Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap


I can hardly believe it is the last day of February - and we got an extra day too! It just seemed to fly by. First things first, I am diligently trying to get caught up on my blog reading, but there are just so many hours in the day. I apologize that I haven't been visiting many blogs. As you can see, I did manage to stitch a little on my Mermaids of the Deep Blue for my Wednesday SAL with Anna. Two hours doesn't really go far, does it? But, a few more stitches each week will add up.



I've really been bitten by the startitis bug lately. I've only started a couple new things, but I can't seem to focus on anything really. I just want to start new stuff. Maybe part of me decided to have guilt-free February! I've made a small start on Katrina's RR. Since she also had her RR go missing, I am restitching my block on her new piece. It feels good to have both of our RRs back in the mix now.


But, speaking of new stuff, I have a vision of decorating a second Christmas tree this year with handmade ornaments. Since I have only made my two Teresa Wentzler ornaments, that tree would be mostly naked. So, I really want to start working on stitching up some ornaments for myself. I'm going to start with Prairie Schooler's Starry Night ornaments (including the 8th one that was in one of the JCS Ornament issues). And in the interest of stitching from my stash, I already had the chart (I've had it since it came out), I had the Kreinik (in my handy dandy organized box-o-Kreiniks), I had the DMC (it just required black and three shades of blue), and I used the leftover fabric from Tesori (I had to order a yard of fabric, so I had some leftover after I cut my piece for Tesori). So, I am all set to start on some ornaments soon. I made a list of the ornaments that are high on my to-stitch list so that I can get started...


Prairie Schooler - Starry Night set

Monsterbubbles - Mele Kalikimaka (I have a kit for this one)

All the LHN, CCN and Prairie Schooler ornaments that have appeared in the JCS Ornament issues)


That should keep me busy for awhile! And I can't forget I will have my Third Day of Christmas ornament to stitch also for this Christmas. Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?


Oh, and last night I dreamed that I was stitching this...




So, of course, now I want to start it too. Maybe it's all the red I've been working with lately?



Speaking of red, I've been sewing along on my wedding quilt. I took some time earlier this week and laid out the whole thing (minus some of the white blocks that are still at my mom's house). It's going to be beautiful!!



I've finished eight of the red and white blocks and twelve of the red and polka dot blocks. I need to do twelve more of those, then I can move onto something else. Moving right along!


Since it is the end of the month, I thought I'd better go ahead and check in on what I accomplished from my goal list (although I reserve the right to squeeze something else in tonight)...


February Goals:


Get caught up on Red Thread SAL Yes! I am caught up!
Get caught up on Tesori I finished six blocks and then realized I couldn't get this done in time for our anniversary - backup plan is the wedding quilt
Stitch on Mermaids for the SAL with Anna I did stitch on this on Wednesdays, minus one.
Stitch Carol's RR our order was changed so instead I am stitching on Katrina's (although I do still have Carol's) - I've made a start on this
Restart my RR once new fabric received I gridded my new layout and sent it out!
Complete 250th post prize for Barbara I am stitching away on it - hope to have it done soon!
Finish For You if possible for Valentine's Day Finished, framed and gave to Eric!
If time, stitch another artichoke on M9 Nope, didn't touch it.
Try to stay sane Mostly.

I also did the following:

Finished my Pigwidgeon Quilt
Started my Wedding Quilt
Started stitching Cuisine d'Ete for my kitchen
Worked on my scanning project
Worked on organizing my two problem rooms


So for March, I would like to complete the following:

Stitch March Red Thread block and start on border
Finish Wedding Quilt
Stitch on Mermaids for SAL with Anna
Finish Katrina's RR & mail, start on Carol's
Finish Barbara's prize and mail
Stitch on Cuisine d'Ete
Stitch at least one ornament
Read book for book club

That's it for me today! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!

