30 June 2008

Too hot to stitch

It was rottenly hot this weekend. The heat, along with my lack of caffeine and the fact that when it's hot and bright, I squint, gave me a monster migraine, and the thought of making little x's was not a pleasant one. And I realize, I've been stitching like a demon lately, and not getting a heck of a lot of pleasure out of it (I'm ashamed to admit that, but that's pretty much how it is when the fair gets close), so I thought I would take most of the weekend off.

Once my migraine went away, it was a pretty enjoyable weekend. SO and I ran errands on Saturday morning. I got a new brand of dog food for the twins. Chancey seems to like it OK, though, not flipping out over it. That's OK, she's way too fat, and I'm worried about her, so if she is not bouncing to eat breakfast, she'll lose weight. Robbie is, of course, loving it because I gave it to him (we shared a Rita's raspberry gelati last night, I never knew dogs liked raspberries, but he loves italian ice, whoda thunk?). So we'll see how it goes. I know they have to lose weight; they'll be 9 in a month and, while that's still young for a Schipperke, I want them to move into their senior years fit and healthy, and I suspect a better diet can speed that up. We also went to Walmart--not the best idea for a Saturday morning right around when the Social Security checks go out, but we needed stuff, and Walmart was closer than Target. I bought a flag for the house (it was $60 for that flag, so it better get used!), and then went over to the wholesale club for lower priced gas (3.94 a gallon vs. 4.01), a lifetime supply of aluminum foil, and some Skittles.

And then we started watching movies. We watched a goodly portion of both Charlie and the Chocolate Factories. I am finally going to get my teeth glamourfied, whitened and straightened, and I advised SO that I was going to tell the dentist that I absolutely did not want my teeth to look like Johnny Depp's. I started making that face he makes, it looks a lot like that Fireman Bill character Jim Carrey made up for In Living Color; SO pretty much agreed that was not a good look for me. And we watched Outsiders. SO loves that movie. I was surprised, as he is not the kind of person I picture as an Outsiders fan, but he watched. Movie still holds up; all the stars in there are still as yummy as they were when I saw it as a 12 year old. Except we can't understand why Stevie Wonder sings the theme song. A little wierd. But they always cut out a lot of the parts with Darry in them when it's on TV, and I LOVE Patrick Swayze. There's a whole part where they go to court, and that is like the bulk of his lines.

And then we watched Silence of the Lambs. That was a good one. Not one of my favorite movies, but pretty good.

And I just didn't stitch. I stitched last night a little bit, more so my elephant is finished faster than because I wanted to stitch. I'll get it done. But I think I am gonna look through my stash and find me something that excites me and work on that for a while after Friday. I was looking at my Hummingbird Trellis afghan last week, and I need to put some stitches in that.

26 June 2008

Update on my pulltoys

Buoyed up by my own grandiose self-back patting yesterday, I decided at lunch to head to Michaels to see what they had in the way of supplies to make my pulltoys happen. My coworker Gloria (Gloriajeananne to all those who sit in our row) came along to provide moral support and to look for silk flowers.

Michaels pretty much had everything I needed. It took a little bit of looking though. But, so we're all clear, they don't carry wagon wheels. Don't ask me why I thought they did, but I spent 5 minutes looking for wagon wheels before I realized they didn't have them. They did have little plain wheels with holes drilled in them, though, so that was awesome. I decided that, since this is a decoration, and a fair entry, it has to be decently sturdy. I hate to trash our local fair staff, but they haven't taught all the volunteer kids to be respectful of other people's stuff (hence the reason I had to had to raise my voice last year at the girl who was intent on sticking a t-pin directly into the stitching of a framed piece), and some of my stuff came back a little damaged, so things have to be built Ford tough. So I decided that it would not be acceptable to simple glue the wheels on, they needed an axle that can be pushed through, and glued. It will look better, trust me. So I found some dowels.

A side note: Every stitcher needs to keep dowels and an Exacto knife in her stash. If you have dowels, an exacto knife and a glue gun at the ready, you can pretty much accomplish ANYTHING with stuff you have lying around the house. You can make wall hangings, ornaments, and, apparently, pull toys. And, since wall hangings are an inexpensive way to finish and have your walls look good, anything that makes them easier to do is a great thing. I bought 10 for 99 cents, a bargain!

So I took my little bag o' goodies back to the office and started playing. I realized right away I had bought the dowels too big, but it was OK. Because I had the Exacto knife, see? So I was sitting at my desk, waiting for a phone call, whittling the end of my dowel so it fit in the hole. I realize that it wasn't the best idea to do that at work, but no one said anything. I think they just opt to leave me alone sometimes. And it fit. Pretty tight. I am going to secure it with glue though. Not hot glue, though. That really is a kinda messy way to put projects together. It's OK for fabric, but not the best otherwise.

I am enlisting my brother's help in putting together the platform. He's an experienced modelmaker, and very detail-oriented, plus he has power tools and works with computers, so he can probably figure out how to get it to attach the safest and strongest way. I am debating about using pins with superglue to hold the stitched part down, but he might be able to do a little better. I thought if I got gold pins and put them on the bottom, that would look pretty.

Now I did come up with an idea to edge the platform. I was driving home last night in particularly heavy traffic, and realized that I can't paint foamcore, at least not the foamy part in the center. It'll just suck the paint in, glop up and look like crap. WAY easier to buy very thin ribbon and pin it along the edge of the platform with gold pins, then attach an eyehook to put the pull part in.

So we're getting there. I did finish the donkey last night. The dogs declared the side porch a cat-free zone, and we sat out there. I stitched and they barked at the neighbors, and the cats when they came to the door and meowed to be let out. I started the elephant while watching GhostHunters, but I just have his blanket done. I'll get him finished though pretty quick, he's smaller than the donkey.

25 June 2008

I learned something today.

Pumpkin asked why the donkey and the elephant are the symbols of our political parties. I had no clue, but I love collecting me some donkeys, LOL. So I went looking today and found this:

What is the origin of the donkey and the elephant as the symbols of the Republican and Democratic Party? How did the parties select these mascots?

They didn't pick them - they got stuck with them! Their origin as symbols for the parties is attributed to a political cartoonist, Thomas Nast, who used the donkey and the elephant in cartoons drawn for Harper's Weekly in the 1870's. Why Nast chose the donkey and the elephant is a pretty complicated story, and requires some understanding of the politics of that day.

Nast combined these two symbols together for the first time in an 1874 cartoon for Harper's Weekly, called "The Third Term Panic." He drew a donkey disguised in a lion-skin, trying to scare away the animals in a forest. One of the animals frightened by the donkey's roar was an elephant - a symbol for Republican voters, who were abandoning President Ulysses S. Grant's quest for a 3rd term, and in Nast's view, were falling into a trap set by the Democrats. You can see the original Nast cartoon on this website:

The cartoon was based on a scandal of the day - a hoax which had been foisted on its readers by the New York Herald newspaper. The Herald ran a deliberately false story about animals breaking out of the zoo and foraging for food throughout Central Park. Around the same time, the Herald was running a series of editorials against a 3rd term for President Ulysses S. Grant, calling the possibility "Caesarism." In Nast's cartoon, the donkey disguised as a lion is roaring out "Caesarism," and scaring away the elephant. The donkey was a stand-in for the Democratic-leaning Herald newspaper, and the elephant stood for the Republican party.

Other cartoonists of the time picked up the idea of the timid elephant representing Republicans, and that symbol for the party became widely recognized and accepted by the general public. Nast's cartoon showing a duplicitous donkey attacking a weak-minded elephant, became a handy symbol for other cartoonists wanting to represent Democrats attacking Republicans.

Popular recognition of the image overrode the party's own wishes - the Democratic party has never officially adopted the donkey as its emblem, but came to accept the reality that the symbol had stuck. The donkey had been used earlier in our history as a political symbol. In the 1828 presidential campaign, Andrew Jackson was labeled a "jackass," for his populist views. Jackson proudly seized the label and began using donkeys on his campaign posters. During his presidency, cartoonists sometimes used the donkey to illustrate President Jackson's stubbornness on certain issues. After Jackson, the donkey symbol largely faded, only to be revived again by Thomas Nast in his 1870's cartoons.

Over time, Republicans came to view the elephant emblem as a sign of strength and intelligence, and officially adopted it as their emblem, while their opponents portrayed it as a timid and clumsy behemoth. Democrats seized the "jackass" label, and transformed it into a clever and courageous donkey. As is still true today, it's all in the spin!

The best ideas come to me in the car

I was driving to Rita's after work last night for a gelati (the only place that makes better gelatis is the Polish water ice place in Ocean City, and that's 3 hours from here and I needed a gelati yesterday), when I came up with what I think is a pretty cool finishing idea for my donkey and my elephant. I am going to make them pulltoys! Not real working pulltoys, that's too hard to make, but wouldn't they be darling as standup pulltoys? I decided not to stitch the wheel part of the design, and I can mount them on foamcore, back that with something a little stiffer and sturdier and see if I can find wheels. I think it would work. I could even make a little pull with floss. That would be awesome!

And that wasn't my only bright idea of the day. One of my favorite songs or recorded pieces is Baz Luhrman's "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen." It came out right after I graduated college, and I can not begin to tell you how that recording has affected me. It's even up at the top of my blog, LOL. Anyway, so I got to thinking last night. I think it would be kinda cool to stitch the lyrics (words, whatever, it was a newspaper column prior to being a song, anyway, not the point, and make a quilt. Not a traditional quilt, but as a crazy quilt arrangement, with several different counts of aida and scatter the phrases around. Does that sound silly? I don't think so.

24 June 2008

My afghan is getting finished

I got an email from the finisher that my Margaret Sherry Christmas afghan is gonna be finished today or tomorrow. Woo hoo! I've been waiting for that email! I completed the stitching last year, but I wanted a backing on it, so it wasn't ready for the fair last year. Hopefully, I'll have it for this year.

I got an order I placed with 123 last night. Nothing huge. Some floss I needed for SamSarah's, "It's More Fun to Dance than to Watch," fabric for Blue Ribbon Designs Good Karma, and some Diane Graebner charts. I am kinda done spending money on stitchy stuff for now, I think. I've been spending too much lately, and gas is so high, and I really do have so many lovely things to stitch that it's kinda stupid to keep buying, unless it's something that makes my heart sing. But my LNS is having a sale July 4th weekend, 10% off if you wear red, white, or blue, so I may take advantage of that--10% off is 10% off.

23 June 2008

And another new start

I started the Donkey from Prairie Schooler's American Primitive this morning. It was my late day at work, so I had time to sit and stitch this morning, while watching the Golden Girls--one of my chief guilty pleasures in life. It's a pretty simple stitch. I want to do both it and the elephant as matching little pillows, kinda like
Native Texan did. Isn't her elephant sweet? I also want to do the Uncle Sam and angel from the same leaflet, but I think I will do those over 1.

So far I am liking stitching this piece. It's surprising to me that I have a lot of Prairie Schoolers, but don't really ever stitch that many, I think I've finished 2. (cringes), but I am trying to get some more done. They are so simple and pretty. It really is a joy to take plain DMC and stitch on plain fabric and make a thing of beauty. I may just end up stitching a lot more simple things like this this summer, but I don't know yet. Don't hold me to that. I have so many things to finish. I did pick up my cat afghan and thought about working on it, but I promised that I would only stitch patriotic things, and I only have 10 days or so til July 4th, so I can wait a week.

