Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tuesday Rambles....

 ~ Welcome to my Blog ~

Well Folks....
Not much stitching going on around here.
There has been a LOT of finishing, but by the time I drag my rear end to my stitching chair at the end of the day, not much stitching other than dreaming what I want to stitch is going on. 

Here is where my Santa of the Forest by Lavender and Lace ~ Marilyn Leavitt Imblum is as of right this very moment: 


I am stitching it on 28 count natural/raw linen
2/2 DMC and Kreinik

This piece....
like most pieces does not show the true beauty that it is by the photo on the chart pack, nor can I capture the true beauty of it when I photograph it....although my photos are much more beautiful than the one on the chart pack. I would highly recommend anyone that has thought about stitching this piece before to pull it out and start! I will even go as far as saying...Marilyn was one of the most talented designers that ever lived. Just look at the owl...the shading, the face...My word, absolute, unadulterated talent. 

According to blogs, Instagram people that I follow....
September is known as "Sampler September" and there are many big name stitching personalities that are pushing everyone to start new samplers. However, I follow two young stitching ladies and they are not sampler stitchers. They, in fact, have dubbed September "Santa September". I like Samplers, but I'll be honest and say that for right now I'm exploring other venues for my stitching. So, I am enthusiastically joining in with "Santa September". I have my Santa start all picked out....it's one I have been eyeing for several months now and no time is like the present. 

My new start for Santa will be:
~ R is for Reindeer ~


This pattern is from one of my many Christmas hard backed books. This one is a Leisure Arts publication entitled "Merry Christmas ABC".

I have always loved this darling pattern and I was honored to be able to finish it this year for one of my wonderful clients:


I'd love to have at least Santa and a couple reindeer done by Christmas....
can we all join together for a laugh 

Speaking of my choice of stitching pieces lately...
can I just say, a lot of lovely people recently that I found on Instagram and YouTube stitch Dimensions kits. Now..I cut my cross stitching teeth stitching kits and I think like many others, after I started following blogs, and finding out about charts and designers I sort of thought kit stitching was beneath me. But honest to heaven, it isn't...go on the internet or Pinterest and put in Dimension Kit Stitching....you will see beautiful, glorious pieces that are done on aida and are absolutely beautiful pieces. My own "In His Hands" piece was a gold collection kit from Dimensions and the photo is beautiful, but you don't see the true beauty unless you are standing in front of it.


Here are some Dimension Gold/Gold Petites I've got in my collection and I'm really hankering to start:

But Santa September has me dreaming of: 
well enough procrastination for today.

If you all could say a little prayer for Keith. He has a big interview today (8/30/22).
This would be life changing for us. 

Thank you!

Have a fantastic day...
talk to you soon!

Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Friday, August 26, 2022

Sweater Weather….

 I had the extreme pleasure of being asked to finish Lila’s Studio newest ornaments that have been released today! 

Please contact your needlework shop to get your patterns for: 
Noel en Rouge 

And “Noel en Bleu” 

Lila is a dream client to work with and I had so much fun finishing these darling sweaters. 
No ugly sweaters here! 
I’ll be stitching these up for my own tree….I hope they all are hanging on my tree for this Christmas season. 

Wanna stitch them with me? 

Hugs and love in stitches…
Vonna xxxx

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wednesday Random thoughts….

What I have learned in 52 years….

Faith is my everything. 

My husband is the best person, on the face of the earth.

True independence is self reliance.

I am blessed.

Assimilation is overrated and absolutely not for me.

I CAN do anything.

Following the crowd is a short walk off a very tall cliff.

There is no such thing as free. 

Hard work is everything and most have forgotten how.

Dreaming makes things happen.

Marching to the beat of my own drum is the best rhythm to follow.

I do keep score. 

Laughing is the best vacation.

Solitude is sanctity.

Take me or leave me. 

Love where you are, if you don’t love it - work harder.

I’m my worst critic and my best company.

If you don’t like me, I probably really don’t like you either. 

My best friends are people in my own family.

I’m weird and it’s wonderful. 

If my gut says NO, I listen.

You can’t buy happiness, True happiness comes from within.

My life, my rules.

Loyalty is a character trait most people do not have. 

God is great.

Beer is good. (Although I prefer Coke, that means soda or pop to most of the world)

People are crazy.

And I’m best stitching on one thing at a time. 

Here’s my latest. 

Woodland Santa by Lavender and Lace ~ Marilyn Leavitt Imblum

28 count natural linen by Zweigart 

DMC 2/2 and Kreinik gold metallics 

Fresh outta bed and straight to the lair…

Have a great Wednesday!
Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Monday, August 22, 2022

2022 Indiana State Fair...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to my blog ~

It's a new week and I started it by travelling up to Indianapolis to get my State Fair pieces back. Then I thought I'd wrap up fair season by giving my State Fair results.

This was the first year I have ever entered a State Fair competition. I have gone several years to the State Fair and have gazed upon the lovelies entered, but never participated....until last year - it was hotter than Hades - and I went in to just walk around and around the needlework show case to see and look again at all the entries. One of the supervisors of the Indiana Arts building came up to me and asked if I was showcasing work there? No, I said, but I am a needleworker and I've thought about submitting pieces. What are you waiting for, he exclaimed...you need to try next year. So....I did!

The State Fair awards differently than my local County Fair. So this is how it works:
Each Class is awarded: 

1st Place = Blue
2nd Place = Red
3rd Place = White
and if a piece is merited but did not place, one piece is awarded: 
Honorable Mention (essentially 4th place)
<so this means not all entries even get a ribbon>

Finally, one piece - out of all the entered under Needle Arts - is awarded 
"BEST IN SHOW"  and gets a large rosette. 

My entries and results follow:

"In His Hands" by Dimensions Gold Collection


judges comments:

"Brown Swiss Dairy" by Marilyn Leavitt Imblum - Told in a Garden



judges comments:

"The Shepherd's Bush Stocking"



judges comments:

and my last entry:
"Heirloom Wedding Whitework Sampler" by Stoney Creek



judges comments:

So I am blessed and each of my entries received a ribbon! I am very proud of that fact. And I'm also proud that I was consistently the Second Best needleworker in the State of Indiana for 2022- I'll take it! 

Here is my Ribbon haul from the 2022 Indiana State Fair:

Here is my ribbon haul for 2022 on the same four entries at both County and State Fair:

and here is my box o' ribbons from the last 17 years of entering my pieces in my county and now my State Fairs.

in that box resides:
2 County Fair Red Ribbons
35 County Fair Blue Ribbons
28 County Fair Honor Purple Ribbons
6 County Fair Reserve Champion Pink Rosettes
17 County Fair Champion Purple Rosettes
2 County Fair Reserve Grand Champion Extra Large Rosettes
1 County Fair GRAND CHAMPION Extra Large Rosette
3 State Fair Second Place Red Ribbons
1 State Fair Honorable Mention Tri-Color Ribbon

Now I will close the lid on the box and put it on the shelf to get out next year to count, fondle and add to my ribbon collection in 2023, God willing I'm still around to do so. 

It is so satisfying to me :)
and best of all: it keeps stitching in the public eye and I seriously have become a better stitcher by participating and receiving commentary on my work.

I am off to dig through all my hoarded magazines....I have a hankering to stitch myself a nativity set for Christmas. I better get busy!

All my love to each of you....
Vonna xxxx 

Monday, August 15, 2022



~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends - to my blog ~

I'm sharing a special little something I stitched and finished in less than 2 weeks for a very special person in my life ~ my baby, my daughter Ellie:

~ Letters from Nora - Letter E ~
Designer Nora Corbett
stitched on 32 count Water Lily by Wichelt
stitched using called for over-dyed cottons by Classic Colorworks
stitched with called for metallics by Kreinik
beaded with called for beads by Mill Hill





stitched, matted, framed by myself. I got the custom frame from Michaels
I always frame my pieces using museum glass and spacers to hold the glass off the piece.


It's beautiful. 

I stitched this piece for Ellie on the occasion of her 17th Birthday, which was August 5. 
Let's take a trip down memory lane...





Ellie First Communion 3








She just started her Junior Year in High School on August 3. 
She is an incredible artist.
This year she is taking AP Drawing in school. By the end of the year she will be required to have 5 pieces all speaking to a specific theme of her own choosing. These 5 pieces will then be presented to a panel of 5 college Art Professors who will judge them. These will then be a part of her portfolio if she chooses to pursue Art School in college.

She chose her theme ~ which she hasn't chosen the title yet but it is her "theme" - something like the "redemption of man" is the working title right now. 
Here is her first work. She based this one off the bible verse ~ 
1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."


Of course it is not done, this is what she sent me at the end of last week sharing with me her progress - she plans on doing each of the 5 pieces in a different medium to showcase her prowess across a variety of mediums. This one, of course, is graphite/charcoal.

I am so proud of all 4 of our children, Each one and unique and talented in their own ways. I am particularly proud of Ellie in the fact that she is completely self taught. Completely. She has drawn and studied art since she was a little, little girl. She read books, watched videos, has gone through countless pencils, paints, pastels, erasers, nubs, sketch books over her 17 years. And to see her bring it all together in such a way, brings tears to my eyes. 

I have one thing to say about her talent, it is God given and  to God the Glory!

She and I this summer had a personal goal: we enjoyed what we termed a "Come to Jesus" Summer. We attended Daily mass every day of the week. 
In a world that often comes at you like a lion seeking to devour you, encountering people that love to tear down, rather than build up. In a world where people fight you at every corner rather than just follow the darn rules....
We decided we needed to seek the solace that only our God and our Church can provide.
Boy was that the best thing we could have done for our souls, our psyche and our spirit. I continue to go every day, but I've lost my partner to school. 

Happy 17th Birthday Ellie! 
Mama & Daddy, Katie & Austin, Ian & Edie, Jacob, Chatty, Red and Sophie and our whole family loves you!

Until Next Time...
Be Kind.
Vonna xxxx

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Are you about to fall over?

 ~ Hello Friends and welcome to my blog ~

are you about ready to fall out of your chair? What the 4th blog post in less than a week? I must be sick or something 😂

I'm just really happy to be getting in some kind of rhythm again. I've been so out of sorts of late rushing to do X, Y and Z that with summer winding down and harvest season upon the horizon...it's good to feel "in control" again a little bit. It seems most major things for me to prepare and roll out are over for a bit. The only big changes I have are the ones within myself. I have been striving to be a better person over the last several months, body wise, mind wise and most importantly spiritually wise. That's a big job and I fail time and again, but I always try to look at myself in the mirror and take a good hard, long look. I admit my failures, recognize my faults and celebrate those few things I do get right. Then I keep marching onward with hopes of tackling the next mountain and winning the next battle. 

SO, let's get down to it! This summer I entered four projects into my county fair.
Here are the results: 

In this photo my projects are: The Shepherd's Bush Stocking (for Keith) and the "In His Hands" 
I received a Champion (for the Holiday Class) 
and I received Honor (for the small framed counted XS Class)


Closer Look at "In His Hands" and the piece that won the class, directly above. 


I always try to get pictures of all the items entered:


More views of entries: 



Here is Katie and Austin's Wedding Sampler:
It received a Honor Ribbon for Large Framed Class 


Here is my "Brown Swiss Dairy" 
It won Reserve Champion for Medium Framed Class


The Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion of the Needle Arts (I circled them so you could see them amidst all the other Champions):


All in all, not a horrible showing. I was disappointed though because Katie and Austin's Wedding Sampler didn't get higher than a Reserve Champion. It deserved (in my mind) higher than a Honor, but you know whatever. Other than that, I didn't care what the others got and likely my disappointment of the ranking on the Wedding Sampler clouded the overall outcome of my entries. 

Here are the judge's comment cards on each piece with the ribbon won: 

Katie and Austin's Wedding Sampler:

Note: This piece was stitched with Caron Collection Wool, single stranded, each stitch laid with a laying tool. Wool is a bit fuzzy and of course not completely uniform by nature.

Brown Swiss Dairy: 


Keith's Stocking:


In His Hands:

Note: this was a Dimensions Gold Collection Kit. ....the backstitching is put in for effect like a painting and does not follow the "stitches" as that would pixilate and make the finish look blocky. Rather you lay and couch the backstitching (or that is what I do) so that it curves with the fingers the nails, the wrist, the frayed edge of his cloak... that is the way of every Dimensions kit piece I've ever done.

Many people ask about the ribbons each year....
I believe every fair does it differently, but in my county (Monroe County in Indiana) 
 it is ranked like this:
Each piece in every class is judged and given: 
1st (blue)
2nd (red)
3rd (white)
Honor (purple - which is highest in initial judging)

Once all classes have been judged....
The Honor Ribbons are then judged again and the 2 top pieces out of each class are awarded:
Champion (large dark purple rosette ribbon)
Reserve Champion (large light purple rosette ribbon)

Once each class has a Champion/Reserve Champion ....
the Champions (from each class) are pulled and judged again to get the top 2 winners of the entire Needle Arts Category.
Grand Champion (BEST of the BEST)
Reserve Grand Champion (Second BEST of the BEST)

I have been lucky in the past to have received Grand Champion one time and Reserve Grand Champion twice. 
I'm hungry to win it again. 
Just wait....until next year!

I'm not a sore loser....
the top winners were all deserving. I was just disappointed in the wedding sampler. My other pieces honestly got better ribbons than I even anticipated. But I had anticipated a big win with the wedding sampler and since it didn't win big I was bummed.  (OK, OK....I know an Honor Ribbon is good...I just always like to aim high and when I fail, I'm disappointed). 

OK...that does it for me for today.
Look for a posting on the State Fair results upcoming as soon as I get them back from the fair toward the end of August. 

Until next time....
love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx