Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Finished!

BQ 073008
Barnabee's Quest
Just Nan
DMC on 28ct White Cashel Zweigart
Blue Iris Beads, Ant. Gold Barnabee Bead, Hand-Painted Gold Rooster Charm, and Painted Gold Dragonfly
Begun 2/1/07 and Finished 7/29/08


Well, I finally finished it!!! I am so pleased! I can't believe it took me as long as it did (shameful, really). As you can see, I began in on February 1, 2007 and finished it last night. This piece began as a SAL with Carol, Jenna, Michelle, Nikki and Andrea. Although I was the person who organized the SAL, I was (sadly) the last to finish. Too many other things going on, I suppose. I really did love stitching on this piece, even though I seemed to put it down for months at a time. I tended to put it down when I hit one of those over one bands. Even though, when it is all said and done, those bands were my favorites when they were all finished.

I have to give a big thank you to Chris for inspiring me to pick this back up and start working on it for Just Nan Sundays. What a huge help that was!

BQ Part 1 073008
Part I
BQ Part 2 073008
Part II

BQ Part 3 073008

Part III

Over the weekend I did finish up the stitching on Part III, and then I started on the beading. I finished putting on all the beads in the border Sunday night, and then last night I added the beads in parts 2 and 3 as well as the bee, rooster and dragonfly charms. The beading really adds a lot to the border though, I loved doing that. I had so many extra beads though!! They packaged up the blue iris beads with the charm needed for each section. I only used one little package of the beads. So the other two are just a bonus! I just love the finished piece!


I will be finishing this as a bellpull whenever I get around to it. I did order the hanger for the piece, but never did find the beeskep tassel topper. So, my piece will just have a plain tassel at the bottom. But, the hanger was the more important of the two pieces in my opinion. Here's what it looks like.


I also had another finish yesterday...I finally finished the book I was reading for book club. We read Emile Zola's The Masterpiece. It broke me of my book a week record. It took me approximately three weeks to finish this one. His descriptions of Paris and of the Salon de Refuses were really amazing, but overall I could have done without about 200 pages of this. It just ambled along. Anyway...I am looking forward to my next read, Stephanie Meyer's Twilight. I can't wait.


Even though I didn't officially annouce my July goals, I thought I'd review anyway...


Stitch and mail Cathy's RR by the 15th done!

Stitch Red Thread block for SAL finished Maypole, need to stitch June, July & August

Continue with Barnabee's Quest for Just Nan Sundays made my focus project and finished!

Binding on $5 Quilt nope

Mystery Sampler 120207

I am dreadfully behind on my Red Thread SAL, so that is going to be the next thing I focus on. I need to stitch June, July and now August. Once I get caught back up on it I am going to pull out my Papillon Creations Mystery Sampler to work on. I unfortunately found an error in this piece the last time I worked on it, and it is going to require ripping out three or four motifs to correct it. So, needless to say, I put it away and attempted to ignore it. So, I want to get it back out and fix the problem so that I can continue on with it. It's such a lovely piece, I'd love to have some progress on it.


So, for August I thought I would post some goals.


Caught up on Red Thread (June, July, August blocks finished)

Correct error on Mystery Sampler

Binding on $5 Block


I think that's enough. I don't want to overwhelm myself, especially when I'm feeling so much accomplishment. But, finishing Barnabee now brings me down to 17 WIPs (including the Neighborhood RR and my 12 Days of Christmas ornaments that are one a year). I would really love to whittle this down to under 10 by the end of the year. That would be a huge accomplishment. Of course, that is going to mean no new starts! We'll see how it goes. I've modified my sidebar to only show my focus pieces. It was getting pretty cluttered over there.


So that's what's up in our neck of the woods. It's 105 degrees here, so you can imagine we are trying to mostly just stay inside, in the dark, and think cool thoughts. I'm scheduled to take my vendor certification exam for Excel tonight, so then I will be done with that too. I am moving on to PowerPoint.
See you all soon, and thanks again for always stopping by and leaving sweet comments!


