Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out Like a Lamb

Red Thread: Fly a Kite
Bent Creek
Weeks & GAST on 32ct Light Mocha
Finished 3/25/08

So many things to show you, since I wasn't able to post earlier in the week like I had hoped to! As you can see, I finished off my March block for the Red Thread SAL. This was a fun little block. I am so glad to be caught up on this and have it going so smoothly!

I also made a little start on the border. I need to go pick up some more Bark thread, because I am just about out. I really enjoy stitching on this piece, and I am finding it a little hard to put down.

I did pick up my Cuisine d'Ete again and stitch on it a little bit more the past couple of nights. I have had such a hard time with the second motif. I must have ripped the white outline out twice before I got it right. But, I am still loving it on the Lemon Zest linen.

I have, of course, also been working on the wedding quilt. Here you can see I've sewn on all the top rows. I actually have two more bottom rows sewn on than you see in this photo. So, two more rows are all I'm lacking, and then I can begin quilting. I have just a little over one week. Wish me luck - I think it's going to be down to the wire!

Eric and I are going to the museum today to see their latest exhibit before it closes. The exhibit is early Christian art, and I am looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it is. I also went to my book club Friday night, but haven't quite finished my book yet - I'm almost there.

Until next time - enjoy each moment, and have fun with your stitching!

I am grateful for a new friend.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter, if you celebrate it and a wonderful weekend. Usually Easter falls right around our anniversary. The year we were married, Easter was the weekend after the wedding, and so we were in Rome for Easter weekend. Below is a photo of St. Peter's that Eric took on the Tuesday after Easter. I believe all of the flowers that year were sent from Holland. It was the new Pope's first Easter after becoming Pope.

Last year, Easter fell on our anniversary, and we were in San Antonio celebrating. The photo below was taken inside one of the churches we visited while there.

This year, Easter feels a little out of sorts due to our anniversary still being two and a half weeks away. But, I did try my hand (again) at making Eric's cake for him. I'm trying to recreate a cake that his grandmother used to buy from an Italian bakery and bring for Easter dinner. This year I think I came pretty close. I am cobbling together parts of several different recipes. My first two tries, here and here, were not quite it. But, we're getting there. We went to dinner at his parents' house last night as well for Easter dinner.

I wanted something new to wear for Easter, so I pulled out some crystals I had purchased a long time ago and made myself a necklace and some earrings. I love the way they turned out and felt so happy wearing them to dinner. They are more of a bright lemon yellow than this photo shows.

I also was treated to a couple of sweet things for Easter by Eric. He brought me the beautiful roses you see at the top of this post. I just love the big orange ones. I also was able to get the new Just Nan piece - Barnabee's Bride. I am so glad to have this. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and since I have the Lady Scarlet box too, I really wanted this one. Wonderful things to have in my Easter basket.

And of course, you are probably wanting to see the progress my mom and I made on the wedding quilt on Saturday. We didn't get nearly as far as I would have liked, but we were able to piece five rows together. We started at the center, because we decided getting the center correct was the most important. So, I have seven rows left to piece together, but I am hoping that they go together easier than the first four did. Row five that we finished was easier. So, here's hoping. I love love love how it's looking though - so pretty! And I think that embroidered square just makes it. So I have two weeks to piece seven rows, quilt and bind it. Keep those fingers crossed!!

Finally, for my Just Nan Sunday I was able to get the next row done. I made it past that over one bunny, with no hang ups! I think the rest of Part 2 should be smooth sailing now that I've gotten past the over one part. No idea why I get stuck on those. He was too cute not to stitch, so I enjoyed it. And this row was perfect to stitch on Easter too, don't you think? I've stitched the border to the bottom of Part 2, so you can see how little I have left. I'm getting there!

Enjoy your week! Next time I hope to show you my finished March Red Thread block!

I am grateful for my sweet husband and Saturdays with my mom.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Let's Go Fly a Kite

I've made a start on my March block for my Red Thread SAL. I just love stitching on these little blocks. I am hoping to work on the border a little too this month. I've been so tired the past couple of nights, that a little stitching on this has been about all I could muster.

As promised, here are the embroidered pieces I made for the quilt. I made the center block, and I've sewn the surrounding pieces to it. I also embroidered my label for the back of the quilt, using an apple green thread, which I love. My bridesmaids carried bouquets of apple green flowers and wore red dresses. The black and white polka dot fabric will be a border for the label. I think it will look cute against the red backing fabric I bought. I'm going to my mom's again tomorrow and hope to get the top of the quilt pieced. If we can get that far, then it will just leave the quilting and binding to do in the next couple of weeks. As you can see, my deadline is April 8th. I am LOVING how this is coming out though. The reds are so vibrant.

