eyes away from the falling snowflakes, I did manage to pull out my Christmas projects and get some stitching accomplished .........ahhhh, yes, life is good!! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Coma

I know Thanksgiving is officially over.....but I still wanted to add my 2 cents worth of thanks!!!!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday........lots of cooking, spending time with family, reflecting on the past year and the blessings it has brought, and just generally taking a "breath" and appreciating all we've been given before the "Christmas crazies" kick in !!!

We always have company for the rest of the weekend as well, so we get to stretch out the holiday as long as we can.......which is why that it's taken me until today to come out of my "turkey coma" !!!!!

As you can see, some of us are still in a "coma"......but at least they're snoozing on an appropriate pillow!!

I'd just like to take a moment to say thank you to all of you!!

  It's been a great year for "Chessie & Me" and I truly feel blessed by all of your support!!

Now, I must get back to working on new stuff for Nashville...hope to see a lot of you there.  I'll try to post some "peeks" along the way!!

Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgivings and were able to fit in a stitch or two in the process!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last Retreat of the year

Soooooooo....... I just got back from teaching at my last retreat of the year.......and what a great way to end !!!!!!

I taught for Old Mill Stitchery in Liberty, MO again and it always feels like "going home" for me.  Mary and Barb invite me back every year and for the most part, the same wonderful group of ladies show up to share another class with me !!!!

We decided on a Christmas theme this year's a peek at the two pieces I taught.  On Friday night we started with the smaller piece which could be used as a little pin keep or finished as an ornament.

Just had to share these serious stitchers with all their lights.  It looked like they were all stitching in a cave.

Two new gals from Colorado joined us this time...Judy and Theresa.......and they brought the project they've been jointly working on lately........."Ann Dale" from Shakespeare's Peddler......and we were all in awe of the progress they had made !!!!

Theresa's is on 36ct and she's stitching it in silk........

.........and Judy's is on 40ct using cotton floss.  Both are absolutely stunning !!!!!! 

Saturday , we worked on the main project...the larger sampler in the previous picture, and everyone seemed  to enjoy the piece.  

Everyone looks so serious.........which was hardly the case.......there was lots of teasing and telling tales on each between all the "stitching".

The next couple of pictures are of my favorite part....."show and tell".  

It's always so interesting to see what everyone is stitching and to see how they have finished them.  It  inspires me to see the amount of projects these ladies actually accomplish!!!!

We had a great, although much too short weekend...........lots of food , laughter, stitching and of course GREAT shopping!!!!!!  Mary and Barb always fill the shop with tempting treasures.  Can't wait till next fall !!

I've returned home with a renewed spirit and eager to start working on new projects!!!!  

Thanks again ladies, from the bottom of my heart, for your continued support, it really means the world to me!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shepherds Bush Retreat

Sorry to be late in getting this report out to you, but I've been swamped with orders for the new fall designs and since I've always been before pleasure......I had to attend to that first. Oh, and by the way, the little book boxes for the "Autumn Sewing Book" design are again available from DCC Crafts...YEA!!!!!

Now, on to the fun stuff!!!!!!  OMG!!!!!! What a Retreat!!!!  Tina and Teri have out done themselves Again!!!!!  I was sooooo happy to be asked back to teach and the whole experience was as good, if not better, then I had remembered!!

I guess I'll just start at the very beginning......Sweet Nancy C picked me up at the airport and I immediately was enveloped in the majesty of the mountains as we drove toward Ogden.

Before going up to Park City, of course we had to stop at cross-stitch Mecca...better known as Shepherds Bush !!!!

Even the entrance just pulls you in to investigate future....."Why do those sheep all have hats on?".......on top of everything's Shepherds Bush's Birthday !!!!!

Of course, as you walk into the entry way......treats galore !!!!

When I first arrived the shop was teaming with customers..... I bidded my time until it cleared out a bit, so I could get a few shots of the sheer "jammed packedness" of cross stitch goodies this shop holds.  It's really quite staggering!!!!

Just choosing designs from the models covering every inch of wall space is overwhelming.

Around every corner, there's another hidden pocket of treasures.

Yes, that is a wall of linen as well as ALL the Christmas stocking assembled in one spot!!!!   Who could choose just one?

After a tiny bit of shopping, it was off to Park City , and the beautiful Canyons Resort!!

They put the designers up in two condos that were absolutely FABULOUS!!!! I got to room with Cece (The Thread Gatherer and Charland & Sydney (Charland Designs) and we had a ball together. Cece brought her espresso machine and I got to play with it all week...they all decided that if this "cross stitch" thing doesn't work out for me, I could start a new career as a Batista!!!   Syd taught us EFT (Emotional Freeing Technique) which works wonders for relieving stress !!  We managed to get a little stitching in each evening between the laughing and gabbing....not much sleep .....but hey...who wants to sleep when there's so much going on!!!!

