Monday, August 31, 2009

On to September

The last of the birthday weekend finishes...


Happy Birthday Stocking

Happy Birthday Stocking
Blackbird Designs
Weeks, Crescent Colors & GAST on 30ct Irish Cream by R&R
Finished 8/20/09


February's Violet Stocking

February's Violet Stocking
Blackbird Designs
GAST & Crescent Colors on 30ct Irish Cream by R&R
Finished 8/26/09

For my birthday, I usually have a new start. This year, I decided to just start something little. I'd been wanting to stitch up some of the BBD stockings, and the Happy Birthday stocking seemed like a perfect choice for birthday stitching. My grandmother's birthday is near mine too, and when she was alive we always celebrated our birthdays together. She used to grow African violets, so stitching February's Violet was a natural choice once I finished my birthday stocking. I had a piece of Irish Cream linen cut big enough for two stockings, and that's what these both called for in the pattern. Fortuitous, no? So, that's the last of what I got done on or near my birthday weekend of stitching fun. And let me just say, for the record, the more I stitch with them the more I love Crescent Colors threads. They are so pretty and squishy and I love them.

Oh, and I also meant to share with you a little finishing tip. The thing I stumbled upon that made the finishing on my peacock piece so much easier - a curved needle. I've never used one before, but that thing was the best! Usually, I am fighting with a straight needle to stitch something down, but that curved needle was the absolute best. I found a package of them at Jo-anne's with the sewing tools. Just thought I'd pass it along!

And having finished up stitching both those little stockings, I went back to stitching on Simple Things. I've finished the flowers (except for that bud in the corner), and have moved on to leaves. There are a ton of leaves, but I'm stitching with thread called "Guacamole", so how can I complain?

Simple Things 083009

I think adding the Red Pear (pink) in there, made all the difference. The colors on this really work together now. I didn't stitch at all yesterday, even though I was hoping to get a lot of stitching in. I did go to the quilt shop and pick up some fabric for the baby quilt. I think I'm going to use some 30s repro fabric with muslin. I love that combination for baby quilts. I think I've got a pattern picked out too. But, yesterday my allergies were getting the better of me, so I wasn't feeling so hot. I really just wanted to spend the day curled up under my quilt reading my book. Which, I did primarily. So, no stitching.

Tomorrow night is guild night (has it really been a month?), and we are having our annual stash sale. I spent some time yesterday going through my stash and pulling out and pricing stuff to sell. Funny how our tastes change over time, huh? Anyway, I pulled a bunch of charts and some fabric to sell. Anything that doesn't go, I'll post for sale/trade here. But here's hoping I come home empty-handed.

I am grateful for lemon meringue pie.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monogram Pincushion

Monogram Pincushion

Monogram Pincushion (from Loose Feathers No. 36)
Blackbird Designs
Weeks and Crescent Colors on 30ct Old Mill Java from R&R
Stuffed with crushed walnut shells
Mounted on base from Milady's Needle
Stitched 8/14/09 Finished 8/23/09

So, I promised you more photos of my other finishes this weekend. Well, here you go! You may remember that I recently stitched up this piece (all in a Friday night). After finishing my Peacock Pinkeep, the next thing on my finishing list was this pincushion. I dyed my chenille trim at the same time I was doing the trim for my Peacock, so it was ready to go when I needed it. My pincushion is filled with crushed walnut shells. And of course, you remember I had purchased the gorgeous Milady's Needle hand-turned walnut base a few months ago. That base is really what makes the piece. I know you can't see it really in my artsy photo, but trust me...you want one of these! (And no, I'm not getting kick-backs from Milady...in fact I'm laughing that my base went from Texas to California then back to me in Texas.) The finishing on this one was super easy and it went together easily in an afternoon.

I do have a couple other stitching finishes to show you next time too. I spent my time well over my mini-vacation! The next projects I need to tackle are going to require getting out my sewing machine. I still need to finish up my Shepherd's Bush wall-hanging, and I also have a baby quilt I need to make for a friend. So, there may be sewing going on soon too. Gasp!

That's it for me today. I am anticipating the weekend, in the hopes that this craptastic week I'm having will be over. But, I'm trying to focus on the good stuff. And there is good stuff! Thanks for stopping by!

