Monday, September 26, 2011

Finally, Fall - an Update

(the first apple pie of the season :) )

Yes, people, we are actually going to have an AUTUMN here this year, I think, though it is back in the 80s this week. But it wasn't anywhere near 100 last week at the equinox, unlike last year! YAY! Now, if we could just get some rain in here every night - not during the day when I have to drive in it - then everything would be perfect :) We washed cars yesterday - so of course it's raining today; and I have the headache to show for it :(

(I blame Aunt Anne for this - my dogs are now addicted to Frosty Paws - you know, ICE CREAM FOR DOGS)

I go to pick up my fair entries tonight, and just in time - I'm ready to hang up my Halloween pieces ("officially", since Boo Club & 6 Bats have been on the mantle since I framed them in December) - time to take BoINK down and get Halloween Fairy in its place, then I want to get a little wire stand for my small pumpkin piece - it has a hanger on it, but we've never hung it, so I thought I'd put it on the table next to my jar of Autumn pinkeeps. Ought to make Monkey mad, she pretty much has the top of that table for her afternoon napping spot. Too bad... We'll see if I get any trouble collecting for the 2 ribbons they didn't add into the Overall tally - I plan to spend my prize money on BEADS!!! For Growth Rings, actually :)

(Monkey on that table, peering down the steps at me - this is her not-very-good gargoyle impression)

On to the stitching...

On our Tuesday night at the IHOP, I worked on Mary Wigham. I went back up to the top and worked right. Kinda. I got one motif done in Yawning Mountain, but it's not symmetrical to begin with, and I made it worse, somehow, so I took a part out that I need to fix in a way that won't drive me nuts (which is why I generally don't do reproduction samplers - I'm A/R, must have symmetry). And then I started the next motif, which is 2 colors - except my randomly chosen colors failed me, in that the 2nd color is indistinguishable from the first - but I wasn't about to even attempt to pick out that over-1 by the time I decided I'd have to pick something else :( So now I've got required frogging waiting on me...

(the new motif is the one next to the squirrel tree, and then the one I have to pick out the 2nd color is that green one next to 'EB")

Saturday we had our monthly PINS get together, and I just wasn't feeling any of the things in my travel bag - too hard to see, too hard to think about. So I thought I'd grab one of the kitted ornies we did this year instead of a RR - and I picked up the Santa that Anne sent, and got a good start on him!

Also, the place that we meet have been doing lots of improvements; we got new lights and heat/air in the area they set up for us, and now they've painted the entire place - and the walls now PERFECTLY MATCH the Chickens!!! I took it with me to show to those who hadn't seen it done yet, and held it up to the wall (on the sly, since the boss was hanging around, and I don't want them to see it until it's framed and given to them) - and it looks AWESOME!!! They read my mind, I'm telling you - it's about 2 shades darker gold than the yellow I used (725?)!!! Now I just gotta get it framed - it's in the cart, just have to get it ordered.

(This is Suwanee, GA City Hall - I just love this building)

And as predicted, I kept on with Murky Manor the rest of the week. IF I was to ignore all the other things I need to do, I could probably have this done in a couple more weeks - stitched in time for Halloween, though no way it would be framed before next year. Because, you know, I want to get to the beading parts :) I did take 2 pictures this week, one overall, and then a close up with the JABCO buttons laying roughly where they'll be placed when I get the stitching done.

(Where the buttons will go - imagine the tail on the rat, as it won't go on until he's sewn into place)

And even though Knotgarden & BoaF are literally screaming at me, I do think I'll keep MM out again - maybe not the whole week, but probably. I won't be going to the Tuesday night at IHOP this week - DH is working the gate at Road Atlanta for the Petite Le Mans, to work off some of our band debt :), so I need to chauffeur the kid to & from practice, and feed him. We may also be working a concession stand there over the weekend - IF we can, and if the kid has a ride to get wherever he needs to go for the competition that he thinks is this weekend. If I can survive all of those gigs I did at the local arena for soccer, I can do a weekend at the track for band, I guess. Kind of a unique opportunity, especially since I've never actually been to Road Atlanta for an event, though I can hear them on Sunday morning from the back of my house - it's only a few miles away, as the crow flies :)

In other news, we have a new addition - I finally got a new betta. I've wanted one for a long time, I look at them every time we go into Petsmart. Well, I finally got one. I forget what kind he is - I wasn't aware there were so many varieties now, I've always gotten just whatever the standard male is. He lives on the mantle, and Monkey hasn't seen it yet :)

And can you believe Nirvana released Nevermind 20 years ago??? The concert Live at the Paramount was on Palladia Friday night; so of course, it's on the DVR. Talk about a life cut short. And that Grohl, man, I don't know how he did that for a whole set - just whalin' on those drums; he probably burned 7-8000 calories in an hour set! I never got to go see them before Cobain did himself in :( I wish I had - though I don't mosh, so I woulda had my usual seat up on the side :) Ah, well, at least we have lots of recordings - MTV Unplugged is one of my favorite CDs (video linked there for you).

