Friday, October 30, 2009

Cross-hatch


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It's almost Halloween, and I decided to celebrate by taking today off from work. I thought I'd share one of my photos from the Fair too. Such talented pumpkin carving!

Last night I was able to go stitching with some friends rather than going to school. I actually managed to get something done! I stitched almost the whole outline of the cartouche last night. Not bad, eh? When I got home, I finished out the outline and started Jenny's name. I love the way this is turning out!

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And since I had some time at home today, I thought it would be a good time to finish up the baby quilt top I've been working on. I'm really pleased with how it looks with the pattern and the 30s Repro fabrics. My piecing isn't perfect, but I keep reminding myself that "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful". Anyway, I'm happy to have it done. Next, on to the quilting. I hope to be able to send this off to my friend in the next few weeks.

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I plan to spend some more time with Jenny Bean this afternoon. And tomorrow night, Eric and I will be partaking in my annual Halloween tradition. Oh, and if you want a peek at how his birthday apple pie turned out, you can see it here.

I am grateful for a night out with my friends.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lettering

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I've been stitching away on Jenny Bean and still loving every single minute of it. I have to say that there is just something about this piece that encourages me to relax a little bit about my stitching. At first, I was having lots of anxiety about the fact that I couldn't be sure that I'd sorted my thread correctly, and then I was having heartache about the coverage of the black. But, I got over it. And now, I'm like...blue tree, ok! Bits of red in my skein, ok! I'm just going with it. Which is kind of a weird feeling...because I am the person that will fussy cut my thread skein to get the color I want out of the variegation. Remember my snake in Earth Sampler? I restitched his stripes so that I could have only the bright green. Well, this is not to say that I am a new woman and have left my OCD tendencies behind...but somehow, Jenny Bean is providing her own brand of anti-anxiety.

I was able to spend a good portion of Saturday evening stitching (while baking a pie at the same time, how's that for multi-tasking!). I also got caught up on my shows from last week, Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries. Although, I was disappointed Vampire Diaries was a rerun...what's up with that? We're only a month into the season! Anyway, I got a lot of stitching done. And my helper showed me a new use for my little Vera Bradley bag...

Othello

Apparently, it also makes a good pillow.

I was able to make good progress on Jenny this weekend, even with it being Eric's birthday. Here's my progress as of Sunday morning.

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I love this piece so much! And Sunday night I was able to get a little further, I now have two R's, a P, a G and part of an F. So, I'll have more to show you soon. I'm going to continue on with the alphabet, and then will probably move on to the cartouche with Jenny's name and date in it. Then, all that will leave me is the wording at the bottom and the border. And this really is the perfect Halloween stitch. I am so glad I started it immediately upon it showing up at my doorstep.

I am grateful for another loss on the scale!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Cemetery, Bones & Raising the Dead

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I've managed to get a good amount done on Jenny Bean in the past few days. Of course, you can see the house is finished, as is the cemetery and I've moved onto the tree. The tree is finished minus its leaves. And the colors for this sampler, especially since mine were a guess, are kinda crazy - at least with respect to the tree. I think it will be kind of fun though to eventually see a bunch of these finished, because they will all probably look totally different. But, I'm going with it. Who knows what this week will bring with regard to stitching time, but last week was kind of a fluke. But, all in all, this sampler is so much fun to stitch and it seems to be moving along pretty quickly for me. I have a feeling that border may be a different story though.

I've also finished another book from my book challenge. That makes two out of twelve done.

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones was a gift from my friend, Sherri. This was definitely a book I would have never chosen for myself, but it was sooooo good. I could not put this book down. And I definitely feel like this is a story that will stay with me. One of the things I've been thinking about too is the amount of books I have in my possession. I'd really like to whittle that down, and one of the things I've thought about is that I'd like to have a personal library of sorts that contains books that I love, books that touched me, books that stayed with me, books that I would read again over and over. So, I've gone through my books and starting weeding through the books that should stay and the books that can go. This book is definitely one for my library.

And because this book was so good, I've had a problem starting a new book. I've been carrying a new book around with me for a week almost now, and haven't cracked it open. Sometimes, when I read a book that is so good, I have a hard time coming back out of that story, or that world. And until I can kind of let it go, starting a new book is almost impossible. I wish all books were like that. Anyway, my next choice, also off my challenge list, is The Host. If I can ever start it, I think it will be good.

