October

New October stitching
October is one of my favorite months, although it is often one of the busiest months of the year for us.  I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do much stitching (or blogging obvs), and as you notice this post is brought to you entirely in Instagram photos due to lack of time for editing photos.  
So, I’ve been trying to get into the groove with stitching on my WIPs, but it’s been hit or miss.  I pulled out a little piece that is perfect for this time of year and started it on the 1st.  The chart, fabric, and threads were a gift from Lori for my birthday.  I’m really enjoying stitching on this piece, which is nice because lately I haven’t enjoyed stitching on much of anything. 
Another sweet friend of mine gifted me with these awesome skull ornaments last week.  I love it that my friends know me so well. 
Skulls
I had hoped I’d have lots of quilting to share too, but alas, there’s none going on.  I’m holding out hope for some time at my machine this weekend.  
About the only thing I’ve managed to do with any regularity lately is read (and paint my nails, but that’s a given).  
Gone Girl with Metro Chic
Have you read Gone Girl?  That is one book that I could not put down.  Seriously.  
And my new book, that I started on Friday.  It’s the second book in a series.  Also another good read.  
Unholy Magic with Berry Hard
And of course, my days are not complete without one of the boys curled up on my lap.  They have gotten so big, it’s weird to think that four months ago they were itty bitty.  This is my sleepy Ramses. 
Curled up with a sleepy Ramses
Hope that October is treating you well, and I’ll be (hopefully) back soon with some quilting progress and some more stitching.  
I am grateful for slice of life photos. 

Auld Lang Syne

2011 Finishes

Can you believe another year has come and gone? I thought I’d squeak in a final post for the year and do a little recap of 2011. Above you can see my finishes for 2011. A couple of quilts, some beading, some finishing, and a few medium-sized pieces.

They are (from left to right):

Camille’s French Sampler, Holly Wool Biscornu, Snow Garden, Be Mine
Indulgence, 2000 Years Ago, Joyful Night, Valentine Rose
Dash Away All, a beaded fob, Day of the Dead earrings, Sweet Treats Block 1 and Border
Stars & Stripes, Honfleur Sampler, Angel of Tulips, Garden of Eerie
Penny Angel, Mele Kalikimaka, Hand & Heart, Joy

I linked each of those to the associated blog post so you can get more info on them if you want. I’m pleased with my finishes for the year, although I’d hoped to have more. But, isn’t that the way it always is?

As for the books I read this year, here’s my little list for that as well…

City of Bones
The Forgery of Venus*
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet*
Parrot & Olivier in America*
Lover Mine
A Northern Light
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
The Hare with Amber Eyes*
Living Dead in Dallas
Heaven is for Real
The Help
Lover Unleashed
An Object of Beauty*
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Club Dead
Soulless
The Paris Wife*
The books with asterisks are book club books.

And I thought I’d share with you a look at my ort jar. I’ve been letting these bits pile up for awhile (much longer than just the past year – they are packed in there really well), and decided that tomorrow will be a fresh new start across the board.

IMG_2119

After my stitching today, I’ll empty this out and begin anew on January 1.

IMG_2120

I’d really like to also finish Margaret Cottam, but that may not happen before the ball drops at midnight. I would love to see another “1” on that corner though!

IMG_2122

And tomorrow, I will have a new start, as part of my New Year’s Day tradition. I can’t wait!

IMG_2125

Happy New Year!

I am grateful for new beginnings.

Quite Dashing

IMG_1297

Dash Away All
The Sampler Girl
DMC on 32ct Dirty Linen
Finished 4/16/11

I’ve been working on stitching ornaments here and there this year. I had intended to do one a month, but you know how that goes. This is my third ornament for the year. It wasn’t even on my to-stitch list, but after I saw a finished one at a guild meeting I remembered I had this pattern in my stash! I immediately went home and found my chart, and then pulled fabric and fibers from my stash. It’s such a cute, simple piece and I’m glad I was reminded I had it. After I finished it, I needed to get a little star button to add to it and I just finally made it over to my LNS last week. Not sure how I’m going to finish him yet, but I’m so glad I stitched him. Thanks, Katherine, for being my inspiration!!

I’ve also been stitching along on my Stacy Nash piece I showed you in my last post. It’s coming along slowly. I love the pale palette.

IMG_1295

I went to book club on Friday night and we had a lovely discussion about The Hare with Amber Eyes. I’ve posted my latest book reviews over on the other blog, if you’re interested. I had intended to spend the rest of the weekend stitching, but it didn’t happen. Too many other things going on! Maybe tonight I can get my needle out.

I am grateful for Eric for being immensely patient with me while teaching me Lightroom and for all of his help last night, and most of all for refusing to allow me to post really crappy photos even though I was willing to settle for what I had. Thanks, sweetie!

