Monday, May 28, 2012

Digging in the dirt

That's what I did today for Memorial Day. I gardened. Which is something since my family isn't really gardeny. Anyway I started with this mess in the front flower bed.

And removed all the random plants and weeds. The ground was really dry so it was easy to pull the weeds out. They were struggling to survive.

Then I massacred the box wood. It had grown too tall and was blocking the sprinkler at the back of the bed. It was getting all the water and the stuff at the front of the bed was getting nothing. I didn't do anything to the random red bush. It's pokey and I don't like dealing with it. While I was at the nursery picking up the plants I ran across a Hydrangea that is hardy for my climate and I think would grow okay where the box wood and red plant is. So now I'm rooting for the box wood to die so I can go get a Hydrangea and plant in there. Anyway...

Finally, I planted Alysium and Impatients. We've planted those in this bed since forever. (Sometimes we'll plant pansies in the fall to winter over.) The nursery was all out of the tiny packs of impatients that we normally plant so I had to go with bigger than normal sized plants.

I decided that I wanted to try and grow some Peonies. The nursery had them on sale, buy one get one free. I think it's past peony blooming time, and they were trying to get rid of the rest of their stock. These guys looked healthy and are a nice multi-petaled, pink bloom. Hopefully I can keep them alive long enough to see them bloom.

I had a few alysium and impatiens left over from the front yard, so I added what I had left to the bed back here. I'm thinking about going back to the nursery and picking up a couple of white blooming peony. Not entirely sure where I'd put them, though.

I'd like to put some creeping phlox in all the nooks and crevices of the rock wall you can see leading down into the basement entrance. Since the area isn't irrigated, I'm not really sure if the phlox would take or if it would turn out to be a big waste of money. ... The photo reminds me that I need to get back out there and sweep up all the pine needles and garbage that blows into the landing

The last thing I got at the nursery were a pair of dwarf, double bloom, lilac bushes. I love lilacs, but I didn't want something that would grow to be too big. These dwarfs will only get to be about 5 foot tall. And they will bloom twice (as long as I remember to prune off the spent flowers). As a bonus humming birds love them. I wonder how long it will take for them to grow to full size.

I went over to Lowes today too and picked up the sprinkler bits needed to turn that white pipe into a sprinkler for the lilacs.  That way I don't have to water them by hand.  Hopefully my brother will get to installing the sprinkler this week. 

I'm thinking on getting some trellises to put on either side of the chimney and maybe plant some clematis or some honeysuckle below it.  S-I-L A was really excited about the idea of some honeysuckle.  I guess it's one of her favorites.  A climbing rose could be really beautiful too.  Something to think about.  I need to think about adding some annuals to fill this bed out some while the lilacs get settled.  Maybe some snapdragons for fun.

Hugs and Stitches

Stitchy Stuff

I was a bit lazy yesterday and didn't post my weekly update. So here it is a day late. I also forgot to post my Post IHSW post too! Oh well. I didn't get much more done on the butterfly after my Sunday post last week, so you really didn't miss much.

I do, however have a finish to share:

Hurray! Hurray! I've finished up Christmas ABC's by Lizzie*Kate. I haven't ironed it yet... I saw on Jill Rensel's blog an amazing frame up of this piece and I'm debating if I want to send it up to Rensel Studios and ask her to do something similar to mine. It'll be stupid expensive, and that is enough for me to just press it out and tuck it in the drawer with all my other finishes.

Since Christmas ABC's was my at work project and is now completed, I took Kathy's Violets to work and it's now what I work on during my lunch break. This week I just added those Algerian eyelets on the set of violets to the right. I hate doing Algerian eyelets. They take forever! Ugh!

I've got Startits something fierce. I pulled the threads for Sampler aux Boquets. When I pulled them I didn't like the flosses, but now that I'm looking at them again in slightly different light, they don't bother me as much. I'm thinking of swapping out the blue in some spots for purple. We'll see. I'm also thinking of doing a conversion to Cosmo floss which is really nice stuff.

