Thursday, December 06, 2018

The Days of Christmas part 3...

~ Greetings and Merry Christmas ~
to all of my stitching friends!

Well December 6....
and it is St. Nick's Day 😊 for German Catholics - you will understand this tradition we celebrate...but in general St. Nick's feast day is the day, that St. Nick comes and leaves small presents in the kid's stockings, things like candy, crayons, socks, PJs... as our kids have gotten older, St. Nick has gotten more simple with his presents - you know he's tired and has run out of good ideas for treats. Candy is always a great option but when you have kids that are watching what they eat, well he doesn't want to contribute to the delinquency of minors. SO he just brings them a crisp $20 dollar bill so they can go to a movie or buy a new something to wear, or put toward something they are saving for, or you know just save it for a rainy day (hahahaha! they typically don't save money that St. Nick brings). St. Nick thinks that is just a great idea, crisp $20s for every one! Even St. Nick would like a crisp $20 😆 

On December 4th....
it was my boy's 19th birthday!!!
Here is one of my very favorite photos of them...they were 6 months old. They were breastfed and rolly polly fatties...when I got this picture back, I cried...why? because they had been 6 1/2 weeks preemie, born at 33 weeks and a few days gestation. Jake had reflux and he did not eat well and anything he did eat, it came right back up.
And I fretted and worried and didn't sleep for those first 6 months, and you know how you are in a haze of exhaustion and just can't see anything. Well I didn't see they were thriving until I saw this picture. And I cried because finally I could relax, they were thriving and happy.
They really loved their Mama at this stage too...they are looking at me in this photo. They don't love me now, the way they loved me then (look at their little eyes) - and I know that is the natural order of life, and I'm proud that I've raised them confident and self assured enough to walk away from me. That's what God intends.
Ian and Jacob 6 months

And here they are this past June right before their Graduation from high school. Same boys on the same side of both pictures (Ian on the left - he is Baby A and Jake on the right - he is Baby B) 

Ian and Jake 2

Pride and Love...
that's what I feel when I look at them then and now. My heart could just burst I love them so.

December 4....
was also my girl's day in Greenwood with my friend Melinda. OH people, did I need a day with a friend. I sure did. And I had one, believe me! We started out meeting in Martinsville, IN. I hopped into Melinda's car - she was driver this time. We exchanged Christmas Gifts to each other.
I made her this: 
NE_LHN Farmhouse 

and Melinda made me this:
Friendship Braid Quilted Table Runner. She used Kansas Troubles fabrics (which I LOVE KANSAS TROUBLES FABRICS!!!) Now this is much more beautiful than what this photo shows as I have it folded over so you can see it. When it is laying out all flat it has a 9 patch in the very center.

Melinda's Table Runner 

Last time we had girl's day Melinda was telling me about her new mid-arm quilting machine she just purchased. She has one from Handi-quilter. She told me my runner was the first thing she quilted on her machine.
Isn't it beautiful! Oh I love it so! Thank you Melinda!

Melinda Quilting

While we were on our day we started off at Back Door Quilts in Greenwood, Indiana I had never been there (being a new Quilter I am a virgin to almost all quilt shops - LOL!). 

We spent a bit of time there...the shop is huge and it is filled with gorgeous fabrics and patterns and kits OH MY!

Then we went out to lunch....and on the way home we stopped at Trafalgar, Indiana at a small shop there Coffee Cup Quilting and finished out our day. Here is my "haul" from the day:

This sweet penguin quilt was purchased for the last kid that hasn't had a quilt made for them - Katie - who LOVES penguins. This was the first thing I saw when I walked in the door and it immediately went on my "pile" of purchases.

