Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh What a Year

Those who've been reading here for a while might know that I'm not big on publicly stating goals. Or doing a yearly/monthly wrap up kind of thing. I might be keeping track in my head or not. I have a general sort of satisfaction with the year that is passing. 

I know I didn't finish Stars of the New Millennium. Things that I thought I might finish and be able to enter in the Woodlawn Needlework Show, won't be there. And I can live with that. 

I'm happy with 2010. It was a pretty good year for me and mine. 

What will 2011 bring on the stitchy front?

First- I'm going to start with the Crazy January Challenge.

Next comes a stitchy retreat weekend with my friends. This group is all working on Stars. (Hey, SL! why not contact Jane of Chilly Hollow and see if she wants to join us???)

February will be a little bit quieter. 

March will bring Woodlawn and at least one day of volunteering at the Show. 
Also the Mid-Atlantic Regional EGA Mini-Seminar. And another retreat with friends. 

The next planned event at this point is the National EGA Seminar in Florida in September which will be my first National Seminar. I can feel the love and the excitement already. 

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Visit

We didn't have much planned for yesterday. A little shopping - my hubby needed a new UNH hockey sweatshirt and I needed to spend my Kohl's cash. Some more seafood for lunch. 

And a quick stop at my LNS here in New Hampshire - Yankee Cross Stitch in North Hampton. The shop is looking great. There's been some rearranging and the check out has moved to the far side of the store. Lots of room to move around. I'm always happy to come here and do a little tax free shopping.

I needed two colors of wool thread that were not included in the kit of cajun santa that I had purchased in New Orleans in November - a green for his mittens and a blue for the tiny sliver of water that shows in front of the pirogue. Funny how when I pick up this canvas to stitch I start singing "Jambalaya" to myself. Found two colors that will work, though I had considered doing his mittens in the more traditional black, I think it would be just too dominating on this canvas. 

I bought a few pieces of wool felt for needlebooks and such. And Becky Hogg's new book "Blackwork" put out by the Royal School of Needlework. That's it. I don't have a lot of room as we only took carry on luggage. 

I came home and leafed through "Blackwork" a few times. It deserves a closer reading. My first feeling is that this is a terrific little book. Just not big enough to be a complete and comprehensive work on all things blackwork. There's a bit on working non-counted blackwork, but there could be more. And there's not much advise on how to follow a counted pattern. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here We Go A Waissling

Here my cajun Santa canvas that I bought in New Orleans in November. I started it at Dulles airport yesterday. I realized that the green color for Santa's mittens is missing. This will be just a simple tent stitch project. I might even try to finish this myself. We'll see how brave I get when the stitching part is finished. 

Elvis on Christmas Day. Get this $@*& ribbon off of me! Why do you continue to subject me to these things. P.S. I do love the unwrapping of presents.

Monday, December 27, 2010

From My List

Posted by Picasa

Here's our tree this year. We think we need a new tree topper. I might find a snow owl stuffed animal and disembowel it and put it up there. Can't quite decide. And certainly did not see anything I liked. Maybe a trip to the Christmas Dove shop while in N.H. One of my owl ornaments. My Starry, Starry Night ornament which I stitched last year, but finished this year. A counted canvas piece by Michael Boren.

I'm all packed. 

Which means I had to put together 4 of my CJC projects to bring with me. Let's see if I can remember what I have...the Queenstown freebie, Blackbird Designs - Souvenir of Paris, Go Fly a Kit, Homespun Elegance - Wee Fancies "House," and I think I have something else with me.  

I'm also bringing my Cajun Santa needlepoint and a gift project to work on before January 1st. Got my camera all packed. I'm sitting here putting new music on my MP3 player. Phone is charged. Nina the Nook is charged. Way too many things to think about before leaving home. 

Not looking forward to the airport experience. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crazy January Challenge

Well, I've finalized my list. And didn't stick to my plan of fifteen ornaments. I don't have them all kitted.  But I've got enough so that I can start. In no particular order, I have:

  1. Sampler Girl freebie kitted with Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread
  2. Mill Hill flamingo pin
  3. Blackbird Designs Waiting for the Harvest
  4. Homespun Elegance We Fancies "House"
  5. May 2010 Needlepointers - Laura J Perin Version 1 Heart Valentine
  6. Blackbird Designs Souvenir of Paris
  7. Prairie Schooler Barn Owl Ornament 
  8. Queenstown Sampler R. Le Tellier 1873
  9. Queenstown Sampler freebie
  10. Little House Needleworks All Dolled Up - Snowy Pines
  11. LHN Acorns
  12. Raise the Roof Designs Go Fly a Kite
  13. LHN Necessities Sampler
  14. Handpainted canvas - Cajun Santa
  15.  Sampler Girl - Jane Austen Bookmark
More details to follow. Time to make dinner! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flower Thread

Here's my first piece for the CJC - Crazy January Challenge. It's a Sampler Girl freebie and I kitted with some leftover linen and Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread. This piece commemorates the city of Alexandria, Va. I'll be changing mine to my hometown. 