That’s How I Roll

IMG_1241

A momentous occasion last week…I was far enough along on ATS that I was able to roll the fabric. It’s coming along (slower than I’d like, but still coming along). It’s amazing how long it takes to stitch all those scattered little motifs, but at least each one feels like a small victory. And they are fun. I love that blue butterfly and the red tulip. And wow – all the birds! I am very very close to being ready to start on the tree, Adam & Eve and the angel (aka “the good parts”). I love how colorful this piece is and it makes me happy to discover each new motif and pull out new threads. I’d been asked in the comments what fabric I’m stitching this on…it’s 40ct Elegant Bean (from Elegant Stitch). It’s a great neutral fabric and the colors really pop on it. I am stitching with the charted GAST threads. But, I’m moving along toward the bottom of page 1 and loving every minute of it.

My current travel project is Emily’s Sewing Roll from the Stacy Nash workshop I took in March. This one is a good piece to take to guild because I can talk and stitch at the same time. Plus, it’s not very big, so that makes it an ideal travel project too. Although, what does not make it an ideal travel project is that inevitably someone says “you’re not done with that yet?”. Ha ha…no I’m not. Would you buy the excuse that I’m savoring it? You’ve seen me eat chocolate, so youknow I don’t savor anything, huh? Yeah, ok…so I’m not done with it yet. But, it’s a sweet little piece, no?

IMG_1252

I have also been stitching on Dorothy’s Garden. And may I remind you that it’s all over one? On 32 count? Yeah…so what if I can’t finish a Stacy Nash piece. Look at this…

IMG_1247

I’ve been building that dreaded house. And it’s looking pretty good, I might add. Once I get all that grey outlining done, I’ll still have to fill it in with white. I figure I’ll work along on the house until I get bored and then I can stitch on the border a bit to break up all the grey and white.

And I’ve spent the past couple of weekends learning Lightroom, and I think it’s going to be great for photo editing, exporting, cataloging, etc. Eric’s been very patient teaching me and I’m really looking forward to learning more of the functionality. So far, I like it a lot better than Photoshop. So now not only am I learning how to shoot in manual modes, but I’m also learning how to do my editing in completely different software – my brain is full!

I’ve also been reading quite a bit. I read Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light, Pioneer Woman’s Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, and Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with the Amber Eyes. I’ll be posting up reviews of all of these on the other blog soon, if you’re interested.

Ok, that’s it for me today. I’m hoping to get back to working on my AOTH soon – I’ve been so inspired by both Katrina’s and Siobhan’s finishes on theirs. I can’t wait to work on mine again! Until next time!

I am grateful for a husband who understands.

Looking Back

2010 Finishes Final

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2010. Where did the time go?? I thought I’d look back at the year though and see what I accomplished. Above are my finishes for the year. Most were small things, and many were gifts. In fact seven of the twelve were for other people. And speaking of gifts, there are a couple more finishes that I can’t show you yet.

I did also manage to start and finish two larger pieces for myself, well ok one of these is a gift for Eric (Where My Heart Blooms). So, one piece for me.

Margaret Pence 072710

WMHB 090610

I did manage two A&E finishes this year, which is a good start on my A&E wall. So, I am quite pleased with that. I hope to have more A&Es for my wall next year.

And I did get one quilt done this year too (see that first finish at the top left) – also a gift. So, at least I managed to sit at my sewing machine a little bit. I hope to have more of that next year too.

And I read a few books over the year as well:

Lover Unbound
The Ultimate Trophy*
No Tomorrow*
Catching Fire
The Lost Chalice*
Lover Enshrined
Eclipse (re-read)
Water for Elephants
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
Mockingjay
Lover Avenged
The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide
The Lacuna*

Not nearly as much reading as I would liked to have done (*and four of the thirteen were for book club). Hopefully next year, since I am done with school, I can get more reading done.

And speaking of being done with school…what else happened this year?

I completed my 365 photo challenge that I had started in March 2009
I participated in the Worldwide Photo Walk for the first time
I completed my coursework at school
I passed my certification test for Microsoft Project 2007
I started a new job
I passed my certification test for my CAPM and joined PMI
I relearned how to knit
I participated in several 5Ks as well as the 10K of death
I attended my first seminar (the EGA South Central Seminar)
We lost sweet Romeo
I participated in the Secret Stitcher program at Guild
I took a needleturn applique class
I took a class from Amy Mitten
I went to Nashville Market

Not a bad way to spend the year, I suppose. I’m excited to see what next year holds. Thanks for sticking with me throughout 2010. I truly treasure the friendships I have made through this blog.

I am grateful for another year and the hope of good things to come!

Dia de los Muertos

 

Day of the Dead Zombie

Meet Frida.