And over the weekend, I spent some quality time with the pile of stuff that was slowly overtaking my desk. I found a pattern that I had pulled out with the thought of starting it soon, and also found my notes on threads and fabric I had wanted to use for it, based on this gorgeous piece. I'd left this on my desk because I needed fabric and threads. But, when I picked up the note and saw the fabric I'd wanted to use was Vintage Meadow Rue...the lightbulb went off and I realized I had some Meadow Rue in my possession. In fact, I have a stitcher's half of it, that was for my first Neighborhood RR. And after all the heartache with this piece, it's just been shoved in the back of my closet still in the FedEx package, because I didn't know what to do with it.

Plan B for Neighborhood RR fabric

Well, now I know. I'm going to rip out the stitching that was done and re-use this piece for Where My Heart Blooms. I think it's an excellent way of making lemonade out of lemons. And I am sure that the rest of the fabric that I end up with as leftover will be put to good use too. But, first for the ripping out. I think it will be good for me...a way to let go of it.

Hope this week brings lots of stitching and some good news.

I am grateful for Eric - always, every day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Almost a House

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The Bean house is really coming along. I took this photo last night before I sat down to stitch. Those lines on the front of the house remind me of tube socks. But, they also remind me of this. Anyway, although last night was a late night (Eric was shooting at the house - photos, not guns), I was happy to sit on the couch and stitch away at the house. I was able to finish filling in the front of the house, fill in those lines on the roof and start on my chimney. I love how this is coming along. I can't wait to start stitching the graveyard! It fits in with my Poe-esque mood right now.

Anyway, I promised I would be posting photos from our day at the State Fair. One of the things I like to do when we go is to visit the Creative Arts building to see all of the quilts and stitched pieces, etc. There were some lovely things this year.

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And look at Moon Garden over one!

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While I was digging around in my photos, I remembered I had some from last year I hadn't shared.

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And you are not going to believe this one. I had heard stories of it, and made it my mission to track it down and have a look myself. This stitcher stitched the cover from the book, Wicked. There are so many colors in this, and the piece itself is huge!! The detail is just over the top - even to Dorothy's house spinning up there by the tip of her hat. I stood staring at this piece in complete awe for I don't know how long. What is not pictured here are the five or so ribbons this piece won. Sorry about the glare too, the piece itself is framed with glass, and then is in a glass case. Stunning. Now I want to stitch one.

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If you want to see more of my photos from the Fair, I've posted them here. That's all for me today. I'm so happy to be going to stitch with my Thursday night stitching buddies again tonight. I anticipate having a tombstone or two to show you next time.

I am grateful for knowing everything is exactly as it should be.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shut the Front Door

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The fall weather is definitely upon us currently in Texas. Of course, that could change at the drop of a hat and we'll be back to 90 degree temps. But it has been in the 60s mostly, and also rainy and overcast. I actually enjoy this kind of weather. I like it more when I can snuggle up at home though. The cats apparently feel the same way because there were no empty laps this weekend. And of course, our fall is always ushered in by Eric and I going to the State Fair. I'm working on a post to show you my pics from that outing and should be able to share in the next day or so (the pumpkins above are from our day at the fair). As for this weekend, I spent most of it indoors, except for Saturday morning. I was able to get back into the groove and go for my 5k training walk on Saturday morning. Of course, for our training walks, we walk a 5k anyway, so doing the actual 5k is not much of a stretch! But, I was glad to get back to it this weekend, having missed the past two weekends. Our next 5k is this coming Saturday, so I'm looking forward to having another one completed - that makes four so far this year!

I spent some time this weekend stitching on Jenny Bean. I am so in love with this piece. I finished filling in the side of the house and moved on to the front. Now I have a door!

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And I finally got around to doing what I've been meaning to do for several weeks now, working on the baby quilt. I washed and ironed my fabric, did some cutting and sewing and now have about half a quilt top's worth of blocks. I'm really pleased with how these 30s repro fabrics look together. Aren't they fun?

Quilt Blocks

I hope to get some more done on this next weekend. I think it will be so cute when it's finished, and I'm really happy with it. Even though it's all blues, I love the pops of yellow, red and orange in it.

I am grateful for date night with Eric - so much fun!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Less Talkie, More Stitchie

Jenny Bean Ltd Edition Threads

Tuesday night was guild night, and as is always the case I do way more talking than I do stitching. And we had a fabulous presentation on Tennessee Samplers. So, not a lot of progress on my new start. But, you can see above the gorgeousness of the threads and fabric that arrived at my doorstep shortly after Market. How could I possibly resist the lure of a new start...a Halloween start.

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You may have already guessed that Jenny Bean's Halloween Sampler was my pick for an October project. The fabric and limited edition thread pack arrived with the pattern and I was all set to pick this up and start on Sunday, right after my Angel of Tulips finish on Saturday night. I'm stitching this on the recommended 40ct Vintage Pearled Barley. I love love love Lakeside linen and this color is no exception. The threads look beautiful on it. And of course, I love the thread names too: Nightmare, Zombie Flesh, Sarcophagus, Coffin Lid, Parched Bones, Witch's Wart, Dried Blood and so on. The threads are GAST, by the way. Stitching with one strand, even though the coverage of the Nightmare (black) is killing me. I'm trying to love it. But I do love this design, so I am very happy with my choice of starting something new.

And speaking of something new, I've started a new book. But first, many of you asked me to review my "book challenge" books that I'd listed here. I mentioned that I was currently reading this...

The Awakening and The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries, #1-2)

As you can see, this edition is actually the first two books in the series. I'd already finished The Awakening and was about halfway through book two, The Struggle. I finished that up Tuesday night, so I thought I'd better let you all know what I thought.

As you probably already know, these books have been made into a series that premiered a couple of weeks ago on the CW. I've been watching the series while also reading the first two books. Love the series. As for the books, I had a hard time at first getting into the first book. But, then I fell into it and book one ends with a bit of a cliffhanger ending, so I breezed right on into book 2. The more I read, the more I enjoyed them. The only problem I had with the books is that because I was reading at the same time as watching the show, and because the show does differ from the books, I did start to get a bit confused with whether something happened in the book or not. But, aside from my own ability to be easily confunded, the first two books in the series are well-worth the read, if you like this genre. And although book 2 also ended on rather a cliffhanger, I did resist starting book 3. I picked up The Lovely Bones last night, because I'd promised myself that would be the next book I read. And so far, I cannot put it down. So I will probably have a review of that one fairly soon.

That's it for me today, it's raining here but not as cool as it had been the past few days. I'm hoping to have some curled up on the couch stitching time this weekend.

If you'd like to take a look at the last of my Miami photos, you can see them here.

I am grateful for my friends.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Thwarted by Ribbon

Madeira Tin Almost Finished Set

The week since I took the Jane Timmers workshop has been interesting, to say the least. I managed to get over to one of my local shops to pick up some more of the Gloriana ribbon I need to finish my Jane Timmers pieces. They are ordering it for me, and it should be in soon (they had calls from two other people needing ribbon as well while I was standing there). So, no ribbon for me. But, I didn't want my vacation day on Friday to be a total bust, so I got to work on the finishing I could do.

First things first, I finished my needlecase. I just needed to assemble the fron the of the case, attach it to the hinge and then attach my cording to both the front and the back. Et viola, I was finished! Love how it turned out. I am very pleased with it. Next up would have been to finish my biscornu, but alas no ribbon. So, I moved on to making the little ditty bags. I decided to attempt both the triangular (3-sided) bag and the square (4-sided) bag. Thanks to the very generous Katrina, I was able to have my selection of fabrics to use! So, my little bags are finished, they just require ribbon drawstrings. From there I decided to go ahead and put the color copy of Jane's sampler in the front window of my tin. I hadn't really decided whether I would stitch the piece and add the actual stitched piece, or just do the color copy. I went ahead and used the copy in order to have this one step closer to finished, but after closer inspection notice it has "2007" on it as well as Jane's initials. So, I think that I will (eventually) stitch up the sampler myself and then I can decide if I want to place it or a copy of it in the front.

Needlecase & Twisted Ort Jar (Open)

The last thing I did as part of my finishing bonanza was to make the twisted ort jar. I was kind of dreading attempting this, but it wasn't too bad. The hardest part I found was getting my pieces to fit together. But, despite my minor snafus, I did get the thing together and miracle of miracles - it actually works!! So impressed with myself. (And thanks to Katrina again, I had the fabric to make it!!) You can see it closed in the top pic, and then open in the pic below that one (along with the open needlecase). So, yay!! This is all done minus the ribbon and dealing with that sampler for the front of the tin! And it's only been a week since the class. Somebody take note.

I mentioned I visited the LNS to hunt down ribbon. Well, you know I can't leave there empty-handed. Now my parliament of owls has been joined by one more.

Owl Scissors

And, I've found that this little VB bag is the perfect size for holding flossaway bags full of thread for a project - perhaps a project like Angel of Tulips.

Angel of Tulips

Angel of Tulips, which is also finished! (Please ignore cat hair in photo.) I finished stitching this on Saturday night. This is a Good Huswife design that was loaned to me, stitched with the recommended NPIs on 40ct Daily Grind by R&R (the recommended fabric).

And, as a reward for all my hard work I decided that I would start something new - something for Halloween. Can't wait to show you!

I am grateful for a day at the fair taking (better late than never) anniversary photos.