Thursday, February 28, 2019

Daisy, Daisy . . .

Months ago, like last summer, I started this daisy cross stitch that I found in a magazine. (June 2018 issue of Just Cross Stitch)

The stitching was a little more challenging than the average bear - there are several different (but similar) whites that make up the petals. Likewise with the greens for the leaves and stem.

Daisy cross stitch embroidery pillow

Once it was finished I set it aside, but not too far aside, on my work table to wait for inspiration.

The thing with cross stitch, for me, anyway, is that I enjoy the stitching, but it seems the common conclusion to many a cross-stitch piece is to frame it and hang it on the wall.

As a quilter, I have recently been looking for ways to finish these pieces in ways that combine both loves - stitchy and quilty.

The Daisy finally answered, and 'whispered to me' that it wanted to become a throw pillow.

I could have just slapped a fabric border on it, but I've been working on a technique to border some of my cross stitch pieces with both fabric and stitching.

The stitchy border is added first, involving a bit of math so the daisy is centered within the border, and the border actually connects nicely.

At this point (shown), it's apparent that all the math and counted stitching actually paid off as the nearly-sewn border on the left matches the stitchy start point on the bottom.

Daisy cross stitch embroidery pillow

The next steps involve a fairly detailed process to baste a full piece of fabric to the top of the stitchery, then cut away the fabric to expose both the daisy and the border. I haven't quite perfected the process, and made a critical error that had to be fixed with a quick patch-up job.

Once the borders are appliqued onto the stitchery, I added a layer of neutral fabric directly underneath the stitching and as backing, then added batting in between the two neutral fabric layers. I then pin-basted and did a little machine quilting.

I suppose I could have skipped the backing, since this pillow is odd-shaped and won't have a pillow form inside.

Daisy cross stitch embroidery pillow

I added the layer of fabric between the stitchery and batting because the linen is not a high-enough thread count, I feared, to keep the batting inside over its life.

Then, I machine quilted the pillow top, and trimmed the edge about 3" away from the stitchery border all the way around the perimeter.

Daisy cross stitch embroidery pillow

The beauty of both the pillow top border fabric and the pillow backing is that the size was perfect for a couple of fat quarters. My stash appreciated the tiny fabric savings withdrawal.

You know the rest of this drill, right? Pillow top, backing placed right sides together and pinned around the perimeter.

Daisy cross stitch embroidery pillow

Then sewn, leaving an opening, about 3-4" long, at the bottom of the pillow.

Next, I turned the pillow right side out, and stuffed it to the gizzards with fiber fill.

Daisy cross stitch embroidery pillow

All that remains is to close the opening with some ladder stitches.

And Ta-DA!

The pillow is complete. Can you tell where my boo-boo patch is?

Betcha can't!

Daisy cross stitch quilted pillow

I wonder how well this will survive laundering. Must do more testing, but maybe not with this detailed daisy stitchery! At least not right away. 

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Syracuse Classic

Earlier this week, I headed out for an evening meeting in Liverpool, NY - just the other side of town from my home.

I got busy on a project at my desk and didn't have time to fix a quick dinner before the meeting. On the way, I thought, all I really want is a hot dog and BANG! There was the solution. Heid's!

Every small town or city in America has one of those classic restaurants - that city's claim-to-fame. And around here, that's Heid's. At least for me it is.

Sure, we have world-famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Pastabilities with their delicious Hot Tomato Oil (aka Hot Tom) sauce that you can now buy in the grocery store. But when I was a kid, a quick family meal often meant a trip to Heid's, any time of year, but especially in the summer time.

Not so much this time of year, but all summer long, you know it's meal time because there's a line out the door at Heid's.

The sidewalk at the entrance tells you exactly where to stand and wait patiently for your turn to order.

In the summer, you can skip the 'tube steaks' and head over to the ice cream bar, if you wish! Long lines there, too!

Just inside the door, you place your order for the extras, like soft drinks, chips or fries, and salads. And chocolate milk! I know that may sound yucky, but chocolate milk and a Heid's Hot Dog *screams* comfort food and good memories to me!

You move on down the counter and place your grill order. That grill hasn't changed one bit since the place opened in 1917! I swear that that there's grease on the grill from opening day - which is what makes the perfectly-cooked Franks and Coney's taste so good, in my humble opinion!

Don't look for hamburgers, Heid's is all about the Hoffman German Franks and spicy Coneys. Yeah, they have other things like chicken fingers and grilled steak sandwiches. But Heid's and Hot Dogs are synonymous! Hot dogs and Coneys (also known as white hots in some places)

My order is up almost immediately - my favorite is the mixed double - one of each, a Frank and a Coney - in a miniature-loaf-of-bread roll.

Further down the counter, you can add your favorite condiments. I like sweet relish and ketchup - but for Heid's purists, this is an absolute no-no!

Back in the day (this is going back quite a few 'days'), ketchup was no where to be found at Heid's! If you wanted it, you had to bring your own, and eat in the car--did that plenty of times! Over the years, the ketchup has been added to the condiment selection, and it's standard fare.

When you place your order, short hand is written in grease pencil on your paper plate/wrapper. MD=Mixed Double, DF=Double Frank, etc.

Those grease-pencil letters are kinda where the experience starts. . .and ends as memories disappear into your tummy!

Why ramble on and get excited over a couple of hot dogs? . . . You know, sometimes it's not about the food (although it helps!), it's the experience. Just like with quilts - it's not about the quilt - it's about the joy of making and creating and giving that really makes a quilt different from a ready-made store-bought blanket. 

As I looked around Heid's small dining room while I gulped fast so I wasn't late for my meeting, I saw diverse families talking, laughing, and enjoying a simple old-fashioned meal - and it made me smile. 

What is your town's classic comfort food that brings back memories for you?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Stitchin' Workin' Creatin'

I've been a busy bee this week. It has been cold outside, so the motivation to find an indoor sport has been pretty strong. Stitching has made it to the top of that short list!

Just before heading out for the quilt cruise a couple weeks ago, I spent the day with some friends in Florida; we made a stop at the Cross Stitch Cupboard in Fort Lauderdale.

A really cute little store! I picked up this Elephant Biscornu pattern by Jody Rice of Satsuma Street and floss while at the shop. I started stitching the biscornu panels on board the ship during some quiet time between classes or as I settled in for the evening. I finished the side stitching to put it all together a couple days ago. Cute, huh?

I'm also working on this cross stitch pattern series by Erica Michaels. Each small panel (about 4" square) features a letter of the alphabet. As you can see, I have 25 letters left. Rather than make this completely stitchy, I'm attempting to cross over with a quilty-stitchy project when all is said and done.

But, as I say, there are quite a few letters between today and done. Tally ho!

I used the same border technique on the little Valentine-y wall hanging that I showed you last week and that now hangs in my front entry way for February. The center stitching was inspired by this book (affiliate). The rose wreath is one tiny section of a larger floral pattern in the book.

And in the sewing room, I'm doing Facebook Live videos roughly once a week with FLOCK sewing tips for members of The FLOCK Quilters group - you have to be a member of The FLOCK or The FLOCK Lite to be in the group.

This small ad hoc wall-hanging project features the September bird kit - the European Robin - and a  Pine Cone machine applique pattern (a past FLOCK bonus pattern/kit). It was this week's featured project.

Individual FLOCK block kits are now available to purchase HERE. Much better deal if you join The FLOCK and get access to member pricing on current and past block kits and lots of extras. You can learn more about joining The FLOCK HERE.

Back in the office - it's not all fun and stitches around here - I'm fighting hard to reacquaint myself with the surface of my desk. But that means first working on some accounting (it's tax season, after all) and some new creative projects including upcoming bird blocks and quilt cruise patterns.

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

That's my week in a nutshell! What about you? Are you tangled happily in threads this week?

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Stitchin' of the Sea

As you may be aware, I was out of town last week. I joined the Stitchin Heaven Travel crew to teach on a quilt cruise to the Western Caribbean. It was incredibly fortuitous timing to be floating around in the Caribbean when the temperatures reached record lows back home. Sometimes this job can be pretty darn excellent!

Once on board the Royal Caribbean ship, Harmony of the Seas, it seemed like hints of quilts were everywhere.

Is it me, or is that the beginning of a double wedding ring quilt in the hallway carpet pattern?

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I opted to stay in my room and have mine delivered. Fresh fruit pastries anyone?

Quite the morning view as we arrive in our first port - Labadee, Haiti.

Labadee is purely a beach stop. Local Haitians have some small pop-up crafty shops on the island, but the best bet is to pull up a lounge chair in the sun or the shade, enjoy a barbeque lunch, and relax. . . .

The view from my lounge chair! Sweet!

Back on the ship, I elected to have some fresh pasta from the pasta bar in one of the ship's dining facilities. Steaming, delicious pasta with an ocean view. Can't beat that. . . .

And it's very important to stay well hydrated when you are away from home!

Tons of excursions offer the sights, sounds, and tastes of each country we visit. If you opt out of the excursions or have a little extra time before getting back on board, exquisite and unique shopping opportunities are available, too! Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico shops offered color, tradition, and a little something for Super Bowl fans as the big game approached.


The whole point of a quilt cruise is that we actually do some QUILTING! The conference room is all ours for the duration of the cruise. I stepped in as a replacement for a teacher who had a scheduling conflict. And you know that I took the opportunity to turn a matchy-matchy quilt pattern into something scrappy-scrappy! A special Welcome to the folks from the cruise who are now reading this edition of Good Migrations!

Back in my cabin, my cabin mate settled in with a bit of TV while I was off teaching quilt classes.

(Hey! Those look a lot like MY sunglasses!).

After teaching class, and in between port stops, I took advantage of some stitching opportunities. This little Valentine's cross stitch piece (only about 8" square with borders) is something different I'm trying - to incorporate two of my stitchy loves - charted stitching (cross stitch, in this case) and quilting.

All too soon, the sun sets on our travels and we're headed back to port and back home to the deep chill.

Just a reminder, I've got another cruise on the calendar with Quilt Retreat at Sea! I'm headed to Hawaii  in April 2020, and I'm creating a brand new quilt project just for the trip. Space is limited and it's filling up.

Do you want these to be your quilty vacation photos next year? Sign up (call 210-858-6399 or click here) and join me at the port in Seattle! We'll head out to Hawaii from there and have a marvelous time! I promise!

Happy Stitching!