Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Abruzzo


I finished another block on Tesori. This is the Abruzzo region, which was the second block I needed to stitch for last week. I am hoping that when I get to the center map, I can get caught back up. The motifs for the Abruzzo region are: the coat of arms from the City of L'Aquila (the eagle), red deer and mountains for the Abruzzo National Park, the ancient fountain of Sulmona, and honey. I enjoyed stitching this one, it seemed to go pretty fast too, once I got started.


Here's the whole thing so far. The piece is going to be four blocks across, so I have one more to go on that top row. It is also going to be six blocks down, so I have four more rows after I finish these two I'm working on. This week's blocks are going to be the one next to Lazio and the one next to Abruzzo. Wish me luck and speedy fingers!

In other news, I think my Red Thread fabric issue has been resolved. Thanks so much for reassuring me that I am not the only one who doesn't check my fabric count. I received my replacement fabric from the ONS and it does not appear that they charged me for it. I am so grateful for that!! I will definitely be checking my fabric in the future though! So, this weekend I will pull my thread out of the other piece of fabric in the hopes that I can salvage the thread as well as that fabric (it would be good for ornaments!). Then I'll get started again on my new piece. I'm only a month behind now. I received Carol's Neighborhood RR in the mail yesterday as well, so I'll need to make a start on it.

I had my four-month fitness evaluation on Monday at the gym. I am feeling very proud of myself. My strength has vastly increased, my endurance has increased, my heart rate is lower. I've lost an inch in my chest, two inches in my waist, four inches in my hips, and an inch and a half in each thigh! Pretty good, huh? I've lost six pounds on the scale, which is great since I'd been hovering at the same weight for awhile. My total loss to date is 38 pounds!! Woohoo!!

I only stitched for about 45 minutes last night. My computer has really been acting up lately, so Eric spent a lot of time trying to figure out the problem last night. I may have a drive that's failing, which is causing problems. He should be able to replace the drive with no problem though - and everything should be backed up. I did use my 45 minutes to stitch a little more on Mystery 9, though not enough progress worth showing. So, I'll share some more New York photos instead.

On Tuesday of our stay, we went to see The Cloisters. It was all medieval pieces, and in such a beautiful setting. The whole building was decorated for the holiday, but in keeping with the surroundings.





Beautiful, isn't it? I just loved all the stone and stained glass, just lovely. Until next time, stay warm!

I am grateful for a great resolution to my fabric issue.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Woman on the Edge - Both Edges


So much to show you today! First of all, let's talk about my Red Thread. As you may recall when I stitched the first six boxes I found that I only was going to have about an inch of fabric on the left side once my border was stitched. Yes I did count and recount to make sure my boxes were the correct stitch count, and yes I did start from the middle of the fabric. So, I couldn't account for why there was such a problem on the left side. In order to make sure that I had not done something terribly wrong, I decided to stitch the six boxes to the right of center (again starting from the middle). As you can see, I have even less fabric left on the right hand side.


I spoke to my friend, Sherri, who I am doing the SAL with and she mentioned her boxes measured out to 2 1/2 inches. I measured mine and they were 2 3/4 inches. So then I decided to check my stitch count. I was only getting 14 stitches to the inch, instead of 16, which means that I was incorrectly sent 28ct fabric instead of 32ct. So, I sent an email to the ONS where I purchased the "32ct" fabric and explained the dilemma. The response I got was basically, "wow, that's too bad". I asked if they would please send me a replacement piece of fabric in the correct count, and someone else responded that they would ship one out to me. Now, I have a sneaky suspicion that I am being charged for my replacement fabric, which I am not overly happy about. If I had not stitched on the first piece it probably would have been no issue to swap it out for the correct, but since I did stitch on it, I am now just out the $17.50 for it. Let me ask you, when you order a piece of 32 count fabric - do you check to make sure it is 32ct fabric before you stitch on it, or am I the only one who just assumes that I am getting what I ordered, especially when it is cut the appropriate 10 x39" that it is supposed to be? So, not sure how this is going to play out, but either way I should have a new piece of fabric that I can restart on, but I will be already a month behind in my SAL, and 1/2 a skein of Cocoa less. Sigh.


But, I was productive this weekend. While Eric was gone to Baton Rouge Friday night, I stitched on Tesori in an attempt to finish my two blocks for this week. I did finish Campania. I enjoyed this one, although all the backstitching on the ship was a pain! The motifs for this block are: pizza, the Amerigo Vespucci, spaghetti (which I outlined in gold), a Neopolitan coffee pot, a mandolin and a Pulcinella (or Punchinello in English). The whole time I was stitching the Pulcinella, I had no idea it was a face until it just appeared!



I did make a good start on my next block, Abruzzo, but I am now behind by a block for last week. Which means this week I need to stitch three. Ack!


I put Tesori away on Saturday afternoon before Eric got back and since I couldn't stitch on my Red Thread, I needed something else to work on. I felt called to stitch a little on Mystery 9. Above is how it looked the last time I stitched on it (in March of 2007). I finished the background on my first artichoke and started the second one. I'll probably save all the artichoke flowers until the end of this section and do them all at once. I enjoyed stitching on this, and was glad I pulled it back out. This is where I left off last night.


I've been thinking about Valentine's Day too, I can't believe how fast it is coming up. I think I want to finish this little Twisted Threads piece that I started back last year or maybe the year before. It's from a chart called Itty Bitty Romance, and this is called "For You". It's stitched over one, and I think I abandoned it because I wasn't sure the words were showing up well. I think I will continue on with it and see how it looks when finished. I love the design, it reminds me of the candy conversation hearts, which I love. I even have a cute little Twisted Threads tin frame just for this piece. So, I think I will try to finish this for Eric.


Now, I forgot to show you more New York photos last time, so here are some from the Monday that we were there. We started our day off with a trip out to see the Statue of Liberty. You can only go as far up as the pedestal now. And security is really high - two sets of metal detectors, and x-ray machines, plus a bomb sniffer. I think she's wonderful though.


And then we headed over to Ellis Island. Eric was very interested in seeing everything here because so many of his family came through Ellis Island from Italy.


We had intended to go up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, but there was zero visibility, so we saved it for another day.



We did go over to Rockefeller Plaza and see the Christmas tree all lit up.




Pretty, huh? It was a lovely night.


Here's to a wonderful week!

I am grateful for Eric's safe return.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Box Tops



I stitched along on my Red Thread piece last night. I have finished the left six boxes and am working along on the right six. I am only stitching the tops for placement purposes, since the red thread moves between the boxes, so no sense in stitching the whole thing only to have to rip it out. Once I get all my box tops stitched, I'll move along to my January block. As I mentioned in my last post I am having an issue with my fabric.


As you can see, when I stitch the border that goes around all the blocks, I will have barely an inch or so left over. I can probably sew a strip of fabric on that edge for the purpose of framing, but really - I can't believe I don't have more room! I'm anxious to see how the right side lines up. I started in the middle and worked my way over, so I'm not sure why this isn't fitting better.

In an effort to clean up my craft room/office and get organized, I went to Michaels yesterday and bought this box to keep my Kreinik spools in. I've amassed quite a few because I've been collecting the ones I need for my Nativity project - which calls for 39 spools. Yikes! They do look pretty together though, don't they?


I also received some great charts in the mail yesterday. I sent a Christmas ornament from a series that she collects to Stacy. In return, she so sweetly sent me two LHN charts I did not have - Quilt Time Sampler and Peach Tree Cottage. Thank you Stacy!!


Oh, and have you seen the new Provence Mandala from Martina Weber? I just think it's gorgeous. It would be so pretty in my kitchen. I think on white, with the blue borders it looks like a china pattern. Love it!

Well, I think that's about it for me today. I had to call the HR department at my old job to find out when I should expect my severance payout. It's due here on the 29th, which will be a big relief. I did talk to our vet last night as well and told her that it was probably a blessing in disguise that I am home right now instead of working, so that I can keep an eye on Romeo. We had to increase his insulin dose because his blood sugar was still too high. I'm glad I can watch him though to make sure he doesn't get into a low blood sugar situation. There is a silver lining in everything, right?! He will be going in for the day next week so that they can test him again and see how he's doing. I've been job finding (rather than searching) and also working on Tesori a little bit here and there. I think I will easily get one block done this week, but finishing a second will be a push. I'm gonna try though! Eric has another business trip to go on, so I will have another 24 hours of intense stitching coming my way soon! Hope you're all having a great week!

Walk to Rivendell: Camp in thickets. (Total Miles Walked: 265)

I am grateful for being able to watch Romeo.

Monday, January 21, 2008

On the Second Day of Christmas...A Little Late

2nd Day of Christmas
Teresa Wentzler
DMC on 28 ct. antique white cashel
Embellished with Mill Hill petites
Finished 1/20/08

I was pretty productive this weekend. I finally finished Eric's Christmas present. Last year I started stitching him Teresa Wentzler's Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments, so that I could give him one a year (idea courtesy of KiwiJo). Unfortunately, this year's ornament was a little delayed. But, I wrapped it up with a bow for him to open. I am so glad to have it finished finally, it was really bothering me that I was behind on his gift.


Here are both ornaments together. Last year was our first married Christmas together, so I gave him the 1st Day.


Now that I am finished with Eric's ornament and my RR, I needed to make a start on my Red Thread SAL. My friend, Sherri, and I are stitching one of these a month this year. I've started laying out the blocks but don't have more than that to show. Unfortunately, it appears that although I started in the center of the fabric, my left hand block is very close to the edge of my fabric. Once I stitch the border, I will have about an inch left. I'm going to stitch the blocks to the right of center and see how that side turns out, but so far I am not very happy with being so close to the edge of my fabric. I have tons of room above and below my blocks though. But, on a good note, I did receive six more of the Red Thread charts. I think they've released two more that I don't have, but there is time for those later. Once I get my January block stitched, I'm planning on getting back to my mermaids.

Thanks for all the comments on my last post and your encouragement to get Tesori done in time for our anniversary. I'm hoping to do just that. And as far as Antonio Banderas in concerned, yes we did actually have a conversation about him, and I may just have to keep that a mystery for awhile. It sounds like it might be a perfect subject for my Encyclopedia of Me Meme once I get back to it. Where was I? D? Ok, stay tuned.


I thought I'd leave you with some more photos from New York. These were from our first night in the city. We went down to Times Square and went to The Lion King.


The Lion King was amazing, and it was fun how they had decorated the theatre in keeping with the show.


Times Square is so bright - I loved taking it all in!



Walk to Rivendell: Thickets on the south side (Total Miles Walked: 259)


I am grateful for being pro-active in my life.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lazio


I had a sudden sinking feeling a couple of days ago when I realized that my two-year anniversary is less than three months away, and I have barely put a dent in Tesori. So, in order to finish it in time to give it to Eric, I figured out that I need to stitch two blocks a week. Since this week was almost over by the time I had my revelation, I decided that this week's task would be to finish the block I'd started a few months ago. Yesterday I finished up the Lazio region block.



Here's the whole thing, so far. I used the gold metallic this time for the strings on the lyre. It is hard to see in the photos, but previously I outlined the some of the hearts in Veneto, and outlined the anchor in Liguria. I've made a small start on the border for my next block. It's the border mainly that takes so much time to stitch. We'll see how I do on my two blocks for next week!


Since the Lazio region includes Rome, I thought I would illustrate some of the motifs for this block with photos Eric took on our honeymoon. (We'll get back to New York photos next time).

This is the She-Wolf of Rome.



Saint Peter's Basilica.



The Colosseum.



So glad to be making some progress on this. I really hope I can get it finished in time. The blocks are about 60 x 92 stitches, if that gives you any idea. When I get a good amount of uninterrupted time, I seem to make good progress.


Ok, and I promised I would answer some questions in this post from the comments...


Someone mentioned I should read Anne Rice's books now that I have finished with Dracula. I have read most of Anne Rice's books, and have met her several times. In fact, she and I had a conversation about Antonio Banderas the last time I met her. LOL! I think Blackwood Farm is the next one I need to read (I'm a little behind).



I have been unable to get back to stitching on my Mermaids of the Deep Blue (sorry, Anna!), but I was asked what fabric I am stitching it on. I chose 32ct Ocean Waves Belfast by Stitches and Spice, which is the same fabric Carol used for hers, I think. I hope mine turns out as lovely as hers.


Several people asked about how to make the needleminders and the beaded ruffle that I do. I would love to share the instructions, however, they were provided as part of a kit from Elegant Stitch, so I really can't. The instructions came with my Essie's Friends piece "Flower of Courage". I don't think you can get the kit anymore. I use metal forms to make my needleminders, and the instructions for using the forms are included in the package. The larger metal forms would be great for pinkeeps or ornaments too - you should check them out.



I think that may be all of the questions, but if I missed any, please feel free to leave another comment. I am still woefully behind on reading blogs, but I am trying to get a few in everyday. Sorry about that! I appreciate all of you that still come to visit me though.



And for a bit of enabling - check out the newest thread packs that Country Cottage Needleworks is offering - you can stitch them all together like this...




I have my book club tonight (gotta go finish that book)!

I am grateful for making progress on Tesori!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Neighborhood RR - Round 3

Tree from "The First Prosperity Sampler (German Sampler Series #4)
Arachne's Silken Web
For Annemarie's Neighborhood RR
DMC
Finished 1/14/08

Oh, so much to show you today! Sorry I have been absent, the past week was crazy. First things first...I finished the stitching on Annemarie's Neighborhood RR. I hope that you like it, Annemarie! For her neighborhood, she gave us a wide range of possibilities on what to stitch. She said that we did not have to stitch a house even. I was going through my stash and came across a chart from Arachne's Silken Thread that had this beautiful tree on it. The colors worked perfectly with those on her sampler already. I really like the way it looks between Annemarie's and Katrina's stitching. Here's the whole thing so far.




Romeo has been doing well I think on his insulin injections. They are not hard to do, and he doesn't seem to mind them. Yesterday he actually played with one of his mice. He just loves to throw them up in the air and catch them. So, that is a good sign he is feeling better. He also did something I have never seen him do, but was a Hamlet trademark...he brought the mouse in his mouth to me and put it down in front of me. What a good hunter - he sure showed that toy mouse! It's so weird, and also comforting, to see some of Hamlet's traits and characteristics come out of the other two now that he is gone.




Othello has been helping me with my job search. This is where he likes to sit - right next to my chair, while I'm working on the computer. I hope he brings good luck! I had one interview last week, which I think went well. I have another interview set up for this afternoon. The job hunt goes on, but I have faith that it will come to a great new position for me soon. Keep those good vibes coming my way, please!



I received my Fabric of the Month from Silkweaver the other day...interesting selection this month. Both of these are FOTM exclusive colors. I can see myself using the green, but the peach? Not so sure.


And, I can't forget to mention that I was able to cross two more things off my 101 Things List. I crossed of #4 "Set up a will, power of attorney, and associated documents". You wouldn't believe the number of people that when they hear Eric and I have been working on this, say "oh I should really do that". Guess what - you should do it. And you're never too young to do it. I would like to think that Eric and I will both live to a ripe old age, however, when he was laying in the hospital at 32 with congestive heart failure, four months before our wedding, it was our wake up call. So, that's my advice to you - just make sure you and your family are taken care of, if for no other reason than to make your wishes known of the type of care you want, etc.



Secondly, I was able to cross off #34 "help Eric research his family genealogy". Since mostly I cannot help him with this, it's been hard to get this one crossed off. But, he decided that after the holidays were over he wanted to do a mailing to some family members who may be able to help him where he's stuck. I helped him with the mailing and sent it all out this morning. So, I am considering this one done. Of course, I will continue to help him as I can.

So - two more things done!! Only 76 more to go. Next up for me is to get my name changed on my passport. Oh, and take a CPR class. I keep putting that one off too. I've also been working on several things that I had as "do X for three months". So, January 1st, I started on them. Hopefully at the end of March, I will have several things I can cross off! Yay!

Well, I am back to the job finding and will be trying to finish up that ornament for Eric too. I'm ready to have a finish on that as well.

Oh, and I have several questions from all of you that need answering - next time I promise, this post is already a novel. And HI! to all the new commenters, I love seeing you here.

Here are more photos from New York. Hope you're not tired of me yet!

Trump Tower...



The Rockefeller tree during the day - notice how bright those LEDs are!



It's New York!

Thanks for visiting me and commenting - I always appreciate it!

Walk to Rivendell: Return to dell. Camp there. Attack of Nazgul at night. Injured, Frodo is carried on pony. Head south from dell. Cross Great East Road and enter thickets on south side. Land slopes south. (Total miles walked: 253). On a side note, I started the Walk to Rivendell last January 1st, so that's a good amount of walking in a year...I also only count the walking I do in the gym, not the miles and miles I walked in New York!

I am grateful for serendipity.