Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hardly Stitched At All

And that's the sad, sorry truth.  Fact of the matter is, I can't really remember what I did this week in the evenings that I didn't stitch.  Hmmm... I must have mucked about on the computer.  Typical.

Christmas ABC's, the at work project, saw the usual amount of time, and I'm really pleased at how it's coming along.  A few more months and maybe I'll have a finish of it to show.

I didn't substitute for any of out other teachers at church today, so I was able to put some good time into Heirloom Nativity.  The green tree to the left, and the sheep were added.  There's just something peaceful about stitching and hearing the word of God at the same time.  I love it.

Tuesday I worked a little bit on Kathy's Violets, or the floss type sampler.  I'm still working with Cosmo floses on these sections and I'm still loving Cosmo.  It's so soft and it pulls through so nicely.  I found a good conversion for my missing purple last week.  I'm pleased how this is turning out.  So very nice.

And lastly, I did manage to put some time into Flower Power.  I find I miss this project after a few days of not stitching on it.  I finished up one of the two leaves that I need to complete before doing a massive amount of backstitching on this section.  I have about 20 or so more stitches to go on the second leaf and then I think next week will be a backstitch-a-thon.

 The white spots are from the sunshine streaming in the window and reflecting off of the bed that's behind the project.  I managed to block most of the brightness with my own shadow, but not nearly enough.  It'll be time for a roll once I get the backstitching done on this section.

In other news... I have a job interview on Tuesday.  I'm very excited and hopeful that this job will be a good fit and I'll be offered the position.  Right now I'm working as a temp, which is okay, but I sure would like to earn some paid time off and have health insurance.

I also showed my trainer where the Lose to Cruise page is.  I haven't decided if this was a good or bad idea.  He can now check up on me independently.  When he looked at it on Friday, I was still having a good week and got challenged to hitting 189 by the end of February.  I guess we'll see.  Just so long as we don't have anymore weeks when I do everything I should and gain weight.  Yeah, major bummer.

Have a good week everyone!
Hugs and Stitches,

Monday, January 23, 2012

TUSAL - January 23rd, 2012

Happy TUSAL everyone!  And happy Chinese New Year as well!

I decided to empty out my TUSAL jar and start afresh this year.  Thanks to your suggestions, I think I'll put my bits out for the birds once the weather warms up a bit.  We have a family of humming birds that nest in one of our big pine trees out back, maybe they would like the fibers for the nests this year.

Here are Pinky and Dude peeking at my little starter pile of bits for the year.  The majority come from Flower Power, with a few others thrown in from Christmas ABC's and Kathy's Violets.

Hugs and Stitches,

IHSW wrap-up for January

What with all the errands and what-not, I didn't stitch as much as I had hoped, but I did get in a few more hours than what I normally would have done.  I watched the last LOTR movie while stitching, just to make sure those hobbits managed to throw the ring in.  You have to keep an eye on those hobbits.  Tricksie they are.

Where we started out Friday Evening:

Where I started Saturday Morning:

Where I started Sunday Morning:

And where I finished up Sunday Evening:

I finished the butterfly, back stitched around the butterfly and one of the daisies, rolled the scrolls a wee bit, put in some stems and two leaves for the daisies, and started the last leaf of the lily for this area.  Once I get the lily leaf finished I can finish the back stitching on the other two daisies, the leaves, and add the antennae and legs onto the butterfly.  Then it will be a full roll of the scrolls.

I hope your IHSW was equally productive!

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up-a-doodle

Good evening everyone! I hope your weekend was as nice as mine, and maybe more productive.

I did stitch quite a bit, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow when I post the wrap-up for the IHSW.  I promise there will be lots of pictures for that one.

The weather has turned to winter.  It was raining Saturday morning when I got up to go to the Temple, and still raining when I came home around noon.  I had wanted to sit right down and get to stitching, but had a few things that needed to be taken care of.

First up was changing the battery in my heart rate monitor.  It's been dead for a few weeks, and I haven't liked not having it at the gym.  With a little help from Mr. Google, I had instructions on how to take the watch apart and replace the battery.  Of course I didn't have that type of battery on hand, so that meant going back out into the rain.

