Monday, December 31, 2007

My Bad

Haven't been on the 'puter much this past week. My bad. But it's a new year approaching and with a new year comes a fresh start.

Anna at the Stitch Bitch had a link to the crazies who are going to attempt a 365 blog - post every day for the next year. This would be admirable if I thought I had enough to say that mattered. Not that I think I don't matter. I just fear attempting such a feat would suck some of the fun out of things and make it more like a chore. Basically I'm happy with my level of posting. I am much more consistent than I was the first year. And I actually have two other blogs which I do not overlap with here. One is food based that I started in August of '07 when both children went off to college. The other was political, then became a writing blog. I think the latter one is continuing to morph into something else. I haven't quite figured it out yet.

So. No stitching presents because no one in my family would dare. LOL I know that I treat myself to enough stitchy stuff all year round. I did find the latest issue of Stitch, the British guild mag, and purchased the Crochet page a day calendar on clearance. They had a good mix of projects in it, including Tunisian crochet which I intrigues me.

On Saturday I made some amazing progress on Agnes Scott - I finished the border, finished the fence at the bottom. Finished the bottom of the house and moved on to the roof. Did two of the Queen stitch flowers - this did entail putting my frame on my Elan stand with frame weights to counterweight it. Then I adjusted the overheard light and the Daylight light and magnifier. Positioning is a little bit awkward as I need the magnifier a little too close to the fabric and I have to be careful with hand placement. But I made much better progress this way and I think those dreaded Queen stitches will finally be mastered.

All of which has me dreaming of other projects. My local shop owner has asked me to model stitch a piece for her - she designed something with blackwork and then decided she doesn't like blackwork at all. Too funny. This will be a deadline project as she hopes to take to market in the spring. Plus I've got a gift project for someone, but that one should be easy and take two weeks or less.

No goals, no resolutions. I'm just not that kind of person. I did publicly state a January goal for Agnes Scott and am still hoping to have this off to the framers by January 10th. But that's it for goals for me. I think last year I started off with a goal of finishing some UFOs. Which I did accomplish. But then around May, new projects started clamoring for attention and I was happy to oblige. I guess Agnes will be my biggest UFO finish for the year even if she's actually finished in January. (I could stitch for the next 14 hours straight and I'd not be close to finished by midnight.)

Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Crikey

On Saturday, DS's girlfriend came to visit and DH and DD went Christmas shopping. There I was thinking I could just sit and stitch on Agnes Scott while watching I Love Lucy on TVLand.

But no.

I realized I was about to run out of the off-white silk.

I knew the Scarlet Thread doesn't carry Soie d'Alger. I called Needlewoman East and they don't have it either. But I knew In Stitches in Alexandria did. So I called and got their hours and realized I either had to go right then, or wait until Thursday. But if I waited till Thursday I might miss some prime stitching time. Quick trip to In Stitches where I bought my one skein of silk and a lovely little magnifying glass. She said the only people coming into the store on Saturday were confused husbands with a shopping list or the need for a gift certificate and women about to take a holiday trip and needed a project to work on.

My real problem lies in having messed up three times in one week on this piece. Requiring much frogging, a little cutting, etc. I'm finally back on track and vow to avoid further mess-ups.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

As Promised



Here's Agnes Scott - some of the work in that's close in color to the linen doesn't show up. I've still got some serious stitching to do on this piece. But I'm pretty darn determined.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Accomplishments

1) All presents wrapped and mailed - one box to Florida, one box to Texas, and three boxes to New Hampshire

2) Exchanged shredder at Staples - I'd say the overheat button on the first one did not work...

3) Library fines paid - I keep using the Express checkout - had to stand in line to pay them money...

4) dry cleaning dropped off and picked up

5) Christmas card photo taken - will print them at Target today and start addressing them tonight

6) All my shopping is done except someone has the nerve of having a birthday the week after Christmas...

Agnes Scott

One should never, never check a simple thing like Agnes Scott in an anagram maker. It made 368 and I couldn't even think of one... I need more sleep. Sorry about the no-show photo. Today. And I will post one tomorrow. I promise.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Will Unroll Agnes and Phake a Toto

Anyone else a Capitol Steps fan? They always end their shows with a Rindercella type piece. Certain phrases become code words and "someone phook a toto" is big at our house.

I haven't gone back to the Queen stitch yet. Got caught up in finishing the bottom section so I can start on the house. But I will do them. Eventually.

Not much new here. Christmas shopping with the college students today.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We Did A Survey Once

We did a survey once at one of my EGA meetings. Went around the room and you had to say which was your least favorite stitch and why. (hey, Stitch Bitch! hint, hint!)

The majority of the group either went with French knots or Queen stitch. One or two said Palestrinas and there was one other stitch that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

I may dislike doing the Queen stitch, but I love French knots. I think that trend of candlewicking back in the day made me proficient. So maybe doing more than 150 Queen stitches on Agnes Scott will turn me around. I know I've done pieces with 40-50 of them. Maybe I need to get out my floor stand and see if I can't improve something about this stitch that will cause me fewer problems.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Apparently This is the Policy

If you google any variation of Girl Scouts and stolen cookie money you find stories galore of people who have walked away with the cookie money, usually in the thousands of dollars.

And my experience is not unique. The Councils decline to press charges for thievery because they don't want adverse publicity. They refer to the matter as a debt and call in a collection agency.

Though I kind of understand the adverse publicity thing - some people might remember reading about a case of someone stealing the cookie money and decline to buy the next year - in reality I think this encourages people to think they can get away with stealing from the Scouts who have worked hard and long.

Le sigh.

Yesterday I started the dreaded (for me anyway) queen stitches on Agnes Scott. I did a quick estimate of the number of them and think there's over 150. Yesterday I
did 11. And I messed up but refused to frog this stitch. So one floral motif will be a tiny bit higher than it should be, but I think it will be unnoticable. I just need to remember what happened when I go to stitch the other motifs so I don't move them all. I've been trying to be extremely careful with my counting and placement.

This is all the time I have. Have to go pick up DS after his last final. The kitties will be very happy to have other people to sleep with tonight as they don't like each other and that means if the big guy wants to sleep with us, the little one is out in the cold.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Pain

I did limit my stitching time yesterday and had no pain. That's good.

Still need to dig out fabric for finishing my mother's little kitty piece. If the Hancock in Vienna hadn't closed, I'd just go buy a piece. But I think I've at least got dark blue velvet scraps which could be very pretty.

Tomorrow DS comes home from college, and Saturday - barring bad weather - DD will fly home. Makes me happy.

Last night we went to an Eagle Scout ceremony - a first for me. DS did Cub Scouts and started Boy Scouts, but we had an incident that kind of turned me off in Cub Scouts so when we moved, he didn't continue.

One night I went to a Pack meeting (I was impersonating a single parent at the time as DH was in Kuwait for a year.) Our Den Leader was relocating and the Pack Master took all the parents from this den into a separate room and told us if one of us didn't step up into the Den Leader position, that was it in scouting for our boys. Blackmail at the expense of children. Wonderful. I refused to take this on as a single parent with at the time, many obligations. But they let us a cobble together a solution of Den Leader by committee. It was kind of ugly. I went to the Leaders meetings and the other parents rotated through the weekly den meetings.

This all happened to us a year after DD's Girl Scout leader absconded with the cookie money. And the Council declined to press charges. Left the girls and troop hanging. No money, no activities, no leader, no help. That was another terrific experience.

Now on the whole, I do thinking scouting offers some great experiences. I was a Girl Scout. I was a Girl Scout leader, while I was in college and while DD was in scouting as a Brownie. I worked in a GS scout on summer and had an amazing time. I learned important things about first aid and emergency preparedness all while having fun. And even today the whole Be Prepared thing provides daily guidance. I never leave home without a stitching project in my purse 'cause you never know when you'll have free time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Whine, Whine, Whine

I was bopping along on Agnes Scott last night and trying very hard to ignore the pain in my hand. But eventually it became too much to stitch. Overuse injury, anyone? Crap.

Will see how it goes today. I'm okay as of right now. But I may have issues later. Guess I'll start with some ibuprofen before I even pick up my needle.

I am stitching on this piece two-handed. My non-dominant left hand is on top of the piece and my dominant right hand is underneath. I've been stitching this way on large pieces on scroll frames for 10 years and can sail along pretty quickly. This could be tendinitis or carpal tunnel or even arthritis. Or maybe I was just sitting funny and as a result was moving slightly differently. I don't know. But I'll definitely be paying attention today. I'm making such great progress that I abhor the idea of slowing down or worse, stopping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Next May

Next May is my 30th high school reunion. I have yet to attend a single reunion. I was alerted to this reunion (so far) by multiple mailings and a phone call from an old friend who was on campus playing dialing for dollars with alumni. First, how can it be 30 years! It's official. We are our parents now. Second, the powers that be have set up a website for our classmates and have encouraged us to post links to our blogs for staying in touch. I know I'm not linking this blog to that website. But I have contemplated creating a separate one. Or maybe I should use my now defunct and abandoned political one. Obviously I need to think about this.