I stumbled across this beauty on a blog last month, or the month before that.  There's just something about it that just speaks to me.  I took some time and finally hunted it down.  I've got a lovely hand dyed sky blue fabric that I want to put this on.  I could start it right away!

I plugged away on Garden of Love a bit.  I finished up the basket and started on the butterfly.  For those who asked where I was off, (since it's hard to tell) the basket is one full stitch further to the right than it should be.  I'm not sure if it is in the right spot vertically since the miscount is in the green vine. I know the one flower bud closest to the center of my fabric is in the right spot, so I'm counting off of that for the rest of the piece.

And I finished up the stitching on my over 1 butterfly on Flower Power.  I need to do some green leaves and a pink flower before I can get all of the butterfly back stitched and his legs and antennae put on him.  I'm looking forward to stitching those big pink flowers.

And that sums up this week of stitching craziness.

Hugs and Stitches,

Crafting and Tatting on a Saturday Night

Saturday evening I found myself alone with a bunch of random crafty stuff I'd picked up from the scrapbook section of Hobby Lobby here and there over the past few months. I went in looking for a beginning tatting book the other day, but the one they usually have and been purchased by some one else. Guess I'll just have to wait until they get it back in stock.

There was also some caffeinated beverage and sugar available. Oh, and some various types of glue, but I see that I've failed to take a picture of that.

So I sat and glued and made four little hair clips and two needle minders.

Only one of the alligator clips got glued to the flowers. The other clips I was using to hold the felt circle and the flower together while the glue dried. I think my favorite clip is the dusky pink one with the white bead in the middle. I'm a little bummed about the needle minder with the dark ribbon flower and little crocheted flower. It's too many layers between the magnet and the needle, so it doesn't hold a needle at all. *pouty face* Oh well, it's cute. I can use it as a chart holder instead of a needle minder.

After this, I dug out all of my Mom's old tatting stuff. I read through her beginning book and the pictures just were not making any sense to me. So I hit YouTube to find some videos of beginning tatting. I found one that was good, the basic stitch was demonstrated at a slow rate, and I felt that I understood what she was telling me to do. So I got out the shuttle and away we went.

My first attempt is the green and white sort of loopy thing to the upper right.  Not quite even, and I was struggling to follow along.  My second attempt is the blue ring.  See how nice and neat and even my stitches are?  Well, they're all on the wrong thread.  I didn't figure that one out until I watched a couple other videos and one gal was demonstrating the stitching with two very distinct colors of thread.  So I rummaged around Mom's tatting stuff some more and tried again.  The straight blue set of knots is my third attempt.  Not quite as even or as beautiful, but they're on the right thread.  I'm having trouble maintaining an even tension, and dropping the tension when needed.  I'm starting to think I need a big rock to set on the table and run my ball thread under to help with my tension issues.

I found that there is a little group of tatters that meets at a local quilt shop on the second Saturday of the month.  I'm thinking of wandering in and seeing what help they can offer me.  It won't be until July that I can wander in, though, since the second Saturday in June is already booked.  It's something to look forward to, and something to play with as I try to figure this thing out.

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Stitch Update

Not to be confused with the Post IHSW post which should be tomorrow... Assuming I can manage to walk away from el time sink (the computer) and sit back down to Flower Power this afternoon.

Christmas ABC's by Lizzie*Kate is --> <-- close to being done. There are only stitches in white, red, and green to make and I'll be done with it. I suppose I could have finished it off this weekend with the IHSW, but I felt more like working on Flower Power.

For IHSW (click on the cute little crab button on the left for more information) I focused on Flower Power. I finished up as much of the back stitching as I can do right now and then attacked a butterfly. That darn thing is over 1. Every time I do some over 1 work I really gain an appreciation for those of you who are dedicated HAED stitchers. I don't think I could do it.

And I put some work into Garden of Love this morning while waiting for church to start. I love stitching and listening to the hymns played as prelude music. Just wonderful. The sad thing is, I've miscounted a couple of different times here. It's all gone skeewampus with that green flower stem. Since I don't have enough flosses to finish the design, I'm thinking I'm just going to have to fake my way through it. On the upside, that means it's definitely a one of a kind 'version'.