22 June 2008

Another finish!

I finished LHN Stars and Stripes last night. I think I am going to finish it as something pretty simple, probably as a cube. That is, if I can find a cube that this will fit. I do have quite a bit of patriotic fabric in my stash, so at least I have that.

I don't know what I want to work on now. I have my patriotic sheep to work on, but I found a bag of un-sorted stash on Friday (and I am just as shocked as the rest of y'all, I thought I had this stuff organized), and there are some goodies in there. I found a Sue Hillis Santa, and a pretty little thing of pine branches. But I think I am going to stick to my original plan to only stitch patriotic stuff.

Friday night was the Summer Solstice. I am not pagan, but there is something about the longest day of the year that speaks to me. I always try to pay attention to it and to mark the day, and somehow it slips away or it just doesn't work too well. But this year, I made a plan and I stuck to it that I would sit outside til the sun went down. And to make the day more memorable, I decided that I would dye some floss and pass the time. And I did.

I do have to say I am not so pleased with these colors. I am trying to dye a deep mauve, and plummy brown combo for my friend Shannon, and it's not working right. It can't be that hard, dang it. I'll get it figured out. One of these days. I did get a turquoise greeny combo that I am giving to another friend who likes bright. Frankly, I am very impressed with the turquoise dye I am using. It's very cheerful and a little makes a good usable color.

I did do a little tone on tone color with pink and got a really cool combo.

Oh, and I have an idea for a color combination. I saw the most beautiful planting of flowers in the median yesterday on my way to go pick cherries (whole nother story, that is--I picked 17 pounds of white cherries in an hour, oh, but they were good). It was made of gorgeous velvet-y purple, hot pink, coral, pale pink and white snapdragons (or some flowers like that). You wouldn't think those would be so pretty together, but it was so stunning as to take your breath away. Wouldn't that be an awesome floss color?

20 June 2008

Friday Foolishness: All about Phar Lap

Remember how, a couple months ago, I told y'all how my favorite Breyer horse mold was Phar Lap? So I thought I would include this as my Friday Foolishness post of the day:

Phar Lap, whose model was the very image of the horse I always wanted, but never had, was poisoned. They did testing. Some jerk poisoned him with arsenic.

Interesting. At least now people know.

19 June 2008

Didn't stitch must yesterday

I thought I would get quite a bit of stitching done on my Stars and Stripes, but I went home yesterday with a migraine. It was probably the worst one I've had in a long time. I couldn't see straight for one thing, and I was nauseous, but didn't want to throw up because it would have made my head hurt more. I didn't feel like I was capable of giving any manner of good customer service in that state. So I ended up going home, lying in bed with the cats and Robbie, and then taking a nap. I did drink a couple sips of Coke, but I don't think I really fell off my no-soda wagon, because it was only a couple sips for medicinal purposes, and I didn't really enjoy it that much because I was in pain, I felt bad about sipping it, and, really, I prefer iced tea now. What was all the hype about? I spent the rest of the night staring at the hundred-calorie can of Coke, thinking I ought to drink it, but I didn't want to.

I did start feeling well enough by the time Ghost Hunters came on to watch that and stitch. I don't have much left to do on S&S, just the border and the little part at the bottom. I didn't get it done though. But that's OK. I can probably finish tonight, at least I can see straight today.

17 June 2008

Stash Nirvana

All these years of buying stash I didn't need in quantities that made me blush finally paid off.

I am on my patriotic sheep stitching kick right now. I've noticed there are a lot of patriotic sheep charts out there. I don't know what about sheep blends so well with American pride. It's not our national symbol, we probably have more cattle farmers than sheepfarmers, and the idea of wearing wool on the 4th of July is enough to make my skin crawl (though, for the record, I did learn that, during the battle of Gettysburg, which I have always thought would have been just straight Hell because it took place the first 3 days of July and July in the Mid-Atlantic is all about sweat and mosquitos and one would have hated to be running through a field in wool on a hot day, it wasn't that hot. It was in the 80s--whoda thunk?), but there are lots of sheeps wearing stars and stripes. And since the 4th is my favorite holiday, and I love sheep, they are perfect for me! So I have been making plans to stitch them. In the next three weeks, I want to finish:

Stars and Stripes by Little House Needleworks
Delivering Summer by Homespun Elegance
and the new one by Midsummer Night Designs. I splurged and bought the CC for that one.

Anyway, I was looking at Delivering Summer the other night and decided to roll the dice with my floss stash. I have a piece of Heatherfield left over from Stars and Stripes that will probably work really well, but floss is always an iffy proposition. I don't have A LOT of hand-dyeds, and horde the ones I have, LOL. Usually I just switch out to DMC, but Homespun Elegance has such funky conversions, it's better to just use the Weeks. So I looked, and held my breath, hoping I had them all . . .AND I DID. Woo hoo! So I can do my sheep. Buttons are another story, but I won't be getting it framed for a little bit, so it's OK. But WOO HOO!

16 June 2008

I am going to share my floss-dyeing secrets

I normally would not do this, but y'all asked how I dyed my floss. I'll share, because there really isn't a big secret to it. I took a class at CATS 2 years ago, taught by Catherine Jordan. She's an excellent teacher, and I really learned.