Katie Quilt 

Then, I have made, I think like 8 big quilts since January 2018. In July, I was introduced to the idea of making small quilts by reading/watching a presentation by Jo Morton. Jo talks about how quilting is a wonderful hobby, an obsession (boy, as an avid cross stitcher and now a rabid quilter I can sure understand obsessions!) Anyway, she was saying how small quilts fit the needs of a quilter nicely after everyone in the family has a quilt handmade by the maker. You hone your skills in piecing and even in quilting on a smaller scale but just as grand. She also speaks to stash enhancement and picking up colors when you go shopping. I then soon found and began to follow Kathleen Tracy who also is a small quilts designer. She lives in Illinois and it is my great desire that I attend one of her quilt retreats some day. Anyway, I have all her books (or nearly all of them) and in her books and BLOG - A Sentimental Quilter, she speaks regularly about how to approach "stashing". She writes that if, when going to quilt shops, you choose a color that is lacking in your stash and you focus on that one (or 2) colors that need some growth in your stash palette. So when I go shopping at quilt shops I look at my stash prior and decide what color(s) I'm going to purchase that trip. This trip I focused on:
Blues (I wasn't very successful in finding as many as what I would have liked) I don't care for blue as much as the other colors and its hard for me to choose blues.

Blues:
Blue

Blacks/Grey Tones:
Blacks_Grays 

Pinks:
+Pinks 

Mustards:
Mustards

Some pretty great selections right? as you can tell I gravitate to old antique looking prints. I'm old at heart, I guess. I am so thrilled to play in my stash, when I get a chance. To organize my stash (which is really quite small for most quilters),  I cut foam core squares to fit inside my hutch and I have all of my fabric wrapped around these foam core squares and lined up on the shelves so when I'm pulling fabrics to kit up a quilt, I can see which ones I want to grab first. Plus they are just beautiful when I gaze upon them inside the hutch in my cave all lined up like little soldiers 😊

On December 5th....
my husband took the day off and we went out to lunch. Here we are together at Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen:

Keith and Vonna Christmas 2018

I like Cheddar's a lot and I hesitate to say anything but I am working with my doctor and doing the Keto Diet. Essentially I aim to have 20 grams (or less) of net carbs per day. So that essentially means: no sugar, no bread, no pasta, no potatoes, no fruit except you may have limited berries each day. Lots of vegetables, meat, cheese and some dairy. I've been on it a good 8 weeks, I'd say. Since the beginning she's moved me even more strict (yay me! ha ha - no) because through trial and error we found I'm very sensitive to carbs so I went from Lo Carb (50 grams of net carbs per day) to Keto (20 grams of net carbs per day) any way all of this to say, I don't go out to eat much, but I have the last two days and I chose wisely and didn't get anything with carbs, I chose grilled meats only both days (I really wanted the hamburger and fries) and steamed vegetables and salad and I still lost weight both days. Go ME! Plus the reason for doing this is personal to me...it's a journey I have to do for me....but one of my goals is to remain drug free. I am not on any medication at all, besides a water pill because I have inherited my grandmother's water retention in my legs. Even dieting and drinking only water, watching salt intake and having the deep vein angioplasty lazer treatment to get rid of varicose veins.....still my legs have a tendency to carry water. So my doctor put me on a water pill once per day. My blood pressure has dropped from 144/92 (this was in Septemeber) to last week when I went in, it was: 120/72. And I have lost weight, but I'm keeping numbers private for now - I have a long way to go. It's hard, it's a journey I have to do this for me and I am choosing to do it alone - I don't want to hear success stories, I don't want to feel like it's a competition, I don't want to feel like I'm not losing fast enough, I don't want to feel like I'm not good enough, I don't want to cheer others on because frankly -it's all I can do to cheer myself on. 

You know another reason that is giving me incentive to do this....
besides good health and drug free? My husband said if I reach goal (which is losing A LOT of weight), I can get a long arm quilter! DEAL! Sad to say this, but the idea of having a long arm if meeting goal....has been the reason that I've been able to watch others eat a birthday cake for the last 48 hours, while I  don't have even one lick of it. I'm going to love my long arm....after my work is done! 

