31 January 2010

Finish-it February starts tomorrow

I had nearly forgotten today was the end of Guilt-free January, though I didn't have guilt-free starts. I just started freebies. January went fast, though, didn't it?

I am pushing myself to get things finished next month. Maybe not so much finishing in the sense of making ornaments, but finishing UFOs. I've been goofing off with my stitching the last couple weeks. I'm behind on my ornaments for SALs. Acccckkkkk.Probably because I've been so busy with everything else. I am going to try to do better.

This morning, I told myself I have to start on our ring pillow. Since I picked the final color, a purple-y blue (which took much arguing to arrive at and was not the first choice), it's time to get it done. I have the idea in my head how I want to do it, as a biscornu (I think I mentioned that before, didn't I?) Then, for the back side, have my name on one side, his name on the opposite side, our wedding date on the 3rd side, and a wedding phrase on the 4th. I think it ought to be pretty, if it makes up the way it looks in my head, Then I can sew on a ribbon to "ring-bearer proof" the rings and we should be good to go.

The Polar Bear Plunge was yesterday. We had (at least to us) a surprise snowstorm. They said it would be snow showers late in the day, but it started snowing at 10AM and didn't stop til we were home. The plunge itself was fun. I didn't really notice how cold it was. Of course I was in a couple layers, plus a hat. When you get down with a huge crowd of people, who are excited and happy and joyous, it's an infectious kind of energy. I was a bit chilly when I came out, and the water felt like running a Brillo pad on my legs, but it wasn't bone-jarring. The water was actually warmer than the air, which was 19 degrees out.

I picked the right time to go in. The weather deteriorated all day, and, by the time we were on the bus, they cancelled the second plunge. So they had a mess getting 8000 people or so off the beach and out of the park--we sat on a school bus for 90 minutes. You run out of ways to amuse yourself after 30 minutes. Then it took us 3 hours to get home. But we got home. I was exhausted; I had a lot of adrenaline pumping and when it went away, there wasn't much left. We want to do it again next year.

I really feel proud of myself. I didn't reach my fundraising goal, but I got some money for Special Olympics. And every penny counts. Most of all, I didn't chicken out. I set a goal, I accomplished it. Maybe not the most gracefully, maybe not with flair, but I did it. And it was something I was afraid to do. And it wasn't bad. I think I've taken a strong lesson from this not to let the what-ifs and the what could bes scare me as much as they do. Every "what could be" didn't happen. There was only "what is." And the what is was so worth ignoring the what ifs.

29 January 2010

One of these days

I fully intend to finish my Britter Critter quilt.

I was organizing last night, and then went through my finished stitching to pull out some things to have finished. I found the squares I had completed for my long-term project of stitching most of the Britty Kitty and Puppy charts and making them into a crazy quilt in celebration of my pets. I started it in 2006--I remember going with Mom to Michael's to pick out the floss. And trying to match the colors to pets we had in the family--changing the color of the horse in one of them to match my aunt's gelding so that it was Lance and my Lily.

So I was flipping through, just idly thinking, "Gee I should finish this." It's a fun project. The pieces don't take to long. It's easy to change colors to match your pets. And I think it's a worthwhile thing to do. And I've let it languish.

And then I came onto Kody's square. One of the squares had a grey cat on it. I had stitched a black cat for Lily, an orange cat for my Gussie, and this grey cat for my mom's Kody. Kody was alive when I did the square. He died a year later, but he was there when I started, and, because I fooled around and didn't finish this, he won't get to see the finished product.

And the reality is, all my pets are aging. Beazer is the youngest pet we have, and he's 9. Shocka is 12--ancient for a pit, the twins and the cats are all 10. If I don't make this a priority to finish, it's going to be a memorial quilt, not something they can lie on and see how much I care. And that's not how I want it to be, ya know?

So I ordered a few more charts from the collection, and I am promising to get this done. The quilting will be a challenge, but I can do it.

piece of art in their honor.

28 January 2010

hmmm, hard to decide . . .

I'm rethinking my "Things that begin with P" project for the fair.

I've been wanting to do Pollyanna Pickering's "Circle of Life" with polar bears for a long time. My friend Kathy sent me Pollyanna's new book, Mother and Baby Animals in Cross Stitch, which is a great book if you love stitching animals, for Christmas. So I was set.

And then I found out that the National Zoo's little panda, Tai Shan, is leaving to go back to China next week. I've followed him with interest since he was born back in 2005. Being born in the DC area, we always knew about what was happening with the pandas at the zoo, from Ling-Ling's issues and her inability to have a cub that lived, and so, when this little guy came, he was a new hope. Even though I know he was never ours for keeps, and he's going back to where he belongs, he's a Washingtonian by birth, and I'll miss him. I think my sentiments will be shared by a lot of my fellow DC area residents. I was lucky enough to get to see him a few years ago. The crowds at his enclosure were tremendous; is it remotely possible for one little bear to know how much he is loved?

There are two gorgeous designs of pandas in the Pickering book, one a cub just waking up, the other of a cub and its mother playing together. I'd like to stitch one of them. And one of the things that is so apparent about Tai Shan is how much he played with his mother, and so the latter is a very appropriate picture to stitch as a remembrance of him.

But now, I'm in a quandary. I can only stitch my "Things that begin with a P" project this year. I like the polar bears, I've loved them since I knew the design existed, but there is just something about this panda chart. So I'm trying to figure out which one is the best option for my fair entry.

Hard decision.

27 January 2010

One more thing checked off the wedding list

I went out this morning and put the deposit on our reception hall. HTB's brother and sister had their receptions there, and it's a nice place. We had briefly thought about following his family tradition of getting married in the old parish church across the street--his family has been in this county for 150 years, and his grandparents were married there as well as others--but I'm not Catholic and I would have had to go through classes for us to be married there. HTB and I talked it over, and, since he doesn't have a preference, and I have already changed denominations once, from Lutheran to Episcopalian, and I feel a very special bond to my church, we just decided it was better to be married in an Episcopal church. We still have to have some pre-wedding counseling, which he was initially against, but I told him everyone makes you do it, so he needed to suck it up and do the counseling.

It's hard to believe I'm getting married in 8 1/2 months. I'm sure HTB is getting tired of the random outbursts of, "when we exchange rings, we have to repeat the vows to each other" and, "I'm trying to find a dress that you'll cry when you see it." He insists he won't cry. He insists he didn't cry when he proposed to me, either. I know differently; through my blubbering, I do remember he said, "Look, I'm not asking this again" and his eyes started brimming with tears. I know that much.

I started working out again this week. I'd been slacking off, but I have been getting on the elliptical. It's very good to burn off frustration, and I can think clearly. Not stitching much, though. Reversing the way I stitch is slow going. I keep having to frog. But it's worth it.

This weekend, I am participating in a Polar Bear Plunge to benefit Maryland Special Olympics. Everyone thinks I'm nuts, especially because the high is supposed to be 26 and it's supposed to be snow showers all day. But it's for a good cause. I can sacrifice a few moments of comfort to benefit others. And I view it as a challenge to myself. I don't like the cold, I don't like ice. I don't like snow. OK, I HATE THOSE THINGS. I don't like being out of my comfort zone--it's cozy here, we have TV and caramels, the soundtrack to Forrest Gump plays-- but, in this year of momentous changes in my identity, maybe it's time to get out of the comfort zone, and challenge myself. And that's really what this is to me. Instead of avoiding cold and discomfort, I'm going to run at it, yelling, "Woo hoo."

26 January 2010

A finally finished much older finish . . . and finishing S.E.X

I finished this Sunday night. It's an older Val's Stitching Stuff freebie I did in 2003; I only remember because I left the fibers at my parents' house one weekend, and was on the road for work a lot back then, and stopped in between appointments to pick them up. It's been in my finishes box for seven years, and I finally decided to finish it.

