Cutting Down on the Crazy

Book of Days

No Crazy 15 January Challenge for me, but I am working on my WIPs. And I thought it would be fun to keep track of what I work on in 2011 in the beautiful Sampler Enthusiast’s Book of Days gifted to me by dear Tanya. I keep track of my starts and finishes in a spreadsheet, but it’s fun to see what all I’ve worked on.

On New Year’s Day I had a traditional new start, Paradise Lost. I began it while watching the Rose Parade. I am normally a center-starter. But after all the problems I had trying to start Garden of Eerie in the center, I decided I’d better hedge my bets and start on the bottom right.

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Nothing very exciting, but I always love putting the first stitches into a new project. I thought I’d just work my way across stitching the grass and the words at the bottom. Love how it’s turning out though!

On Sunday, I worked on And They Sinned which is our usual day for the SAL. No photo to show on this one because I am determined to get that dang cloud finished before I update. Not long now. I’m close.

Monday night I decided to pull out CHS’s A&E to work on after seeing Siobhan’s finish (and you know I have to do everything Siobhan does). Mine, however, is being stitched on black fabric over one. And yes I am insane. But, it moves along pretty quickly when I actually decide to work on it. I’m busy filling in Adam’s torso.

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Tuesday was guild night (as you can see on the calendar), so I decided to bring my Anniversaries of the Heart with me. I’m still plugging away on Snow Garden. I’d like to get Snow Garden finished up in January, so that I can move onto the next block. My little peacock friend is in dire need of his house though – maybe I’ll start building that next.

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On Wednesday I pulled out Camille’s French Sampler by The Sampler Girl. I haven’t worked on this since last January, I think. I had that green vine just barely started, so you can see how much progress I’ve made. When I pulled this out on Wednesday to work on it, I realized that all this switching of projects was creating a huge mess in my stitching area. I was doing more switching in and out of q-snaps and trying to dig to find my thread, etc. that I was adding to the crazy. So, I decided that I would just keep focusing on Camille for awhile. So she got attention on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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And I’ve got a new thing I’m trying out. Robert and I were talking about stitching the other night and when he gets bored with stitching something, he just moves to another area in the piece. That keeps his interest going. Well, I tend to be very methodical in how I work through a piece, so if I get to a part where I lose interest, I set the piece aside. (This is how I have so many WIPs!!!) So I thought I’d give that a try with Camille. When I got bored of stitching the pink band, I moved onto the band below it. When I finished that up, I was ready to get back to the pink band. I also jumped over and started work on the left urn. So, I think this trick may work to keep me from abandoning a project. So thanks, Robert! I’ll let you know how it goes! (Robert’s been suggesting I do this with AOTH too because I’m so bored with Snow Garden…so you may see me start block two sooner rather than later.)

So, that’s all I’ve got to show, but for the first week in January, that’s not bad! I think I’ll feel like I’ve gotten more accomplished if I stick with something rather than switching out every day. Plus that will keep the mess down. I spent a long time yesterday straightening that all up. But, I’m really enjoying my stitching and I’m enjoying writing in my Book of Days. I am hopeful I’ll have a finished cloud to show you soon. It is imminent. Until next time, enjoy your stitching! Oh, and if you’re interested I’ve posted a couple of book reviews for recent reads on the other blog as well as a post on our annual Eggnog and Dessert Party.

I am grateful for finally understanding what the issue is with trying to shoot photos of black fabric.

Bellpullooza

Barnabee's Quest Pullware

Do you remember my Barnabee’s Quest? I stitched him as a SAL with some other lovely stitchers, and although I was one of the founding members of the SAL, I was the last to finish. I finished him July of 2008. And there he waited, hanging in my closet. It seemed such a shame to let this piece languish, so I sent him off to Deb to be finished. I cannot tell you how utterly gorgeous Barnabee has become under Deb’s amazing finishing skills. I am so glad that I purchased the pullware for this piece. Look how beautifully it goes with the stitching. Notice the triple cording that Deb added.

Barnabee's Quest

I am thrilled with how the piece turned out. Deb is a marvel!

Barnabee's Quest Tassle

I stitched this piece long after it was first introduced, so finding the pullware for it was a lucky break. I was not able to locate the accompanying beeskep tassel. But, look at the wondrous tassel that Deb created for me. I love that it has not only the colors of the cording, but it also incorporates the purples in the piece and in the pullware. Lovely! I cannot imagine trying to attempt this finishing myself. So thank goodness, I have Deb!