The good news on the old school front is that they are changing admissions so that anyone who can pass muster on admissions and the parents make less than $75,000, can qualify for free tuition, housing, and a laptop. Harvard started this trend among private schools and set their amount at $60,000, but I read in the paper today that Harvard is intent on providing much more aid to families making more than $60,000 and less than $180,000.

These are schools with large endowments. Harvard has the most money - Reuters is reporting the number is over $35 billion, but I'm not sure where their numbers are from. It was nearly $26 billion in 2005. My high school's endowment is second largest in the nation at over $1 billion.

(By this some of may have deduced that I did not attend your average American high school and you'd be correct. I was fortunate enough to live close enough to an amazing prep school. But after high school, I attended my state university.)

Just ruminating on things...

And in Stitching News

I've got things to do and all I want to do is stitch on Agnes Scott. I made some errors over the weekend while stitching and spent some time frogging. Probably gave up close to 3 hours of progress. Need to look more closely at the chart and stop making assumptions!

I also received an early Christmas present of a new camera. I had a few criteria for this one - small enough to always carry it around, image stabilization and a better than 3x optical zoom. The Samsung L77 fit the bill. Got it on sale and had a $15 discount. I'll unroll Agnes from the scroll frame later and see what kind of picture I can get. I'd post more photos of progress but 70% of her is rolled up and I hate unrolling and rerolling.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Agnes Scott Progress

Took my lovely Agnes out yesterday to the morning stitch-in my LNS. The green silk sent to me by a lovely lady in California worked beautifully as I finished the green on the bottom border. And the border matched up. Always nice when that happens. For a second or two I thought I was one thread off. Just my eyes playing tricks on me, I guess.

On our last trip to IKEA I bought one of these large plstic bags, an ISIG that cost all of $1.99. I thought it might be useful for storing needlepoint canvases in progress. Turns out it works perfectly for toting around a large project on scroll frames and now I need to go back and buy a few more of these.

I'm looking at Agnes and have realized that my goal of finishing her in January for framing is realistic. I do need to work on her every day though. I figure my deadline is to have her completed and at the framers by January 10th. (Publicly stated and I'm sticking to it.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Da Christmasy Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. Real trees got too expensive. Our first fake lasted 13 or 14 years.

3. When do you put up the tree? Sometimes the weekend of Thanksgiving. Or the next weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? Not till after DH's birthday on Jan 2nd.

5. Do you like egg nog? Love it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Nothing stands out for me, but I know it was always good.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? A German wooden one, a ceramic one, and the Playmobile one. How's that for a Unitarian?

8. Hardest person to buy for? Varies from year to year.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Childrens.

10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Handmade in the mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't spend time remembering things like this.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? January.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Certainly.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Aunt Martha's Finnish Bread - I make it myself.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Both. This year at home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes. And it's Donder, people.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Silver star.

21.Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. Though I will relent for one present on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Having to go to the post office. Which means having to wrap and package. Which usually means doing it all myself. Argh.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? This year, it's my Quaker heart that I stitched. I've got a growing collection of perforated paper santas, too.

24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Didn't we already answer this on question 15?

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I like Anna's answer of World Peace.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

I so enjoy watching the people in this region turn into raving idiots at the mere mention of the word snow. It's all we've been hearing about for days. And now it's here. All one or two inches of it. Maybe not even that. But apparently the world is coming at an end. LOL The best part - I don't need to go any where in the car today. Unless I want to.

Stitching! Yeah for me!

I picked up a Calico Crossroads cat thingy that I had decided to do for my Mom. I had already made her an orange tabby cat piece, when she relented and fell in love with a black cat. It's nearly finished except I need to replace the month of May with the cat's name, Onyx. Just a little charting to get things centered properly. Then a rummage through the fabric bins in order to turn this into a pillow or something.
Would be nice to get this finished and in the mail by the end of the week.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Horribly Bad

I said I wasn't going to let another day go by without stitching and apparently I lied. Every time I sat down I had a 20lb cat looking for warmth.

But at least the tree is decorated. Now on to the other boxes. And that remote light switch works so well that I can stand in the middle of my living and turn on and off the lights at the front and back of the house. I love it.

Of course I have already wondered about riding around with remote and seeing who else's lights I can turn on and off...Bad me, Bad!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not Going to Let Another Day Go By

I'm not going to let another day go by without stitching.

We moved the furniture so my chair is back where it was. Now I need to bring my lamp back upstairs. The tree is up - pre-lit - and it has new garland. And exactly one ornament as of right now - my Quaker heart that I did last spring.

I did find the best invention at Target, though I suppose these are available everywhere - a package of two controllers to plug into different outdoor sockets and plug your lights into with a remote control. No more having to go outside to plug in or unplug. Yippee! One for the front of the house and one for the back. Works for me.

Yesterday DH accomplished some things that needed doing. Hung a shelf in the office after I went and bought a new stud finder. And hung a curtain rod in the bar so now we have nice red satiny drapes giving the place a certain brothel look, but whatever. I don't mind at all. Time for a chorus of Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? The drapes match the red paint that on two of the walls. Should help in keeping the room a bit warmer. Now I need to seriously go through the extra large bookcase that is covered in my needlework books and tons of cooking magazines. LOL There's a project.

Even better. Finally convinced that he is no longer moving every two years, DH willing parted with boxes. Lots of boxes. Two monitor boxes. Several DVD player boxes. A receiver box. A satellite box. Various other electronic things boxes. Took us half an hour just break them all down. This morning the styrofoam inserts hit the trash and on Thursday the cardboard will make the recycling. I had to move all these boxes to get at the containers of Christmas decorations. Now I've got a pile of things again for freecyling.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Almost Forgot

Due to circumstances slightly out of my control, I was only able to write for NaNoWriMo for 15 of the 30 days of November. The good news is that yesterday I made 25,000 words which is half of the 50,000 word goal.

I can do this. I just need to not be in the middle of an office renovation or have company for nine days.

Maybe next year I'll be an actual winner.

Meanwhile, the novel I was working on will continue. I'm shooting for the 50,000 words by Dec 15th. And then I'll evaluate what I've got.

Fa Fa Fa Fa

It's not a Christmas tune. I'm hearing a Guster song in my head. What can I say?

Last night was DH's company holiday party. Nothing like a bunch of well-dressed people having to board buses to get from the parking lot to the hotel. I found a pair of red tuxedo pants and paired them with my red velvet jacket and a silver cami. I'm not so not into dresses anymore. DH wore his red bow tie with his tux so we kind of matched. For a place serving more than 300 at once (actually they had two large parties going on at the same time, so more than 600) they do a bang up job on the food. The salad is okay. The bread is pretty good. But the main plate was mashed potatoes with a grilled chicken breast with wing drummette still attached plated with a some kind of cream sauce alongside a piece of tenderloin over mashed squash with a demi glacee and asparagus. Almost forgot their idea of appetizers - mini beef wellingtons, crab cakes, and veggies and good cheeses.

I was not into standing up - knees still complaining. But it was fun anyway. Even if we didn't dance.

Oh and I took a huge gamble yesterday. I haven't had a haircut in over a year. But I was hating the way the layers were growing out. So I stopped at a Hair Cuttery and let someone chop three inches off. It looks better. I nearly walked out though because of the inorganization. Glad I did it. Still isn't a true hairstyle cut, but considering my hair grows nearly an inch a month, this needed to be done.

This means I spent the night looking at women's hairstyles. Considering I spend most of my time with my hair pinned to the top of my head or pulled back in a ponytail, I could use some options. There was one woman there with striking white hair down past her shoulders. I loved it. Wish mine would hurry up and do that color. But so many women of a certain age just seem to give up and cut it short. Either football helmet hair or short permed poodle hair. I refuse. I'd rather have long and straggly thank you very much.

We may fa la la later. Time to drag out the Christmas decorations. Something to do during the Army/Navy game. Go Army!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alrighty Then

I got the in-laws off at the airport yesterday, but right before I did I twisted my right knee. I had all this stuff to do, stripping sheets and remaking beds, vacuuming, laundry, etc. and I could hardly walk.

It feels marginally better this morning, thank the stars. But now I'm officially in panic mode over Christmas shopping and need to sit down and do some serious planning.

But first I'm off to my Thursday morning stitch-in because I seriously need some me time.

Why does this sound like I'm bouncing off the walls?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Photos from Manassas




These are both from the Manassas battlefield last Friday - otherwise known as Bull Run to us Northerners. The quality of light was fantastic. But it was freezing cold - wind blowing like 40 m.p.h. which was a rude surprise after 77 degrees the day before.