I am grateful for something a little blackbird told me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I Did on My Birthday Vacation

Peacock Pinkeep Finished 082309

Peacock Pinkeep (Loose Feathers #35)
Blackbird Designs
Belle Soie on 28ct Gingham linen by Weeks
Stitching Finished 5/30/09
Finishing Finished 8/23/09

Over my birthday weekend, I decided I wanted to use my four days to finish up some things that needed a bit of uninterrupted time to work on. My first goal was to put together my Peacock Pinkeep. The piece actually took me a lot longer to put together than I anticipated (this is always the case with me...I have no ability to judge how long something will take). Anyway, it wasn't as difficult to put together as I had imagined, just a little fiddly. Actually, what took me the longest time was dying the chenille trim. It was a bit trial and error to get it the color I wanted. And since I didn't think ahead to dye it while I was putting the piece together, but instead waited until I needed it to dye it, it took more time than it should have. But, I am really happy with how it turned out.

Peacock Pinkeep Side Finished

And I am still very happy with my choice to stitch this with two strands of Belle Soie rather than the one strand the pattern called for. I love how deep and rich the color is.

I did have a great birthday, thanks to Eric and my wonderful friends. I also had a couple other finishes over the weekend that I need to share with you. Another finishing finish, and a stitching finish. I was on a roll. And I got to enjoy myself with a stitching night, a movie night, couch time with Twilight on, etc. So fun!

I am grateful for feeling special.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Love This Project!

Midi Mystery I - Sparklies

Recently, I was asked to be a guest blogger on Anna's blog, and you can see my entry here. This request from Anna was a wonderful surprise and I wanted to take full advantage of it for several reasons... I was in very good company with the other amazing guest posts she had lined up, because Midi was a project I finished prior to starting my blog and it gave me the chance to show some pretty photos of it, and because I do pretty much anything Anna asks me to do.

Midi Mystery I - floral vine

Midi does hold a very special place in my heart, for the reasons listed in my guest post. And of course, after my massive stitching fail post the other day, looking at this piece again reminds me that I did actually stitch and finish and frame this beauty. This was stitched on 32ct (mostly over two, but some over one) with silks and metallics. The beads are all Delicas and then there were some Swarovski crystals thrown in for good measure.

Midi Mystery I - flower beds

These little beds were what I was working on in December. It's kind of fun looking back at these photos. In fact, if you can believe it some of the photos taken of my progress on this were taken by Eric (because I didn't take good photos), and even some were taken (by me) with a film camera. Seriously. Because that's how I roll.

Midi Mystery I - woven basket

And look at that basket - I wove that thing! How freakin' awesome am I? So, anyway, take a stroll on over to visit the Stitch Bitch. Pay no attention to the fact that she points out I am STILL working on Mystery 9, and maybe one day we will get back to our SAL on the mermaids.

Until then, dear ones, I am outta here. I am taking the next two days off work in a stitch-ass celebration of my birthday. So, I hope to have some cool stuff to show you next time. Until then, why not try something new in your stitching?

I am grateful for texts from Eric.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Friday Night Quickie

This week I...


Dumbledore

Went to see Harry Potter with my friend, Sherri. Loved it.

Simple Things 081509

Got to meet up with some stitching buddies on Thursday to stitch. I brought Simple Things and filled in some of those Curry flowers. I always seem to talk more than stitch when I'm with them. But, I love it. I wish I could go every Thursday.

Cappuccino

Realized that in order to stitch the little Monogram Pincusion that's in the same Loose Feathers as Simple Things I needed a skein of Weeks Cappuccino. So, I took advantage of having an LNS right around the corner from work and went there on my lunch break. Of course, one cannot buy a skein of thread only. And they had precut fabric for the BBD stockings. I couldn't resist picking up a few.

SSB Friday Night Stitching

Planted myself in front of the tv Friday night while Eric was at a photography gig and put that skein of Cappuccino to work. I started the Monogram Pincusion.

Monogram Pincusion

And finished it. And although it was a supah tight fit, I got that M in there! I plan to put this on my pincushion base as soon as possible (like maybe next week when I take a couple days off work for my birthday).

Essie After Sex

Oh, and I got my nails done and started a new book.

And somehow, I managed to fit in work, the gym, and school. Imagine that.

Now I've got to run get ready for dinner at Eric's parents' tonight. We're celebrating my birthday early.