To dye floss, you need:

1 pair of rubber gloves--trust me, you will never come up with an adequate explanation of why your fingers are purple, so it's not even worth getting em purple in the first place.

clothes you don't mind getting color on.

dye--any dye will work, but, for the sake of my sanity, use a dye meant for fabric. This excludes Easter egg dye, and Kool-aid. Easter egg dye just doesn't set right, and Kool-aid just betrays my sense of artistry. I know, people use these to dye, but come on, Kool-aid? Rit is cheap. I've been using it for 6 years. It's worth your time and it's worth the money.

detergent--dish soap is a good thing.

white vinegar--don't use apple cider, don't use fancy stuff. Cheap-o white vinegar works just fine.

hot water--helps dissolve the dye and hot water removes the chemical they add to white floss to keep it shiny.

plastic cups

plastic wrap

last but not least, your floss. This is a good way to use up floss you don't want, bought too much of, or just don't want to wind on a bobbin yet. Try to keep it with the pale colors. White can be iffy, so just know that those first few skeins are practice skeins if you do white.


1. Cover your work area with plastic, or else dye outside and hope it doesn't stain your walkway, driveway or patio furniture.

2. Put out one plastic cup for every color you intend to do. Fill the plastic cup halfway with hot water. Add a small amount of vinegar, and a drop of dish detergent. The detergent opens the fibers of the floss, allowing it to accept the dye. When I dyed without using it, the floss didn't take the dye as well. Stir it up, and then add a small amount of your chosen dye powder. We are talking a tiny amount, but more than a few grains. There is a fine line between thrifty and cheap.

3. By now, you'll have laid out your floss. You will want to take the paper or plastic labels off. RESIST THAT urge. You'll need a handle! And this helps guide the dyeing process. Think before you start how your base color affects the final color. Usually, it's great, sometimes not so great. I've been dying fabric for a long time, and you can get some AMAZING colors just by using a creamier fabric--the most beautiful fabric I ever dyed was a yellow-ey white, but when I dyed it blue, it turned this buttery-blue color that is just amazing and that pictures just don't do justice. I fully plan on dyeing that color again, but it was a happy accident. I didn't intend to get that color, but it was on sale, it took and a beautiful thing came out of it. But I have plenty of ugly pieces too.

4. Take your skein of floss by a label, dip it in the color you want. Stick it down about a quarter inch, pick it up so the dyed part is in the air, and twist it so the color runs down the skein. Move the label around and repeat the process around the skein. If you want to do more than one color on the skein, you can do that as well. Same process. One color will give you a mottled effect like GAST, more than that like a Weeks.

5. As you finish, place the completed skein on a piece of plastic wrap, and roll it one turn. As you add skeins, add it to the roll and keep rolling. When done, you will have something like a jelly roll or Ho-Ho snack cake.

6. If you have a rice steamer or vegetable steamer, heat it up (if it's metal like mine, put a paper towel down or your plastic wrap will melt onto the metal) place your jelly roll o' floss in there. If you don't, and you have a dishwasher, wait til the drying cycle, then stick your jelly roll in there. You want it in for 10 minutes.

7. Take it out of whatever you are steaming it in and let it sit for 1 hour. Then rinse in cold water. You want to rinse it until the water runs clear and the floss doesn't smell like vinegar. You want to make sure all the vinegar is out of the floss. Vinegar is an acid and will eventually eat your floss.

8. Let dry overnight.

9. Wind it on bobbins, go to town.

Just a note here at the end. If you've never done this before, be patient with yourself. It's supposed to be fun and you won't learn if you don't try.

The stocking is finished

See, over there on the side. It's done. No pix, cause the computer is on a trail ride in Pennsylvania, but I'll post before it goes to the finisher. I spent the greater part of Saturday finishing it. I hate beading, but for my SO, I'll do it.

I did decide that, after all that work, I wasn't stitching anything the rest of the day on Saturday. And I didn't. It was refreshing. I just sat and watched "Feasting on Asphalt" on the Food Network. I have to say, I don't like to watch Alton Brown's actual TV show, but I could watch a documentary on traveling the road and eating over and over. HMMMM, this could be why I am fat, especially since last week I was watching the hot dog documentary.

I did start LHN's Stars and Stripes yesterday. I had originally planned on putting this on a star-shaped box I had, but it's too big to fit, so I won't be doing that. My LNS had plenty of cute pre-made frames, so that won't be a problem. It's going pretty quick. I'm about half-way finished already, with about 6 hours work on it. Let me tell you, it's refreshing to have 7 colors to work with after having 70 for the stocking.

13 June 2008

Another update on my stocking

Almost there! So close I can taste the finish. I just have to finish his name, the backstitch in the toe and put the beads on and we're done. Annnnd, it only costs $25 or so to have this finished. Woo hoo. Come on and happy dance with me!

I took a lot of stuff over to be framed at the LNS today. Julie, they LOVED the Enchanted Fabrics for Sheep on the Meadow. We did a good job picking. I found two or three great pre-made frames at decent prices, so we're using those. The sheep are getting a worn beaded frame, that matched them, and my beautiful New Birth of Spring is getting a frame that feels like a tree branch. AND a pretty mat. It wasn't too expensive for all of them to get done, $450, but it's a once a year thing, so not too bad.

I did pick up a couple charts. I was inspired by Native Texan to do Belle Fleurs by JBW, but I am doing it in MY floss. Wow, that's a kinda cool thing to say, I am doing something in floss I did. HMMMM. I mostly kitted up some charts though. I am stitching ONLY patriotic things until the 4th of July, so wanted to get started.

And I thought I would put a photo of my hand-dyed flosses. These aren't the best pics of them, but remember it was just 4 colors.

12 June 2008

I am not supposed to get this thing finished

I worked on my little stocking yesterday, worked on it at lunch, worked at my part time job, got home and realized I DID NOT HAVE THE MAGAZINE. I left it at my part time job. CRAP! Fortunately, I had another copy of the same issue (a stupid purchase at the time, but boy, am I glad I bought it now.) So I was working away diligently last night.

