Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

Well, where to begin? At the beginning is too simple - too many things running in parallel.It has been a year of starts and stops, losses and gains, achievements and disappointments; it's been a long year, and at the same time, amazingly quick.

I guess I just have to break it down into manageable bits - trying to remember way back to January... For family & friends, we saw family this year, when we trekked to Kentucky for Memorial Day and the big Criner Family party, and saw my family the following day. Then the boys & I headed to N. Carolina during the summer, while the Big Kid played on his Super Y league. And just this past week, the boys & I again headed out, due to yet more soccer, to Florida, where the boys got to see their grandma for the first time in several years - they were little kids the last time she saw them!

I lost my constant companion of 20 years this year; Booger entered my life in Clovis, NM, in 1989, and traveled the road with me from there, to Box Elder, SD, to Ohio (3 different places), and then finally here to N. Georgia. Deciding it was time to put him to rest was the hardest thing I have ever done. But in hindsight, I probably should have done it sooner - I just couldn't. Not long after that, we lost Zeke, too. Considering he had cheated death when he was a kitten - and probably numerous times after - we were surprised when he really started to go downhill this year. Beanie became the sole survivor - and damn proud of it. But then we added another ingredient to the mix that is our house - the New Dog. It took us 6 months to figure out his name, but now that we have, he is called DumbChuck :) Because you can never have enough chaos in your house, you know. Or never enough animal smells, apparently....

We played a LOT of soccer, I had a temporary break with sanity and volunteered to manage the Big Kid's team (which was such a huge PITA - you have to remind me of it next year), and I took a helluva lot of pictures this year! You might've seen a couple of them :) Work was work, every single day, and trying to stay afloat was even more work.But we made it through, relatively unscathed, and had a good Christmas AND pulled off the Florida trip without too many bumps along the way....

The needlework community lost a bright, shiny star this year when Marc Davis of Needlemania passed away completely unexpectedly. We had been waiting to hear the news about his partner - and got it concerning Marc instead. Poor George - I hope he is doing well, though I know their poodles, the Girls, had to find new homes, as George is permanently a nursing home resident now.

Much closer to home, and just such an incredible loss, was my friend Lori Mihalko, just last week. It is still unreal to me; I am so deeply saddened, and my heart goes out to those adorable girls, and to her husband. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to know her as long as I did; she was an amazing person, and if I could be half as strong as she was, and inspire even one person the way Lori inspired so many others, then I would live a fulfilling life. I will miss her.

I had an amazing year in needlework - none of the stellar finishes of last year, like two TWs in one year - that will be hard to top. But some great finishes nonetheless - BoInk, which really is one of the neatest ideas I have ever seen, and a true joy to work on (except maybe that never ending border :) ); not one, but two Long Dog pieces from Foursome Reel, one of them over-1 on 36ct; a small TW, Medieval Miniature; my very first Chatelaine finish, albeit a small one - MMM03, the companion to MTM. And lots of other things here & there. I framed several pieces, and I made my first biscornu and pinkeeps - I didn't get to a mailart this year, but hope to this coming year. I also participated in my first ever Round Robin, which we have all agreed was a resounding success, and plan to be part of one for the new year, as well :) And then there was Boo! Club, which I was compelled to do; there was a minor snafu with the fabric, which I chose to live with, in my impatience to get started, but all in all, it came out wonderfully, and is in the next To Be Framed pile :)

I had several great starts, as well. I started Medieval Town Mandala on January 1st, and have to say that it is my favoritest project to date :) I also started Chat Noir, in tribute to my old cat, and Celtic Banner, which is one of the first designs that really grabbed me when I first saw it on that new Internet thing years ago. I did something I've never done before, and restarted a project - AD's Samplar 4 Saisons; I really hated the fabric I had it on, so I got new, better fabric, and started over, and now it's in the rotation :)

Other things just kept clicking along. TW's English Garden Sampler saw some sporadic progress, and I finally reached the huge milestone of finishing the top row of pages on SQ Lady & Unicorn. I am moving towards the end (i.e. over half-way) on Knotgarden, and am making small but steady progress on a piece I am finishing for Lyne. And other things really wanted my attention, but I just haven't had nearly the time I would like on them - Tanglewood, World Tree, Noah's Sub, Marquoir Ancient Vert et Mauve. I have another Halloween piece that is close to finishing, so I can get next year's two Halloween projects going next summer/fall, with a clear conscience :) You know, if work and all this soccer stuff would just stop intruding on my time, I could get so much more done! I've already mostly cut housework out of the equation, since it's pretty pointless around here....