Earlier Finish



This is my finish from earlier in November - Blue Ribbon Designs "Red Letter Ornaments"
We've done a bunch of these for a tree that gets auctioned off for charity.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Box of FUFOs

I opened that box yesterday to show in-laws. DH was appalled at all the projects that just are sitting there without framing.

Um.

Money?

The sad fact is that the cost of framing has gotten too high for me to afford. And I just keep adding the the completed pile.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stitchers are Wonderful People

A lovely lady in California heard my plea for soie d'alger 3723 and 3726 that was purchased around the year 2000. Yesterday I received an envelope with perfectly matching silk and can now complete my Agnes Scott without problems. Such a relief.

It's time to bring DS back to school. This doesn't seem right. But the good news is both children will be home in three weeks. They just have to survive finals.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

And Because I'm Still Wasting Time Hiding in the Office

From Anna, aka the Stitch Bitch:


1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?
My house please. Then I can have exactly what I want.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?
Fresh. Best turkeys ever were the ones my friends raised themselves.

3. What kind of stuffing?
Dressing, not stuffing. Regular bread. People seem to get upset if I deviate.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?
Pumpkin. Though squash is good, too.

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing? Whole point. Soup is cooking before the dishes are done.


6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu?
Not sure. It's a complete package.

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock?
Yes. See above.

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?
Two ovens.

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?
I have gotten up at the crack of dawn. I'm always up at the crack of dawn anyway.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring?
Homemade rolls and cream puffs.


11. What do you wish one of your guests wouldn't bring to your house?
I've never had a problem.

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see? No drama. It's pretty darn peaceful.


13. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu?
The sandwich I will have tonight. Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and olives on soft bread.

Things to Be Thankful For

My family, e v e n the ones currently driving me nuts (not their fault, I've got hormonal issues...)

The clever people at ICanHasCheeseburger? who always can make me laugh

Elvis, my twenty lb. kitty who tried to love me to death at 5:00 this morning. When he headbuts you, you know you've been butted

All this information and ridiculousness floating around in cyberspace for me to find

My friends. Don't know what I'd do without them.

Alcohol

LOL, didn't expect that one, did you?

Sunshine, especially when the leaves are falling

Water. Both for drinking and swimming. I'm Aquarius after all.

Books. LOTS and LOTS of books.

Husband. Who isn't a mind reader, but his heart is in the right place. Much love, sweetie.

People who make me laugh. Last night it was Frank Caliendo who we recorded to watch later.

Red Sox. And all members of Red Sox Nation. Hey. Freakin' awesome, we won the World Series. That's reason enough to smile every day till spring training.

Any night when I can sleep all the way through without waking up. (Last time I did this was nearly one week ago.)

Did I mention alcohol?

Hey, what's wrong with a little self-medication?

People who get me. There are not that many of them in the world. Sometimes I wish there were more. But I'll take who I can get.

Top Gear, Project Runway, Top Chef. All good clean fun. Let's turn a car into a rocket and launch it. Let's turn a mini-van into a convertible and run it through a car wash setting the car wash on fire. What fun!

Music. OMB. I am so thankful for music. All kinds of music. New, old, fast, slow. Classical, country, rock, pop, standards, big band, jazz, blues, folk, a capella, alternative, rap, hip hop, Christmas. Whatever. (I'll pass on the gospel and overtly Christian stuff. But I still love Amazing Grace and other classic hymns.)

My eyesight and hands which allow me to stitch. I'd be doing that right now, but my right hand is a little stressed from cutting the backbone out of our turkey. For fun google the term spatchcock.

College hockey. Way more fun than the NHL. Teams I follow - UNH and Army.

The ability to move without pain.

My sister who turns 52 tomorrow. You may have tormented me 40 years ago, but you make up for it since then.

Nuts. Chips. Salty foodstuffs. Mmmmm.

Coffee and Tea. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. Oh how I adore you hot beverages of comfort and joy.

Free time. To. Do. What. I. Please.

I know there is more. But the sleep issues are screwing with my brain's processing capabilities.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wait

I forgot to mention that we've got a radio station here that started playing Christmas music. NOT an occasional song, but 24/7! I'm not sure when they started but I found them last weekend.

Head, *thunk*

Poor Kitteh



Because we hung those Goodwill curtains in the office, we've actually been using them and closing them at night. Well, it seems that somehow our 20 lb. cat has claimed this space for his very own private club. The other cat rarely comes in here. He has an ottoman with a cat fur catching pad on it and lounges on it or under it in front of the window. But yesterday morning he was totally stymied by the presence of curtains! He couldn't see out of his window. He was pacing back and forth upstairs, looking at me (I know now with dismay in his eyes.) He finally settled in front of the kitchen window. And 1 1/2 hours later, I figured out his problem. He beat me to the bottom of the stairs and was on the ottoman waiting for me to open that curtain. This morning he tried a different tactic - lolling on the freshly steam cleaned carpet upside down being cute and drawing attention to himself. He's a funny one, our Elvis.

Today his second favorite Mom arrives. My mother-in-law adores this cat. We've actually brought him to NH from VA just for her to visit with him.

The house is totally clean, except I need to change the sheets on the bed and do some picking up in the kitchen. And make a lasagna. Because after in-laws arrive I have to head south on I-95 to pick up son at college. His classes don't end till 3:15. That could be a fun drive home.

Meanwhile I haven't put a needle in my hand since what, Friday? Saturday? Help. I'm suffering withdrawal.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yesterday

Okay. So the in-laws are arriving tomorrow. We all know what that means. While finishing up the remodel in the office, everything got shifted around and had to be put back. Did that yesterday. Today is all about the cleaning.

I found the most amazing curtains at Goodwill. Four panels. Two for the windows and two for the closet. And DH loves them, too. I swear someone bought them and decided they didn't like them and just donated them. They're brown, tan and silvery blue with a geometric circles and squares design. (I know photos. Battery is charging right now.)

But while straightening the bedroom before cleaning, I finally hung my Poseidon. I had originally planned on hanging him in the bathroom and my friends all told me he was way too nice for the bathroom. Well, yesterday I hung him in the bathroom. He looks fantastic. Classes up the joint. I can't believe I waited nearly four months before putting this on a wall. What an idiot.

About the "mythical one project at a time stitchers"

First of all - the comment made me laugh.

I have personally known people like this. The first one I encountered more than 20 years ago and after we introduced her to cross stitch, she started methodically working her way through every Pat Buckley Moss design. The most time it took her was one month. I admit, she was a high achiever in a set of circumstances where she couldn't work and this was her substitute for working.

But we see them in my LNS. They only work one project at a time. And are very meticulous about choosing their next project. I am not certain they are as obsessive as my friend from years ago, but I suspect they are extremely focused individuals.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

UFO Ramblings

Over at the Stitch Bitch, Anna is musing on why our UFOs become UFOs. I started to reply on her comments page, but realized I have more to say and have brought my thoughts here:

Multitasking is only part of the answer. I think the truth is that my slight ADD tendencies get all excited by kitting up and starting something new. The beginning is full of new things and possibilities. The ending is satisfying, too, but in a different way.

I'd have to take a serious look through the bin to see at what point does something get put aside. Sometimes it's just that something more beautiful and compelling comes along and current project sort of falls away and out of sight is out of my mind. Other times, obligation stitching (which I rarely do anymore) cause me to put something down.

But why exactly do I focus on some projects with like a laser guided missile? It's happened to me twice this year. Both projects called to me. I mean, I could hear them in the resting places saying, "Stitch me. Now." These were Posiedon and my Halloween Fairy. In both cases, they made my current projects get dropped to UFO status. Both projects took about 6 weeks and I know I was enchanted with them every time I looked at them.

Why do other things become more of a chore? Maybe it's the beading or the metallics or the queen stitches that slow me down. Maybe I've gotten tired of the colors. Maybe it was just a really large project. I know I reject a lot of designs I love because of the size of the project. I try not to have more than 2 extra large projects going at once.

I admire those stitchers who have finished nearly every MLI angel. I don't know how they do it. I suspect they are one project at a time stitchers. Something I'm never going to be.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I've Got It

Last summer I designed and stitched my first rock n roll band sampler - sunshine came softly through my window today. Now I've got my second one brewing in my head - breathe deep the gathering gloom. I've got the absolutely perfect piece of linen for this.

Why do I consider the Moody Blues a winter band? I don't think I ever listen to them in the spring/summer.

Some one help me. I need more hours in each day. Preferably with sunlight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Office Update

Things are slowly returning to normal after a long weekend that has nearly shattered my knees. The office is completely painted. The bookcases are assembled and partially filled. I've got 100 lbs or so of books that need disbursement. DH still needs to sort through his magazines, etc. We need to move upstairs bookcase downstairs to the bar room because I still need the room. Can't dispose of it. But I do have two bookscases that can be freecycled sometimes this week. The desk is assembled and is huge. Right now on top of it we have a desktop computer, a laptop, a printer, a scanner, a VCR and a turntable. And still there is plenty of room to work.