That's the news - Happy stitching this week, and catch you all next week...

(Our hummingbirds are probably gearing up for their trip to Mexico - though we supposedly have one that winters in GA. The bats will be gone about the same time - I loves my bats! I wish I could get photos of them, one of the several in our back yard is so fat!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Blue Ribbon Sweep

Well, THIS year, I had great results at the Gwinnett County Fair with my Needlework. Of the 5 entries I submitted, I won FIVE Blue Ribbons!!!! And no snubs, like I have gotten, for unknown reasons, at the N. Georgia State Fair that I have gone to in the past. I also got one Red Ribbon on one of the 3 photos I submitted :D

All that being said, it may not be nearly as spectacular as it sounds; there was almost NO competition, and I am pretty sure that in at least 2 classes, maybe 3, I was the ONLY entrant. The other fair, which I did not enter purely because it is such a long haul to get over there (70 miles from my door to it), has had a TON of entries in the various needlework categories (and photos, as well) in the years I have gone, and despite a couple of controversial (IMO) results, has a pretty good turn out. So maybe I was lured by the Bigger Cash Prizes, and not wanting to drive 150 miles 3 times, into staying closer to home, but I have to say, the competition - and thus the exposure of this art form - was very limited, and kind of anti-climactic :(

So anyway, here are some photos of the exhibits - please excuse the less-than-stellar shots, as everything is behind plexiglass, and lit with overhead fluorescent lights from behind me....

First, my winners, in the order I found them:

Starry Nights in the frame we were forced to make out of something else, due to the inability of a certain frame shop to cut a metal frame correctly - twice. Pretty sure this was the ONLY Needlepoint anything - and I was worried it would be DQ'd for being counted canvas instead...

Dream - this might have had competition with the Butterfly piece, unless that was an Embellished or Stamped XS piece....

6 Bats & A WItches Hat - I KNOW this is the only entrant in the high count category (18-22 ct, this is 40/20).

Christmas Mandala - Holiday House Other. AND if you look real close, you can see they have it displayed ON ITS SIDE! It's a freakin' TRIANGLE, people - this is NOT a hard concept to figure out. Or so I thought.

My White Lily photo... The Coonhound & The Snake probably freaked too many people out - and the Water Drop was probably too obscure...

And lastly, my Halloween Tree Pinkeep Accessory - I am pretty sure this, too, was the only entrant in the Accessory category.

And then a few other photos of things that I thought were cool, after I had a chance to go back through and really look again - more can be found in the Fair album here.

How cool is this? A Mill Hill Halloween piece, the Haunted Hotel - which is one I DON'T have :(

You KNOW my MH Halloween Trio is going next year, right? :)

A very cool drawing - I THINK it was colored pencil, in the Adult series.

A small piece of Embellished Stitching - lace, ribbon, other kinds of things on it; I couldn't tell what was stitched and what was printed on the base fabric...

LOVE this Frog Picture - don't know if that was taken locally, or not...

I should have whipped up a quickie piece of jewelry, too - they had MAYBE 3 entries in the adult classes, and they have 5-6 classes, unlike the other fair that only has 1, which I have placed 1st or 2nd every time. I'll know next time...

And what's a fair entry from me without a tinge of controversy? At this particular fair, unlike the other one I have entered, there is an Overall Award, based on points - 3 for a Blue, 2 for a Red, 1 for a White. You have to enter at least 3 different divisions (1 entry per, maximum of 10 per person), and accumulate 14 points minimum - 30 is the max if you take the Red in all 10 that you enter. So I took 5 Blues and one Red - 17 points total. EXCEPT - on the tally sheets they have posted, they only have 3 of my Blues and my Red accounted - 11 total.

Now, besides shorting me the rest of the prize money (hey, it's $14!!), it left me 3 points shy of the required for consideration in Overall, so I wasn't included. Which is okay, because I wasn't anywhere near the top with my 17 correct points, UNLESS they accounted for all ribbons awarded, but have my two missing ones attributed to someone else, pushing them past me. I have no idea how it's done. And I called the Extension Office this morning, and got attitude from whoever answered the phone as soon as I said I needed to ask someone about reconciling; I have to deal with that AFTER the Fair is closed and I pick up my entries on Monday. Gee, does that sound like a government office to you??? LOL - not. SO we'll see what happens on Monday when I go to pick stuff up. Way to take an INTEREST in what you "PLAN".

And the bar-b-que & Brunswick Stew were pretty good; a little bland, but filling :) As usual, I opted to avoid all the FRIED STUFF, unlike the majority of the fair goers we witnessed. And this was the first time we've gone and NOT absolutely sweltered - so that was nice :) Until next year - IF I decide to put myself through all of this yet again...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Monday Update

These Mondays are just coming faster & faster - I am NOT impressed. It doesn't help that the weather has been about 20-30 degrees cooler this past week then it was this time last year (and the year before that, and the year...); it feels like fall, which, gee, we might ACTUALLY have this year, as opposed to Sweltering one day, Freezing the next. THAT would be nice :)

Tonight, we're going to the fair, to see if I won any Big Cash Prizes :) Or to see if the lady at the extension office that I got into the e-mail barrage with over needlework classes managed to remember my name, and found a way to disqualify me on everything. For The Record: Double Cross (which us stitchers call the Smyrna Cross) should NOT have a class all unto itself, when no other "specialty" stitch does; in 25+ years, I have NEVER seen a design done entirely in Smyrna. Time to jump right on out of the 70s, folks...

Speaking of Smyrnas, that's all I have left on the main design part of the small piece I am doing for The Stitcher's Village Sampler Project. Lots & lots of Smyrnas to do still, and then to personalize it with my name & location, I guess. Would really like to have this done this week, and in the mail to Patty, if possible - as usual, what I think will be a quick walk in the park, turns into this 2-month odyssey...

At the Tuesday night stitch in at the IHOP with the Hooty Girls, I couldn't decide what to work on - so I dug out the poor, neglected AD Sampler 4 Saisons that hasn't been touched since it returned from Carolyn's earlier this year. I got one motif (below the starfish) and several letters of the next alphabet done - and I don't think I skipped any!! It was good to let this out into the light again for a bit...

And then, the main progress this week was again on Murky Manor - and I even took a picture of the WHOLE THING to date - just because I wanted to see it, too :) I am roughly 1/2 done, give or take - it's kind of hard to tell. I really wish I could get a picture of the GITD threads in the ghosts & spider web - not with the camera I have :(

This week, I think I will keep working on MM - I really need to get BoaF and Knotgarden out, and maybe I will later in the week, but I'm really enjoying MM at the moment, and hey, it's getting close to October, right, and all this Halloween stuff is just screaming at me, so - that's what I'm doing. But then, you just never know what I might do, do ya? LOL You'll just have to come back next week to see. Until then, Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remembrance - an Update

Like many here in the US, I spent some time yesterday remembering the tragedies of September 11th, 2001. There has been much discussion in recent days of where we were when we heard the news, much like people will tell you where they were when Kennedy was killed. Much like I'll tell you where I was when Pan Am 103 went down - making dinner, Kelsale-cum-Carlton, Suffolk, UK - about 6 weeks before I was to board a commercial flight back to the States from London Heathrow. Both of those events, and others like them (Oklahoma City, USS Cole, etc.) have made "terrorism" a household word, I'm sad to say, and has to be further classified by "foreign" or "domestic". And it all makes me wonder just what we've come to? From Pearl Harbor and D-Day to now - have we lost the way?

But at the same time that I have to try to stifle the anger, I have other things to remember on that particular day. One of my best friends in school, Cass, and her twin Sheryl, have September 11th as their birthday. It's my anniversary at work (sometimes good, sometimes, not so much :) ). And as is the case yesterday, it was a day of perfectly glorious weather, as only can be found in the fall; a day here similar to that day 10 years ago, in fact. So while it is paramount that we don't forget, or let down our guard, we also can't live in a state of fear, as those who do these things expect us to do, and life has to go on. And at the risk of running into religious and/or political pitfalls that I don't have the capacity or bandwidth to deal with at the moment, I think it was summed up well enough in  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. *

In lighter news, there was a small amount of stitching accomplished last week, though there were a few days where life got in the way, as it tends to do. Whatever I yammered on about last week as far as what I'd work on - never mind. Instead, I worked on Murky Manor for a few days, and got a good piece of the last tower done, as well as Booger The Cat (yes, I named the cat after my best friend).

I also worked on my The Stitcher's Village Sampler project piece, and Mary Wigham, both at the Tuesday night stitch-in at the IHOP. Not much on either, but every stitch draws me a little bit nearer the finish, huh? First, the Patricia Ann piece:

Then Mary (who clearly isn't going to get done this year at this rate):

So as for what's on deck this week - any of these, or the other things I need to get done (Knotgarden, BoaF). Who knows? I'm really enjoying MM, so may just stay on that until the guilt at not working on Knotgarden makes me move on to something else. Your guess really is as good as mine on that score...

