Monday, December 19, 2011

Waiting on the Fat Man in the Red Suit - An Update

6 days and counting. For all intents & purposes, I'm done :) Have a couple of things to wrap, but that's it. Since I work all week, Saturday will probably be spent making food all day; cookies, cheesecake, cake, bread. And I am really looking forward to having all next week off - do I need some down time, in the worst way! The only thing I have planned for that week is hopefully a field trip to Marietta & Abecedarius; maybe I can get a couple of the threads for Sparkly Hummingbird while there :)

In stitching news, I have a couple of things that can be shown :) First, as I mentioned last week, I worked a bit more on Chat Noir, or Gato Negro as I usually call him when I'm working on him - as I did the actual gato I am doing this for :) I filled in a bit of the confetti left in the many lengths of black I put in the week before - you can see the before photo here, and here's the current:

And on Saturday, we had the December gathering of PINS; since I missed last moth's, and haven't gone to a Tuesday night since the car issues started, I was in severe need of some group stitching. As always, it was a great time - Loretta's had LASAGNA on the menu, it was awesome! - and it was over way too quick. But Yellow Santa did finally get some attention again, so it's all good:

This week, it's time to start cranking on my last goal, Tree of Stitches. In between things this week, I hope to have it done before too late into next week, so I can work on other neglected projects for a couple of days before the Startapalooza starts in January :) So we'll see. Up through Part 6, I did a section a day; if that still holds true for the remaining 9 - and make that maybe 2 parts any day I'm not working, or more - it should be doable :)

To All of you, I wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season, and Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Great Give Away

Some of my favorite hand dyed thread comes from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe - you can see some of their threads in my Tree of Stitches (The Stitch Specialist, Abi Gurden):

Well, I just stumbled onto the blog of the lady behind the dye pots, Nancy, and she is having a GREAT Christmas give-away. So if you become a follower here, you can be included in the drawing for her gorgeous floss!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Getting Close - an Update

So, since this time last week, I have managed to do most of my Christmas shopping - just those last few things I have to get. AND I have even wrapped everything that is here! As predicted - cards just aren't going to happen - haven't even looked at any, let alone bought any or begun to write them out. Meh. anyone who ever expected me to manage cards several years IN A ROW clearly doesn't know me very well...

Amidst all the shopping, we also had a band concert to go to on Wednesday night. This one was held at Brenau University, in Pearce Auditorium, another place I have not been to before. And, just like the one last weekend at Riverside Military Academy, I forgot to take my camera (since a certain 14 yo did NOT tell us the correct call time, so then we had to run out the door). BUT I did manage to take a few less-than-stellar pics with my iPhone (I WILL remember my camera the next time we go there). It is an old building, built in the 1890s, I believe, and every step every one took, you could feel. Bu the stained glass windows inside the auditorium were amazing, as was the painting on the ceiling in front of the stage - which you could appreciate IF I had had my real camera.

Our steel drum band, Sheer Panic - which is about half it's normal size, due to lots of graduating players last year. They plan to have auditions (yes, my 14 WILL GO), and hope to have 2 full bands this spring.

(picture from Beth Fike on the FBHS Band FB page)

Then the Jazz Band:

(picture from Beth Fike on the FBHS Band FB page)

And a Percussion Ensemble did one song:

(picture from J Avery on the FBHS Band FB page)

And then the Concert Band, who's Celtic Carol of the Bells was pretty cool:

(picture from Beth Fike on the FBHS Band FB page)

And now, on to the stitching parts of this update...

Another finish, bringing my WIPs down to 13; Birds of a Feather is DONE, despite having lost an entire set of threads. They have not magically appeared, so I am guessing they really are gone. Anyway, it's done. And I have to say, the red flowers in the border and those sheep are my two favorite parts of this!! I'm thinking a very simple mahogany frame - but then, one of the ladies in The Stitcher's Village made a pillow of her finish, and that's cool, too! But a stitched pillow has about a snowball's chance in hell of surviving in this house, soooo....

And as I finished that up on Saturday - despite a brief pause when the BIG TV decided to crap out (you know this stuff comes in 3s - let's hope it & the cars are the last 3 for a while) - I decided on Sunday to break out the ol' Chat Noir. And I put in lots and lots of black, leaving lots & lots of confetti to fill in.