I am grateful for a finish!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Gazing Ball

Hi, everyone! It was another busy weekend. Eric's graduation was yesterday, he received his second Master's degree. We had a lovely dinner afterwards with both our families. I did get a little stitching in on Barnabee's Quest over the weekend. I am so anxious to get this finished (frankly, I'd like to just finish ANYTHING!). I am getting very close on this one though. The last time I left off at the specialty stitches surrounding the knot garden. My last update was on June 1st.

I think I made quite a bit of progress on this.


After I took this photo yesterday morning, I did get back to work on it last night. I ripped out and restitched the gazing ball. I think Jenna had this same issue, stitching it the way it is charted left me with a rather squarish-looking ball. So, I ripped out that Kreinik and made the ball a little more, well, round. I finished up the knot garden flowers and then began stitching in the roses below it. I found a mistake in my greenery for the roses, so I had to do a little more ripping out and restitching. But, I was a good girl and immediately ripped out and restitched. I don't want to get discouraged or frustrated with this so close to the end.

Once I finish the roses, I have the verse and the honeycomb to stitch - then beads! Woohoo!! I am so close to finishing I can feel it. My last big finish was Baby Garden...in NOVEMBER!! I am definitely due for another good-size finish. So, keep cheering me on and I hope that next time I update I will have a finish to show you!!

I am grateful for Eric's new degree...I am so proud of him!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Won't You Be My Neighbor?


Hullo, everyone. I did the last little bit of stitching on Cathy's RR and now it is ready to be sent out. Cathy asked that we stitch something reminiscent of where we live. I chose to stitch the house from LHN's Emmaline Whitcomb (Dear Diary series) because it had that sort of Southwestern feel to it. I also stitched a patch of bluebonnets next to the house, since it is the state flower. I love how they turned out! I only added the suggestion of a few clouds in the sky, because there is so much sky here in Texas, no mountains or tall trees, just lots and lots of open sky. Oh, and I just LOVE the fabric Cathy chose, 32 ct Vintage Light Examplar from Lakeside Linens - just wonderful to stitch on. I will definitely be purchasing some of this in the future for myself!


I think the bluebonnets pick up the blue from Carol's flag too, which is nice! I hope you like it, Cathy!


Also, on the neighborhood front, Carol has finished stitching her part for my RR. She chose to stitch part of Prairie Schooler's Pumpkin Patch. Carol checked in with me while she was stitching to see if I minded having multiple moons in my neighborhood, since Judith had already stitched one. I told her I was ok with a funky, multi-moon neighborhood. So, she obliged! I love this block!


And the whole piece is really turning out great! Thank you so much, Carol! And if you're in the mood for something else a little spooky, take a look at this.

That's about it for me today...I hope to get in a little stitching this evening. Not sure what I'll work on yet though. But, I have a little idea...

I am grateful for a lovely day out at the races.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th


I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful 4th of July, whether or not you celebrate Independence Day! I am so glad to have a holiday today and have a three-day weekend. Sooo nice! Eric and I went to see fireworks last night, and we are going to a different place tonight to see more. Eric loves fireworks, so we go every year. My family never really went to see fireworks or did anything special for the 4th of July. Eric is also making Barbeque brisket and coleslaw for dinner tonight. Yum!


Last weekend I was I decided to do a little bit of decorating around the house. I haven't been in much of a decorating mood lately, so it was fun to finally feel like doing something. I was inspired because Eric bought a flag to put outside the house. Our house already had the bracket mounted for the pole, we just needed the flag. I thought it looked really pretty out there.


I also pulled out one of my quilt tops that still needs to be quilted, but I thought it would be fine for a week or so hanging on the wall in the dining room.

Last weekend we also watched Lawrence of Arabia (finally) for the next movie on the Academy Award list to watch. I loved it. Of course, I've seen the first half of it twice, but never seemed to ever see the second half. Next up is Tom Jones, which I have never seen. We also watched National Treasure 2, which was entertaining.

During Lawrence, I was able to make a good amount of progress on the RR I have. I'm stitching the house from Emmaline Whitcomb from LHN's Dear Diary series. I should be able to get a lot more done this weekend, I hope! I love this fabric though, it's wonderful to stitch on. I'll have to make a note of what it is.

Oh, and you know how I seem to have dreams about new stitching projects I want to do...well this was the latest one. This is LHN, and it is all of the "extra" charts from the Dear Diary series stitched together. I want to stitch them like this and make it into a wall hanging. Pretty huh?