I love the wall color - La Fonda Boulder from Lowe's. DH says it's making him hungry - think chocolate Frosty from Wendy's. I've got issues with picking a fabric which I need to do ASAP. I don't need curtains for the window as badly as I need to make curtains for the closet.I removed the closet doors from this room two years ago and sawed them in half and threw them away. (The sawing was to be certain DH couldn't salvage them for some silly reason.) I need to steam clean the carpet in here. And bring in another chair. Cat was totally put out by this entire process. I believe he thinks this is his room as he comes down here every morning and stays till the afternoon. Right now he's snoozing on his ottoman - glad the work is finished, but unhappy that his ottoman isn't in front of the window.

There's still plenty to do in the rearranging and cleaning department. Everything that was moved out of this room needs to find a home so I can reclaim the bar room, that was formerly known as the pool room. But I freecycled the pool table. And maybe I should call it the den. Sounds better than bar?

Anyone Need a New Ironing Board?

Mark Lipinski


There may be a few of us here that were AOL 10 years ago and remember Mark, our own ToughguyNJ. He was vocal and funny and sometimes outrageous, but never boring in his posts on the cross stitch boards.

There's a profile of his new quilting magazine in today's (Nov 13th) Washington Post magazine reader in the Style section. You do have to register to read the whole article. But I'll post the opening paragraph to whet your appetite:

In Houston a couple of weeks ago, Mark Lipinski was mobbed by cheering, screaming, laughing women. Some wanted to hug him. Some wanted his autograph. And some wanted to learn where they could get one of those beefcake ironing board covers, the ones with a photo of a hunky guy wearing only a towel, a towel that vanishes when -- well, here's how Lipinski described it in his magazine, which is called Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home:

"When you iron over said man, and get him hot (so to speak), his towel totally disappears and -- oh, baby, oh-oh-oh! -- he's naked! Your husband's going to wonder what wonderful thing he's done that's keeping you so happy in the laundry room (hee hee hee)!"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/12/AR2007111201965.html

His website is here:

http://www.marklipinski.com/

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Process, not Fruition

Anna over at the Stitch Bitch is taking a little poll on how many finished, but "unfinished" projects we all have.

I admit to more than 41. FUFOs. That Finished, but Unframed Objects? or is it something else? But I digress.

Yes. For me, stitching is all about the process of stitching, of seeing that design bloom under your fingers. But the actual "finishing" leaves me cold. I love a finished piece after I accomplish the finishing, but with more than 41 waiting to be finished, I'll admit to a definite problem with the act of finishing.

Okay. That's more than enough of the "f" word for today.

Glad I'm not alone with this problem. And I'm willing to hand the crown to Nicole with 90 pieces awaiting final disposal.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Attn: NYC

From the New Yorker:

Reichek is a grandmother who does embroidery, but, whatever associations that image has for you, forget them. A conceptual artist with a degree from Yale and a punkish shock of platinum hair, she is a leading figure in the field of mixed-media art. The Museum of Modern Art gave her samplers a solo exhibition in 1999, and her latest show, “Pattern Recognition,” opened last week at the Nicole Klagsbrun gallery. “I think that what makes tapestry so topical is its relation to computer art,” Reichek said recently, over lunch at her studio, in Harlem. “They both involve patterning, and reducing or enlarging an image to a charted form. A stitch, in essence, is a pixel. With any pixellated surface, whether it’s a tapestry or a digital photograph, the more pixels you have, the higher your image resolution.”


http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2007/10/29/071029ta_talk_thurman


Finished: One Ornament

My photo of my finished ornie is stuck in my camera. Whose battery needs charging. Oops.

But I did manage to take the last few over one stitches at 9:55 a.m. yesterday - in time to drop it off at the shop. A bunch of us stitched ornies for a tree that gets auctioned off by the Junior League or whoever it is. I probably should have passed on this little project, but I am a sheep and followed the crowd. I will now admit to being 1,000 words behind on my NaNoWriMo goals because of the ornament. And with the week two blues looming, this is a bad time to fall off the pace.

I did have enough Soie d'alger to stitch the border down both sides. There might even be enough to go across the bottom, but I'm leaving that for last. I decided to start stitching up from the bottom - avoidance technique that ignores those queen stitches for the moment. I know I have to do them. I should make myself alternate between the queen stitches and the remainder of bottom motif of house, gate, grass, peacock, etc.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Giving Up

Okay. I give. There's no way I'm going to finish stitching that ornament and do the finishing by tomorrow. I stitched through Jeopardy and Nova last night, but put it down to watch House.

Meanwhile the La Fonda Boulder applications continue. I think it looks great. Maybe I should be on the lookout for curtains or fabric for curtains that continues with the southwest thing. Nothing overt though. I hate that southwest decorating palette.

We did a day in Santa Fe years ago - we were staying in Albuquerque with friends. This was during our fifth year of living in the west - California and Colorado. I loved it out there. DH wanted to move to Arizona when he retired. Maybe I should have just said yes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Soie D'alger

Help me. I need 3726 purchased somewhere around the year 2000. If it's newer, it may not match. Anna, if you've got some, I'll be properly amazed and extremely grateful.

Painting

I got the first coat of La Fonda Boulder on the main wall and around the door and around the window finished yesterday. Cat was not happy at being shut out of "his" room. I was wondering why he was glaring at me this morning and then I figured it out I'd left the door closed to contain the smell of drying paint. The name comes from a hotel in Santa Fe - as this is a National Trust color. It looked almost like silly putty when it was wet, but dries to a pretty shade of coffee with cream.

Of course that meant not a single stitch stitched. I need to finish my ornament for donation tonight if I'm going to stand a chance at giving a completely finished ornament. I'm sure I've got some Christmas fabric hanging out in a bin in the laundry if I can get to it. I'd go to Hancock Fabrics and buy some while I'm in Vienna today, but wait. They closed months ago frustrating me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ah.

It's not just NaNoWriMo that's taken over my life and prevented me from posting here.

It's the office renovation.

Drywall is up, patched and primed. Today I begin painting.

But meantime let me detail a little problem I discovered.

On Tuesday I picked up some extra Soie d'alger for my Agnes Scott sampler. I know I'm going to run out 3726 and I wasn't sure about 3723 and the two red colors, so I bought extras of all of them.

On Thursday I brought Agnes Scott to my LNS for stitch-in and brought out my new silk to put in the floss away bags with my old silk when - oh, blankety, blank blank!

The colors no longer match!

The greens are so far apart - they aren't even remotely close. The original skeins were bought in 2000. The reds are a little bit closer to being right.

I quickly frogged the 3726 I was stitching in the middle of the sampler because I think if I can stitch the border done the sides, I might be able to get away with the color shift on the bottom of the border.

If I had known to buy two skeins at the time I kitted this project, I would have. I hate when this happens.

I did contact the designer, Ellen Chester, because this was an internet sampler project and maybe someone else out there has some leftover silk for me from the year 2000.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Tease, eh?

For the someone who thinks I'm a tease, well. Hphm. Don't worry. You're the recipient. That should make you feel better.


Welcome to the wonderful world of morons, psychopaths and mental defectives!


It's National Novel Writing Month, people. I'm writing a book. How about you?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quick Stop at alternate LNS

I had to bring some stuff down to college son. Warm clothes? the stuff we forgot in the back of the car the last time we saw each other?

One the way back I detoured to In Stitches in Alexandria. I knew they had Soie d'alger. And I realized that I needed more of the darker green for my Agnes Scott sampler. Just in case I also bought more of the lighter green and both of the reds.

I spent some time moseying around, poking in corners and perusing the new racks and the sale bins. Didn't find anything that seemed to be a necessity till I turned around and saw - wait I can't tell you what I saw. It seems that someone reads my blog and that would spoil the surprise. Bummer, eh?

Good thing I can share with some friends tomorrow in real life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Okay I Admit I Need More Sleep

I got in exactly 12 stitches on my Agnes Scott sampler. But the good news is that I have finally picked her up again. I truly need to get the stitching finished on this by early January for framing in time for the Woodlawn Needlework competition. I see that I need some more green silk. Wondering why multiple skeins needed wasn't noted on the pattern.

Today is the start of perfecting my drywall techniques. First coat is on. Tomorrow will be initial sanding and second coat. But I've got to fit in a trip to DS's college as I have things he needs. Like more warm clothes maybe?

The other crisis is DD's laptop died. Well, it didn't so much die as refuse to accept a charge. We're shipping her a new one.

And I am serious about this year's NaNoWriMo. That's National Novel Writing Month for the undereducated. I've been reading Les Edgerton's book, Hooked. I've got two days to finalize my plot. Time is running out. This man has a past. Apparently providing him with lots of writing materials. How many middle-aged familymen have served time and been a hairdresser?

How Does it Feel?

to win the World Series twice in the same decade? Pretty darn good, I'd say. I'm speechless.

