Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Monday Update

Well, this week was historical - a high school game and 2 days of club games were all rained out! And we got a whole 1 1/2"! Which, sadly, with the ground so very hard now, was enough to flood areas, since the rain can't soak in, it just lays on top. The hs game gets made up tonight - don't know about the club games....

In other news, the 16 year-old's birthday went well Monday - I actually got a picture of him smiling :) But it's on the other machine, so I'll have to go add it in here later. He did mention one day this week, when I asked him why he hasn't really had a girlfriend since about the same time he started playing WoW (coincidence???), that he didn't drive or have a job, and that has a lot to do with it. Well, if he wants to get a job, far be it from me to stop him - so long as that doesn't involve me spending lots of time & gas driving him all over to do so. There are grocery stores 3 miles in either direction from the house - he can bag groceries or stock shelves to his heart's content - if he can work out a schedule with soccer...

Well, since Saturday was a rain-out, I got to go to the monthly meeting of our local stitch group, PINS - Purple Iris Needlework Something. The restaurant they meet in is kind of dark, so it limits what I can take to work on - Lyne's RR on the blue fabric would probably be too hard to see, as would D is for Dog. Hmmmm, what to take? I know, Celtic Banner! And of course, I forgot to grab my hair clip to keep the other 3' of fabric gathered up, but did have plenty of needles, to I carefully pinned it up - and only stuck myself once or twice while working. Then it took some time for my eyes to adjust to seeing the 36ct in the gloom - window right behind me, but with the rain outside, that was no help. But I finally adjusted and got some progress on the border - then had to undo half of the outermost top border, as I got the middle part over and it wasn't lining up :( Apparently, I can't talk and count - who knew? Anyway, here's what I got done in the few hours - including frogging & fixing:

In a celebratory mood Friday, for having survived the 3 weeks my boss was on vacation with little or no bloodshed, and for NOT having a game to go to, I wanted a little reward, so I picked up the next ornament in my to-do pile, DD Christmyth Pegasus. And I finished him Saturday afternoon :)
I forget which one's next - either a Mermaid or a Salamander. At any rate, I see a finishing day coming up soon - I now have 9 ornies in need of finishing, though these DD's will be the quickest ones to do....

My main focus of the week was Knotgarden, and I planned to work the entire outside border of the right side - gates, pots, greenery & birds. I forgot the yellow inner border that runs the entire length, and that took me 2 nights. But I got all the pots done, the gates have the black done (except one stitch that I now see in my pic that I missed), and got a start on the plants. Didn't get the eyelets done inside the yellow, either, but that's okay - I like to save those for when the brain is less than 100% :) Here's where I left it when I put it up last night:
There's a second picture after this one, a bit closer-cropped.

I also worked on Lyne's Santa last week - lots of backstitching, and a start on the horse's mane - but nothing really photo-worthy. Wow, is the bs in this piece subtle - I really had to look at it from a distance to see what I'd done :) I'll try to get to a stopping point on the horse before I get it ready to move on...

This week, I get out the small over-1 piece of Foursome Reel and see if I can't crank out a good bit of that, in between games. Even though it's small, that over-1 on 36ct makes it NOT travel-friendly - gotta have my Ott light on to see it, and stationary in the floor stand. RR to work on, Tanglewood & World Tree are both hollering at me, and am waiting for a DMC sale somewhere so I can buy that for Tuscany Town Mandala; yes, I bought that one, too, with a bit of splurge money I made for myself :) I will also be buying into Martina's Desert Mandala at some point, but I won't even attempt to do it as a SAL - Mystery X is still hollering, wanting me to hurry up on Knotgarden :) And I won't mention the new Papillon SAL that I am collecting - the ones from the last two years are hollering at me, too, as is the other several Papillon charts I have in the stash - and I need to get Cotillion for that gorgeous piece of Phantom the Jubilee Girls RAK'd me with last fall :)

Would have liked to have splurge money for the PTP sale over the weekend - I wish they did custom cuts, as I need to buy a fat half of Gothic for Dragon Carousel, when I don't need that big a piece - but I need bigger than fat quarter. Maybe Silkweaver will develop a similar color that I can then order a custom cut :) But I'm also still dithering over count - because of all the beads on Carousel, I'm thinking I need to use 28ct, to make sure they all fit. 32 would be my preference, but I hate trying to jam beads into too small a space - which is why I pretty much stick with 28 for Chatelaines, too. I'm so far from starting Carousel, I don't know why I bother worrying over it now - except I like to be ready :)

Well, that's the news - as always, this having to work for a living is just cutting into everything. Check back next week to see if I manage to get anything done this week - hopefully no new starts - I've got the Kitted pile temporarily stifled...

