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Moving Day

Welcome to my new blog home!!  I recently decided to move my blog from blogger to WordPress and basically get a fresh start.  I’m so exited to get started sharing with you some of the things that have been going on here at Maple Cottage.

We had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Daphne this past May.  She was a big part of my life as well as my blog where you can find numerous pictures of her.  She was 11 years old and is missed every day.

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With that piece of sad news out of the way I can tell you we have added a new member to our family.  While I would love to have another cat my allergies just won’t cooperate and allow that to happen.  In August we brought home our second English Springer Spaniel, “Banks” who is named after the Outer Banks of NC; where we love to go in the summer.  He and Maple (our first springer) have become the best of friends.  I’m sure I will be sharing many stories and pictures of these two!  There is never a dull moment at Maple Cottage!

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Between chasing these two around and spending most of my time watching my daughter play volleyball I have gotten a smidgen of stitching done and have several projects in the works.  I’m exited to share them with you in the coming weeks!

I haven’t written a blog post in so long I’m not sure I even remember how to do it.  Well here goes!!  Life certainly has a way of carrying you away like a speeding train, I’ve been so busy the past few years but I have gotten a fair amount of stitching done in between all life’s chaos and my daughters very busy volleyball schedule.  I should write a blog post on how to stitch at volleyball tourneys while dodging flying volleyballs.

I entered three pieces in the West Virginia state fair this past summer and was just over the moon exited that one of my pieces won Best of Show, Best of Cross Stitch and a First place blue ribbon in the Patriotic category. You could have knocked me over with a feather!!  My husband had to convince me that the ribbons laying in the case beside my piece were actually mine.  I didn’t believe I had won them until he got someone who was working the needlework exhibit to come over and tell me they were in fact for my piece.  The piece was a design by Erica Michael’s called Liberty Squared worked on 40 count gauze stitched over 1.  Including frame this little guy is literally just a little over 3×3, it’s teeny tiny!

My next entry was my Dragonfly in Amber piece that I designed and blogged about last year.  I was so very pleased that it won the first place blue ribbon for the Original or Adapted design category.  This piece was a labor of love for me, being that it was my own original design based on my favorite series of books by Diana Gabaldon.  I’m still amazed that I designed it and was able to actually make dragonfly wings.  You can see more detailed photos of this piece here.
And last but certainly not least is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve done, The Mary Victor sampler that I worked on over a period of several years.  I purchased this as a kit in Colonial Williamsburg during one of our family vacations, and when I look at it I am reminded of so many wonderful memories of our favorite vacation as well as many memories made while in the process of stitching it.  This sampler won a second place ribbon for the sampler category.  You can see more of this sampler here.
As you can see I had a really great day at the fair, I think I was on cloud nine for weeks after.  I am looking forward to entering my work again, hopefully I will have a few things to enter this year!  I really enjoy going to the fair to see all the beautiful pieces everyone has worked so hard on and then there is the added bonus of a good West Virginia hot dog and a funnel cake for dessert, couldn’t have asked for a better day!  
Happy Stitching!!  

Floss Organization

Do you have a method for organizing your floss?  I have always kept my DMC floss on bobbins stored in those plastic craft boxes arranged by number.  This method has worked well for me.  But what do you do with all those over-dyed floss’s that we are using these days?  After several years of stitching with them I have accumulated quite a few and needed a way to organize them.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve bought a particular color only to discover that I already had one that I could have used.  So I have come up with a method that I think will work for me.

I bought a plastic storage box (Michael’s or Staples), plastic floss bags (stitching aisle at Hobby Lobby), card stock and file labels (mine are from Staples-Martha Stewart).

I made bigger cards for dividers and attached these cute paper clips that I also found at Staples.  I arranged my floss by brand in alphabetical order.

I had to trim down my card stock to fit in the floss bags.  The bags already come with holes punched in the corners to add rings to them for a project.  I used a hole punch to punch the card stock in the same spot as the holes on the bags.  You can find these bags in the stitching section at Hobby Lobby or Joanne.  I then added a file label to write the name of the floss.  This makes it so much easier to keep track of what I have. 

These bags of floss are for future project’s, I didn’t want to add them to the rest of the inventory because I want to make sure I don’t use them for something else.  I just put a post-it in the bag with the name of the chart they go to.

One more great tool for organizing floss is the x-stitcher app for Iphone from Coffee Shop Works.  Right now they only have the app for DMC and Anchor but they used to have one for Weeks and Gentle Art.  I was lucky enough to get one before they were gone.  They did mention that it may be added back on to the x-stitcher app for DMC.  So go to their facebook page and request the app for the specialty threads, the reason it went away was due to it not being very popular.  These apps are fantastic, you can keep an inventory of your thread on your phone, create a shopping list and there is a feature for putting in projects and assigning floss to those projects.  The app’s are $1.99, less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks and they are a valuable tool for keeping track of what you have and what you need.  Your shopping list and inventory are always at your fingertips!

I hope you have enjoyed my floss organization system and if you have a floss organization system that works for you please feel free to comment and let me know how you keep track of your stash.  Until next time Happy Stitching!!

Dragonfly Sampler

We are having a beautiful spring-like day here, the sun is shining and it’s supposed to be a warm day.  I thought today would be a good day to share with you something that I have been working on for the past few months.  I designed a piece based on one of my favorite book series, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  The name of the piece is Dragonfly in Amber.  I really stepped out of my box to do this piece, I have never done stump-work and truthfully I was a little terrified to try to pull this off.  But my determination to make an actual dragonfly with wings that lift from the linen pushed me forward. 

The wings of the dragonfly are made of an amber-gold organza that I couched over jewelry wire and cut out.  His body is made up of roughly 100-150 French knots.  The bands were worked with silk lame braid that has a shimmer to it along with a variegated Caron Collection Waterlilies silk.  There are also amber colored beads in the bands as well as the eyes of the dragonfly and pearl beads between the hearts.  The pearl beads represent Claire’s pearls that were Jamie’s mothers that he gave her on their wedding day.  One of the bands was worked in Scotch and reverse Scotch stitch to represent Scotland where Outlander takes place.  If you have read Outlander this will all make sense to you.

I have actually made two of these, the first one was a little different; it had a verse where I have placed my initials.  The verse ,by Catullus, was a verse used in the first book when the dragonfly in amber was given to Claire. Then let amorous kisses dwell on our lips begin and tell. A thousand and a hundred score, a hundred and a thousand more.  I can’t really share much about the first piece with you, it is a gift for someone so I will keep it under wraps until they have received it. This piece I did for myself and to enter in the original design category in our State Fair.  I had to reduce the size a bit to meet the qualifications of the category.  I wasn’t able to make the verse work in a smaller space so I opted to use my initials instead.  I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

I wish you could see this in person so that you could see how it shimmers when the light hits the wings and the silk lame braid in the bands.  I will take more photos after it’s been framed.  I hope you all are having a beautiful spring-like day where you are.  Until next time happy stitching!!

Oh dear, it has been way too long since I last posted on my blog.  Life certainly has a way of making a girl way too busy.  This year is off to a rough start.  I live in the Charleston WV area where several thousand gallons of crude MCHM (a coal cleaning chemical) leaked into our water supply, it’s been challenging to say the least.  You really never appreciate something until it’s gone.  Life is slowly returning to a new normal, we are still cooking with and consuming bottled water but showering, laundry and cleaning water is coming from the tap.  And I’m not going to get started on the weather. I’m ready for spring, it can’t come soon enough.  The crocus’s have started to come up,  can’t wait to see their little purple blooms.

I have finished several projects since my last post. I’m going to try to post them a little at a time over the coming weeks. Today I will share with you my Mary Victor reproduction sampler that is finally finished and framed.  It took me long enough but it was worth it, I couldn’t be more pleased with this piece.  And the frame looks amazing!  Pat, at Village Sampler in St. Albans WV, picked the frame and did an amazing job framing it.  It looks old and weathered and the pictures don’t do it justice.  Wish you could see it in person.

I hope all of you that stumble upon my blog are doing well.  Hopefully we will have mild weather and spring flowers very soon!!

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