I hope you are getting in plenty of stitching time for IHSW!

Hugs and Stitches,


We're just rampaging through the year, are we not? I'm pretty sure it was January about two days ago... At any rate, here are Pinky and Dude with the jar.

The new flosses came from Christmas ABC's by Lizzie*Kate, Flower Power by Crossed Wing Collection, Garden of Love by Citrouille's Designs, and the random scrap here and there from putting in some grid lines and LBH's first starts in cross stitch. For some projects, it seems like a lot more flosses than expected, for others, a lot less. Flower Power in particular saw some work, but few flosses since it was a lot of backstitching with one strand.

Hugs and Stitches,

Crafty-Stitchy Night

The girls came over for Crafty-Stitchy night on Wednesday and we had a great time.  A couple of weeks ago when we went to Shepherds Bush LBH bought a beginners cross stitch kit and she brought that down to work on.  LMS and I had a good time talking her through the basic stitch and getting her set up with a needle and a hoop.  I don't know if LBH will be the addict that I am, but she did seem to enjoy working on her project.

LMS worked on Hares Summer while here.  After she rummaged through my stash of over dyed threads to find a brown for the bunnies that she liked.  The shade she had originally selected had a greenish tint to it, so her first bunny stitches had those rabbits looking like they were growing moss on them.  But before LMS could get started on her stitching, I asked if she could fix a hole I had in one of my sweaters.  She graciously accepted and here's the sweater, all mended.

She did such a fine job, I had to circle where she did the repair, otherwise you wouldn't think anything had been done to the sweater at all!  Of course I didn't think to take a picture of what the girls were working on.  But I did manage to take a picture of the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crispy treats that I made for us to snack on. (There was a whole pan of these, I remembered to take a picture when there were only a few left.)

These things are AMAZING! And really easy to put together. Mom found the recipe at Your Cup of Cake, and I've linked to the recipe if you click on the blog name.

I put in some grid lines for the Long Spider project to take along with me on the cruise and then started Garden of Love by Citrouille's Designs.  I saw this on the 2012 year of smalls blog back in February when they were stitching on it.  I ordered the pattern and floss kit, but not the fabric.  I'm stitching it two over two on 28 ct. Peach Whisper linen.  The directions say to stitch with 1, but the coverage was not at all what I like so I started again with two.  This means that I am guaranteed to run out of floss before I'm done.  I'll have to bite the bullet and buy full skeins of the silks then, I guess.

So far, super cute!

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hey, hey, hey! Two, two, two!

I stitched on two things this week and here are the progress pictures:

As you can see, I'm getting closer and closer to finishing up Christmas ABC's by Lizzie*Kate. I just have Wreath and Zzzzz to do and I'll be done with it. Optimistically it'll be happy dance time on Friday. Realistically it'll be the week there after. However, I am taking Katy's Violets with me to work on Monday to be my next at work project. You remember that one? The project where I'm stitching a quarter with Anchor, Cosmo, DMC, and Sullivan flosses? No? I can't say that I blame you as I don't think I've worked on it for a couple of months.

And some progress on Flower Power. I don't know if you can really see it, but I've back stitched the daisies and all the daisy leaves... That is, the leaves that don't overlap the lily leaves. I'm going to back stitch those next, and then the bits of lily leaves that I can. I won't back stitch around the one daisy to the bottom until I roll the scrolls a bit to get enough room to add a bee, and add that bee. I'm trying to decide if I want to add a butterfly next or start on a humming bird or attack some of those lilies... Maybe butterfly since it's over 1 and over 1 tries my patience a little bit.

Nothing new on Heirloom Nativity. I'm currently teaching a primary class so I don't take my stitching with me. I can carry two bags, but three? That's just silly. It's only a temporary assignment so I should be back to working on it in a few months. (And who would have thought that teaching 4 eight year olds would be more of a challenge that 8 four year olds??)

This week my Sisters-in-law and I went and saw my Aunt in the Hale's production of Father of the Bride. My Aunt was hillarious. The rest of the play was so-so. It was a comedy, but there just weren't a lot of laugh out loud moments... Unless my Aunt was onstage. I think she got one of the biggest rounds of applause that night.

Other than the play, and a visit to the dentist, the week was fairly quiet and normal. I hope you have a nice peaceful week too.

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What to do on Cindo de Mayo...

Or how to get into more trouble with your best friend...

 Last week it was Shepherds Bush, this week it was something of a close-out sale.  A few years back the owner of a local shop had to close up shop due to some health issues.  This weekend she brought in a lot of her left over inventory to the yarn shop to sale some of it off.  LMS and I were ready to go as soon as we got the flyer that the event was to take place.

Since I had to work on Friday, LMS went in to check out the hand dyed fabrics.  She selected some amazing pieces that we will be sharing.  Each is a full yard.

This is Blueberry by Crossed Wing Collection. I love it. I'm thinking it could be a home to a Mirabillia Mermaid... That is, if my half is big enough for one!

This is Atmosphere by Heaven Lee Creations. Also beautiful. Maybe another Mirabillia Mermaid can find her home on my half of this cut too.  LMS had to run to work after looking at the fabrics, and she wanted to get back to check out all the other patterns and kits that were available.  I wanted to see if there was any good stuff leftover, so back we went Saturday afternoon.  This is the stuff that I picked up:

I found a fat quarter of Seascape by Heaven Lee Creations in 32 ct.  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Yes, another mermaid!  (Why am I so focused on mermaids all of a sudden?)

Counter clockwise from the upper left: 28 ct. Lavender linen; 28 ct. Opalescent White linen; and 28 ct. Storm Clouds linen by Heaven Lee Creations.

A skein of Six Strands Sweets in Raspberry Truffle, and some Needle Necessities skeins in pretty colors that I like.  I really am thinking about doing a monochrom design with these NN flosses.  Yummy yummy colors!

Clockwise from the upper left: Pansies on Toile a Dimensions Gold kit (I hate these but love pansies!); Queen of Peace by Mirabila (I just need Queen of Freedom to complete my collection); Christmas Elegance by Mirabila, Fern by Nora Corbett; Delightful by Margaret Sherry; and Santa by Margaret Sherry (this is the first time I've seen Margaret Sherry patterns in my neck of the woods!).

Clockwise from upper left: Gingerbread Garden Sampler w/ flosses by The Victoria Sampler; The Thoughful Pansy by Sew to be Seen Designs; The Christmas Elf Fairy by Mirabilia; Summer Retreats by Country Cottage Needleworks; Dear Santa, I can explain by Lizzie*Kate; Love Letters by Just Nan; Love Sampler by Lizzie*Kate; and If I stitch fast... by Waxing Moon Designs.

I was looking at my receipt and I think everything was about 20% off of the prices from 2007.  Very nice.  But if last week I went over my stash budget, this week I went and spent the food budget.  Oh well... I guess it's just a high fiber diet of flosses, fabrics, and charts!

No actual stitching pictures today since I posted the most recent pictures on the WIPocalypse post for yesterday.

Hugs and Stitches,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

WIPocalypse! May, 2012

So... where did April go? I'm sure it was here just a moment ago...

Flower Power from the April WIPocalypse Report:

Flower Power for the May WIPocalypse Report:

As you can see, it's mostly filling in greens, but I've now started the back stitching of the daisies.

Christmas ABC's from the April WIPocalypse Report:

Christmas ABC's for the May WIPocalypse Report:

I'm just chugging along with this one at work. I'm actually further along than this, but I accidentally left the project at work on Friday so no new photograph of it today.

Heirloom Nativity Sampler from the April WIPocalypse Report:

Heirloom Nativity Sampler for the May WIPocalypse Report:

I finished up the vine, specialty stitches, lettering and 'lace' bands and am about ready to start in on the Angels at the top of the design.

Happy WIPocalypse!
Hugs and Stitches,