Pack it all up to bring to work to work at lunch, get here, go to take the supplies out to look at them, and realize I DO NOT HAVE THE WIP. (Insert Halloween theme here). I don't think that I've ever gotten so nauseated so quickly. So, I go to get out of my seat and walk down to my car to see if it's in there. It's not. I checked the trash can to see if I hadn't thrown it out when I threw out a bag of litter. YALL, I DUG IN THE TRASH TO TRY TO FIND THAT STOCKING. Some woman who was walking by gave me a look like, "Great, I knew you 7th floor people were wierd with your constant casual days, your high percentage of tattooed employees and your Subway in the elevator, this just proves it," but I kept going. I was NOT losing my stocking, not when I've come SO FAR and am so close. (She got off at the floor where the company who does financial planning is--they're a little wierd themselves, but I guess the stock market makes people wierd.) It wasn't in there. So I came upstairs and called my mom at home. Remember when my ugly little turkeys misplaced themselves and I found them that night lying in the street? I just had a horrid vision of my beautiful stocking suffering the same fate, and one of my neighbors RUNNING IT OVER and RUINING all my hard work. So I called my mom. She had to go check and see if it was in the house.

Of course it was. I was so relieved. And the reason I forgot to grab it up was because I got caught up in explaining to my mother she has to make sure I have matching shoes on in the morning, since I ran out yesterday with a loafer on one foot and a deck shoe on the other one. And didn't realize it til I was at work. . . . How embarrassing.

Anyway, I see a long stitching session ahead. S'OK. I can't work on it til tonight, but I have LHN Hearts of America in my desk to work on. (I realize this is a sickness that I have kitted up projects stashed all around, but whatcha goin do?)

11 June 2008

Fun with overdyed threads

I told you how I was playing with my dyes the day we had no power and I didn't go into work til late (if I didn't, oops. I was playing with my dyes and some spare floss the day we had no power and I didn't go into work til late last Thursday.) I finally finished the process last night. (It shouldn't take that long, but I have been a little busy the last couple days and didn't get around to doing it til now) I steamed the floss to set the dye, then rinsed it. I didn't notice that it ran all over the paper towels I had it on, so that is pretty cool.

I only used 4 colors--I couldn't exactly spread my stuff out all over our front walk. Looking at these colors, it's amazing the difference the base color makes in the final product. I used a pale blue and a green on DMC 3072 and 754. On the pale grey, it's a beautiful bright blue and grey-ey green. Like Monet's Waterlilies, On the peach, the green stays pretty similar, but the blue turns into a beautiful slate-y blue that is just amazing. It's just soft and pastel, it made me think of lovely irises when I saw the finished skein. If I get this business going, that wil be in the line! I also have a pretty rosy grey base with peacock and green on it that is hazy, but it's pretty, soft country colors. But it just stuns me the HUGE difference that the base color makes. You would never imagine two colors could look so different! That is really the beauty of dyeing your own work; you get to create new colors, and the sweet part is, you never know what the color is going to turn out to be til it's dried, so you get some mystery!

I do know these aren't my best work. The ones I did at CATS were way more beautiful, but I'm trying. I think the next time I do it, I am gonna focus on doing skeins with more the same color. These are fun to play with but all the color changes aren't that practical to stitch with. There aren't a lot of pieces, unless it's doodles or monochrome sampler freebies, where it looks good to wildly change colors every 3 stitches. I like my skeins in the same color family--they look good. So we'll see.

10 June 2008

Almost done with the backstitch

I spent last night and this morning backstitching and my stocking looks fabulous. All that is left is a leetle bit of snow, part of the bird, SO's name, adding the beads and treasures, and backstitching. I should be able to get this done this week. I am so ready to have this finished--I was looking at charts last night with an envious sigh--but it's just a matter of getting it finished. I spent the drive in this morning trying to figure out what I could use for a backing. I know I want to go with a velvet, but it was a question of the color. I just decided to use ruby-red velvet, maybe that crushed velvet to make it a little easier to work with. Black would be too un-Christmassy, but ruby-red would be perfect, and would pick up the color of the ribbon on the wreath. I am not putting cording around it, though, and I am going to ask that it be cut to be a little bigger than the magazine calls for, in order to actually fit a stocking stuffer in there. I think if I do that, it'll be a pretty manly stocking that he'll like to use.

However, if anyone from Stoney Creek is looking for an idea of something to make a stocking, can y'all think about maybe a car stocking? You have the teddy bear/kitty cat crowd covered . . .

Oh, I forgot to blog about this. A couple weeks ago, I was checking my bank account and realized I had too much money in the account. There was a wierd deposit for $250 in there, and no way I worked out my financial situation yielded an explanation for this. So when I called the bank, they told me my part-time job had put it in as part of payroll. Well I only worked 4 hours there in that pay period, and, despite what I was told when I went into this field, the world of theatre ain't so lucrative that 4 hours of work is going to earn me $250. Soooo . . . I called work to see what was going on. Turns out someone moved a decimal point and I got paid for 40 hours. ACCCCK. I got to keep the money, I just work with no paycheck this month, which is fine with me. And, because I was honest I got a $50 gift card! Woo hoo! That is going for stash on Friday! I am pretty tickled to death about it, especially because, really, I wasn't doing anything special. It wasn't my money to not ask someone about. But I'll keep the card--this kinda pays back for all those times I was told if I just did good in high school I would get plenty of scholarship offers . . . and then didn't. It felt good to do the right thing.

09 June 2008

I wish I had known . . .