And I wanted to show you what Judith has stitched on my Neighborhood RR for my first round back in the rotation. Don't you just love it? I think Judith picked a perfect design and somehow managed to stitch this in between all of her quilting commitments this month. Such a sweetie! I hope you don't mind me borrowing this photo from the Neighborhood blog, Judith. I can't thank you enough for stitching such a great house for me!

I've got Carol's to stitch on next, so I'll be pondering possible houses for her neighborhood soon. Well, that's about it for me today - I've been busy walking at the gym, as you can see below. I am nearing in on Rivendell!
Have a great weekend!

Walk to Rivendell: Strider scouts ahead and finds an elf-stone on The Last Bridge. He believes it is a token of safety. Company crosses the River Hoarwell/Mitheithel. Turn north from the Road. Enter the steep lands of the Trollshaws. They can see ruined walls and towers frowning down. Hills quickly shut them in. Difficult going. Camp. More climbing. Weather turns wet during the day. Hills higher and steeper. They are forced north out of their way. Still raining. Camp on a stony shelf by a shallow cave. Rain stops. Strider scouts. Start late. Turn SE, scrambling over rocky ground. Find a valley, but it ends in a high ridge. Climb ridge and camp in a saddle at top. COLD. Build a fire under a gnarled pine. Slope beyond ridge is much easier. Bright, fair day. Strider briefly sees the Loudwater/Bruinen in the distance. Reach a trail. Find Troll-hole. Continue on level path through woods. Stone Trolls. Rest. Sam recites "Old Troll". Continue in afternoon. Woods. Return to the Road. While looking for a place to camp, hear a horse: Glorfindel. March all night. Frodo is on Glorfindel's horse. Camp next to the road at dawn. Camp less than 5 hours. Take road with 2 brief rests. (Total Miles Walked: 420.75)

I am grateful for meeting new people and a wonderful afternoon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Grease Is The Word

Wow - I have so many things to show you today! I guess that's partly because I've been absent for awhile. Well, as you can see things are blooming here. Remember that snow we had a couple of weeks ago - well, now it's been in the 80s everyday. Crazy Texas weather! These white blossom trees showed up about this time last year, and I don't know that I'd ever noticed them before. I missed getting a photo of them last year, but today I decided to try to capture some. These were taken on my way over to the post office at lunch today. You can see it's a little overcast because we are supposed to be getting rain this evening.

Last week I finished piecing the last of the quilt squares. This weekend I went over to my mom's and we practiced using the embroidery function on my machine. I was able to get my center square embroidered and my quilt label. We also pieced the center part of the quilt (the squares that go around the center block). Not as much as I had wanted to get done, but it was good progress. I'll show you the embroidered blocks as soon as I clean up the stray threads that go between letters. That way they'll be pretty. This next weekend I hope to get the whole top pieced together. Keep your fingers crossed!

Also last week I was able to participate in the Mermaid SAL with Anna. I stitched a little more on my Mermaids of the Deep Blue. I finished the dark brown in her hair and started on the lighter. I am enjoying stitching on this - which is good since it's my first Mirabilia!

Near the end of the week I finished my block on Katrina's Neighborhood RR. I basically recreated the block I had originally stitched for her, to the best of my abilities. I think it turned out well (again!).

Here's the whole piece. Katrina will be stitching again in the upper left corner when it comes back to her.

And finally, I was able to do a little more on Barnabee's Quest for my Just Nan Sundays. I only completed two rows, but I feel like it's two more than I had done! The next row has an over one bunny, so let's hope my momentum can carry me past the over one issues I've had in the past - namely abandoning the piece rather than stitch the over one parts. I like stitching over one, so I have no idea what my deal is. I just know that I got stuck on Baby Garden and on Barnabee both at the over one parts. Silly. So, next week you'll get to see that over one bunny - I promise!

I need to get back to stitching my Red Thread block for March too. It shouldn't take long, but the month's half over! I've been trying to get my book read for my book club too. We're reading The Accidental Masterpiece, and so far I am stuck on the foreward. Ugh. I hope it gets better. And speaking of it getting better, we've managed to get back to our Academy Award movie watching. We watched Ben-Hur last weekend and yesterday we watched The Apartment. I really enjoyed The Apartment. Ben-Hur was good too, but it took me a little by surprise. I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't realize the movie was weaving so much in about Jesus and his life. I was just expecting chariot races and the like (which I got). In fact, surprisingly enough, there is a scene in the big chariot race that is reminiscent of the car race scene in Grease - if you can believe that. I, of course, felt the need to point this out to Eric - "hey, it's just like in Grease!" Anna, I am sure will tell me that really I should be watching Grease saying "hey, it's just like Ben-Hur!", right?! Who would have thought I could connect the two. But, Ben-Hur really was good and I enjoyed all three hours and twenty minutes of it. Next up is West Side Story. But, we're in the sixties now beginning with The Apartment!!