Mom came along for the adventure, and we first went back out to American Quilting to trade in the neon green Cosmo for a good purple.  While there I got to talking with one of the employees and it turned out that she's a stitcher too!  What fun!  She liked hearing my opinion on the Cosmo and we traded notes on where we shop and what not.  I shall have to get out there more often and chat with her as there are few stitchers here that I see in person.

Next stop, Target.  I thought I'd find the battery for the watch here, but they didn't have it.  I did buy a new tube of mascara, and drooled over the new Kindle Fire.  It got a good review in Consumer Reports and one of my BFF's got one, so now I'm really thinking about getting one.  I do love electronic gadgets.

Third stop, Batteries Plus.  A simple in and out to buy the battery for my watch. (And it's still raining.)

Now, Batteries Plus is in the same parking lot as Hobby Lobby is.  So Mom and I went in there to have a look around.  We wandered past the holiday stuff, peeked at the scrap booking stuff, strolled down the beading asile, fondled fabric in the fabric area, glanced through the kits and what-not in the cross stitch area, squooze the yarns on the yarn asile, and finally looked through all the books over in the clearance section.  I bought this:

It's a super cute pattern, and it was a little more clearance priced than what is marked on the booklet.  I've liked this pattern for a long time, and figured clearance pricing was as good a reason as any to pick it up.  I can honestly say that I don't think I'll ever get around to stitching it... But I like to say: Buy the pattern, buy the dream.

When we came out of Hobby Lobby the rain was still falling, but it had gotten to be noticeably colder.  Our last stop was Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Mom is looking for a heavy weight aluminum 9x13 pan, and since BBB is in the same parking lot as HL, we went in.  We didn't find what she wanted.  When we came out of BBB it had started to snow.  We took that as a sign to go home.

Once home, I replaced the battery in my watch, successfully! and finally sat down to stitch on Flower Power.  It was a very good day.  As for the weather, I had about four inches of snow to clear off of my car since it snowed most of the night.

Hugs and Stitches,

Oh! I nearly forgot to post the progress I've made on L*K's Christmas ABC's.  I'm working on this one on my lunch break at work.  This week I moved the hoop to the right and finished up the Nutcraker/Soldier and started in on the 'O' for ornament.  I'm thinking I'll need to move the hoop a wee bit to get all of the 'O' on.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A pre IHSW update

I signed up for the IHSW for the first time.  Right now I don't have anything planned for the weekend, so I should get some good time with the needle in.  For more information on IHSW, click on the little crab button there to the left.

Here is Flower Power at the starting point of the weekend.  I'm thinking I'll spend most of my time on it.

I only have three or four more rows to go on Mr. Butterfly.  I'm excited!  There is one more leaf for a lily that I need to put in and then it really be time to roll the scrolls.  I know... I know... I've been excited to roll them for the past month or so!

This past Wednesday was Crafty-Stitchy Night with the girls.  I worked some more on Kathy's Violets with the Cosmo floss.  It's coming along nicely.  I still need to get back to the shop and pick up that one color that was converted wrong.

I received my order from 123 Stitch for the Anchor and Sullivans flosses.  And there went my stash budget for the month of January.  It's a terrible thing when your curriosity gets the better of you and you spend your stash budget on random stuff!

I haven't started stitching with the other flosses, but my first impression of the Sullivans floss was that it was stiff compared to the DMC that I normally work with, and the Anchor was about the same as DMC.  The Cosmo remains the softest of the bunch.

That's all for now.  I'll be sure to post after IHSW, and it'll be TUSAL time too!  I haven't decided if I'm going to toss 2011's orts yet or not.  There are so many of them.  They have to be good for something.  Right?

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More butterfly and some other stuff

Good morning everyone, and hello to my new followers.  Welcome, welcome!

It was more stitching on the butterfly on Flower Power this week.  I'm to the point where I've finished the foreground wing and am working on the background wing.  As I work on the background wing it narrows up.  I'm hopping it will feel like I'm actually moving when I get to that point.  Right now it's taking between 20 and 30 minutes just to do one row of butterfly.

And now for a few projects that you haven't see for a while.

Things have returned to normal at work and I'm back to working on L*K's Christmas ABC's durning my lunch break.  I added the boxes for U and X along with starting the fill in of the block for T.

And I added some more snow and foreground to the Heirloom Nativity Sampler.  Those silly shepherds, being out there in the snow...

I hope you have a productive and stitchy week.
Hugs and Stitches,

Some Thoughts on Cosmo Thread

A new to me floss has been arriving in a couple of quilt shops that my mom goes to.  When she first asked if I knew anything about Cosmo floss, I had to say I hadn't.  What was more surprising to me is that I haven't seen any mention of it in any of the cross stitch blogs I read.  After poking around the web for a bit, I learned that Cosmo is manufactured in Japan by a company that also produces fabric aimed at the quilting market.  This seems to explain why it is being carried by quilt shops and not so much by needle working establishments.  I also noticed that Cosmo was mentioned more on quilting blogs.

After reading some of those blogs I decided to give Cosmo a try in cross stitch.  So I hunted through my patterns and finally settled on a freebie from Chantelaine called Kathy's Violets.  I then found a conversion chart from DMC to Cosmo, printed it up, and was good to go.

Saturday I went with Mom to American Quilting for the Second Saturday event.  (It's a block-of-the-month mystery quilt deal where you show last months block all put together and pick up the materials for this months block.)  Conversion sheet in hand I selected the colors I needed.  The solid skeins were selling for $1.10, and the variegated skeins are $1.70.  I got 20% off that, but I'm not sure why.  They weren't listed on the flyer of Second Saturday sale items.  But really, I'm not about to complain.

After running errands I cut out a piece of 28 ct. Waterlillies linen and went to work.  I'm stitching it twice, and will put it together biscornu style.

When I picked out that bright green pictured with the purples, I had my doubts about it.  And sure enough, it's supposed to be a medium purple color.  I found a second conversion chart which has a different color listed, and I think the other color will be a purple.  I'll be back to American Quilting to pick up the other color suggested for conversion and see if that makes more sense.

My first response when picking up a skein of floss was that these were soft.  I don't pick up a skein of DMC and think "it's so soft!"  When using the Cosmo, it pulled through the linen easier than DMC does, but not nearly as nicely as a silk does.  The coverage is good on the lighter colors, but I found the thread a bit thinner on the dark navy (which doesn't show up in the picture, so I'm pleased about that.)  The twist seems to be a little tighter, and I didn't get as much fraying on the tail as I normally get with DMC. I primarily used the loop method to start my stitches, so if there is a nap to the floss, I didn't notice it. (To be fair, I don't really notice if there is a nap to DMC or not... although when using the loop method to start, one tail does always seem to become more frayed than the other.)

Over all I'm quite please with the floss.  However, for me it's a bit cost prohibitive at $1.10 a skein when I can pick up DMC for $.39 a skein when it's not on sale.  I'd love to replace my DMC with Cosmo but as I said, it's a bit pricy to do that.  I think this will be a 'treat' floss.  Something I'll use for (more) special items.

As you can see above, I'm only stitching one quadrant of the pattern with the Cosmo.  I figured since I was doing a comparison, I may as well acquire some Anchor and Sullivan flosses.  I ordered those from 123 Stitch and will pick those up on Tuesday.  Once done I'll have a quarter done in Anchor, Cosmo, DMC, and Sullivan.  I've been trying to figure out how to label each quarter in a nice and tasteful way. ... Maybe I'll just go for gaudy on the square I decide to be the back of the biscornu.

So if you run across Cosmo floss, give it a go!  You just might like it.

Hugs and Stitches,

Monday, January 9, 2012

WIPocalypse Update - January

So far I've been completely focused on Flower Power by Crossed Wing Collection.  This is what the project looked like January 1st:

Sorry about the darkness of the picture, I'm not sure why the flash didn't go off.

Here is where I am at as of this morning:

The butterfly is being stitched over 1 and is a bit of slow progress.  But, I'll get there soon enough.  If you would like to see what else is on my stitch list for the WIPocalypse, click here.

Happy WIPocalypse!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Flower Power!!

Well, the only thing that I stitched on this week has been Flower Power.  I just love it.  It's nice to sit in the little rocking recliner and add flowers to my fabric.  I've finished up the flowers, stems, and leaves in this area, and I've done a little bit of back stitching on some of those leaves.  Right now, my challenge is to add the butterfly that is sitting on a daisy.

Mr. Butterfly is stitched over 1.  I started out stitching all of one color, like I normally do, but found it hard to go back and put in the next color if I'd stitched a row above and below where the other color was to go.  After some thought, I remembered a technique I'd read about that some of the folks who stitch Heaven and Earth Designs use, then modified it to my use.  I am stitching each row and all colors, at a time.  This is great since the 'up' hole is always empty.  It does mean a lot more threads and needles on the fabric that I do have to be careful with, but I'm quite happy with my technique.

I've got two black threads, two white threads, two dark tan threads, two light tan threads, and one dark copper thread going.  But boy is he beautiful in person.

Tomorrow is the first post of the WIPocalypse.  I've added a page with my WIPs and UFO's for that.  I need to stop reading all of your blogs and get back to stitching so I'll have a little more progress to show for the WIPocalypse post!

I've also added a page for the Lose to Cruise challenge.  Lose to Cruise was started by a bff CBB so her, her mom, and her sisters would have a good support group this year as they try and meet their goal of loosing 30 lbs. each.  Once everyone hits the 30 lbs lost mark, it's girls cruise time! Anyway...  I've joined in and added the page to track my progress way more publicly too.  I'll admit that I'm a big girl.  Nothing to be ashamed of there.  But I want to be a smaller, healthier girl, so that's what we're on about.  And why not?  Lose 30 lbs, go on a cruise with good friends.

Hugs and Stitches,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I was a bad girl

So... for 2012 we're back to the goal of only spending $20 a month on cross stitch. And I knew that was a goal coming up. So what do I don on the 31st? That's right, I go crazy.

First up was a trip up to Shepherds Bush for their New Years Eve sale. I decided to show up around opening time, and that way I'd have plenty of time left in the day to do other things. Well... I miss judged the time it would take to drive from Provo to Ogden and arrived 30 minutes before they opened and was very very surprised to see a line out front. And not just a couple of people in line. Oh no. There were some serious line sitters in front with their collapsible camping chairs and all wrapped up in blankets. "Strange" I thought and took my place at the end of the line. (Had there been no line, I would have been very content to just sit in my car and wait for the shop to open.)

Eleven am rolled around, the door was flung open, and a mad crush headed into the foyer. And I saw what the line was all about. They were selling off some of their stitched models and some older, random, decorations. From what I saw of the models, there wasn't anything I cared for, and an honest to goodness fight broke out over some stuffed rabbits in country dresses. One lady was scooping them up left and right, another lady picked one up only to have the first lady snatch it out of her hands. I got into the relative sanity of the main store as soon as I could.

Everything in the shop was 10% off. I didn't have anything much in mind, so I just wandered around and picked up a bit of this and a bit of that.

That is Sugar Cookies by the Cricket Collection, Merry Christmas Ornaments, Vintage Christmas and January Cottage of the Month by Country Cottage Needleworks, 2011 Ornament of the Month # 12 by Little House Needleworks, and four kits from Shepherds Bush.  The kits are Hold Hope (lower left), Friends (upper left), Purple Snowman (upper right), and Blue Snowman (lower right).  I was sorely tempted by the Red, Pink, and Green snowmen, but decided to save them for another trip.  I also picked up the 2012 Keepsake Cross Stitch Calendar (50% off!!), and two pair of scissors.

I also picked up two packages of 10 leaflets for $1.  It was a gamble, you could only see two of the leaflets that were in the package.  I came out 50/50.  There is the batch that I think I'll hang on to:

And here are the items that I think I'll put aside to give away sometime:

The shop was very crowded, and I was glad to be on my way home when I was finished.

On my way home, I stopped by The Craft Center of Fine Stitchery and picked up a couple of patterns that are on my list, but I didn't see up at Shepherds Bush.

A pair of those cute tree ornament patterns that Sue Hillis has put out, and the L*K winter alphabet that I had on my Christmas list but didn't get.  I also picked up some small buttons that I think will work well as spiders for Something Wicked.

Once I got home, I sat down to read over some of the posts over at the 1-2-3 Stitch Message Board.  Those ladies are a pack of enablers, I tell you!  They mentioned that The Silver Lining was having a bit of a sale, so of course I wandered over to check out what was on sale.  Well... almost everything I seemed.  So I bought everything that had a pansy on it, plus a few african violets.  Mark included a copy of Cole's Orchids with my order too.  Quite a nice surprise.

Now, if only my dear beloved designers could refrain from putting anything out in 2012 that I love, I might have a chance at sticking to that $20 a month budget.  I don't want to say it's a lost cause... but it's going to be rough with those monthly cottages from CCN and I'm sure L*K will do a series that I'll love too.  But I shall endeavor to cling to my budget!  (I tried the same thing in 2011... and only made it to July before falling off the wagon.)

Hugs and Stitches,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Framed and Finished

I got a call from my framer today that a few things I dropped off before Christmas were ready for pick up.  I told her that I didn't need any of these for Christmas, and to work on her other rush stuff first.  Anyway, here's the run down on what I picked up.

First up is Red White and Bloom by Country Cottage Needleworks.  It was the stitch of the summer it seemed.  Everyone was doing it!!  I stitched mine on 28 count Straw/Natural linen, over two, with the called for flosses.

Next up is Snowman '10 by Lizzie*Kate.  I was looking at my photo album and I finished stitching him up almost a year ago today!  I'm glad that I finally got him framed.  I stitched him over 2 on 30 ct Eggplant by WDW.  I'm told that Eggplant was a limited edition color and is not longer being made.  Too bad because I'm often asked what fabric I did him on.  Anyway... I used the called for flosses, mostly.  When I got to his scarf, I switched out one of the greens because there wasn't enough color to suit me.

And lastly we have Uber Jack by Bent Creek.  I stitched him on 28 ct. Earthen by PTP with the called for flosses.  He's stitched over 2 as well.

And to round out the finishes, my bf LMS dropped by the little hanging she made up out of Cross Stitcher in Residence (by Lizzie*Kate) that I had stitched up.  I stitched it over 2 on 28 ct (or was it 32 ct?) Summer Breeze (or Summer Winds) Opalescent by an unknown dyer.  (I love this fabric!!)  I picked and chose colors I liked out of my stash when doing this one.

When I gave LMS the stitched piece and supplies, I told her how much I like the fabric and could she please cut it 'here' so I could maybe make a few scissor fobs out of the left overs.  Well... she forgot how I had asked to have it cut first, so she did this:

Yup, cut it right out of the middle!  I have plenty of extra room to make up some small fobs, or some such.  I feel a pansy coming on...

In the above photo of the finish, the hanging is pinned to this Christmas count down calendar that LMS made for me one year.

Totally cool, right!  Each of the triangles that a ornament is hanging in front of is actually a pocket.  So at the beginning of December I put all the ornaments in their pockets and by Christmas, the tree is fully decorated again.  I love it so much, I keep it hanging on the back of my door all year long.

Hugs and Stitches,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thank you cookies and Flower Power

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a safe and lovely holiday season.  I must confess that I mostly worked.  I could have taken a few days off, but since I don't have any PTO to spend on such a thing it made better sense (and cents!) to work.

Noni sent me a sweet thank you gift after winning the small draw I had some months ago.  She sent me this box of Tim Tam and Mint Slice 'crackers'.  Cool!

I love how happy Santa is on the card she included.  Each cracker contained a yummy treat!

And confessionally... I was a piggy and snarfed them right up!!!

All Gone!! 

I've been back to stitching on Flower Power.  It's really something I enjoy working on.  There just aren't enough hours in the day!!!  (How often do we end up saying something like that?)  Since it's been a while, here is where I left off back in November.

And here is where I am at now.  A few more daisies and a few more leaves.

I'm almost done with the page I am working on now. ... Well, after some more leaves and stems are added.  And a butterfly needs to go where I have the needle minder right now... but... you know... Soon I'll be rolling the scrolls and attacking the rest of the daisies and lilies.  Fun fun!

Hugs and Stitches,