One of my co-workers at the theatre is going back to school in the fall and leaving the theatre. She majored in Studio Art in college. I found out Saturday that she works with fibers in her art and she loves needlework. CRAP! I could have told her about Woodlawn, or some of the quilt shows. I feel like such a dolt. I am giving her some blending filament to use in her work, but I wish I had known she liked cross stitch. I passed up a great opportunity to pass on the know . . . Darn it.

I didn't get a lot of stitching done this weekend. We were CRAZY busy all weekend. Work and a birthday party on Saturday and we went to Pennsylvania yesterday to go take my brother up to check on his classic car and take it to get the radiator flushed. I do have to say, as much as I love cross stitch, it's pretty darn fun to spend a hot June afternoon slamming around the backroads of Pennsylvania in a lime- green muscle car. I highly advocate it. SO seemed really impressed with the car, which I am glad about. My brother was pretty happy, and it was nice to see them communing over a vehicle. And my brother told my boyfriend he could drive it. SO does not know, but this is my brother's highest compliment. NO ONE CAN DRIVE THAT CAR and he trusts him with it. That floored me, but it makes sense; after all, SO does drive a high performance muscle car himself. He declined, but just because the position of the reverse was not in the usual place and he thought it might be a bad thing to mean to shift to first and go instead in reverse. That might be true . . .

I am going to try to get that stocking finished this week. It's gonna be so hectic. Work late tomorrow, work at the theatre on Wednesday, nail appointment Thursday. I'll be up til the wee hours on Friday morning stitching. But it will be done.

07 June 2008

Spilled the beans, but not the whole pot

I was working on my stocking last night, and my SO kept looking over and asking questions about it. I could tell he was really interested, and I think he knew something was up because I was really coy with my answers. I know how wierd it is to handle surprises and not tell someone what's going on, and it can make them mad. I almost told my high school friends to go to Hell because they were doing that thing where they shut up and looked at me with that deer in the headlight look every time I came around. I knew they were talking about me, and it was not the best time to be talking about me, but they were doing it because they were planning my surprise graduation party from high school. I felt like such a wench, and I didn't want SO to think that something was up, though, what I could be doing that involved stitching, I don't know. So I told him I was stitching something for him, but couldn't show it to him cause it was a surprise. He seemed OK with that.

I can see the finish on this one. I just have the little bird and the anchor and a little bit of snow left to finish. I am going to go get the fabric to get it finished this week, so it's ready to go.

06 June 2008

I have done 81 stupid things

Snagged this from Mindy's blog. In my defense, just because I make pictures from floss, I am not a saint. I am still laughing about the kicking a fish.

Level 1

(x) Smoked A Cigarette

(x) Smoked A Cigar

( ) Kissed A Member Of The Same Sex


Level 2

(x) Are / Been In Love

(x) Dumped Someone

(x) Been Fired

( ) Been In A Fist Fight


(What? No level 3?)

Level 4

(x) Had A Crush On An Older Person

(x) Skipped Class 

(x) Slept With A Co-worker

(x) Seen Someone / Something Die


Level 5

( ) Had / Have A Crush On One Of Your Facebook Friends

( ) Been To Paris

( ) Been To Spain

(x) Been On A Plane

( ) Thrown Up From Drinking

SO FAR: 10

Level 6

(x) Eaten Sushi

( ) Been Snowboarding

( ) Met Someone BECAUSE Of Myspace

( ) Been in a Mosh Pit

SO FAR: 11

Level 7

(x ) Been In An Abusive Relationship

(x) Taken Pain Killers

(x) Love/loved Someone Who You Can’t Have

( ) Laid On Your Back And Watched Cloud Shapes Go By

( ) Made A Snow Angel

SO FAR: 14

Level 8

(x) Had A Tea Party

( ) Flown A Kite

(x) Built A Sand Castle

( ) Gone mudding (offroading)

(x) Played Dress Up

SO FAR: 17

Level 9

(x) Jumped Into A Pile Of Leaves

(x) Gone Sledging

(x) Cheated While Playing A Game

(x) Been Lonely

(x) Fallen Asleep At Work / School

SO FAR: 22

Level 10

(x) Watched The Sun Set

( ) Felt An Earthquake

( ) Killed A Snake

SO FAR: 23

Level 11

(x) Been Tickled

(x) Been Robbed / Vandalized

(x) Been cheated on

(x) Been Misunderstood

SO FAR: 27

Level 12

(x) Won A Contest

( ) Been Suspended From School

(x) Had Detention

(x) Been In A Car / Motorcycle Accident

SO FAR: 30

Level 13

( ) Had / Have Braces

(x) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night

( ) Danced in the moonlight

SO FAR : 31

Level 14

(x) Hated The Way You Look

(x) Witnessed A Crime

( ) Pole Danced

(x) Questioned Your Heart

(x) Been obsessed with post-it-notes

SO FAR: 35

Level 15

(x) Squished Barefoot Through The Mud

(x) Been Lost

( ) Been To The Opposite Side Of The World

(x) Swam In The Ocean

(x) Felt Like You Were Dying

SO FAR: 39

Level 16

(x) Cried Yourself To Sleep

(x) Played Cops And Robbers

( ) Recently Colored With Crayons / Colored Pencils / Markers

(x) Sang Karaoke

(x) Paid For A Meal With Only Coins

SO FAR: 43

Level 17

(x) Done Something You Told Yourself You Wouldn't

( ) Made Prank Phone Calls

(x) Laughed Until Some Kind Of Beverage Came Out Of Your Nose

( ) Kissed In The Rain

SO FAR: 45

Level 18

(x) Written A Letter To Santa Claus

(x) Watched The Sun Set/ sun rise With Someone You Care/Cared About

(x) Blown Bubbles

(x) Made A Bonfire On The Beach Or Anywhere

SO FAR: 49

Level 19

( ) Crashed A Party

(x) Have Traveled More Than 5 Days With A Car Full Of People

(x) Gone Rollerskating / Blading

(x) Had A Wish Come True

( ) Been Humped By A Monkey 

SO FAR: 52

Level 20

(x) Worn Pearls

( ) Jumped Off A Bridge

( ) Screamed "Penis" or "Vagina"