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Spring Update

Gosh, could it be? Could we actually have a spring this year? I hope so - I switched the wardrobe out, so I'm committed :) Today is my oldest's 16th birthday - I cannot believe he's 16 already! Seems like just a few days ago he was banging his head on all the doorknobs in the house and "accidentally" riding his trike down the hill, crashing and coming up with a mouthful of dirt, not quite sure if he's ready to go again :) Sadly (and thankfully for my heart), he's not driving yet - it's not in the budget right now, and he's not really pushing, so I can put that heartache off a bit longer. And my old cat's 20th birthday, unofficially, is one day this week - we'll say the 25th, as we also have a nephew's birthday on the 27th. The old cat, I think, is about to take that last trip to the vet; he's so unsteady on his feet, and his fur is all matted, and I can't help him as it hurts. I think it's time :( I've had him longer than I've had my family - he's my first kid....

On to the stitching. This week, my main focus was English Garden Sampler. We had soccer on Tuesday & Friday, and as the weather was decent and the games were home, I went to both, so no progress either of those nights. During the week, all I did was backstitching - I did the gold cord tacking of the net on the top right half of the border, then did the inside & outside of that edge and the right medallion. I did a bunch of the 8-sided eyelets, but I got tired of bs before I could get to the fan-shaped ones that I haven't already done - enough was enough Saturday evening :) So I started the satin stitch leaf border of the fountain scene. I got it about
2/3 done Saturday night - and had to frog the 4 around the top right corner one Sunday; I knew I should have stopped sooner and gone to bed Saturday. But I got that fixed and finished, except the last one, which I'll wait until I have the peacock's tail stitched. I also got a start on the first column and the plants festooning it. Here's where I left it last night as I was putting it up:

As always, not the progress I was hoping for, since you can't really see all of the bs I put in. And I have to remember to go finish up that top border bs the next time I have it out. Maybe I'll even work down that right side a bit more while I'm there, as I plan to complete this in thirds,
as that conveniently fits in my Qsnap's working space, as well as fitting the way the design is divided. My greatest regard goes out to those that can stitch the complete border of something like this first, though I can imagine having that done is such a huge accomplishment in itself - I just can't bring myself to do it! I gotta move around!

Over the past week, during lunch and at games, I worked on both Lyne's Santa RR piece and my D is for Dog. I got the modified dog that looks like Lucy done, though I think I'm going to have to dig out one shade darker for her eyes, or add a couple of dark beads :) I'm hoping, now that the light is better at games, not that golden fall sun that makes it impossible to work on
this outside, I'll get this done in the coming weeks at games, if it doesn't rain at all of them. Here it is now:

And Lyne's Santa now has a left arm, and I hope to get to the backstitching this week; this old hand-drawn chart is a little confusing to follow the bs guide, so I need to be alert when I'm reading it, or I could entirely make up stuff as I go - and that could be bad. Here he is so far:

Sorry for the shortened photo - I didn't take the time to pull him out of the snaps, as he's perfectly positioned for where I want to keep working :) I think we have another week or two before we shuffle again, so we'll see what I can accomplish on it.

This week, Knotgarden comes back out. I want to work on getting the right side top & bottom hooked together, maybe even manage a gate with those little blackbirds, if I'm lucky. Every one of my WIPs is yelling at me - Tanglewood, World Tree, and that Anagram 4 Saisons
really, really wants me to restart it on a piece of Vikki Clayton linen that I don't have, yet. I read on her forum that she's not going to continue the linen (WHAT????), so I better get it soon, before it's gone :( I wanted to use a piece of that for Dutch Beast, too, so the two of them would need a yard, and likely the same color... So, to sum up, who knows what will get worked on this week besides Knotgarden??? Check back next week to find out - your guess is as good as mine at this point :)

Happy stitching this week to everyone!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Picture Perfect - March Madness!

Wow, have I been away from PPF for a while!!! A few weeks ago, it was Loudness - and I came up with the perfect picture - Saturday :( My son's 6th Grade band - and he of the Trombone. There's some Loudness for ya! But my life story lately has been a dollar short and a day late, so....

Anyway, today I decided to get my act together, and participate again. Now, for a lot of Americans, March Madness is all about college basketball. Fortunately (or unfortunately), in my house, it's all soccer, all the time; we haven't watched basketball since the NBA was overrun with thugs and gangstas (or when the IndianaU/UofDayton/KyWildcats wore off after enough years down here in GA - bulldogs and yellow jackets, not the same). Nope, at our house, March is, usually, Spring!! I've been out snapping pictures of the things that have survived the ever-deepening drought yet another year, and the other day, as the dog was dragging me around the yard, the whole place was abuzz with bees! The bees are really enjoying the weeds, and so I ditched the dog in the house and returned with the Panasonic DMC-FZ5 in hand:
I have come to the conclusion that bees are more cooperative than butterflies; I don't suppose that's intentional :) No particular ditty or poem is coming to mind to add here, and only a bit of Julius Caesar from The Bard, which doesn't really fit - Beware the Ides of March just doesn't create too many tie-ins... So we'll skip to the "rules":



Each week a new theme will be posted here on Friday morning. You are invited to put up your best picture on your own blog with that theme in mind, and you do have the whole weekend to post your picture, so there is no rush

Remember it should be just ONE and ORIGINAL, taken by YOU,and not off the internet,

Then come back and leave a comment on this page in the comment box so that everyone can link to your blog and see your photo. Don't forget to OPEN your page to EVERYONE for that day.

By all means mention your camera and lens used, and if the picture has been altered or enhanced in any way, so we can all learn and improve our techniques.

Try and post a decent size picture on your blog page for an increased WOW factor. Often so much is lost or distorted if the size is too big or too small.

Remember this is NOT a competition, this about being creative having fun and being supportive of one another.

Out of the box thinking is encouraged.

~ Have FUN out there! ~


More of my March pictures can be seen here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Soda, Pop, or Coke? America’s First Dictionary of Dialects

The Dictionary of American Regional English, a comprehensive lexicon of local language quirks, nears completion

If you’re living in a snowpocalyptic wasteland like the ice planet Hoth, Buffalo, NY, or much of the United States lately, you’ve probably shoveled some snow onto the berm.


Oh, excuse me, depending on where you live, you may know that strip of grass between the sidewalk and street by another name, such as boulevard, devil strip, grass plot, neutral ground, parking strip, parkway, terrace, tree belt, or tree lawn.

The language of grass strips is just one of thousands of areas of American life documented in the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), one of the oldest and most ambitious projects in the history of American lexicography. Dedicated to capturing all terms that are not part of standard English nationwide, DARE dates from the 1960s and will finally be fully published in 2010 (though its eventual digitization promises to enrich and expand the dictionary indefinitely).

The founder and patron word saint of DARE is Fred Cassidy, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin who died in 2000. In the sixties, Cassidy was inspired by Britain’s English Dialect Dictionary and vowed to create one for the United States. This was a tall order. As even non-geography majors tend to notice, the United States is freaking huge, and its regions are larger than most countries.

To gather info, Cassidy assembled a term of 80 fieldworkers (mainly graduate students) to find informants who could answer questions on local language. Between 1965 and 1970, DARE informants from over a thousand communities—who included engineers, homemakers, storekeepers, journalists, museum staff, ranchers, postal workers, teachers, miners, truckers, barbers, librarians, loggers, students, and seamstresses—were asked the 1800-question survey, which covered a metric bazillion-load of hyper-specific subjects, such as:

“Very small insects, almost too small to see, that get under your skin and cause itching”

“What nicknames do people have around here for a small eating place where the food is not especially good?”

