Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Update

It's Monday. Laundry. Vacuuming. Dusting. Etc. At least I got an early start instead of heading to the computer first. 

Stitching on mystery sampler. As in finally stitching. The more I look at the source of my pattern on this one, the less likely it is that I will stitch the this entire sampler that I had intended to do. Does this mean to clear out my work basket I only have to look at things long enough to get tired of them? LOL Can it be that simple? Crazy talk. Probably just a Monday thing.

I will most likely be stitching on this piece most of the week as I should be handing it off on Friday. And then I will receive the last piece of someone else's that I am to work on. These things are getting prettier and prettier as they get completed. 

Thanks for all good thoughts that I asked for back in July. My sis finally made it through closing on family summer place last Friday. I know she feels regret and relief at the same time. Such a yin and yang moment in our lives.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Celebrations that Never End

Lately we seem to stretch our celebrations out over several days. Or even longer. Case in point. We did not do gifts for our anniversary as we are considering the extra days in New Orleans in November our gift. Plus Thursday evening we had a magnificent dinner at Tuscarora Mills in Leesburg. And last night, we went to Wolf Trap to see Tony Bennett. I love celebrating like this!

On the stitching front:

I continue nun stitching my "Echoes of Elizabeth" case. Also nun stitching my Knautical Knots - even put in about 40 stitches last night sitting on the lawn at Wolf Trap after we ate. I know many people prefer the house, but it's wonderful to sit on the lawn drinking wine and eating good food before the sunsets and the stars come out. 

On Wednesday we had a class at our chapter meeting on Dorset Buttons. Mary Corbett explained these on her blog back in 2007 - which may be where I saw them first.

Another good website with photos is Gina-B's. She's even got a photo of Johnny Depp wearing a shirt with Dorset Buttons. 

I finished my first one in class. Was not difficult. Could keep my hands engaged in the evenings when counting sometimes gets too difficult depending on how tired I am. 

I also received a new project from the UPS man yesterday. It's a Joan Thomasson canvas project that has been advertised in Needlepointers. Her kitting is fantastic. And this piece is going to give me lots of opportunities to play and make decisions. Not allowing myself to start this yet, though because first I need to spend the week on my Friendship Mystery piece!

Friday, August 27, 2010

White House Tour

Obviously I have no photos because you are not allowed to have a camera. And your cell phone must be turned off. And you're only allowed to take keys, phone, and wallet in with you. I felt decidedly strange heading off on the Metro without a bag - no MP3 player, no stitching, no reading material. They also have a dress code for the tour - no jeans, no flip flops, no t-shirts, etc. Of course the escalator at Metro Center was not functioning so there's the mad dash up 4 or 5 flights of stairs. (No editorial forthcoming on the Metro. Let's save that for another day.)

Stand in the sun and wait to go through the first line of security. Next line is in the shade. The metal detectors are in a trailer. That's it. And then you're in and free to wander the tour at your own speed through the public spaces. East Room undergoing either a deep cleaning or a small renovation. Blue Room is actually too blue. Which DH and I both thought was funny. I think it's the French style furnishings that we just don't appreciate. The Green Room is yummy. Love the silk on the walls. The Red Room got DH singing Courage from the Wizard of Oz. Don't ask. Love the State Dining Room. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

It was interesting to me that I felt like this place had no soul. I've been in many buildings all over the world due to DH's architecture fetish. And this is the first famous building I've been in that didn't speak to me. I'm still trying to figure out why. 

The Visitors' Center for the White House does have some needlework kits of a highly overpriced variety. The biggest one is a depiction of the White House kitted with Aida and DMC that cost $110. Overpriced at half that. I obviously did not buy one. 

Anyway the White House Historical Association does have a nice website with lots of info and the pretty pictures that I couldn't take. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What I Am I Doing and What I Did

I admit to a nearly pathological compulsion when writing, to write things chronologically. It's like if I try to not follow things in real time, I forget things. 
Thus we start with what I did.

On Tuesday, a friend and I took a drive to Charlottesville. Why? Because we could. And because Threads has a good birthday sale and it was her birthday this month. It's a lovely little place with a friendly staff. It was hard to know where to start - going through the canvases or looking at threads or checking out the rather extensive collection of books. 

Right now they have four completed versions of Tony Minieri's Stars hanging on the walls. And all four of them are different from the colorways our group is doing. So many color combinations - it makes my head spin. They also had two versions with  three motifs stitched vertically with the border - kind of a mini-Stars! My first inclination with this piece was stitch the motifs separately as ornaments (then I just couldn't help myself and decided to stitch the whole thing.) My absolute favorite was one based on SNC's Monster Mash - lime green goodness!

I bought some YLI ribbon floss on sale. A finishing book. The bargello project that was published in Needlepoint Now that a few bloggers have finished this past year. And a black suede book cover with a inset canvas of dragonflies. 

We headed from there to the downtown walking mall. Found lunch at a charming place from the fifties that has been updated, but still has wonderful touches like the black and white hexagonal tile in the bathrooms and crazy ceiling fans.

Stopped in Studio Baboo next, a bead store that doubles as a gift shop. Their website looks so bland compared to the explosion of color that greets you here. I did buy some pearls in autumn colors to string. And some gifty type things for a couple of special people. 

Did I mention how many of these stores have doggie mascots? The white poodle lounging on the counter? The shy welsh corgie in the bookstore? You can tell what kind of college town it is by how it treats its dogs. 

Next - the Needle Lady. This place is for you yarn lovers. Though they do carry a certain amount of hand painted canvas and threads for stitching, including the Plant Earth Fiber silks which are gorgeous! We didn't purchase anything here, but this place seemed like a mecca for a certain type of college girls who have just returned to school. 

Lastly, and the place where we had the best conversation, we found Blue Ridge Beads and Glass over on Allied Street.  The owner, Jerry O'Dell, doesn't just have a thing for beads. He's an artist who paints, sculpts, and does stained glass. I fell madly in love with several of his paintings. And we simply had a delightful time here. 

Now, I truly apologize for not thinking to take my camera. I'd forgotten to put it back in my purse where it usually is. 

And what I am doing today, I also cannot document with photos. Unless you want to see me on the news tonight under the headline Virginia Woman in Fracas with Secret Service. 

We're off to do one of those must do D.C. things that we have never done before:  a White House Tour. This means I only get to have a quick visit with my Thursday morning friends before I must rush off to meet my hubby. Last night I cooked - steak and artichokes and champagne in the glasses from our wedding - so tonight we'll go out. And tomorrow night, tickets for Tony Bennett at Wolf Trap!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Us

Twenty-six years ago today there was a wedding in a small town in New Hampshire. That long ago? Seems like yesterday. 

Will return to regular posting tomorrow. I promise.

Monday, August 23, 2010

In Which We Return to the Arboretum

That is not a small hand near that leaf. That's a huge leaf of a Northern Catalpa. It was about 15 degrees cooler under this tree. I wish I had a yard large enough to grow one.
Birds' nest on the ground. No sign of birds or eggs. 
I seriously need to learn butterfly/moth identification for this area. Too many pretty things and I don't have a clue.

Luna hibiscus or moonflower. I'm sorry I couldn't provide scale in this photo as it's nearly dinner plate size. 

One of these days, I'm buying a new camera!

I Was Right

I would rather be wrong. But I was right about the traffic on I-95. It gets worse every time I drive this route. Took us nearly two hours to get there yesterday. And on the way home, there was this guy in the blue BMW who couldn't wait. I had watched him zigzag through slow moving traffic coming up behind me. And when he zig to pass me on the right, the truck in front of him had a blow out. Wow. There was some spectacular driving going on to avoid a major incident then. Everyone else slowed even more, except Beemer dude who took this as his excuse to blow everyone away, after he nearly bought the farm. I truly feel sorry for the person just passing through for the first time. 

Son safely ensconced at school. Groceries bought. List growing of things to bring him. All the usual. 

I got almost 3 hours of stitching in at the car dealership today. Finished nunning on half of the inside of the case. One more half to go. And then stitched on my Knautical Knots. Even did the ambassador of stitching thing, by removing earbuds to talk to people about what I was doing. Most interesting random pairing in those three hours of my MP3 player on random was Benedictine Monks followed by Lady Gaga. I want your love and I want your revenge...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

College Trip Today

It's time for the boy to return to school. Am always happy at this time of year that it's only a sixty mile drive. Notice I put this in miles, not time. Sometimes it has taken more than two hours to do this drive. Interstate 95, I curse you!

For E.R. who asked if I could share directions for a canvas protector with her:

Well. The directions I followed are from the September 2010 issue of Needlepointers, the American Needlepoint Guild magazine. As such, I am not violating copyright protection. 

A quick trip around the internet and I don't see an online version of this. But I'll do some more investigating. 

Probably not much stitching in the works for me today. But I have an appointment for the auto tomorrow and that's always good for an hour or more.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nun, Nun, Nun on the Run

Happily, I have finished the nun stitch on Echoes for the front and back of the case. I've moved on to stitching the inside now. Okay. The DMC 822 on white congress cloth is getting just a smidge boring so I've been alternating this project with Fern Ridge's Knautical Knots which is white on Lakeside Linens Midnight- which is a lovely navy blue. Funny, but this piece has nun stitch on it, too! I find it interesting that it's been years since I last did nun stitch and here I am working on it with two projects. 

I was going to link you all to some websites with nun stitching diagrams, but after noodling around I have decided not to. Why? Because every where I looked I see slightly different versions. I know. Some of you are wondering how to do this differently? There's the stitch the vertical legs twice or vertical legs once versions. There's versions where the starting point is different. There is a version where it essentially becomes a pulled stitch. I'm just not willing to take a stand here on any one version being the definitive way to stitch this. All I know is what I am doing.

So why nun stitch at all? Because you can cut away the fabric at the edge of this and nothing unravels. It's a great technique for finishing off ornaments and book marks. You can nun stitch and then have a fringe beyond it, too. Very, very versatile. 

That's all for now. We're contemplating doing something. Going somewhere. Not sure what or where. But it'll be fun hanging with the DH.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good News

New shop opening in Richmond, Virginia!

Well, that is news, isn't it? Happy to see any signs of the reversal of the trend to close shops.

You can view the blog here! for the Stitching Studio.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Maybe Finish, A Start, and What is This?

Here is "Frosted Berries" designed by Nancy Williams. I think you can see why I might not be totally pleased with my berry placement. I was hurrying to get to the end so I could start dinner. My plan is not to move the berries, but to add to the piece. I think it mostly needs balancing on the upper left side. We'll see.

Ah. The beginnings of "Echoes of Elizabeth." I even bought the scissors that go with this piece. Colors look a little bit darker than what they are.

What it is? 

If you have the September issue of Needlepointers you might know.

I took some foamcore and made a canvas protector for Stars. Now it's all snug and I don't have to worry about accidentally pulling a thread or pushing in the canvas. The piece still fits in my bag along with book of instructions and all the threads. I don't see the need to do this for every piece I stitch, but for something that I know will be on stretcher bars for an extended period of time, this is a terrific idea. All it takes is foamcore, duct tape, a bit of glue, andmeasuring and cutting implements.

Opened up, you can see the well created with spacers to protect the side of the canvas with the stitching.

It took quite a bit of tape to do this. And less than an hour with interruptions. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camera, Camera, Who's Got the Camera?

I've got one camera. But not the one with the photos on it. LOL

I must have left it in the car on Saturday? I hope so. 'Cause it isn't in my purse. Nor is it here in the house. And it's not my camera. It's my son's camera. 

If this issue gets resolved tonight, there will be photos tomorrow.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

The Pony Express came yesterday and delivered to me all the parts and pieces for Gay Ann Rogers class "Echoes of Elizabeth." 

Thusly last evening I was able to sit in the rocking chair and start my Nun stitches. 

I've got the green version and I love it. Like any proud owner of a new project, I  immediately found a matching notebook for it and put the pages in page protectors. And then found a plastic scrapbooking case large enough to hold two sets of 10" x 12" stretcher bars, plus a set of 8" x 8" minis and the threads. Too bad I don't have any green scissors to match it, but I do have silver ones with a green and white beaded fob. 

I've read my lessons and started to stitch away and I'm loving this project already.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Frosted Berries

Maybe it's the weather that prompted me to pull "Frosted Berries" back into my casual rotation. Though it did cool down some this weekend and we got a break from the constantly over 90 degree days. 

And while watching the Red Sox play yesterday afternoon, I finished this piece. I had stopped when I had finally mastered the needleweaving of the raspberry leaves. Then I had to remember how to stitch them all over again. But I did. And then continued on making terrific progress until I came to the option of bullions or lazy daisies. 

I have plenty of bullion experience in my past. When I went upstairs to find the proper needles, I also brought down Embroidery from A - Z as a refresher. And for the next hour, I proceeded to prove I know nothing about bullions. My stitches were either too tight to pull the needle through or too loose and looked like crap. Of course, the true waste of time was happening while attempting to thread the darn needle. And I was too lazy to see if I could locate a wire needle threader. 

I finally got one perfect bullion and it was in exactly the right spot. And then proceeded to be unable to duplicate it. 

And then you know what? I finally called it quits and took that bullion out and did lazy daisies. LOL

I finished everything about a 1/2 hour later. 

But I'm looking at my currants and I don't like where I put them. And one or two of the blueberries could use tweeking, too. 

And thus, there is no photo. Because it isn't really finished until I'm happy. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

That Question

The other night while eating dinner, my DH taking note of Stars on the sideboard and Constantinople on the table, asked me that dreaded question:  how many projects are you working on? 

I know I had the deer in headlights look on my face because he clarified his question when I didn't immediately respond. 

No. Not how many projects have you ever started that are not finished. How many things would you say you are working on right now. 


That's a much smaller number. I explained that I was about to put Stars away. Constantinople would be finished in a day or two. And I was also working on my Love and Live Quaker and thinking about my friendship sampler piece. 

If I had to answer that question today, the answer would be:

Nancy Williams "Frosted Berries," a stumpwork piece that I put down two or three months ago. Live and Love Quaker. Friendship sampler - I finally have all the threads and will proceed to knock this out over the next week. And I should be working on my Luan Callery stumpwork also. 

In the middle of my many projects, did I start something new? Yup. A Fern Ridge kit, Knautical Knots. And the hand painted canvases are truly calling to me. But I shouldn't start a new one until Ravish Me is done and off to the finishers. 

And that's where we stand today. Or sit. Preferably with needle in hand.


For those who are interested in what NAN is all about:

The National Academy of Needlearts is an organization devoted to the advancement of embroidery as an art form.

NAN ribbon winners! for 2010. 

Go look and explore and be inspired!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Posted by Picasa

I'm very happy. Looks pretty crooked here, doesn't it? Now to figure out what to do with it? I really don't need it framed. And am thinking box.

Does anyone else think blogger is acting a bit weird? I hit enter and it goes back up to the first line. Was doing this to me yesterday on laptop and I thought it was the laptop. Now it's doing it here on the desktop.

Actually - the cursor moves to the incorrect spot, but the typing starts exactly where you intended it to be. I haven't had this problem any where else on the internet yesterday or today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Notes for Constantinople

Finished this afternoon. I'll take a scan tomorrow and post it.

Just for my own records:


DMC 676, 934, 935

Anchor 1027, 895, 896, 897

Kreinik #8 Braid - 153V

Wildflowers and Watercolours "Cheyenne"

DMC #5 Pearl 935

Pebbly Perle - P67

Instead of the pulled thread stitched, used Alicia's Lace Variation with DMC 935 floss and Wildflowers

Dark As Night But It's Morning

The weather craziness continues. I needed headlights this morning to drive DH to the Park N Ride. Apparently somewhere just north of us, some people were getting slammed by a storm. I was hoping for a just a bit of rain, but I can't count on it and needed to go out and water the plants before leaving for Thursday morning stitching. 

Normally I love watering. But not any more. Because the dreaded Asian tiger mosquitoes are back! Good photo and their history here

These bloodsuckers have no respect for daylight hours like our native mosquitoes do. If I stand outside without bug repellent on, I can have 20 of them on me before I can count to 60. I don't see how we can ever not have them here as our gutters (on 150 townhouses) go underground. And some people don't ever clean their gutters. I make certain to clean birdbath at least once a week. Flower pot saucers get emptied. Etc. 

Now I have to put on bug spray just to water. Can't even just sit on the steps for the two minutes it takes me to shuck a few ears of corn. 

I detest, loathe, and abominate these tiny flying, biting voracious wee beasties. 

The good news.  I should finish Constantinople either today or tomorrow. 
The bad news. I bought a skein of #3 white pearl to finish my Ravish Me canvas and now I can't find it. LOL

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The National Arboretum

On Saturday we went to the National Building Museum thinking we'd go see the Lego exhibit. But we weren't counting on the popularity of Lego and the number of children in the DMV. So we bought tix for Sunday and decided to go visit the Arboretum, a place we had somehow never visited. 

You think, Arboretum = plants, trees, green growing things. Right? 

Well, you'd be right. Plenty of green things. Including absolutely amazing bonsai, but that's another story. 

Instead we were enchanted by the columns on the hill.

Just kind of out there. Standing all by themselves. Looking rather like ancient Greek ruins.

 What are these? 22 of 24 Virginia sandstone columns that used to be on the east side of the Capitol. They were replaced in a renovation in 1958 with marble columns and these were relocated to the Arboretum.

The fountain is apparently in need of repair. And it was hot, hot, hot! We didn't see half of what there is to see and we'll be going back periodically as the seasons change. 

Knot garden - of a rather non-obsessive compulsive type.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Stitching Progress and a Finish

Constantinople progress. I was so excited when the 6 strands of floss looked better than the Pearl #5 that I stitched the Kreinik braid over it to see how it looked. And of course, I counted wrong that day. It came out yesterday when I realized my error. I can see the end of this project very soon. I should be able to get some time tonight while watching the ballgame. 

And then we have Stars progress:

So. Clark Gable, the second  square is finished. And then I moved on to stitching sashing and sashing corners. Also finished up my top border and will start down the side before stitching the third square on the top. I don't think it shows in this picture...but I apparently caught a strand of that blue Splendor in the top border. I wanted to fret over it. But someone nicely talked me off the ledge. I'll deal with it later. 

Now people who know my stitching projects well might be wondering what could I have possibly finished???

I'll tell you. This is another of those projects where the stitching was finished years ago. And on Friday night, I finished the finishing. This was an EGA class in the spring of 2005 when I was a member of the Mid-Hudson Chapter. The project was a Merry Cox piece from Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly. But that's not what I stitched. I did this little Quaker bird. And it is finished as a needlebook according to Ms. Cox's directions. It's so silly that I put this down. My finishing was halfway done. And now it's completely down, five years later. 

I don't even remember where this pattern came from.  Will take research of a historical nature to find out the answer.

Edit:  Quaker pattern is from Samplers and Such. I did at least write that much in a blog post in March 2005.

Friday, August 06, 2010

For Anon

who asked who designed Constantinople. That would be Estelle Kelley and this is/was an ANG project.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dark As Night

The neighborhood streetlights are on outside. It's been dark as night since 3 o'clock when the first line of thunderstorms moved through. Poor kitty climbed up and curled around my neck and (I -edit) turned off the tv and just watched the wind and the water. We had a couple of good cracks that had to be over by the community pool and the thunder lasted an eternity. Had another line move through, but that one was just a tad south of us. Tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, flash flooding. 

No stitching for me while all this is going on. Just can't concentrate. 

Only three of us at Thursday morning stitching group. One friend brought a family sampler stitched in 1827 by a 10 year old. I'm going to see if I can find out any info for her and she's going to work recovering the family genealogy that she loaned to a family member. The linen count was fairly large, like maybe 24 ct.

I continue to work on the sashing for Stars. I'm going to be dreaming in light blue.

Okay. Getting off the computer now. Here comes another line of storms... 

Bonnie's right. If my kitty could turn off the tv on purpose he'd be pretty darn talented. And that's what happens when you hit publish without proofreading.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stars Update Sans Photo

Fair warning. No picture. 

I've put some time in on Stars on Monday and Tuesday. Finished Clark Gable. Thank goodness that's over. 

Moved on to stitching sashing and sashing corners. And I can't believe what a horrid time I had trying to remember the rhythm of the sashing. I struggled through one whole sash and hated every second of it. DH even commented on my potty mouth. 

Yesterday I finally found the rhythm of it. But still didn't make much progress. I think that's because I'm tired and need sunshine. Haven't been sleeping that well. 

But I have committed to stitching only sashing and border until I reach a certain point. And only then will I move on to another square. 

I've been contemplating a project that calls for an uneven weave linen. I had kitted this with an even weave last summer. But now I'm wondering if I wouldn't be happier with an uneven weave that keeps the proportions of the original. I looked at what was available at a LNS and they didn't have anything that fit my needs. I've been looking around on the internet and still don't see what I want. If anyone knows of a good place to find a 32/36 weave linen that isn't white, let me know, please. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Oh Yeah

Saturday's photo?

The rear end of the space shuttle, Enterprise, at the Udvar Hazy Center at Dulles. Originally this was slated to be named the Constitution, but a massive write campaign clamored for the name Enterprise and NASA gave in. 

This shuttle was built for testing - never had engines or a functional heat shield. The plan was to retrofit it for flight, but due to changes in the design that never happened. 

Someday this shuttle will be replaced with the Discovery and the Enterprise will be available to loan to other museums. 

Isn't the Smithsonian a terrific institution?

Playing Follow the Leader

Even though I haven't looked to see who started this meme, I got it from Christine at Mtrl Girl's Material World

Finish the sentence. Okay. I can do that.

Outside my window ..... the sun is not shining, yet we may hit 90 degrees. Strange summer.

I am thinking .... of a trip to IKEA and will listen to Jonathan Coulton's song, "IKEA" while driving there.

I am thankful for .... my husband loves me in spite of my faults

I am wearing ..... black spandex shorts and a black tank top with lace

I am loving …. 
my new nail polish - Royal Flush Blush - OPI rocks!

I am stitching ....
Stars for a New Millenium

I am hoping ....
that probiotics work

I am drooling over .... Echoes of Elizabeth by Gay Ann Rogers

I am sorely tempted by ......
see above

I am hearing ......
the dehumidifier do its job

I am reading .....
The Book of Fate by Brad Metzler

On my mind .....
when can I fit in a trip to Florida?

From my picture journal

 The bell at Montpelier.