I guess that does it for today friends....
I'll leave with you with a couple of tantalizing photos.
My basket FULL of Prairie Schooler Santa ornaments....
half stitched by me, the other half stitched and gifted to me last year by so many wonderful friends. I have a couple that are duplicates but other than that, I think I'm pretty close to having every annual Santa. I know their are some holes, but not many holes. Just incentive for me to stitch the remaining ones up so the tree is complete. And also I have lots of the full size leaflets that I can stitch up to add as the years go. This years tree will be amazing! I can't wait to decorate it and share it with you!

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and my sweet senior cats, Mr. Red and Chatty...
Mama's Boys :) 
I was sitting on the couch adding the hangers and bows on the last of my Prairie Schooler Santa ornaments to be finished before I put them in the basket. They are always by my side.

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Until next time...
Merry Christmas!
Vonna xxxx

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Days of Christmas part 2...

~ Greetings and Merry Christmas ~
to all of my stitching friends!

Here we are to December 3...
whizzing right along, isn't it. I swear, and I know many of you folks feel the same, that time just flies by. Do you have a favorite day of the week? While I'd like to say Sunday, The Lord's day, is my favorite - I'm going to be honest, it isn't. That sounds terrible doesn't it? While I love to go to church and seep in The Word, Sunday doesn't hold my heart dear. My favorite day of the week is Friday, particularly Friday evening. Here is why: its the end of the work week. The weekend stretches before me like a tantalizing anticipation of all the things that could be done in those next 48 hours. My husband is home, he's relaxed because the next 48 hours is stretching before him without any work decisions or people pestering him. (like many of you know he's an electrical engineer and he is a manager too. He's a working manager - meaning he still handles projects, leads projects and also leads people)...so anyway back to my story...Friday stretches before me with endless possibilities. Keith and I usually settle down and watch television together - I stitching, he snoring....
Until we both decide to go to bed - which typically is early for most - we go to bed at 10 p.m. on Friday's and Saturday's, we are early risers. It's just the feeling of hearth and home and togetherness with the anticipation of freedom over the weekend that I love...albeit I haven't had any freedom on the weekends for quite sometime since June and I started finishing 7 days a week...but we all know next year is Vonna's year to turn over a new leaf and set boundaries.

This Friday....
Ellie, Keith and I went shopping for our Angel Tree recipients. Each year on the first weekend of Advent, we go to church and choose tags off the Angel Tree, then go out and buy the gifts. Our tradition has always been that on the way home we get a treat. (now think back to when we had 4 youngsters all living at home with us...a treat was a huge deal to them 😋) This year, since Ellie had zero competition she got to choose treat place. We went to Sonic - I got a diet cherry limeade, while Ellie got a Blast (which is Sonic's version of Dairy Queen's Blizzards). 

So would you like to know who Ellie chose off the Angel Tree....
We typically try to get 2 tags. This year we were reading the tags to see which one we'd like to choose and Ellie goes I'd like to choose this one:

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When I said, "Do you want to choose this one because we had twin boys in our family?" 
Ellie shook her head. So we took that tag and went shopping. 

For security reasons we aren't supposed to wrap the presents, so I always get a box and "wrap" it and then place the presents inside. We got lots of diapers and 500 wipes and 5 little matching outfits and a set of Batman pjs (I had to add those because my little twins had matching Batman PJs). They didn't ask for socks, but I didn't want their tootsies to be cold so I got each 5 pair of little socks too. Here was our inside of the box:

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and here it was from the outside....it is always my prayer that whoever receives our gift finds it to their liking and that it brings joy.

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Saturday....
found me working at the quilt shop with my co-worker Jacob 😁
Jake was hired about 6 weeks ago at the same quilt shop I work at to do the web design, inventory, website maintenance, computer stuff. Here we were together:
(he told me he wasn't going to get any work done with me there that day, HA HA HA!)


I can't remember if I told you all here on the blog, but Jake didn't like college. He was struggling in a lot of ways. Late September, we brought him home, un-enrolled him from college and we talked about career choices. He decided to enroll in a local community college: Ivy Tech. He is now studying: Advanced Automation and Robotic Arm Technology. He, if he completes the Associates Degree, will be able to maintain the automated lines in like a factory...say places like Toyota, Subaru, medical device companies...any place that has manufacturing lines. He is very much happier now than what he was. He likes home. He likes routine and regular. College was just too much for him. He suffers from social anxiety and basic anxiety in general. His main reason for not liking college is: He likes his hands busy. He's a nervous type and wants his hands busy all the time. Which I understand. So he decided on staying home and attending a community college with an associates degree as the outcome. And you know what? That's OK. I'm glad that he's somewhat settled and has gone on and seems to have found something that he likes. This career field he has chosen appears to be a very good one. One that when completed will compensate and serve him well. We are proud of him!

Sunday....
after church I decided that I needed to clean the house and begin the decorating. I felt that if I could just begin the process it might help me feel more in the spirit. So we began....Ellie cued up the Christmas radio station, Keith and I drug all the stuff up from the basement....and then aggravation began. Our 12 year old pre-lit tree - the pre-lit part bit the dust about 4 years ago, and we cut off all the lights and just strung them on and wired them ourselves...well that tree was huge and it was old and dusty and a little disgusting. I was not happy. Keith watched me struggle with it and came over and said: Let's go buy a new tree! 
So we took off all of our LED lights we had wired to the old, heavy, junky one....put it in the box, took it to GoodWill, and went and bought a skinny, 7.5 foot NEW tree. This one will be fabulous. And with a new tree, I decided I needed a new topper - my angel that I bought when newly married was very ragged and thought she might look a little dingy on our new, light, fully LED lit from the trunk to the tips tree...I saw this big, shiny, LED sparkling star topper and fell in love. 
SO here is my new star topper. I've never had a star on my Christmas tree and as Katie said when I sent her this picture with the same text: 
ME: "Look at our new Star topper. I've never had a star on top of the tree."
Katie texted back: "neither have I. LOL!"
hahahaha...I guess she hasn't!
😂

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SO that was the last couple of days friends...
gifts, work and the beginning of decorating!

Tomorrow is my twin's birthdays....
It is also a day where I have planned to meet a friend who lives up the way from me. I'm going to drive up north, meet for lunch and then go quilt shop shopping together in Greenwood. 
WAHOO! 
It's gonna be fun!

Until next time friends...
May you each find a little joy in your part of the world...
May you know peace...
and may you love with all your heart...
Merry Christmas, 
Vonna xxxx

Saturday, December 01, 2018

The Days of Christmas....

~ Greetings and Merry Christmas ~
to all my Stitching Friends!

What?! It's Christmas time again! 
Whew...what a whirlwind year it has been.
I struggled about if I was going to continue with posting 25 days this year...
I wasn't feeling very Christmassy at all. Then I decided sharing every day isn't a rule, right?
I can share weekly or every other day or once and who was going to care? 

So I'm changing it up...
Welcome to the Days of Christmas with The Twisted Stitcher.
I'll be sharing recipes, traditions, my handwork, stories, life right here on my blog for the entire Christmastide season. Will it be daily? Some days maybe. To get right down to it, I'm going to post when I can without rules or deadlines.

I'm going to use this space...
as a way to recharge my batteries and get me into the spirit of the season. 
JOY
PEACE
LOVE
That's what I want in my life at all times and as we all know sometimes those three simple words can be so illusive.

So here we go...no rules, no pressure, no deadlines....
JUST FUN!

Have I decorated for Christmas? 
NO
Do I have things ready for Christmas?
NO

So stay tuned for Days of Christmas with me. We are going to get ourselves all ready for Christmas together, enjoying the nuances of the season!

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for being my friends.
Thank you for sharing this most wonderful season, my favorite time of the year, with me!

Until next time,
Vonna xxxx 

Friday, November 23, 2018

A set of sweet vintage inspired designs....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends ~
how are you on this day after Thanksgiving? Stuffed? 
😂

I have something very sweet to share with you today! Something that isn't Christmas related...yet...
I like to savor Christmas...
wait until December actually arrives before I dive neck deep into that season of sparkle and shine...

