Friday, January 28, 2011

I Have Recovered, Sort Of

I spent yesterday trying to forget the ordeal of the day before. Wasn't entirely successful as there is all this white stuff out there to remind me. I did my part of the snow removal early in the morning. Took a little hike around the neighborhood to take some photos. Came home and did some stitching on my Day VI project. Did some housework. Wasted some time on the computer. 

This morning I'm making the cookies I should have made yesterday. And some meatballs. See - I'm leaving this afternoon for a weekend retreat with friends while we all work on Stars. The cookies I'm taking with me. The meatballs are for my hubby who as we speak is somewhere over the Atlantic flying home from London. 

Look for a weekend post on Monday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crazy January Day II Update

Okay. It's a finish. Only took two days to do this one - January 2nd and yesterday. 

And yesterday is a day that I would like to forget. 

Three and half hours to drive the eight miles home. 

Drivers here need to learn not to block the box. If there is no room for you to clear an intersection, do not enter it!

BTW, most of that time was spent one the last mile and a half. I was reduced to eating snow off my roof. Thirsty, hungry, cranky. And horribly unhappy with the gentleman in my subdivision who parked his car in the road while he shoveled out the space he wanted to place it in. Caused me to get stuck. I am not leaving the house today and am hoping it continues to melt. Only eight inches, but tons of trouble!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crazy January Update

This is my little ottoman that I bought at Target for $19.99. I've put my CJC projects in here. This way they are all in one place and won't get lost in a pile of clutter.

Last night I visited the Tuesday night stitch group. Hubby's away and I figured if I stayed at home, I'd just fall asleep. Instead I made progress on my LJP heart from Needlepointers magazine.

And look. It was delayed holiday gift exchange night. I got leather journal, pencil, and eraser wrapped in linen and bound by Silk n Colors "Forest Berries."

I did put a few more stitches in on Souvenir of Paris yesterday. See, General Bullmoose - progress isn't the root of all evil.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friendship Sampler

Time to post photos of my mystery friendship sampler. 

Sometime in 2009, the ANG magazine, Needlepointers, published an article about a group of women who stitched together in a group who decided to stitch round robin together. One of my Friday group, the OWLS, members was inspired to suggest that we do the same type of thing.

We set a start date of January 2010 with our pieces to rotate every 6 weeks with idea of displaying them together at our EGA meeting. One member, unfortunately, went back to work full-time and decided she couldn't participate. 

Our stitching area was a paltry 2 inches high by 6 inches wide and we had some limitation on the count of the fabric. 

We each chose a theme and stitched our own band first. Then we bundled up supplies, if we chose to provide supplies, and passed them along to the next person. 

What a hard time we all had not being able to talk to each other about these projects! We had to agonize in private. 

A few months in, when we started to feel bad about our member who wouldn't have a sampler, we decided to stitch one for her! It was pretty easy picking a theme for her - Holidays because her name is Holiday. We each stitched a holiday on her sampler and left Easter open for her to stitch.

My theme was the sea - with things real or imagined. It's stitched on 29 Ct Glenshee linen. I provided two skeins of Glorianna silks and about two dozen colors of Splendor silks. 

My photos start with my band and move down.

Isn't this just the grandest thing? I'm hoping I have time to run off to the framers tomorrow. It shouldn't take too long for the window installers to finish up.

New Week

I know I need photos, but right now the window installer guys are here. We're having four sets of sliders replaced. You don't want to know the cost. 

When things calm down later today, I'll try to get back to the blog.

So much fun! So much fun!

Friday, January 21, 2011


Today is a huge improvement for me. Still coughing, but not 20 times an hour. Which is a good thing as yesterday afternoon I pulled a muscle while coughing. Always a pleasure. I can thank my parents for chain smoking me into poorly functioning lungs. 

Quick update:  I finished adding borders, names, etc. to my friendship sampler. I'll have a photo probably late tomorrow. 

Got an EGA meeting tomorrow at which 3 of us intrepid people are stitching a mystery band sampler. Mine is not finished, but that's okay because we've broken it down into 3 parts. I do love band samplers. This one has a little bit of everything. Truly. Let's see if I can name them all:

cross stitch, reverse cross stitch, marking stitches, long-armed cross, darning patterns, four-sided stitch, pulled four-sided stitch, queen stitch, satin stitch, eyelets, Italian hemstitching, some hardanger, montenegrin, blackwork, bargello, herringbone, rice, smyrnas, standish stitch, and over one stitching. I think that's all of them. Oh yeah, interlacing with the cutwork. Crikey. All this on one little 3 1/2 inch band. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This Darn Cold

I've got to say that this cold is really a pain in the ass. 

I'm not able to accomplish anything. Not really sleeping. No energy. Frustratingly not doing anything. 

Oh well. I'm hoping by Saturday things will be on the true upswing. 

Wendy asked how I'm handling my canvas for American Beauty. 

She's right - it's a nice large 18" by 18."

I have not yet tried it without a stand. It fits in my table stand and that's how I've started it. I turned it upside and started on what should the top right, but as I am stitching, it's the bottom left. Thus far I've only used two different stitches - the reverse Scotch and Smyrnas. I just turn the chart upside down. And on the stitches that might matter, I'll turn the stitch diagrams upside down, too. I'll probably be moving it to my floor stand upstairs eventually. But right now, while I'm feeling poorly, I'll leave it here in the dining/living room area and try to put a thread or two a day. 

BTW, this is a perfect piece for counters - 2916 four x four squares. Which means I'm about 1% finished!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My American Beauty

Yesterday I made one more start for January. I would have included this in the Crazy Challenge, but the dates were wrong. I'm stitching DeeBee's American Beauty rose mosaic in memory of my grandmother who would have 102 yesterday. She passed away quietly in her sleep five years ago a week shy of her 97 birthday. We didn't have a formal service for her, but instead had a birthday party. Complete with a birthday cake that had a lobster on it!

My Gram was simply amazing. At 95 she finally gave up driving. She still rode her three wheeled bike, gardened, did volunteer work, and had a very active social life. Doctors were always amazed that the only medicine she took was an occasional aspirin. She loved to play cards, to fish, and she really could not stop moving. 

Gram is the person who taught me not to rely on someone else when you want something done. Just do it yourself. She'd move rocks. Hang wallpaper. Make a 1770s era dress without a pattern. 

We were so lucky grow up right next door to my grandparents. She'd rescue me when my mother made pea soup. I'd go next door to see what my grandmother was making. She taught me to knit and crochet and basic sewing. 

She loved her roses. The only thing she didn't like about living in Florida was she couldn't grow roses. So Gram - this rose is for you!

I barely got this started last evening. Spent a tremendous amount of time trying to get this canvas straight on the stretcher bars. It stretched more than any other canvas I've used. Can you see the lovely bee needle minder that one of my friends just gave me? It's perfect on this piece.

Eight different stitches done is eight different overdyed cottons. This is going to be fun! And check out my scissors! The day before I had seen a pair of these and was with my friends saying how much I wanted a pair of these and lo and behold, one of my friends gave us all a pair of these scissors with a scissor fob she stitched for each of us!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yeah. I Have Felt Better (and Worse)

Some nasty, icky germ has put the smack down on me. A sore throat that's just annoying. No fever. Stuffy, but can still breath. And generally feel crappy rotten. 

So much for free time for stitching. I just don't feel like it. I have put in a few stitches on things this weekend, a little here. A little there. But honestly I had blocked off some major time to do some major stitching and boy, don't I hate that germ. 

Now that the 15 starts are over, I can tell you my plan for stitching them. I'm going to treat them like credit card debit. Finish the one closest to finishing. So next up will be the Souvenir of Paris. After that I will evaluate the order. IF all goes as planned, I can finish off maybe 6 or 7 by the end of February. Maybe more even. 

Of course there are a few other things on the block. Like this year, I am stating a goal of finishing Stars of the New Millennium. 

And by next Saturday I need to finish my Friendship sampler. I'd like to finish my nametag, but I'm not saying it will be done. And then I can move onto finishing the mystery sampler that we are teaching starting next weekend. 

I did sit down for a bit this afternoon and started putting the stitching magazines in my studio into some kind of order. So many beautiful projects contained in those magazines. I kind of get sidetracked into perusing and dreaming and wishing I had more time to stitch. Don't we all???

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crazy January Challenge - Day XV - The Final Day

Here we are at the final day of this interesting challenge. Yeah, I am posting a day late, but this is what happened yesterday, January 15th. 

I went upstairs to my studio thinking about what to stitch. I had rejected what I had planned which was one of my handpainted canvases. And had some other ideas for what to pull from my stash. 

But I decided to be fair to all kitted projects. And I went through two containers of kitted projects some of which have everything and some of which have some of the materials. At least I decided not to look at absolutely everything! If I had done that, I'd still be there right now. 

I took seven projects out for consideration. And for those of you who wear glasses, you'll be familiar with my process of elimination. I picked up two and asked my self which one at this moment is better:  A or B. I got myself down to three projects:

From left moving clockwise:

An Essamplaire kit that is a recreation of a piece at Winterthur, "Hannah Nichols." "O Canada Sampler" by The Victoria Sampler. And a Guildhouse Sampler limited edition kit. 

There are reasons these three made the top of the pile. Last year I bought "Hannah Nichols" at Winterthur. It was my first visit to this fabulous place and I hope to make many more. I bought "O Canada" last year at the Stitching Post when I went with a friend and I had found the overdyed thread to go with it. The limited edition kit I bought in December of 2009 at the Loudoun Sampler Guild meeting. I love this piece and though it commemorates a sampler guild in the Carolinas, I have plans on making this piece my own by using to honor where I went to high school. 

It took me about two hours to get this far...

And then I knew I could realistically only pick one. 

And that one is "O Canada." 

The reason is to honor my family history. All my life I've known that part of my maternal grandfather's heritage is French Canadian. And I also knew that part of my paternal grandfather's history involved Nova Scotia. This past autumn the true extent of that Canadian history became much more apparent - genealogy being a wonderful thing. The family came from England to Narragansett Bay in 1671. And in the 1760s moved to Nova Scotia as part of the immigrants who came after the Great Expulsion of the Acadians by the British. 

Here's my progress. I would have gotten more stitched but someone tempted me with a trip to the computer store and dinner at Sweetwater. Two beers later, I wasn't in the mood to stitch when we got home. LOL

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Crazy Jan. Challenge Day XIII & Day XIV

Whoops. I have my photos backwards and I'm not going to rearrange. 

On Friday, Day XIV, I had both a start and a finish. This is a Homespun Elegance Wee Fancy called House. I can finish a sampler in a single day. Well, I can if it's a little bitty one!  

This is random fabric and DMC threads and it fits in the little brass frame and you wear it. I bought this at 30% off sometime last year??? at Everything Cross Stitch in Fredericksburg. 

Yes. I am counting finishes as in I finished the stitching and may not have finished the finishing. 

Day XIII is me finally stitching the Oatlands EGA Chapter nametag. It's largish and I will be able to fit all my pins on it. I'm hoping to have this truly finished finished by next weekend. Again with the random fabric and the thread is a slightly variegated turquoise Soy Luster along with a silver Kreinik for the needle.

So today is the final start of the Crazy Challenge. And I will tell you the truth. I don't know what I am going to start today. I've been think about this randomly all week. I'm leaning towards a big sampler project only because it's calling my name. Loudly. And frequently. But as I dig it out of the stash I may get sidetracked. There's a lot there to look at and I'm known to be impulsive. 

IF the timing had worked out, I'd be starting a canvas piece. Instead look for a canvas start on Tuesday. I'll be starting something on what would have been my Grandmother's 102nd birthday. She died peacefully in her sleep 4 years ago still capable of climbing on her roof and bicycling on her three wheeler. I miss her everyday. She is my inspiration and guiding light.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crazy January Challenge - Day XII

I could post a photo, but again it's rather ridiculous. I put in exactly 14 stitches on yesterday's start. 

Where was I? I just put some French bread in the oven. Having a dinner guest tonight.

Ah, yes. Day XII is a Little House piece called Necessities. It's kind of stupid that that's as far as I got. How did so much of yesterday slip away from me?

EGA meeting canceled. Good thing I went back to newsletter to review the policy before leaving the house. But since I was dressed and ready to travel, I left the house anyway. Stopped by Goodwill where I scored a lovely green pail to use as a waste basket and a black page holder to use beside my stitching chair for holding my chart. I continued on searching refills for one of my paper adhesive appliers and struck out at two different places. Also solved my paper work space problem. I was planning on using our card table, but it's rather large. Instead I found an oversized tray table and I'm hoping it's stable enough. I can use it in conjunction with my old oak student desk and it hardly takes up any room when folded up behind the door. Also bought a cheapo area rug for color. What I didn't get was shelving. I guess that's another day.

What I really think when I'm sitting in my stitching chair admiring my new surroundings is that I have a lot of crap. And I need to pass along/discard some of it! Fortunately it looks as if my other guild is going to have a stash sale this summer. I'm not looking to make money. I just want to pass stuff along to someone who might find it useful. I've got everything in the room that belongs here except my three bins of yarn and they aren't welcome until something else leaves!

and that's my rambling for the morning. Must go organize a project for today. House is clean, but I still need to visit the grocery store after stitching group. At least the bread will be finished soon. But I'll still have a lot to do this afternoon - chicken saltimbocca, artichokes provencal, creamy dijon leeks, and bread pudding.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crazy January Challenge - Day X and Day XI

Day X of this crazy challenge. This is the Little House Needleworks "All Dolled Up - Snowy Pines." The fabric is Lakeside Linens 32ct Vintage Maple Sugar. The threads are from the thread pack - I believe they are Crescent Colors? and I'm not running up the stairs to check. 

This is my progress at 10:45 a.m. I truly thought I would get back to this on Monday, but I didn't. But I did use my progress to find out how fast I'm stitching. With three different threads, but easy stitching, I can stitch about 160 - 170 stitches an hour. Anyone else ever count? I admit to sometimes have a thing about counting. Not sure when that started. And I don't always do it. But I have been known to calculate the number of stitches in a piece and when I'm bored I'll figure out the percentage stitched. 

Day XI is not worthy of a photo. You're going to have to trust me on this one. It's the Mill Hill Flamingo kit that I'll be making into a pin instead of a magnet. As of right now, all that is stitched is white on the palest of pinks. Waste of my time to take a photo until there is more color on it. 

I have a start for today and tomorrow. But I think I'm changing my plans for the final two days. I might throw in a larger sampler. Or maybe go for two more ornaments. I've giving some thought to whether or not I can accomplish this Challenge in a year. I know I can easily get through 8 or 9. But I've got some other obligations that are going to make this challenge even more challenging. But whatever. I'm having fun. Even if I'm finding all this starting a bit disturbing.  

 View from my back window this morning. Only got about an inch or so of snow. Haven't heard that this morning's EGA meeting is canceled so I assume we're on and I need to get going.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Craaazy! January Challenge Update

Sorry about the lack of updates. I guess my plan to reduce computer usage is working far too well. I was online yesterday morning for maybe ten minutes and that's it till now. 

Time for updates!

My Day VI start:  Laura J. Perrin's heart from the May 2010 Needle Pointers magazine. My ANG chapter started these last fall and when I saw them in person I went right out and bought stuff to do one. As you can see, I cannot leave well enough alone. My heart won't be red. Think of this as a St. Patrick's tribute. Or a tribute to my favorite basketball team of the 1980's - the Boston Celtics. I'm stitching this with a gold DMC Pearl #5, one Kreinik braid #4, two Ribbon Floss - one gold and one green - and the whole thing is based around Wildflowers "Savannah."

A close-up of my blingy little needle minder. I love my little snail!

Day VII:  I started this late at night. It's Little House Needleworks' "Acorns." Just some random scrap fabric from the ornament stash. And the called for Crescent Colours. This is what? ten stitches? But I know where it is and will have no problem picking this back up. A start is a start.

Day VIII:  Queenstown Sampler Designs R. Le Tellier. Color balance on this photo not too good. I am happy to have found a home for this piece of fabric that I bought sometime in the 1990s at the Fuzzy Penguin. It's 28ct and the color was called Linen Champagne. The threads are the called for DMC. I'm charmed by this late schoolgirl sampler that was stitched by a young French Canadian girl. I started this yesterday at the Loudoun Sampler Guild meeting. My biggest project yet, but it's all cross stitch and a lot of it can be television stitching.

And lastly Day IX:  This is my late start from today. Blackbird Designs "Waiting for the Harvest." I'm stitching this with the called for thread - GAST Dark Chocolate. The fabric was dyed by me in the fall of 2009. I was experimenting on dyeing threads and soaked up the leftover dye with some random pieces of fabric. Small margins because this will be a pincushion.

Now a little update on some friends of mine who decided to play along. We were sitting and stitching at December's LSG meeting and a few people got curious about this strange plan. I said I was planning on doing it and nearly everyone at my table thought they'd give it a try. We're all attacking this in our own way. Me, I've got quite a few small pieces. My friend, Anne, is going to tackle some of her larger started pieces and a few new projects. Some of us are finding it more difficult than we thought. It's all fun and games. If it's not fun, we're not doing it!

Here's one of my friend's new blog she started to document the challenge:

Joan's Spot.

So I did the math on Challenge. 365 days divided by 15 projects equals almost 24 days per project. Some projects are obviously going to take a lot less time. I'm already 23 days ahead by finishing Day 1 in one day! 

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

CJC - Day VI

I think some of you are a little bit interested in my idea about cutting back computer time. 

Well, this morning I went fairly close to cold turkey. I got on for all of 10 minutes. That was it. I altered my usual schedule by going upstairs to stitch instead of downstairs to catch up on blogs and facebook and e-mail. 

Okay. I think if I do this often enough I can make it a habit? Maybe I should just call today a success and after that we'll see what happens. I'm here now for maybe another 20 minutes because my hubby will be calling for his ride home from the Park n Ride soon. 

While upstairs in my new studio space, I started my Day VI project. Only problem is that once I got to Thursday morning stitching and continued stitching on it, I found the two sides didn't meet. I put it back in my bag and will get back to it tonight. No photo till tomorrow. 

At stitching group I worked on my bottom border of my mystery sampler. I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow and think I've decided to make it a bellpull instead of having it framed.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Crazy January Challenge - Day V

I'm kind of blown away looking at all the posts on the CJC and what everyone is stitching. Amazing variety. And some of you are very fast stitchers!

I'm glad I got off to a good start while in NH visiting. And I knew I would bog down as soon as I got home. 

I did not start stitching on yesterday's piece until last night at 9:17. But I started today's piece this morning at 7:45. 

I'm learning things about my stitching habits by participating with this challenge. 

Number one thing I have learned is that I waste far too much time on the computer!!! Mostly doing nothing. 

Which inspires me to publicly state a goal for 2011 - cut back on unnecessary computer use. 

I'll make better use of my time by stitching. 

Photos will be here later. I'm off to shoot some now.  Edit:  photos here now!

Pictured above - Day IV - A Sampler Girl freebie that I'm stitching with Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread. Here's a tip:  if you only have time to stitch one thread or less, make certain you stitch something that will be recognizable to you later! This is the beginning of a ship. I'll know where I am.

Day V - Go Fly a Kite started. I was trying to stitch the outline, but somehow my count is off. Figures. So I started the interior of the kite. This is on Lime Zest with DMC floss. 

Below:  How far I got on Day III. I stitched on the bus to Logan, but read my Nook on the plane home. I really want to continue stitching on this one! It's not fair. 

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

CJC - Day IV

No photos yet today. In fact, I don't even know what I'll start today. 

Got home about 9:30 last evening. House isn't too bad a train wreck (it was left in the hands of a 21 year old male), but I've definitely got work to do including undecorating. 

First - I've started laundry. Right before we left for NH I got a brand new washer and dryer. WooHoo! Certainly is a lot quieter. 

Second - Can I do anything about a package that apparently went astray? Actually, two packages went astray. We'll see what I can do. 

Third - shop for groceries. 

Fourth - Remember how to cook! I only cooked one day that I was gone as I added turkey meatballs and spaghetti, marinated green beans, and stuffed mushrooms to our Italian themed buffet. Always nice to take a break from cooking. Especially in the winter when I'm not inspired by the farmer's market. 

Fifth - love the kitties. They apparently were not cuddled enough while we were gone. 

Sixth - in general continue organizing. 

That should keep me out of trouble for the day.

My last meal in NH yesterday. Beautiful fried shrimp!

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Crazy January Challenge - Day III

I made a lot of progress yesterday on my Souvenir of Paris. I think I could have finished it if I had really pushed. Love it! Can't wait to see if I have any good fabric for backing this at home.

 Today, Day III, I have chosen to work on a freebie design from Queenstown Sampler Designs.

I think Barbara gave this design out at the Loudoun Sampler Guild holiday luncheon in December 2009. 

 It's approximately 60 by 70 stitches. I've chosen a hand-dyed 28ct fabric whose color is peacock. The manufacturer is unknown. I picked this up last year on sale at Thistle Threads. I've chosen Silk n Colors "Granite" to stitch this with. I briefly thought of using different colors for the different motifs, but decided to go with one overdyed thread. 

 Here's my progress for the morning. Colors are a tiny bit washed out. Not exactly what this Granite State girl thinks of when she thinks of granite, but I like the color combo a lot.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Crazy January Challenge - Day II

On Day I of the CJC, I finished my bookmark! Late last night, I put in the last of the Nun Stitch. It is not yet attached to the ribbon. I'll do that at home as I'd like access to all my finishing stuff at home. 

 On Day II of the CJC, I started Souvenir of Paris from Blackbird Designs "Joyeus Noel" book.

I'm using GAST - Avocado and Black Crow, Crescent Colours - Spinach, and Weeks Dye Works - Snowflake and Bordeaux. 

The fabric is some random piece from my ornament cut pile. 

Photo was taken this morning. I've finished the Eiffel Tower this afternoon.

Happy birthday to my sweetie! Brunch at Rudi's was awesome!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

January 1st - a New Beginning

A little bit of shopping from Thursday afternoon. We went to The Christmas Dove in Barrington. No new tree topper for me. Then we went back across the road to Calef's to buy some handmade donuts and maple sugar candy. I, of course, went into the Little Lamb Quilt Shop where I bought two penny rug kits. The gingerbread one has all the pieces cut. The autumn one, I have to cut them myself. I haven't done one of these for a while. Should be quick and fun.

Here's my CJC Day One:

It's a limited edition from the Sampler Girl for a Jane Austen bookmark.

Even given my current condition, I managed to start. This piece is small on purpose. I was hoping I could actually finish this one quickly giving myself some momentum as we go into this challenge. I'm using a Needlepoint Inc silk and the fabric is a remnant that was hand-dyed by me last year. 

Current condition, you say? Not maneuvering with edit: quickly difficulty, but not maneuvering with any speed. Did I drink too much last night. Golly gee, yes. And then when we got home at 1:45 a.m. I forgot to take my sinus medication before bed. Thus my head could feel better. But I'll live with my self-inflicted pain.