As for this week, a somewhat full plate again; the Magnum is finally going to the shop today to get it's freaking speed sensor fixed - cross your fingers or whatever's convenient that that is ALL it is. I have to finish shopping - a couple of packages have to be sent out of town, once I put something IN them. So I doubt I'll be Tuesday nighting at the IHOP this week, though we do have PINS on Saturday, which I WILL NOT MISS, come hell or high water. As for stitching, Chat is still on the stand, so he'll get more attention tonight, and I'm not sure when I will put him up for Tree of Stitches, which is my last goal for the year. I stopped at part 7, and can roughly do one part a night, so I OUGHT to be able to finish it in about a week. Which would be great, so the time I have off over the holidays, I could spend 1) working on a couple of the other pieces that don't see much daylight, and 2) prepare for my January Startitis!!

On that note, Happy Stitching this week to everyone, and I hope everyone takes the time to relax and ENJOY the holidays instead of stress over them!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Is it REALLY the 5th Already? An Update

Guess what? I have done ZERO shopping. I had better get my butt in gear, huh? There was a time, in the distant past, when I was done by Thanksgiving. Of course, that was back when all I had to do was go grab the newest Legos and Little People and put them in layaway. Now, getting a wish list out of a kid is almost as easy as getting them to A) take their dishes to the kitchen AND B) get them to put them IN the dishwasher. As always, I am the easiest to shop for :) And yet, with one car still crippled, I haven't even done that... I am teetering on Bah Humbug - but not quite tipped over the edge - yet. But Fair Warning - pretty sure cards will NOT happen this year, depending on if I survive THIS week, which is BOOKED. Take car in (driving 15 miles in 2nd gear - that ought to be fun). 2nd Band concert Wednesday. Company Holiday carry-in Wednesday. Doctor appointment (which I've avoided too many years now) on Thursday. DH doctor on Wednesday. Cheesecakes sold for FBHS Band - supposed to pick up this week (today?), deliver. Some other stuff I've probably forgotten. And oh yeah, WORK. And I HAVE to do some shopping!


I stitched some last week, though I do have to say, it's kind of hard to tell :) As mentioned last week, my plan was to work on Anne's TG London, which has been sitting here patiently, waiting for that silly Knotgarden to get done. And so I did. I forgot to take a picture before I started - but I did remember after I'd done about 40 stitches. BUT, since they are all in ecru on ecru linen, this picture is close enough to what it looked like before I started:

I worked a bit each night except Friday, which turned out to be a read-100-pages of Follett's World Without End night instead. I am pretty sure EVERY shade of ecru/off-white/cream is in the frieze of St. Paul's, as this is where it was when I stopped at 9:30 last night:

And just in case you can't see much aside from the darkened windows above, here's the marked chart - I did all the yellow, excpet for one row near the bottom that starts off as purple:

Does it LOOK like St. Paul's yet? Meh.. Another building that I walked past a hundred times, and did not go inside. Why would anyone want to go inside a cathedral? Or Westminster Abbey? Some day, when I go back to London, I WILL do the touristy things I didn't get to do when I LIVED 80 short miles away....

As for this week, I have put London away, and will be getting the Birds of a Feather SAL out when I get home tonight - assuming the %#$* threads are still there :) That is one of 2 more projects I WILL finish before the clock strikes 12 on 12/31. I don't see any reason I won't make my goal - except there are so many things screaming at me - Celtic Banner, Chat Noir, Romeo, just to name a few. L&U is being quiet, I think because I have promised it a few weeks in a row once I get my new starts out of my system :) There's a Yellow Santa that has been screaming from a bag, too, but since I only took lunches long enough to eat last week, he didn't come out, either. But then, I said the set would NOT get done this year. Ha! Called that one, I did :) I do want to make sure I get the fabric to back them all while the holiday stuff is out, but I still have time for that...

On that note, Happy Stitching to everyone!

Monday, November 28, 2011

And.... It's Done!

Yes, it's done. After 3 1/2 years, Knotgarden is DONE! Though there must have been a year in there it didn't get worked on because it sure felt like only 2 1/2 years from start to finish :( Without further ado, here's the whole thing:

And then here are a couple of shots of the beads - which of course do not photograph nearly as nicely as they actually appear:

Good thing this was a holiday weekend, because it literally took every minute I had to get it done, though I did ALL of the remaining beading Sunday afternoon & evening. Of course, if I hadn't had all of the Christmas decorations to put out, and running around Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I would have been done sooner, but I guess these other things have to get done, too...

And yes, that is all I worked on for the week, so poor Yellow Santa did not even peek out of his bag, let alone get a stitch in. We'll see what happens on him this week. I WILL put time in on Anne's London, finally - it's been waiting not-so-patiently on the dining room table for WEEKS now. And then, my remaining goals for the year are to finish the Birds of a Feather SAL, and Tree of Stitches, which ought to be doable, assuming Christmas Crazies don't interfere too much :) Or this big pile of beads, some of which are for a far-distant Chatelaine, and others for some jewelry:

Now, if you've been following along, you might have seen me post a few new albums to the Multiply pages, like one for Tuscany Town, and Growth Rings. So you might gather from that that I'll have some new starts coming up. You'll just have to check back after the new year to see, but I can safely say that finishing TWO Chatelaines in one year - which either equals or tops finishing two TWs in one year - deserves a bit of startitis, IMO :)

Happy Stitching this week to everyone!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Week - an Update

So just to start off, get the whining out of the way - last week SUCKED. Tuesday night as I was coming home from the IHOP, my car acted funny for a second; but I couldn't tell if it was the engine, or me losing traction, because it had just finished dumping rain, and I was too busy looking at the road to spare a second to look at the tach to see if it was spinning up because I had no traction. SO anyway, DH was out cold when I walked in the door - he'd been to the doc for the pulled muscle in his back, muscle relaxer was doing it's thing - so I let it go, chalking it up to the water on the road. But by the time I got 1 mile down the road the next morning, though still wet out, I KNEW it was something with the engine, misfiring like it does when a certain vacuum hose goes bad, which we'd just replaced again a month or so ago. So back home I go, and call DH, who really doesn't have time to deal with it, having been out for 2 days with his back.

As he's on his way home, he calls to tell me HIS Check Engine light is now on, and he can't go over 30mph - on the interstate. WTF???? TWO cars - on the SAME DAY? I know I have some bad karma following me around from somewhere, but this is just ridiculous. So to sum up a very long story, my car now has new plugs, coil packs, and one of the coil pack "brains" is new, too - I am going to knock on wood and say nothing else about it... DH's car is still down, because no one can tell us what kind of transmission is in it - including the yutz's we bought it from - so we don't know which kind of speed sensor goes in it; it's either the $20 pop-in/pop-out one, or it's the $280 one you have to drop the pans to get to; one dealer told the Chevy guy across the street that it doesn't have one at all! Nothing like ambiguous engineering...

Add to this some really unpleasant family news concerning events from this past May that came on Thursday, which, while not unexpected nor much of a surprise, still, when it's in your face, it's just enough to get your blood boiling, you know? So last week sucked, and I'm seriously hoping this other car thing gets resolved without too much financial hemorrhaging - at the rate we're going with cars & dogs, Christmas ain't happening this year... Which is all my fault because I finally ordered the beads I've been trying to save up for for months, so I can do IC Growth Rings finally. Just like the last time we went on vacation, the week we mailed the payment to the condo owner, the fridge blew up. I didn't think $60 worth of beads would tip the cosmic scale so much - but I guess I was wrong... When the only working car is the 20 year old toy with 185K on it, you know you've pissed off somebody...

So anyway, BEFORE things went to hell last week, I worked on my yellow Santa at Tuesday night's stitch in, and now have a teddy bear and a bag, as well as one mitten:

I have also, in between holding lights and staring blankly at torn apart engines, have turned the last corner into the homestretch on Knotgarden. And if I can keep the last-minute frogs away, I am SO CLOSE!!! And I was right, doing that 4th corner was a nice break from topiary pots & black gates, so I'm hoping this last little bit will go quickly! Here is last week's:

And now this week's:

And surprise, as I was finishing the last of the silks, the woven Scotch stitch bottom center, gee, what do I find but one of Martina's lovely chart errors. So I had to take it out (easy enough - just irritating), and move it all left one stitch, and start again. If I could see any of the other 3 sides, I'd have seen it right away, but as they are all wadded up under the clamps, I had to rely on the CHART. Silly me. I do have to say that she's consistent - as old as this chart is (2001 according to the chartpack), she's still making the same simple mistakes and not correcting them from then until now...