Primitive Tree

But, that’s not all. You may remember that I finished this piece myself a while back. Well, although I tried to artfully photograph the piece in order to camouflage the problems with it…I was so unhappy with my finishing. The main problem with the piece was that the stitching needed to be blocked. The border lines were wavy and crooked, just due to not having been blocked. Try building a fabric border around wavy lines. Well, after pulling the piece apart twice and attempting to correct it, I finally gave up and sent it to Deb. She managed to block the piece and also straighten everything else up. You’d think I’d been sewing drunk. Thanks to Deb, I can now look at this piece without cringing. I am so pleased with it. And what I thought was a simple bit of finishing, frustrated me to no end.

Primitive Tree Wall-hanging

All better! Who knows what Deb thought of me when I emailed her asking if she performed rescue operations. And guess what…she does! Thank you, Deb for your beautiful artistry!!

So, you can see what a happy mail day I had last week, when these arrived carefully wrapped up.

I also did a little bit of stitching over my four-day weekend, although a lot more than you see here. First, let me say that this piece is impossible to photograph. The best photos I’ve gotten of it are with no flash, but those are also blurry…so this is the best I can do. Please ignore a) cat hair b) thread behind piece c) inaccurate color representation…as the colors are not nearly this “neon”. Anyway, I did stitch a lot more than it looks like. I just stitched the same thing three times. I filled in Adam’s face, then proceeded to outline his torso. Then, my lines didn’t match up. I ripped it out and tried it again…still not matching up, but the problem was in a different place. Ripped it out and restitched a third time. Worked. Then I started filling in his torso, and got tired of stitching on it after giving him a cummerbund. I had hoped to see way more progress on him this weekend. Of course, we were catching up on episodes of 24, and so possibly trying to watch the last four hours may have contributed to my inability to count.

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So, after throwing in the towel on Adam…I decided to pick up something new that I already had in my stash (fabric, thread, chart – how often does that happen?). This is Earth Sampler by Primitive Needle. I love this chart. And I think this may be my first time to stitch on 40ct. I love it. It is not nearly as hard as I was thinking it would be. And I am feeling good about the coverage of one thread over two. I love love love this fabric too…it is Picture This Plus Ale, which is the recommended fabric. It is gorgeous! I wish my threads were showing up a bit better against the fabric color, but perhaps it will look better as I move along. The greens are just a bit light. And, with Eric and I having finished up 24, we moved on to watching more episodes of Season 1 of Earth:Final Conflict, which I am really enjoying.

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Anyway, I hope to have some more done on Earth Sampler in the next few nights. Thanks for all of your congratulations on my Access test. I hope to have another unit test under my belt early next week. After Access, I’ll be starting on my Project Management classes. Here’s hoping those go quickly! Hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed your stitching!

I am grateful for time with Eric.

Adam Emerging

Stitching at B&N

I made a deal with myself this week. I really wanted to meet up with some friends from guild Thursday night for a stitching evening, but I had to take a test at school this week also. I ramped it up a bit and got my test out of the way on Wednesday night. I scored a perfect score (1000). Go me! So, last night I began my four-day weekend (I took today off work), and I was able to meet up with my stitching buddy at Barnes & Noble for an evening of guilt-free stitching! Since I’ve done all I can on my peacock for now, I decided to go back to working on Adam & Eve (CHS). I’ve done some fill in on the tree and last night I started in on filling in Adam’s face. He’s got on helluva five o’clock shadow going on there, huh? I am hopeful that over the next few days I can spend a good amount of time stitching and have some serious progress to show on this piece.

Adam & Eve

I haven’t gone back to stitching on Shores because frankly, I am not happy with it. I really don’t like the coverage of one strand on 36ct. So, I’ve been debating what to do. Start over on 40ct? Leave it and hope I learn to love it? Well, I think I’ve figured out what I want to do. So, I’ll have to do some test stitching and see what I think. But, that’s the reason Shores has been tucked away for a bit. I hope to get it back out soon, because I do dearly love that design. I’d just like to dearly love my stitching of it too.

Anyway, I have some other goodies to show you next time. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

I am grateful for a stitching night.

