Saturday, October 27, 2007

More about the Down by the Sea Retreat in Norfolk, VA earlier this month

This was so much fun. I went with friends, but enjoyed meeting new people and talking about the classes and cross stitch in general. It was nice to meet the designers, Charland from Charland Designs and Tina and Teri from Shepherd's Bush. We also met Lois from Elegant Stitch who designed and taught the needle rest welcoming kit (shown in a previous post).

After arriving at the Radisson in Norfolk, Virginia, we went to the ballroom to register, pick up our name tags, tote bag and welcoming kit.

Some of the goodies in the tote bag with fabric I bought at the boutique and a giftie from the Charland class:
surprises and purchases Oct 2007

We settled in at a table with other stitchers from all over the US and opened our kits. We got some instruction from Lois and admired the model. We hadn't gone too far in our stitching before we noticed folks who had left the ballroom were now back with purchases from the boutique. We looked at each other, dropped everything, and headed for the boutique set up on another floor.

It was crowded with eager shoppers! It was so well set up by Dyeing to Stitch (the folks holding the retreat); everything flowed so nicely around the room. The first table had a Halloween theme. Our tote bag had a nice Cricket Collection freebie of a ghost and it was stitched and framed on the table. Nice buckets and baskets held R&R fabric (of course!!) rolled up and tied with ribbons. The tags on the fabrics indicated the color name, the count and the design for which it was intended. M Designs' Halloween Tree was stitched on a gorgeous yellow. I picked up 2 pieces of the fabric: one for the tree and one for Halloween ornies to be determined later.

The next table was all Charland! All her wonderful silver charms were on display on black velvet. Her Halloween House kit was there, but I didn't pick it up and by the time I had taken her class and learned to appreciate it, the kit had been appreciated by other stitchers. ;) It's on my to-get list. She had a scissors fob and emery kits with the Down By the Sea theme. I picked up one of each and a Halloween Bag kit.

Charland kits at boutique Oct 4, 2007

The next table was along the back wall. It had flower pots with colorful, whimsical decorations and Prairie Moon (?) Halloween kits to go on sticks and "planted" in the flower pots. Cute, but I passed. It was the next table that had my interest! Shepherd's Bush!!

The kits from their retreat last year were there, the new stocking, and the new books as well as a Down By the Sea "Virginia Beach" sampler. We were so naive we actually thought this was the piece for the class and that extras were being sold. We quickly found out this was not the case and we each bought one of the little sampler kits. I finished it while at the retreat. They also released a new needleroll with a Halloween theme! It is exclusive to the retreat for a year and will be released next year for everyone.

SB Virginia Beach Sampler

The next table was along the wall opposite the entrance. I can't even remember what was on that table: keychain? slippers? Not even remotely on my radar. Neither was the rack of charts that came between this table and the next one. It was the sort of rack that you could read the titles, but couldn't see any of the designs. Also not on my radar.

The next table had a model of Cross Eyed Cricket's (CEC) Legend of Sleepy Hollow! A large, but fantastic piece! Love it! Picked up the fabric and should have picked up the specialty fibers they had displayed in front of the piece. However, if I'd picked up the fibers, I wouldn't have known to pick up 2 of one of the colors. I would have had dye lots in conflict!

The last table displayed designs by By the Bay Needleart, including a framed piece. This was about as large as Sleepy Hollow. (I'll need another couch to hang this over!) It was also a Doink! moment for me. Turns out 13th Colony Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be stitched side by side to make one picture!! Who knew!?! LOL Very impressive.

They also had a model of Skeleton Crew by CEC. Nice, but I already own the chart and started it. (It was the "must have" at last years' Hershey.)

The hotel apparently decided to turn off the air conditioning, so that was the longest, hottest wait in line for the register on the planet, but it was a great place to meet people and it gave us plenty of time to chat. All good!

Back to the ballroom and our welcome project. We worked on that until 4 pm when it was time for The Reveal. This was our first retreat so we had decided that we would not "go" to the reveal (thinking it was going to be in the boutique) and would wait until class to be surprised. Well, they closed the boutique so everyone could gather in the ballroom. The designers gathered at the registration table at the front center of the room. After a brief welcoming message and to a roomful of stitchers chanting "Reveal! Reveal!" It was Charland's piece we saw first. WOW!!

Down By the Sea Retreat Charland's class piece Beach Needle House Oct 5, 2007

This is how far I got in class the next morning. It is important to baste the areas for stitching (every 10th stitch is an "x" to make counting easier). I put in a few of the lighthouse stitches.

my class progress on Charland's Beach Needle House Oct 5, 2007

Next was seeing the Shepherd's Bush class project. We gasped when we saw the back (yes, the BACK) of the piece. It was HUGE and framed. Assuming Jill Rensel mats were used, that would make the piece similar to all the large sampler kits. We beamed with joy at each other! This was not the tiny Virginia Beach sampler we bought at the boutique.

close up pic of Shepherd's Bush's class project Sail Away Oct 6, 2007

What a nice blend of Quaker motifs and the sea! The mats are beautiful. I must stitch this sooner rather than later. In class we took a small stitching break to make a sea themed beaded scissors fob. So much fun and I love mine!

The first night after dinner, we all met in the ballroom. We brought our Ott Lights, extension cords and stitching. In our totes was a black pearl that we unwrapped here. Wrapped in the black paper was a package of goldfish crackers (sea theme!!), a button, a shell and one person had a "you won" shell. The first of many door prizes. Although we didn't win this one, a stitcher at our table won and it was lovely.

We received the collaboration project. R&R dyed the fabric, and Charland and Shepherd's Bush each designed one side of the clam shell.

down by the sea retreat collaboration project my progress as of oct 4 2007 collaboration project

The next evening we had a show and tell by R&R of reproduction samplers and the histories of the originals. All but two or three were passed around so we could see them up close. How nice! What wasn't clear until the end was that we could indicate on a list we were given which ones we'd like to order. Ah, well! What was cool to me was to see the Rachel Ellicott samplers. She did two and I have one of the charts already. I bought it after seeing the originals many years ago.

The lecture was followed by a dessert buffet (sic) and more stitching for those who wanted to stay in the ballroom. It was a large platter of an assortment of cookies more than a dessert buffet, but it was still tasty.

After classes were over for the day, many people gathered in the stitching room they'd set aside for our use. Snacks were available the first day, but not the second. I have to guess that was planned. It was nice to see what people were stitching on and to listen in to the many different conversations. In situations like this I tend to be the fly on the wall and do much more listening than talking. Someone went to the mall that was a few blocks away with her daughter and came back with Coach bags for them both. These were shown off and it was "mentioned" that the daughter was going to be attending Sarah Lawrence for college. I don't know who she was, but she's a name dropper! LOL Someone else mentioned Mary of M Designs has opened a shop in Crossville, TN. Good to know.

We took a trip one afternoon to Dyeing to Stitch. Very nice shop and plenty of fabbie! I liked their fiber wall. Tons of models, too. I picked up the 3 hot pink Ken buttons I needed to finish Floral Fun #2 by M Designs. Yippee!!! I didn't know when I'd find them.

The last night together we all took a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious! I got to see several of the Norfolk mermaids, too! My hope was to see some on this trip. I wish I'd known about them when they were all on display. I would've made the trip to see them and bought the t-shirt. ;)

I'm sure there must've been much, much more that I can't recall. It was a wonderful time with wonderful people. I had a blast!

My recent finishes

Here's what I've finished in the last 2 weeks:
Bent Creek Bats Zipper Kit
bc bats zipper oct 8 2007

Floral Fun #2 by M Designs on JAR Designs hand-dyed 28 ct linen in "Rustling Russet". Threads are JAR Designs as well.
m designs floral fun 2

Bent Creek Turkey Flatbed Zippies kit
bc turkey zippies oct 26 2007

Lilybet's Boo. Just need a JABC button to make the spider.
lilybet boo

Little House Needlearts and Crescent Colours Collaboration: Plums
little house needleworks plums This was quick and easy. I have this set and am excited about stitching the rest.

Jolly Roger Cat freebie from So quick!

cross eyed kat jolly roger cat oct 15 2007

I always have several irons in the fire. I've been bouncing around between projects since I finished the Turkey Flatbed last night. Can't seem to settle on any one thing. I even started the Halloween curly toe needlepoint sock I've been thinking about for months. I joined the automatic with Fireside Stitchery and every other month I get a new Halloween curly sock canvas, all the fibers, and stitching directions for one price. So far the eyes, mouth and 1/2 row of Upright Oriental stitch on the ghost are completed. But I'm using my new Kelmscott magnetic Halloween needle holder so I feel so appropriately accessorized while stitching! ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My keyboard broke, but now I have a replacement!

I'm so thrilled to have a working keyboard again. The darn New Kitty ran behind the computer armoire and tore out the keyboard cable, bending the prongs. Anyone want a New Kitty??? No, I'll keep her, but I was quite put out by her antics. I bought a warranty with the keyboard so I packed it back into the box it came in and carried it over to the shop. Nope! My warranty is for calling in, not bringing in (maybe I should have read the warranty! LOL). I called immediately upon getting back home and they said they'll send a UPS mailing label. Once UPS scans the label, they'll send me a gift card (!) to purchase a new keyboard. Well, it hasn't been hardly a week and I couldn't stand being without a working keyboard! I've caved in and bought a new one. The nice part is it's the same model keyboard, but half the price. Oh, I'll still turn in the broken one, but I'm thinking of getting a better mouse with the gift card. :)

I've been a stitching fool since I couldn't go on the computer after work. I've finished a few small things, but I'm very pleased with my finishes. I'm still concentrating on Halloween although last night I sorted the floss for a Dimensions needlepoint kit I bought to stitch for my brother for Christmas. No, not this Christmas! LOL For next Christmas.

I went kind of crazy the other day while placing an order with Drema of Needlecraft Corner I really only needed two skeins of Crescent Colours' Black Coffee, but ordered Peaceful Paradise by Midsummer Night Designs, Still Waters by Plum Street Samplers, the last couple of cat charts by Calico Crossroads, and Coq Au Pins and the accessory pack by Twisted Oaks Designs. I might have picked up the Halloween Tree and button pack by M Designs. At the retreat I saw this stitched on a wonderful yellow fabric (by R&R, I think) and I bought the fabric there.

I really want to stitch Shepherd Bush's Brett's Stocking (I also picked up this chart at the retreat earlier this month), but I need the fabric and fibers. Drema has a nice package for the stocking so I'll have to call her again this month. Wish I would win the lottery so I could keep on buying everything I like!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fun weekend

I went to my first retreat! So much fun. :) After checking in we were handed a quick make-it/take-it project to work on. We found a place at a table with some other ladies and started our project. We thought the boutique was "view", but when we saw people come back to their tables with bags we knew it was "purchase"! Off we went! Good thing we did, too, as there wasn't enough of everything for everyone to take away (could purchase and have it mailed later, which was great!!!). We came back to the welcome project and started on it. Here's a pic from the kit of the front and back of the project and my finished piece:

pic of project Plant Your Needle welcoming project oct 4 2007 My finished Plant Your Needle Welcoming Project

In the stitcher's lounge, I sat next to someone who finished theirs this way. Great idea!

At the boutique, one of the little kits I picked up was this quick stitch:

SB Virginia Beach Sampler
It was nice to get another project finished. I like this "finish a project a day" I was doing. LOL
I'm trying to finish up my car project: a Bent Creek zipper kit of a big Jack O'Lantern and bats. It's going quickly, thank goodness, because I want to start seriously stitching on some of the other retreat pieces. Not the big ones, but the smaller surprise pieces.