So today I bring your attention to something that you might not know about...
or perhaps haven't been exposed to...

Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet designs the most sweet, vintage inspired quilts... and since I fell down the quilting rabbit hole last January and work in a quilt shop now, I have everyone of her patterns and templates. Use all of her suggested notions. Love everything she does!

She has also created, based on her quilts, a couple of cross stitch designs and she now carries her own line of "vintage" inspired cloth which is Zweigart based 10 ct. Aida (similar in feel to Tula for those of us old timers who remember that).

Here are the designs that are available NOW including a package of Lori's Vintage Fabric.


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Aren't they darling?
Of course if you are a quilter you will know that the Farm Girl cross stitch design is based on Lori's "Farm Girl Vintage" quilt pattern...which is so stinking CUTE! (and yes, I own the book 😆)

The Farm Girl Fall design is based off of Lori's "Autumn Love" quilt pattern (yep, got it too!).
I love her style and the whimsy, sweet, cuteness of her patterns, which is also translated into her cross stitch designs. 

As for the patterns, they are printed on heavy card stock (think original Prairie Schooler design booklets), they are in full color charts, glossy pages, clear, large print, easy to read.

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The designs are charted for Aurifloss and also converted into DMC colors. I do not have nor have ever seen the AuriFloss, but upon looking at here: Happy Farm Girl AuriFloss and Farm Girl Autumn Aurifloss  it appears that it is a 6-strand cotton, but does not appear the same thickness as a regular 6-strand DMC.  That is affirmed in the chart pack because it says that all 6 strands of the Aurifloss should be used if stitching with AuriFloss and only 4 strands of the DMC should be used if stitching the design with DMC. Of course this is charted for the 10 ct. vintage cloth and if you don't use that and are using your own cloth then your own rules would apply 😊 

The designs of course can all be purchased at Fat Quarter Shop. I have purchased multiple things from FQS and they have excellent service, fast shipping. I am going to stitch the sweet Autumn Love pattern so that I can be ahead for next year and I will be sharing my progress here and on my other platforms: Instagram (@vonnapfeiffer) and YouTube Channel (Vonna Pfeiffer)...so tune in 😉

I'm still finishing...
but nearing the end of my holiday finishes for clients and as I've spouted a lot of times, 2019 is going to find me slowing way down on my finishing business and gearing way up on my personal crafting. My blog, Instagram and YouTube channel will be sharing all of my 2019 work. I've missed creating for me.

Until Next time...
I'm going to be savoring the last days of Autumn, gearing up for decking my halls!
Hugs and love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Blessed Thanksgiving to you....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to my friends ~
for my US friends and readers....
it is my greatest wish that today you experience
blessings of hearth, home and family this day and every day.
Happy Thanksgiving!
VP_Heart in Hand Tom Turkey
stitched on 32 ct. Vintage Country Mocha
using Classic Colorworks Almost Auburn
Finished into a tuck pillow with hand dyed ric rac and complimenting plaid gingham set on the bias as accents. 

Until next time,
hugs and love,
Vonna xxxx

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

November...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to my friends ~
I'm in the middle of cooking supper for my family and have a few minutes as everything sits and flavors evolve that I thought I'd swing in and share with you all what is going on in my little part of the world.

I'm stitching just a small Halloween piece that seems to be taking forever...
ha...really when you just have a scattered minute here and there to actually stitch for oneself, this is actually really great progress...

"Spirit and Spells"
by Brenda Gervais With Thy Needle and Thread

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I'm not "in" to spooky Halloween...in fact I'm not much into Halloween at all for no other reason than I'm just not in to spooky...but I do like to have a few cuties scattered around and I think Brenda does the CUTEST little witches :) they just always make smile.

So a few more stitches to go on this little cutie and I'll be all done. 

What else has been going on?...
Finishing of course, here's what I've accomplished in the last 7 days.


