Monday, March 26, 2012

A Photo Weekend & Update

Yes, I actually went outside (and have the pollen in my lungs to prove it). I took a zillion photos this weekend, and some of them even came out! If there aren't enough in this post for you, here are more :) I love digital photography, where you can blow off 100 shots of the same thing and not have to worry about running out of film or the cost of processing it :) But then, I have almost none actually PRINTED OUT, so there's a drawback, though slight :)

On to the stitching this week...

Since I finished the Spirited Mandala, I needed a new Tuesday night project. Well, I didn't really need one, since Rainforest Crunch doesn't mind being worked on at all. But I've had IC Florin & Guilder in the bag since the beginning of the year, though I had a piece of 36ct PTP Fog kitted up with them - and I didn't know if I could see that count at the IHOP, so I hesitated to start (and I hated to hack into a fat 1/4 for just these 2 small pieces). Fortunately, the dilemma was solved when my PTP Mini Sampling came on Monday, and brought me a piece of 32ct Earthen; perfect! So, Florin has one color complete :)

All during the week, I continued to work on L&U confetti; I swear this page just does NOT want to be finished! I have been working on this lower 3rd for the entire month, and I STILL don't have it done! BUT I didn't break any needles on it this week, so I am improving, and I am damn close to finally getting to the bottom of Page 6. Here's the section I've been working on - LAST Week:

THIS week:

And just for reference, the chart - the orange & blue is everything I have done since I picked this up at the beginning of the month:

A much needed break was had on Saturday, when the PINS group met on Saturday. It was, as always, a good time, and over way too soon. I worked on Rainforest there, and completed another 3 blocks, though I was jamming to get the 3rd one done before I had to pack up and go home :( Fun, fun project, I am loving these colors!

That was it for the stitching. Friday, my oldest turned 19, so we had a cake and candles - he hosed the shot of the candles being blown, and refused to have a do-over correctly. I have no idea where he gets that obstinacy from, certainly not from ME :) Have I mentioned one of those damn dogs has a terrible sweet tooth? Yeah - blue icing and all....

This week, I WILL FINISH page 6 of L&U (you will probably hear the squeals). WHEN I do, I will get out Growth Rings again - I need to treat myself with some BEADS :) And speaking of beads, I have received my GORGEOUS purple fabric from Rose at FaeryFire Fabrics, and as soon as my back-ordered Glorianas from Cecilia's arrive, and more beads from ArtBeads arrive, I will take a picture of a partial floss toss (I still need several threads, including a LOT of PTB) - it's going to be cool, man! But then, it's purple, so even if it was completely heinous, it's still good for me :) :)

Happy Stitching this week to everyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday's Update - on a Tuesday

Because I've had a few days off, and well, I've been busy :) It's been in the 80s here for the last week, and today's pollen count: 9369. You know, 1500 is considered extremely high; so over 9000 is considered what, INSANE? Yes, yes it is, and EVERYTHING has a 1/4" coating of yellow grit, because the pines are already popping, too, a few weeks earlier than normal. But hey, maybe we'll just get it all out of the way and part of April, we MIGHT be able to go outside without a HAZMAT suit...

SO, as for what I have been busy with, OTHER than work - ummm, work, strangely enough. Laundry, dishes, laundry, some very light cleaning, that kind of thing. But in between loads, I did manage to have a FINISH :) A Spirited Mandala is done - in just a bit over 2 weeks, which is probably a personal best on a design of this size. But like most things Ink Circles, it just flowed so nicely, it was just so easy to go from part to part to part. I already see a black suede mat and a shiny black frame on it - unless the black makes it obvious that my thread isn't actually black (939, reallllyyy dark blue). A fun stitch, I highly recommend this design from the 2011 JCS Halloween Special Edition Book :)

I also continued on Lady & Unicorn, and made some significant progress in the confetti section. I found a pleather thimble at Hobby Lobby on Friday (I was in there gathering threads for JE Autumn Fairy - one of several JEs that I am starting to kit; because I don't already have a drawer full of kits). Bad thing is, I assume it's geared for a woman's thumb, and it won't go over mine; I want it for my middle finger, but for that, it's just a smidge too big. I need to see if I can cinch it up a bit - gotta find a sharp needle around here, see if I can get it through it to take a small gather in it. Anyway, you might not really be able to see a great bit of difference, but I know how many of those single blanks I managed to get filled in before I had to again give the fingers a rest. Here is the week before:

And now, the overall width and then the area I'm working:

I will keep on with L&U again this week - I really do want to get this Page 6 done, and get a good jump on Page 7, before I put it up and concentrate on some other things. IF I can just GET to Page 7, I do have some large areas of 1-2 colors, so I can make up some time that I've lost on this page of confetti goodness. Tonight, my last evening off before going back to the funny farm, I'm going to stitch at IHOP, and will likely work on Rainforest, now that the mandala is done. Or I also have IC Florin & Guilder in the bag - I had a piece of 36ct PTP Fog in with those, but got my mini sampling of the month yesterday, and in it was a piece of 32ct Earthen, which I like better - and both designs will fit perfectly on it, and I ought to be able to see it a bit easier in the dim light at IHOP. I didn't know if I'd be able to see the 36ct without my Ott light, and I hated hacking into a fat 1/4 for those two small pieces, so I was kind of waiting to see what my FOTM would bring in 32ct :) Glad I waited, though that mandala jumping the line helped there...

And one last note, just to keep the peace around here - for those who don't follow football, Chelsea FC is the last English team in the Champions League (thanks to firing the coach - though he was nice to look at as he stood on the sidelines, not coaching), and also, our continued good thoughts go out to Bolton player Fabrice Muamba, after collapsing during a match on Saturday with a massive heart attack. And kudos to the press, who honored the wishes of the family to NOT make a freaking media circus out of the whole thing, and for NOT having the cameras trained on the events as they unfolded on the field - too bad we here in America can't have the same respect and show a little dignity. I blame OJ/Paris Hilton/Lindsey Lohan for this country's incessant need for video of train wrecks...

Well, sorry about that, I felt a rant coming on. So I'll just end it there with a Happy Stitching to everyone! And HAPPY SPRING!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Purple Haze & The Artificial Time

Yes, it's my favorite time of year again, when we start daylight saving. Bah humbug! Cutting a foot of the bottom and sewing it onto the top does not a longer blanket make. Anyway, a little cranky for the next few until I get adjusted. Someday, when all I have to get up in the morning is ME, I will stay on REGULAR time all year round (or move to AZ, where they do this already). Considering I was seriously dragging ass last week, this week's not looking too promising - or at least won't until Friday, which I have off, through next Tuesday!! Ahhh, some days off, and THIS TIME, I will NOT have a crud :) Unless the artificial time does me in, coupled with the pollen that has all of us sneezing the last few days...

(Booger's Violet)

As for purple, it would seem all I worked on this week was purple :) First, Iris fairy finally saw daylight again, first time since the impulse to start her last year won out. I LOVE these colors :) Not particularly liking dragging the Kreinik through the stitching to get those wing veins on (this is 32ct fabric - so hand dyed, probably closer to 34? It's a tight fit - hope the beads fit, or I'll have to swap 'em for 15/0s), but it looks really cool :) JE does such a good job making the wings appear translucent with shadows from the objects behind. Next time she's out, her hair and face...

And also of note - thanks to Lisa completing the Crescent Moon Dragon and now working on another JE, I was compelled to start getting kits together for more JE projects (because, you know, all my kits start with spreadsheets); I have the four Seasonal Fairies, Fire & Water Goddess, and Poppy Fairy all beginning to be kitted up, 4 of them having fabrics already (the Silkweaver debacle last fall helped me out there tremendously :) ), and Kreinik & beads ordered for one from JJ's spring sale this weekend (along with a pile of DD silks for Deep Blue Sea).

Speaking of stash, I got some more beads in, from Beadies Beadwork,  again split between Sparkly Hummingbird and Deep Blue Sea, and my fabric for Hummingbird is dyed & paid for, so hope it gets here this week - it would go well with this post if it had been here in time.

Since I am actually getting a tax refund this year (yeah, the boys are off the hook in having to flip for who gets to black-market an organ), I have fabric picked out for Deep Blue Sea - I just gotta decide if I want to lose my mind and go opalescent or not...

Okay, back to the purple - I guess that stash interjection was from the haze part... So in my local group, Jackie & Tricia have both completed the Ink Circles Halloween Mandala from last year's special edition JCS Halloween book, one as charted on tha great PTP Voodoo, and another on a green (Eek? I thing that's what she used). It just happened to occur to me that I had this great piece of purple fabric, an RAK from Laura, that I had set aside to do a couple of my favorite blocks from Boo! Club on, to make into a flatfold. Well, I got it out of the cabinet, just to measure - and woohoo! It's big enough for the Mandala!!! So off to HL I go for floss. I am glad I took the fabric in with me - I was going to just go 310, but when I laid the skeins down on it, it looked really flat :( Not quite happy, I tried a few other colors, including blood red, which might have worked for a more sinister design. I settled on 839, which looks like a really rich black on this fabric :) So Friday, I put the first stitches in, and plowed through almost half of it - and one complete skein of thread - by Sunday afternoon. Obsess much? Yes, yes I do  - but it's so purple!!!

I have the mandala in the travel bag - I think I will be able to see it well enough to work it at IHOP on Tuesday night. As for the main focus of the week, I am getting L&U back out, now that my fingers have had a rest (of a sort) - and I found some of these at HL when I was getting thread, too, so this will help immensely! As I have a long weekend coming up for myself, I may try to get the mandala done, too. Assuming I don't sleep the entire time, of course... I gotta rest up for end-of-quarter/end-of-year panic for the two weeks when I get back...

On that note, Happy Stitching to everyone!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Windblown - an Update

All I can say is, if the tornado season is this bad, this early - you know, WINTER - it's going to be a long spring... Just awful, awful weather Friday & Saturday, though at my house, it wasn't bad at all, despite the sirens going on & off for a few hours. I guess there was another bad storm that came through after I'd gone to bed; for a change, I didn't hear it. But unlike someone in my house, I did NOT sleep through any of the sirens... My thoughts continue to go out to all of those in Indiana and Kentucky that saw such devastation, not to mention even more in Alabama, where they haven't recovered from the big one that destroyed the city of Tuscaloosa last year, much like the Xenia tornado of 1974, which I very clearly remember....

On to the stitching stuff...

First off, a stash report. BEADS! I got a group of the delicas I need for Deep Blue Sea, and a few of the last ones for Sparkly Hummingbird, all from About Beads. I really like their packaging, slightly easier to both store and use than the tubes that I get from FMG. I just have a few crystals left to get for Hummingbird, and the fabric for it is dyed and will hopefully come to me this week from Rose at FaeryFire Fabrics. Not that this is getting started anytime soon, of course...

I managed to get 3 squares done on Rainforest Crunch at the Tuesday night stitch-in at the IHOP, despite the place being in total chaos for National Pancake Day, so the place was mobbed by people looking for free food - and gypping all the servers out of tips to go with. No offense IHOP, but it's really kinda crappy to make all the servers just kill themselves for zero recompense. We've been going there for going on a year now, and of course, there were people there who probably won't step foot into the place again until next year when the event repeats - so whatever the goal is, I think you missed... Anyway, despite the stares from people who were waiting & waiting for a table, who didn't understand why we weren't leaving (uh, sorry, we're PAYING customers), I rocked through 3 more blocks - I am really enjoying this, if you can't tell :)

And then, Lady & Unicorn. Confetti, confetti, confetti - will it ever end? Holy cow! Literally, for 6 days, all I did was 1-2 stitches here, tie off, move, do 1-2 stitches, tie off, etc. Not until I ventured down onto page 11 on Saturday did I do more than 3 stitches of the same color - I do have some big areas coming up, if I can just get to them!!! You may not be able to tell much from the small pictures here in the post, so it might be easier to go to the album to see what I managed to do.
Here is last week's:

This week's:

And then a detail shot, showing all but a couple of the upper holes FILLED IN finally on this page 6:

BTW, the yellow thing that I started to extend down onto page 11 will be a lion some day :)

This week, I am probably not going to go to the stitch in - I need to get the $#%$&@% taxes done, now that all the W2s are reportedly at home. I also need to take a small break from L&U, just a couple of days; my thumb is realllyyyy sore from pushing the needle through all of that, and the skin on the side of my middle finger needs a day or two to toughen back up, before I spend a lot of time putting the eye of the needle through it repeatedly. I need to get a leather thimble to wear on that finger when I work on this thing - a band aid just isn't tough enough. So I think I am going to break out the old Iris Fairy tonight, and work on her for a bit, until my thumb ache goes away.

I also need to get outside this coming weekend - the yard has been completely taken over by weed, so the daffodils and tulips I have up can't be seen, really. Since it's been so warm & wet all winter, it's time to mow, already; not my job, thank god - I'd be forced to buy some goats... So enjoy a picture from LAST year :) Happy Stitching to everyone this week!

(yes, a picture with a ghost image :) )