Surf’s Up

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Long time, no blog! You may be wondering what have I been up to? Well, as you can see I did finally manage to get my waves stitched on block 1 of Shores. I’ll be moving up to the top half of the block now. I had hoped to catch up and get through blocks 1 and 2 in April, but well…we’ll see. I haven’t done a ton of stitching lately between migraines and just tiredness. But I have done some reading, which has been really nice. I think maybe my brain just needed a break, you know. I sat aside Pillars of the Earth (which is excellent, by the way), and picked up Dead Until Dark, which is a very fun read. Anyway, I’ll be getting back to Shores soon. But, I am glad to have those waves finished!

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I’ve also made a bit of progress on Adam & Eve too (also by Carriage House Samplings). This is a fun little stitch. And I am stitching it over one on black. I decided to take my progress photo with my scissors in there, just for scale. I love the size this is turning out to be. Please excuse the cat hair, my hair, and general fluff that this black fabric seems to attract that for some reason shows up glaringly in photos. Don’t those little scissors look giant sized?! I dearly love that little squirrel. He now has a little perch to sit on, and I’ve stitched in Adam’s head (which still needs to be filled in), and I’ve begun work on the tree trunk.

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Saturday, I had a pile of mending that needed to be attended to, so I spent some time with my sewing machine. After everything had been repaired, I decided to get out one of my quilts that needed quilting and worked on it a bit. You may remember that this little Valentine’s Day quilt had previously had quilting on it, which I have been ripping out because I wasn’t happy with it. I’ve now finished the ripping out, and I’ve started on the quilting again. It’s turning out nicely so far.

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This past weekend was also Easter, so we went to visit family and I took some photos of some fabulous ornaments that my MIL made out of ribbon. Aren’t they fun?

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Her good friend made one for me, and then taught her how to do it. I’ll have to remember to take a photo of mine too to share!

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And finally, last week Eric and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. Even with his father in the hospital (now home and doing well), my sweetie surprised me with two dozen red and white roses as well as a single white rose in our special vase from the Rose Ceremony at our wedding. I am so happy, and I am a lucky lucky girl.

Renewed Promise

I’ve got a new start to show you next time, and I also have some lovely new stash to share as well. Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for stopping in!

I am grateful for my ability to embrace change and to move through what seem like difficult times and see them in a new light.

Low Tide

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I’m back, with just a little progress to share. As you can see above, I’ve finished the rocks in Block 1 of Shores and I’ve moved on to the ocean. It’s slow going, but it’s relatively mindless filling in, which seems to be what I’m wanting right now. I did attempt to work on the Mermaids for the Sunday SAL, but for the life of me I cannot find my chart and thread. I was “organizing” recently and must have put it in a “safe place” so that I would be sure to be able to find it at a moment’s notice. I’ll give it another look during the week and hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track with those girls. I’m all excited to start page 2. But, anyway…back to Shores. I don’t think I’ll be finishing with Block 1 this month. So, I’ll just keep plugging away at it, and maybe by the end of April I’ll have blocks 1 and 2 done.

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I’ve also made a tiny bit of progress on Adam & Eve (also Carriage House Samplings). Instead of moving on to the swirl the squirrel is standing on and then back to the tree trunk like I’d thought I was going to do…I decided to start on Adam. He just has a bit of hair at the moment, but should soon have a face as well. I’d like to see some more progress on this before my guild meeting next week. I love this piece, and it is so different stitching on this one than on Shores, even though they’re the same designer. Such fun!

I haven’t even touched my Catherine Theron pieces either since the workshop…maybe I can pick one of them back up this weekend. That would be nice, huh? Not too much else going on here. I bought five more skeins of NPI from Drema during her sale. These were the five I’ll need (that I didn’t already have) for Block 2 of Shores. I figure I’ll just buy them as I need them, in order to space out the cost. Plus, when I can get them on sale for $2.70 as opposed to almost $4, that’s a deal! I’ve also ordered a couple of charts from The Attic, but haven’t seen hide nor hair of them yet. I think one of them was on backorder, so hopefully those will come soon. Not that I need anything else to work on right now. When I get closer to finishing A&E, I’ll be ordering fabric for And They Sinned. I ordered all the thread for that at New Year’s, if you remember…so that will be my next big start I think.

Oh, and thank you all for your interest in the magazines. Two have been sent out, and I’m still waiting on Sherry and Chiloe to respond to my emails with your addresses. So, if you’re reading this…please get me that info so I can send you your magazines. Hope everyone is doing well. Enjoy your stitching!

I am grateful for being welcomed back.