“When yellowish stuff comes out of a person’s ear, he has a ______”

“Words or expressions used here, where one person supposedly casts a spell over another:”

The results produced the most exhaustive look ever at regional language in America, which does more than define the terms collected: DARE is a historical dictionary, so it includes representative citations to show how the words are used. But the most unique element of DARE is the maps—proportional population maps that shrink low-pop areas and embiggen densely populated regions to give a sense of precisely where the terms are found, and how widespread they are. Some exist in only one city, while others span several regions, but as long as the words are not used from sea to shining sea, they belong in DARE.

Exhaustive documentation of regional language has rarely been a national priority, and funding problems have plagued DARE over the years. Chief Editor Joan Hall—who has worked for DARE since 1975—and her colleagues at the University at Wisconsin are giddy at the thought of finally reaching Z next year. (The previous volumes were published in 1985, 1991, 1996, and 2002, covering A-Sk). And yet, the long delays have had an upside, as the tremendous digital resources now available have enriched the later volumes. Hall singled out wharfing as an entry that’s fuller now than if it had been published decades ago: “For the entry for wharfing, a ramp that gives access to the mow of a barn…we started with three or four anecdotal quotes, all from New England, from 1999-2005. But Google Books took us back to 1823, 1852, 1881, 1916, and 1928, and Lexis-Nexis gave us 1860. All quotes were from New England, so they greatly strengthened the regionality and showed us the scope of the usage.”

For a word-lover like myself, DARE is a kind of unholy cross between crack, the Bacon Explosion, and a rainbow made of chocolate. If words float your boat to pleasant waters too, you might just drown in the wonders of DARE. Here are some words and expressions I found for the first time in this unique word-book; they are the mere tip of the tip of the dictionary-berg:

If you thought there was only one word for a noogie, here’s a synonym from North Carolina that will liven up your childhood memoirs.

monkey’s wedding
Like dog’s breakfast, this expression (found in Maine) describes a hot mess, a real cluster-something.

This New Englandism makes the standard discombobulated seem succinct and restrained. Just a few words down is the even more extravagant discumgalligumfricated.

cockroach killers
Found in New Jersey, this is a term for shoes that are pointy enough to go medieval on our revolting friends.

to fight one’s hat
This southwestern expression means “to struggle uselessly,” which makes sense if you’ve ever tried to pick a fight with a lid, most of which are neither pugnacious nor easily offended.

death balls
You may know them as dust bunnies, but in the dust bunny community, this southwestern Missouri term is favored since it commands more respect. The example in DARE indicates that death balls reveal not only past squalor: they foretell future death. (Note to self: clean under couch).

son of a biscuit
A Wisconsin euphemism that’s polite enough for all ages.

But if you think DARE is only useful to the chronically word-loving, think again. A surprising assortment of professions have come calling at DARE’s door, including actors doing dialect research, test-makers trying to make exams comprehensible to non-standard English speakers, and doctors who know firsthand that dialect variation can have a real effect on treatment if patients use high blood, low blood, or the sugar instead of the standard diabetes.

DARE has even taken a bite out of crime, and I don’t mean a police officer used one of the enormous volumes to bludgeon a suspect, a la Vic Mackey. Forensic linguist Roger Shuy has used DARE a few times: as a tool in puzzling out the Unabomber’s background and, later, in a kidnapping case when the kidnapper used devil strip in the ransom note. Turns out that term (one of the synonyms for tree lawn) is used mainly around Akron, Ohio, which helped investigators narrow their search.