I am grateful for being able to stitch.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Plan B


It seems like I'm having to fall back to Plan B on a lot of things lately, which is kind of weird. It feels good to be back on track with my Red Thread SAL now that I've restarted on my new fabric and caught up with my two blocks I needed to stitch. As you can see, I have also restarted my Neighborhood Round Robin on the new piece of fabric. The new fabric is 35ct Brandy (Kiwi Antiques) by Countrystitch and is very close to the color of my original fabric. I was able to keep basically my same layout as I previously had with the houses scattered along the road that I will stitch in later. I didn't go ahead and re-stitch my block because I wanted to get my piece out to Judith as quickly as possible, because she will have a short turnaround on this one. I mailed this off to her yesterday and I hope that this time my piece comes home safe and sound. I can't thank the ladies in Group 3 enough for their willingness to revamp the schedule and stitch double-time in some cases in order to get mine and Katrina's pieces back into the mix. I am still hopeful that my original piece will still be returned by Lauren, but I'm not holding my breath.


The kindness of others is definitely restoring my faith in people. KarenV was a sweetheart and sent the Salem Remembered chart to me. This has been on my wishlist and I am so grateful to have it! Thank you, Karen, so much!!! It really brightened up my day.


I have been a bit naughty though, and have started a couple of new things. One, I can't show you - it's for Barbara (don't give up hope on my Barbara - I haven't forgotten you!!). So, you'll just have to wait to see that one. I also started Cuisine d'Ete by Echevette, just because I couldn't help myself. I'm stitching it on 32ct Lemon Zest by Silkweaver. I wanted it to go in my kitchen, and I love how the red, green and white look on the yellow. It's a fun little stitch.


And finally, another fallback to Plan B. Reality has set in and I've realized that there's no way I will be able to get Tesori finished and framed in time for our anniversary. So, in order to continue to stitck with the second anniversary theme of cotton, I've decided to try to make our wedding quilt to give to Eric. I had been holding off on starting it until I had my new machine and I got a few other things finished. Well, I have my new machine, and although I have only finished one thing (Pigwidgeon), I'm still going ahead and starting the quilt. I went to my mom's on Saturday and we made pretty good progress. I used to go to my mom's all the time to quilt and sew together, and I realized how much I've missed it. That is a design of what the quilt will look like when it's finished (above).


At our wedding, instead of having people sign a guest book, we had them sign quilt squares. The signature blocks will be incorporated into the quilt pattern (the white squares). In preparation for the wedding, I basted the seam allowance on all the signature blocks so that people would sign inside the lines.


On Saturday, my mom pulled out all the basting on those blocks while I started piecing the red and white four-patch blocks and the red and polka dot four-patch blocks. I got half of them done, but managed to get the other half done yesterday. I also cut out my larger blocks from the polka dot and tulip fabrics. So, now everything is cut, I just have to start laying it out and piecing the top together. The signature blocks are 4 1/2 inch blocks (4 inch finished), and the little four-patches are made from 2 1/2 inch (2 inch finished) blocks. The whole quilt will measure something like 64 by 96 inches without a border. I haven't decided if I want to put a border on it or not. Those four white blocks in the very center of the quilt are actually going to be one solid piece of white fabric and I will embroider our names and our wedding date on it. I love love love how the fabrics are looking together, they are so bright and cheery. I just love red and white quilts. I have another one in mind I want to make in the future, and I may just have a collection of red and white quilts.

So, that's what I'm up to right now. I will still finish Tesori - maybe for Eric's birthday or Christmas. I know he will love it, I just can't get it finished in time for our anniversary this year.

Until next time...keep stitching!

I am grateful for KarenV's generosity and starting on my wedding quilt.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Productive


Pigwidgeon


Sampler Quilt
Machine-pieced and quilted
Finished 2/14/08

Many things to show you today...first of all, you can see I finished my quilt. I had this one quilted for me several months ago. I finally got around to doing the binding. The only thing it is still lacking is a label, but I'm still considering it done! This quilt is technically my second quilt. I started it at the same time I started my first quilt in my quilting class (that was in 2002). It's taken me a little while to see this one through, but I am so happy with how it turned out. I named it Pigwidgeon because of the owl fabric (Harry Potter fans will get the reference). I have one other quilt that has been quilted and is waiting for binding. I hope to get to that one soon. It feels really good to get things done!