In a side note, I take my fair entries in today - we'll see how that turns out at this fair I have never entered before (with the 1970s Little Ol' Church Lady categories). Could very likely be a complete bust - but you know what? Fair food makes it all worth it, since it's only once a year :) :)

Happy stitching this week!

* Because, really, quoting something out of the Bible isn't any more incongruous with my perceived nature than anything else I do, when you think about it.... Because, sometimes, there's a LOT more going on in the old brain case than some people give me credit for....

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day, Lee, and 2 Weeks' Worth of Updates


Yep, it's Labor Day, and we have TS Lee keeping it cloudy, and actually giving us some rain. Though Texas needs it a LOT more than we do - but I'll take it. And I am glad that Irene didn't turn out worse than it did - bad enough there in the northeast, but it could have been worse. Now we just have to wait & see what Katia does...

My trip to Ohio was great - the wedding was wonderful, and of course, my niece Devon made a beautiful bride! It was a great weekend, and good to see family & friends again. I actually took virtually no photos at the wedding - there was a host of pros all over the place, and there just wasn't a good spot to stay out of their way. I do have a couple of group shots from before, with my sister and mother and the bride's brothers, as well as the groom & groomsmen:

(pictured from front to back: my mother, my sister Deb (Mother of the Bride), my nephew (Brother of the Bride))

The Groom is seated on the left, and those standing and seated are groomsmen, friends, family - the Bride's other brother is the one standing far right.

The weather was wonderful the whole trip, though, as predicted, it wasn't 100, so I was freezing my ass off most of the time, in the upper 70s, lower 80s with low humidity; don't know how to breathe in air like that :) Some other photos around OH start here, with clouds at 30K feet and higher, and the bickering hummingbirds at my sister's house, as well as some gorgeous flowers around the wedding venue.

As for stitching the last couple of weeks, there hasn't been a lot. I did work on Birds of a Feather for a night or two before I left, and did MORE leaves. Sure thought I'd have this done by now...

And then, I caved and had an impulse start - the Tree of Stitches, designed by Abi Gurden in the Yahoo group The Stitch Specialists. I got the idea in my head that I wanted to keep it dark, subtle, and then I remembered a piece of black opalescent fabric that I had gotten as an RAK from Anita; and I dug through the floss drawers, and came up with three dark jewel tones from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, which were a gift from Nancy :) It's dark, even for me, but I like it. AND, of course, I have beads to match (if you enlarge the photo, you should see purple ones already). I got parts 1-3 done the night before I left and the next afternoon, while waiting to leave for the airport. I finished through part 6 yesterday. I'm not sure these dark flosses show off the specialty stitches to their best advantage, but then, I've been too close to it, so maybe after I put it away for a bit, they'll stand out to me more...

And lastly, I took my small Patricia Ann project with me, the sampler section I am doing for The Stitcher's Village, and got some progress on it; the main part is done, just have the outer corners to do, and then whatever I do to personalize it, and I can send that off to Patty Hurwitz. Ignore the hoop marks - all my small Qs are tied up with other projects, so I'm going old-school on this (and it's more travel-friendly).

And that's the progress for the last couple of weeks. I am currently getting my fair entries ready; I'm having issues getting Starry Nights framed, due to the frame I ordered being cut wrong TWICE - I'm going to call it a one-time glitch, since my favorite online frame shop did the rest of my order to perfection. So we're trying to cobble something together and get it painted - a slight PITA, but since I work much better under pressure...? The photos I'm submitting are currently being printed - fingers crossed that they turn out decently! As for this week's stitching, I'm going to keep plugging away on the TSV project, and I might get Knotgarden out instead of BoaF - they are both green, so not sure if maybe I ought to just do something else entirely? LOL So who knows? Or, there's even the possibility that if my JCS Halloween edition AND the Special Edition Halloween book EVER get here from Utah (I think the mail has a kink in it between here & there), I may be forced to start 12-30 of those things - have you seen the IC Mandala in the book yet??? It's AWESOME!!!!

Check back next week and see what happens! Happy stitching to everyone!


Oh, yeah - I forgot to mention that I ALSO finished that damn book, War & Peace. I stopped with 35 to go - why he needed to spend 40 pages on WHY history is written, I have NO IDEA, nor do I care - so long as it IS written. And we all know that history is written by the victor, so so long as you read it with that in mind, the WHY shouldn't enter into it, IMO.

There's 6 months of my life I'll never get back... Now I'm reading something light & fluffy - White Queen by P. Gregory, about the War of the Roses. MUCH better :)