Well, that's all I have for today. I had a lovely long relaxing bubble bath with a book this morning, and stayed in until my fingers and toes had pruned up. Oh, and I received an email saying my Just Nan pieces are on their way - the In the Tin piece and the Dragonfly Scissorcase I expect! Have a fabulous weekend!

I am grateful for lazy mornings.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Little Light Reading


As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing a fair bit of reading lately. It is strangely one of the few things I do have time for. I have to say that I honestly have missed reading. All of my spare time used to be spent on stitching, so that very little reading ever got done. As you may remember, reading has always been a big part of my life. So, I'm happy to be recultivating it now, even though it's only due to never having more than twenty minutes at a time to do something for myself. So, I thought I would share what I've read in the past couple of months, in case there's anything that might catch your fancy. Most of what I read was based on recommendations. You may also notice that my past few selections have been a little "light". I am gearing up to read Emile Zola for my bookclub, so I've been pointedly reading in the other direction.

First up was Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure by Michael Chabon. This was the last book I read for my book club. I really enjoyed this book. It was apparently originally written as a serial, and comes complete with illustrations within each chapter. It not only is written in the genre of great adventure tales, but Chabon's writing style is so interesting. One of the things we discussed at length at book club was his use of language. He has a flair for the descriptive and tends to use little used words, which forced us all to consult a dictionary while reading. For such a thin little book (I read it in a day or so), it has a lot packed into it.


Next I read (or finished, since I'd started it months ago) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Another book I loved. I have no idea why I ever put it down in the first place, other than just not having much time to read previously. I love historical novels like this, and am interested in reading the others in this series. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I hope it is comparable to how good the book was.



Next up was At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years, Book 1) by Jan Karon. This book was recommended to me years ago. It has probably been sitting on my shelf for at least five years. Something drew me to it, and it was really such a comfort to read. With so much going on in my life, and with so much going on the world. I was happy to spend a few days in this small town. It reminded me a little of Garrison Keillor and his Lake Wobegon stories. I look forward to reading more books in this series too.


After Mitford, I went to the bookstore and picked up The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I'd been wanting to read this one for awhile, and it had also come highly recommended. This book was sort of part mystery, part journey of self-discovery. It was well-worth the read.


Next I moved on to Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. I've had this sitting on my shelf for a while, ever since Jenn was kind enough to send it to me. I had picked this book up years ago while visiting in Rhode Island and almost bought it, but then put it down again. The book was nothing at all like I expected, and I just loved it. It was funny and heartbreaking and just exactly what I needed to read at that moment. Thank you so much, Jenn, for sending it to me. I loved every page of it. In fact, it prompted me to write - a piece to go in my book-in-progress.


After reading Good in Bed, I really didn't have much interest in diving into another novel. It really was sticking with me. So, I decided to finish up another book I'd started a while ago, Fabulosity: What It Is and How to Get It by Kimora Lee Simmons. I love Kimora, so I thought I'd take a look at her book and what she offers in the way of how to be fabulous. Again, this book was not what I expected...it is more a look at where she came from and got where she is today. It also seems to be heavily geared toward girls wanting to become models. She does focus some on appearance, but she also discusses handling your finances, public speaking, volunteering and giving back, as well as knowing you're worth it. I think I rated this a three out of five. I'll probably be delving into it and discussing it a little more thoroughly on my style blog in the future.



Last night I finished Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I had also heard good things about this series, so I thought I'd give it a shot and picked this one up at the bookstore a week ago. The book basically follows a shopaholic and her increasing debt. Perhaps I found too much in common with Becky to feel sympathy for her. I mean, I'd been in this same predicament, and luckily got myself out of it. I enjoyed the book, which reads a little like Bridget Jones and her weight issues, but I felt like I wanted a better resolution. I wanted Becky to really get herself together, and there were several times that I felt like slapping her. But, there were definite funny moments, and probably if I didn't have the experience myself, I would have found the book more enjoyable and entertaining. I may be tempted to read another in this series, but it will probably be awhile.


So, what I am I reading now? Wait and see...

I am grateful for a four day week.