Last night I was going throught my unfinished UFO box. I pulled out some ornaments that I might finish today if I find time and the inclination. This was originally published in Fine Lines??? I know it was in a magazine in the early 1990's. I can't even remember who designed it, thought it's on the tip of my tongue. This is stitched with GTFT. I do remember the name of the design is "Bluets." And it was republished in another magazine sometime in this decade. I remember having difficulty counting this as I was a newbie at stitching with linen.


Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Well, It's Thursday

It's Thursday and again I am finding it difficult to find time for posting. 

I did find a mirror, an ottoman in a lovely shade of green, and an alarm clock for my studio all at Target. The one thing I didn't find was a trash basket. It seems all the pretty containers have left the store to make way for the new year's big push towards organizing our lives. I think our Target has a million plastic bins in it waiting for some enterprising people to purchase them with good intentions. Seriously. There are pallets and pallets of Rubbermaid and Sterlite in one of the central aisles. I should go and take a photo. That's how many there are.

I did spend a few moments yesterday starting the organizing process with my threads. My closet looks much neater now. I haven't got the proper containers for my silks, though. Some more rumination on this issue is necessary. 

The real sad truth is that I haven't picked up a needle since Friday. That could be part of what is making me crazy. I don't want to stitch in my studio till I have some semblance of order. I'm just looking for good stitching karma. 

Got some other big tasks to accomplish. One more bought of organizing for the laundry/storage room as we've got a new washer and dryer arriving on Monday. Maybe I can finish that painting job behind the washer and dryer before the new ones arrive???

Got to run. Lots to do. And I am going to my Thursday morning group so I better put myself in overdrive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Work in Progress

I goofed and forgot to take any photos of my daughter's former bedroom. But here we have evidence of a work in progress. Bookshelf relocated. And it's four inches less wide than the one I have downstairs. There's stacks of magazines on the floor. And there's still one stack of books downstairs. Yes. My library is in need of editing. 

The two Anchor floss cabinets have about a thousand rubber stamps in them. These, too, need editing. The blue basket with canvas does not need editing. LOL

Posted by Picasa

Next we have the view into the closet. My two Elfa carts are in here. They currently hold all my stitching fabric, a complete set of DMC floss, stretcher bars, hoops, Q-snaps, Flower Thread, and various tools and finishing things. 

Up on the shelves I have stacks of project boxes. Everything in here needs organizing. It should all come out and go back in. 

On the unseen side of the closet I have two Rubbermaid bins of fabric for finishing, etc., polyfill, quilt batting, stacks of containers with threads - silks, overdyed cottons, etc. A few of my DD's clothes are still hanging here. And there's more empty plastic containers so I can do proper organizing of the threads. 

In the corner on the left you can see my antique oak rolltop student's desk. It's too small for me to use practically, but I've had it for most of my life and I'm not letting it go. Yet. Between the desk and the Anchor cabinets is a open shelf with almost all, but not quite, of my scrapbooking/papercrafting supplies. This, too, needs editing. 

Posted by PicasaLast photo. The china cabinet was my MIL's. It is now my DD's. But here it sits. I've got no place else to put it so it will stay in here. I need to remove the rest of DD's belongings and then I can see how I can use the lower portion. 

On my wish list for this room:  a small TV, Roku or something similar for watching said TV, a clock, a waste basket, a mirror, and maybe an ottoman. I've got a boombox downstairs that I can plug my MP3 into. That should keep me happy in my space. 

It's not a big room. Only like 12' x 10'. I'm going to have to be creative. And slightly selective.

Watch here for signs of improvement.

To Be Jolly

Posted by PicasaSome people certainly don't mind paying the electric bill. I need to go back here with the tripod. But honestly for standing outside in a drizzle so I had to move quickly, this isn't bad.

I am slightly Scroogey this year. No outside lights. And I did edit my inside decorations, too. As long as I can take a little drive and admire others' extravagance, I'm good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Derailment

Those who read here regularly know that I am usually better than this about posting. 

I, apparently, have suffered a Christmas derailment. I didn't even get on the computer at all yesterday. 

Things should be back to normal on Tuesday. At least that's my plan!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

EGA Seminar 2011

I am now officially excited. I've received an e-mail telling me that I got my first choice class for seminar in Naples, FL next September!

I'm in Marsha Papay Gomola's Exotic Accessories class. And in Susan Goodman's Life is a Beach class. In March, we'll see if I'm adding anything else to those two. 

I'm thrilled. 

If you go here, you can see photos of what's being offered. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stashing Saturday

Posted by Picasa
Last Saturday was the Holiday party for the Loudoun Sampler Guild. The day was made fun by the opportunity to shop. I see three samplers by Queenstown - Ann Carter was a freebie, Elizabeth Mears is one of the SAL projects for 2011 for Ellen Chester's sampler group, and Picotees and Peacocks. I bought 30 yards of Glorianna for that last one. I still haven't gone through the stash yet to see if I have linen that will work. 

Also bought I Sigh For Beauty, which is the other SAL for 2011. I bet you're wondering if I actually plan on stitching both of these next year? It is to laugh. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. 

There's also a Scandanavian sampler by Lucy Lyons Willis.  And Lucy solved a mystery for me. I have a sampler in my to be stitched pile. It's white on red fabric. I grabbed it off the internet years ago. Turns out it is one of Lucy's designs. And yes, it was an internet freebie - I wasn't doing anything illegal. 

Lovely, luscious, lovely. Samplers, and fabric, and hanks of Glorianna on the table for the Guild House Sampler maven, Pamela Darney. She does have a design kitted up for sale and will soon to posting it for the world to see. I'll be sure to keep you all posted.

Ooooh. Ahhhh. The beautiful wood products produced by Sylvan Treasures. I went expecting to purchase one of these and then couldn't decide and didn't buy one.

We ate. We laughed. We socialized. And in the end, I found some real life partners in the Crazy January Challenge. LOL

Monday, December 13, 2010

At the Mt. Vernon Inn

On Wednesday, last week, the D.C. Chapter of the EGA had its Holiday Luncheon at the Mt. Vernon Inn. If you are ever in the area and are touring Mt. Vernon, please eat at the Inn. The food is wonderful. I had a spinach salad to start. And then the full turkey dinner that comes with their fabulous peanut dressing. Desert was served in a chocolate shell and we were all very happy.


After eating, we were visited by Martha Washington herself! Martha is currently in her late sixties and she and George have moved back to Mt. Vernon after serving two terms as the first couple of the new nation. Martha told us many stories - about learning to stitch from her mother and serving the men at Valley Forge and about how she and George met. She answered every question put to her and she also has a terrific sense of humor.  

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 10, 2010

R.I.P. Ginnie

Sadly cross stitching guru Ginnie Thompson has passed away. You can read her obituary here. I'm sure many of us have copies of her books, Linen Stitches being one of my favorites. 

I never made it to her shop on Pawley's Island. But I always wanted to go. In her honor, one of my 15 ornaments in January will be stitched with Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I know there are other things I should be doing, but in an effort to ward off depression I spent yesterday is my future studio organizing. 

(Seriously, how did I forget to take a before picture? Well, I did forget.)

I decided that painting the wall can wait. I removed DD's books from bookshelf. And then started the long process of carry two bags of her books downstairs and returning with two bags of my books. These are just the needlework, beading, crocheting, and a few inspirational books. Most of which are hardcovered and heavy. This involves going from second floor to the basement and today my knees are a bit unhappy, to which I say - suck it up, knees, I'm no way near finished. 

Along the way I have discovered that my bookcase downstairs is slightly wider than DD's is. I already had more books than I had space for and I can see some downsizing in the future. Meanwhile, if I end up with a pile of books on the floor for a while, I can deal with it. 

I packed up the contents of the china cabinet and moved it. Moved my chair closer to the window and discovered that this time of year I cannot angle it the way I wanted as the sun will be shining directly on me. Moved the scrapbooking/paper supplies onto their shelves. 

Oh yeah. Somewhere in this process a pile of my plastic project cases tipped over and crashed my cup of coffee. What a bad thing! I now have some coffee stained stitching books. And photo albums. And if my neighbors could hear me, they probably thought someone had died. 

And thus we come to today's goals:

go to Target to pick up photos of Saturday's luncheon

use photos to finish President's album

bake cookies for cookie exchange

continue moving things into the room and moving out the last bits of DD's stuff

When and if this gets done, I can go downstairs and start rearranging furniture so that the futon can move into the bar. I'm exhausted and I haven't even started.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Time and Ornaments

I'm not going back to look, but I'm fairly certain that last January I posted one my goals here on the blog. And that goal was to stitch at least one ornament a month. 

Today I'm here for my public castigation over a goal not met. Not even barely started. Didn't even try. I've got all kinds of excuses. Blah. Blah. Blah. 

Here are photos of last years' exchange ornaments - one for EGA and for the the Sampler Guild - proving I can stitch and finish ornaments. 

Now once again let's try this as a goal. Only this time I'm going to be serious about it. 

You know that Crazy January Challenge that some people are participating in? 

details below:

Crazy January Challenge

We have so many charts in our stashes, so let's start stitching them!
The rules are simple:

1. Start stitching a new design every day, from January 1st to January 15th. So by January 15th you have 15 new WIPs to stitch!

2. Try and finish everything you started stitching during the year 2011 :)

3. Show photos in your blog if you have one, in January and during the whole year while you stitch, as we all love to see photos!

4. If you wish to join, leave a comment with your blog address into this post and I will add your name to the list.

5. Have fun stitching!

I've decided to join the challenge, but in a scaled down way. I've got some BAPs in progress and don't want to stop making progress on them. 

So I will for 2011, start 15 ornaments, one of each of the first fifteen days of January. And I will finish at least every month. No private projects, i.e. no gifts or mysteries. 

Makes me want to go kit projects right now, but that's going to have to wait for another day! 

Monday, December 06, 2010

December SBQ

Many stitchers really kick it up a notch over the winter holidays.  Christmas, Hanukah,  the New Year, Kwanza - whatever holiday you choose to celebrate usually means that we’re stitching something gift or holiday-related.   Tell us your best story about some holiday stitching.

What We Do For Love

Many, many years ago - thirty-three this month - my boyfriend who eventually became my husband and I exchanged Christmas gifts for the first time. I gave him a copy of The Prophet and he gave me a homemade clown that he'd bought at the craft fair where his great Aunt Emma lived. I named the clown Junior and never told him about my dislike of clowns. 

(That's right. I'm a big wuss and don't like clowns. I'm okay with the real ones at the circus. But depictions of clowns creep me out.)

Junior stayed on my bed all year. And for many years after that. We even took him with us on our two day honeymoon. But I digress.

As the next holiday season approached, I didn't have a lot of money, being a poor, starving college student. This gift giving thing was getting me down. And one day, in Woolworth's, I found something that seemed inspired. A clown ornament kit.

And so, out of love, while creeped out, I stitched a crewelwork clown sitting on swing. Pom-poms, polka dots, pointy clown hat, big black shoes. And I gave it to him for Christmas. 

I still have Junior. He's a bit dusty as I haven't given him a sponge bath in a while. And when we got married, that clown ornament came with the husband. 

Right here is where I supposed to post a photo of Junior. Well, right now he's buried in a box under a lot of other boxes. I know I have photo of him somewhere, but my initial search turned up empty. And you know that clown ornament somehow there is never room for it on my tree... 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tragically I Can No Longer Think of Clever Titles

I wanted to post this photo a few days back, but I had apparently uploaded it to the old computer, not the new one. Sunset in Sterling, Virginia on November 26th. Taken in the parking lot of Sweetwater Tavern because I'd had enough turkey already.

Yesterday was the Holiday Luncheon for one of my guilds. We decamped from our usual gathering place because we were tired of being cold and rained/snowed on. I wish I had room in my house for a gingerbread display. But I truly don't.

View of the Potomac River from the country club balcony. We had terrific food. The usual ornament exchange. The giving of few special gifts. Lots of socializing. And a special program by Barbara Darlin of Unlacing the Victorian Woman.  She starts the program in one dress. Strips down to her chemise. And dresses in another outfit explaining about the pieces as she goes along. I am so grateful I do not live in the era of corsets.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 03, 2010

Reader Mail

Today I'm vowing to be better about replying to comments. And will start with the last two.

Dear Calamity,

Yes. You are correct. I do plan on picking up one mess - the scrapbooking stuff - and then will create another mess. I'm a one mess at a time kind of gal. If I let it get too out of control with multiple messes, I will just shut the door and ignore the whole room!

Dear Mary,

About the haircut thing. I had the same problem. Husband in the Army and moved every two years. I eventually ignored the problem by not getting my haircut. LOL I suppose that created its own problems. 

Your suggestion about sucking it up and paying the extra $$ is worthy of consideration. But here's where my frugal New England roots get in the way. I made the mental calculation:

1) haircut every 6 weeks

2) means 8 visits a year

3) original cost $80 plus $20 tip

4) new cost $110 plus $20 tip

5) $30 times 8 equals $240 differnce

Somehow I can tolerate $800 a year, but $1040 is over my budget.
It just crosses that line for me. It's hard enough getting me to spend the $800 on my hair. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

December 2

By posting a photo in my header of last February's blizzard, am I jinxing us? I certainly don't want feet of snow at a time again this year. Last winter was all too much. 

But still. Snow is pretty. White. Clean. Sparkly. At least in the beginning.

Can't change the weather. We'll get what we get and so it is.

Small group at stitching today. I soldiered on with my bellpull. Made myself do the second drawn thread section. Not fun reweaving ends that are essentially an inch long. But I did it. And it looks fine. Now I've come to the very slow eyelets over one alphabet. I wonder what other surprises this piece has in store for me? 

I have totally trashed my new stitching room by having to do a photo album for a gift. Dragged some scrapbooking stuff up the two flights of stairs and now there's crap everywhere. It will get cleaned up in time for the furious wrapping of presents. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

December is Here!

Commencing panic, 3, 2, 1, now!!!

Wait. I need to get other stuff finished first, and then I can panic over Christmas shopping. LOL I am a master procrastinator. But I do meet my deadlines. Usually. 

I did manage to squeeze quick trips to two LNS yesterday. I was buying metallics and some Splendor. I got to the point on my Echoes of Elizabeth needlebook where I needed another Kreinik #8 gold. So I wrote down what I needed for a poinsettia piece we're doing with Potomac ANG, and I changed my mind again on the metallics for Royal Wind - because I found a different pin to use on this piece. I'm still going to stitch it on blue congress cloth. You will be seeing this one early on next year. 

It did take both stores for me to get everything on my list - which wasn't that extensive. Also bought the Winter issue of Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly. I'm in love with the purse on the front cover. (Once again - the winter issue is in stores, but the website is showing the autumn issue - thus I will not provide a link. Someday the people at Hoffman will get their act together.)

I have a crisis of epic proportions brewing. Yesterday morning I got my hair cut and colored with my miracle man. When I went to leave, the price had jumped dramatically - from $80 to $110! We've reached my breaking point. Now I need to find a new stylist. Argh. I am not looking forward to this. At least I'm good till January. 

Also yesterday I spent more money by myself than I ever have in my entire life. Over $9000. On something so unexciting. Windows. It needs to be done. But it's just so depressing to think about it. 

German smoker dude that DH bought in last March. He's a folksmarcher holding his map. I think he looks like someone we know which is so cute!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The number of people who have jumped into the Crazy January Challenge since I first saw it has reached amazing proportions. I am still considering it. (The challenge is to start a new project for the first 15 days of new year and then finish those projects in 2011.) I know that I can easily pull 15 projects that I would like to see completed. What I need to do is seriously look at the other things I'm committed to stitching in 2011 and see how the two lists dovetail. The Crazy Challenge could be complete madness if I come up with too  many things on the other list.

In stitchy news:

I have begun claiming my daughter's former room as my own. Last night we moved the queen sized bed out of there. And moved a comfy stitchy chair in. What I need to do:

1) repaint dark green wall - a shade of lavender is what I think this room needs.

2) pack up all her Disney figurines and brick-a-brack in the old china cabinet

3) move her books out

4) finish moving my books in

Where we stand:  I've moved her dresser out and nearly emptied her closet. My Elfa baskets are in the closet and my closet has nearly returned to the life of normal closet. This means about half of my supplies are now in her room.

This is the wrong time of the year to tackle a project like this. It's all I want to do. When I really need to be working on what's needed at the holiday party. And wrapping and mailing gifts to my far flung relatives.

On my wish list:

A small TV and maybe Roku?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Behold the bird. Best part of the meal? The gravy. It's taken me years, but I have finally perfected gravy that does not rely on any "outside" help, like Gravy Master, etc. The secret is in making a roux. 
"I can has turkey?" We have a photo of Elvis from Thanksgiving 2003 where I caught him just as he was going to put his nose in the cream on the pumpkin pie. This kitty does love a holiday, though Christmas and birthdays are his favorites. Any time there's wrapping paper.
Was there stitching? Yes there was. Unfortunately this is not photographic evidence of it. This is a needleminder I did a few years ago on the congress cloth which is what I was working on. I didn't know my daughter had taken this pic. 

I did get to stitch on my Echoes of Elizabeth needlecase, but I do not think it will be finished by Wednesday, which was the deadline. My finishing may be a few days off. Or maybe a week. LOL
Posted by Picasa

What to do when you're stuffed? Roll onto your back and put your legs in the air. This is a nightly after dinner performance at our house. Kitty has no shame.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let the Cooking Begin

Woof. It's only 9:30 and I'm already tired.

It took four hours, not two, yesterday to retrieve my son from school. I wish they would give up and just let them have the entire week off. The only thing that will worse, will be getting him back to school. I don't even want to think about that drive. 

How to avoid the predicted 20 mile back up at the Newark tolls? Well, my daughter did it by arriving here at 3 in the a.m. 

Top two floors of the house are relatively clean. The basement floor where I am now needs some attention. Why can I never have all three floors clean at the same time? 

Today's plan - veggie lasagna for dinner. Maybe make some French bread? Bake Parker House rolls. Bake a pumpkin pie. Bake a caramel cake. That's enough for one day. And make one last trip to the grocery store. The list is short so it should be okay. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Big Sister

It's your day! Sorry you have to work. But I know you'll make the most of it. 

Can I say that I am very tired of hearing leaf removal in my neighborhood? All day yesterday. And it's started again today. Eck. It's setting my teeth on edge. 

Which means I should go turn on my vacuum cleaner and drown out their noise with my own noise. 

I've got a bit of cleaning still to do and then it's off to pick up my son. And tonight will be the middle of the night arrival of my daughter and her boyfriend. Yeah!!! All of us in the same place at the same time. Hasn't happened since last January. 

In stitching news: 

I had two projects in my purse Sunday night when we went to see Allan Toussaint, Nick Payton, and the Joe Krown Trio. I was stitching on my Highland cow bookmark before the show started. And when I pulled it out at intermission I realized I had made a boo-boo. Oops. Ripping required. No faking it. Good thing it's little. Because right now I cannot deal with mistakes. So I pull out the other project and realize that I don't have a needle. Things are conspiring against me stitching any ornaments this year even though I had planned to do one a month. I don't think I've completed a single one. LOL

So much for plans.

Great. I just saw men with chainsaws behind the house. Time for some tree trimming? More noise. I'm outta here. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

What? Another Book Meme?

Anna and her book memes. I play along every time.

ABC Book Meme
For this meme, you list a favorite book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. If you don’t have a book for a letter (such as Z or X) then you can substitute a favorite book that simply has that letter in the title (ex. The Lost City of Z or Hot Six by Janet Evanovich). However, you can only do this a maximum of 3 times. (Z, X, and Q. But not Z, X, Q, and V.) Books can be of any genre from fiction to non-fiction to poetry to textbooks. 

My answers. Let's see how many I can do just by using books of poetry on the shelves behind me...

A:   Ariel by Sylvia Plath
B:  Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton
C:  Circles on the Water by Marge Piercy
D:  Distant Early Warning by Rad Smith
E:  Evangaline by Longfellow
F: Fathering Words by E. Ethelbert Miller
G: Good Poems for Hard Times edited by Garrison Keillor
H:  Hard Not to Be King by Robert Frost
I:  Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson
J:  Jackstraws by Charles Simic
K: Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
L:  Live or Die by Anne Sexton
M: My Wicked Ways by Sandra Cisneros
N:  Night Rider by Robert Penn Warren
O:  O Taste and See by Denise Levertov
P:  Poems of Love and Marriage by John Ciardi
Q: Questions about Angels by Billy Collins
R:  Red Letter Days by Mekeel McBride
S:  Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Marie Rilke
T:  Twenty Years in Bed with the Same Man by Joan Logghe
U: For the Union Dead by Robert Lowell (1)
V: Visitations by Louis MacNeice
W:  What a Kingdom It Was by Galway Kinnell
X: Exiles and Marriages by Donald Hall (2)
Y:  Your Name Here by John Ashberry
Z:  Blizzard of One:  Poems by Mark Strand (3)

The worst part is that did not take me that long. And it would have been faster if I had ignored the word "the" as I was tempted to do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Progress Report

I think it's time to show some progress. Proof that when I say I am stitching, I am. 

First up, we have Matter's Choice by Carriage House Samplings. This is the Autumn Gold linen by Lakeside Linens that is called for, but the size is different. The original is on 40ct and I had a piece of 32ct in my stash. I am using the Needlepoint Inc silk in the proper color, though when I initially kitted this, I forgot to buy more silk to accommodate the change in size. I have remedied that. I started this on the flight to New Orleans on Halloween. I worked on it one day during that trip. And started the squirrel while at the Loudoun Sampler Guild meeting which was funny as a friend of mine had finally framed her version of this and brought it for show and tell. 

 This is known as the Mystery Sampler bellpull from the EGA magazine, Needlearts, published in many parts in 2005-2006. I think it needs a new name. 

I wasn't fond of the colors so I changed them. LOL

I have to say that the bit below the PQR was nearly my undoing. You have to cut threads and weave them into the side. Terrific, as the cut ends are almost one inch long. I did it. With much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Okay. Really. My friends would tell you that translates to sighing and swearing.

And lastly we have some progress on Echoes of Elizabeth. I need to work on this like a fool if I'm going to finish it by the end of November. At least the over one stitching with charcoal is finished on both the outside and the inside. This piece is on three sets of stretcher bars. One for the outside. One for the inside which is identical to the outside up to a point. And one more set for the little pieces on the inside. I need to finish up with the gold metallic so I can start adding some color to this piece.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stitching in Public

The third Wednesday of the month is my guild's regular stitch in public day. Several of us meet at a local Panera's, order food and/or drink and then stitch for two or more hours. 

We have had people stop and talk to us. Maybe they don't come and join our guild, but maybe someday, sometime, they will recognize and join another guild. 

Our favorite story involves a young lady, her younger brother, and their dad. The children wandered over to see what we doing. One of us volunteered a piece of fabric, needle and thread and had started the girl on making Xs. She was probably 6 or 7. And got going full-steam ahead. Finally Dad had to pull the plug on her fun and tell her it was time to leave. And she said, "Just a few more stitches." We all cracked up. How often have we all said that? "Just a few more stitches." or "Let me finish this thread." 

This past Wednesday I was unable to attend because I went to open house for the GIS program at my local community college. All part of going back to school. I'm not foolish. I brought some stitching. Sat down in the front row, pulled it out, and started to work. The Prof who is the head of the dept. kept glancing my way, but he never did come and talk to me. LOL But I did talk to lovely woman who handles the paperwork for the dept. and she said she used to cross stitch. And I encouraged her to start again. 

I'm not sure why, but stitching in public is much more satisfying when so many people around me are sitting there playing with their phones.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Meme

I'm sure this is going to take more time than I have right now. Let's see how fast I can type without time for reflection. 

I got this from Anna.

Favorite childhood book?Without a doubt, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

What are you reading right now? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

What books do you have on request at the library?Zip. Last book I had on hold was The Dome by Steven King

Bad book habit?Food stains from reading while alone eating lunch.

What do you currently have checked out at the library?None. Last book I read from the library was The Girls of Ames, Iowa.

Do you have an e-reader? A Nook. And that's how I read The Girls from Ames, Iowa.

Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?Now that I have a Nook, I am back to reading multiple books at once.

Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?Maybe slightly less time for reading. But I think that's because I'm spending more time stitching.

Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)There must be one, but I can't think of one right now. Oh wait - Phillipa Gregory's The Red Queen. Did she really write this one?

Favorite book you’ve read this year? Boozehound by Jason Wilson. Not fiction, in case you're wondering.

How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Often.

What is your reading comfort zone? I prefer fiction to non-fiction. But will read anything. I love good biographies. My "guilty pleasures" are sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries.

Can you read on the bus or train? Yes.

Favorite place to read?In bed. I read nearly every night before going to sleep. It's almost impossible for me to go to sleep without reading.

What is your policy on book lending? To good friends only. But even then, I've been burned. My favorite was the time I lent two books on how live a frugal life to a friend. Who later moved away with my books. I guess the lesson she learned was live frugally by stealing from your friends.

Do you ever dog-ear books? Never.

Do you ever write in the margins of your books?No. That's what notebooks are for.

Not even with text books? I highlight, but I don't write.

What is your favorite language to read in? English

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?What is this if? I've read books in both French and German. I can still read in French.

What makes you love a book? Being transported.

What will inspire you to recommend a book? I've pretty much stopped this practice.

Favorite genre? Fiction.

Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?) ??? If I wished I read the genre, I do. What kind of f'd up question is this?

Favorite biography?This year it was Henry VIII: The King and His Court by Alison Weir.

 Have you ever read a self-help book? Yes.

Favorite cookbook? The Joy of Cooking - the 1970's edition I've been using decades. That's my go to cookbook that I'd want on the proverbial desert island. 

Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? The two Richard Brautigan books I found at the used bookstore - Rommel Drives on Deep Into Egypt and The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster.
Favorite reading snack?Nuts.

Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.  This happens to me all the time. How about A Confederacy of Dunces? Hated it.

How often do you agree with critics about a book? I'd have to read the critics to know. 

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?  Not a problem.

Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?Books do not intimidate me.

Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? Really?

Favorite Poet?Argh. Too many to choose. This week, because it's autumn and beautiful outside, let's say Mary Oliver.

How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? Used to be 4-5. Now I'm reading on my Nook. And only have one library book at a time on there.

How often have you returned book to the library unread?Hardly ever.

Favorite fictional character? Jo March.

Favorite fictional villain? Moby Dick.

Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? TheNook. I'm taking my library with me!

The longest I’ve gone without reading. Certainly less than 24 hours.

Name a book that you could/would not finish. War and Peace. But I'm vowing publicly to give it another try.

What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Nothing.

Favorite film adaptation of a novel? The Hours.

Most disappointing film adaptation? Without a doubt, Dune.

The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?I have no idea.

How often do you skim a book before reading it? Sometimes?

What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? I almost always finish every book. It has to be completely inane for me to stop.

Do you like to keep your books organized? In an ideal world, yes.

Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?Books that I keep. All needlework, most cookbooks, all poetry. Fiction, I pass on.

Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?Certainly.

Name a book that made you angry. My mind is a blank of this.

A book you didn’t expect to like but did. Moby Dick. I'm an English major who escaped reading this book. I read it maybe 6 or 7 years ago. And loved it.

A book that you expected to like but didn’t. There are way too many books that fall into this category today. The publishing world should be ashamed. 

Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading. Stupid, silly mysteries.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nothing Exciting

Honestly. There is nothing new here. I'm being up front so no one will be disappointed. Let's just sit here and type and see what comes out...

No time to stitch yesterday. DS, at college one hour's drive away on a good day, has suffered a computer meltdown. And we've ordered him a new one. But it's taking longer getting here than it should and yesterday I drove down and loaned him our laptop. Why we couldn't have figured this out on Monday, when I had free time and the weather was gorgeous, I don't know. Instead I found myself crawling down the Parkway with people who can't drive over forty m.p.h. when there is precipitation. Took about 1 1/2 hours to get there. But I had time to take him to breakfast at Cracker Barrel before his class. 

Then I decided, seeing how I was in Fredericksburg and all, to go shopping. I went to Ten Thousand Villages - a store with a mission:  Ten Thousand Villages provides vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America. Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. This income helps pay for food, education, health care and housing. Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit program of Mennonite Central Committee. For those you who don't live near these stores, you can click the link and shop the store. I did find something that actually has bought me some time, i.e., I purchased a gift that I was going to stitch. Stitched gift will still happen, but just not for this Christmas. 

I continued on through the rain and explored the new Hobby Lobby. I used to love shopping at Hobby Lobby when we lived in Colorado Springs. I had forgotten how much home decor stuff these stores have. I didn't end up with stitching stuff, but I did find somethings needed to complete a scrapbooking project. I even drove across the way to the A.C. Moore to see if they had any misses pieces of my puzzle. Lots more people in the Hobby Lobby, but that's probably just the newness factor. 

Next, I went to Lowe's for a filter for the fridge. Ten dollars cheaper here than at Sears. Interesting. 

While locating the filters, I bumped into a clearance sale on lamps. And bought a floor lamp and a table lamp for what will be my new studio. 

Came home way later than I had intended. Put together the floor lamp. Then it was on to the big business of the day. Deconstructing DD's twin bed. I didn't have the muscle to get her bed frame apart. But soon enough DH was home to help and we moved our bed into DD's room. Because we've got a new mattress and boxspring arriving today. I have to say that when we to sleep in my DD's room last night, the cats were totally befuddled. 

I fell asleep imaging what I can do to that room the week after Thanksgiving. Move in a chair and a desk. Remove her books. (I've already started moving my needlework library into this room.) Move dresser into my room where it will go into my closet. I want to repaint one wall. I'd love to rip out the carpet and put in laminate flooring. Remove closet doors. 

Off to clean my bedroom. Much easier to vacuum without a bed in it...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let's Visit the Garden District, Shall We?

But first, a tour through what's happening Chez Me?

I am back to stitching on my Gay Ann Rogers class piece - Echoes of Elizabeth. I've got a ways to go in order to be ready for finishing at the beginning of December. It is very peaceful and soothing and as soon as I make some progress that looks like progress I'll post a photo. Right now it's just ecru and black and gold. Though it does look like it could be a cameo. 

Yesterday was November's Loudoun Sampler Guild meeting where I dropped out of a silent auction at $135. It's nice to know I know my limits. But still - that was an $80 dollar basket all that stitching stuff was in and ...

We had a presentation from Barbara Hutson of the Queenstown Sampler about her new sampler, which by the way is one of the stitch alongs for the Ellen Chester sampler group next year. Elizabeth Mears  is gorgeous and I may be destined to buy her. Barbara bought the sampler on E-bay and it was fascinating to hear how she's spent her time documenting her find. If you're looking for a big sampler to stitch next year, this is a good one!

Now let's go check out the Garden District...

On Saturday, our last full day in New Orleans, my husband and I decided to take the St. Charles streetcar through the Garden District. Who knew we both had ulterior motives? 

We picked up the streetcar just east of the Lee Circle and boy was it crowded. Standing room only. Now we're thinking we are not going to be able to see much of the houses, etc. And we decide to get off between a cigar store for my DH and a needlework store for me. 

We walk from St. Charles down to Magazine Street along more bumpy uneven sidewalks. And when we get to Magazine, he goes west and I go east and he's going to meet me at the needlework store. 

I've been walking and walking for nine blocks. We were way closer to the cigar store than the needlework store. I've gone through mostly residential areas and then suddenly it turns into a commercial area and here I am.

The store is arranged with mostly knitting on the left and needlepoint on the right. Crystal chandeliers and everything.

Here's where I had fun. This stand is filled with ornament kits. The tree is off to the left. I had to practice some restraint because I wanted them all. 


Here's what I bought - the cathedral at night:  the threads with this one are metallic and shiny. The streetcar named Desire. The Acadian flag. And the cathedral in daylight. There's one more, but I can't show it as it is a gift. I thought I was buying it for myself, but realized it much more fitting for someone else. The flag is now halfway finished. Pretty easy stitching on 13ct. canvas on an airplane. 

I'm extremely thankful to my husband for inviting me along on this trip to New Orleans. We had a tremendous time!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Day Late

For Veteran's Day, I give you a few photos I took at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. 

I see where someone got the inspiration from for the Darth Vader costume.

A flag off a boat that participated in landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day.

This quote slays me.
"You can't buy valor and you can't pull heroes off an assembly line."

After touring the museum, we had tickets to see the 4-D movie, "Beyond All Boundaries" at the theater next door. I really wasn't expecting much. But I should have known better. They should have tissues in this theater. Watching this was a very emotional experience.

Well, I know a good thing when I see it. A John Best restaurant? Count me in.

For lunch, I had a Sazerac cocktail. The spicy garlic chili glazed chicken appetizers with watermelon pickles. A side of southern greens. And a side of cheese grits with jalapenos. The chicken was excellent. The pickled green beans, watermelon, and apples were terrific. The greens didn't need anything - usually I go for some vinegar or hot sauce. And the grits were the best I've ever had. Oh, and the cocktail, while not better than the Sazeracs we had at Arnaud's, was marvelous. 

In fact, the cocktail was so marvelous, that when we were walking back by here at 5 p.m. we went back in for happy hour - 1/2 price drinks and 75 cent sloppy joe sliders. 

But the true reason we went back, was because at lunchtime I talked the ladies sitting next to us into having desert. We were too full to have desert ourselves. And the desert I talked them into was:

Sugarcane iced cupcake with candied bacon which came with bowl of terrific vanilla ice cream and a German chocolate cupcake. (No irony there...) Thus sliders, Sazeracs, and cupcakes with ice cream was our last great meal in New Orleans.

P.S. If anyone thinks candied bacon does not sound like a good idea, I can assure you, it's a fantastic idea.