It's been a crazy-busy year. I can't remember the last time I was this tired. But I do have some things to show for it, so maybe all the work and running around and everything will be of benefit later :) For all the hard times I've had this year, I've had as many, or more, equally great times - I guess you can't ask for more than that. I've had a great time with my kids this year, in between wanting to throttle them, and cherish my friendships even more than I did a few weeks ago. Here's hoping 2010, the beginning of a new decade, is better than 2009, and maybe a bit less chaotic? Less brain-draining maybe? Just a little quieter maybe. Less miles driven would be great :) I wish everyone peace and happiness in the New Year, and I look forward to what this year will bring! I am going to ring the new year in on Beach Time, myself....

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21st - an Update

How did it get here so fast? It seems like it was just October the other day... Well, I'm as close to done with Christmas shopping as I'm going to get, and only have a handful of things left to wrap (I assume the boys will be snooping for those today - if they get out of bed in time). I have the last team parent meeting tonight, before we leave for the tournament Saturday morning - sure hope some of these folks give me some money today to cover the boys' stay. NOT looking forward to the drive, but AM looking forward to the beach, even if it's cold. I will also be going to Kennedy Space Center - I've never been there - so expect lots of pictures of that when I get back (esp. if DH gets that bigger memory card for me). We have all early games, so plenty of time to do touristy stuff, as the cash allows. Might be a few soccer pictures, too :)

On to the stitching, of which there isn't a whole lot, again, all things considered. I got a start on my new RR piece, Rosewood Manor's Live Each Season - looking at it, it's not a very big piece - it covers a lot of material, but it's not a lot of stitching (IMO), so I'm guessing if Nancy gets this one early on, she'll probably have it done - and then I'll have to come up with something else :) HaED World Tree maybe? Anyway, I'm doing the center motif again, and that will allow those to come to pick where they want to go. I also want to find some beads that can be used in place of French knots, entirely up to the stitcher who gets to that section...

I haven't decided if I'm taking this to FL or not, or what I am taking if not this - I might take either Lyne's RR or her wedding sampler; I think I can handle either one of those, if I ma able to stitch at all while there. I am not taking my floor stand (where would I put it, even broken down flat?), so I don't know how coordinated I'll be....

My main piece for the week was again MTM, and I got 1/3 of Part 7 done! I only worked on it 5 nights, I think - I was in bed by 6:30 one night, and just busy doing stuff other days/nights. Here's the overall:

And then the detail of the area I worked:

This week, I'm supposed to get EGS out again, but since it's a busy, and short, week, I may just work on some of the things that never get any attention - World Tree, Celtic Banner, Noah's Sub? I don't know. Maybe just whatever grabs me each day. Wednesday afternoon & Thursday, I'll be doing some cooking & baking - not having a huge meal for Christmas dinner, since only DH & the dogs will be around to eat leftovers - and DH doesn't eat leftovers more than once - we'll see if he can survive a week on cookies and the smallest big ham I could find.... Whatever day I get back from FL, I have putting the Christmas stuff up to look forward to :( I may be back on the 31st - I won't know until the 29th whether they move on to the final round on the 30th. So who knows when I'll be back online? At least I have a LNS opening up on January 4th - and have that day off of work, too, especially for that!

If I don't talk to you before, everyone have a safe & happy Christmas!! And New Year's, too, if I'm not back then, either!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Mid-December Update

Well, I don't know about you guys, but I have been SLAMMED! Between Christmas stuff, work stuff, and soccer stuff, I'm going to need a month off to recoup from December. But I am 99.8% done with shopping - haven't wrapped a thing yet - and soccer is just going to have to sort itself out; one more "I'm too busy to answer your e-mail" e-mail, and I'm going to wash my hands of the whole thing...

Anyway, on to the stitching stuff :) Shawn had Lyne send her 2nd RR here while she was finishing up her move from SC to TX, so while it was here, I was compelled to put a little bit of work into it :) I didn't do a lot, but it's pretty darn close to being finished, so Shawn won't have that much to do. What a great design - I don't have any Drawn Thread charts, so it was nice to have an opportunity to see one - and I told Shawn if it needs a good home when she's done, I can probably find one for it :)

I did that upper left corner - the tree, the bird, the B, and the bunny. The red bits (apples? flowers?) on the tree are spider web roses, and just like Lazy Daisies, it took me all of them to get my tension the same on 2 of them. I love that stitch, but I think it just works better for ribbon embroidery, where you can actually see the effect; in this small scale, it just kind of looks like a knot :) At any rate, this really is a beautiful design, and I was glad I got a chance to see it in it's brief layover :)

Other than that, the only thing I worked on was Lady & Unicorn, and that, only 4 nights this week. The left edge of this thing is confetti hell all the way down - if I can just start working right again, I'll get to areas of faster progress. I got several hundred stitches in over the week, but they are so scattered, it is hard to really see them - so I included a shot with the chart, with this week's progress in the orange highlighter:

And then a picture without, just for grins:

Not a huge amount of progress, but considering L&U usually gets skipped every December entirely, while I'm losing my mind doing other things, this is better than usual :)

This week, I will work on MTM, and I also need to get my next RR piece started; I'm sending round RM's Live Each Season - but I can't decide where to start it. Guess I better get the decision made, since I'm losing a week of stitching to the tourney in FL. I imagine I'll take something with me, but nothing big or complicated - other than what I'm taking to show my mom for WIPs, MTM being one of them :)

Well, that's the news - the boys & I are off for teeth cleaning in a few minutes, which was a good reason to leave work early!! Happy Stitching to everyone, and if I don't talk to you before then, have a great Christmas - I should be back online by New Years....

Monday, December 07, 2009

Remember Pearl Harbor

December 7th, 1941

Slow Down - I'm Not Ready!! - An Update

How's it the 7th of December already? Normally I am way done with shopping by now, and this year, haven't even much begun, what with having a tournament this weekend, when we had snow flurries and freezing temps, I might add. I have so much to do, no time, and I don't feel like doing any of it. I don't think I'm going to do cards this year - I have to cut something out, and since I haven't even bought any yet (looked yesterday, didn't like any of them), maybe that's one of the easier to let go. It's not even my usual Bah Humbug-ness - I just don't feel like doing Christmas anything. I have to get to that stupid tournament on the 26th, and get back, in one piece. It's a long drive for what I expect to turn out to be a lot of nothing... :(

On to the stitching, of which there's not a lot. My main focus this week was AD Samplar 4 Saisons. I am pretty close to having Spring done!!! If I have a good week next rotation, I ought to finish it, and either move on to the tree, or Summer. I am ready to see other colors on it, though I did get some of the Wattle N Daub border put back on, so I can see how that works - it's the color the tree will be, too - I just have to decide how to physically work the tree - across, or up & down? I'm kind of thinking up & down will make the color changes look like bark, more than stripes across. Hmmmm.... Anyway, here's where I left it last night:

Other than that, the only other thing I worked on was Anita's RR, which I kept an extra week, so I could keep working on it a bit more :) I got a few more motifs done, and got one of 2 colors done in another large one, and decided I had better stop and get it on its way home - this is the overall:

And then an off-angle shot of the area I worked this past week:
Like I said, it's a bad angle, but I had to lay this on my bed to get a pic of it, because it's so big - and the light's not too good back there, so I was trying to get the best light AND keep my shadow off of it - which only worked from the side, I guess (no, it didn't occur to me to turn it - it was late). Thank you, Anita, for letting me work on this - I love this design, especially in these colors!

This week, I HAVE to do some shopping, I have to bake a cake for Thursday's company Holiday Lunch, and get a gift ready to go. BUT soccer is over until 12/26 - Big Kid is playing indoor, but I can miss those games, they are just for fun & to keep touches on the ball. SO hopefully I will be able to get a little time in on Lady & Unicorn this week; I know it won't be much, but anything helps! Until next week, Happy Stitching everyone, and I hope everyone has a lot more shopping done than I do!