Tuesday, March 6, 2018

5 Things to help get ready for Spring Break

I can't believe that Spring Break is just around the corner.  For heaven's sake, have we had winter yet?  Don't get me wrong, it's been plenty cold, but where's the snow?  No sledding days for the kiddos this year.

March is certainly roaring like a lion these days.  And like all families with school-age children, our lives are driven by the school calendar which is screaming SPRING BREAK.  I haven't even thought about it much less started preparing for it.  Today I started to make a list of the top 5 things to do to get yourself ready for Spring Break.

1. Go to The Studio for an exciting project.  There are a couple of amazing trunk shows at The Studio right now.  Stitch-its and HSN.  Stitch-its is a local needlepoint company.  I love her designs because there is no shading.  They are straight forward and simple to stitch.  If you like to add texture, these are great for using special stitches.

HSN stands for Hingham Square Needlepoint - in Massachusetts.  They have their own line of sunglass straps, dog collars, belts, and American flags.  They also distribute for a number of designers so there is a wide variety in this show.

2. Pack the Beach Bag.  Sunscreen is a must.  Don't try to get by on last year's.  Buy new so you know it is fresh and still works.  Get a fabulous wide brim hat for yourself (and everyone else)  and find one of those giant beach blankets.  Now, about the swimsuit....I can't remember the last time I put my swim suit on.  I do own one and I think I know which drawer I stuffed it into.  Better pull it out and check the fit.  If you need or want a new one, go to one of the swim suit specialty stores.  They have the best selection for all body types and have folks to help you find the right one for you.  I got mine at Swimwear Solutions in Hawthorne Plaza.

3. Download a new playlist and/or book  OR stop at Rainy Day Books to pick up something intriguing.  I found this playlist on Spotify.  I think I know every song and could sing along.

4. Get maps and travel guides.
I stumbled upon the Gallup Map & Art Co when I was doing some genealogy work.  I got some pretty cool maps of Sweden there.  Find a map of your destination and you could have a ball with the kids.  Of course, we all know we can get ordinary things at AAA.

5.  Pick up some activities so they aren't glued to their devices and don't hurt one another.  My favorite place to pick up new and unusual items for the kids is Brookside Toy & Science.  They are my go-to place for birthday and holiday gifts.  They have great puzzles there, too.

Or some great stitching projects that are very portable.  These are on #10 canvas and available at The Studio.  Give us a call and we can kit one up for you.  816-531-4466

Last October we drove to Ft. Benning, GA to see our oldest son graduate from Army Boot Camp.  While there we did some Geocaching.  We had a ball.  You can go to the App anytime and you will find geocaching opportunities all around you.  We often did the Geocaching at the rest stops so we could get, stretch our legs and go on a little treasure hunt.  It really is a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Winter Olympics 2018 Needlepoint Project

I can't believe that the first events of the 2018 Winter Olympics begin today.  For as long as I can remember I've been an Olympics junkie.  I am in awe of the skill the athletes have honed.  I admire the commitment to training and competing.  I appreciate the competition but most of all it is the team spirit that draws me in.  

I will be glued the the TV for the next 2+ weeks, but not without handwork in my lap.  It is challenging to plan this part: knitting, needlepoint, embroidery, spinning.  The knitting community has organized themselves around teams and projects in an online community, Ravelry.  You can join a team to work on a specific project or you can select your own project.  The spinners quantify their yardage or ounces of spun yarn, setting goals before the games begin.  I have not found anything similar for the needlepoint or embroidery communities.

Last week I started working on a needlepoint design that could be easily completed within the limited number of days that bookend the Olympics.  It needed to be fairly simple but meaningful.  My first ideas were similar to the Temperature Scarves that we've seen in the knitting and crochet world.

In the case of the Olympics, medals would be assigned a color - for instance gold might be assigned turquoise, silver=purple, and bronze=green.  A designated number of rows for each medal won would be knit in the assigned color.

For needlepoint I thought about stitching a square for every medal won.  In my research I learned that the USA  typically wins around 28 total medals in the Winter Olympics and are predicted to win 30 this year.  So, I think to myself, 30 boxes over a couple of weeks is very doable.  

I shared my idea with the Wednesday Needlepoint Niche weekly open needlepoint group.  We talked about it, massaged it, twisted it and the idea emerged transformed, elevated, and more interesting.

Materials Needed:
1 6"x6" piece of blank canvas in your preferred mesh size
appropriate tapestry needle for mesh
background fiber in color of choice
kreinik or other sparkling fiber in colors gold, silver, and bronze
a yard of red, white, and blue in fiber of choice.

Find the center of your canvas.  
Using your background color, stitch one unit of the star octagon stitch.  

Make a Smyrna Cross in the middle of the star octagon stitch. Starting with your red fiber, make the x of a Smyrna cross, next stitch one vertical stitch with the white thread and stitch one horizontal stitch with the blue.  

This unit is now complete and indicates the beginning of your medal count.

The second unit will connect to the upper right quadrant of the first unit.

I am ready to stitch the first medal color as a Smyrna Cross in the middle of the 2nd unit.  
 Here's is the 3rd unit

From this point you will continue to add units to the left edge of the previous unit.  

To manage the project you could  stitch the background units as the medals or won or you could stitch background when you have a chance and fill in medals as we get them.

Will keep you posted on my progress.

The first medals will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 10.