Frida is a Day of the Dead Zombie that my sister in weirdness and good friend, Kim, made for me for my birthday. I received some other beautiful handmade things for my birthday that I can’t wait to show you, but Frida demanded to be first. I thought Frida was not only a fun gift, but she also was rather timely. Isn’t it funny how sometimes in your life, you keep having the same theme pop up? Well, about a week before Frida entered my life, I received my copy of the JCS Halloween Issue.

 

Notice the cool sugar skull design from Monsterbubbles. Love it. I think I’ll definitely be stitching that one. And why did it catch my attention, you might ask? Well, I’ve been reading this book.

 

Ok, pay no attention to the fact that my sidebar still says I’m reading The Museum of Innocence. I abandoned that in favor of this book, given to me by a fellow book clubber, who said it was fantastic. It is. And within the first few pages was a beautiful description of Dia de los Muertos and sugar skulls and leaving offerings for one’s loved ones. Such a gorgeously written book. So, here I am reading this book, thinking about Mexico and sugar skulls and then I come across the Monsterbubbles ornament…coincidence? I think not.

But wait, just when it couldn’t get any more interesting…the next book for my bookclub?

Yeah. It ties in with the museum’s nest exhibit called “Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea”. It’s all working together in some kind of wild swirl of strangeness. Now, I know that there’s a thin line between some of the connections I’m making…but my head is making them nonetheless.

Which is why, dear friends, I just had to introduce you to Frida. That’s where my head’s at these days. Plus, it’s been a rough couple of weeks so zombies seemed relevant.

But, just in case you’re here for the stitching…I’m doing some non-zombie related stitching on Where My Heart Blooms. It’s coming along.

 

WMHB 082910

So, until next time…Frida will be keeping an eye on things.

 

Day of the Dead Zombie in Coffin Box

I am grateful for zombie felties that bring a smile to my face.

Long Weekend

WMHB 053110

I’m sure you’re dying to know what I did with an extra day this weekend – no studying to do, nowhere to go, no plans. Let me start by saying, it was so nice! Since the cottonwood is floating all around in the air and messing with my allergies, I did try to spend as much of the weekend indoors as possible. I went for my three mile walk on Saturday though, and it was good to get back into that habit.

Eric and I did spend a fair amount of time just enjoying each other’s company and working our way through some videotapes that have been piled up next to the tv for who knows how long. Of course they are unmarked, so it was quite entertaining to take the one off the top of the pile and wait to see what was on it. So….we watched the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics. The 2008 Summer Olympics. Yeah. We also watched the MTV Movie Awards from 2009, the ACMs from 2008 (Kenny Chesney won Entertainer of the Year in case you missed it and were wondering) and the CMAs from 2009, I think. Oh, and there was a random tv movie in there too called The Last Templar. Of course, they showed it over two nights, and the second night it was preempted for the Stanley Cup, so we only saw the first half. Oh well. But, we made it through our pile of videotapes and were highly amused by what we found.

I also spent an afternoon doing the finishing on a couple of gifts that I hope to be able to show you in a few days. They both came out how I envisioned and I was very pleased by that, especially since my finishing skills leave something to be desired.

While Eric and I were watching all this great tv, I did some stitching too. As you can see above, I worked on Where My Heart Blooms a bit. I finally finished up that house and then the grass beneath it. Then I stitched that little plant to the right of it no less than four times. Don’t ask. U also stitched on And They Sinned a bit as well, but didn’t think you wanted to see more cloud. I’ll post a progress photo when it gets interesting.

I also managed to finish a book this weekend. That’s two weekends in a row I’ve finished a book. Yay me. I decided to re-read Eclipse before the movie comes out at the end of June. Plus the Bree Tanner book is coming out on the 5th. And I have to say, I enjoyed Eclipse just as much (maybe more) the second time as I did the first time I read it. And what did I pick up to read next? Water for Elephants. Really looking forward to that one.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the most part. It’s guild night tonight and I am looking forward to giving my second Secret Stitcher gift as well as the revealing of the Secret Stitchers. I can’t wait to find out who stitched this gorgeous piece for me. Until next time!

I am grateful for reconnecting with the most important person in my life.

Deep Breath

IMG_1230

So, I realize things have been a little quiet around here. I’ll get to why in a minute. But, first let me say how much I appreciate everyone who stops by to read my blog, even if you don’t comment. I must be doing something right, since I’ve just topped 100 followers. That just rocks my world, seriously. Especially since over the last two years, the stitching and blogging have become seriously hampered by the whole working full time and going to school thing. But, you guys have stuck with me. That means a lot. So…on with the show.

I didn’t get to stitch as much as I would’ve liked this weekend, but I did stitch a little. I made some good progress on WMHB. I got the front of the house filled in and I’ve moved on to the side. It’s really coming along. I love this piece, and I can’t wait to see more of it emerge.

WMHB 032810

I also worked on ATS a tiny little bit on Sunday. I finished up that star I was almost done with and got started on the pikes on either side of the angel. The left-hand pike is almost done. Not really worth a progress pic, but hopefully this weekend will bring some more stitching time on it.

