Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stitching Updates

Well, you know I was at a stitching retreat earlier this month and you may be wondering if I did any stitching, or if I just went shopping for more things to stitch. I did indeed work on several projects. Once home, I even finished one!

This is a photo of the Christmas ornament I finished for our guild’s Secret Stitcher exchange. The design is from the Just Cross Stitch Ornaments 2010 issue. It was shown as a flat design, but I like it as a biscournu. You can find a good piece on making a biscournu here. Any square design you may have will work.
I have also continued to make some progress on the ruler holder I showed you several weeks ago.  I am getting close to finishing it.
The rooms in our house are decorated in themes. The front room we refer to as our Victorian room. It has repro Victorian furniture and is a nice, quiet room in the house. I am decorating it (slowly!) in what I refer to as Victorian nautical. I have mostly Victorian style things in there, but have also pulled in a few nautical type pieces.

We have a long wall in this room that currently has nothing on it. I decided to do a variety of samplers for this wall and to bring in that nautical piece within those samplers when I could. My first sampler was purchased from The Scarlett Letter and was started several years ago. I am finally back to working on it. It isn’t at all nautical. 
Another piece I am also working on is nautical, however, and is a design from Dames of the Needle. My plan is to keep working on them until they are finished and I can get them framed. I do have several other patterns I have purchased that will also go on that wall. Perhaps by the time we are ready to downsize to a smaller home I will have them all finished!
One more project I have started is a very pretty poinsettia pin we did as the monthly program for our guild, the St. Paul Needleworkers. I haven't made a lot of progress, but trust me, the pin is quite lovely.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Branson Quilt & Needlework Shops

As you know I recently took a trip to Branson for a stitching retreat. While in town I made many trips to Cecilia’s Samplers, which is the shop that sponsored the retreat. This shop is on Shepherd of the Hills, which is nice because you don’t have to fight the insane traffic on 76 in Branson.

The ladies in the shop are all very helpful. The shop carries a selection of Blackbird, Victoria Sampler, Just Nan, and many other designers. They have a small section in the back of the store for Hardanger as well as knitting, crocheting and punchneedle. If there is anything you want that they don’t have, they will gladly order it for you.

The only thing I can see that needs improvement is the fabric section. It is a small section that can get cramped very quickly. I would say that no more than three people can be in that area without being in one another’s way. On the plus side, they do serge the edges of the fabric you buy so you don’t need to worry about doing that yourself to prevent unraveling as you stitch.

While in town I also stopped at some quilt shops. The first stop was Quilts and Quilts. It is on 76, just a little west of 65. It is a large store with lots of patterns and bolts of fabric. I spent about an hour there while I was waiting to pick up my husband at the airport. I had a particular project in mind and wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for in fabric, but I did buy  a couple of quilting stencils and the Marsha McCloskey feathered star ruler that I have been trying to find for quite awhile.

This shop does have a good selection of quilting stencils and of Happy Hollow patterns and finishing accessories. They also carry some gift items and patterns for aprons, clothing and other non-quilting things.

Another shop, Fabric and Decor, is in a shopping plaza that also has a very large “antique” mall (not much in the way of antiques- more novelty items) and shares a parking lot with an Applebee’s. This shop isn’t large but does have a variety of fabrics both for quilting and for home decorating. They had a number of project samples with kits available for sale. Like Quilts and Quilts, they had a selection of patterns for aprons, clothing for little girls, etc.

Historic Branson, which is on the far east side of town, has a shop called Ozark Quilts and Branson Landing has one called Branson Quilts. Both of these shops offer ready made quilts which I wasn’t interested in.

One of the days we were in Branson we had some free time so decided to drive into Arkansas. On the way back we saw two billboards advertising the largest quilt shop in Arkansas. It wasn’t far off the highway so we made a little detour to see it. Country Corner is a small shop. They have one large room that holds several longarm quilting machines. The other areas of the shop held bolts of fabric, but most of it wasn’t from current lines. They did have some of the Moda precuts in the newer lines, but I could not find any of it on bolts. The ladies in the shop were very pleasant and asked if they could help me with anything. I really tried to find something to buy, but wasn’t successful. I didn’t think this was an especially large shop so have to wonder what the other quilt shops in Arkansas look like. Their website hasn’t been updated since 2004 so perhaps they really aren’t the largest any longer.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cecilia's Samplers Retreat

This week I have been on a fun stitching retreat sponsored by Cecilia’s Samplers of Branson, Missouri. This is the first of their two November retreats. I managed to extend my retreat by a couple of days by driving down to Janet’s home in the Kansas City area on Tuesday and spending the night. On Wednesday we drove to Sharyn’s home and then caravanned to Branson. Sharyn and Janet are two friends I met on a stitching cruise.

The retreat planner, Holly, had the room all decked out in a carnival theme. At our places we had several fun little gifts including the Fall issue of Spool magazine and a neat little personalized zipper pouch made from foam sheets. We stopped long enough to pick up our $100 gift certificate for the shop, along with our gift cards for three area restaurants, and headed out again. We had lunch first and then made our first (of several) trips to the shop!
Our table
Some of our gifts
Another highlight of the weekend was the onsite shopping. They brought over a number of things from the shop that they marked down by 50%. Many of us took advantage of those great deals. I was thrilled to get a Nantucket basket set and pattern for stitching accessories. Okay, maybe I picked up more than one pattern for stitching accessories. I think I may have a fetish for those things!
New stash
One night we had Buck a Bag. You paid one dollar for a sandwich size bag that you used to stuff as many pieces of fabric in as you could while still being able to close the bag. I purchased two  bags and chose 29 pieces of varying counts and colors of fabric. Many of them will be just perfect for ornaments, bookmarks and other small projects. Maybe I could some of them for those small accessory patterns I keep buying.
My Buck a Bag fabric

During the weekend we played games to win tickets to use for door prizes. The top prize was a $100 gift certificate for the retreat of your choice. Sharyn won one of those! And yes, our little group has already made our deposit for next year’s first November retreat.

This retreat has to be one of the best stitching bargains around. We added a night to our stay so for $325 we had four nights in a three room condo (nothing fancy, just very basic), a $100 gift certificate to the shop,  three $15 food cards for area restaurants, two catered in meals, fun little surprises throughout the weekend, as well as games and a door prize drawing.  Plus, we had another 10% in store credit for everything we bought through Friday, including the $100 they gave us to begin with! We cannot figure out how they do it but are very glad they do!!