Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's Eve!

My final project for 2006 is a scarf and glove set for ME! Just using up the yarn remnants from my Mom's afghan (it is so warm & cozy). Couldn't decide whether to knit or crochet so I knitted the scarf, added a crocheted edge & crocheted the gloves.

While at Michael's yesterday getting linen & floss for my first cross stitch project of 2007, I picked up these goodies. DD#2 wanted her gloves in red & black. That child loves bright colors - so I found a combo. The 50% off coupon from last week's paper was burning a hole in my pocket so I finally picked up the Weekend Knitting book that was on my Christmas list. Most importantly I have all the materials to start "The Baptism" tomorrow. I chose a 28 count creme linen as the background. With any luck, I'll have weekly progress pics to share.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous New (stitching) Year!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Switched to the New Blogger

I made the leap to the new Blogger & I'm liking it. You won't notice much of a change except that I divided up my favorite blogs and added links to other sites where my crafts are showcased. Oh yes, & changed my avatar to reflect my wishes for a happy, healthy & safe New Year for all!

Guess I better get started on my Stitching Resolutions for 2007. In a perfect world, I'd complete one project a month in addition to one year-long "biggie". Unfortunately, I don't live in a perfect world. Will have to settle for spending more time in 2007 doing what I love ........ STITCHING!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Gifting

Hope your Christmas Day was a merry one. Mine was wonderful - full of fellowship and dining with family and friends. After trying unsuccessfully (over & over & over again) to make the "Fetching" fingerless gloves shown on the left for DD#1, I made a cute little crocheted pair. No matter how hard I tried, couldn't get my knitted stitches tight enough between the double points. The crocheted ones were quick & easy (thank goodness, it was Christmas eve). The yarn is Paton's Nuance - a mohair blend with a gold metallic thread running through it. The gold doesn't show up in the photo but it gave them a nice sparkle. Mirrored the double-crochet pattern in a matching scarf (sorry no pic & DD's gone back home). Was stressing about whether she'd like them but her sister has put in an order for a pair in something "bright & colorful" which is always a sure sign that I've hit on something. Committed to taking a class on how to make socks so one day I can make a pair of the Fetching gloves for myself (y'all know I'm stubborn - can't let it beat me!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Attention Knitters .....

Run - do not walk - to your nearest Marshall's dept. store. In the clearance section you will find this fantasic book for $3.00!! Yes - $3.00!! It's called Hollywood Knits Style and supposed contains modern designs worn by the stars (Jennifer Lopez leg warmers, Russell Crowe ribbed cap, etc) but who cares - it's $3.00 and has some really great patterns.

I'm sure shoppers were snickering at the crazy lady ooohing and aahing as she flipped through the pages - but take a look at just 2 of the 30 designs contained inside. The "Everything Bag" will be carrying my everything very soon and although these old abs can't sport the "Zip-up Pullover", I'm sure my DD could do it justice. There's also a great "Long Shawl-Collar Coat". My store had lots of copies - in fact, what was I thinking? I'm headed back to get more for my knitting buddies - what a great gift. Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ready for the Post Office

Here's my final batch of baby caps for "Caps to the Capital". Will tag and mail them tomorrow so they can get to the Save the Children Foundation before the January deadline. They were really fun to crochet and brought back memories of my babies (now grown) and grandbabies (not so grown).

Putting the final touches on my handcrafted gifts. Don't want to post pics and spoil it for the recipients (you never know who's reading the blog) so I'll post pics after the holidays. Got some much needed help from my Aunt Eunice on how to knit those darn fingerless gloves for DD. Gonna give it one last try & hopefully have them boxed and bowed on Christmas morning. Thanks Auntie........

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Reason for the Season

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.

Why the Politically Correct Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a "Holiday".
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

But as Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday.

Artist: Johnny Myers - The Only Solution

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday Cheer

I know I've been AWOL for quite a while. On the downslope of my mission to complete one handcrafted item for everyone on my gift list. Things were going really well until I started these fingerless gloves for oldest daughter. I've seen them on a couple of blogs & their real claim to fame is that it should only take a weekend to whip up a pair. I've never knitted gloves or socks but sheesh - it can't be as difficult as I'm making it (Am I really supposed to knit with 3 needles?). I've read through the directions countless times and have started and stopped just as many times. Gonna go to my "how to" books to decipher what I'm supposed to be doing. Hopefully in time for DD to get these at Christmas (lol).
In the meantime, got some great stash this weekend. First, I'm at my favorite Dollar Tree store and there on the bottom shelf is Lion Boucle!! I cannot pass up $1 yarn but I did limit myself to 8 skeins (how's that for willpower?). Next stop - Michael's - where I was supposed to be just grabbing a small circular needle to make hats for the grandbabies. But the Bernat Matrix was shouting at me: 2 skeins for $4.00!! What's a girl to do? Of course, buy it.......
I know it looks like I've forsaken my favorite pasttime - cross stitch - but don't be fooled. The cold weather here in VA has me hibernating so there's a little bit of everything going on. The new year of course will bring new projects and I've decided to tackle "The Baptism" from Green Apple Southern Roots series. It's 239 x 140 stitches - large by my standards. I'm looking for the just the right linen cause the colors are so muted & it's definitely one that I'll keep for myself. Happy stitching, knitting & crocheting to all. Be back soon........

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hi - I'm Deb & I'm a Craftaholic!!

You've met Deb - the cross stitcher; Deb - the knitter/crocheter; now meet Deb - the painter. A few years ago I discovered that the Pottery Factory in Williamsburg, VA offered tons & tons of unpainted figurines. There are santas for every month of the year, and angels, and Buffalo Soldiers & Tuskegee Airmen, and lots of children. All of them just begging to be brought to life with an imaginative mind and a bit of acrylic paint. I travel back to Williamsburg often to restock my stash but I thought I'd share some of my holiday works. Yet another craft jockeying for attention, but true to the crafter's creed - I can do it all........

BTW, finished 'Skip Rope' and crocheted 1/2 dozen more caps but that's well short of the 30 I planned to finish by the end of November. Oh well, deadlines were meant to be broken. I'll have pics tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Soul Is Fed By Needle & Thread

Doesn't that title just sum it all up? I saw it while blog hopping & quickly jotted it down (Would love to have it as a bumper sticker!). Can't believe a week has gone by since I last blogged. Trying fiercely to put a dent in my holiday stitching "to do" list. This Twisted Threads design has always been one of my favorites so I completed another one on a pillow cover. Left off the words and used a metallic gold for her earrings instead of the yellow-fill of the original. Amazing what a few changes will do. I like them both but the mocha sistah seems to have more attitude...... I'm sure it's just my imagination. I have the next four days off from work and I'm looking forward to finishing both "Skip Rope" and "Spiritual". I started Spiritual at the beginning of the year as a gift for my friend's mother. Unfortunately, she passed before I could finish it so I sadly put it aside. But she deserves to be finished and plans are now to give it to my friend as a Christmas present that will always honor his mother.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fall in Virginia

I love Virginia in the fall. The leaves changing colors are gorgeous!!! I've added a few minutes to my commute so I can drive down the parkway along the river everyday. So of course, my mind is full of thoughts of knitting sweaters, afghans, hats & scarves. My stash of knit/crochet patterns rivals my stash of cross stitch charts but I'm always on the lookout to add a little something. Yesterday I came upon this Berrocco pattern that I love. It's a swing crop sweater called Charlize. Thankfully, the fuzzy yarn has been discontinued, but I'm loving the shape and can picture it knitted up in something very soft. This weekend I'm headed to the Stitches East Knitting Expo in Baltimore to shop at the marketplace. I had contemplated going for a couple of classes, but honestly, if I learn any new techniques right now I'll be distracted from finishing all the holiday cross stitch projects I have going. But if I happen to fondle just the right yarn - you can bet that Charlize will become my next WIP.......

Sunday, October 29, 2006

So Cute

Here's my progress on "Skip Rope". She's gonna be a cutie. Trying her out on a towel but I'll definitely do another - probably on a small pillow. Also started on my personal goal of 30 crocheted caps for Save the Children's "Caps to the Capital" project. I read on one of the Yahoo boards that the latest count is 7,403 caps from 820 participants. The program only runs until January 2 and this count falls well short of their target goal of 250,000 caps. Hopefully, there are lots of folks like me who are working to get their caps together. Here's what I managed to crochet this weekend in between cross stitching. As you can see, quite a difference in size depending on the yarn type. The pattern calls for a 10 inch cap (since most of the newborns are undersized). Boy oh boy are they tiny!!! Guess I'll become a public stitcher & work them on my daily metro ride & lunch hour. I hope to exceed my goal & mail the contribution by the end of November.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Here are a couple more patterns I'd like to share. The first is a 1994 chart called "African Rainbow" from Jakki Dukes Cultural Stitches, Shaker Heights, OH. I actually only stitched the four figures on the left as a pillow. Wasn't one of my favorites to stitch but the final product was nice. I got bored with the lack of facial detail but it was still a lovely piece highlighting the different shades of african ancestory. Gifted it to my aunt without taking a pic. During my last visit, I spotted it still on her living room sofa.
The next chart is the Gemini zodiac chart from Julie Hasler's Fantasy Cross Stitch book. Found the book on ebay and it has some fantastic designs. The Aquarius piece is a current WIP. To me this one has a look of Egypt meets Africa. So cool...........

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Life is So Good.......

Wow - what a fantastic week I've had. Charlotte, NC is a lovely city. Gawking at the landmarks, the houses & the skyline made you forget you were walking 39.3 miles (well, almost). No blisters, but plenty of joint & muscle aches. Just reminds me that I'm not the spring chicken I used to be. My Weight Watcher buddy, Priscilla, was a perfect walk partner and a reminder that angels come to you in all sorts of ways. Who would have thought that meeting someone in cyberspace on a message board would start a great friendship. Which brings me to my other fantastic achievement this week. I am the "Blog of the Week" in the current edition of Black Purl Magazine - WAHOO!!!!! To get recognized for doing something you love has to be the ultimate compliment. I started this blog in May when I officially became an "empty-nester" to get connected to other stitchers and crafters to learn, share, and socialize. I've gotten all that and so much more. Knowing that I wanted to stitch more than just the popular samplers, teddy bears & flowers, I made it my mission to find the more unique charts. Now that I get a chance to showcase them, it's wonderful. I'll stop short of thanking the Academy & making my acceptance speech (lol) ............. Be back soon with updates of WIPs and more previews of charts. Thanks everyone!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Walk, Walk, Eat, Walk, Walk, Sleep

Headed to Charlotte, NC tomorrow for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Two days - 39 miles......... raised $2,466 for the cause. Take care & I'll have pics next week.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I've Been Tagged!!

I have been tagged by Sharon. The rules; List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether or not they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to. These are my current favorites:

Looking For You: Kirk Franklin
Imagine Me: Kirk Franklin
DejaVu: Beyonce
In My Mind: Heather Headley
Alright: John Legend
Can't Let Go: Anthony Hamilton
Money Maker: Ludacris

Now I'm tagging:
Vera - Vera's Crafty Blog
Renee - Sticky's Little Girl
Carol - Garden of Stitches
Nasheikah - Black Purls
Nik - Nik's Knits
Deborah - Daily Dilemmas
Lauren - I'll Cross That Stitch When I Come To It

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Heavenly Comments

I have been truly humbled by the comments I've received here. I love all my stitching & it brings me joy to know that others admire or appreciate the final pieces. Thanks to all who have reached out to send those heavenly comments my way. Last week Michael's had another of their 50% off coupons. I love these bargains cause it gives me a chance to buy a kit that I usually bypass & this time I lucked up on this beauty. It is "Three Yoruban Women" by Dimensions. Aren't the colors gorgeous?? Not sure I'll use the black Aida that's provided - it screams to be done on linen (you taught me well Sharon!). With so many holiday gift projects vying for my time, I'm setting this aside to be my first project of the New Year. In the meantime, I started this small project on a Charles Craft Showcase Huck Towel. Found the chart on eBay in a booklet from Cross My Heart called "Shoo Fly Pie". This adorable little girl looks like she could skip rope right outta the picture. I've broken Stitcher's Rule #1 by starting at the bottom instead of the middle. The stitching area is gonna be tight & I figure it's better to have the top of the jump rope outside of the area instead of her feet. Haven't gotten too far along this weekend but she should go quickly. Maybe I can finish her before I leave at the end of the week for the Breast Cancer Walkathon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Linen Finish

Drum roll, please........ I finished my first linen piece - the Better Homes & Garden's Alphabet Heart Sampler. Chose the DMC verigated floss in shades of gold & brown that I'm very pleased with. A perfect beginning piece for linen cause I could concentrate on the technique instead of color changes, etc. O.K. on to the next project.

Monday, October 09, 2006

For My Lil Spiderman

Here's my oldest grandson last Halloween. He's 6 (and a half - he'll tell you). He's probably the biggest Spiderman fan in the world. He loves to jump from tall buildings (o.k. the swing set) in a single bound. We have to constantly remind him that even Spiderman has a web to hang on to. Anyway, when he started first grade in September I promised to make him a Spiderman mini-blanket for his cot at after-school care. Believe me not a day went by that he didn't ask how much longer until I finished his blanket. Today he's all smiles cause it's finished. I found the Spiderman duplicate stitch chart online and used a navy blue acrylic (I know - but he's a kid) yarn from my yarn-fairy stash. I was so worried that he wouldn't recognize the character in stitches so the sound of "Memaw, that looks great" made me jump for joy. This is one of those Ah-Ha moments that reminds me why I love to stitch. Of course now the 4-year old wants to know can he get Elmo on a hat. Off to find another chart.....

Thursday, October 05, 2006


My love of art depicting African American (AA) images flows directly to my quest to find cross stitch charts bearing images that mirror my heritage. Some designers are progressive enough to provide skin tone alternatives with their designs. But sometimes it's nice to find a chart that reflects the heritage. Over the years, I have built up a stash of AA charts that I'd like to share. Someday I will have stitched them all (post retirement) but in the meantime I'll feature those charts here on the blog from time to time for those that may be interested. The most popular ethnic charts are the Green Apple designs, which are widely available, so I'll skip those & focus on some of the more rare charts. I'll start with "African American Father Christmas" from Alma Lynne Designs. It's been around since 1993 but hard to find. The stitch count is 195 x 126 and actually has about 4 dozen colors. My idea of a definite challange.........
One of my other favorites (and not so challenging) is this simple chart from Designs by Judith Lynn, Inc. Stitched completely in black , it also was released in 1993 and has 154 x 104 stitches. Will definitely give you lots of practice in backstitching.
Thanks for letting me share. I'll probably feature a couple more each week. In the meantime, back to WIPs.......

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

OMG - It's October Already?

I can't believe we've slipped into October already. I had such big plans for handmade Christmas gifts plus Holiday Craft Shows & I feel like I'm just crawling along. On October 21 & 22, I'll be walking 39.3 miles in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. This is my 5th year walking & I'm parterning with one of my Weight Watcher message board buddies in Charlotte, NC (instead of my usual D.C. walking). We have never met face to face so I look forward to meeting & talking all 39 miles. The training has really eaten into my stitching time but judging by the aches & pains in my joints, this may be my last marathon walk.

Meanwhile, I only have 5 letters left to stitch on the Alphabet Heart - that will be a gift for my best-sistah-friend. I've finished the knitted afghan for my grandson & started the duplicate Spiderman stitching. Just hoping it truly resembles Spiderman when I finish & not just a red & blue blob. I've done well on completing several art projects (plates, tiles, & figurines) for my table at the next few craft fairs but need to finish the stitched pillow, pot holders & other UFOs. In other words, can somebody make a few more hours in the day? By the end of the week I should be posting pics of both the Heart & the afghan.........

Friday, September 22, 2006

Just A Quickie!

Daughter asked me to make a scarf to complement her coat. Grabbed this from the yarn-fairy stash & worked it in the carpool & on my lunch hour this week. Looks like the yarn may have been saved from the 70s so I guess it's officially "retro". Well, TGIF!! My weekend goal is to finish the Alphabet Heart Sampler as well as my grandson's knitted blanket featuring Spiderman. The weather's really cooled down just in time for the first day of fall, so this weekend will be perfect for stitching, knitting and football.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stash and Progress

Took a quick biz trip to New Orleans last week then spent the weekend with oldest DD in Shreveport. She's settling nicely in her new apartment & new job. It's such a blessing that both of my girls are grown & on their own - it brings me joy to see their lives unfold. While in the Big Easy I visited Acadian Corner, a LNS in Metairie, that has quickly become one of my favorites. My first visit was a few months after Hurricane Katrina - the owner said the store faired much better than her home, so they were keeping part-time hours. If I had to guess, I'd say that all the beautiful Mirabilia angels that line the walls of the store had something to do with it.......... Anyway, I ran through one day during lunch break to make sure they were open & to my surprise they're back to regular hours. Of course I managed to do a little damage (to my wallet) in under an hour. To satisfy my new linen fixation, I picked up vintage cashel linen, hand-dyed linen, & jobelan (somebody has to educate me on these fabrics - I just go for pretty). Also added "Emma's Garden" by Lavender & Lace and Lanarte's "Butterfly Fairies" to the chart stash. I'm partial to angels, but the detail and femininity of these angels are gorgeous. Didnt find a LNS in Shreveport, but there was a Hobby Lobby - and they were having a 50% off sale (does it get any better?) Only had one suitcase so I limited myself to their framing mats. Got about a dozen very unique textured mats that will go well with all my finished WIPs. So I better get back to work. Speaking of which, here's my progress on the Alphabet Heart:

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Ensemble

When Terry McMillan's first edition of Waiting to Exhale was published in 1994, the front cover was a painting by artist Synthia St. James called "The Ensemble". I immediately loved that book & that picture. In 1998, I sent Ms. St James a handtowel stitched with the image. She loved it and responded with instructions on licensing her images for cross stitch designs. I hope to pursue the whole chart design concept when I retire in a few years & have unlimited time to commit to my creative side. Last night I came across a tee shirt that I started using the same design. It's still one of my favorites reflections of sistah-friends. I plan to finish it to wear as I do this season's holiday craft shows.