I am grateful for taking a big step.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blooming

Simple Things 080909

Hi, all! Well, as you know I did my 5K on Saturday morning. You can see the recap here. I did survive, as did my feet. I went with vaseline on my heels and good socks. And no further blisters! I had a great time and feel so good about completing it too. I had to get up at 5am Saturday morning to get out to the race on time, so I was one tired chick by the time I got home. I pretty much just had a lazy afternoon. I watched Harry Potter & the Order of the the Phoenix (HP5), while Eric was stuck on a work conference call.

Watching Harry Potter

I didn't even have the energy to stitch, I was so tired. Eric and I had plans to go out Saturday night, but his work stuff unfortunately cut into our plans. So, he took me out to dinner and we called it an early night.

Sunday I did make some progress on my stitching. I'm still working on The Simple Things, as you can see above. I've got some flowers started. And is it just me, or are Williamsburg and Cranberry Ice basically the exact same color? When that happens, I think "why did I bother to change thread?" Oh well. I really like how this piece is turning out though. I'm hoping once I get to the chain stitching I'll have figured out how to chain stitch. The diagram doesn't look overly helpful.

Tonight, I am going to see the new Harry Potter movie with my friend, Sherri, and I am really looking forward to it. Anyway, that's it for me. I have next Saturday off from training, and then the Saturday after, I start my training with a new group for our 5K in October. Maybe it will at least be cooler in October!

I am grateful for my new sapphire blue top. And a wonderful weekend with Eric (minus the work part). Oh, and completing my first 5K!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Walking it Off

IMG_0057

Just a quick post to say a couple of things...

1. Thank you all for your support and kind words.

2. As I mentioned at the beginning of my last post, this was all me and my own emo angsty drama - it had nothing to do with anyone else. My guild is wonderful, and I enjoy the company of all the women that I have become friends with through that guild, and those I am getting to know. The guild challenges me to step outside what I've been doing, to learn new things and try new things. That's a good thing, but not always comfortable for me. But, there hasn't been any meanness or anything like that coming from anyone there. It was all me and my own insecurities, nothing more. I truly love my guild and I don't want anyone to have a poor impression of it.

3. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I'd had a good weight loss. Well, I wanted to share the proof. I earned my key ring from Weight Watchers, which you earn when you lose 10 percent of your weight. I also earned a charm for having lost 25 pounds (that big Olympic medal looking donut) (At last weigh in I was at 26.6 lost).

Keychain and Charms

4. Also on the keyring you can see the charm I earned for signing up for a 5K as part of the WW Momentum Challenge. My 5k is tomorrow morning.

5. Under the key ring, that turquoise, is my race shirt for another 5k I have signed up for in October. I was picked for that team. I'm excited about it. And the shirt is a smaller size. Yay me! Did I also mention I've signed up for the Heart Walk in September through my company? Yep, I am a walking maniac.

6. I just hope my little feet hold up! (That's Chanel's Cosmic Violine on my toes, for anyone who cares.)

Cosmic Violine Pedi

7. No stitching pics today. But maybe after the 5k tomorrow I'll have something to show you.

I am grateful for the reminders that I am enough, unique and worthy.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Branching Out

Simple Things 080509

The past couple of days have been a little rough. And let me start this off by saying that this is no reflection on anyone else, this is just all my own stuff.

I went to guild night on Tuesday. We had an excellent program on framing, and I am always glad to learn more tips and tricks on framing. But, as sometimes happens at guild, I sort of sunk into the feeling that I totally did not deserve to be there. The caliber of stitching in this group just blows my mind. And the amount of stitching completed just blows my mind. And there I sit. And you may not get the sense of this from my blog, but I'm just a wee bit shy. And, while I was sitting there feeling really insecure about my stitching, one of the members that has never spoken to me, did. And I was embarrassed. Embarrassed for this person to even look at my stitching, which I tried to hide behind the pattern. I didn't want this amazing stitcher to see my uneven stitches, or see that I was committing stitching blasphemy by stitching with two threads. I just wanted to go home a little.

And there are times when I say something on my blog and make decisions and sound so sure of myself, but then I just want to post a retraction saying "I take it all back. Nevermind. Move along, nothing to see here." Yesterday was one of those times. And tomorrow may be one of those times too. But, for a brief moment, I thought I'd just throw it out there that me and my stitching were feeling less than. Because I'm sure I'm not the only person who has felt that way.