Until next time - have a great week!

I am grateful for getting up the courage.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just Nan Sundays and Number 42

BQ 031008 Full

Thank you for all of your compliments on my little fixer-upper projects that I completed last week. It felt really good to have some things to mark off my list. I am determined that I will have some finishes this year of the eternal WIPs I have lurking in my stash. So, in order to make a new start on that, I am joining Chris in her Just Nan Sundays. I was inspired by her recent stitching on Barnabee's Quest, and thought that I should pull mine back out. I believe Jenna and I are the only two remaining members of the SAL that haven't finished this yet. Since I believe I was the one who organized the SAL in the first place, I really should finish the thing, right?! Just Nan Sundays sounded good to me, and if Barnabee doesn't take my fancy one week, I can always stitch on my Queen of the Needle, or the long list of WhimZis I have kitted up. But, for this week at least, Barnabee made good headway on his flight. This is where I left off with Barnabee in May of last year (I can't believe it's been that long!).

BQ 050607

And on Sunday I was able to complete the over one band of violets (somehow I always get hung up at the over one bands), the row of lilies, and the row of satin-stitched grass. I would say I am about one-third of the way through Part 2 now. You can see the whole thing so far in the photo at the top of the post. But, here's a closeup of my recent progress.

BQ 031008

I enjoyed stitching on this piece again and hope that I can stick with it long enough to have a finish, thanks to my Just Nan Sundays. Care to join me, Jenna?

I was also able to cross another thing off my 101 Things List. Number 42 is "change name on passport". It only took me two years to finally get around to this. But as of yesterday I have my new passport in hand with my new name on it! That feels good!

And I spotted this list on Anna's blog, so I thought I'd answer it too...feel free to join in if you'd like.
Look at the list of (100) books below. Bold the ones you’ve read. Italicize the ones you want to read. Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in. (Movies don’t count.)

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25 . Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Until next time! Keep those needles moving!

I am grateful for long talks at night.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Let it Snow

Yesterday it snowed. It is just so weird to see snow here, and twice in one week even! It snowed on Monday night when I was on my way home from class. It didn't stick, but you can see it was starting to stick yesterday. It was a good day to be in the house. Our internet and tv were down most of Wednesday night and until about 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. I took advantage of the time I was "unplugged" to work on a few things. I've had some things on my to-do list forever, just little things that needed to be fixed or finished, that I never quite seemed to get around to.

First, I did a little organizing of my stash. In my great scanning project, I had emptied out an expandable file folder, so I decided to put my ornament charts in it, so that I have them all in one place. Since I plan to do some ornament stitching this year, I thought it would be a good idea. After that I got started on looking for the fabric I used to back my Watercolor Log Cabin quilt. I had originally made hangers for the back of the quilt for the dowel rod I am using to hang it. Well, the hangers were in too far from the corners, so when hung, the corners drooped. This has bothered me for years, but I've never done anything about it. So, finally I sat down and moved the hangers farther out towards the corners. Problem solved. Well, then the middle sagged. So, I found my fabric and made two little sleeves to go in the middle of the quilt. I hand-sewed them on, and voila! Perfection! No more saggy/droopy quilt. Mark one thing off the list!

Next, I pulled out my Primitive Tree wallhanging. I never even bothered to stain and finish the hanger for this at Christmas because I was so unhappy with the way the piece itself had come out. This was the first thing I sewed on my new machine, and since I was getting used to all the bells and whistles, it came out kinda wonky. So, I pulled the whole thing apart with my handy seam ripper and then got to work putting it back together. Some of my seams were uneven, and my two little tabs at the top had come out uneven, so it hung crooked. I fixed all the seams and the tabs as best I could, and I am much happier with it now. So, then I went to look for my wooden dowel that I had had Eric cut for me, and my little end caps, so that I could go out and stain them. Well, they are nowhere to be found. I've looked everywhere I can think of, but they have disappeared. All I can find is the rest of the dowel rod and end caps that are too small. Most likely because I put them in a "safe place". So, I'll have a new dowel rod cut by my sweet husband, and get some new endcaps. Then this piece can also be crossed off my list!

I feel really good about what I got accomplished. Even though neither thing was really what I should have been working on, they were both things I'd sort of dreaded doing. And now they're finished! Yay!

I didn't stitch on my mermaids on Wednesday, because I really didn't want to work on a big piece. So, I started an ornament instead. I'm stitching Mele Kalikimaka by Monsterbubbles from the 2004 JCS Ornament Issue. I've liked this one since it came out and had actually purchased a kit for it from Village Mountain Stitchery. I don't know if they are doing kits anymore, but I'm glad I got this one. It's Silk n Colors on 32ct over one. I stitched the little stockings with one minor error, but I found a new trick. When I had to frog out some of my red stitches, it left a little fuzz behind, so I took a piece of tape and got rid of the fuzz. I didn't go over any of my stitches, but just over the red fuzz on the fabric. Worked like a charm! I started stitching on my palm trees and I am happy with the one on the right, but not so happy with the variegated thread on the left tree. I will probably pull that one back out. It's a fun little stitch though. Here's what it will look like when finished (let's hope!).

I was motivated enough to stitch on Katrina's RR again last night, so it is coming along. I have a week before it needs to go back out the door, so I'd better get on it! Then I can go back to stitching on Carol's. I think I've already picked out what I want to stitch on hers.

Oh, and Monique asked where I keep my little basket of smalls that I showed you in my last post. I keep it on the corner of my craft table next to my little sheep (with his March blanket). It inspires me to finish things while I'm working at my table. You might notice in the photo of my sewing machine in the last post, you can see my little basket in the background.

That's about all that's going on with me today. Hope you all have a great weekend!

I am grateful for Deb and her generosity and thoughtfulness!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

In Like a Lion

It's been an interesting few days. The end of last week was rough. I think my case of the blahs just hit rock bottom. But, I picked myself back up this weekend and I think I am working my way back towards normal.

I did some more sewing on my wedding quilt yesterday and this morning. I have everything pieced that can be pieced so far. This weekend I will pick up the rest of my white squares from my mom, and then I can finish piecing my blocks. Then all that will leave is my center piece. I will have to make a trip to the sewing shop to buy some embroidery thread. I am planning to machine embroider our names and wedding date on the center block. So, obviously I can't piece that in until I have it embroidered. I'm a little nervous about embroidering on my machine without proper supervision, so it may take a few practice runs. But, for this week - I feel really good about having all the rest of the blocks pieced. Next week I should be able to start piecing my blocks together.

In other news, Sharon was offering to share some of the crushed walnut shells she bought. Stitchers of Blackbird Designs may be familiar with a few of their designs othat call for the use of crushed walnut shells to stuff pincushions, etc. Sharon was able to find some at her local pet store and very kindly sent me a little bag full. I have a secret prject I am working on that these will come in handy for. Thank you, Sharon!!

I cannot say thank you enough to all the sweet friends that have been gifting me with some wonderful things during this time. It really has made everything seem a lot less bleak, and helped me to realize how giving you all are. I really appreciate it!

I don't have a whole lot of stitching I can show you right now, so I thought I'd show you how my little basket of smalls is growing. It is so fun seeing all the little pieces I've made as well as some that I've received in exchanges. And as you can see, the sheep got his March blanket this weekend while I was decorating. (photo at the top of post)

And Patti tagged me for a seven weird or random facts about me meme. Since I previously posted eight random things about me, I'll have to come up with some different responses....

1. I journal almost everyday. I've been journaling for many years and in the past three years have moved to an electronic journal rather than pen and paper.

2. I love watching Clean House on the Style network, and I am also a big fan of Life in the Fab Lane. Can you tell I've been out of work too long?

3. I have an orange belt in Tae Kwon Do.

4. I grew up with only Siamese cats as pets.

5. I practice Feng Shui in my home.

6. Eric proposed to me on a cruise in the Bahamas, out on the deck, under the stars (we had gone snorkling which was a first for me, the day before)

7. I created this hand-embroidered wall quilt to remember it by

Here's a closeup of the engagement part...

And here's the label on the back - this is made from a shrinky dink...

That's all for today - hope you're having a great week. I should be back with some stitching the show soon (and no I was good and didn't start Secret Garden, though I am sorely tempted!!).

Walk to Rivendell: Continue in valley. Land starts to rise. Can see a "huddle of hills" ahead. Camp not far SW of bridge. Camp is high enough for Merry to see the Loudwater far in the distance! Return to The Great East Road (Total miles walked: 356.75)

I am grateful for renewed belief in myself.