Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Monday Update

Sunshine!! We've had sunshine for 3 whole days now!! So much better than the never-ending rain we were having before that :) Supposedly it's been getting up near 60, but the wind has definitely been COLD. But not bad for January, and nice & warm in the car in the sun!

We have another week to get our interface working at work - we had a couple of issues that were just too big to go live with, so we'll get those hammered out this week (one way or another), and turn it on this coming weekend. Then I can spend most of next week scrambling around, getting used to it working completely differently than what we've been using...

As for this week's stitching, there was a bit. First, my start on IC Fireweed is about 2/3 done, thanks to one night at the IHOP, a couple of chances to stitch at lunch, and our January PINS get together :) OUGHT to have it done this week, with luck. Here's a less-than-accurate, color-wise, photo - that dark color is actually eggplant purple, not black like it shows up. You know, purple :)

And then, the only other thing I worked on all week was Anne's London, still working on St. Paul's dome, and not actually to the dome yet, but almost :) Wow, LOTS of neutral colors on a neutral background - when I finally get to the blues, I may not know what to do with all that color:

And after working on this again this week, with 1 strand over-2 on the 35ct linen, it makes that BIG TG NYC piece that I saw at the EGA Exhibit last weekend look kind of odd in comparison; this piece is so fine, but whoever did the NYC piece at the exhibit must have gotten all the DMCs worked out for the threads, and bought enough to do it on 14ct, using 2 strands. Which is why I didn't recognize it as a TG right away - too big & blocky looking compared to the ones I have worked on linen...

As for this coming week - keep on on both of these pieces - Fireweed ought to be done this week, and hopefully I can get the dome done this week, since Tuscany would really like to get started - as would Rainforest Crunch, which MIGHT jam itself into the travel bag ahead of Florin & Guilder :) Who knows??? Happy Stitching this week to everyone!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waterlogged Ink Circles - an Update

Waterlogged, as in, will it EVER stop raining? Okay, I shouldn't complain, what with the rain deficit we had again this past year, and the fact that this time last year, we were still talking about the snowpocalypse. But wow, it really just hasn't stopped for days, and Saturday, when a few of us headed to Callaway Gardens for an exhibit put on by the EGA, the storms that came through were absolutely horrendous! I have no idea how much rain we got Saturday, but I can tell you, I drove through ALL of it, and parts of I-85 were a complete white-out from torrential rain. Not to mention the lightning that was breaking all around us. And also, rumor has it there were also a couple of tornadoes spotted down by Callaway, and some people at the school & exhibit were forced out of rooms and into the halls, but no one said anything to us, whatever room we were in at the time. Hmmm....

So 3 of us, Kris, Diane and I, headed to Callaway, despite the weather, and after a very tense 2 hour & 15 minute drive, most of which was done fairly blindly, we arrived. As I expected, no pictures were allowed of the exhibit, so you'll just have to take my word for how amazing nearly every piece was. We were told pictures were posted on FB - but I don't know by who, because I couldn't find them. At any rate, there were some AMAZING canvas pieces - two on black, with dragons, wizards, and castles, done with gold and other fibers, were immediate stand outs, as was a neutral-on-neutral piece that had black suede matting around it that I voted as my favorite :) There were not nearly as many pieces of cross stitch as I had hoped - I get the distinct impression (or maybe confirmation of my suspicions) that the EGA still thinks of XS as the red-headed step child of the needlework world; now I really wonder what they would have thought of my MTM if I had gotten it entered? Though, even after seeing everything there, I am still not sure what class I would have been correct to enter that in - counted cross stitch, or counted thread, since there ARE specialty stitches in it?

One of the great pieces of cross stitch that WAS there, was a piece that had NYC landmarks - one of the bridges, what I assume was St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Statue of Liberty, a firehouse. And the Twin Towers were in the background, only their outlines done in grey. It was a great piece, absolutely huge - had to have been 2 1/2-3' tall, probably 18" wide, without the frame.

There were a LOT of beaded pieces there - jewelry, beaded bags, dimensional beaded art. I was surprised there was that much, I wasn't aware that bead weaving fell under EGA interests at all. The Best In Show was a beaded piece, with a story behind it of the artist's Scottish heritage, a tartan done in beads, with other Scottish elements included in the piece. No point in trying to describe it - without a picture, it just wouldn't translate well. Certainly well beyond my meager beading abilities....