Madeira Tin Silks

I was also reminded that I need to get started on the stitching for my Madeira Tin class that I'm taking in September.

I am grateful for the rain yesterday. And the Twilight soundtrack. Both comforting.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Moving On

Shores 080309 Block 2

It's always amazing to me when I can fit in posting more than once a week. But, I just had to share what I stitched on this weekend. As you know, on Friday I stitched on Mystery 9 and finished up one corner. I thought that was a good place to pause and since Shores was calling to me also, I picked it up on Saturday. As you may recall, when last we left the Shores saga I was unhappy with it. I'd begun with one thread over two, and I just absolutely hated it. Many of you offered wonderful suggestions, all of which I considered. But, in the end it was this gorgeous finish that decided it for me. Ms. Love to Stitch used two threads over two on 36ct using NPIs, and her Village turned out amazing. I had been contemplating this solution, so after seeing her finish I decided to give it a try. I left block 1 as it was and just moved on to block 2. I wanted to be able to compare the one thread vs. two side by side. I know that for most stitchers using two threads on 36ct is a big no-no. But, when it comes down to it, you stitch it the way you want it. And I am all about coverage. The skimpy coverage that the one thread was giving me was just irritating me to no end. And as big a piece as this is, and as much money as I'd invested in silks and fabric, I wasn't going to continue on with something I hated or trash it. So, I'm giving this a try.

Shores 080309

I'm going to continue on with block 2 and see how it looks once I get some more of it stitched. Then I will make the final decision. If I do decide to go with two strands, I'll go back and restitch block 1 after ripping it out. I spent Saturday and Sunday stitching on block 2 and I am happy with the progress I made. I'm just getting to the fun part though. Fish! Coral! Seaweed! And of course there's that cool eel. He's not as cool as a stripey snake, but I'll let that slide. So, I'll be taking Shores with me to guild tonight. And maybe I'll get to see that Village in person one of these days. I hope to get a little more stitched tonight too, we'll see!

And thanks to those of you who left compliments on my manicure in the last post. This is one of my absolute favorite colors of polish. It's OPI's Cha-Ching Cherry.

Cha-Ching Cherry

Love it! Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I'll be sure to let you know my final verdict on Shores. But, knowing me I'll go with the two threads. Then I'll be ordering more thread because you know I'm going to run out. Story of my life. But, at least I'll be happy with a piece I'm investing that much in.

I am grateful for an amazing Saturday with my hubby - circus, Nick's pizza, and a movie night. So lucky.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Owl Post

IMG_5032

I decided I need to add one last piece to my Night Owl repertoire. So, the Vera Bradley Tote winged its way here this week at a bargain price. Love it. This pattern is so me. And just to prove I've actually been stitching and needed such a bag...

Stitiching

I'm actually right-handed, but was stitching two-handed with my right hand beneath the fabric. Or technically, right hand was taking the photo. But I've made some good progress on The Simple Things. And thanks, Sylvia, for pointing out that there is all that chain stitching. So, I revise my statement that this is a relatively quick stitch...since I forgot about all the chain stitches. And it looks like the new Loose Feathers in due out soon as well. So I'm only a couple behind. But, I did pre-order the Halloween Stocking Book. Can't wait for that!

Simple Things 080109

And last night I decided to pick Mystery 9 back up and work on it for a bit. I managed to finish the bottom left corner (minus bling).

M9 080109 BL Corner


I just love this piece so much. But, these intricate designs can only take so much attention before I have to wander off to something else. I keep hearing Shores calling my name too. I need to get back to that piece as well and get over the hump of not liking it, so that I'll want to stitch on it non-stop again. It's too pretty to allow to languish.

M9 080109

But, the Chatelaine kick was fed by Missy and her beautiful Caribbean Mystery, which I also just signed up for. I couldn't resist it any longer. And, it was an early birthday gift to myself.

So, there you have it. This afternoon Eric is taking me to the Circus. I am looking forward to seeing a great show and having a snowcone. Oh, and I've posted the first set of our Miami photos here, if you'd like to take a look.

I am grateful for a boxful of vampire books that just showed up at my doorstep. Thanks, Missy!!!