Sunday, November 27, 2011

How the weekend does just fly by

I'm pretty sure I had four days off, but some how it barely feels like one.

I stitched along on Flower Power to my great contentment. Mostly backstitching on the Daisy and the start of lots of leaves.

I added the backstitching to the tree on the right.  Since the color is a bluey-gray-green color, it must be a blue spruce that's been added.  I'm thinking some more snow next week, and I'll move the hoops over to the other side of the shepherds block.

And lastly, I went through my stash and pulled out a few small ornament sized things and decided I would stitch Christmas in December.  So I started on this little ornament/scissor fob that I picked up at Shepherds Bush a few years ago.  No reason to let these linger in the stash.

Hope you have a good week!
Hugs and Stitches,

Friday, November 25, 2011

TUSAL - November 25th, 2011

Oh yeah, today is TUSAL day!

My Little piles, from left to right are from: Christmas ABC's, Hardanger Class/Homework, Nativity Sampler, Something Wicked, and Flower Power!  Hurray for lots of ORTs!  And all into the jar they go.

Hugs and Stitches,

Oh yeah, I picked some stuff up from the framer!

Tuesday I went up to my framers house to pick up some pieces.  Here they are:

Crabby All Year by Raise the Roof Designs.

Bless Our Home by Country Cottage Needleworks:

Christmas Eve by Prairie Schooler:

I haven't quite decided where to hang them up yet.  For now, Crabby All Year is wrapped up for Mom's Christmas Present.  I am considering places on the walls of my bedroom as to where to hang the other two.  Christmas Eve will have to go on my Christmas wall, it's just a matter of where. Bless Our Home might end up over here next to the computer/stitching desk.

Other than picking up my framing, Tuesday was a little exciting as I managed to avoid a serious collision on the freeway.  As I was headed north bound towards my framers, I exited from the main line to the belt route.  On this small section of collector ramps is an area where an on ramp joins from the left and two lanes become three.  I was in the left most of lane (of the two lane section before the third lane joins to the left) and noticed a large SUV on the ramp to the left.  I didn't think much of it as people come on on that ramp all the time.

Well, I should have paid more attention because as the on ramp lane became part of the flow, the driver of the SUV kept on merging to the right.  ... Right into the space I was!!!  I stomped on the gas to try and get away, there was a car next to me on the right, so I really couldn't merge out of the way.  SUV and I did make contact, but it was minimal since I was accelerating and crowding the lane to my right.  No real damage done to me or my car.  Just some streaks of paint back on my left-side quarter panel.  So... remember people... ALWAYS CHECK YOUR BLIND SPOT!!!

Hugs and Stitches

A slow week for stitching

Sunday started the week off pretty good. I added another shepherd to the Heirloom Nativity.  I just need to add his beard and he'll be done.  It looks like I'll be doing a bunch of back-stitching/long-stitching to get the branches on the tree by the sheep this week.

I brought Something Wicked home from work on Wednesday (due to the long holiday weekend) and worked on it pretty steadily yesterday.  There wasn't much to get done on it, and now it is all but done.  I want to pick up a few spider buttons to add where those dangling threads are.  This turned out so well, and I never could have done it with out the fabric I won from Jennifer.  Thank you so much, again, for letting me have this fabby!!

And lastly, I've been plugging along on my Hardanger Class homework.  As I was stiching on it last night I realized that there wasn't much actual hardanger in the piece!  I'm going to have to sit and think about this for a bit.  I might be able to squeeze in a few more kloster blocks and some doves eyes there in the corners.  And I haven't completely given up the idea of a scalloped border.  We'll see what time dictates.

And now, I think I am going to go put in some quality time with Flower Power.  It's been two weeks and I've missed it.

Hugs & Stitches

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday night and Saturday

All day Friday at work I was thinking that I would finally get to come home and do some stitching.  Wrong!  Mom had volunteered us to help out at the wedding reception for the daughter of one of our neighbors.  Our neighbors are caterers and they put on a pretty large spread at their receptions.  It's typically a family run operation but since they are all front of the house greeting family and friend, the neighbors pitch in and help out back of the house. 

I helped keep the fruit and veggie platters neat and stocked, and helped out with the cheese and cracker platters as well.  Some times I helped load canapes onto trays for the neighbor boys to take out and pass around to the guests.  It was a lot of fun to visit with my neighbors and help out.  I didn't get much of the meal that they served, but I did manage to get a couple a crepes from the crepe station.  One had bananas and nutella in it, the other had sweet cream in it.  I added strawberries and whipped cream.  Totally yummy!

