Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Da Updatey Stuff

We made it to NH on Monday without any incidents happening to us. We did see someone drive right off I-95 in front of us - a sharp left turn into the median at 75 m.p.h. I hope they were okay. And then a pickup tried to take us out by merging across several lanes at once. Fortunately I was driving and knew that there wasn't anybody in the far left lane behind me. Other than that it was uneventful.

This means Sunday was spent finishing up laundry, cleaning the house, packing, finishing off a bookmark for a gift, etc. The bookmark came out very nicely, except for one tiny issue. I thought when I put this away last year I was finished with the stitching. Instead of checking it closely against the pattern before cutting, I assumed it was finished. Then I cut the sides, top, and bottom only find I hadn't stitched two stitches of green and the bottom green border. Oops. By then I had started stitching the bottom point together and I managed to add in the missing 2 green stitches, but because I had already cut it I didn't have room to finish the green stripe. Oh well. One more lesson learned. Always check a piece carefully against the pattern before beginning finishing.

This morning I had time to sit and finish the embroidery on a canvas piece. I added lady slippers, a pine branch and pine cone, forget-me-nots. Now I need to detach the canvas from the stretcher bars and cut and assemble and do the final finishing stitches. Then I started a hardanger piece, but need to swing by somewhere and find some perle #8 that matches my DMC #5 Variations.

We did a bit of shopping. We went to Newick's for supper. (I'm in New England. It's supper. Not dinner.)

Note: The canvas piece was a class I took in 2006. It's a crazy quilt pyramid that you get to embellish in the colors and stitches of your choice. Instead of doing generic flowers, I decided that I wanted to commemorate a real place in my life.

In 1960, my grandparents bought what was essentially a fishing camp at Pawtuckaway Lake. I spent a lot of time there. Now 48 years later, it's for sale. Will I finish this piece before someone buys it? We'll see.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friday in Photos - July 25th

In the morning, before it got too hot out, DS and I took the desert rat to the car wash. Vacuumed, took out the trash, and cleaned the windows. And then made sure the tire pressure was good. All in preparation for driving 500+ miles on Monday.

I came home and did a bit of gardening. The anise hysop on the left is starting to overtake things. Poor begonias are getting lost. But the butterflies love it.

This year the lavender bloomed. We had such a mild winter that several things that normally wouldn't have survived, did.

Impersonating a needlework shop employee. I was filling in so the shop owner could get to the hair salon.

What I do every night.

The other thing I do frequently.
It's ten o'clock. Do you know where your son is? I leave to go pick him up from work. The Red Sox have 2 men on with no outs. Come home and find out they didn't score. Oh well.

At 11:30 p.m. I have finished my Habitat sampler (no name/date yet - those are still to be determined) and my kissing pillow. These were our community outreach projects this year in our EGA chapter.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Be Jealous

Today's fun is brought to me courtesy of our EGA chapter - we're picking up half the cost of a Catherine Strickler (of Indigo Rose) class. We'll be making her armchair pinkeep.

Let's be realistic. I'll be finishing mine sometime next year. Sigh.

But the good news is that I finished my HFH sampler and my kissing pillows that are our community outreach projects. And I made mini-muffins to bring this morning. I think I remembered everything I was supposed to do.

I did take a few photos yesterday. But I don't gots time to upload this a.m.
And when I get home later today, we'll be leaving for a baseball game.

Meanwhile, DS got his license this week. As he has demonstrated great highway driving skills, we had no problem with letting him and a friend drive to Busch Gardens today. (For those who don't know - he's 19. I'm not letting a total newbie with a brand new license loose to drive 200 miles one way.) The great news was our insurance did not go up by that much ($30 a month.) See what waiting a couple of years gets you. Huh. Who knew?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chaos and Confusion!

No. Not here.
Not in my life exactly.

But on stage.
At Wolf Trap.

As we saw "Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy" last night with Eric Idle.

Baroque and Roll indeed. Sheep, bagpipers, Choral Sex and a spot on imitation of Bob Dylan by Eric.

Happy to be among the lawn people drinking wine and dining a la fresco.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


You want to know what is dangerous? Bringing a 19 year old male into a Harley Davidson dealership. We stopped by one yesterday to buy my BIL a birthday present. He's got quite a collection of t-shirts, and thanks to us, he's got them from all over. Now someone (DS) has serious Softtail lust...

I don't know about other areas, but here we're experiencing an upswing in motorcycle related accidents. Too many newbies decided that bike riding would be much more gas efficient.

Me. I'd like a mint green Vespa.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Food Post

Last August I started a Livejournal accounting of food when both children went away to college leaving DH and myself as empty nesters. (I really don't like this phrase. Need to come up with something better.)

But it fell by the wayside for the most part after winter break.

I will probably resurrect it in September.

But meanwhile, I can write about food here.

As in how seldom I plan ahead anymore. Though there is food in the freezer, I am much more likely to go by the store and buy something fresh nearly every day. This is a strange phenomenon that I started back in 2002 when we moved to West Point and lived just up the hill from the commissary. My current home town has an abundance of grocery stores - 2 Giants, 2 Safeways, 1 Harris Teeter (plus one just outside of our limits), 1 Trader Joes, 1 Whole Foods, a new international foods store that replaced another Giant. Our official population count is somewhere around 60,000. Plus two Farmer's Markets in season.

And that's not counting what's more than 4 miles away. Like Wegman's and Bloom. Way too many choices. Not too mention the occasional trips to the commissaries, either at Ft Belvoir or Ft Myer. Right now it doesn't pay to drive an hour round trip to the commissary unless there is another reason for going and I'm combining errands.

Last night I tried making a potato salad from those little creamer potatoes. But DS shares my aversion to mayonnaise and I did with a vinaigrette. It was okay, but the dressing didn't cling to the potatoes. More successful was the accompaniment I made for the boneless pork chops that I cooked in the cast iron pan. I finely diced half an onion and sautee it in a small pan until it was just turning brown. Added one large nectarine cut into a large dice, salt and pepper, and then topped it with toasted sliced almonds. Basically a nectarine salsa?

Tonight will be crab stuffed chicken breast. That sounds like a good idea.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Obligation Stitching

I finally started my Habitat for Humanity sampler last night. This should be quick and I've got those 2 hours every day this week in Fredericksburg. So the canvas gets put away. When was the last time I stitched on 14 ct aida. I'd guess more than 10 years ago. Though I have used some 18 ct.

And then I need to think about packing for NH. We leave next Monday. And I like to leave a clean house. I abhor coming home from vacation to a dirty house.

In the Midnight Hour

or really Amethyst Dreams by Laura J. Perin.

Unfortunately now this project will take a back seat to other things for a few weeks. But it certainly is a departure from usual stitching.
I have not been able to work on this casually. When I sit down to stitch this, I'm there for hours.
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fun With Canvas

Oops. Sorry no photo today. But soon. Very soon.

Today was our third Fun With Canvas class which is our Laura J. Perin piece. Today I love my In the Midnight Hour. Sometimes I'm not so sure. I'm definitely in a hate relationship with Rainbow Gallery's Highlights. Nasty stuff. Don't want to work with it any more. But I've still got a ton of it to lay.

Obligation stitching the rest of the week. Need to do my Habitat for Humanity sampler that needs to finished by Saturday. Also need to check and see if any framer's are willing to give us any kind of break on frames.

Meanwhile it's too hot to cook. Inside or outside. I wonder what I can talk these people I live with into eating.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Post Number 1,067

My progress on BoInk. Yup. This is going to take me forever. But it won't be another huge piece. LOL I have lost my mind.
Which means yesterday was 1066. Which of course brings to mind certain historical events. Imagine how different the world would be if William had stayed home.

But I digress.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's the Buzz?

Nothing happening. Pah. Boring.

I've been slowly working through the to-do list. And I should go shower and get me to a grocery store. We're in for a code red day with bad air quality. Free bus rides for DH. Or I could just wait and hit the pool at 11 when it opens. I might not even want to be grilling for supper. Time for French Dip or something else extremely easy. Last night was fajitas. I did admire the warning posted over the peppers at the grocery store about the possible danger to people with compromised immune systems. Stay away from those jalapenos and serrano peppers. I have very little confidence that the powers that be have any idea where this strain of salmonella has come from. They have declared all tomatoes as safe to eat again. At this point I'm sorry that this year I didn't plant any tomatoes.

If you're in need of inspiration for finishing a small piece, look here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Still Hearing Voices But They Are Not So Loud

Whispering now instead of shouting...

I desperately need to find the user manual to my MP3 player. Maybe they have something here online. It seems rather possessed and won't let me do anything. This after twice being plugged in but not charging.

Yeah. Problem solved. When they say you need a pin to reset it, a paperclip is too big. Fortunately being a needleworker, there was a needle close at hand.

I need to run as DS's class was canceled and I can go to morning stitch-in and visit with my friends. How did it get to be so late? I thought I had plenty of time!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sticking Fingers in my Ears Trying Not to Hear the Voices in My Head

Which does not work. The voices are still there. All the things I need to do are screaming. Yet. I woke up at 1:00 a.m. in the midst of a hot flash and wondering if that deep dish pizza was truly going to make a reappearance in my life...

Fortunately not.

Meanwhile I fell back asleep on the couch eventually.

But that is the wrong kind of sleep. And I didn't get up till 8:00 a.m. And now my brain is fogged.

On the plus side - we're 2/3rds of the way through with driving to Fred. every day. Only 7 more days to go. We haven't had an accident yet. We've sat in at least 5 major traffic jams and umpty ump slow downs. This is why we schedule in 30+ minutes of extra driving time.

Soon I will post an updated photo of In the Midnight Hour. I've started "Mirror, Mirror." Which is intended to be a gift with the intended fabric, but a couple of color changes. Funny how in the photo the writing looks blue, but the actual color is purple. Sigh.

Why publish a photo that does not do justice to the stitched model?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Queenstown Samplers

I just happened to be at my LNS shop yesterday and got to meet Barbara Huston of Queenstown Samplers as she came in to show off her latest design, Hestera Harmer. This was stitched on 48 ct Lakeside Linen which means it's even smaller than 48ct. And there is some over one stitching! Anyway the project is beautiful. The colors are slightly muted as this is a reproduction that she was unable to view the back of and she went off the colors on the front. The Berlin work in the middle is stunning.

I bought her Sands House Sampler and Aztec Gold. And thoroughly enjoyed talking to her.

Friday, July 11, 2008


This is what hit me at 2:44 a.m. That I've got scheduled stitching on my In the Midnight Hour that should be finished for our next class on the 20th.

That I need to finish my blackwork pumpkin so I can photograph it and get it in the newsletter - ASAP. And write the description for the class.

That I have two community outreach projects due on the 26th.

And I need to finish and mail my fabric postcard by next Friday.

This was day three of not sleeping through the night. Perimenopause, anyone? Let's just say this sucks.

At least the outreach projects are on Aida and I can stitch on them at night. But not if I'm sleep deprived.

And why did I special order 4 different types of Soie in gold back in February? I have no faffing idea. And I totally rearranged my stitching stuff in March so that whatever was on top, is no more. I'm drawing a total blank on this. I vaguely remember writing down what I needed, but I have no recollection of the purpose of this request. I'm stymied.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Coincidence? I Think Not

This morning every blog I regularly read was writing about food or drink.

I think people are trying to make me hungry. So I'll add some more fuel to the fire.

Last night I found it is possible to grill cauliflower. I just cut it up, dosed it with olive oil and salt and pepper and put it in the grill pan. Takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Then I removed the cauliflower and grill some sliced golden zucchini - if you haven't seen this stuff, it's a vibrant gold/yellow. I grilled some marinated chicken breasts. Then added the zucchini and cauliflower to some boiled fingerling potatoes and doused the whole thing in yellow curry sauce. Yum.

Now to go eat the leftovers.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What I Just Read

I finished reading Sara Bongiorni's "A Year Without 'Made in China,'" the story of one family's experiment of living without Chinese made products.

She writes with some humor, but not exactly a ton of insight. I think this stems from trying to tell this story without telling too much personal information.

As the experiment went, it was difficult to avoid made in China products. I've been a label reader for years. I prefer to purchase my produce in stores that label where it originates. If given a choice between a product made in China and one made elsewhere, I'd choose the elsewhere product. I would truly prefer to buy American, but that is virtually impossible.

Given the hue and cry over lead content in Chinese products we can see that avoidance may not be a bad thing. Never mind the environmental cost to China of all this manufacturing.

For those interested in an update on her book, here's one in the Boston Globe.

And now I can go back to feeling good about my needlework purchases. Linen? Zweigart
manufactures in Germany and Switzerland. Thread? DMC - France, Anchor - made of 100% Egyptian cotton in Germany. The majority of cotton overdyeds are made with one of these two flosses. Needles - mine are made in Great Britain or France. Silks? Well - as silk production began in China centuries ago, I'm not going to forgo silk that comes from China. My wooden hoops are in Europe. My current scroll bars and stands are made in America.

I did enjoy a mini-world tour when kitting up my In the Midnight Hour. I've got 4 different metallics which are made in Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, and America.

I wonder where the canvas comes from? I've got stretcher bars from the US and tacks from Japan.

Wow. This stuff comes from all over the world to rest in my hands for me to see what I can do with it. Amazing.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Betsy as Promised

Here is "Betsy" alongside a pencil for scale.
This is a Catherine Strickler piece under the design name of Indigo Rose.

Because I was using 28ct linen I decided to use two ply instead of the traditional one ply.
It made some things better, but some things worse. There are some holes where the needle goes
in and out seven times and with two ply, that's two much thread in one hole.
Live and learn.
But I still like it.

Anchor floss, not DMC, in the colors called for in the pattern.
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How It Went on Friday

How it went is not as planned.

I had everything assembled for making fabric postcards. And the handsewing part went well. But when I added the parts that I had planned on sewing on the machine, suddenly my postcard turned into a piece of folk art, which was not my intention. No photos of my failure...

Because I'm in control of the camera.

And this experience was depressing and I didn't pick up a needle and "Betsy" until Sunday. But she's finished. Photo tomorrow.

Now I need to rethink my fabric postcard idea. I've got less than 3 weeks to execute this in a manner I can be proud of.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Stitching News Update

I'm nearly finished with one blackwork project and realized I chose the wrong color for the second to last row of this band sampler. Fortunately I realized about halfway in and that's easily corrected. I'd like to finish that today - Indigo Rose's "Betsy."

And I need to do my challenge for our EGA chapter. The president threw down a stitched postcard challenge and I received mine in the mail last Saturday. DH got the mail and thought that was interesting for sure.

I started "Mirror, Mirror" this week, but I changed the colors from Weeks to Crescent Colours and looking at them I think I need to go back and look at my red/pink choices. I'm not entirely happy with what I have.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stitching Bloggers Question

Do you currently subscribe to any stitching publications or have you in the past? (Either in print or online) If so, which ones?

Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly is the only magazine for which I currently have a subscription. Oops. I forgot the Gift of Stitching which I get online.

In the past: Fine Lines, Needlewords, Cross Stitch Sampler, Just Cross Stitch, Cross Stitch and Needlework

I might be missing something here. Hmm. Plus I collected older magazines via Ebay, etc.

Today this is what I buy when I find them: Stitch - the British guild magazine and Jill Oxton's Cross Stitch and Beading

Plus: if they interest me - Piecework, Mary Hickmott's Stitches and New Stitches

Insert broken record here: Why can't American publishers meet the quality standards set by the British magazines?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Short Stay

Yesterday DS did not have a full 2 hour class. He only had 40 minutes as the prof had broken them down into smaller groups to teach them a computer program.

So I brought my blackwork pumpkin design that I'm going to teach in October to start the stitching on flax colored linen and I chose the tables outside the bookstore as my place to sit because it was only 85 yesterday and the humidity was down.

What I hadn't planned on was the two people who were sitting about 20 feet away from me. A French professor and a 19 year old student. For 35 minutes I was subject to a horrendous conversation as the girl is clearly smitten and was trying valiantly to impress her "older" man. It was completely pathetique. And annoying. I told my son that if as a male you need validation, I can see how being a teacher at a school with a large female population would stroke your ego.

Meanwhile, I did get a good start on the pumpkin. This piece won't take very long as it's not large.

And we eventually solved the mystery of DD missing package. Last week I had mailed her a box of summer clothes, etc. to her grandparents house so she would have something other than pants and long sleeves. But the box never showed.

It turned up yesterday afternoon on our door step. Why? because I had used a Stoli box. The stupid package was accepted at the post office. And made it all the way to Nashua by plane. When someone decided it held liquor and mailed to back to us by truck. There was even a Hazmat sticker on the package. Argh.