( ) Swam With Dolphins 

SO FAR: 53

Level 22

( ) Got Your Tongue Stuck To A Pole/Freezer/ice Cube

( ) Kicked A Fish
(x) Worn The Opposite Sex's Clothes

(x) Sat On A Roof Top

SO FAR: 55

Level 23

(x) Screamed At The Top Of Your Lungs

( ) Done / Attempted A One-Handed Cartwheel

( ) Talked On The Phone For More Than 6 Hours 

(x) Recently stayed up for a while talking to someone you care about

SO FAR: 56

Level 24

( ) Picked And Ate An Apple Right Off The Tree

(x) Climbed A Tree

(x) Had/Been In A Tree House

( ) Been Scared To Watch Scary Movies Alone

SO FAR: 58

Level 25

(x) Believed In Ghosts

(x) Have had More Then 30 Pairs Of Shoes

( ) Gone Streaking 

( ) Visited Jail

SO FAR: 60

Level 26

( ) Played Chicken

(x) Been Pushed into a pool with all your clothes on
(x) Been Told You're Hot By A Complete Stranger

(x) Broken A Bone

(x) Been Easily Amused

SO FAR: 64

Level 27

( ) Caught A Fish Then Ate It Later

(x) Made A Porn Video/got asked to make one

( ) Caught A Butterfly

(x) Laughed So Hard You Cried

(x) Cried So Hard You Laughed

SO FAR: 67

Level 28

(x ) Mooned/Flashed Someone

(x) Had Someone Moon/Flash You

(x) Cheated On A Test

(x) Forgotten Someone's Name

(x) French Braided Someones Hair

( ) Gone Skinny Dipping

( ) Been Kicked Out Of Your House

( ) Tried to hurt yourself

SO FAR: 72

Level 29

(x) Rode A Roller Coaster

( ) Went Scuba-Diving/Snorkeling

(x) Had A Cavity

( ) Black-Mailed Someone

( ) Been Black Mailed

SO FAR: 74

Level 31

(x) Been Used

(x) Fell Going Up The Stairs

(x) Licked A Cat (He licked me first and wouldn't stop doing it)
( ) Bitten Someone

(x) Licked Someone

SO FAR: 78

Level 32

( ) Been shot at/or at gunpoint

(x) Had sex in the rain

( ) Flattened someones tires

(x) Rode in a car/truck until the gas light came on 

(x) Got five dollars or less worth of gas

Friday Foolishness (and it's even cross stitch related)

I am sharing this because it was pretty funny.

I am starting my floss dyeing business this summer. I was practicing dyeing yesterday. And so, I called him to tell him what was going on yesterday and that I was so happy because someone on 123 asked me if I would sell her a skein of my doodle floss.

So we got to talking about how I would price my work. I said $1 a skein, just to be competitive. I get silence on the phone. I am thinking he is thinking that that is not even worth the time, so I said, "Well, baby, you have to sell the first dollar to make the first million."

He goes, "A skank of floss? I know all about that. I dated a couple of those."

I about fell out. I told him I didn't think I needed a license to sell those.

"Skein skein skein. Not skank." Some things you just can't talk about on a cell phone, LOL.

He is so funny sometimes. He tries so hard to pay attention and learn stitching terms. He asked me if I was working on my RR last night. I was pretty proud of him

05 June 2008

If this is how we ring in summer . . .

Yesterday was a doozy of a day.

I went for lunch yesterday, got back in the car after going to the grocery to hear a tornado watch was in effect for our area. I hate the very thought of a tornado, because you can't do anything to avert the danger. Unlike a hurricane, you can't board up the windows, hunker down. You just pray. Not that I've been through one, but I've been close enough to them that they just scare the bejesus out of me.

And we get that watch yesterday. Those are fairly frequent, and I normally don't worry too much, but these were bad storms coming, and I had seen the damage on TV that they did in the midwest. And then the watch changed to a warning.

At about 3 PM we're sitting in the office when the lights flicker. We lose power a lot in this building (I guess nature is kinda pissed about having an office complex stuck in the middle of the woods--I think the deer conspire with the trees). And the sky gets dark. And then it lets loose. I worry about my boyfriend in weather like this. He has a long drive, on windy roads, and he is pretty manly so he doesn't think the worst can happen, meanwhile I get scared for him. Oh, did I mention he lives right next to railroad tracks by the firehall (and that siren goes off all the time)in an area that has been noted to have dangerous weather--I realized the other week, you'd have a hard time there knowing if it was a twister or the 11:40 out of Frederick based on the noise.

Anyway, the storm was horrible. Granted, I had a stunning perspective from 8 stories up. Lots of fun to watch the transformers blow in the distance--our fun fact of the day is that they glow electric blue when they blow, like a 996 blue, pretty, but terrifying. And to realize you couldn't see 25 feet in front of you. I was in our lunchroom texting, and then decided I ought to step back from the windows.

They let us leave at 4, and I got home to realize no power. I live in an older neighborhood, so we lose power any time it rains, but it always comes back. But we sat and waited. I stitched on my RR til it got dark, then went to bed. There isn't much to do in the dark by candlelight. It struck me that women used to cross stitch in the same quality of light as I had, but then again, people died much earlier in those days, so if your eyes were screwed up by the time you were my age, you didn't have that long to live so it was not a big deal.

The lights still weren't on this morning, but they weren't on at work either. We didn't go in til 2. I decided to not waste the time I had, so went to the store and then sat outside on our stoop, dyeing floss. It wasn't a great success. I only made up 4 colors, so there isn't a lot of varigation in what I did, but it's still pretty. And I did get some cool colors. I just think I am way more anal-retentive than most people would be because I want to start the thread-dyeing business. But I mean, I did good, considering I was trying to do art on the front porch. Now I have to steam this bunch to set the colors--it's in a little Saran Wrap jelly roll on my desk.

I am excited because I got my order from Carrie's Creations. It went to my mom's other house, and she brought it in this morning. I ordered because there was a design in the Gift of Stitching that used one skein and, well, you can't order $1 worth of anything. I am so used to the high cost of everyone else's threads that it was a luxury to order 13 skeins and it was only $13. Mom thought the flosses were pretty, too. She thinks it's funny that variegated floss was so popular back in the day and she has a huge box of it out at the house, and now it's back in style again. I can't wait to use Carrie's floss, but need to get the rest of the colors for the design.

03 June 2008

Picture of my stocking

Thought you might enjoy seeing these. The lighthouse is my stocking. The Doodle is by Sanman. That's the one I did with the floss i did at CATS.

I have picked my next large UFO to finish

I told you the other day how I am going to try to finish my UFOs (at least I think I told you). I picked my next large one to finish up. It's Dimensions Gold Collection's Elegance of the Orient, which I started in late 2000, worked on pretty steadily all the spring of 2001, and then got upset with and put down that summer. It's been pretty much sitting around for the past 7 years. I did go back and finish the lady's head, but more out of the realization that a headless woman is horrifically disconcerting than anything else. It has blended threads and uses metallics.

Have I ever explained I really hate blended threads, ever since my first attempt at a Teresa Wentzler? I was 21, and found this lovely kit called Peacock Tapestry, I had never stitched on linen before, wasn't that good at fractionals and hadn't done blended threads, so that was the perfect project for my stupid self, right? Anyway, my attempt has made the thought of blends not a good one. And metallics just don't behave, especially not the ones that Dimensions uses in their kits.

But I have decided I am going to get this project finished, come hell or high water. I've moved light years ahead in my stitching since I started this one (can we say knots?)I think I just got daunted by the fact that it was a lot of backstitching and the metallics weren't working for me. I probably have a third left to do, and a lot of that appears to be half stitches, so it's fixable. I decided I can take out all the metallics I have in there so far (it's mostly just backstitching and long stitching) and use a Kreinik instead. Those behave better for me. The biggest issue is keeping the chart in usable condition. It's pretty ratty after all these years, so I anticipate a trip to the copy store for a working copy in my near future. But I will get this finished.

Today I am working on my part of a Round Robin. I said to myself after the fiasco with my neighborhood RR that I would NEVER again do one of these. But the group I am in is small, I've known them for at least a year or so, they have good reputations, and so I trust them. Plus, I am not sending charts or floss along with this one--I've found the best way for something to go AWOL is to add floss or a valuable chart to the package. And I guess I've learned to not get attached to a RR. That one got sidetracked in Baltimore County for 6 months and it was only after I posted on 123 that, if it didn't come back in a certain amount of time, I was going to haul my butt up to Baltimore County and file charges that it came back. I hate to have to be a thug, so won't get emotionally involved this time. But I don't understand why anyone would STEAL someone else's cross stitch. It's beyond my comprehension, but then again, one of my personal rules for successful living is to ask myself whenever I am doing something if it's something worth spending time in the local jail for. 9 times out of 10, if it's something I have to ask myself that question about, it's probably not. And I sure as HECK wouldn't want to do it for cross stitch.

But this will be better. My theme is "What You Love." I chose to do the Mosey and Me piece from the 2005 JCS Ornament issue, since it does look a lot like the twins. Well, more like Chanceypants than her brother (she's a little obese right now). I can't wait to see what the others put on theirs.

02 June 2008

How to keep your mate at home: a parable

As I have been saying, I am working on that stocking for my SO. It has to be done in secret. I try to bring it over when he's off doing something manly. He is not stupid; I show him everything I work on, and he is going to notice if I just sit there, hunched over a lighthouse looking thing, and don't show it to him.

I worked pretty hard on that little bugger Friday night. I am to the parts that are heavy in blending filament, which I hate using. I just loathe it, and fortunately, it's all coming together nicely and I was making good progress. So when he told me that he was going to the car races on Saturday, I thought, "Wonderful," and bought myself a caesar salad and had plans of a good night watching E, eating salad, and stitching.

. . .

The race got rained out. He got up on Saturday at 6 AM, ate breakfast at Denny's (not a good idea unless you are drunk), got down to the racetrack in Cecil County (whereever that is in Maryland, it's been 19 years since I had to know where all the counties were, so I am a little hazy on them, not to mention I am really old. ), and it started to rain. They can't race in the rain, for obvious reasons, so he helped the guy he went with put the car back on the trailer and came home. Don't get me wrong. I was glad to get the extra time with him. Way more important than my stitching time, but there is just not enough time anymore to get everything done I need to get done. But I happily stitched on some snowmen, glad he was there for me. This is not the first time this has happened, though; it's comical. So I have decided, as long as we are given together, when I want him home with me, I'll just have a project to stitch in secret for him.

And I did get some time back. I was two hours early for work today, and I decided I can go to the gym after work, so I sat in the garage and stitched away. I am almost finished the snow. after that will just have the bird to finish, an anchor, and some backstitch. Awesome!
I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls