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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Frosty Friends Exchange

This is what I made for Carol at Garden of Stitches. I stitched a snowman freebie (oh, it's an oldie that I got a long time ago.) The first picture is of the entire exchange. Yes, I snitched this from her blog, thanks Carol!

This is a closeup of the box and the blocks that I painted. It isn't hard to paint this way, it's very similar to paint by numbers. You fill in the spaces and with washes of color, you lay in the highlights and shadows.

I really enjoyed this exchange a lot because Snowmen are my favorite winter icons. They never fail to bring a smile to my face. They are happy and just remind me of childhood. You can't be sad when there's a snowman around!

I got an opportunity to go all out with this exchange cause I didn't feel rushed. I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to stitch and how I wanted to finish it. I've had the block idea for quite a long time but the box was serendipity. I was rummaging around in my craft closet looking for something else and came across a bunch of these boxes stuffed behind a bag of polyfill. I was very pleased to find a 5" X 5" box that was perfect to store the blocks because they fit so nicely. And then, the whole exchange idea just came together.

I was on vacation when I stitched and painted the box. I stitched the snowman during my Thanksgiving break. I painted the paper mache box during my Christmas vacation. I also painted a Santa cookie plate during that time for the Cadet's Jenna's Mom. I haven't painted in a long time and it was great to spend time with a paintbrush.

I have to confess that yes, I did paint for a living until the Cadet was about 5 years old. My business was called Homespun Hearts. I used to do house shows, you know, like Tupperware. I set up what I wanted to sell, took orders and turned the items around in 6 weeks. I'd book 2-3 parties for each show that I did. I did very well but honestly, I painted 16 hours a day for weeks on end. David would cut wood for me in the evenings until he got burned out. He worked full time, would play with Mike, and then would go into the basement and cut wood until it was time to go to bed. The holidays were brutal, so many orders and you couldn't slip cause most of them were gifts for someone. Finally, David had enough and bailed. For awhile, I bought my wood. But because I could not buy in LARGE quantities, I was paying full price for wood blanks. Add that to the time that I missed with Mike and David, and well, it was time to give up the painting business.

But now, I am toying with the idea of putting some of my painted items into an Etsy shop. I wonder how things would sell. I could control the number of pieces that I painted and I don't think it would impact my life as much as house parties. The question is how to build up a clientelle. I would love to hear your thoughts.

But really, stitching is my main squeeze because I love the fibers and fabric. Stitching allows me to spend time with my family cause I'm not holed up in my craft room or at the kitchen table. And David has threatened to bury me with a needle in one hand and a sampler in the other. LOL!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Where did the time go?

Last time I looked it was January 1st. How did we get to January 7th already? Not that I am complaining, mind you. It's 7 less days of Winter that I have to deal with. Actually, Winter seems to have left Upstate NY for a few days at least. Today at lunch, it was 64 degrees on the Avenue. 64 degrees!!!! Wowser! And tomorrow, it's going to be a balmy 68! Break out the shorts and the flip-flops. I feel like I am cheating the oil man since the wood stove keeps the house toasty without the rumble of the furnace coming on. I can deal with this weather, oh yes, yes, I can. But of course, this is January afterall, and Winter will be back and it will only feel colder after this spell of warm weather. It's a tease, just a reminder of what it feels like in March. Late March. And I'll take as many days of warm as I can get.

I got an email that Carol of Garden of Stitches received my SBEBB Frosty Friends exchange. When she posts a picture, I'll snag it and post it here. My camera was decidedly unco-operative when I tried to get a picture. I stitched her a little freebie of a snowman looking in a window pane 1/1 and I mounted it on a 2" wooden block. This little stitched piece was the "O" in the word SNOW. I painted the blocks blue and the lettering white. I over stroked glitter paint to mimic snowflakes. It came out so cute. The best part of the exchange was I painted a small box to hold the blocks. I painted a picture of the snowman I stitched on the boxtop lid.

And for me, it was a great mail day!!! I received my Frosty Friend exchange too from Dawn (Flossgal). It's too cute and I adore it. Dawn made me a pinkeep and included snowman potholders, a cute snowman pattern, ribbon and fabric. I'll attempt a picture hopefully before the weekend if I can get home before dark. And if the camera decides to co-operate.

I also received a surprise from Sue (Liv N' Laf). She made me a beautiful beaded scissor fob and sent a great pair of scissors along with it. She included a big bar of Ghirardeli peppermint chocolate which I promptly ate half for dinner. Yes dinner, and I washed it down with a bag of microwave popcorn. Nutritious and delicious!!!
Sue's gift was a great pick me up on a grey (albeit warm) flannel January day and I am so grateful for her friendship. What a sweetheart!

On my stitching front, I've been concentrating on 3 projects, my Stitcher's Wallet, Sarah Tatum and Time and Seasons. I am chugging along on all of them. I am getting close to a finish with the Stitcher's Wallet as I only have 1 full panel to stitch and the alphabet to stitch on the 4th panel. Hopefully, in the next month or so, I will have a happy dance. Sarah and Time & Seasons are large projects and it takes awhile to see much progress. I am almost done with the first page on Sarah and I am working on 2 large motifs. I have stitched most of the upper border and left border on Time and Seasons. I am up to the letter T and have finished 3 of the motifs on the grapevine border. On the left border, I have most of the flower vine stitched. I love the colors on Time and Seasons even though I am not real thrilled with the silks as they twist after a few stitches and then don't sit correctly.

We also got word that the lawyers have filed all the paperwork for our lawsuit with Mr. Contractor. He owes us 70K which of course, we will never see a dime. The paralegal went to his house and she told us it's obvious that it's been abandoned. The furniture is there but there isn't anyone living there. And our lawyer boards his dog at the same kennel that Mr. Contractor boards his dog. Apparently, our lawyer was told that Mr. Contractor dropped of his dog to be kenneled sometime in November and abandoned the dog there. I can't believe that someone could do that. But David, my rational DH, said that Mr. Contractor knew that the dog would be taken care of so it wasn't like it was left to fend for itself. The kennel will eventually turn the dog over to the Humane Society and hopefully, it will be adopted by someone who will love it.

Anyway, I am off to bed. Thank you so much for visiting me and thanks, dear friends, for the beautiful fob and snowman pinkeep. I will treasure them.