This was the view from my master suite balcony.

Wednesday night, Teri and Tina took all the teachers out to dinner......a great time to renew old friendships and establish some new ones !!!!

Thursday was registration and "make it and take it" day......everyone one got one of these darling bags and a little booklet that we had all done small motif designs for .  It was fun to see how people chose to arrange the motifs on their bags. It's always amazing to me the see how all of our designs seem to fit together even though we never see them in advance.

Thursday night was the "BIG REVEAL".  The theme this year was "Christmas".   No one had seen any of the projects , including the teachers, so it was a hugh surprise when each of us got up and talked about and showed our design for the first time .  It can be kind of scary, as one after another project is revealed, thinking that yours will be the "ONE" no one cares for.  However, that didn't happen....... every project was unique and wonderful !!!!!

R&R's was "Home of the Holidays" and came with a special thread card painted by Liberty Hill.

Jeannette Douglas's was "Be Merry and Bright" and was stitched in all wool.

Charland did an adorable stitching roll..."Memories of Christmas", which she presented out of a hugh Santa sack, much to the audience's delight!

Paula (Plum Street ) designed a wonderful sampler, "A Yuletide Welcome" and the class project was a tiny pinroll that used motifs from the sampler.

Tina's design, "Three Ships"  was of course "darling" and just as wonderful as everyone had hoped for.

I never did get a picture of my piece, so I'll include the scan that was in the's called (surprise, surprise) "Shepherd's Christmas" ........I fell in love with the verse, and the design just evolved from there.

After the "reveal" we all lined by like "celebrities on the red carpet" so everyone could take pictures.  What a "hoot" !!!!!
However, I know, as soon as this retreat is over, I'll be back home cat boxes and doing laundry...a celebrity no more!
You can see a little peek of Cece's project with Teri that they taught on Friday night.  It was a shared stitches piece that consisted of a wool book that Cece had designed appliqued portions of and Teri did a cross stitched linen page that formed a pocket when completed....and the best part was......."elves" had already sewn the books together, so when you finished the applique and cross stitch, you had a COMPLETED PROJECT !!!!!!

These are my teachers pet!!!!  They all did matching fobs and sat in the front of class with them on display.....we had a lot of fun together....they really were a wonderful boost for my ego!!!
Thursday night we also did the "cookie exchange"......each person got a cookie tin and then proceeded to different stations where we made various kinds of "cookies" which all turned out to be some kind of stitching tool......tape measure (pin wheels), marking pins (sprinkles), etc.  It was very clever and Jeannette D and I went around together and were proud to say....we completed all of our cookies !!!!!

 Friday afternoon we had some free time, and Syd, Cece and I took the cable car to the top of the mountain (8100ft).  The views were breathtaking!!!!   Literally!!!!!!

Here are a few views of the classes.......although all these ladies were serious stitchers ..........we did a lot of sharing of crazy stories, cat pictures and laughing at each other!!!! Oh, I mean with each other!

Those "teacher's pets" again, this time with "teacher" as well.

I must say , all of the classes were filled with some of the friendliest ladies I've ever had the pleasure to teach.........not one had a bad word to say all weekend....everyone was very upbeat and enthusiastic and full of lovely complements.  I know a big part of that was due to Tina and NEVER saw them without a hugh smile on their face....despite any craziness that went on behind the scenes...and believe me there was lots of behind the scenes craziness!!!

And before we knew was Saturday night and time for the big finale......The Christmas Feast !!!!

The tables were beautifully set , the meal wonderful....very English in flavor, down to the crackers and crazy party hats!!!

We played a rousing game of Christmas Trivia, were entertained by attending husbands who were forced to sing carols for us and just generally laughed, cried and promised we'd all do this again  as soon as possible!!!!
It was a wonderful end to a fabulous retreat and as usual...over much too soon !!!

All the teachers got together for a farewell breakfast  and final hugs before several had to leave on Sunday.

Tina, Teri, Charland, Sydney, Jeannette, and I were able to stay over another day, which we spent just lazing around and unwinding over shopping and wandering about the historic section of Park City.

We shared a final dinner together at "Zooms" which is Robert Redford's restaurant built in the old train depot.......wonderful food and again great company!!!

It was Sydney's birthday, so of course they brought out a special desert for her, complete with the greeting spelled out in chocolate !!!!

And now, I'm back home with a renewed sense of wonder at all the amazing friendships and experiences this love of cross stitch has brought my way......Thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all !!!!!!

P.S.  To see some really grand photos, go the Paula's (Plum Street Samplers)blog......turns out she's a PROFESSIONAL.......and carries around a camera bigger than she is.....who knew?????