Aurifil’s AURIKIDS Debut: Spool-en-dids with Gwendolyn Sheppard

Hello Friends, I am back from my whirlwind 3-day trip to Houston Fall Market.  I shall be sharing various Market-related snippets in my upcoming posts,

but I want to focus today’s post as a “I am my daughter’s Mom” post.

I will announce the winners of my Market giveaways this Friday.

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Isn’t it interesting how once one has kids or a kid (in my case), more often than not, one is known as the kids’ or kid’s parent?!

Most of you know Miss Baby has been stitching with me since she was 5.  We have done fun ornaments like these:

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The reason I picked making ornaments as our projects is that I like the fact that the ornaments can be stored carefully and added each year, and they are definitely something Miss Baby can keep with her for the rest of her life.

Miss Baby started a huge project for her size/age in summer 2017.  She embarked on an adventure in stitching a full sized sampler!  It took her a year, and she finally completed her ABC des Maisons by Jardin Prive (a French designer) this past summer before the new school year.  In stitching this sampler, she was adamant about selecting her own colors.  Her words, “Mom, I don’t like it when they tell me what colors to use!”.  So she stitched the sampler with an assortment of Aurifil’s embroidery floss, Aurifloss.

I actually got it framed in time for the sampler to be displayed at Houston Fall Quilt Market this year.

We are really excited, happy and honored to be a part of Aurifil’s AURIKIDS program, an initiative focuses on reaching the next generation of sewist and crafters.  Miss Baby (her name is actually Gwendolyn now that the cat is out of the bag, haha!) debuts her own thread collection with Aurifil at Fall Quilt Market in Houston this year!  It was a big moment, a huge moment, in an 8 year old’s life!  The only disappointment for her was that she didn’t get to go to Market with me.

This floss collection is ready to ship in this month in case you would like to give this as a Christmas present.  You should be able to order them at your local Aurifil dealers.  We will kick off 2018 with a monthly program making ornaments for kids.

To keep the mother/daughter theme, these ornaments will be collaborative projects between an adult and a child.  Ask if your local Aurifil dealers are participating in the monthly program starting in 2018.  They can also contact Aurifil for more information.  Here are a few of the ornaments we will be making.

Miss Baby will also have a poem that she has written to share with her fellow kid stitchers each month to go with the ornaments.  She actually hasn’t seen the real thread box — so we are eagerly waiting for it to arrive!  When it does, I will share more details.  My rather imaginative and go-getter daughter has given each color a name as well.  So stay tuned! :)

Kids these days have so many entertainment outlets.  Being able to pass on the love of needle and thread to my daughter has been one of the most gratifying things I have ever accomplished as a mother.  So I hope grandmothers/mothers/aunts out there will join in the fun to help our youth to discover, preserve and prolong the legacy of needlework.

Thank you for stopping by!  I am already back at it as I have outstanding pattern instructions to turn in… but such is life!  I shall catch up with you later!

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Happy Monday & Sew Along & Scrappy Mystery & This and That

Hello Friends, Happy Monday and Happy Week to you!  I hope you are all well!  I will try to cover a few items today. :)

#1.  This is of utmost importance — I want to know who amongst you still has her Christmas tree up! :)  I found out over the weekend on Instagram there are quite a few still who are keeping their Christmas trees up to enjoy them longer.  With that, I will no longer feel self-conscious about keeping ours up for two weeks at least after Christmas!!! Truth be known, Miss Baby is still blasting Christmas carols and music at home.  And I sewed up these charm squares over the weekend.  So, Christmas is here to stay, I think!

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#2. Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along!  If you have expressed an interest in following with the sew-along, you will have received an email from me with a bit of logistics on how we will be doing things – all in an informal way!  Please know that you are able to join in the fun anytime!  It will be great if you just shoot me an email expressing your intention to join in the fun! :0)

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You may download the pattern instructions and templates here.

I will be using the Bleecker Street fabrics from Quilting Treasures for this project!  I am totally in love with these fabrics!!!!  You may use fabrics of your choice for the project.  However, if you want to replicate the original quilt,  I know of places listed below that are selling the kits/fabrics.  For the embroidery, I will be using colors from my Aurifil’s Marmalade Meadows collection.  Click here to read about the collection if you haven’t known about it.  I would imagine any Aurifil dealer will be able to order the floss for you.  Please know that I will be showcasing more ways to use up the floss in a couple of months.

* The quilt and floss kits are available from http://thimblemouseandspouse.com.  I think Lynn is still waiting for the fabrics and floss to arrive.