Here is a closeup of the binding and the quilting.


Here you can see the backing fabric I used. I've been sitting under this for several days now, and I have to say it adds a bright spot to my day.


On the cross-stitching front, I also finished my February block for my Red Thread SAL. I'm really enjoying stitching on this. And it feels great to be caught up on it. I spent a few minutes gathering my thread for the March block and am only missing one. I'll have to run over to the LNS in the next week and pick up some Purple Haze. I think in March I may work some on the border. Now that I'm caught up with it, I should be able to do a little extra border work.


Red Thread: Heart of Love
Bent Creek
Weeks and GAST on 32ct Light Mocha
Finished 2/20/08


Here's both blocks together.


And, I was a good girl and stitched on Mermaids of the Deep Blue last night for my SAL with Anna. It was just a little more hair on the left mermaid, but I love stitching on this fabric - so pretty. Btw - it's 32ct Ocean Waves Belfast by Stitches and Spice.



I've also been gridding my new fabric for my restart on my Neighborhood RR (thank you all for your sweet and supportive comments). It sucks, but I'm trying to move on. I am going to just stitch my block on it when it comes home, so that I can get it out to Judith as soon as possible. Katrina's new RR should be arriving at my house any day, so I'll be working on recreating my block on that too.

And in house news, I've made some progress around here as well. You can see what I've been up to here, if you're interested. Organization has been the word of the week (along with the word Productive!). In addition to what you see on the other blog, I also worked on craft storage. I was reading someone's blog and saw her post a photo of her craft tote. And I thought to myself, "hey, I have one of those". I went over to my storage unit and found the craft tote, brought it home, cleaned it up and voila!

Now I have a place to keep my knitting supplies. Yarn in the bottom...



And needles, etc. in the top. Of course, Romeo was helping.


Until next time - keep creating!

Walk to Rivendell: Camp - Continue in valley. (Total Miles Walked - 324.25)

I am grateful for my new quilt.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Case of the Missing Round Robin


Not really a case worthy of Hercule Poirot, but a mystery nonetheless. As you may recall, I am participating in a neighborhood round robin. I was so excited to get my neighborhood started - I chose a Halloween/Autumn theme. I ordered a fat half of 36ct Lakeside Linens Meadow Rue for it. I had never stitched on Lakeside Linens, so I splurged on this piece. And the fabric was gorgeous. I spent forever laying out my blocks exactly where I wanted them because I had plotted out a road that was going to wind through my neighborhood. I intended to stitch a pumpkin patch, maybe some trick-or-treaters, the whole bit.


For my block I stitched the cemetery from Village of Hawk Run Hollow, although I modified it by reversing the tree, and making some other changes. Stitching my block really took a lot of thought and effort. I included some Weeks Mascara for everyone to sign their block with. And, I sent it on its way.

Never in a million years did I imagine that someone would keep it. That a member of our little group would completely cease all contact, and keep not only my round robin, but Katrina's too. Several of us have made repeated attempts to contact Lauren Winter regarding the two round robins that she has in her possession. I sent Lauren a sweet card by mail expressing my concern that perhaps something was going on in her life, that perhaps she was unable to keep up with the RR. I explained to her that I understood, as I also had been going through some rough times. Katrina even took it upon herself to send a postage paid envelope to Lauren with enough postage to cover mailing out both RRs. We thought, if money was tight, perhaps that's why she didn't mail. Since before Christmas we have given Lauren the benefit of the doubt, offered assistance and understanding - and met with nothing. No response. No round robins. I so hate having to point the finger at someone publicly, but something like this really cannot go unspoken. I think that other stitcher's need to be aware of this, and frankly I find it shocking that one of our community would do such a thing.