Today, after working my morning shift in the temple, I had to run a few errands.  A trip to Target was in the works to pick up a perscription, but I can't go to Target and just walk in and walk out.  No no no no no.  I must wander around and look at practically everything!  As I was checking everything out, I started to ponder the state of our Christmas Stockings.  The stocking themselves are fine... It's the contents that need a little help.  (Last year, I pondered the same thing at about the same time my Mom was thinking about it.  We came to two completely different solutions.  Her solution was to scrap putting anything in the stockings at all!!!  My solution was to buy some fun little toys, simple snapper type fireworks, and holiday themed candy.)  So I circled the toy department and picked up some this and that.

I decided to go to JoAnn's and see what they had on the way of 5 size pearl cotton since I'd about convinced myself that I'd need some in that size along with the 8 and 12 I bought on Thursday.  They had the colors I wanted, plus a few other things that I added to the collection of stocking stuffers. (All pictured above.)

I've been pondering a bit about making something to stick my threaded needles into as I'm stitching.  This method is working pretty well:

But I'm thinking of something more box like.  In the Jewelry asile I found some nice sized boxes that were on sale, so I picked up a package.  I went looking for some styrofoam sheets, but didn't see any.  I know Hobby Lobby has it, so I'll wander by there when I'm ready to make up my holder.  I'm thinking I can cut the styrofoam  sheet to fit inside of the box, and then using Excel make up a grid so I can write the color and symbol of the colors on, and leave a space to put the needle.  I've got it all worked out in my head, I just need to get around to doing it.

I did get the pearl cottons I wanted.  They do carry and okay selection and I was lucky to have picked out the most common colors when I bought my 8 and 12 cottons on Thursday.  I think I'm about ready to attack the hardanger homework... I just need to grid up the fabric and go to town.  Still pondering on that scalloped edge though... I picked up some needles (because I always do when I go into JoAnn's) and some dimensional stickers that I think I'll use to make another of my home made needle minders.

And then I've blogged about my whole week, and Saturday is about done and I haven't gotten to the stitchy chair!  Although, amazingly enough, I did manage to fit in a little bit of stitching.  I'm starting to see the end of Something Wicked.  But like most projects, I keep thinking I'll be done with it sooner than what is actually taking place.

That boot is just crazy awesome!  I also managed to get a few hours in on Flower Power.  I've started to add the Shasta Daisys.  The shading is just amazing, and doesn't really photograph at all.

I know I mentioned it before, but I really am thinking about stitching nothing but Christmas stuff in December.  I have most of the L*K Santa's that are crying out to be stitched.  Plus several of the Mill Hill diamond ornament kits.  I would love to have an ornament tree, but I don't have any ornaments!  (For some crazy reason, when I look at a small pattern I think "That will take too long." but when I look at a big pattern I think "No problem!")  I'm going to have to start somewhere with making ornaments to have an ornament tree.  Maybe this December is the time to start.

Okay, I'm going to hush-up now.  Y'all have a great weekend.
Hugs and Stitches,

Thursday evening with MD

Earlier in the week I had made plans to meet up with MD for dinner.  She had some questions about a cross stitch project she was working and needed some help.  Since she has a newish work schedule, she can't make Crafty-Stitchy night anymore.  (I'm trying to get her addicted to cross stitch.)

Originally, I was going to be a good girl and go to the gym after work, before meeting for dinner.  But the obsession with finding colored pearl cotton was starting to take over.  So I skipped the gym and we met at The Craft Center of Fine Stitchery.  I found the pearl cottons I wanted in 8 and 12 sizes.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I should have picked up some 5 size as well.  Hrm...

While there, I happened across a pattern for some beautiful purple pansies, so I had no choice but to buy it, along with the few skeins of Anchor floss called for.  (I have practically nill stash of Anchor.)  I also bought some 28 ct. waterlilies linen to stitch it on.  The owner of the shop helpfully enabled me into picking up another pattern with pansies in it, (this one by Lavender and Lace), and I bought some more waterlilies linen for it.

I then made the mistake of wandering past their Curio of Wonders... And had to bring home a bowl made of pink iridescent glass with a flower frog on it.  Love it! Mine!  I also picked up a Christmas Needle Minder.  What are the two things I love?  That's right, Christmas and Pansies.

MD picked up a packet of needles and some floss away bags.  I couldn't talk her into anything else.  Talk about serious discipline!

Purchases made, we went to dinner at a Paradise Bakery that was just down the road a bit.  We ate and chatted for a couple of hours and I was able to answer all of her cross stitch questions. 

Next door to Paradise Bakery is a World Market.  I went into one of these once when I was living in the North Bay area of California, but it's been so long that I can't recall much about it.  MD was looking for some Lady Grey tea and I went along for the fun of it.  Talk about an adventure for a (practically) first timer!  All sorts of food stuffs from all over the globe!  Awesome!

I was doing good and resisting all the sweet treats until I came to asile with Aussie cookie (biscuits)...  They had Tim Tams!  Real ones made by Arnott's!  Not the (pretty good) ones that Pepperidge Farm makes and you can only get around the holidays.  I love Tim Tams.  They are one of my favorite cookies (biscuits).  And you know what I did... I resisted.  That's right.  I stared down the Tim Tams and didn't pick any up.  The reason is... If there is an open package, there is an empty package.  I just couldn't take the risk of a full on pig-out this close to the holiday eat-fest.  I examined all of the other Aussie cookies (biscuits) and decided to give the Caramel Crowns a go.

They have caramel in them, and I love caramel.  I'm sad to say, that the Caramel Crowns induced a Tim Tam like pig-out once the package was open.  At least they made it home to get it's picture taken.  I do love me some Aussie cookies (biscuits).

I got a little surprise when I unwrapped the bowl from the tissue paper that it was wraped in.  There's no bottom to the bowl!  In fact, after closer inspection... I think it was origanally used as a pendent light fixture.

It's still very pretty, but now I am trying to figure out how to add a "bottom" to the bowl.  I suppose I could glue another piece of glass or a mirror to the opening... but I don't want it to be permanent-permanent, just mostly permanent.  Something that I could take apart if I wanted to.  I shall have to think on this some.  (At this point in time I'll have to say I'm probably a little crazy.)

There was also another little surprise when I was setting things out to be photographed.  There are MORE pansy patterns available!!!  I think I need them all.  Maybe I need to stitch pansies for a month or so and get all caught up with my flowers again.

Hugs and Stitches,

Crafty-Stitchy Night

This is an evening I look forward to each month.  I started it because I wanted to get together with my friends more often and what better excuse than to be crafty?  We've been meeting back and forth since I sold my condo, and tonight it was my turn to host.  Unfortunately LBH came down with a nasty cold and couldn't make it.  LMS was able to come, and MD couldn't come due to her work schedule.

LMS brought some banana bread (yum) and I set her up to stitching on the Stitchmate.  She's a Q-Snap stitcher and I wanted to see how well the adapter worked.  The answer is the adapter works very well.  And I may have made a Stitchmate covert out of LMS. 

I worked on Christmas ABC's and she worked on a Shepherds Bush stocking for her hubby.  We discussed a little of this and that and hardanger class.  LMS had borrowed a few books with hardanger patterns and before too long we were flipping through the books and a few magazines that I had, while pondering what to do for our Thanksgiving homework.  I rediscovered the hardanger ornament from the Nordic Needle in this years ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch.  I think this will be prefect for my 'masterpiece'.  Now I just need more colors!  More Christmas colors!  LMS found some good ideas for her homework and I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

Of course, since we were gabbing and looking at books, I didn't get much stitching done.  But there is some progress!

I am toying with the idea of stitching Christmas stuff in December.  I have a plethora of things to do since Christmas is one of my design loves.  The other is pansies.  I shall have to give this some more thought, since I'll have to put Flower Power aside for a bit.  I'm a little afraid I won't get back to it if I do put Flower Power aside for Christmas stitching!

Hugs and Stitches,

Rig Demo day Wednesday

*Warning* Picture intensive post. ... I don't know what got into me.

On Wednesday the marketing department at work hosted an event for all of us desk jockeys to see (up close and personal) a pair of the rigs we use to make money. (Us desk jockeys just cost money.)  On Tuesday morning the rigs were rolled into the parking lot and set up.  It was fun to walk over to the window to see what was going on for a little break here and there. Wednesday we got to wander around, check out the rigs, eat sandwiches, sip hot chocolate, and munch on tasty cookies.  Good times.

This is the smaller of the two rigs they brought in.  It costs roughly 1.4 million dollars and is more of a multi-purpose, starter machine.  It is used for drilling for shallow natural gas, water wells, and some minerals.

Small rig, looking at the drilling tower:

And here is a more side view of the same rig.  I thought I got a picture of it head on, but missed that somehow.

The second rig that was brought in is more of a specialty rig.  It is pretty much used only for water well drilling and costs about 1.5 million dollars.  It can begin with a hole about 48 inches in diameter and steps down from there.  I've forgotten what the stat was for how deep it can drill, but the fellow telling us about it said that a similar rig to this helped with the rescue of the Chilean miners.  This rig is on it's way to Peru after it passes it's final testing.

Big rig from the front.  Those tires are almost as tall as I am!

Here is a look at where the drilling action takes place. I have no idea what any of that 'stuff' is.

Looking up at the tower.  The white line coming from the tower is actually a contrail.  You can see the tower to the smaller rig in the back ground.

Here is a more full picture of the big rig.  The guys in the safety vests are some of the people who were telling us about the rigs.  They didn't extend the tower to full vertical because it was partially set up to be shipped out for it's trials and they didn't want to have to undo and redo that packaging.

This is a picture of the rigs from the fifth floor window by my little cube. 

Hey! I can see my car from here!  Here is a slightly zoomed in view of the big rig (the one on the left in the above picture).

And a bit closer view of the little rig (the one on the right of the picture with the two of them).

I also got some free stuff at the event.  An insulated coffee mug, which I eventually gave to a co-worker who didn't get one.  I figured she'd use it more than I would since I don't drink coffee and have no real need for an insulated mug.  But I have a picture of it to prove that I was at one point in my possession.

I also picked up a beanie/took/skull cap/what-have-you with the BLY spinner on it and a notebook with the rules of safety for operating a rig.  I do love paper products.

And lastly a picture of a girl with a goofy grin standing to the side of the big rig.

Hugs and Rigs!

Tuesday's Hardanger Class

This past week was crazy busy, so I'm going to break up the events into their own little posts.  I hope you don't mind.

Tuesday started things off with Hardanger Class.  I had a good time this week.  We started out learning the hem stitch, the nun stitch and then the button hole/blanket stitch.  I misread the direction for the hem stitch and ended up cutting away the wrong side of the stitching. Oops.  Good think I was just working on a sample/practice piece.

We then did some faggoting (?) and I started to work some kloster blocks to do some wheels and woven spkes.  I didn't quite get finished because we ran out of time.  Our instructor gave us some homework to do over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We are to design and execute something on the bit of fabic she gave us with the provided pearl cotton.

I'm not all that interested in the whole tone-on-tone thing, so I'm thinking of doing something with a little a lot more color.  And I already know that JoAnn's doesn't carry much on the way for color in pearl cotton in the 8 and 12 sizes.  Look like a trip to a stitchy shop is in order.

I have been thinking of figuring out and doing a scalloped border on my homework 'masterpiece' using the button hole stitch. I'm pretty sure it can be done and might even turn out looking awesome.  But actually doing the math and figuring it all out will take time away from Flower Power.  That doesn't make me happy... This whole homework thing doesn't make me happy for the time I won't be stitching on Flower Power.

One last note about hardanger class.  My instructor is an anti-hoop Nazi.  You are to never, ever, ever, never to use a hoop with linen!  Ever!  Oi vey do I ever get the evil eye when I hoop up my practice linen.  But my stitches have much better tension and are way move uniform and even when using a hoop than when stitching in hand.  We just don't see eye to this... or the whole tone-on-tone thing either.

Hugs and Stitches

Sunday, November 13, 2011

** enter clever stitching related title here **

This week I had to fight the battle with my bank and visa card.  I've had payments set up from the bank to the visa for years, but for some reason this past month something went horribly wrong.  The payment went out on the date assigned, a full week before the due date, but visa didn't receive a payment.  Arrrgh!!!  So I had to call the bank and find out what happened there.  Then call the visa folks and tell them what happened, and arrange for an immediate payment, grovel to have the late fee removed and so on and so forth.  The bank is going to pay the late fee and the interest accrued since I always pay off the visa in full each month.  But still annoying and frustrating.

On the happy side of thing, Hardanger class was this week.  We focused on kloster blocks and doves eyes in class.  I had a nice time chatting with my BFF and the other ladies who were at class.  Here is my sample fabric.  The beige and blue stuff to the left is what I did in class.  The pink and purple is stuff I did for practice at home.

I need to spend some more time working on my Doves eye stitches.  I discovered earlier that I was doing them wrong.  But I've re-read the instuctions and I think I've got the idea of them now.  I should do some blanket stitching too... but I'd much rather work on Flower Power instead.

Speaking of Flower Power, I didn't get to work on it this week as much as last week.  And Hardanger class and practice ate up two nights that I normally stitch on it.  I did finish up the back stitching on my humming bird.  The wing back stitching was a whole lot of fudging it since I missed three stitches in the middle some where.  I then started in on the white Shasta Daisies.

I love love love my Stitchmate.  It has made stitching on this large project so easy and convienient.  I'm starting to get the hang of two handed stitching.  I may never be super speedy at it, but we're coming along quite nicely.

Here is about three weeks of work on Something Wicked.  I missed taking a progress picture of it last week when I was sick and left it at work.  Just a little more boot and a few words to go and it will be all done.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it once it's done as my margins to the left and right are very very narrow.

And it looks like I missed posting progress on the Heirloom Nativity last week.  I didn't take it with me today, so no progress from today.  But last week it gained a sheep and some foreground stuff.

That pretty much sums up that.  You all have a good week.
Hug 'n Stitches

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What happens when struck down by a cold...

I was hale and hearty this week until Thursday.  Before being stuck down, I worked a wee bit on my Christmas ABC's by L*K on Monday night.  I just got the line from the crown and (including) the candle done.  It was Halloween, after all, and that door bell kept ringing.  Imagine!  Taking me away from stitching time.

Tuesday night was to have been the first night of the Hardanger classes that my BFF and I signed up for.  I got to the shop a few minutes early browsed around, and then tried to figure out where the class was.  Well... they decided to postpone the start of the class for a week to allow more time and people to sign up for it.  I sure wish they had called me to let me know it had been postponed.  I called my BFF to let her know, and she was glad I did.  They are having major freeway construction by her house and getting from her place to the needlework shop is getting to be a serious undertaking.  By calling her, I stopped her from having to fight that drive.  As a consolidation for having to wait another week for class to start, I went to JoAnn's Fabric and bought a couple of packets of needles.

Wednesday night I took Crabby All Year up to my framer to have it framed up for my Mom for Christmas.  I also took along Bless Our Home, and a Christmas piece I completed before I started blogging.  I found a good simple frame for Crabby All Year no problem, and then chose a molding for Bless Our House that turned out to be expensive.  Like $25 a foot expensive!  So we searched all the samples and sample books for something that would work just as well, and be more cost effective.  My framer was going to check out a few of the molding places in town to see if they had something similar for less and get back to me.  And lastly, the Christmas piece will be framed in a simple, tarnished gold frame.  They should be ready to go next week, or so.  Plenty early for the holidays.

Thursday I went to work feeling a little bit dull.  I ached and my throat was sore.  I just chalked the achy-ness up to going to the gym the previous night and putting in a serious workout, and sore throat to sleeping with my mouth open.  But as the day progressed, I felt worse and worse, and my boss sent me home around 1:30.  I came home and went right to bed for a few hours.  Then got up and sat in front of Flower Power.  Here's where I started on Thursday afternoon:

Here is Thursday evening/Friday morning:

Here is Friday evening/Saturday morning:

And Saturday evening:

And how about we look at it turned the right way 'round.

I am missing a couple of flosses to finish up the back stitching on the humming bird, but otherwise he's done.  I've even put on the blending filament on his head and back.  He's a sparkling little guy.  I messed up the counting somewhere on his wing.  I think it's the 3/4 stitches that I got lost and missed a row completely.  So it'll be some creative work back stitching the wing to get it to look good and not missing a row.  But from this far away, you can't really tell I missed that row of stitches.  I'm going to start in on the Shasta Daisys that are below these Day Lilies next.  If only I could be sick all the time and stay home from work!  I'd get lots of stitching done for sure.

Today is Sunday and I took the Heirloom Nativity with me.  I added some green foreground stuff, a sheepie, an animal of some kind (squirrel? dog?) and a tree trunk.  Maybe next week I'll start to add one of the shepherds in.

That sums up the week.  I think instead of going back and looking at what I'm stitching, I'm going to roam the blogs and check out what you're stitching.

Hugs and Stitches,