So this week, being a short work week and a long weekend, I hope to make great progress on Knotgarden. Thursday will be a stitching day, ONCE I get the massive meal done, and Friday, it's time to get all the Christmas stuff out and up - so I can spend the next month trying to keep the dumb dog's tail under control around it. I missed the November PINS meeting this weekend, due to being the third hand/light holder while working on the Zoom Zoom again, so I didn't get the stress relief I needed. Hopefully I can make up for that this weekend by not leaving the house. I won't be doing any shopping until the car thing is done, with whatever, if any, is left of my Christmas funds. And I don't know about you, but I think I am ready to be done with 2011...

Did you know that Dammit I'm Mad is Dammit I'm Mad when written backwards? Awesome, huh???

On that note, Happy Stitching this week to everyone!! And yes, sometimes stitching really IS the only thing that keeps me going...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Year, Another Update

Another year older, as of yesterday. Meh, whatever :) It's not a speed limit year, so no big deal, nice and quiet. Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! I also got a couple of goodies from friends - Chris in Indiana sent me a card with a piece of purple fabric from Faery Fire Fabrics (she's used their fabric for one of her recent Joan Elliott masterpieces) - which is so pretty, I've e-mailed Rose to see if she'd dye me a custom piece of jobelan for Sparkly Hummingbird Garden, since she has JOBELAN, my favorite, AND she'll do a custom 28x28 piece for me! I also received a surprise box on the front porch Saturday, from Amazon. In it were the Magical XS book and a very cool David Garrett CD, both from Mel! Thank you so much, Mel - and the 18 yo even gave the DG CD his stamp of approval, despite it having a GnR song on it (because November Rain is one of my favorites) :)

Thank you, my friends!

On to the stitching...

I did a little bit of work on the Yellow Santa - I did get his face on him during lunch on Monday, and did the tree and started the teddy bear between Tuesday night at IHOP and one other lunch during the week. It's really helping doing the same design the 2nd time by having it in other colors, and doing it in a different order - I started with the tree on the red one.

And look - I am tackling that 4th Giant Green Corner on Knotgarden and thinking it's going to be done soon :) I forgot about the little egg part - I started that while watching DWTS on Monday, and then, Wednesday, moved over to the left-hand border to further the Rhodes stitches and the Scotch Stitch there in the center under the gate. Then I started the first of 6-7 different greens:

SO I feel pretty confidant that that will be done this week, and then I'll flip it over to work on the 4th outer edge. I can smell a finish coming - but if I go getting cocky about it, it'll be completely frog-ridden - so I might need to sneak up on the finish, surprise it into completed :)

And that's the update for the week, and the plan for this week. Though I have to say that Anne's London is getting louder & louder from the bag on the table - I really want to get it out and put soem stitches into it, but I want Knotgarden done MORE, so... And you know how I said I wasn't kitting up Hummingbird anytime soon? Well, I have all but 1 DMC, already bobbined up and in a box, and I have half the beads on order. Because I am a compulsive kitter :) Though I don't consider that a problem, so long as the checkbook holds out :)

Happy Stitching this week to everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
- John F. Kennedy

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
- Elmer Davis

"Freedom is never free." - Author Unknown

"The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war." -Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Thank you to all who have or are serving.

Monday, November 07, 2011

No More Artificial Time - an Update

Ahhh, the time change! I know I am in the minority, but I do love getting my hour back in the fall! When getting up at 6:15 is really getting up at 6:15! Being a night owl, I could care less about it being dark not long after I'm on the way home from work; my car comes equipped with lights, and I'm not afraid to use them! I'll even use them *gasp* when it's RAINING! Wow, what a concept, right?

In stitching news, I finally got my %$#& replacement threads for Birds of a Feather; so far, my prediction that the original ones would show up immediately upon receipt of the new ones has not proven out :) So maybe they really did disappear. At any rate, Part 2 is now officially DONE (the key goes to Part 3, so while I was behind, I was also ahead - because I'm awesome like that!). I think once I get the hill the house sits on done, the rest will go quick - it's just getting past that last little tree that's going to drive me over the edge (I knew doing this & Tanglewood at the same time was tempting fate):

I also started the Yellow Santa, to go with the Red one that I finished last week. Between the Tuesday night at the IHOP and a few lunches, I got a good start on him. This one is on 18ct - the red one was on 14. I'll scale the embellishments back a bit, too. I need to go to my various fabric stores to find the perfect fabric for backing these when I get the set done. Might have to get a few pieces until I find the ONE :)

(yes, I am breaking my own cardinal rule about having a FACELESS HEAD - hopefully today at lunch will fix that, before I give myself the willies)

And lastly, guess who finished side 3 of Knotgarden??? Yes, yes I did!!! I am actually kind of looking forward to the Giant Green Corner #4 - only because it ISN'T a black gate, and because I get to use the pretty Silk 'n Colors for the Rhodes again :) Is that a light I see, there at the end of that very long tunnel??? I think maybe it is....