* Quilt kits from http://www.northerncomfortquilts.com/sales-and-specials

* Fabrics from Quiltropolis.

* Quilt kits from Hancocks of Paducah.

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Tentatively, I will be posting my first section on Feb 15th.  And then you will have a month between Feb 15th and March 15th to complete your section. :)

#3.  SCRAPPY MYSTERY Quilt-Along!  I asked, and you responded.  So, scrappy it is!  This will start in June or July 2017.  I am still working out the details, and will have more to share when I have more solid information.

#4.  Miss Baby’s Stitching Progress.  Some of you have written to ask about Miss Baby’s stitching progress.  Here is the last progress picture I took of her work.  Pattern is by Jardin Prive.  You may purchase the chart here. The latest completed house is the one right next to the letter “m”.  She actually messed up on counting her squares. Instead of correcting her mistake, she “improvise” to make her house work!  I am not quite sure how I feel about that yet… on one hand, I want her to follow the rules because I am pretty much a “dot my i’s, and cross my t’s kind of person.  But on the other hand, I thought she did a great job improvising!  Hahaha.  The original house has 3 windows, and Miss Baby’s version has 2 windows.  And of course, Miss Baby has totally ignored all the “suggested colors”, and picked out all her colors.

I have to say Miss Baby has made great strides in the last 6 months in that she has learned to thread her own needles, and finish her stitches etc.  She is now a totally independent stitcher.  For a while there, I had to cut the threads, thread the needle, show here where to stitch, and then help her bury her thread tails etc.  Now, she asks if I could get her a gold needle!  Well, I didn’t… I told her she would have to earn her own money to buy that as regular needles do just fine. :-)

I say all that to encourage mothers and grandmothers out there who are teaching their young ones in the art of needle and thread that it is possible to start them really young!  I started Miss Baby when she was about 5.  And it’s been really gratifying to see her progress and develop in her skills.

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That’s all for now, Dear Friends!  It’s past 10pm, and I still have a quilt to bind that needs to be shipped in the morning. :)  There goes my life whirling around again!  Hugs to you all, and I do hope you have a lovely week.

Stitching with Kids… a few thoughts!

Happy Tuesday, Dear Friends.  We are in post-blizzard stage over at my end.  We are doing well besides being snowed in.  My life is already a moving target with working from home and being a Mom and wife.  With school being out, the moving target moved even more for me.  It’s crazy how during snow days, I have to cook and clean more… :)  That left limited time for anything else. :)

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BUT… experiencing the blizzard made me realize there were so many out there that had to work and leave the comforts of their homes to keep things running and still somewhat normal for the rest of us.  A huge shout out to all the emergency and utility company personnels…. Seriously, my having to cook more was a trifle compared to what goes out beyond my little bubble.

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Cooking and cleaning aside, we did pack in fun things like… popcorn, board games, snow-fun, reading, and… stitching.

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I did manage to finish Miss Baby’s Angels ornament by Country Cottage Needleworks into a proper pillow ornament, in time to enter it in the Woodlawn Needlework Show this year!

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Following are a few thoughts about stitching with kids:

  1. Kids at a young age have the advantage of time.  So, as soon as Miss Baby was ready, and before she was distracted by other more modern hobbies, I jumped totally in with getting her started her on needlework.
  2. The work continues for the parent after the initiation process.  At this time, Miss Baby still needs me to thread her needle, and cut off her thread tails when she stitches.  So, it is a labor of love, as well as patience!  I resign to the fact that when we stitch together, my stitches are far and few in between because of interruptions from Miss Baby accidentally stitching the tail in with her other stitches, having to un-stitch mistakes etc.  But all that is worth it… because it is also through sitting together and stitching, Miss Baby and I get to “chat”, and I get to find out her deepest thoughts!
  3. With everything else, hobbies have a certain built-in element of discipline.  With Miss Baby, I have had to “make her” put in a few stitches in her project to help her reach the finishing line.  When she finishes a piece, the work to get to the finishing line seems a very distant memory, and she is filled with the joy of accomplishing something from sticking to the project.  A valuable life lesson is learned.   [So far, she hasn’t gotten the idea of doing multiple projects at one time.  She doesn’t know the concept of UFO’s, and I intend to keep it that way as long as I can… hahaha… I just wonder how long that will be the case because her mother is the queen of UFO’s when it comes to stitching!  I certainly can’t lead by example in that regard. :)
  4. At this age, Miss Baby hasn’t really met another girl her age who also stitches.  So, I have actively shown her pictures of stitching projects that others do to keep her in the stitching community, albeit one that is not in her current and immediate realm of influence.

While supervising Miss Baby’s daily music practice, I managed to finish stitching a Little House Needleworks ornament, but I haven’t had time to totally finish it yet.

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Before I sign off today, I am happy to announce the winner of my giveaway of Katherine Ann FQ bundle is: Sharon (#19).  I have emailed you, Sharon — please reply with your shipping address so that I can get RJR to send out the FQ bundle to you!  Congrats!!!

Alrightie, Dear Friends.  It’s another snow day here — I need to get going with my day so that I can keep the little person in my house happy!  I shall catch up with you later.  You have a most blessed day!!

Joy of Needle and Thread: Part 6

Happy Friday, Friends.  This week has gone by way too quickly for me…. but we have a FINISH, Miss Baby’s finish!

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Miss Baby started this project as a gift for a cousin who was supposed to arrive in May. Well, Baby Cousin decided to arrive almost a month early!  So, Miss Baby was determined to get this stitching project completed as soon as her time allowed.  This project was not without its challenges… the fabric color is quite close to the cream thread Miss Baby had to stitch for the bear.  I am proud of her for persevering through the un-stitching and re-stitching so that Teddy would look just right.

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Now that Teddy is completed, Miss Baby is ready for her next stitching adventure.   Stay tuned – it is going to be a sweet gift for someone who has been special in Miss Baby’s young life.   As for me, I am just tickled I get to live with my stitching buddy under the same roof!

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Thank you for stopping by.  Miss Baby and I, and Sochi the Cat would like to wish you a most lovely Mother’s Day weekend!

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Click herehereherehere, and here for past Joy of Needle and Thread posts.

Birth Sampler: Part 8

I started working on Miss Baby’s birth sampler a very long time ago.  And a very long time later, the sampler is still not finished!  Miss Baby has even started making comments about “how slow Mom is” when it comes to stitching!  Despite the snail-paced progress, I have been able to add to the sampler.  Here is the latest progress picture:

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Here is a close-up shot of the latest additions:

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Noticed that red dog?  It is in honor of Miss Baby’s Clifford.  Clifford has been a fixture in Miss Baby’s life as long as we can remember.  Despite being half-blind in one eye and hairless (that black snub on the top of his head is where his hair was – you probably have a pretty good guess what caused the premature baldness), he is still very much loved.  So he gets a special placement in the sampler:

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So… curious mind wants to know how old your UFO’s are… :)

I am anxious to get this sampler done though, despite being slow.Thanks for stopping by.  It’s  back to work I go…

Birth Sampler: Part 6

It’s been a long time since I posted any progress on the Birth Sampler I am working on for Miss Baby.  I have just been too busy in the past months.  The last progress picture I recorded is the following:

I was able to work on my needlework projects these last couple of weeks.  You can see the wee bit of progress I made on Miss Baby’s birth sampler:

I thought I would be able to finish stitching the sampler during my hiatus.  My sister told me I was unrealistically and naively ambitious…. and she is probably right! :(

Thanks for stopping by.  I am stitching away whenever I get a few minutes.  I haven’t given up on my goal yet… ;)

A mini quilting break

Right about now, I would be taking a mini and short quilting break because I won’t have my precious sewing machine with me.  Instead, I am revisiting some ongoing projects:

1.  Daughters of Longbourn


2.  Mary Wigham


3.  Miss Baby’s Bienvenue Birth Sampler

Hope to have some progress pictures for you soon.  Have a great week ahead!

Eiffel Tower Pillow Ornament

I finished my Eiffel Tower pillow hanging ornament for my friend! Here it is!

Free chart from Blackbird Designs


I am a sucker for useless information. I love working on projects that send me on a goose chase for trivial information. Working on this Eiffel tower stitchery was just the excuse I needed to read up a bit on the history. The tower, once derided as a hideous blot by Parisians, is now one of the most recognized structures and visited monument in the world.


The tallest structure in Paris was completed in 1889 as the entrance archway to World’s Fair held in Paris to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution.


It is named after Gustave Eiffel, a specialist in structural engineering. Eiffel has quite an impressive repertoire of structures he had built in his lifetime, many of them are scattered all over the globe!

 

Photo from Wikipedia

Here are some nerdy facts about the Eiffel Tower that I found to be absolutely fascinating:


1. The top of the tower may shift up to 7.1 inches due to thermal expansion of the metals from facing the sun.

2. The tower sways 2-3 inches in the wind.

3. 50-60 tonnes of paint are used every seven years to protect the structure from rust.

I am a happy girl now that I have actually completed one cross-stitch project for this year (isn’t that pathetic?), and my head is a wee bit fuller with some trivial information.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a marvelous weekend.

Daughters of Longbourn: Part 2

Getting from this…

… to this took about two hours.   This is the other “ME” project (besides the Civil War Bride quilt) I am currently working on.  It was fun to add a few more stitches to my Jane Austen sampler.

I know it’s corny, but Pride & Prejudice is my all-time favorite fiction.  I read that book regularly.  I opened up my Windows Explorer the other day, and saw that my technical support guy (aka husband) has re-named my hard drive.  I thought it was pretty cute:

“Jane’s Fame” by Claire Harman is a great read if you are interested in an analysis of Jane Austen’s work…


I stumbled upon “Following Jane” – Discovery of Jane Austen from a guy’s point of view:

Going back to my sampler, this is what I am striving for:


Thanks for stopping by.  I wish you lovely day! :)

Birth Sampler: Part 5

From the last time I posted about Baby’s birth sampler:

Here is the latest progress picture.  You can see that my second motif is now complete:

I thought the stork with the pink bundle is the cutest (there’s no guessing as to what the stork had brought me!).  The stork symbolizes parental love and filial devotion.  It’s Germanic name (adebar/odebar) means “bringer of happiness”.  Indeed, Baby has brought much joy in the Ivory Spring household.  We only pray that we continue to learn to be better parents.

The swans are birds of love, also symbolic of purity:

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have enjoyed these progress pictures on my Baby’s birth sampler.  Have a nice day, would you? :)  Till tomorrow.

Birth Sampler: Part 4

Good day, my friends! I hope you are doing well. My “downstairs” project(s)” hadn’t been happening in the last few weeks. Baby needed all my attention. But these past few days, she has let up on her demands as she has learned to entertain herself better… so, when the “cat” (Baby) plays, the mouse (Mom) plays too! :) This is picture from my last update:

You can see I made a bit of progress here. The stems for the yellow fruits were not the easiest to stitch. I took out stitches several times because I was “eyeballing” the chart wrong!

I believe fully in my downstairs projects. I read this quote on Jane Austen’s writing by her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, that affirmed my belief – “She had no separate study to retire to, and most of the work must have been done in the general sitting-room, subject to all sorts of casual interruptions.” I guess the moral of the story is that working on projects piecemeal is perfect alright.  After all, it is definitely Austen-tatious! :)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a lovely and productive day!

Happy Birthday, Lady Washington!

Today marks the 279th birthday of the beloved Mrs. Washington.  I continue to find her life an inspiration.  The following is my post from last year commemorating her birthday:

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Today marks the 278th birthday of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, America’s first First Lady.

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As the lady of a number of plantations, she was responsible in overseeing the spinning and weaving, and clothing of those who worked and lived on the plantations.

Lady Washington, as she was called upon her husband’s rise in stature during the Revolutionary War and eventual Presidency, secured her own place in history as the supportive and exemplary wife of the Father of the New Nation by her sewing and needlework skills, in addition to her unmatched hospitality. Besides visiting the soldiers while she visited the Beloved General on camp site, she was famous for setting up sewing circles involving wives of other officers during the war to make socks and shirts for soldiers:

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Over a period of 36 years and being a skilled needleworker, Mrs. Washington produced her famous “shell” patterned cushions for the chairs at Mount Vernon. The picture below, from Mount Vernon’s shop, shows a cross-stitch kit inspired by her cushions:

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One of my favorite quilt blocks is the Martha Washington Star Block. A quilt with this block is on my list of quilts to make. The following image is from www.quilterscache.com:

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Another quilt block attributed to Mrs. Washington, the Martha Washington Wreath Block:

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You may read more about Mrs. Washington’s millinery legacy here.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Lady Washington. Thanks for being my inspiration!

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I am adding this little tidbit from www.marthawashington.us about the first First Lady’s needlework pursuits:

“Martha… spent some time almost every day engaged in fine needlework. Her sewing, mending, knitting, and embroidering involved a high level of attention to detail and high-level of expertise. Many objects at Mount Vernon, ranging from button bags to chair cushions to footstools, reflect her handiwork.

Martha enjoyed sewing with other women and teaching them new stitches. She often did her needlework with her daughter, granddaughters, friends, and female slaves. She could, however, be highly critical of those whose precision with the needle did not meet her own exacting standards. Although a warm and loving person, she had strong opinions about certain things.”

Thank you, Mrs. Washington, for setting the high standard for your fans, and of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!