Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Horribly Bad News

Now that I have your attention:

Truly if you know me, you know I like sarcasm and general snarkiness. 

Thus the title of the post.

But seriously. I was just at Office Depot here in Virginia where school just ended last week. And they have their back to school displays up and halfway stocked!

If I was a kid, I'd want to go in there and trash them. 

Madness. Sheer madness. 

When I was a kid, we lived a pretty idyllic life in the summer. At a camp. On a lake. In New Hampshire. Did whatever we wanted all day long. Our mothers used to joke that they were the only mothers they knew who didn't want school to start. 

In stitchy news:

Okay. I give already. Some how I have lost track of another project. Seriously. I must be losing my mind. No bag, no threads, no chart. Just the canvas that I bought two weeks later. This one is Carolyn Mitchell's In My Wildest Dreams. I know I bought the stuff. Now where the heck is it? 

I did have a friend give me a copy of the color key from my other missing items. And have started my stitching on several smalls. Actually got a fair amount stitched while having the first service appointment on our car on Monday. They've renovated the customer lounge and it's much nicer now with ever better lighting. I had no problem seeing to stitch over one on 32ct. 

I did not stitch at all yesterday. So I did a little bit more on my border on Stars this morning. Just pushing ahead and making incremental progress. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stars Update 6/28

My plan, announced last Thursday, to start working on Stars on Fridays and Tuesdays, is so far a rousing success. I did work on it on Friday and it carried over to Saturday.

The photo shows my progress through Friday evening, but I did more of the outside borders on Saturday while watching Drop Dead Diva. Silly premise, but entertaining. 

I'm beginning to get a sense of how I want to hang this eventually. And I think I prefer the horizontal to the vertical. But I reserve the right to change my mind as I fill in those last six squares.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I'm sitting here wondering what to do. I've got a couple of personal dilemmas that are picking at my brain and thusly am having difficulty reaching a conclusion on normal decisions. Normal decisions = what to stitch on at stitching group today. 

I guess I need to set aside one day a week to work on Stars because my catch as catch can program is not working. Something else always comes along and bumps this big project off my radar. Or maybe even two days? 

New plan - Tuesdays and Fridays are for Stars. Until I get it finished. 

Phew. That means today I can either work on my President's Challenge for my EGA Chapter and/or O Canada.

I came very close to finishing the wheat ear band that slowed my progress on O Canada. I was working on it last night at Guild. I've been going to both morning and evening meetings lately for Guild and took the class in the morning which was the pulled thread bookmark that was in the December issue of Needle Arts. 

This bookmark called for 25 ct linen and #8 pearl cotton. Well, I found a piece of 30 ct linen and some #8 pearl cotton and while it's interesting what developed, it's not right. The thread is too big and I can't open the holes enough to satisfy myself. Next time I'm out and about, I'll pick up some DMC Floche in a complimentary color and try that. 

The Tuesday shopping trip was successful. I dropped off my Cajun Santa for finishing, ordered a Kathy Schenkel ornament canvas, and found some nice threads to start a gift type project that I can't write about here. The main colors are Hyla's High Cotton, an Egyptian cotton that can be stranded down to 5 strands or used as is on a 13 count canvas. This will be the first time I've used this fiber and I've been hearing good things about it. 

I also purchased a wicked looking curved blade thing to remove mistakes. I'd been slowly frogging a canvas piece and this will certainly speed things up. I should now be able to just cut and pull with tweezers. 

And then we arrived at one of my all-time favorites, The Container Store. I had a coupon and was thinking about getting another Elfa cart for my studio. But instead common sense won out and I bought one for the part of my closet that acts like a pantry. 

I bought a 10-runner model, came home, put it together, evicted the old plastic shelves, and organized everything nicely. Looks great! Not to mention I discovered a 1 lb. bag of rye flour at the bottom in the back that was dated 2006! That's out with the garbage this morning. LOL

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice

Officially the beginning the summer, but for us here in Metro D.C. it's been summer for weeks and weeks. Going back up to 90 today maybe? Hopefully there will be no rain out of my grilling plans for dinner. 

Yesterday brought the final addition to my stitching room as the last item on my wish list for comfort and amusement arrived via USPS. DH found me a good deal on a Blue-ray player online. It's all set up and now I can watch Netflix without having to go through hooking up the laptop. I've been slowly purging papercrafting stuff from the room. Seriously haven't used most of my supplies since 2002. I might purchase one more Elfa unit, maybe even today. And then things will be relatively complete. I just need to decide if I'm going to hang things on the walls before repainting or if I'm going to paint that one wall. It's a pretty ugly shade of green. I've been considering lavender. That's it for my big decisions for the week.

I'm heading off with a friend today. Got a stocking in need of finishing. And I've got a present to stitch that's in need of threads.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Two Finishes

Silly, but this Cajun Santa hand-painted canvas was one of my original Crazy January Challenge projects. But somehow it didn't make the final cut. Too bad, because it's finished. Jokes on me, I guess.

Santa's in his pirogue in the bayou. He seems to have caught the attention of an alligator. Maybe Monsieur Gator is looking for his presents under the light of a full moon as the swamp grass and stars twinkle in the night. 

The moon and the gator's eye are a ribbon floss and the rest is wool. It was all kitted up and I bought it at the Quarter Stitch in New Orleans. I tried substituting beads for the stars, but didn't like how it looked. No fun frogging beading thread from tent stitched wool. But I did it. I'm sure there's a couple of beads buried in the rug somewhere in the living room.

And last week, I completed the finishing on this one. This is a version of the Acacian flag. Don't ask, as there are several depending on where you are. This, too, was bought as a kit in New Orleans, but this one came from the Garden District Needlework Shop. Google them if you're interested in any New Orleans themed ornaments. There's over 100 kits available.

Friday, June 17, 2011

FMTM Update

First square finished on From Molehill to Mountain. I'm thrilled with how it looks. Pam's right. It looks so much better in person. I'm going to stitch the second square and then I think I can move on to the sashing and cornerstones. 

My only major frogging was taking out the green that read too olivey in the center square. When I did that, I swapped the position for the pink and green and it made a world of difference. Let's hope the rest of this piece is as problem free!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In My Wildest Dreams

I did go to Needlewoman East on Tuesday with my chart of In My Wildest Dreams and also a print out of the photo of Thread Medley's version of the project and a half dozen skeins of Watercolours that I thought might interest me.

In particular, Peacock was calling to me.

But as so often happens, I got distracted. By my own purse this time. 

In my quest for the missing pages, I was looking through my purses. And decided it was a good day to change my bag. Pink was out and Bali Blue was in!
And somehow, standing in the LNS I started choosing colors that matched my Bali Blue Vera Bradley purse. I'm not certain if I've got enough color to make the piece sing. But I made a start. Came home and love the colors on either sandstone or this blue I have that I don't know the name of. Kind of bright. Unfortunately I don't have a big enough piece of either one. As I am not planning on starting this for a bit, that's okay, too.

Edit:  I'm sorry. I tried to link to online photo of Bali Blue and it looked wonderful while I was typing my post. I'll have to go and take a picture of my purse, I guess. 

Not so far off from the Peacock Watercolours. Though I do have two skeins of Peacock and they look totally different. Of course. 

As I was checking out I showed Liz, the owner of Needlewoman East, the autumny colorway that was my alternative. And she said it was nice, but that I'm much more of a blue person. And she's right. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Give Up

I am officially giving up my search for the missing pages and thread card. I've been everywhere looking. Recreated what was going on when I finished this - I hadn't moved into my studio yet and I've looked at every project I was working on around the same time - easy to do when you blog this stuff. 

Which means I will need to get replacement pages - well, mostly I just need the thread key, as I finished the pincushion in October. 

I should have been working on my Molehill to Mountain, but I got distracted by my portable stitching. On Monday, while waiting for an oil change that took forever I nearly completed my wheat ear band on O Canada. On Tuesday, while waiting for DH to call for his pick up from the Park N Ride, I worked on my Cajun Santa and just continued stitching on it after dinner. I'm so close to finishing this, I just want to do it. But tomorrow night is the Chapter meeting and I also want to have my first square finished. 

Too much to do. And of course it's a perfect weather day for steam cleaning rugs. Which is what I think I'm about to do. Because who knows when we'll see dry and not too hot here in the D.C. suburbs?

Monday, June 13, 2011


Okay. I admit that I'm getting desperate in my hunt for the missing two pages and thread card. I'm starting to look in places where I stand little chance of finding my object. This falls under the "who put the remote in the fridge" rubric. Who knows? Might work...

Some photos from the weekend. Pam Darney, designer extraordinaire, of Guild House Samplers. 

Here's a photo of the linen and thread for the Hall Mirror sampler. The linen is a newer color for Picture This Plus - Doubloon. When I first saw this piece in person I knew I wanted to stitch it someday. Why had I never thought of making a sampler backwards? I've already got a mirror in the hallway just waiting for this one!


Even though the class was the Hall Mirror, I had brought this one with me. This is a design  Pam did for Carolina Sampler Guild. I bought the last kit she had back in 2009. I've changed a few things on the design because I have no connection to that Guild. Not saying what I am doing, but I started stitching it Saturday afternoon - it was a welcome break from all the canvas work I've been doing. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do You Believe?

First of all, I don't believe in astrology. But most days, I do read my horoscope. After all, it's right there beside Pearls Before Swine on the comics page. sometimes my husband's is amazingly accurate. But certainly not all the time. When it's right, I just consider it a coincidence. Mine's right maybe 50% of the time, and given the vagueness I think that's just about right for guessing.

But yesterday mine told me that something I'd lost would be found. 

I thought maybe I could take advantage.

See back in October we had part 1 of a class with Betsy Morgan at the Loudoun Sampler Guild. It was a pincushion that is part of a larger set. I got it finished. The question is what did I do with the directions and the thread card? Because for the life of me, I can't find them. And it's driving me crazy. I've just about finished outlining the rest of this projects many pieces and I can't stitch on it any further without the thread card and color key. Duh.

So I entered my stitching room at 6 a.m. (before I'd read my horoscope.) Decided to go through my project boxes in case these things had gotten attached to something else. Nope. 

Went and had coffee and food and read the paper. And that darn horoscope spurred me on. Before leaving for Sampler Guild I was back in my studio going through more strange places. Looking under furniture even. Still no luck.

Went to Sampler Guild where we had a lovely class with Pam Darney. We're stitching her Hall Mirror sampler where all the lettering is backwards! Will post a photo this week. Love the colors. But I have decided to work on another of her samplers first. More on that later this week. 

Found myself back in studio later in the day trying one last ditch effort before going to see a minor league baseball game between the Potomac Nationals and Salem Red Sox (that's Salem, VA no NC. Who knew?) Got to shake Bernie Carbo's hand and thank him for some terrific baseball memories. 

Came home and at 11:30 at night I was going through my sideboard and hutch on the off chance I tucked this missing item somewhere while doing a mad dash cleaning. 

No. No. No. 

As of right now, I still don't know where the missing pieces of my puzzle are. And as you might be able to tell, it's driving me crazy.

For $12 you can sit front row. And see a fabulous fireworks extravaganza. Who in that dugout will be a star someday?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The State of Stitching

My plan to spend less time on the computer is working. But it's too the detriment of my blog. I'm going to cut myself some slack on this for the summer with the idea of getting back to daily posts in September. So the summer schedule has started early. Just like the heat has here in the east. 
I promise to not be totally lazy and I'll try post 2 to 3 times a week at least. 

So here's from Molehill to Mountain progress as of yesterday. I used the little camera and the colors need to brightened. See the pink and green in the middle square? Those two are coming out. The pink is right, but the green is wrong. That trebizond is a bit too olive green. Out it will come and I'll be replacing it with pink trebizond. Then I will put a different green thread where the pink is. I should be able to easily finish this square before out Chapter meeting next Thursday.

And here's a lesson for me. Some of you might want to follow along and let's see if we can all learn something. A few posts back I said I was unhappy with wheat ear band on O Canada. On Tuesday I took it with me to work on while getting a pedicure (My preferred source of entertainment. I'm not really a People magazine kind of gal.) I pull out the chart and look again at the thread called for and realize the reason why I was not liking this band. Because I was using the WRONG color! 

Very little difference between a 3032 and a 3033 in number - huge difference in color. 

Next time I decide something looks "not right" I am planning on looking more closely instead of blindly stitching along. So the 3033 came out and the 3032 went in and now I much happier. 

As a side note, I promise I am not working on this while watching the Bruins attempt to gain possession of Lord Stanley's Cup. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Posting Before Reading

Sometimes I read most of the blogs in the morning before I sit down here to write. Other days, like today, I decide to write first. This does effect the content of what I write. Not that today's musings are going to be brilliant. Just the usual. Wait. Doesn't that make this a meta post? Not be confused with metapost. 

Going deeper into the cave...must crawl back towards the sunlight.

Peggi - Douglas came from the gift shop at the Heritage Museum in Sandwich, MA. I was standing there with DH at the check out counter babbling about making a needlepoint version of him and the poor clerk was lost and confused. 

*waving to Janice* over at the Thread Medley. Janice and Liz at Lizart at both starting Stars for a New Millenium. Janice nicely sent me a photo of her finish of Molehill to Mountain. I'm always inspired by others' finishes and her blog has plenty of inspiring photos of needlepoint! Love the colors of Carolyn Mitchell piece - "In my Wildest Dream." Absolutely fantastic!

I'm in the mood to toss things so I'm staying out of the stitching room today.

Yesterday I started in the kitchen cleaning out spices and old tea and plastic containers that most likely have BPA in them. I'm not certain exactly where I'm heading today, but I will continue. Of course, I still have herbs to plant, though I got the bed ready for them yesterday. Still have all my fingernails, too!

Sat outside and stitched on Molehill to Mountain and I'm halfway through the first square. I realize that I've got a color that needs to come out, but it should be fairly painless. Photos later...

No stitching outside today unless I go right now. Air quality is orange for this afternoon which is my favorite time to be out there. 

Okay. I've crawled out my own head. Off to read now. Ciao!


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Swamp Romp Sunday

Party time at Wolf Trap. Jammin' with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. My favorite, Geno Delafose and the French Rockin' Boogie. Sonny Landreth. And Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.

I brought my Cajun Santa canvas and before I left, I had finished my alligator!

Some people were not planning on the sun coming out, but it did. I had a hat and pashmina with me and I have no red skin right now. Go, me!

Lots of bead throwing and beach ball bouncing and drinking and general carrying on. Not as raucous as actually being in New Orleans, but Wolf Trap sure is lot closer! 

Off to read my John Besh cookbook - to get inspiration for dinner tomorrow night.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday Cool Down

I'm so happy because I was able to open the windows this morning and let some fresh COOL air into the house. When your thermometer tells you it's 98 on June 1st you start to debate where you are living. I'm grateful for the cool down. And maybe I'll even get to plant some more things tomorrow as my garden is woefully behind. 

So here's the update:

O Canada - flag and clock face stitched. Trees on the left stitched. Dividing band stitched. Started the wheat ears band. And then I kind of ran out of steam. In a week or so I'll pick it back up.

My start of Molehill to Mountain. It's way brighter than this photo shows. LOL

Outside this morning we have some lilies blooming. In 2005 when we moved into this house, my son and I planted some lilies. These yellow ones are his. They've taken a beating in years past by misplaced newspaper throws. But they're still here.

I planted the orange ones. There's way more of these because they remain undamaged by random newspaper bombs.

And here's my new friend, Douglas. He came home with me from Cape Cod. Douglas is my official mascot for MtoM. If I'm stitching on it, he's with me. We've become good buddies. He's a great listener!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

More Cape Cod Photos

Picture perfect fit for a postcard. The windmill with rhododendrons in bloom at the Heritage Museum in Sandwich.

The history building right now is housing an exhibit on kitchens through the years and one called A Bird in the Hand: the Carvings of Elmer and Cleon Crowell. I took this photo because this building is a replica of a Revolutionary War fort originally located in New Windsor, New York. The original known as "The Temple" was where George Washington's army spent the last winter of the Revolutionary War in 1783 and where Washington awarded the first three Purple Heart military decorations. If you drive past this site in New York all you see are rocks on the ground delineating where the buildings were. I used to drive by here frequently and never once stopped.

In case rhododendrons aren't your thing, there's also a carousel. And an exhibit about carousels. And some American primitive art. I liked this guy all decked out in his armor.

But the cat with the fish in his mouth is wonderful, too.

We saved the car collection for last. Gary Cooper's Dusenberg in its original colors - Primrose Yellow and Parkway Green. If you're into antique cars, this is one cherry collection. Me, I'm not really into cars.

At the Old Town Cemetery, you can see stones like this from the 18th and 19th centuries.

A rock I picked up. I took its photo on another rock. And brought the round one home where it joined some others from New Hampshire.

And in stitchy news:

I continued on my O Canada yesterday. Right now I'm stitching the band with the wheat ears - not thrilling me. And I graphed out my genealogical information and it's too big to stitch over two. Now I have to decide whether to stitch all of it over one, or stitch the capital letters over two and the rest over one.