*clapping* for everyone that is getting their furniture free from Jordans! Think they'll do this promotion again next year?

And that was some football game, too. As for the whiny Redskins complaining that the Pats were just running up the score - this is PROFESSIONAL football! If you don't want that to happen, you have an entire game to prevent it. What were the Pats supposed to do? stop playing?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

October 28th

Is this the day? One more win...

I confess that DH and turned off the TV with the score at 6-5 last night. Woke up this morning and loved the results.

I am amazed that we may win a World Series on the backs of 2 rookies, at our house known as Sparky (Dustin Pedroia) and after that steal the other night, Tacoby (Jacoby Ellsbury.)

I will get in some stitching time this afternoon as the Patriots welcome the Redskins to the Razor.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Bracelet close up

 

I'm ready, Mr. DeMille...
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Square Stitch Bracelet

 

This is an EGA petit project. We did the class in September. Our teacher made us the buttons for the closure out of Fimo. I kind of fudged the other end to suit me.
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Tall Turkey Finish

 

Only took a week to do this little one. It's by Cecelia Turner of Heart in Hand. Fabric is Tobacco Belfast, threads are GAST.
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Friday, October 26, 2007

DH Stayed Up with Me

Kind of tough to go to bed when the score is 2-1.

What amazed me was to wake up this morning and find that BC had pulled out a win of Virginia Tech. Madness, I tell you. Madness.

Of course all week here in the papers and on the local news it's all been about the Patriots vs. Redskins. I wore my Pats sweatshirt yesterday while out and about on errands. People were much nicer to me than I expected. If it's cool enough, I'll wear it again on Monday. LOL

I got two finishes to post - where's the camera? Lack of sleep...is hurting my performance. I'll get to it soon.

And I started my ornament for my LNS's Christmas tree that gets donated to charity. We're stitching Blue Ribbon Designs "Red Letter Ornaments." I've got the rocking horse.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

stitching bloggers question

I still see these occasionally and answer accordingly. But I'm not into doing things on a regular basis apparently.

What proportion of your stitching is for your own personal use versus gifts?

For many years I stitched almost entirely for gifts. Then I got to this one piece (for my MIL whom I love) that sucked all the joy out of stitching for me. It affected me so much that I didn't really stitch for 2 years. Two years! As I slowly came back around to stitching I realized that I was through with stitching for others and that I was only going to stitch for myself. That was 10 years ago. Now I stitch what I love. What calls to me. WHATEVER I WANT.

I still throw in the occasional gift piece. But only if I truly want to do it.

But the question didn't ask about other stitching not for oneself. I've done model pieces for my LNS this year. And am about to stitch some ornaments that go on a Christmas tree to raise money for charity.

And though I am amazed at the stitching some of you do for each other in various exchanges and RRs, I have declined to participate because I like how things are working for me now.

Hey, what a game last night!

So what if I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. and will likely do the same again tonight. Totally worth the lack of sleep. I hope teachers all over Red Sox Nation are being nice to the grumpy sleepless children this morning.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Skill

Here's something I've never done before and now I have. Insulated a wall.

We had these two holes in our office wall from late last winter where the pipe to outside faucet froze. Now we have one big hole. But the drywall is cut, thanks to DH. And on Monday I caulked the cracks, insulated the pipe, and put insulation in the wall. This would have easier without the pipe and electrical outlet, but I managed. Yesterday I moved out the bookcases and CD cases and all their contents. We need to put up the drywall, prime it, and then I can move on to painting the room.

When handling insulation, especially if you are cutting it to fit, do as they recommend. Wear long sleeves, gloves, face mask, and protective eye wear.

World Series, Baby

Ah. The joy of knowing the season isn't over yet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

About that Free Furniture...

From the WBZTV website by reporter Peg Rusconi:

Along with bragging rights, some Red Sox fans have a lot riding on a possible World Series win for the team.

What might have seemed like a long shot back in April could turn out to be a monster deal for some of the Fenway faithful after a Jordan's Furniture promotion promised free furniture to customers back in April.

The promotion, pitched by Jordan's Eliot Tatelman, said anyone who bought sofas, dining room tables, sectionals, beds and mattresses during a week in April, will get the furniture for free should the Red Sox win this year's World Series. Tatelman now calls it the most fun promotion he's ever done.

"It's reached the point that wherever I go, whether it's a restaurant, or I'm stopped in the street, it's, 'I bought a mattress from you or a sofa from you and with the Red Sox, I'm gonna have this free,'" Tatelman said.


According to Jordan's current advertisement, more than 30,000 people may get a reimbursed for their furniture purchases if the Red Sox win the World Series.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

WooHoo

We're going to the World
Series.

But I think Coco hurt himself catching that last ball.

Go Red Sox! Bring it on, Rockies.

And on Saturday

Today was about being an EGA evangelical. We had a table set up in one of the local libraries and 4 of us at a time, sat there and stitched and answered questions. We all brought a project or two for showing off and distributed our literature.

My Tall Turkey project is a kit by Heart in Hand, Celia Turner, from 1998. It came with the fabric and button and I had all the GAST in my stash. I've got the head stitched and 3 feathers. Love the colors. That's what drew me to this piece to begin with.

Today was also about demolition. DH removed drywall in the office. And we went to Home Depot and bought some insulation and dry wall. Need to patch our big hole before I can paint. I started removing things from the room. But there's so much stuff. Oy.

Where we Stayed

Got a deal at the Woods Resort in Hedgesville, WV. Sat on our balcony and watched the ducks in the pond. Drank some wine. Had a lovely dinner. Had a whirpool tub big enough for two...

Then watched the Red Sox win game 5 behind the pitching of Josh "You Da Man" Beckett.

Where we Went Next

In the morning after a superb breakfast (I think my sausage was made right down the road - it was incredible), we headed off to Cumberland, MD. Destination: the Western Maryland Railroad.




This is the engine, Mountain Thunder, a steam locomotive built in the early 1900's. It's a scenic tour through the mountains to Frostburg. I even got a few stitches in on my Tall Turkey while waiting for the train to leave.

What we Saw




Dad, this cows for you. LOL

It might be a National Park, but there are cows and cornfields just like in 1862.

Clara Barton, Red Cross founder, made her first battlefield appearance here at Antietam. On the CD there's a harrowing story of her holding up the head of a wounded soldier to give him a drink when she feels a tug on her sleeve. A bullet passed between her arm and body and killed the soldier she was ministering to.

What we Did

We left home on Thursday morning and headed off to the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD. I chose the back way through northern VA and WV rather than taking the Interstate. Love those twisting and winding and hilly roads. Feels like I'm home in NH. I had visited Antietam 2 years ago with my son, but DH had not been there. We had the History Channel's autotour on CD. In one day at Antietam, over 22,000 Americans died. One day. For comparison, there are just over 55,000 names on the Vietnam War Memorial. This is a photo of the Sunken Lane where over 5,000 soldiers died in the afternoon.



This is Burnsides Bridge. Kind of an ironic name. He could have pushed on and totally decimated the Confederate troops here, but he didn't. This was September of 1862. Things might even have ended here.

Question for Glenna

Narrowing things down - do you live in the Woodbridge area? Any news on whether the Three Sisters is ever going to get to reopen somewhere?

My son is a freshman at Mary Washington and I have always liked the shop in Fredericksburg so now I have both opportunity and motive for visiting Everything Cross Stitch. She's got a lot of stuff packed in that little store. And the owner is such a sweetheart. I keep meaning to stop at the bead shop on rt 17 - I don't even know what town that is. And I hear there is a good quilt shop for me to visit also.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Chose

Went thru the boxes of UFO's and kitted projects and picked a brand new one. It's from a couple of years ago - it's a very colorful turkey. And I'm sitting here typing while my feet are soaking so I can do a quick pedi otherwise I'd run upstairs and figure out if this was Bent Creek or Twisted Threads or whoever. It came with tobacco road linen and a big pumpkin button. I had already pulled the GAST for it. Started it last night while watching John Steward and Stephen Colbert. (A quick search of Hoffman and I didn't find the pattern. Oh well. Will post what the design is next time.)

I may be able to stitch some in the car. I never know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Has anyone seen?

The Drawn Threads new sampler, the Riddle? I like it. But I'm on a stash diet of sorts.

Little League by Country Cottage Needleworks? We've been watching Ken Burn's Baseball dvds. I can see doing this with slight modification.

Something in Common, Winter Cardinal? This would be for my MIL. But not this year. That's for sure.

Our EGA chapter is going to go sit in the lobby of one of our local libraries on Saturday. I am supposed to bring something to be stitching on and a finished project. Because I just finished the Halloween Fairy, I can't decide what to bring. Argh. I've got what, 35 UFOs? You'd think one of them would suit me.