AM_PS Annual Santas NS_HOD Chalk Christmas Ornaments NS_HOD White Christmas NS_Quaker Pumpkin NS_Santa Pillow NS_SD July AW_BB Bride Tree 1 AW_BB Brides Tree 2 AW_BB Brides Tree 3 AW_BB Brides Tree 3 AW_BB Brides Tree 4 AW_BB Brides Tree 5 AW_BB Brides Tree 6 AW_BB Brides Tree Set JL_SB Slater Stocking WH_PS Santa WH_SB Anna Stocking BK_DW Santa and Kitten BK_Up and Away Stocking

What do I have to look forward to in the next few days?
A retreat!!!!!
Yes...you read that right, I am going away for 4 luxurious days to Amish Country in Ohio for a stitching retreat with a lovely needlework shop there. I cannot wait. 
I. Need. A. Break.
both of the mental/spiritual kind and of the work kind.

I can return rested and relaxed and ready to tackle the last of my holiday finishing.

Until next time...
Hugs and Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx


Monday, October 29, 2018

Final October Monday...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends ~
Can I just start this out by saying:
Your kind words and visits left by you ~ when I've been less than "present" this year in the stitching community. Still astounds me. Just another reason why I need to cut back next year. I want to create, always and love, love, love to create for others...but I need to create for me too. Things that stay here, that are mine for the posterity of the generation(s) that follow me. 

Some of my most treasured "things" in my life...
are the ones created by hands that came before me - quilts, doilies, pillowcases, afghans...
I've been sort of stagnant on finishing/stitching/quilting for me and mine.
That needs to change too.
Life is ever evolving, ever changing and I love the cycle of life...
and the evolution of me. I can't speak for others, but I can speak for me: I am ever trying to become (in the words of Oprah) the better version of me. I have a long way to go and I likely will never be the best version because that's the way life is...but I sure do aspire to be better tomorrow than what I am today.

Boundaries....
as I've spoken about in the previous post, is one area that I struggle with and have my entire life. I want to do, do, do for everyone else in detriment to my own health. I don't want to disappoint, I don't want to let down and sometimes...its unavoidable and I feel like a failure. 
I've got to set better boundaries...I have my eggs in a row most of the time. If other's don't its not my duty to come behind them and set them up for them...it's not my job.

OK enough with the philosophy...
since last week I actually finished stitching and fully finished a piece for me.

Heart in Hand
"Halloween Night"
Heart in Hand_Halloween Night_nestled

There it is nestled in my "pumpkin patch" on my antique dresser in our foyer...
and here it is in my sterile plain photos I take for finishing to display the actual finishing. I like to take photos on stark white backgrounds for a reason: you can't hide flaws on stark white. 
I can set up a photo with pretties and "stuff" sitting around, beside, under...but all that does is distract the eye so that you can't really see the true finishing details.

Heart in Hand_Halloween Night

This jack rusty jingle is from Factory Craft Direct.
I always have my eyes opened and bought these about 3 years ago. I don't know if they still have them, but that is where I got them. :)
Heart in Hand_Halloween Night Detail

Since the last time I visited I've spent many more hours in the finishing cave....many, many in fact. 
Here's what I've done:

PP_GD Snowball Fight BK_JBW Christmas Tree BK_JBW Peace Dove BK_LHN Peace

I was informed that this one is incorrectly attributed on my Facebook Finishing Business page and it is really entitled Christmas Eve...I just go with what the client's tell me and (I'm sure you can tell) I have zero time to research and cross reference each piece. In fact, I do attributions for those that follow my work so that it can easily be found if you want to stitch it yourself. Some people live to correct others missed steps...so it is Christmas Eve by the Danish Handcraft Guild - my sincere apologies.
BK_Swedish Christmas BK_Trust Hope Believe CB_KB The Christmas Witch TM_LHN Needlework ABC

and this one is from Imaginating and is called Redwork Noel designed by Joan Elliott (another correction on my FB page...)
TM_Noel Heart

I have three other finishes that I can't share with the public because I've been asked to hold them until Christmas as they know the recipients watch my blog. So these + 3 more were all accomplished in the last 4 days. Whew!

Until next time when I can swing in quickly again...
stitch happy!
Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx