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

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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.


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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

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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

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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.  

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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.

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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!