A Rainy Monday in September

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for Fall.  While I hate the fact that this year seems to be going by so quickly, yesterday’s 105 degree temps had me yearning for some cooler days.  I know it’s been awhile since I shared any stitching progress with you, and lest you think I am only sewing I thought I’d show you my progress on John Reed.  I am really pleased with how it’s turning out despite a few challenges along the way.  The chart is handwritten, and at times makes it difficult to discern what the designer intended.  I also had a few issues with the roof color for the house.  The called for AVAS was really more of a seafoam green.  And I was for sure not putting a seafoam green roof on my house.  I ended up going with the DMC equivalent she’d listed on the chart (was definitely not seafoam green, so not sure what was going on there) but had to go a couple of shades darker due to the fabric I’m using.  It’s kind of a grey green. 
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But, I’m getting closer to finishing this sampler up.  I’d intended to finish up the grass last night, but I ran out of thread!  So frustrating!!!! So, I’ll be out picking up another skein of AVAS as soon as possible.  And since I need that green for the grass, the border, the trees…I was a bit frustrated last night.  
So, I started something new. 
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I have spent all year working on just John Reed for the most part, granted some months my stitching was almost zilch.  So I decided at the spur of the moment to start my second start for the year – and I wanted something appropriately fall-like since it was September 1st after all )and I’d been looking at eleventy-billion Instagram photos of Pumpkin Spice Lattes).  I just happened to have this little beauty in my stitching bag, and it was already kitted with threads, fabric and even a needle included.  It’s like the universe was enabling me to start something new. 
This is a sweet little sampler a friend of mine designed and gifted me with last fall.  I’m excited to finally be starting it.  And today’s rainy overcast day seems like the perfect day to snuggle under a quilt (with the A/C on – because it’s still 98 degrees outside and I’m not stupid) and stitch on this. 
My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and it has been so fun finally getting some time away from work and spending time with some friends.  Speaking of my talented friend who designs lovely things, I got to spend an afternoon stitching with her the other day after we had a fabulous lunch together.  I also had the chance to meet up with another friend for dinner one night and then we went to see the City of Bones/Mortal Instruments movie – so good!!!  And I have to share a couple of beautiful gifts I received for my birthday too.  
This little pincushion is a design by Little House Needleworks called Heart and Home Sampler.  It was stitched over one and finished into this adorable pincushion.  And she finished it with these beautiful ribbons and trims that she brought home from her trip to Paris.  I love it!  She and I had a lovely day out together last weekend and went to lunch and hit a couple of quilt shops.  So much fun. 
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And a package also arrived from Sylvia.  She made me another stitch wallet and look at the fabulous sugar skull fabric she used!  Reminds me a bit of the birthday gift my friend Lori gave me last year.  Sylvia also knitted this beautiful Honey Cowl for me.  When she was here in December last year, we went over to Madtosh Crafts and I showed her this cowl I’d been coveting made out of Madeline Tosh Tannenbaum yarn.  And she made me one!!!  She used a different, lighter weight yarn (since I do live in Texas), but in the same beautiful green I fell in love with.  I cannot wait to wear it!
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If you look closely at my John Reed sampler, you will see some unfortunate holes in the linen.  Luckily the house covered up the worst of the areas.  Months ago, my scissors got loose from their sheath in my stitching wallet and poked some holes in my linen.  None of the threads were cut, but the holes of the fabric were horribly pulled out of shape.  I’ve been joking with Sylvia that my scissors need to have their own “scissor jail” to keep them from causing more trouble with my sampler.  And guess what!  My new stitching wallet comes complete with an attached scissor jail!!!  Perfect for my scissors and threads.  How cute is that?!
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Sylvia also kitted up this chart for me.  Don’t you just love her thread drops?!  We’d gotten to talking not too long ago about Americana samplers when we saw this post on Laura’s blog.  And look what she sent me.  Love it so much!!
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Thanks as always for continuing to stop by to check in on my blog, especially since I’ve been so awol this entire year.  It’s been kind of a rough one so far.  But, I’m feeling like I’m finally getting some time for myself back and boy it’s a wonder what a difference sleep makes!!  
I am grateful for a wonderful birthday and some wonderful friends who helped me celebrate it!

Remember October?