There was also a biscornu tree, which was a pretty clever idea to display those - all sizes, from tiny quarter-sized ones, to ones as big as grapefruit. Again, I wish I had pictures available :(

We all did some shopping there, too - they had a boutique that had a LOT of fibers I had either never heard of, or had definitely never seen before, as well as piles of painted canvases, and lots of counted canvas charts, which I was forced to choose one from :) Diane & I both got a From Nancy's Needle chart, though neither one could be fully kitted from the available fibers, but we're both close. And Kris got a small canvas and picked out some gorgeous blue threads for it. I did have the book for Nova in my hand for a moment - but I regained my sanity and put it back :) I could have completely lost my mind in the book store they had, too - they had 3-4 books on Temari alone that I would have liked to have acquired - because I need yet another needle-related addiction, you know...

We even went into one of the classrooms of the school - we were all gawking in one of the windows, and the instructor, Carol Lake, waved us in, and told us a little bit about the wonderful piece she had brought for her class, and how everyone had chosen different colorways for it. The yellow one that one of the ladies was doing just drew my eye immediately - and I don't DO yellow; it was gorgeous! One of these days, I'll get to go do something like that!

The weather gave us a brief respite as we were ready to go - so we drove a bit further south to the Callaway Country Store, where we did a little more shopping (I scored pepper jelly & salsa, of course). THERE I finally took a picture :) Then we headed back, and were lucky to finally see blue skies again as we got back into civilization, though it was still cloudy up by home when we got there (after a brief detour to JoAnns in search of DMC perle, which they didn't have). But at least it was DRY for 90% of the trip back, and no one had to drag us out of a ditch, because it was pretty hairy going down. My hands STILL hurt from gripping the steering wheel so hard....

So onto the Ink Circles portion of this update, since there were TWO Ink Circle starts this week, not just one :)

First, the start on my Growth Rings, in BEADS :) Yeah, not the fastest process in the world, but I really do enjoy it, and though I KNOW this won't be done this year, I will enjoy every single bead I put on it, I know. Here's what it looked like about 45 minutes in:

And here's where it was last night, after a busy week and not as much time on it as I had anticipated:

I am sorry to put this up this week - but I have other things to get to, as well, so away it goes.

And before I get to the other start, I have a finish - Yellow Santa was darn close to done when I left the IHOP on Tuesday, so he got some attention during lunch on Wednesday & Thursday, and a quick finish & embellishment on Thursday night, and viola, he's done! I WILL make the gingerbread man stay UPRIGHT when I do the final finishing :)

Here he is, pictured next to the larger Red Santa (14ct, 18ct, and the Blue one will be on 22ct):

So on Friday afternoon, during a conference call, I started Fireweed :) LOVE Carrie's silks! And I haven't even gotten to the purple one yet :) Most. Productive. Call. EVER.

As a last item, I thought I'd throw in a little stash report; the items I bought at the exhibit on Saturday were joined last week by my PTP Mini Sampling of the Month for January, which just so happened to include that great purple that I want for Sparkly Hummingbird, if Rose at Faery Fire can re-create that on Jobelan. And then, Cecilia's had 40% off the remaining stock of Primitive Needle; it seems Lisa's family has decided to not continue offering her designs, so I picked up a couple of small pieces, both of which came with the fabric and inside little bags - cute little kits.

This week, hopefully a chance to dry out, though we are getting pounded again today, and there were tornadoes reported in Alabama last night and this morning - but they still say there'll be sun tomorrow, so we'll see. Since I have put Growth Rings away, I will get out Anne's London, and work on that dome. As soon as I get that done, it will get sent west, and Tuscany will finally come out for its start. I do have to say that, after seeing all the canvas work at the exhibit, Rainforest Crunch is realllyyyy yelling at me, too - it's companion was there :) I am planning to take Fireweed to the IHOP Tuesday night, and we also have our monthly PINS gathering this coming weekend! Of course, we are also turning on a new piece of software at work this coming weekend, with any luck, so this week will consist of lots of testing, gnashing of teeth, and pulling of hair, as we work out the last bugs - and hopefully NOT discover any new ones! I will be glad to get this DONE - it's been a long time coming....

On that note, Happy Stitching to everyone!

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day - an Update

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - a day that last year, created controversy when several school systems wanted to use it to make up some time from the Snowpocalypse (which I think Dr. King would have agreed with). But since it's one of those holidays that doesn't really come up on my radar, the 14 yo had to get up this morning. Only as I was getting dressed did it occur to me that he probably has a 3-day weekend, since Miss Donna posted something on FB Friday about having a 3-day... SO guess who was playing WoW at 7:00 a.m.? Gee, not even a 12-hour break since he got off of there. Whatever. Time restriction goes back into effect TOMORROW then, I guess.

So, onto the stitching bits...

I got to go to the Tuesday night at the IHOP last week, finally, after finally getting over The Crud. I worked on my Yellow Santa, who is nearing completion. Hopefully this week I can get the white & grey trim on the bottom half, if not done, close. Here he is so far:

And the rest of the week, I slaved away on Secret Victorian Garden - man is Part 2 just ginormous!! Can I say I am glad I won't see that Honeydew Caron again for a while? LOL I also got roughly 1/2 of Part 3 done, stitching wise - there are a LOT of beads in parts 2 & 3 that will wait until the end. But I needed a break between sections of the Honeydew, so broke out the purple metallic for the 4 boxes the houses will sit on. Then I finished Part 2, and started on the flower stems & leaves in Part 3, and then did part of the flowers. Here's the overall:

And then a close up of the bottom right corner, which kind of shows how the DD blue Mountains thread used for the "comb" flowers & the Jessica's kind of tends to disappear when I'm not on the purple part of the strand:

I hated to stop midway though a part, but I figure it'll be easy enough to pick it up there, and give me a quick finish to that part before moving onto Part 4, next time it comes out :)

So, as that implies, I have put SVG away, and tonight, I start Ink Circles' Growth Rings, in BEADS :) I haven't made my industrial Tacky BoB yet - I think I'll use my regular old one until it just hasn't got any stick left to it, and then pitch it. We'll see how long I am able to work on a solidly-beaded piece - who knows if London might make an appearance this week? I do need to get that out, too, as I want to have that dome done and on it's way home to Texas before I get Tuscany out to start. I am also thinking, when I feel I've reached a stopping point on Tuscany, that the rest of February (assuming Tuscany is being working on into Feb) will be devoted to giving L&U some much needed attention. I cannot believe I didn't touch it more than a few hours for the entire year last year :( Throwing out my timed rotation, while beneficial in some ways, definitely did not help that one.

Saturday, a few of us in the local group are heading down south to Callaway Gardens, where they host a needlework school every January. The local chapter of the EGA, the Dogwood Chapter in Atlanta, is hosting an exhibit and a boutique. I was going to enter MTM and take it down, but between being sick before the entry deadline, and not relishing the thought of making the 130 mile trip (one way) 3 TIMES over 12 days, I decided to just go check it out this year, and see what I see in preparation for next year... I am taking the camera, of course, so if I can take photos, I will report back next week :)

Also, if you are a member of The Stitcher's Village, Tracy Horner, the genius behind Ink Circles, will be hosting a live chat on Saturday, 1/28, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern; if you can, please stop by and say Hi! Of course, I'll have to try to remember, since I ma not often on the computer at night on the weekends...

As a side note, New Fish croaked. And was replaced. And New Fish #2 has ALSO croaked. So I am wondering if the bottle of water treatment that I just got is bad - it's the only thing in common between those 2 fish. May have to go get a new one before I change the water in the sole survivor's tank. Dammit - the replacement was REALLY cool - deep red bordering on black, and probably the biggest betta I have ever had :(

That's the news from here - Happy Stitching this week to everyone!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Catching Up to the New Year - an Update

Yes, I got a little bit behind with the updates here the last few weeks, mainly due to the fact that, for the 2nd year in a row, I was sick over the whole holiday season. Fortunately, this time it wasn't the flu, just a virus that had my throat aching like strep but wasn't, and then, when I thought it was just about gone, turned into a sinus infection that had me out for the count for a couple of days before I could get in to the doc. I haven't had one of those in at least a dozen years - I like them less now than I did the last time I had one... Good ol' amoxicillan 875 to the rescue! So as I try to recap the last few weeks, I'm giving you fair warning - this might be long :)

Christmas was had, and I think by all accounts, it was a good one; DH has new Chelsea FC gear, the boys got a pile of new clothes, and they all got TOMS shoes, and I got a new CAMERA - the Canon Rebel I've wanted for EVER!!!

All in all, a good day....

I also met my last goal for the year, and finished Tree of Stitches on Christmas night. In hindsight, the threads I chose are a bit too dark to really show off the different stitches, and I should have done Lester & Horace (the owl & bunny) in something darker - and still might, if it's still bugging me when I get around to doing something with this. Anyway, it was done:

So the week between Christmas & New Year's, I had off - and was sick, though I was feeling much better by that Thursday the 29th, when a few of us ran over to Marietta to go to Abcedarius :) Much ewwwing and ahhhing was done, and stash was bought, some I needed (PTB for Sparkly Hummingbird) and much I didn't :)

As I couldn't decide what WIP to work on that week, I just decided to go ahead & get a jump on my January Startapalooza - and out came Secret Victorian Garden on the 27th :) I had Part 1, minus the beads, done by that Thursday or Friday (it's been too long, I forget when now):

