Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So by now most of you have probably heard the 'rumors' about DMC declaring bankruptcy. A lot of the news articles are in French. But I found one site that has them declaring bankruptcy in 2006. That's right. Two years ago. French law and American law are not necessarily the same thing.

Read the Don't Panic take on it by whizgidget wonders.

I like Anchor better anyway...

pics from the ball game

We were at the park on Jackie Robinson Day. Unveiling his retired number in the new stadium.
I love baseball!
Wily Mo at bat. He hit two singles, but no one could bring him home...
Poor Teddy. He pulled up lame in Presidents' race.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Too Tired

Was trying to stitch on my baseball biscornu - thanks to Anna for a great idea! - yesterday while watching the Red Sox in an afternoon game and I literally couldn't keep my eyes open. Did not make much progress. Sad, isn't it?

Game ended. Then we went to Best Buy and Barnes & Noble and did the old-fashioned thing - bought CDs. Also bought Wiffle Ball for the DS and Diner Dash for the computer. Got a Cake, a Smithsonian Folkways, two Gato Barbieri, and a Charlie Mingus CDs. Sometimes we still like our music the old way. What can I say? Came home and made a lovely dinner of pan-seared salmon, fingerling potatoes and mushrooms, and salad with fresh mozerella.

Posting is about to become spotty for a few days - time for the annual trip to retrieve DD from college. We only get to have her at home for less than 2 weeks, then she is off to Alaska where she'll be participating in a research project on stickleback fish. I leave on Wednesday and I guess we're returning on Sunday.

Now I'm off to catch up on the laundry. And other housework. And I need to return the shop keys. Darn.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Five Ws

Gacked from B at Mainely Stitching:

Who taught you to stitch, and were there any special circumstances or memories surrounding this?

I first learned stitching sitting at my grandmother's knee. She wasn't an expert, but rather a jack-of-all-trades so I got a taste of machine sewing, knitting, crocheting, and a bit of handsewing. I participated in that great crewel revival of the late 60s early 70s where we all adorned our jeans and jackets and anything else that wasn't moving. The cross stitch thing came later, at age 26 when an Army wife from South Carolina introduced me to it in Germany. We were so desperate for supplies that we started a shop inside a craft consignment shop. I was blown away when I returned stateside and walked into In Stitches in Alexandria, VA.

What’s your favorite thing to stitch? (A project, a kind of stitching, etc.)

I admit to having a "thing" for samplers. I enjoy multiple stitches/techniques.

Why do you stitch?

Because I have to.

When is your special stitching time?

No special time. Though I tend to do a lot while watching the Red Sox - I love satellite tv.

Where is your special stitching place? (An accompanying picture would be great!)

My chair in the living room. Though sometimes, depending on the project, I sit at the dining room table.

I've got no photos of me stitching. But on the table beside my lunch leftovers I see a bit a thread and my page up for holding a chart. The big guy is Elvis.


This was taken at the very end of the cherry blossom bloom here in D.C. two weeks ago.
I've finally taken pics off the camera...

I had a great time in the shop yesterday. If the ladies from Maryland are reading this - Hello!
And welcome. The exact name of that yahoogroup is - "2muchxs_finishing."

My friend and I muddled through and I think the only lady who left unsatisfied was the one checking for a special order she had just placed and then came back looking for a type of yarn we don't carry.

Yesterday left me no time for browsing. I picked an orange and a green Anchor to see if I want to stitch my blackwork pumpkin in color. I keep waffling between color and black. Which means I'll just try both and see what looks better. I was in the midst of attempting to pick colors for some blackwork flowers when business picked up and I never got back to them. Maybe I should pick fabric first anyway.

Today will be all gloomy and colder and maybe rainy? Bleh.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shop Time

I had a fairly quiet day at the shop yesterday. Periods of activity followed by periods of quiet.

So I vacuumed up all the loose threads, even did the stairs. I did such a thorough job I had turn up the AC as I was sweating.

Then I priced and put away some orders.

Then I put together chart packs for the shop owner for her designs that she sold through the Online Needlework show.

Then I watched the boxes pile up from DHL, UPS, and USPS. I'm not opening them because most of them are orders from the show.

When it got quiet in the late afternoon, I sat down and charted my blackwork pumpkin for a class I'm going to teach in October.

In all this, I was cutting fabric for customers which can be a tiny bit challenging for me. Got to find the "right" fabric. Determine the size needed. Cut appropriately. All the other customer service things are easy enough.

I had time to browse through the hardanger charts and the canvasworks charts - two areas I don't usually spend that much time on, but I'm expanding my horizons.

I also started stitching a kissing pillow which one of our EGA chapters community outreach projects.

I had my DH meet at the shop after work and we went out for dinner at a great Asian place.
All in all, a very satisfying day.

Today should be much busier. I've got a friend coming in to help me. Between us, we'll muddle along. I shouldn't be able to screw things up too badly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Have What I Always Wanted

Ha! I've got the keys to a needlework shop!

The owner and the manager are going away for a weekend retreat at Gettysburg. And I get to run the shop today and tomorrow.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Company Gone

I wish he could have stayed longer. But a quick visit is better than no visit.

The weather was certainly beautiful here last night for a baseball game. The new stadium is pretty darn nifty. The food choices are commendable. The whole Metro experience wasn't taxing. Now if only the Nats had won. They managed to stay in the game thru the 6th inning. But their fielding could use some work. Yeah. That's the problem.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Been Doing some of the Usual

By the usual, I mean the usual stuff people around here do when family/friends come to visit them.

Last night we the Blues Alley Jazz Club in Georgetown to see the US Army Blues Band. They were magnificent. Afterwards we braved the drizzle to visit the FDR Memorial. Reading his words made me realize just how bitter the current state of things makes me feel.

Today it was breakfast in McClean, then off to the National Gallery and the Museum of the American Indian - mostly just for the wild food choices. I had cedar planked salmon with a side of a jicama, pineapple, and tomato salad and another side dish of roasted corn, asparagus and fiddlehead ferns. I love this place! And the Tres Leches for desert was to die for!

We relaxing a bit a home, then it's back in for more monuments by night tonight. At least rain seems to have finally stopped. Tomorrow more touristy stuff followed by a visit to the new stadium to see the Nats play the Mets.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yes, I am posting just to post

BIL arrived yesterday along with the monsoon rains. This low is going to sit over us all day and cause some local flooding and usual traffic accidents.

We had DS home for one night. On Saturday we went to the place they row from which is a marina on Aquia Creek in Stafford. One on side of the marina, there is a boat launch which was extremely busy on a beautiful Saturday morning. The rowing was taking long than DS expected and we went over to the store and bought some popcorn and water and sat down to watch how the other "half" lives. On this side of the marina were the slips with the large, expensive boats. And even better, were the boats that are stored indoors. You can call the marina and they will launch your boat and have a cooler filled with ice waiting for you. Was quite the operation. Son was grateful to spend a night away from school.

Today DH and bro are headed off to the Udvar Hazy Center. Seeing as how I've been there 3 times in the past three years, I'm staying home to do laundry and grocery shopping. And maybe some stitching, eh?

Friday, April 18, 2008

About That Reply

About the online needlework show and Anna's comment about maybe we're getting jaded.

I can identify two factors that contribute to my lack of excitement.

  1. Though I haven't reached full capacity for stash enhancement, I am aware of personal limitations. And mostly that would be the limitation of time. I have more stash than I can stitch in a lifetime. At least I think I do. I know my speed limit and how much I can accomplish. For a design to enter my stash, I must feel compelled towards ownership. It must sing to me. And it can be a silly song or a serious one.
  2. These days I am entering into a period of design it yourself. I've enrolled in the EGA's Master Craftsman course for counted thread work. I've got a couple of quick and easy classes I've been developing. And suddenly I am seeing this world through a different set of eyes. If there's something I need, I can make it myself.

Phew! I Made It!

This should be my thousandth post! I started in September 2004.

Browsed the online needlework show this morning. Saw some interesting things. But nothing that is compelling me to shell out $$$. Check out the Scarlet Thread page - that's my LNS where I hang out. Quite a bit. No seriously. I have a problem. My car can't quit driving there. I'm lucky they tolerate my presence. And I don't spend money every time I'm there. Or we'd be broke.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Warm and Sunny

I should go put some polish on the toes as it's definitely sandal weather today. Though technically I've been wearing sandals for the past week. I prefer barefoot to shoes, but I do love my shoes.

I was so bummed that I found a pair of Chucks at Marshall's that were covered in white sheep with one black sheep near the heal and they were two sizes too big! I wanted those shoes. Darn. Ah well. Sometimes I get lucky and sometimes I don't.