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October is always a super busy month for Eric and I and last October seemed to be even more jam-packed than normal.  In fact it was so full that I’m only just now getting around to editing and sharing some of the photos.  We always go to the State Fair in October, and one of my favorite things to do is visit the Creative Arts building to see all the quilts and rugs and stitching.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the things I saw.  
Don’t you just love that sheep?  I have the pattern for this rug that I bought several years ago.  It’s sitting with another hooked rug kit waiting for me to learn how to hook rugs.  Raise your hand if you have kits for things you don’t know how to do.  
And look at this Plum Street Samplers design.  Isn’t it fabulous in blue?
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Itty bitty tiny postage stamp squares.  These looked like they were one inch squares.  Seriously.
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CHS Spot the Horse.  I love the frame on this one.  Reminds me of an old weathered barn.
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 Love this quilt – it reminds me a little bit of Deb’s Cotton Club quilt that I love so much. 
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And another pretty hooked rug.  I love how much pattern there is in the background.  it’s not just “black” – it’s varying shades of color and hooked in a design that draws your eye around the piece. 
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This little BBD ornament reminded me I still need to stitch one for myself.  I have it all kitted up since I stitched one for the guild’s ornament exchange a couple of years ago. 
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This Catherine Theron piece (Morning Has Broken) was stitched by a fellow guild member.  It really is so stunning in person.  And the ribbons she won for this piece were very much deserved.  I’ve still got all my Catherine Theron class pieces stuffed in a closet and they haven’t seen the light of day since class.  But, at least they are keeping the rug hooking kits company.  
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Extraordinary  beading on this piece.  All of the scarabs and then that fringe.  This must have been a ton of work!
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This is such a fun piece.  Missy (Deep Inside Missy) started this one several years ago.  I love all the embroidery.  It’s a Crabapple Hill pattern.  
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And oh, would you look at this gorgeous beaded mermaid shadowbox.  I love this so so much.  I think I need to make one. 
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I love this little Halloween whirligig quilt.  I bought the pattern for making one of these last summer…it’s probably in the closet too.  Are you sensing a theme?
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Cathedral windows quilt.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one done in lime green before.  Usually you see them in white. 
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I just adore miniatures.  One of these days I’ll have to show you the dollhouse my grandmother made for me. But these two little pieces were so fun to look at.  All the detail that went into them – just amazing. 
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They remind me a little bit of the holiday windows in NYC, just on a much much smaller scale. 
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And here’s the other one – a quilt shop.  So cute.  
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Look at those bolts of fabric and the little Featherweight machine!
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I love this hooked rug so much!  What a lovely addition to some summer decorating this would be. 

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And here’s another cute finish.  I’m not really a ruffle kind of gal, but I thought this was appropriate.
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And another one of Paulette’s designs.  I have this one ready to stitch.  It will look perfect with my other framed pieces in our bedroom
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And finally this tiny little thing.  It’s got to be on silk gauze.  
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So that’s it from me today.  I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the pieces from the State Fair, even though it’s eight months later.  It always inspires me to get to working on my own pieces, so I’m sure that in the very near future I’ll be going stash diving in that closet of mine to pull out some of the things I’ve been nudged to work on after looking at these photos again.  Oh, and if you’d like to take a look at the other photos I took at the Fair, including photos from the Chinese Lantern Festival – go on over to my cozystyle blog
Here’s wishing you a great week!

I am grateful for a weekend spent doing whatever I wanted to do. 

Inspiration Overload

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Last weekend I had the great fortune of going to the Dallas Quilt Show with a friend of mine.  It’s been years since I went to the quilt show, so when she invited me I jumped at the chance.  As usual, there was so much to look at and seeing the quilts themselves always inspires me.  
Here are a few of my favorites.  
This one was a fun use of The Ghastlies collection from Alexander Henry.  
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And I’m always a sucker for a red and white quilt.  Love that radiating star center and the border is so pretty too.
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I don’t normally go in for “scene”quilts.  I appreciate their technical achievement, but they don’t usually do anything for me.  This one was absolutely the exception.  There was something about it – the texture, the colors.  I really loved this one.  
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And this one, made by a friend of mine, blew my socks off.  Such a fantastic use of color.  And I loved the little doors and windows in the houses.  A great take on a rather traditional house block.  
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Here’s another one.  Irish Chain, but done in some very happy colors.  I love the itty bitty four-patches. 
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Log cabin blocks.  Love the striped border.  
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Look how bright and springy this one is.  Still using a more modern palette, but toned down a tad.  So fun!  I think this one was also done by the friend that did the houses.
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Cathedral windows.  I just love the look of these, but I think they’d make me tear my hair out.  I like the fussy cutting in some of them, but it’s not so overwhelming to be distracting.
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Oh the bling on this one.  I just kept staring at it.  The quilting and embellishment of the Swarovski crystals is what makes this quilt.  Absolutely dazzling. 
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And if you thought the front was good – look at the back.  My photo’s a bit washed out, but wow.  Stunning!
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And I can’t forget this one. It was made from Liberty of London fabrics. I wanted to bring this one home so bad!!! Any lopsidedness at the bottom was due to my photography and not the quilt. Isn’t it luscious?

