Friday, July 26, 2013


The boy child, who was home on leave before reporting to his first duty station, gave his momma a cold. At a very bad time. Tomorrow is our guild's Saturday luncheon and I'm sure I'm forgetting something because my brain isn't working properly. 

But I still love him. And he did a fine job of jumping out of airplanes at Ft. Benning. Which is grand. And the new baby will have a dad with wings. Only about a month to go!

I did complete my Presidents' Challenge on Tuesday and finished framing it this morning. Phew. Now what should the new challenge be? Anyone got any good ideas?

I was thinking of the fact that we haven't gotten home yet. Because no matter how long I live somewhere else, New Hampshire is still referred to as home by me.
 We'd be stopping by to see the roses.
 Maybe share a nut with a friend.
 Or just contemplate the ocean views?

I've still got work to do so that I can just jump in the car in the morning. That's all the reminiscing I can do for now. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Busy, Busy Week

I haven't lost my marbles yet, but it'll be a close call by Saturday. It's one of our Saturday meetings in my Guild and this year I'm the Pres so I guess that means I'm large and in charge!

But seriously. I've been learning new things all week. Like today I learned how to use Microsoft Publisher. You'll see the results of this learning after the meeting. 

And I don't remember what exactly it was I needed at Michael's on Sunday, but I had to find something there. Seems I haven't been there in a while. (Foursquare said 4 months...) I used to go every week, back in the day when I traveled with a certain companion who loved to shop. 

Anyway, while traversing the aisles looking for my mystery item, I found these:

 Lots and lots of sequins. In fact, on the bottom right, that's a whole package of silver stars. On the left, flowers. The rest are squares and circles. Now for the counted folks who stitch on linen, you all are yawning and going so what? But the for the canvas embellishment people, this might bring a sparkle to your eye. Me, myself, and I am not a blingy bling kind of gal. But in the right situation, I can see using these. Must be why I left with four packages in assorted colors. 

And just so the counted folks don't feel left out:

 Um. Yeah. These are way cheaper than any of the tin necklace frames I've seen in the cross stitch stores. But they were in an odd place - not with the jewelry. Oh and somewhere in my stash I have a Tim Holtz watchcase from the scrapbooking section - also good for holding needlework and wearing as a necklace.

There. Reasons to shop at Michaels. 

PS No time for proofreading...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Drive By

Time for a quick note before I head off to work.

This is a pile of stuff I put in my studio yesterday as I was cleaning the living room.

See the blue utility cart that I bought at the Container Store?

My intent is that will be the holding zone for things that need to be put away.

I would have put things away yesterday, but I was more focused on having son over for Sunday supper and working on my Presidents' Challenge piece.

It's not that big a pile...

I might have time tomorrow to deal with this.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Look Who's Back

Three days out of four! I'm on a roll. 

Let's talk about what I did this week. For most of us in the U.S. this week has been barely bearable outside. High heat coupled with high humidity that smacks you in the face every time you walk outside your door. That meant weeding my small front yard was literally out of the question. Especially as the new crop of Asian Tiger mosquitoes has finally hatched. These little buggers don't respect the daylight hours which means you need to apply bug spray if you're going to outside more than two minutes. Ask my petunias in hanging pots. They know I haven't dedicated time to them for deadheading. I did cut back some mint and lavender - exactly what I could hack off in a minute or less. LOL Guerrilla gardening. But at least they aren't encroaching too much on the sidewalk. And we won't begin to talk about the boxwood that is reaching epic proportions. 

With gardening out of the question, I knew one place inside that was begging for my attention. My studio. I hadn't been able to sit in my chair in 5 or 6 months. I could no longer see my rug. I had stacks and piles all over the place. I admit that for months I've been going in there rummaging around to find something and dropping off newly acquired things. I created a big, ugly mess. 

On Tuesday, I decided I had some time I could devote to fixing my mess. I'm not a Feng Shui kind of gal, but sometimes there is something about a room that is just flat out wrong for me. And in this room it was my extra large Elfa unit that was on the left as I entered the room. Its drawers were crammed full of stuff - one was beading, one was paper/office stuff, one was still empty, and two were miscellaneous. It's top was covered by a basket full of other things that needed home. In fact, there were things in that basket that I had totally forgotten I had. 

Out with the cart. It's much more useful in my bedroom closet. Which meant the old oak dresser in my closet had to go. Move the dresser to the guest room where it replaced my son's old painted pine dresser. At this point, I really wanted to just give that dresser away on freecycle, but I had this big hole in my studio. And that meant I had to move everything down the wall by a couple of inches to squeeze the dresser in where the Elfa unit had been. 

You know that even with the AC running, upstairs isn't as cool as downstairs. And as soon as I started moving things, boy, did I work up a sweat. On my trip to the recycle bin outside I stopped to admire the heat and felt much cooler when I went back inside. 

I got my closet and guest room put back together. And spent some time organizing my studio. But I eventually gave up and hit the shower around 2 p.m. That meant on Wednesday I had to go back to my studio for the second round. I'm happy to report the floor has been located. And my striped rug is still there. 

On Thursday morning I was thrilled to run up to room and find something I needed and put two other things away. Ah, that feels so good. 

 But this Sampler Girl chart definitely reflects how I felt this week!

And this is the basket of threads that still needs to be sorted and put away.Most everything else is taken care off. No more piles of books. They are all properly on shelves. And with that Elfa thing gone, the room feels so much better when I go in there.

 In stitching progress, this is where I am on my Loudoun Sampler Guild mystery sampler. I finished my fourth band and its lovely! I think it's my favorite. On the fifth band I'm choosing to do only part of the blackwork band in order to have another skinnier band. And I barely started my sixth band just to see how my colors are working. This project is amazing in the variety of things that are happening when we all get together and share.

And here's my granddaughter's first Christmas ornament. I need to complete this soon and get it off to the finisher. I'd really like to give this when the baby's born. That date is fast approaching.

But I'm also trying to meet my Presidents' Challenge for my guild meeting next week. And I gladly spent a few hours yesterday catching up on Drop Dead Diva and stitching in my chair in my studio!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two, Two, Two Days in a Row

Posting two days in a row. That's how to make this a habit again. 

And for your reward for stopping by to check out my blog, I give you this video of women making their lives better through embroidery:

Kantha Embroidery in India 

Don't know much about Kantha? Neither did I. Quick intro here: Kantha

And here: Kantha  

Interesting that Kantha means rags. And that this is essentially making a quilt or quilted type fabric. 

In personal stitching news:

We have another new project. I know. I am officially an idiot as I have no right taking on anything new. My lack of finishes is amazing this year. And I continue to start new things. Sad, but true. 

This one is a Correspondence Course with the American Needlepoint Guild. 

The designer is Rachel Atkinson who just happens to live in the town where my daughter works. And bonus points because she's also a Rachel like my daughter. 

But I digress. This is the beginning of the Gordian Knot. I admit that a few changes may have been made to the threads used. Neon Rays is not my friend and it became Shimmer Ribbon Floss. And I bumped up two of the colors of pearl cotton and took the Flair down a notch. It's funny that this piece is on gray canvas and I spent all my time eliminating the colors that had too much gray in them for me except for the pearl cotton that matches the canvas which will be used in the pulled canvas part of this course. 

Like the blue kitty magnet that I bought to match my piece? I do!

I'm hoping to finish this quadrant sometime today and it's stitchy Thursday this morning followed by needlepoint guild meeting tonight. I got into a rhythm with the squared herringbone stitches - those lighter boxes that got surrounded by silver Kreinik. Reminds me of Tiffany boxes and that always a good thing. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bad Blogger, Bad

The title would be me castigating myself. I've been so lax of late on writing that I fear I have lost my habit and need to reinstall the desire to write several times a week. I think of things to write here everyday, but seldom get the oppportunity to put them on the blog. 

Resolving (yes, once again) to be better!

I took two friends with me last week to In Stitches where we managed to find some things that had to leave the store with us. We followed this with Thai food and trip to the framers. That was my ultimate goal as I decided having multiple opinions when framing something as orange as Moxie would be best. My original vision was unnattainable. I could see this with a navy blue almost black mat and a silver frame. We chose a white mat and black frame with silver accents. I'm sure I'll be wild about it. 

Here's one of the canvases I rescued at In Stitches. Not the most perfect painting job, but I think with some careful examination of the Vermeer painting, I could find stitching this enjoyable and challenging. I've never done that much skin before and that's the real reason I finally broke down and bought this. It may never get finished, but I could learn a lot from attempting to bring this to life.

This is a photo from the class I taught in June at my EGA Chapter. I called it Monument at Dusk. Somehow I was deep into samplers when I was trying to decide what I was going to do. The class was more of a how-to get your photos on to canvas than what are you going to do with it after. 
And then right after that class we went on a retreat weekend and my roommate, Jane, brought her class piece. Which she started and finished. And added some extra bling. Jane thought the monument needed the flashing red lights that warn planes away. And then she added a UFO changing the title to "No Fly Zone." I'm jealous I didn't think of that myself!
Other things I've been buying: 

Okay. Color me crazy, but that tooth fairy box is a for a child that hasn't been born yet. Gives me lots of time! But then I decided to stitch it in this Fine d'Aubusson wool. I haven't stitched with this thread yet and I may go ahead and start this soon. Just to see what I think of the thread. I know that they need to make some purples as I had to pick some Bella Lusso to round out my color palette. 

The beachy girl is what I am imaging my granddaughter is going to look like. A little blond picking up shells on the beach. Isn't she pretty?
 I'll leave you with a rainbow. We saw this while eating dinner the first night of the retreat. Started with one, then there were two. And then we watched it move away from us. Took nearly 30 minutes to totally disappear.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday Update

 Happy Birthday to the US of A. I get nostalgic this time of year because I have so many happy memories associated with the 4th. As a child, we used to go to a small town celebration where there were carnival games and rides and bingo and country and western music and the best French fries ever! On the third of July they would have a bonfire. Not just any old bonfire. But literally a tower of wood topped by a wreck of a car about thirty feet high. Before midnight one of the local volunteer firefighters would take a can of gasoline and climb to the top of the tower and a spotlight would follow him spreading the gas around the car. Then he would climb down and at midnight they'd torch that sucker. Not sure how they never burned the surrounding forest to the ground, but they didn't and this was truly a firebug's paradise. The next day we'd come back for more fun and games and food and horse trail rides and it would end all end with glorious fireworks. And those are just my childhood memories...

A week ago Thursday, while on the first night of our retreat, I finished the border around my Moxie piece. I've got a stitch or two or three to tweak and next week I'll be heading off to the framers. Tried to get there this week, but things got in the way.

I'm tremendously pleased by how this turned out. Framing it ought to be interesting. My hubby and I shared some ideas for what we could attempt. Hoping I don't have to compromise my vision too much. But that is a lot of orange...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Technology, Fun Except When It Isn't

On Monday morning I went to check my blogs on Feedly and got the "over capacity" notice. Same thing yesterday. And again this morning. 

Now I knew Google Reader was ending, but I was having some seriously bad thoughts about choosing Feedly when I thought maybe I should google the issue. 

Sure enough. They aren't "over capacity." There was a slight bug that happened as Google Reader shut off and if you too are suffering from the "over capacity" message on your phone, just go update your app. They have fixed this little bug. 

Still not sure that I love Feedly. I have issues with seeing everything. I have issues with commenting. Let's face. I just have issues!

Because I successfully navigated that problem, I decided to tackle another. Moving photos from my phone onto the computer. Strangely enough, my PC recognizes my phone as a "music" device and thus, I cannot see thumbnails of my photos. WFT? This makes dragging and dropping photo files a complete pain in the tushy. Rather than go through and put all my photos into files or any other such thing, I decided to try Dropbox. As we speak all my photos are synching to my computer. And yeah, it just finished. Now to go see what's there and what to keep. 

Okay. That was like an hour detour. I may grow to like this Dropbox thing a lot!

In Stitching News: Three days of retreating is not enough. That's really not news. Anyone who has ever participated in a retreat knows that you would gladly do this until the pain of sitting and stitching stopped you. The first full day it was my lower back. The table and chair were not at the height I usually work at apparently. Thus stitching on my sampler did not proceed at the pace that I wanted. I plugged away at longer than I should have. And then moved to canvas projects that I had on my stand.

Today I am still having problems with my dominant hand. Not tendonitis. This time I'm thinking that's the arthritis. Please do not hit me where my index finger joins my palm. I might scream loud enough to break glass if you do. I see ice in my future today. And maybe even some ibuprofen. 

Here's the band from the Loudoun Sampler Guild's Mystery Sampler that I was working on. I need to finish my blue flower and put in the top bit of blackwork. 

Then I'll be working on a blackwork band. And then I'll be stitching another floral band. And if I could get all this done in ten days, I'd be all caught up. 

News Flash:  getting caught up is not happening!