All too often patriotism is wrapped in flags and accompanied by bombs, as if troops and wars and governments were all there is to be proud about, nation-wise. But I’m proud to be part of a discomgollifusticated nation that gives mubble-squibbles liberally. DARE is a vivid, vibrant reminder of rich regional language that is ever-changing and not going away. If you care about language that is particularly, peculiarly, and distinctly American, then son of a biscuit, it is your patriotic duty to get thee to a library (or Amazon) and give DARE a chance.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Arrives - An Update

Not a lot going on around here - soccer, as always; kids are playing well, though the scores aren't always showing their efforts :( Work is your typical end-of-quarter, end-of-fiscal-year chaos - and the boss is gone for 2 more weeks :( I was mostly able to hold together last week, but who knows what will go on this week & next? I may totally ready for the looney bin by 3/30 (though some would argue that I've been ready for some time - :b~~~~~~~). But, according to the calendar, Spring arrives on Friday, and though we had temps near 80 last week, and cool & rainy the last few days, I am determined to have Spring this year, since we usually skip and go right to summer, even if it means freezing our butts off in May, which is just wrong....
Here's a local, who's also waiting:

I also discovered yesterday that the smallest turtle that everyone said had managed to get out of the pond on his own last fall is indeed still in there, and apparently doing well, even though the layer of leaves in there is probably at least 8" deep by now, and no one had fed him all winter. Unless he left & came back, since it was completely iced over for a few days... No idea.... Somebody better make that pond a priority in the next week or two.

On to stitching. Other than finishing that biscornu (which I then discovered was supposed to arrive in The Netherlands by 3/14 - and I mailed it 3/13 - oooppppssss!), the only thing I worked on all week was MTM, since I lost one night to soccer. The over-1 butterflies took longer than I was expecting, I guess because of how many colors are in them. And after taking my pics, I see one of my stitches disappeared, so I will fix that when I get home. I did finish Part 3, except the beads on the last corner triangle, which I will do tonight, before I get EGS out - I want to color this part done for the week, as I don't know how many more, if any, parts I will be able to complete in a week's work? I'm pretty sure when I get to the buildings that there will be no way I can get one side done in one rotation :( The pics are here, overall & detail: - overall - detail of the over-1 butterflies (ignore the missing stitch) and beads.

This week, I get out English Garden Sampler, and need to work on Lyne's RR piece some more. My Big Kid's 16th birthday is Monday, but we don't have anything particularly special planned - he'll have practice, and come home for his couple of gifts and whatever he wants for dinner. Nothing cool, like getting a driver's license, as that just isn't in the budget - and doesn't seem to be bugging him all that much, yet. Well, I guess that's the news, such as it is. Until next week, happy stitching everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Look, Ma! I Made a Biscornu!

For the Jan Houtman Foundation, a little biscornu to help Theo raise money for new thatch on the building that houses all of Jan Houtman's Samplers. It's not perfect - I have a little pucker on the last corner, where I must've stretched my fabric somewhere along the way - but I am pretty sure my next one will be easier. I also know now to trim the fabric closer to the stitching - that should make turning those corners easier. Now, to get it sent to The Netherlands tomorrow...
Done on 28ct white Monaco, with a mystery spool of Vikki Clayton's premium silk, which has since been identified as Dragon Hoard - and a couple of Czech pressed glass flower beads :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Another Monday Update

edited to add a Hyacinth At Night picture, for Milly :)

I was going to include a pic of my blooming hyacinths - but it's somewhere on m y other computer... So I guess just use your imagination - the hyacinths are in bloom, as are all of the trees. We had temps near 80 this weekend, and will for the next few days, then back to wet & cold for the weekend :( And just for the record, this stupid time change SUCKS! I knew it was going to be rough this year, as I was pretty exhausted before having to get up an hour earlier - I don't think I slep two hours last night, all told. I'm getting by on adrenaline today; tomorrow, it's going to catch up to me, and I will seriously be dragging butt. I really do need to move to AZ, where they don't change the time. Studies have proven how the time change is detrimental to those who are considered night owls, which I have always been. Morning people should be shot on sight. Twice. No offense to morning people, of course - just keep it down until 10:00 - Real Time - please; it's safer for all concerned :) Clearly, the people that think DST is still economically feasible do not get up before 8 a.m. - I have a heck of a lot more lights on getting everyone up & going in the morning than we do at night, all camped in front of various idiot boxes...

