Thursday, July 28, 2011

President's Challenge

This year's President's Challenge in our guild was to create a piece around a needle minder using three threads you haven't used before. 

Here's my final piece that I brought to the meeting on Saturday. The needle minder is a viking ship from Nordic Needle. There are actually four threads on here that I hadn't used before:

Gumnuts Buds
Stranded by the Sea
Neon Rays +

I'm calling this piece Norwegian Waters after the Silk N Colours silk of the same name. 

It is a four bargello design that I just stitched as it came to me. I did the finishing with the currently trusty sewing machine. 

The most fun part - trying to sew the magnet back onto the fabric. Do you know how difficult this is when the needle is attracted to the magnet? I eventually used a shisha stitch and got it attached, but I felt like I needed extra hands. It seemed to me that if I didn't sew the magnet on, it might migrate with use. I tried glue to hold it in place, but that didn't work. DH was highly amused by my trials.

My first attempt at this challenge is in a project box. I'm not sure that my fabric is large enough. Basically that one will be a sampler. Eventually. Quaker style is what I'm considering. All the words are graphed and rest will eventually come to me. 

Above is a photo of my second attempt at this project. Can you guess what I based this on?

How about a souvenir t-shirt! The Eiffel Tower is the word "I" and the heart is the word "love" and below is space for the word "Paris" which I will write with DMC's Memory Thread. I would have finished this, but a week away from the Challenge it became apparent to me that the skip tent background was going to take a lot longer than I wanted it to. I plan on finishing this one as a little pillow also. Did I consider doing this in a t-shirt shape? Yup. But my piece of congress cloth wasn't large enough to keep the needle minder in scale and that's when I decided to box it instead. It will have two more layers of border on it, too. 

That's all the fun I've been having lately doing my own designing. Trust me, I've been having plenty of fun stitching others' designs as well. Because I have absolutely no resistance to acquiring new stash. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

R.I.P. Bill Morrissey

I logged on to the computer this morning planning on posting more photos of current works. 

But I've been hit by the news of the death of my favorite singer/songwriter, Bill Morrissey. 

I've now spent a few hours listening to his music. Which I can easily do as we have nine CDs by Bill. All wonderful in their own ways. 

And tonight I'll start rereading his book, Edson. By the way, if you have this book, the girl working in the store, Martello's, isn't me. But I did work in the real store. See, Bill's book, like much of his early music, was inspired by my hometown. 

When I was a teenager, being too young to legally get into the Stone Church, I would sit outside on the steps of the Historical Society next door. Especially on hoot nights. What amazing stuff I heard. That's how I first heard Bill play. 

His voice wasn't a great instrument, but that raspy bass was perfect for his own songs. And it is his lyrics that kill. He captured the essence of working class New England in song. He sang of pain and loss and then could turn around and make you laugh. 

IF any of you are interested this is a link to Bill's website. There are some tributes. And some links. Go take a listen. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Think I've Got It

Okay. First no posting photos directly to blog from Picassa. 

I may need to go back and resize a lot of photos if I want them to remain here on the blog. Argh. That's a gargantuan task. 

So back to the stitching world:

Not much progress on anything to show you. Except for a few final finishes.

See the photo in the header? That's a Homespun Elegance pendant from my Crazy January Challenge. Finished to point of wearing. 

Also we have these:

A Sampler Girl limited edition bookmark. Hey, I stitched this on January 1st! And because I wasn't certain if I was going to finish it according to directions I let it languish. Well, I followed the directions and added the button and ribbon. A finish in 60 seconds or less after nearly 7 months. So sad.

We also have the Noel ornament from Blackbird. I love this. Need to make more of these!

I've got more, but I need to take photos first. 

And I've been cleaning my room yet again. It seems I've acquired a few new/used things and need to reorganize. I did enough yesterday that I can see the floor. Today will be about sorting threads. Always inspiring to look at all the pretty colors.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Five Months Till Christmas Day

Yesterday I asked about what people have done about the limits on the number of photos you have if you use blogger. I've had one public and one private reply to this issue. 

And as per Jane's advice, I've deleted some old photos. Anything not stitching related posted more than two years ago is now gone. Poof. Vanished. 

This buys me a little room, but not enough. 

Any more opinions on my options?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Only Five More Months Till Christmas Eve

Today's title is my public service message o' the month! It's not time to panic yet. But we'll be working on it.

And if Christmas is five months away, New Year's Day will be coming soon, too. Which means some of us need to start cranking on our Crazy January Challenge projects. 

I was going to show photos, but it seems I'm bumping up against my free limit here. 

I need advice from others on this issue from others using blogger. 

Have you paid for storage? Deleted old photos? What do you recommend?

Friday, July 22, 2011


Post number 1,900! Only took 7 years 10 months. LOL

I'm planning something big for number 2,000 which I should reach sometime this year. I know I've slacked off on posting. I warned you I was going to. Just my attempt to cut down on computer time and gain more stitching time.

Today's other numbers all revolve around 100. As in degrees. By the time I went to pick up DH at the Park n Ride yesterday, my car was telling me it was 102 in our neighborhood. I truly believe it. Though officially the high at Dulles was only 99. Whatever. 

It's hot. Yeah. We know. The heat has affected today's plans. Which is okay. That gives me more time at home. Less moving around outside. Less getting in and out of an air conditioned vehicle which if you do it enough times, starts to make you feel ill. I've watered the plants and filled the bird bath. 

But enough about the Sweat Ceiling, let's talk about fun stuff.

Yesterday I finished my name tag for my primary EGA guild. Only been a members for 6 years. I did a huge version. But I like it. I need to attach my pins and then I'll take a photo. 

And I started a project my ANG Guild has been working on - the Count of Needlemania. It was on the cover of Needlepointers magazine in the past year. I had done the transfer of the design to canvas months ago and finally started my stitching in time for last night's meeting. His eyes are done and I've started the dreaded basketweave on his face. (Only dreaded because I get bored...)

Tomorrow is the big Guild meeting and today I'll be doing the finishing on my President's Challenge. I'll have a post filled with photos for you on Sunday/Monday. 

Sorry no photos today. Too lazy to move. Off to the showers now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

1,899th Post

For excitement, I've paid my kit fees for EGA National Seminar. I've paid for my plane ticket and rented a car. (I know a car is not necessary to attend, but I'm wrapping a visit with my mom and step-dad around this trip to Naples.)

As a first-time Seminar attendee, I decided to maximize my opportunity. I've got two one-day classes, and two two-day classes. I've got a very agreeable roommate and am looking forward to meeting some old friends and making some new ones. 

I'll bringing camera and computer and plan on blogging my way through the experience. Stayed tuned for all the fun in September!

Monday, July 18, 2011

What's Up in My World of Stitches

On Saturday I took DH to see a TV console that I thought would work well in our house. And then we fell in love with another one. But decided not to purchase on the spur of the moment. Today I get to continue

When we got home, it was nearing 7 p.m. but still light enough to sit outside and stitch on my President's Challenge project. By the time the lack of light drove me inside, I had been thinking that the background on this piece was going to prevent me from stitching the entire thing before next Saturday. 

Which means upstairs to the stitching studio I went with a beginnings of a plan in my head. (Quick update:  President's Challenge in my guild this year - design a piece for a needle minder and use three threads you haven't used before.) I pulled a neglected canvas work piece out of hiding and took the needle minder off it. And started gathering threads. It really didn't take that long to locate the correct colors and some black canvas. Took a bit longer to make sure I had three threads I hadn't used before. But by 9 p.m. I was sitting down and putting in my first stitches. Yesterday by 9 p.m. I was nearly finished. Oh the joys of 18ct canvas. 

Let's count this up. For this Challenge I now have three pieces designed. One on linen that is on paper, but not a stitch taken. Number two on congress cloth about 30% stitched. And number three nearing the finish line and now I just have to decided on the finishing. That's three needle minders, all different. And I swear I will eventually stitch all three projects. In fact, after I finish project number three, I'm going to continue stitching number two. After Saturday, I'll be able to show pictures of this glorious pickle I put myself into with my bad time management. 

I'm off to finally get a Dept. of Defense decal for the car we bought at the end of February. And to furniture shop. With a stop at the Waste Knot to pick up a canvas I ordered...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Road Trip Part II

I left us yesterday at Bedecked and Beadazzled with all that fabulous color. The sign to the right of this display says Quick and Easy. It's also fun and fancy. Poppy (is that a word leftover from the 60s?) and pretty. Bright and bouncy. It makes me want to live closer. Much closer to this place.

That's Ruth in the middle helping Candy and Ferol chose which fun things need to jump into a bag and come home with them.

We reluctantly left Ruth's Shop O' Wonders for Needles and Threads of Ruxton. But we knew there was more fun awaiting us!  We were greeted by the shop pup, Zoe, and the owner, Judy.

Bonnie and Candy looking through the Point of It All Trunk Show.
 That's Judy in the red. She's helping Ferol and Amanda's making a beeline to the back of the shop to see if the canvas she didn't buy the last time we were there was still there. It was. And she bought it! A beautiful sea horse design with a treasure chest on aqua canvas. Yum. 

I only snapped two photos in here, as there were the six of us, a few other customers, and the shop workers. I'm not saying it was crowded, that just made it more fun. Was easy to find something to tempt our friends. We are all about enabling each other. 

We left here and headed to the Stitching Post. Had another terrific lunch at Dusenberg's. I asked at the Stitching Post if I could take photos, but the owner told me no. Said there were photos online at her website...

We did find things we couldn't live without while shopping there. A few spent some money at the quilt shop, the Seminole Sampler, and the yarn store, Cloverhill, which are located next to the cross stitch store. I've always enjoyed the large variety and brightness and space of the Stitching Post. There are so many tempting shop models it would be difficult for me to leave here without a new project. 

We had a fortunately uneventful ride home chatting and planning what to do with all our loot. 

Here's my share:

I took my Needlepoint Now with me to kit up Olivia the Ostrich.

I bought the Glorianna thread pack at Ruth's. And canvas with the finishing items at the Stitching Post. They seem to sort of go together...

From the Stitching Post:  The Red Poppy Collage by Laura Perrin was on sale! The inchies from By the Bay jumped into my basket when I saw the Mermaid freebies. And I was nearly mugged by a friend for my Sweetheart Tree Halloween Quadrille.

More canvas joined my stash:  Mind the Gap - from the Barbara Bergsten trunk show at Ruth's. For those who don't know, this phrase is a safety warning from the London Metro system. It has crossed over into the mainstream thanks to be used in books and movies. I love the many connotations of the phrase myself and am thinking it eventually needs to be placed in our bar where it can serve as an ironic warning for all who drink there. 

The scarecrow jumped into my hands at Needles and Threads. Left me singing If I Only Had a Brain to myself for the remainder of the day. 

OOOOOH is right! I've been watching Amanda start a project stitched with the River Silk ribbons and couldn't resist the chance to buy this book. It comes with a card of ribbon and canvas to practice and I bought the red and blue separately for another project. It should be OOOOOH and YUMMMMM!

 Thus concludes our little adventure. All returned safely home thanks to Karla's expert driving. I'm sure we all fell asleep dreaming of color and threads and the many hours of pleasure we will have with our treasures!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Road Trip Tuesday

Be prepared. This is going to be a long post. 

First, let's catch up. By Sunday I had decided not to paint the living room. Or the one wall in my studio. Instead DS and I spent part of Monday cleaning the bar downstairs. Much, much better. I started by going outside with the blower and clearing away the last of the leaves so I could wash the windows. Later in the day I discovered something in my eye. That I could not move. Was slightly painful and totally kept me from stitching. Rats. See, this is a reason not to clean. I get hurt. And can't stitch. LOL

After sweating our butts offfffffffffffff, we went out for a late lunch/early dinner. Had a beer - Barking Frog Ale - that tasted so good. Wanted more, but didn't. Went to check out a TV stand that I had seen in a World Market ad. Nope. Don't think that's going to work for us. But I did buy Cherry Limeade syrup. And that combined with my Sodastream means I never, ever have to stop at a Sonic again! 

We when got home I had received my package from Canvases Be Gone. Thanks to Jane of Chilly Hollow, I had gone there last week to peruse the new canvases and found a Joan Thomasson angel that I had to have. I bought Joan's Merry Widow in New Orleans. And now I have Fifi LaFleur. 

She makes two of the three that I want. I'll eventually acquire the Fallen Angel. She's red of course. 

Here's two SharonG canvases I also got. Cigar and cigar band. One of DH's "hobbies." 

And here's a dede cow that I'm captivated by. Might look great on a tote bag, yes?

Now you're probably wondering about this road trip title. Five of my friends decided to recreate the road trip to Maryland that Amanda and I took this spring. Six of us in a Honda Pilot, yeah for all fitting into one car! And we left Virginia a tiny bit after 9 a.m. 

Our first destination, Ruth Schmuff's shop in Lutherville, Bedecked and Beadazzled. For those of you who have yet to have the opportunity to visit the wonderland that is this needlepoint shop, I've got some photos!

I love the color of the walls! Everywhere you look here, there's color. And more color. The finished objects here are amazing. Let's look at a few. 

Holy guacamole! The first time I came here I did not notice this piece until I was leaving. This huge bolster style pillow is on top of a wardrobe and is maybe three feet long? She's wonderful.

This Christmas tree reminds me of my grandmother! She had one of those silver trees and some wild color ornaments just like these.

I've banned silk flowers from my house because of allergies, but I might bring them back if I can have a vase like this:

Cannolis and cookies and pastries. Everywhere you look there's something enticing.

The Halloween tree of my dreams. Love the witches hat! And now I know what to do with all those pesky wine glass charms I seem to acquire - use them as ornament hangers!

I'm in love with the stork pillow. Enough said.

The color does not just come from finished objects and walls and the leopard rug in front of the check out counter. It comes from the glorious fibers found here.

Like Planet Earth.
 And Vineyard Silks.

 The Treenway Silks (which by the way, the company has been purchased by a couple from Colorado!)
 The River Silks ribbons!

You know. This post has gotten too long. I'll finish it up tomorrow. But trust me, we had oodles of fun. And lots of stash enhancing!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What to Do Week?

My DH left for the ESRI conference in San Diego yesterday morning. This time I declined to go with him. Not that I don't love San Diego. I do! But it's more about the fact that I'm spending money to go to National Seminar in Naples this year. 

So while he's enjoying the sunshine and moderate temperatures, I'm left with trying to decide what to do while he's away. 

Yesterday was easy. After dropping him at the airport at O dark thirty, I came home and made deviled eggs to take to the Loudoun Sampler Guild meeting. We've been moved back into the Fellowship Hall which is newly renovated and the lighting is wonderful! Bright, bright, bright! Our class was Part II of Betsy Morgan's "This One's for Betty." All about the finishing. We made the pincushion for this project last fall. And this is the one where I have misplaced the pincushion instructions along with the thread key. But oh well. I'm back on track. I had finished my outlining of the pieces on the linen and started stitching the lovely patterns. But just barely and it's not worth a photograph. This project has an etui, pincushion, waxer box, needlebook, scissor fob, sweet bag, and button pocket and features mostly Tudor and Elizabethan type motifs. All on 32 ct linen with lots and lots of over one stitching. My progress will be slow, but I will eventually finish. Some day. Kudos to all my friends who have made way more progress on this than I. 

I came home and did some of that over one stitching while starting to watch Eureka on Netflix. I've become a big fan of watching seasons worth of shows that I haven't watched at all yet. I love television without commercials!!!

And then last evening while toggling between the Red Sox game and the Tour de France I decided to revisit the President's Challenge issue. 

After giving myself permission not to do this Challenge, I have decided what I need to do is not give it up. But to give up my large project for now. And to make a smaller project. 

Our challenge was to design a piece around a needleminder. Use three threads you haven't used before. Or three new stitches. Or three new colors. 

Thus I have changed needleminders. And turned to Congress cloth instead of linen. And picked out blue threads instead of an autumn palette. And now I'm much happier with myself. I'm off to design a cute little thing that right now is all in my head. 

And tomorrow may be about painting. In my room? That one wall? or the living room? All the walls? Who knows?

And Tuesday is about adventure! Which you will all get to read about here later this week.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Stars Updated Again This Week

I finished Ava Gardner yesterday afternoon. And just like I thought, at the end of this square adding the light green encroaching gobelin triangles and the pink long stitches over the top, added the sublty that I thought the square was lacking. Not my favorite square, but she's pretty enough for me.

This puts my overall progress here:

I did some more of the right hand border. I will admit that the more I push myself to work on this, the more I want to work on it. By all rights, tomorrow should be a Stars day, but I'm going to count my stitching on Wednesday as my Friday work, accomplishing my goal of working on two days a week. At that pace I should be finished by the end of August???

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Stars Tuesday

I didn't get a chance to stitch until last night while watching the Red Sox game. Put in another hour or so on Ava Gardner. And because of that I think I spent the night dreaming of small Jessica stitches. I got half of them finished and as soon as I get off the computer I'm going to attack the second half. This is the first square on which I realized how I don't really have enough contrast in color between thread A-1 and thread A-2. But I still like how it looks and everything is staying put. 

With luck, photos of a finished Ava by tomorrow morning. 

I have given myself permission to not finish my President's Challenge for this year. Only because the project grew too large under my current plan. I don't know. Maybe I can rethink the challenge and come up with something small. And put the larger version away for later. I'll think about it in the shower where I do some of my best thinking. 

Which is how I know that I'd be a terrible back-in-time-traveler. I'd miss my shower so much, I'd be miserable. I think this is because I grew up in a house that was undergoing the never finished bathroom renovation. Which meant from like age 6 to age 18 there was no shower in my house. And I had really long hair. Every now and then I'd go next door to use my grandparents' shower. All this makes the shower the one modern convenience that I could not live without!!!

Off to stitch on Ava!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Yarn Bombing

Because I do hang around with knitters who might enjoy this article:

Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club

Shopping done. Gave up and bought a cheap toaster at Target. Reliability in these things in now questionable in my mind. My Cuisinart was barely 3 years old. I've still got my mother's old toaster in my basement - a Toastmaster that was a complete workhouse for years purchased with Green Stamps back in the early 60s. Last time I plugged it in, I decided it was sketchy and didn't use it. 

Vera Bradley Outlet sale attended. What a mob scene. And I was there minutes after they opened. I totally made some woman's day as I had picked up a clutch and it was the last one in that pattern. Both of us agreed that it was only thing in that pattern in the entire store that was for sale. I let her have it as I am really not a clutch person. Did I buy any? Of course. What's the sense in going if you're not purchasing? 

And then I came home and we went to Fort Myer and purchased a 50" plasma TV. For a few seconds I thought there was no way this was going to fit in our vehicle, but we made it work. Came home and enjoyed the wow factor. Watching the food porn channel is going to be really dangerous now!

Now to get rid of old broken TV and the entertainment unit.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Photos as Promised

Usually my photos are a bit on the warm side. This morning I took Stars outside and my photos are on the cool side. But I think you get the general idea of progress.

After I finish Ava Gardner I plan on finishing the right hand border. And we'll see where I go from there. 

Ava up close. I know the square isn't finished, but this one seems to be lacking the subtlety the other squares have. But I like it. I finished stitching with the wool on it this morning just so I could take a photo. And now I'm late for my morning's plans!

Friday, July 01, 2011

If It's Friday, It Must Be Stars

On Tuesday I never got around to stitching on Stars and I tried to make up for the lack by stitching a bit on Wednesday and by taking it to Thursday group yesterday. I even started Ava Gardner yesterday which has a interesting beginning. 

I will post photos this weekend as it's Friday and I'll be stitching more on Stars this  afternoon. 

Soon most of the borders and all of the sashing will be finished. 

It feels good to know that I'm committed to finally finishing this and getting it off the Evertites. 

Meanwhile, I had an appointment yesterday afternoon for the ritual removal of gray hair and I took my R. LeTellier with me and finished another alphabet row. More stitching in public!

This morning, I'm off to find a new toaster. Our 3 year old Cuisinart has died a rather ungraceful death. And this weekend we maybe hunting a new television as our behemoth refuses to turn on - a little internet research shows it could be as simple as a bad capacitor or as fateful as failed picture tube. Whatever. We were talking flat screen already, just thought we had more time.