Totally cleaned DS's room yesterday. Went through everything except his dresser. Much to the kitties chagrin I removed several pillows from under the bed and tossed them in the garbage. Bought a new curtain. New sheets. New pillows. New lamps - one of the old ones was rather finicky about when it would work - a consequence of the move from Colorado to NY several years ago. Found some of our music and some of our DVDs. Realized that someone still has all his plastic soldiers and matchbox cars. Of course all the dust made my allergies go off even while I'm taking Zyrtec. I should have used the neti pot and rinsed out my nose. Now the room is ready for visitors.

As for the toy thing. I've got plenty that we plan on keeping. Lots and lots of Legos. Playmobil. Brio. American Girl dolls. Barbie dolls. Micro machines. It's ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ah the garden center

Which is where I spent way too much money.

Even bought new gardening gloves, which weren't cheap. But they are strong, yet thin so I don't constantly feel like ripping them off and flinging them to the ground.

I bought a couple of fuchsia geraniums for the balcony.

Some more flat leaf parsley and mint - some of which survived the winter here even in pots.

Oregano, sage, chives and fennel. And some pansies to brighten up the front until it's time to plant annuals.

So I had a good time playing in the dirt yesterday afternoon. Even cleaned the windows to the balcony and this morning with the sun shining everything is all bright and sparkly.

I found some dark brown fabric and felt guilty for it being made in China, but it was the only solid brown in cotton in that store. That will pair with this cigar print fabric I bought like 2 years ago thinking I'd make a valance for the bar. But last fall we hung red satin drapes in the bar which really adds to the man cave vibe.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nothing New

This photo is from last May? most likely as the azaleas have their dead buds.

Our dear BIL is coming for a visit, arriving on Sunday. At a family gathering, this 50 year old suddenly voiced his jealousy of his wife's weekends away with the girls - she goes away with her sisters and sister-in-laws or her knitting group. The family was astounded that he felt that way and immediately told him, then he should go somewhere.

We're honored to be his first "long weekend" away without wife or kids.

I've got a bit of cleaning and some sprucing up chores to do. I have this fabric and was thinking of making a new curtain for the bedroom he'll be staying in, but realized even doubled this fabric permits too much light to pass. So I'm off this morning to hunt for some dark fabric to back the curtain.

And to purchase a few plants? The warmer weather has me thinking of planting. But I'll just be putting things in pots as it's too early yet for planting in the ground. I'm sure my nice looking nails will soon be all yucky as I can't resist putting my hands in the soil. I'm not a huge fan of gardening gloves unless I'm dealing with poison ivy or some other hazard.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I already had the genealogy box out as I was looking to see how far back to the British Isles we have gone. I can make it to Elizabethan times.

But that means it was easy to see my "found" cousin's birthday and he's 18 years older than me! I had forgotten that the children in this family were spaced out over 15 years. Big spread for 3 kids.

Had fun exchanging e-mails and updating family stuff.

See. The internet isn't just for porn. (I love Avenue Q!)

Plus the internet is great for athletic results:

Our son's boat won the men's varsity Knecht Cup race for Division II/III schools. Impressive.
You'd think he'd call and tell us stuff like this...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Internet Is

The internet is a strange and wonderful thing.

I just "met" my cousin's wife on a sampler group on yahoo. I noticed when she joined that she lived near my hometown. Sent a message. And when she replied that's when I noticed her last name.

Too funny.

I don't think I ever met her. Her husband is my mother's first cousin. He's about 10 years older than me, I think.

We've been exchanging mail as we figured out who we were.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What to Do?

What do you write when you've got nothing on your mind and you're trying desperately to make sure you reach 1,000 posts in April?


Let's see. I could tell everyone that 3 samplers at EGA Headquarters in Louiseville will be featured on the Antiques Roadshow on May 5th.

Or I could highlight a new exhibit at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C.

It's called "Blue." A few years back they did "Red."

from their website:

The exhibition features blue textiles ranging from Greco-Roman and pre-columbian tunic fragments to installations by internationally renowned artists. Hiroyuki Shindo, a Japanese artist who grows and processes his own indigo to produce innovatively patterned textiles, as well as Maria Eugenia Davila and Eduardo Portillo, who raise silkworms and dye threads with natural dyes in Venezuela, highlight the ways that artists around the world are embracing this ancient dye to create works that speak to their own experience.

I'm looking forward to seeing that exhibit given my recent exploration with color. I think I've checked out every book on color and color theory from our library. And coincidentally there is a book called "Blue: The History of a Color "
by Michel Pastoureau which was very enjoyable. I hadn't realized that there was no word for the color blue in the bible.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Looking for

I'm looking for the following design for a friend. If anyone has this in their stash and are willing to part with it, please contact me.

Title: GRADUATION DAY (Leaflet #12)

Designer: Jeanette Barney Rees, trading as Jemini Designs

Publisher: Symbol of Excellence, Birmingham, AL, 1994

Yesterday's Purchase

Colors didn't come out as nice as I'd like.

But the pattern is Tequila & Salt by the Sunflower Seed.
She's a got lovely pattern called the Awakened Soul which would be perfect for someone who has
lost a pet.

The fabric is Winter Wren by Crossed Wing.

And due to my current dislike of Weeks, I changed the threads to Carrie's Creations: electric blue, key lime, gold twist and mardi gras. Ordered smaller buttons as the fabric is 28 ct rather than the called for 18ct.

Even put in two threads worth of stitching last night while watching the Red Sox beat the Tigers.

Stitching Meme

From Kendra's blog via the Stitch Bitch:

  1. How do you hold your fabric? In my left hand. I used to stitch mostly in hand except for large pieces on scroll frames, but due to the influence of a friend I've started using scroll frames again.
  2. Floss licker? Nearly always. LOL
  3. How do you thread your needle? The usual way, I think. Fortunately at 48, I can still see without the need for magnification.
  4. What needle do you like best? Petite needles. Platinum if I want them to last longer than a week.
  5. Are you a needle loser? No. I'm a needleflinger. And if I can't locate it, the needle is LIA - lost in action.
  6. What fabric do you prefer to stitch on? linen. And my favorite linen is Glenshee.
  7. Bobbins or floss bags? Bags. Like my little bags better than anything else I've used. But I'm still waiting for some enterprising person to create the perfect floss storage system.
  8. Are you a scissors collector? The ideal would be a pair a scissors for every project. I guess that makes me a collector. But I'm very far away from my ideal
  9. Do you do your own framing, and if so, do you lace or pin? I have done my own framing, and I lace.
  10. Are you a floss floozy? Wondering what a floss floozy is...but I imagine that I am one.
  11. Silk? Love it. Love it. Love it.
  12. Railroader? Only when reaching for perfection. Always when satin stitching with 2 threads.
  13. Are you a pattern or designer snob? No.
  14. Do you get antsy when you give someone a stitched gift? No.
  15. Have you reached S.A.B.L.E.? Shouldn't the question be when did you reach S.A.B.L.E? In my case that would be more than 10 years ago. Maybe closer to 20.
  16. Do you wash your projects? Some of them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Realized

I just realized.

That I spent as many hours frogging this week as stitching.

And too much of it was out of my control, i.e. not because I made an error.

But it looks like everything is good for making forward progress. Real progress.

And then I go and buy something new...

More details tomorrow 'cause my poor brain just isn't functioning properly and I can't find this pattern with a quick google.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

By Cracky

Big sigh. Huge sigh.

I brought the gingko leaves home with me after consulting with the designer. We all agree that it looks unfinished somehow. Now I've got months to remedy that problem instead of days. Which means I came home and put it away.

And moved back to stitching Indigo Rose's "Betsy" which looks so sweet. How something so small with only five colors can look so good is a testament to good design.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Now There's Something to Celebrate

April 7 marks the 75th anniversary of the official beginning of the end for Prohibition. On the date in 1933, legal beer production resumed in the United States, sparking celebration among brewers and imbibers alike.

I know I would have a been a law breaker if I had lived through Prohibition. I'd have brewing my own.

And in Stitching News:

Okay. The blackwork filling on the four gingko leaves is complete. I have devised several options for a border and will try the easiest one this morning. I'm truly hoping it works, as I would love to be finished with this. I am ready to move on to something else. Oh so ready.

I frogged two leaves completely and changed them. Both times, the frogging was way worse than the stitching. Unintentionally I am learning lots of lessons about designing and about blackwork. Which could serve me well in the future.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


One college rower in the family had success yesterday. Other one, not so good.

Can't win 'em all.

So today we get the rain we should've gotten yesterday. Blah.

Will finish third leaf and am pretty darn sure I'm going to rip the first one and do it over. I'll use that motif for the border. And this should be all I do today as I try to meet that Tuesday deadline.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


I'm boring. And I'm bored.

One more freakin' post about these gingko leaves. May have one or two left to go.

I ripped and restitched the second leaf and started the third leaf. Some of these blackwork fill patterns take four passes. Seems like forever to make progress.

Woke up at 2 a.m. thinking of how to do a border that enhances this thing.

Instead of staying home and working on it, I'm running off with hubby who is in search of a specific bottle of rum as a gift for his departing boss. Might be the closest I get to the cherry blossoms this year. Battery is charging so I'll be prepared in case we stop.

I punted working on the leaves yesterday in favor of some retail therapy.

Here's what I bought at Ross for $99 plus tax:

2 pair of Levi's
1 pair denim capri's
3 short sleeved tops
one king sized blanket
4 placemats
2 leather purses
and 1 leather wallet

I had way more luck there than at TJ Maxx and Marshall's. Yes, I can devise a trip where I hit all three stores and it's about 22 miles round trip from my house. I also stopped at Border's - no new magazines - and Wal-Mart.

I haven't had a day like that in a while. All accomplished in under 4 hours, including a stop for lunch. Now that's power shopping.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Soon, Very Soon

I will be able to post a photo of this model project I've been working by the end of the month.

Yesterday I got the go ahead to continue with the blackwork (regardless of how I felt about it when I woke up. That's fine.)

I nearly completed a fill on a second leaf when I decided I didn't like it and ripped the entire thing out. Took me longer to rip it than to stitch it. Argh.

But a few hours today I should be complete the fillings. Then on to a border design??? Goal is to have it finished by Tuesday.

When I showed up at the shop yesterday morning the designer was not there and I didn't want to continue on the piece without her looking at it. I thought I had "Betsy" with me, but it wasn't in the bag. I picked up the shop round robin of A Most Noble Pursuit. Seven of the ten areas are completed on this piece. I kind of got drafted into maybe stitching one the areas after someone moved. Well, even though the fabric was gridded, there are mistakes. I went to start my square and realized that it was off by one thread. I can't imagine stitching on linen and putting my needle in the wrong hole. It's terribly difficult for my brain to do that. It wants to check that I'm right every time by looking for that vertical thread. Turns out that I could match it up with the square below me and stitch in the right holes. I'm off horizontally, but correct vertically with the other stitched parts. This isn't the only error on the piece. It'll have rustic charm. Yeah, that's it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Interesting, But...

Yesterday I stitched the blackwork filling on one of the leaves. Actually, first I started it. Then I met a fellow stitching buddy for lunch and showed it to her. We agreed the filling needed something. So I ripped what I had done. Flipped the motif and stitched it with two threads instead of one. Then I backstitched it. And that's where I stopped, thinking I needed to consult with the designer.

Woke up this morning thinking it just needs to be ripped and replaced with regular cross stitching.

Not all ideas work out. We'll see what she thinks this morning.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fool Me Once

I will say that I did not click on the google link about their GoogleTime app. But I did wonder how in the hell they were going to do that. Fortunately all was explained to me later while listening to some caller go off on Google on Tech Tuesday. Funny how I forgot the date.

But I did remember it later when reading GRR Martin's livejournal blog about how he was going to end the Song of Fire and Ice series. Good one, George!

I came so very close to finishing the cross stitch portion of my model project last night. I'm probably one thread away from ending. Will do today. And start on the blackwork portion. Unfortunately the Fios guys are still in the neighborhood. They just started the pile driver. May have to resort to going to my LNS later so I can stitch in peace and not endure the migraine inducing noise.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Time to Defend

Again this year I promise to keep the baseball/Red Sox posts to a minimum. (Speaking of which, blogger really should add Sox to their list of words. I'm tired of showing up as a misspelling.)

Go, Red Sox! I'm looking forward to another very interesting year. Like always. It's never boring. As the game starts at 10 p.m. my time, I won't be watching the entire thing. I hate that they're starting out on the west coast.

And as for stitching. Well, the Fios installers are in my neighborhood. And yesterday they were right in my backyard. With the pile driver driving conduit from one hole to another. I've got to say that they were hard workers. But it was giving me a headache. I ran off to the library and to the bookstore when I couldn't stand it anymore. So no real stitching progress yesterday.