I realize I’ve been remiss in sharing my latest reads with you. A couple of weeks ago I went to my book club for March. The selection for March was No Tomorrow by Vivant Denon. It’s a tiny little book, the text is only about thirty pages, sixty if you count the introduction. The book is worth a read though. If you haven’t read Les Liaisons Dangereuses, you should, but this book is like a single scene from that book. Similar timeframe, similar feel. A single rendezvous rather than a series of them.

No Tomorrow

But, what’s been occupying my time lately is school. I finished up my class in Microsoft Project 2007, and then had to take my certification exam last week. I spent a good amount of time the weekend before studying…with my study buddy, Othello.

My study buddy

Excuse the poor photos from my phone. But, Othello must have helped my retention because I took my exam on Wednesday and passed. What a huge weight off my shoulders that was. And to celebrate, I took myself to the book store.

And a little something for myself

I immediately set Fiery Cross aside and picked up Catching Fire. I’ve been wanting to read that one for awhile now. And I finally broke down and bought Water for Elephants, people have been telling me to read that one forever. I could have easily come home with a lot more, but I restrained myself. And I was really happy with this little reward.

So, I have begun my very last class at school. I feel like I’ve been focused on nothing but school for the past few weeks (actually even before that, since I pushed so hard to get where I needed to be before leaving for Nashville). It’s going to be a little while longer before I can even raise my head up from all this, but at least I’m in the home stretch. And as part of being able to take a deep breath again, I treated myself to a movie this weekend. I went to see Remember Me. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a movie in the theatre, a really long while since I went by myself. But, I really enjoyed my whole movie experience – getting to see the previews, staying through the credits, the whole shabang. And the movie was excellent. I highly recommend seeing it, if you have the chance. The photo at the top of this post is in honor of the film. I took it when we went to visit NYC back in 2007. The sculpture of Alice is in Central Park.

So, that’s what’s been going on around these parts. Until next time…

I am grateful for books and Twizzlers and RP.

Impressions

I’ve been meaning to post up my review of my most recent book club book, but just haven’t gotten around to it. The book club I am a member of is takes place at a local art museum, and the books often tie in with the current exhibit. Some books, like this one, are more directly related than others. So, for January, we read The Ultimate Trophy.

The Ultimate Trophy: How the Impressionist Painting Conquered the World

Not an overly lengthy book, but it took me a little while to read it. The book begins with sort of a history of the beginnings of Impressionist painting. Nothing new there that I didn’t get in my Art History classes. But, from there the author tracks the paintings and how they were bought and sold, collected and turned into evidence of wealth and social class forward in time. He speaks about the paintings being taken by the Germans, being bought by the nouveau riche in America, and eventually becoming pieces purchased by Japanese business owners. It’s an interesting look at how the pieces became less about the art, and more about possessing something of value.

I did really enjoy the discussion on this book (plus there was wine and cheese, so, I was a captive participant). When I was initially reading this book, I did find it rather dry and dull. But, as I went on, I became more and more engaged in the anecdotes. And, as sometimes happens with a book…once you’ve finished it, pieces of it still stay with you. So, I’ve had to go back and change my rating of it on Goodreads, from my initial rating.

Although, this has already become a crazy long art thesis, I wanted to touch on a couple of things that have struck me after reading this book. Of course, my start on Camille seemed rather timely, with this book selection. I hope to get back to Camille soon, since I’ve wanted to stitch her for so long. Also, at the Golden Globes, Scorsese was given a lifetime achievement award, and when they showed the montage of his work (I love a good montage), one of the movies included was The Age of Innocence, one of my absolute favorite movies. It’s also an excellent book, and one I would highly recommend. Anywho…the book deals a lot with the rise of the nouveau riche Americans at the turn of the century. And one specific scene I remember, was the society party where the host had purchased a rather risque new painting and had it hung in plain sight. Shocking. But, in many cases, as the author of my book club book surmises, the paintings were a show of wealth and were treated as such. If you haven’t seen the movie, or read the book, do so.

The third thing that came about after reading this book was a conversation with some stitching friends in which I was advocating museums and visiting them regularly. You can look at all the photos you want of a painting, but there is nothing at all like standing in its presence. Some, leave you flat. Some, are exciting and wondrous. But, there’s still nothing like seeing them up close and personal. Even (and especially) those whose images are so well-known (ie the Impressionists). So, I’ll leave you with an image of one of my favorite paintings ever – one that when I turned a corner in the Met and was greeted by it hanging at the end of a series of doorways, left me speechless.

fall06specex_04

This is John Singer Sargent’s Madame X.

So, that’s all that I have for you today. I’ll be back soon with some stitching to show. Thanks for checking in.

I am grateful for art.