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And of course, in addition to all the quilts entered into competition, there are the vendors.  So many vendors, it’s hard to not spend all your money at the first two!  And of course, the models they have in their booths are fabulous.  

I fell in love with this very modern quilt.

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The same booth had this one too.  A beautiful kit of this one was available.  I love the scalloped border at the top and bottom.  Very simple construction – but the fabrics are the star!

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This one, I had to take a photo of because the last time I was at the quilt show (like 7-8 years ago), I bought this pattern and I still haven’t made this quilt!  I need to get with it.  I still love it.  It’s called Hot for Chocolate.

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I did try to restrain myself in the shopping.  I only came home with a few choice selections.  Some Lily Ashbury Gypsy Girl fabric.  Some old old Tula Pink Plume fat quarters.  And a Hex n More ruler from Jaybird Quilts.  I’ve been wanting to try one out for a while now.  I can’t wait to see what fun things I make with it!

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One of these days I’ll make it to the Houston Quilt Show, but for now I’m quite content.  I had a great time and am so glad that I got to go!  Hope you’ve enjoyed this little recap and found yourself inspired too!

I am grateful for good friends that share my love of quilting!

You Can’t Handle the Tooth

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I have had no less than three, count them, three emails from concerned stitchers asking how I’m coming along with my bargello. Well, let me just tell you…the bargello is a thing of the past! I took a little sabbatical last weekend and it is amazing what one can accomplish when there is nothing to do but stitch. I’ve now moved on to the inside panel (the FINAL panel).

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It may just be possible that I can get this sucker done in time for the workshop on the 17th. I do have to admit that it is looking pretty though. Even if it is a pain in the ass.

And I wanted to share with you a little something I bought for myself during my stitching weekend – a handmade velvet strawberry. Isn’t it the prettiest thing? It’s sharing the spotlight with a tomato and stickpin that I received as a gift.

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And Valerie surprised me with some amazing things off my wishlist. I can’t wait to dig into that little charm pack of Blackbird fabric! Thank you so much, Valerie!!! Something else to stitch for my A&E wall – I can’t wait!

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And in case you’re wondering what I was smoking when I came up with the title for this blog post. Well…wonder no more.

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Exactly.

I am grateful for a weekend of laughs, tears, and Beyoncé.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Wicked
The Primitive Needle
Belle Soie over one on 30ct Antique Cotton by R&R
Finished in a Twisted Threads Rectangle Tin Necklace

My friend, Kim, had a birthday on Friday and I wanted to make something special for her. She’s a Halloween girl, like me, so I decided that a little “Wicked”-ness was in order. I really enjoyed stitching this and the colors were so fun. I had to special order the little tin necklace frame from my LNS, and luckily (even though it was on backorder for awhile), it came in the nick of time. I’ve got enough of the supplies left over to treat myself to this trick, so I think I’ll be wearing a matching pendant sometime soon. I do hope that she likes it.

And since we’re keeping in the Halloween spirit, I thought I’d share my silks for Black’d Skie. You can see how lovely they will be on the fabric. I’m really excited to try out these Pure Palette silks. They were a birthday gift and I’m absolutely thrilled to have them.

Blackd Skie Silks

And finally, since finishing Kim’s gift I have returned to the Garden of Eerie for a bit. The center tree is coming along. In fact, I’m getting down almost to the snake. Can’t wait for that!

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I’m starting to think about my goals for the end of the year and what I’d like to finish. I’m also starting to think toward 2011 too. Mostly, I’d just like to cut down on the amount of WIPs I have going. I think a focus on finishing is in order. But in the meantime, I’m just enjoying spending time with my wicked things.

I am grateful for a smile on Eric’s face.

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.

Just Hangin’ Out

Hanging Out

Ever have one of those days?

This little guy was relaxing outside my office window last week. He hung out there for quite a while.

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On Saturday, Eric and I went down to Victory Park in Dallas and participated in the Dallas Heart Walk. As you can see, it was raining. But, we walked that 5k anyway!

The rest of the day on Saturday, I was restless. Not sure why, but I couldn’t just be still. I couldn’t read, couldn’t stitch, couldn’t get comfortable. Nothing. So, I just watched a little tv – mainly I watched the premiere episode of The Vampire Diaries, which I thought was good. But, that’s about all I got done on Saturday.

Sunday, I felt a little more settled and I decided I’d better pick up my stitching for the Jane Timmers workshop that I’m taking on the 26th and 27th. I haven’t done any of my pre-stitching. So, I got that out and put a dent in it. We’re stitching with Gloriana silk on 32ct I think, over one. This is the front of the needlecase. I didn’t quite get that “B” finished last night, and I still have the “C” to stitch, then I can move onto another color and do some Quaker motifs.

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Of course, you know how in love I am with red silk.

I also have another project I need to get a move on. I’m going to stitch Goode Huswife’s Angel of Tulips. My fabric and thread just arrived on Friday. I’m stitching this in the called for 40ct Daily Grind by R&R with NPIs. So, that’s on my agenda soon as well.

Angel of Tulips

Love those colors – they are so fall-like. It has been raining here like you would not believe. It rained non-stop all weekend, and is still raining. But, I am glad for it. I haven’t done any more stitching on my leaves on Simple Things or on my Cuisine d’Ete. I’ll get back to those soon I hope! And at some point I’m going to have to bite the bullet and work on my MAGIC project that needs to be done by the end of the year. Where has this year gone? It’s just zooming by! Oh well, I am enjoying what I’m stitching, so there’s that.

I am grateful for Eric and I doing this 5k together.

A Friday Night Quickie

This week I…

Dumbledore

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

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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.

Owl Post

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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!!!

Stripey Snake

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On Wednesday, I took my Microsoft certification exam for Access 2007 and passed with flying colors! Soooo glad that is over. I am now moving into my Project Management classes, starting with Microsoft Project. I am really wanting to be finished with school before the holidays this year. I’m ready to be done! As a reward to myself for my certification, I was able to skip school and go to Barnes & Noble for stitching with a buddy. I had so much fun and we got to sit in the comfy chairs. I think once again I spent more time chatting than I did stitching. Oh well! My stitching buddy brought the new Loose Feathers to stitch on, and she is doing it over one. Sooooo pretty. I wanted to go right home and get mine out…but I am being good (for now). I decided to take Earth Sampler with me this time, since I’m making good progress on it. See the little snake?

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Two more fingers and I would have finished the hand. That row of numbers is the bottom of the sampler. After I finish the hand, I’ll move back up to stitch the top three rows. I am loving this fabric, this pattern, stitching on 40ct, the colors, all of it. I am just having so much fun. And since the past couple of weeks have been a little rough studying for my certification exam and then of course, this…

Blisters

My poor blistered heels. I really needed a night of stitching to relax, and a fun piece to stitch on! Oh, and just to give you a further idea how bad my poor blisters were, when I came home Tuesday night from school, I found this on the counter.

Blister Bounty

Eric’s been a sweetie and has been reading up on blister care and what to do to keep them from getting infected, etc. He takes good care of me. The vaseline is supposed to keep you from developing blisters too, so once mine heal I’ll be trying that the next time I go walking. I’m taking tomorrow off from my 5k training, since I still can’t put shoes on, but I hope to be healed and back at it next week. And thanks to all of you for your suggestions on helping my blisters!

And in non-blister-related news, I thought I show you my latest stitching purchase. I have fallen in love with the VB Night Owl fabric, and so of course I had to have a little wristlet to go with my ginormous bag, right? And since it was half price, I couldn’t resist.

Vera Bradley Wristlet

It’s the perfect size to hold my packs of needles, scissors and a pencil. I love it!!! And it’s nice to have a little bag that I can transfer around to other bags and know I’ve got needles and scissors.

VB Wristlet Inside

Oooh, somebody needs a manicure. Yikes! Anyway, that’s all for me today. I am hopeful I’ll be getting a whole lot of stitching done on Earth Sampler this weekend. I have book club tonight, but other than that a weekend of some couch time I hope. Have a great weekend!!!

I am grateful for my blisters getting better and even with weird workouts this week, still seeing a loss on the scale! Yay!