Anyway, enough of that ramble... This week's stitching was all in fits & starts. Even though I've had 2 finishes and starts to fill those finishes, I have been battling startitis daily. maybe I have been for a while, adn that's why I got hose ornies done...? At any rate, I finally caved on Wednesday - I started MLI's Celtic Banner. I just couldn't ignore it any longer, as it has been hollering at me for so long! This is one of the few designs that I saw way back when I first started surfing the web, and it screamed BUY ME!!! from the very first sight of it. Well, I finally added it to the stash a couple of years ago (long, stupid story about my so-called LNS in an older post...), and got the DMC for it in one of the big DMC binges - either the erroneous Hancock sale, or Wal Mart clearancing. Thanks to the LNS story, I didn't have fabric until last fall - when Silkweaver had Days Gone By as the color of the week, I took advantage and orderd a piece of 36ct for this, and the 28ct I'm using for MTM :) And I had an idea to swap out the Caron Wildflowers for the same colors in Waterlilies - so I did :) You know, anytime I can sub silk, and it's on sale (Laurel's Stitchery had one of the colors CHEAP!). So, all of this lead to it sitting in the Kitted drawer, and hollering at me every time I walked by. And when I started Tanglewood a couple of weeks ago, that just removed one layer of insulation between it & me - so I caved.

God, I have no willpower some days - it's a wonder I ever quit smoking cold-turkey, 14 years ago... At any rate, it seems to have cured me of startitis, for now, though, to be fair, I did bring both of my Patricia Allison dragons to work to make working copies, as Autumn Dragon has been hollering almost as loud; technically, there's nothing preventing me starting that one, too, other than I literally have NO ROOM in the WIPs drawers (which means I need to get MMM03 done :) ) I don't even have an overwhelming urge to work on it right now - it's just comforting to know it is started, and sitting there waiting for whenever (just like all of the other part-timers)

Speaking of MMM03, I did some work on it when I had wonderful sunshine on my day off last Monday - but I haven't taken a picture of it, as 1) I forgot, and 2) it really wasn't that much progress, as I spent most of the day staring at the idiot box and playing with the lazy-ass dog :) I got the 2nd vine in that top arch done, added a group of beads, and did roofs on buildings, as well as a bunch of eyelets & Rhodes stitches in that inner border. Maybe I'll get a picture tonight - since I'll have a whole extra hour of daylight when I get home (assuming I don't fall asleep on the drive home...grrrr).

I also received the next installment of our Round Robuin, this time a Santa piece from Lyne. I didn't work on it but about 5 minutes the week I got it, as I was a little fixated on Foursome Reel, and I didn't really get a lot done this week, but he does now have a face, including backstitch, and a beard, which still needs bs. I would like to get his right arm done and more bs before he has to move on - I know bs is not a favorite of most people, but after finishing TW's Triptych, I'm pretty immune to it, so I don't mind doing it; when it's outlining, I can pretty much go on autopilot, too, which makes it good for a brain-dead evening :) Here he is:

My main focus of the week was SQ Lady & unicorn, and though I didn't have the banner week I'd been hoping for, mostly because I had to start another project one night, and a bit of lethargy and soccer interruptus, I do think I got in about 1000 stitches, all told. I had a BUNCH of confetti to wade through to get to the solid dark patches you see in the new pics - I was confetti-ing until yesterday evening, to be exact. But if you look at the overall, you can see how close I am to finishing the top row of pages. My 3rd year anniverary is June - I hope to have that row complete by then, putting me on a 12-year completion plan. Crazy, huh? 12 years - maybe my kids will have moved out in that time, and I can have more time for me, and knock off a year or two :) Here are the detail & overall: - Overall - Detail

This week, back to MTM!!! I can't wait to get home!! Hope I can stay awake to get some in tonight - and not have to frog it all tomorrow :( I have butterflies coming up :) I should also finish the stitching on that Jan Houtman biscornu this week - I really need to stop stitching at lunch and get back to pilates class, if my aching back is any indication, but I really just don't know if I can - I went religiously for 2 years, and just don't know if I can get back into that same boring routine. But my back really needs me to. Maybe when it gets warm to stay, when I am more flexible and my skin doesn't want to shred if I stretch too far :) Of course, I've been aaway for 5 months (?) now, so it'll be starting over for me - hopefully my muscles have better retention than my brain does lately....

Well, that's the news - Happy Stitching to everyone this week!! Think Spring!!!