Will not post for a couple of days. DH and I are headed off to see battlefields and ride steam trains and have lovely dinners and maybe massages? Who knows. The possibilities are limitless.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halloween Fairy Finish

 

Okay. Second attempt at posting my finish. I'm getting an error message on running scripts...

Finished Priscilla last evening. I am very happy with her. Did not change a single thing. Which is decidely odd for me. I did compare some other beads, but went with what was in the kit.

And a *cheer* for Jenn who finished hers last Friday!
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Priscilla Progress

 

I did not get to stitch as much as I thought I would yesterday. I managed to put the beads in on the hem of her skirt and that's all.

An aside: I usually bead while sitting at the table, but want to bead sitting in my chair. I thought maybe I'd buy a lap desk. But I didn't like the ones that I found. I went into Michael's and bought a plywood board that reaches across my chair. And some of that foam stuff that they cut shapes and stuff out of. I found that I can put my vellux blanket on top of the foam and it doesn't move. I thought that maybe I might make a fabric bottom for this and fill it with foam peanuts or something. But at the moment it's working the way it is.
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Friday, October 12, 2007

woohoo

Yesterday I finished all the stitching on Priscilla. Today it's on to the beads. Picture forthcoming as soon as she's finished.

This means that it's time to pick up my Agnes Scott sampler if I am to have any chance of finishing her in time to enter her in the Woodlawn show next March. The goal is to have her finished by mid-January in order to leave time for framing.

Of course at 4 o'clock this morning, after having been wakened by a nightmare (wtf was that about?), other things in my stash were calling to me. In particular, there's this piece with a unicorn... What kind of year is this? Sea gods, fairies, and now unicorns? Suddenly I feel like I'm 13 again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Info

For Sureina who commented on my Priscilla Progress:

It's a Mirabilia kit of the Halloween Fairy. She's a limited edition. If you have trouble locating her, I can put you in touch with a place that has her for sale.

I didn't get much stitching accomplished yesterday. Put in a couple of threads on Priscilla and that was it. No beading either. My bad.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Waa

No baseball till Friday. (And very soon, none at all till spring training.) But the good news is someone said if I planned a trip to spring training, he wouldn't say no. That would be seriously awesome. Good news is my mother lives about one hour north of Fort Myer. Just need to find cheap airfare.

Red Sox versus the Indians. There is a bit of history there. Should be good. Very good. Francona even played for the Indians as did his dad.

Off to look at paint chips for our office. We're going to get new furniture here. Enlarge the desk by quite a lot so that it works for everything we want to do. And new bookcases. Courtesy of IKEA. Not going to be an easy project, but college freshman gets to come home for a bit this weekend, so we'll be using his muscle.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Good Night

So it is not only Nats that can cause problems in baseball. It's the gnats. That was some sight at the Jake watching Joba Chamberlain et al fight off the midges. Glad that was happening in Cleveland and not Boston. And eventually the Yankees lost.

And today Manny is da man! Nice timing on his first home run at the Fens since July. But I gotta say that Jonathan Papelbon scares me. He's a bit intense. I would not want to the batter facing that stare. Then there's that crazed look in his eyes while dancing around Manny at homeplate.

I love October.

Friday, October 05, 2007

When We Lett Home

When we left home last night, the Yanks were up by 1-0. But we had tickets to see a guitarist we love, Ed Gerhard. Came home to see that A-Rod has still not delivered in the postseason and that Kenny Lofton may be 40, but he's got young arms and legs.

For Cubbies fans, what can I say? I feel your pain. I've felt your pain. If 99 is the magic number, these guys had better wake up.

And wow - the Rockies. When we were in San Diego last summer and saw 2 out of the 3 games against the Red Sox, we were sure we were seeing a preview of the World Series. Who knew the Rockies would come on so strong at the end?

Nuf baseball. Wait. I forgot to mention that on Wednesday I found the Dropkick Murphy's CD with Tessie on it at Borders. I figured that was a good omen.

Okay. On to other things. Like music. We bought Ed's new CD, Sunnyland. Haven't listened to all of it yet, but loved what we heard on the way home. This was a concert/slash Breedlove guitar clinic. The two Breedloves he's playing now sound magnificent.

And now for stitching. Or more specifically here's a short tribute to someone I'm getting to know. She's about to turn 80. Her stitching love is crewel. Even with some problems with one eye, she can see well enough to turn out beautiful work. We met because she came into the shop looking for help with her first counted cross stitch piece ever. That's right. She was learning a new stitching technique at 79. She didn't like the colors in this kit she had and the shop owner helped her pick out new ones. They included some metallics. And she turned out a lovely piece. But it wasn't easy for her and she's back to her crewel work now. Though yesterday she bought a sampler to stitch for her granddaughter. She's intent on making sure all her children and grandchildren have something that she made. She's joined our weekly Thursday morning stitching group and is a wonderful addition. She's a cancer survivor, a Navy wife, a nurse, and a great joy to be around. Happy Birthday, and here's to many more. I'm looking forward to sitting and stitching with her for a long time.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

If You Dislike Baseball

You had better stop reading.

This is where I admit how my life has been overtaken by the Red Sox and this game they play with a little round sphere.

If I think about this (not bothering to look), I made one baseball post for opening day way back in April. I may have mentioned the Red Sox once or twice during the season. But I made no all baseball posts.

But it's the second season now and screw that.

Beckett - you da man! That was awesome.
Phillies fans - look out - apparently the Rockies are continuing their steamroll in the postseason.
Cubbies fans - you have only Lou Pinella to blame. What's will pulling Zambrano?

This is the second year that we purchased MLB for our viewing pleasure. Last year, it on cable, this year we've got satellite and added the sports pack so we get NESN all the time (except when the baseball nutjobs shut us out.)

This means we watch nearly every single game. That's a 162 game season. I haven't resorted to recording a game when out of the house. But I missed only a handful of games.

Yes, I live for this.

I blame my grandfather...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm Not Ready for Ambien

But this is the second night that I woke up 1:30 a.m. and I'm just plainly not interested in falling back asleep. How awfully annoying. Downstairs I go and turn on TV. I fall back asleep around 4:30. Which means that tonight I will most likely resort to caffeine in order to watch the Red Sox/Angels. Which will just exacerbate the problem I'm sure.

Meanwhile, I did pick up the Halloween Fairy, Priscilla, (my name for her, not designer's name) yesterday and started on the left wing. Also beaded a tiny bit before getting dinner ready.

And be jealous everyone. I bought new shoes yesterday. Good old chucks - black with cherries and daisies. I could have survived without the flowers, but I had to have the cherries.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Celestial Finish

 

I may try to get a slightly more in focus picture, but for now, here it is.

This is Keslynn's Celestial done on fabric instead of canvas and stitched with different threads.
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It's About the Baseball

It's shaping up to be an interesting post season. Look out, it's Soxtober!

I'm feeling blue for those whose teams didn't make it. Mets fans? What can I say? That was the worst. Phillies fans - you all looked so freakin' happy at the end of the game yesterday. It was fun just to watch you all celebrate.

Okay, Angles of Anaheim. Bring it on.

Anyone else think a Cubbies/Red Sox World Series would be fun?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

MIssed Goal

I can pretty well see that I'm going to miss my goal of finishing, Priscilla, the Halloween Fairy by the end of September. All because I picked up that shop model to stitch. Which makes me realize that I don't possibly have time to stitch Mirror, Mirror for a Christmas present - it makes more sense to do that as a birthday gift next September. Because I truly need to finish Agnes Scott if I'm going to stand a chance of getting her finished in time for Woodlawn. Which was my one big goal for the year.

I was never great with deadlines. Especially self-imposed ones.

And in other news:

Three cheers for the Orioles beating the Yankees last night. The Red Sox win the AL East and are division champs for the first time since 1995!

Of course, on the other hand I am so bummed that the baseball season is coming to a close. Football just doesn't do it for me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Don't you Just Love a Sale?

Needlewoman East in Falls Church, VA was having its 30th anniversary sale this week. I made sure I had time to stop by today. I picked up 2 sets of stretcher bars that I need and then moved on to the fibers. More Needle Necessities, just because. And some Impressions in black and white and off whites for the canvas at bought in La Jolla this summer. Picked up the Stitches for Effect book. Now I just need the other 2 books. Then went down the street to the brand spanking new Penzeys Spices that opened recently. So much more satisfying to visit this store in person as opposed to buying via catalog. All those lovely smells. Used the Tuscan Spice blend on our grilled salmon this evening and I loved it.

Bought my White Beads

Bought my white beads yesterday for the daisy bracelet. And a narrower gauge wire than I already have for making these beaded ribbon things, though I should so do the spider first 'cause Halloween is coming soon. Will have to go back and check the website where I got those patterns - I'm sure there are tons more by now. Don't remember what it is off the top of my head, but will try to remember to post a link here tomorrow.

What else did I buy at the bead store? I'm sure there was something else.

I slept in today till nearly 10:00 a.m. That's unheard of in my world. I'm nearly always awake by 6:00 a.m. for no good reason.

I did pick up a random number of Needle Necessities yesterday at the shop as they are officially going out of business. The rumor I'm hearing is that their main dyer is going to start producing on her own. But she can't use their formulas. So don't expect things to be exactly the same. I need to go through my pile of projects and make sure there's nothing I absolutely need.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

argh

Sorry about not posting. Having a particularly bad time this month and my brain is not working properly. Not enough sleep. Etc. Etc.

So.

Haven't stitched as much as I wanted to this week. But I've got nearly all the silk finished on Celestial. Another 1/2 hour or so of stitching and the only thing left will be the metallic. Which is Petit Treasure Braid. Which I don't mind working with at all.

Yesterday was EGA meeting day - I went to both morning and evening meetings. The project is a square stitch bracelet done with black, yellow, orange and white beads. And a few green beads. It's candy corn and pumpkins. I figured it out right away leaving most people except one other beader in the dust. I thought it was funny that none of us had tried square stitch before. Peyote and brick, yes. I already started another bracelet with daisies on a blue background. I just need to stop at the beading store and buy some white beads.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Slow, slow, slow

Would like to just sleep the day away. I want to be my cat today. I could just pretend to be him??? A little nap. Roll over. More sleep. Get a drink. Nothing new in the food dish. Find a sunny spot. Take a bath. Another nap. Play with a wine cork. Lick a spot on the floor. Streeeeetch. Run up the stairs. Meow. Run down the stairs. Meow. Curl up in basket and sleep on head. Stand up. Streeeeeetch. Turn around. Curl up on other side in basket. Ah the good life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What I'm Doing

What I'm doing that may prevent me from stitching:

sewing a sleeve for a curtain rod on the back of an Afghani rug that DH brought back from the Middle East in 1998.

I've got about 12 inches attached, it's about 44 inches wide and I need to handsew on the both the top and bottom. It's killing my hand. Not to mention the darn thing is heavy. I think I'll try working on it on a table later. It's so hard to push that needle through the tightly woven wool.

JCS Ornament Issue '07

Okay. I retract yesterday's comment about pages numbers for the photos on the direction pages. I see them now. For some of them. Not for all of them. One year they used bold type for the photo page number. Those of us who are getting older appreciate that. I like being able to flip back and forth quickly without a lot of hunting around.

I'd give this issue a C+. My initial reaction was that there were only two must stitch these ornies. Monsterbubbles' Eiffel Tower and Jemini Designs' Woodlands Woodpecker.

Starting on page 10, the first page of designs - all kind of red and green with the majority showing stockings. Boring, boring, boring. The sampler goddess in me likes the Hands to Work sampler style design, but not enough to stitch it. The flat ornament finishing instructions that are used to finish the bellpulls from the Sweetheart Tree and Julia Lucas Designs are extremely generic. And not useful if you follow them literally. Thistle Threads is still flogging their Tokens and Trifles perforated paper shapes, but couldn't she have designed something pretty instead of a tartan plaid with that lime green color? Props to Legacy Designs for using a different technique - darning stitch, but I'd have used a darker green than GAST Grape Leaf.

Page 12 - Red and Green. M Designs - wait isn't that a third version of a no-bake cookie? Noel in the Tree - it's different, but not for me. Nordic Needle , I kind of like this one. Colors work. Moss Creek's Goodwill Horse. Is this the only designer who got a whole two pages? I like it. It's different in a good way. Everything else on this page is boring.

Page 14 - Brittercup's Poinsettia - now she's doing for flora what she's done for fauna. Good job. But someone should have stopped her story about there being no Santa. Scrooge. The Workbasket's Christmas House - cute and an interesting finishing technique with the felt. Homespun Elegance - it's trying to appeal to sampler goddess but the addition of charms makes it a no-no. Crowns and reindeer? What was she thinking? La-D-Da's Yule Flower. Simple, but elegant. Would make a lovely necklace. But could we have photographed this piece stitched on dark fabric against something light? I missed it entirely the first 3 times I looked through this magazine.

Page 16 - The Santa Page. Can I just run away screaming? Let's see. Santa has things growing out of his head. Looks like he's carrying a bag of plum pudding. Is making scary eyes at Rudolph. Has a big, big nose. Is wearing nerd glasses. I'll admit to sort of liking Twisted Oaks Santa in the Moon. But that's simply my love of red talking. Missing the number 9, but I think we can figure it out.

Page 18 - On to the trees. Umm. Erica Michael's Quiet Night is pretty. There are two number 5s because they put in two pieces from Follow the Leader. But didn't put them together in the photograph. What a dumb idea.

Page 20 - Shepherd's Bush Printworks. "their sweet baby kept?" Kept what? the English major in me is cringing. What were they trying to say here? And a broccoli recipe for Christmas? Come on. Get real. Cross Eyed Cricket - "Keeping Watch" Mitten.
What does a mitten have to do with the shepherds keeping watch? It's a pretty mitten. Why spoil it with buttons? Forget-Me-Not in Stitches. Good execution. Love seeing the nun stitch. Country Cottage Needleworks - boring, but okay. I think I have a huge problem though with her chosen version of Luke 2:14 - "and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." I may come back to this another day. Little by Little Merry and Bright - another design that would benefit from being photographed against a lighter background.

Page 22 - Yeah for Monsterbubbles. Not afraid to show us something non-traditional. Love it. Boo for Charlotte's Web My Mum's Doll - because she's scaring me. Poor Imaginating - the design is one page and the floss guide is on the next page. Bad layout design, people.

page 24 - I'd being stitch both the woodpecker and the cardinal. The Stitchworks' Penguin is cute if you're into Happy Feet.

page 26 - for the most part - the angel pages. Wee Works' Golden Angel. Ugh. Token and Trifles mixed with a scrapbooking angel head and wings. It looks wrong. Charlotte's Collectibles' Hope Angel. How very precious moments. How pink. How sick.
Midsummer Night Designs' Christmas Angel - if I was going to stitch an angel, it would be this one. Prairie Moon's Joy - someone did a great finishing job. The Sunflower Seed - the name of this design is A Star, A Star not Christmas Poinsettia. Are there no copy editors working on this issue? Gentle Pursuit Designs - another one whose graph and stitch guide got separated. Also finishing instruction page numbers are wrong. And there are no real directions for how they attached the ribbon.

page 28 - Were these two pages designed for people who veered away from red and green? I love the Little House's Snow Bunnies. The Victorian Sampler gets 2+ pages. Nice to see something challenging.


So what's missing here? Not a single design for Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Festivus. I, personally, think this says something.

Next year please hire a copy editor. Please?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

JCS Ornament Issue '07

I've had the issue for nearly one week now. My first comment would be - I don't know how you managed to make this mistake again, but if you're looking at a chart, there is no page number there so you can quickly reference the picture. They've made this mistake before and then corrected it with a subsequent issue. Can't believe they let it slip again.

Will comment on the designs tonight or tomorrow. I'll do it before reading any blogs as I've haven't read a review yet and you'll get my unfiltered opinion.

Dead Battery

Need to recharge the camera battery otherwise I'd have a progress picture. I brought home a spare piece of fabric a few weeks ago from the shop. Owner had started something on it and didn't like how it was turning out. She'd picked out her stitches and was trying to decide on a different fiber when we realized instead of trying to stitch in red, she should stitch in white on a red fabric. I picked out a design that would fit on this piece of fabric - whose name escapes me. Something Potato? I'll ask on Thursday. But the shop was missing 2 of the 4 fibers so I changed the colors.

It's Keslynn's Celestial which can be seen here: http://keslyns.com/images/large/celestaillg.jpg

The original is stitched on canvas. And my colors are more towards turquoise.
Waterlilies "Peacock"
Crescent Colours "Bunny Honey"
Soy Lustre "Shadows"
and a gold Petit Treasure Braid

This is the first time I've used a Soy Lustre and it's very nice. Subtle shading and it has a good feel and great coverage.

Monday, September 17, 2007

RIP, Robert Jordan

Thank you for the wonderful world of the Wheel of Time. You'll be sorely missed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Still Here

Just haven't been online much in the past few days. Real life interferes sometimes. Which is a good thing.

I'm off to play with my sewing machine. Wish me luck. The poor baby is probably going to be tempermental - been a long time since it had a check-up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Priscilla Progress pic

 

Okay. Sorry I didn't get to post this yesterday. But this is where I'm at right now. Working on the leaves at her feet. And then I'll start working on the left wing. She's kinda lopsided this way, isn't she?
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A One Winged Wonder

I've finished one wing on Priscilla. And to see if my decision to stitch her wings in blocks instead of just straight across made any difference, I did the backstitching last night. I should know better than to ask the man how it looks. He spent the rest of the night making up compliments after I took offense at his original comment. (I didn't know she was going to be green. Not quite what I was looking for. Good thing I don't need his validation.)

My verdict: it would have been stripy if I had stitched straight across. It accidentally is stripy in some places because of how the colors fell. But I think it was worth the extra time. My fault for choosing to replace my skein with one that had more variation.

Hmmm. Now I'm wondering if I can end another paragraph with a v---tion word. I could choose something easy like vacation? Okay. So like I just typed something as someting and when I do that I hear a certain French Canadian voice in my head. Ah Collette. She sure can talk a blue streak. Let's see, how about vindication? I got sidetracked but haven't totally forgotten what I was doing. But it kind of has to come naturally so I could type sort of stream of consciousness for a bit and see what happens. I could ask if DS has had his last vacination? I could wonder about that vibration? I could ask for an evaluation? Now this is just plain wrong. Maybe I've wondered far enough off the stitching path. Look I am in violation!

The end.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Color Comments on Crescent fibers

Um. What can I say about this? I don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I'm not. But. Her fibers have some wild variations. We've all noticed it at my LNS especially when hanging new fibers. If you compare new to what's already on the rack there are obvious differences. I know overdyeds are supposed to have variations. But. There have been some that are so different you wouldn't think they were the meant to be the same color at all.

I've got a friend who is stitching the Halloween Fairy, too. Her Dandelion Stem green looked nothing like mine. I liked hers better because there was more variation. So I checked the Dandelion Stem in the store. Two older skeins which looked nothing like the newer skeins, which looked nothing like my skein which had come with the kit.

Now. I've got to say that from the first time I stitched with Crescent Colours early this year, I fell in love. The coverage is great. Makes GAST and Weeks look wimpy. And the silks. Wow. I had the pleasure last Thursday of checking off an invoice of her Belle Soie silks. So soft. So pretty. So scrumptious.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Last Week's Finish



Not an easy thing to get a decent photo of - at least when you're me. It's about the size of a quarter. Should have put something beside it for contrast. Sorry. It was early a.m. time.

Photo Time



This is my progress on Priscilla before the Patriots game yesterday. I've gone a bit further up her wing. Just a bit. LOL

Friday, September 07, 2007

WooHoo - Another Finish

Promise I'll go take a picture...

Finished my little Fledermaus stitching on Wednesday and I sewed it together yesterday morning at stitch-in at my LNS. Very cute.

That means a project moves off the kitted list into the finished projects. Best part is it's not a unfinished finish. I've got a huge stack of projects on which the stitching is done and they sit in a box waiting for me to decide to do something with them. The bat is already attached to my beading scissors. yeah for me!

A big congrats to my sister who got her motorcycle license! She's joking that next comes the CDL...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

stitching blogger's question of the week 9/7/07

Would you ever stitch one of your BAPs a second time? (This does not include starting over because of mistakes, bad fabric, etc., rather stitching something from the first stitch for a second time.)

Just in case anyone is unclear - BAP = big ass project

So my answer is no f*^%in' way. I'm ADD enough to have difficulty finishing large things. I can't imagine trying to stitch one twice. The novelty of the first time is one of the things that gets me through a project. (em, this would be why I don't even bother trying to start things that I think are beautiful but have too much of a single color or things that are rather monochromatic. As much as love the polar bears, tigers, etc. too much gray, brown, white and I'd go out of my mind.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oops

I realized last night I had made a big mistake by leaving out a row on the bat's wing. But the real problem was not realizing this until I was 3/4ths finished with the blending filament. No way am I attempting to frog 30ct over one blending filament and floss. So I will live with my error. I did finish the blending filament which is the moon behind the bat. It looks cute. And I think someone would have to stare at to see the error. Today I need to graph and stitch initials and date on the back. I will take it to stitch-in tomorrow morning to finish with that finishing technique involving backstitching and fleece. Just gotta remember to pull a few beads to dangle the charm from and to make a cord.

Now Fledermaus (literally flutter mouse) if I recall correctly is a comic opera based on a drunken guy showing up at a masked ball dressed as a bat. It's from some earlier farce. People stole plots all the time back in the day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Missed It

Yesterday was the four year anniversary of my first post. Today is post number 802. I know my posting goes in spurts - I bop along posting consistently then something happens IRL and I stop for a week or so. Still, 4 years and 800 posts. I did manage to stick with this whole blogging enterprise fairly well.

(Unlike some people I know. Hint, hint.(If you stitch and think this is aimed at you, you are wrong.))

Gotta say it feels a little weird to not be participating in the ritual back to school thing this year. But I could grow to like it.

As for the stitching thing. Anyone working on the Halloween Fairy, I haven't stitched a thread since Saturday. And may not stitch on Priscilla again today. I picked up my little Fledermaus (translation: bat) scissor fob yesterday. Did the outline and most of the bat. I started by stitching the body and eyes. Then moved on to the wings and forgot what I was doing and started stitching with 2 threads instead of 1. Decided I liked how it looked and that I didn't want to frog it. So the wings and ears will be fuller than the body. But I'm so looking forward to the Kreinik bit - not. Two strands of yellow for the moon and there is a fair amount of it. Patience will be required.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Not So Bad

I just finished my database. I probably have missed one or two small projects because I didn't go check in my stitching bag, I just relied on my memory.

The totals for UFO's are not as bad as I feared.

I've got 137 projects that are completely or partially kitted.

I've got 30 UFO's.

Phew. I thought that number was much higher. But I have been working on older things this past year or so and I'm sure that helped.

As a reward (and to tease someone next week at stitch-in) I'm going to start my Fledermaus scissor fob. I've had this kitted for 3 years or so. I remember finding it at the shop in Poughkeepsie and it took me a while to locate all the threads I needed and the R & R eggplant fabric. I didn't go for the pumpkin charm that the designer used, but I found a silver spider. Even better.

Over one. Break out the magnifier!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Announcing a New Blog

This one is aimed at anyone with an interest in cooking. But especially at certain people with an interest in my cooking. Rae, pass this along to Al. Hiya, Memphis Boy!



http://plentyofzest.livejournal.com/

Further Organization

Okay. So all the projects that are started, or kitted even partially are in three bins. One for large projects. One for small Christmas projects, and one for small projects.

I just finished typing up a database of all the small projects. All 73 of the. I didn't count how many of these are actual UFOs. I'm saving that task for later. Boy, my hands are complaining.

I feel I'll be dipping into these bins frequently to keep up my pledge on no new projects. And maybe tomorrow I'll get around to the bin of large projects. That's the one that is gonna kill me. I want to do them all. That's why they are there.

Halloweeeeny Fairy

I'm making great progress. I've got her wings, leaves beside her feet, backstitching and beading to go.

A note about her wings: I think in the photo, the Dandelion Stem green looks stripey.
My plan, and this is not original with me, is to stitch each section of the wing between the backstitching separately in order to make it look more like a natural wing. Of course this adds fractional stitches to my work load. But Priscilla is such a pleasure to work on that I won't mind a bit.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Taken Down by a Bug

Help. I've got some darn pesky little thingies upsetting my digestive system.

At least this morning the Immodium seems to be working.

Poor DH had to make his own supper last night. (yeah, I know. It's good for him. Builds character and all. But I did feel bad for him. He's used to much better quality food.)

but I did finish organizing fibers, fabric, and kitted projects, UFO's, and miscellaneous stuff for stitching.

I went thru the ornament cuts and got ruthless. Way too many little pieces floating around with the idea that I could do something with them. Including plenty of Aida pieces from back in the day. They are no longer in my house.

I kept all large Aida pieces and I've got a rainbow of colors = blue, red, black, green, yellow, purple, all shades of white, cream, fiddlers and fiddlers lite. Lots of Hopscotch fabric. I've got Vinyl Weave, waste canvas. Prefinished items with Aida all set to have a design stitched on them.

And the linen. Oooh, the beautiful linen. Got a couple small pieces of 45 and 50ct. Italian stuff. I've got a rainbow of colors here, too. Belfast, Dublin, Lakeside, Picture This Plus. So fun to fondle.

All the DMC are back in order in their flossaway bags. Weeks, GAST, Crescents, silks, Needle Necessities, metallics, flower threads are all sorted. Their respective databases most likely need updating. But that is a project for another day.

Ultimate goal. Make a list of UFO's and kitted projects. Do not start anything new without finishing something from that list first.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Childless = not half bad

DD has the temerity to suggestion that without her presence DH and I will have nothing to talk about.

Phooey on you, girl!

Even if it has been more than 20 years since we had an extended period of time alone...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mirabilia Halloween Fairy

 


I've named her Priscilla. And I'm saving her mask for last.

I'm enchanted. Can hardly wait to use some of the orange and greens.
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Ginger and Spice

 

This is my butterlfy finish from 2 weeks ago. The design is in an old Ginger and Spice leaflet of Arts and Crafts designs. I changed the fiber from DMC to Crescent Colours. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this, but here it is.
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