All those outlined blocks will have a Cantaloupe bicone in it at the end :)

New Year's came & went, quieter than usual, as no one did fireworks or anything. Fine with me, it's not really my thing. I did manage to remember to grab a shot of my ort jar that I started on 1 October - this is from then until December 31, which includes all the orts from the finishing frenzy I've managed the last couple of months:

I moved onto Part 2 of SVG, and this is the progress on January 1st, 2012:

And then the progress as of last night - getting closer, will have this part done this week:

The question is - do I do Part 3, which is filling in some section of Part 2 (though a lot of the blanks are beads, and I will save these to the end, even though I did them for Part 1 - 2 is just too big, too many) and some mostly-bead border, or go ahead and move on to the next new start, IC Growth Rings? I also need to get some more time in on Anne's London - I want to finish the dome on St. Paul's before sending it back home. I guess I'll just wait & see what I see when I get there...

In other news, I made a kid cry the other day. We wanted to get another betta, so off to Petsmart we went. They had ONE that wasn't a female and looked like a male; just the boring, no-fin ones were left. So, since he was turquoise, it was a pretty good choice, but I wanted to make sure there weren't any somewhere else in the store, so we left him on the shelf and walked back past the other fish tanks. Not finding any, I came back and picked up the one I'd seen. As I'm walking to the register, a kid comes out of aisle, and lets out a wail - I took his fish. Well, I was already putting it on the conveyor, and the mom I guess smoothed it over right away by putting another one in his hand. Crisis averted, I think. So now we have 2 - but the new one isn't acting quite right - he likes to get UNDER the rocks in his bowl? Not sure how long he's going to last, but here are the two of them flaring at each other from their separate bowls, taken with the Canon, of course :)

And with that, I think I am caught up. Hard to tell, there's so much of nothing that's gone on the last few weeks :) Happy stitching to everyone, and so far, 2012 isn't looking too bad!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Out With the Old, In With 2012

I had to go back and re-read my post from a year ago, and I guess have to conclude that 2011 ended in a draw. From my reckoning, every achievement or success was matched by a loss or setback; no glaring failures, so I am probably further ahead than I started a year ago, it's just a bit hard to balance with apples to oranges, so to speak.

Lifewise, it was a strange year. I lost my dad, but in the end, that meant more to me than it did to him, leaving me hovering between indifferent and resentful. My oldest graduated from high school, and now the trick is to find the path he was meant to be on, which is considerably more complicated now than it ever seemed to be when I was there. Work is still work, I win some, I lose some, and it's up for debate whether I am any greyer than I was a year ago :) It's true that some days, the longer I'm there the less I know - but it beats the alternative, no?

Stitchwise, I think it was a pretty decent year; I finished TWO Chatelaines, as well as quite a few other things, including Tanglewood and Murky Manor and Starry Nights, all the things I SAID I would finish. Some of the other things I wanted to finish, or get close to done, didn't fare so well - Mary Wigham & Halloween Quaker, for instance - and others never saw the light of day (L&U - aside from about 3 days back at the beginning of the year). And then of course, several impulse starts that did get done - those silly Roosters, MH Halloween, Birds of a Feather, Tree of Stitches. AND I got to work on a few great projects for my friends during the year, as well.

I went to the fair again, and did well. I have my favorite project to date, MTM, hanging on the wall to look at every day. And I have grand plans for the coming year, as 2011 has inspired me to do more in 2012. The writing also continues, though took a back seat to the fall's Finish-itis.

So, for the coming year, a list similar to last year's, with these changes:
- START Secret Victorian Garden (done, on 12/27, actually), Tuscany Town Mandala, and Growth Rings in beads :) Would also like to start Sleepy Hollow and one of the other Joan Elliott fairies of goddesses, upon completion of a like piece.
- Progress on L&U, Celtic Banner, Chat Noir, Noah's Sub, World Tree and EGS when they come home.
- Would LIKE to finish Mary Wigham this year, and Halloween Quaker, too, as well as Iris Fairy.
- Do some more jewelry pieces; I have a lot of fluorite sitting here, waiting for the spark of inspiration to strike :)
- Learn how to use my new toy, a Canon Rebel DSLR. I didn't take nearly the number of pictures in 2011 that I did the year before, which I hope to remedy this year.
- LOTS of books to read - and no more wasting 6 months on a single one like I did on War & Peace...

I can't say I'm sorry to see 2011 go. It was a lot of work and stress. With any luck, this year will be smoother. I won't expect it to be quieter - the number of 4-legged kids around here makes that impossible. But a bit less chaos can only be a good thing, for everyone. So, with that, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and peace, love, and stitches in 2012!