Secret Victorian Garden and Tuscany are really screaming at me to get this done. And if I get BoaF done, and maybe Tree of Stitches, as well, by year-end, or by mid-January, let's say, I might just start BOTH of them in January. Which will make Desert pout, but considering I just bought Sparkly Hummingbird Garden for my birthday, well, Desert ought to feel pretty confidant that it'll be started first - it'll take me a while to kit up SHG, with all that PTB and BEADS! Ewwwww, sparkly!

(and no, I will NOT be doing mine on black - I'm thinking something purple-y, like Lissane's)

I don't know about your house, but around here, people are already harassing me about Thanksgiving; apparently I've starved them all since last Christmas, and they've been waiting these 11 months for another full meal. I'm just looking forward to a couple of extra days off :) And NOT looking forward to the shopping that I KNOW I have to do (though Amazon might as well just reserve a delivery guy for me :) ) This has been a really nice fall this year, and did I mention that I love the time change???

Happy stitching this week to everyone!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween - an Update

I wish the kids were still little on days like today; everyone rushing home, trying to get some food into them before it's time to put on the costumes they've been told to put up a million times since they were bought (my kids would not even hear about Mom's ideas for home-made ones, they had to have store-bought, non-dorky ones. What's wrong with being a Lego???), getting them ready to go, so when the magic hour arrives, off we go trick or treating. Now, I get to take the 14 yo to one of his friends, and leave them to their own devices for a few hours, with the caveat that if he is calling from jail, he has to call his dad. Ahhh, good times... I should have bought a bag of Butterfingers though.

They decided to do the pumpkin contest at work again this year - which they decided to tell us on FRIDAY. Ummm, people, genius sometimes takes a few days to percolate, so a WEEK might have been a bit more helpful. So I guess I will let someone else have a go this year, since I am the undisputed Pumpkin Master up until they stopped doing it 2-3 years ago. I still wish I could find a picture of my Pinhead pumpkin - it really was the coolest ever. But since I can't find that, here's a couple others I've done in the past:

The Alien (painted blue/green/grey, with hard-boiled eggs inset, painted metallic black)

Cinderella's Carriage (in a fish tank w/4 white mice that were the horses before the clock struck 12)

And since it's Halloween, I of course had a finish - on a CHRISTMAS piece - this weekend :) The first of the 3 Santas is done, except for a couple of other embellishments that will get attached after it gets finish-finished into a stuffed stand-up. But I want to try my best to get the other 2 done (a yellow one, on 18ct, and then a blue one on 22ct) and finish them all together - so knowing my speed & luck, they'll be done in January :) Kinda like a couple of Christmas things from last year, huh?

(you can see details of the embellishments I added, starting here.)

I also worked on Knotgarden this week, and have the 3rd gate almost done; might be able to finish it up tonight and move on to the 3 topiary plants Wednesday night. The question is - can I get this done by the end of the year? I really hope so. It just depends on how long it takes me to get through this 4th corner, though after all these gates, it ought to be a nice switch :)

And that's it for the week. During lunch and tomorrow at the Tuesday night at the IHOP, I will start my 2nd Santa, and then keep on on Knotgarden until I just can't stand the green for another minute. I am waiting for Cecilia's to invoice me for my Online Needlework Show order (IC Metamorphosis), which also contains the replacement threads for BoaF - so until that actually gets here, I don't have that to switch off to (though I could do that left-hand tree, I guess). That's the plan - we'll see how it works out.

Happy Halloween, everyone, and Happy Stitching!

(as much as I love the original J. Carpenter Halloween, Rob Zombie's re-make is actually pretty awesome - if you go in for gratuitous arterial spray and that kind of thing - which of course, being a Tarantino fan, I do :) )