I also cannot help but find irony in the fact that Lauren herself wrote an "article" on her own blog about round robins and had this to say "It’s not a good idea to join an exchange or RR if you can’t commit the time. Depending on the piece you pick, it can take a weekend or maybe even a few weeks to stitch. It’s also not a good idea if you don’t like to stitch under pressure, or you’re unwilling to try new patterns/finishing techniques. You also need to be able to communicate about the status of the RR - to the RR leader, the person you received from/are mailing to, and the person the RR belongs to. There’s also the cost of mailing, sometimes internationally. Additionally, things can get lost in the mail, or people can just not send them. There are lots of horror stories about people who’ve joined RRs and then ruined or kept other peoples’ work." Horror story? You better believe it.


At last post on the rr blog, this was what my RR looked like. Toni was the last person I know of that stitched on it, but as you can see I have no idea if she finished what she was stitching before she dropped out. Then, it was sent to Lauren and I have heard or seen nothing of it since then. I have no idea if Lauren just didn't stitch on it, because she got behind, or what. Maybe she just felt like a Halloween piece on some really nice linen would be just the thing to hang in her house. She lives with her fiance, so I would like to think that if she has fallen deathly ill, he would have seen our repeated emails and mail sent to her and done something about it.

Unfortunately, I am now left with no other option but to restart my RR. Due to being out of work, Carol was sweet enough to send me a piece of fabric that I can use to restitch. I have two RRs now that I need to get out the door by March 15th. And the poor stitchers in my RR group now have to also stitch double time to make up for all the time lost on Katrina's and my RRs. So, you'll be seeing my RR again..I'll have to spend some time figuring out if my previous type of layout will work on the new fabric, and if not, I'll try to figure out something else. I am just sick and so disappointed that Lauren would do this. Her RR is being returned to her, because it's the right thing to do. I only hope that she will wake up and realize that returning the two RRs she has to their owner's is also the right thing to do.

With everything that has gone on in my life in the past couple of months, this was absolutely the last thing that I needed to have happen. And, as I mentioned before, I hate having to resort to putting this out there for everyone to see - but that's the way it goes. I apoligize for the down note of this post, but I'm sure that you can all understand how this must feel.

Next time, I will have a finished quilt to show you!! Oh, and Eric did like the For You piece I stitched for him.

I am grateful for Carol's generosity.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Two of Hearts

For You
From the Itty Bitty Romance chart
Twisted Threads
DMC on 32ct Zweigart Belfast Cream
Framed in Twisted Threads Heart Tin Frame
Finished 2/12/08

Happy Valentine's Day! As you can see, I have a finish to show you. I will be giving this to Eric later today after dinner. I am really pleased with how this came out once I restarted it. The lettering does show up better in person. It has smyrna crosses as well as some Algerian eyelets. The tin frame the chart recommended was not something I could get my hands on, but I like this one with the gold heart on it. I hope Eric likes it! This was stitched over one and is only about 2 1/2 inches across, if that. Did I mention that I started this piece back in January of 2006. It only took two years to finish - HA!


Red Thread: Snowman
Bent Creek
DMC, GAST & Weeks on 32ct Wichelt Light Mocha
Embellished with Snaps
Finished 2/12/08

Next up, I finished my January Red Thread. I was really needing small projects to work on this week, because my shoulder is still bothering me. I also didn't really feel like working on anything too complicated. I did use three strands of thread for the scarf, and I did go back and redo the dark brown of his eyes and buttons with three strands - I'm pleased with how it looks. I'm moving right on to my February block for the Red Thread SAL in the hopes of catching up. Once I'm through with those, I will need to start work on my Neighborhood RRs. Today is a happy day, so I will wait until next time to share with you all the details of what is going on with the RR.

My second interview went well on Tuesday. I am feeling pretty confident about this opportunity. Keep your fingers crossed!! Tonight we will have some champagne and another piece of our wedding cake after dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day. Tomorrow Eric is taking me out for drinks at that fabulous martini bar we went to last year. It's kind of a splurge, but I think we both need a night out!

I am grateful for finishes and my sweet husband!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Real Quick-Like


Ok, so it appears that my card reader and computer are now working together (at least for the moment). So, I thought I would show you some of my progress photos.

I decided to take a little break from Tesori. Not that I can really afford to not work on it, but my shoulder has really been bothering me, and I think it's from stitching on Tesori. So, on Friday I stitched on For You, which I would really like to finish in time to give it to Eric for Valentine's Day. It is all over one. I did end up restarting it from the last time I showed it to you. The thread I had been using for the lettering just was not enough of a contrast from the heart. I restarted and used the charted threads this time. I should know better than to try to outsmart the designer.


I also stitched on Mermaids of the Deep Blue on Wednesday as part of my SAL with Anna. I didn't get a lot done, but it was fun to stitch on. I've never stitched a Mirabilia before, so this is a new adventure. I got tired of stitching arm, and switched over to hair. I'm currently stitching on the left mermaid.


And, I am finally seeing some progress with my Red Thread SAL. I pulled out all the stitching from the 28ct fabric and was able to salvage the majority of it. I restitched the six left box tops on my 32ct fabric and then got started on my January block. I am hopeful I can finish it up quickly (since all I lack is the red scarf and putting on the two snaps). Then, I can move on to my February block! I'm not going to worry too much about trying to do the border right now, I just want to get caught up on the blocks. I think I may rip out my dark brown and restitch it with three strands, I think the coverage isn't as thick as I'd like. I did decide to go with three strands on the Weathered Barn (which is the red of his scarf). It was looking a bit sparse to me as well, and since this whole thing is about the Red Thread, I want it to look good.


I've also done a little Valentine's Day decorating, if you'd like to take a peek.

That's about it for me today...I have a second interview at a company tomorrow, which I hope goes well. I think the first interview with them was really promising. Well, back to what I need to get done today!

Oh and here are the last of the New York photos. One of these days I will get some of these great travel photos printed in a book, like I did with our honeymoon photos.

We finally made it to the Empire State Building when there was good visibility. Since I was clinging to the walls, and not paying too much attention to the view, you'll have to settle for my photos from the lobby.



We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which was another spot in which I wished I had walls to cling to. I am not so good with heights, and since you could see between the slats on the bridge below you, it was a little rough. Plus it was WINDY! But, the view other than under my feet was nice.


We also made a last walk around Central Park after the ice came through.


I am grateful for knowing I deserve good things.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Computer Woes


Well, my computer is dying a slow and painful death. It started acting up last week, and Eric replaced my card reader, which seemed (at the time) to be the problem. It worked fine for a couple of days, and then the card reader quite working (thus, I can't show you any progress photos of what I've been working on). Eric spent some time looking at the error messages, and thought that one of my drives was failing, so he installed a new drive for me on Friday and completely rebuilt my machine. Since then, my computer has been spontaneously rebooting and continuing with the same error messages. So, it appears that it may be my motherboard that is actually failing. So a new computer may be in my future, which is really not a great time for this to happen. So, if you don't hear from me, or if I owe you an email, please know that it may be due to technical difficulties that I'm not around. So, since I can't show you what I've been stitching, here are some new releases I've seen that look wish list worthy...

Just Nan is doing a new box (like Lady Scarlet's Secret Garden), and this one is called Barnabee's Bride (Bella Bee). I see this one in my future hopefully! (Photo at top of post)

Little House Needleworks has two new releases that are both cute...


Red Madonna by Jan Houtman.

And of course, Shores of Hawk Run Hollow. I love this one so much!!


I am anxious to see more of the Nashville releases.

It's been an interesting day today, we had a power transformer explode behind our house today, so we were without power for most of the afternoon. I tell you though, it was scary when it blew - there was this huge boom and then all the power went out. Luckily they were able to come right out and repair it. Everything seems to be taken care of now. Until I am back up and running with my computer/able to post my photos, enjoy some more of New York. These are all from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We mainly focused on just the Egyptian area, because seeing the whole museum would take days!!

This is Cleopatra's Needle, behind the museum.






Can you believe all the sarcophagi?


This was over in the area with the armor and weaponry.



We also were able to see their beautiful Christmas Tree, but unfortunately they didn't allow photographs of it.

Next time, I will hopefully be able to show you some of my Mermaid SAL, some of my Red Thread SAL, and a Valentine's Day gift. Thanks to all of you who check in on my blog and leave such lovely comments. And a big hello to all the new commenters stopping by - I appreciate you!

Walk to Rivendell: Camp; Camp - Follow a wide shallow curving valley. (Total Miles Walked: 298.25)


I am grateful for Heath Ledger.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Wednesday


I am feeling a little down today. I had a rough weekend, with what I think may have been food poisoning. I am sore from my workouts Monday and yesterday, and still waiting to hear back from the company I interviewed with on Friday. I think it went well, and I expect to hear from them this week - hopefully with good news. There is something else going on stitching-wise that really has me down, and I am not sure what else to do about the situation. Sigh. So that is what is happening with me.

Romeo's dosage of insulin had to be adjusted again, but he seems to be doing ok with it so far. I am still keeping a close eye on him, but he is feeling well enough to be getting into trouble. So, I guess that's a good sign.


As you can see above, I finished up my second artichoke (minus the specialty stitches and beads) on Mystery 9. I was really enjoying stitching on this. I figured it would be easiest to do all the specialty stitches and beading for the four corners once I had them all stitched. So, two more to go.


After I finished my artichoke, I restarted my Red Thread piece. I really cannot tell you how thankful I am that they replaced my fabric for no charge. And, it does appear that this fabric is the correct count. I counted my stitches as soon as I had stitched an inch, and found that I was getting 16 to the inch. Also, my box tops are now coming in at 2 1/2 inches instead of 2 3/4. You can see the difference between the old and new fabric in the photo. I am pulling out my stitching on the old fabric a little at a time, and I seem to be having no problem reusing the thread. That is also something I am grateful for, because I used up half a skein of my Weeks Cocoa stitching those box tops on the wrong fabric. My friend, Sherri, has already finished her February block and is working on the border. I am so far behind. The past week and a half I have only had thirty to forty minutes at most to stitch in the evenings, so everything is slow going.


During the day though, I was able to finish another block on Tesori between applying for jobs and running errands. This is the Trentino Alto Adige region of Italy, and the motifs here are for the coat of arms for the City of Trento (the eagle), apples from the Val di Non, snowflakes and mountain landscapes. I really enjoyed this block (maybe it was all the snowflakes). So, now I am finished with my blocks for last week, and still have my two blocks for this week to stitch. See - behind here also!


Here's all of Tesori so far, this may be the last full photo I'll show for awhile. I moved the piece from my 17" q-snap over to a scroll frame in order to try to deal with this huge piece of fabric. But, since it will be rolled up, you won't get a complete photo for awhile.


And since it is February (albeit the 6th already), I thought I would post some goals I'd like to complete for this month.

Get caught up on Red Thread SAL
Get caught up on Tesori
Stitch on Mermaids for the SAL with Anna
Stitch Carol's RR
Restart my RR once new fabric received
Complete 250th post prize for Barbara
Finish For You if possible for Valentine's Day
If time, stitch another artichoke on M9
Try to stay sane

A huge list of things to do this month, but really the majority of those really need to be done. I'd also like to fit in some writing time too, if that can be managed. Not sure when I can fit it in though, since I'm barely blogging and don't have time to read blogs at all right now (sorry!!!). Ok, time to excuse myself since I am feeling so down.

Here are some more photos of New York, for your viewing pleasure!


This was a fabulous Italian restaurant we went to. The photo is a little blurry, but I loved the look of the colors and the Christmas tree - so cozy!
We walked through Central Park,

and saw the statue of Hans Christian Anderson


and the statue of Alice in Wonderland.


Central Park was really wonderful to wander through.



We went to Radio City to see the Rockettes in their 75th annual Christmas Spectacular.


Before the show, we sat on the edge of this fountain and had hot dogs from a street vendor. Mmm!


After our show, we stopped at Grand Central to take some photos of the inside. You can't see it in the photos, but the ceiling is painted with constellations - so pretty!




I am grateful for the kindness of friends.