The trim is made with eyelash yarn. I couldn't find the right trim for it, and, when I was in Michaels on Saturday, I got inspired. One strand was too thin, I didn't want to make it into cording because that would lose the fluffiness and "strandiness" of the fiber, so two was out. But three strands braided together was just perfect. All I had to do was stop every few braids and make sure the sides were "foofed", by pulling out the strands. It's a funky way to finish it, but I like the effect. It looks a bit like bunny fluff or whiskers. And I think this could be good for Christmas finishes or girly finishes. It's different.

I also got some long-awaited finishing stash in the mail last night. I ordered this right before New Years from and it got clogged up in the postal system. I was beginning to think it would never get here. And I was really bummed. Because this is such super cute fabric, particularly the Halloween fabric. Look at the tiny jack o'lanterns! Look at the black cats! Awesomeness personified. On top of how cute that cat fabric on the right is, one of the tiny motifs is the cat, mice and singing pumpkins from my Halloween Chorus WIP.I didn't know it when I ordered it, but I love it. I may finish this as a cube now, I don't know.

I did do a bit more finishing last night, but it's not complete. I have a cube half finished, waiting for me to have the time to concentrate on making the wrap-around part--I'm not so good at the straight-line concept and, although I've seen them made, this is the first cube I've actually worked on, and I don't want to mess it up. HTB is taking an avid interest in this finishing, since his mancave has been turned into a fabric showroom, so I'm trying to get things done and out of there. He asked me who the cube is for. I told him it's a Halloween decoration. After all, he asked me, in order to save money for the wedding, to stop buying things for the house. He didn't say stop making them. I have a rack of stuff to do and finish for holidays, LOL.

22 January 2010

Thoughtfully going through the fabric

Last night was a movie marathon. We watched American Gangster and Toy Story. HTB also watched Harry Potter, but I'm re-reading the books, so I skipped that one. American Gangster is one of the better movies I've seen in a while, and, as hard as this is to confess, I've never seen Toy Story. I really liked it though.

I did find a few more pieces I can use my fabric stash on. I have an old San-man freebie completed. It's yellow on a purpley-blue fabric with a spring theme--I probably was not thinking long-term when I stitched it. I have another freebie finish by Val's Stuff that I had fabric for and just never finished--a pretty gimgham-y plaid looking fabric. I thought I only had a fat quarter of it, but, when I unfolded it to see if I just MIGHT have enough for a no-sew cube, I did. Apparently, I liked it enough to invest in a half yard. Perhaps I was thinking long-term, but just am having issues remembering that way? Either way, I have enough fabric to do both pieces. And that makes me happy. And I found a strip of batting I can use to pad it, too small for anything else, but perfect for finishing. I need to stop and get some flat-headed pins tonight, get out the ironing board and the pinking shears and I should be good to go to start finishing things this evening. I know I have all that styrofoam in the garage, just waiting to become a cube, or a stand up.

21 January 2010

Pulling fabrics

I started pulling finishing fabrics the night before last. It's time to get all the unfinished finishes finished. I'm taking my mom down to my aunt's in the first part of March for a doctor's appointment, and there are things I need her help with, so I figure, if I at least get the process started, we can finish them while we're there.

Why did I buy all this fabric with no real thought towards what I'd use it for? I think a good bit of it was on sale when Walmart was clearing out their fabric, but I'm not sure. I think I have about 10 fabrics I can use as of right now. Out of 2 tubs and a tote bag full . . . Maybe more, I just have to sit and really think about how to use them. I have a few pieces that I bought to do things I haven't started yet, so that's OK, but there is a lot I just bought because it "looked me good."

Why are there so many combinations of red white and blue, but not really any that are perfect for what I need?

Or is it a case of I just need to find the right design to use the fabric? I mean, I have cute stuff. I have a pattern of bees that is just adorable. But I don't stitch a lot of bees. Maybe I need to look more for spring things that use bees? And a lot of my stitching is primitive right now, or at least it feels primitive to me, but the fabric is whimsical. But, probably, if my stitching were whimsical, I'd only be able to see the primitive stuff . . .

And where does one go to consistently find cute Halloween fabric? I have a lot of Halloween fabric, not sure if it's what I'd call cute. My fabric stores don't seem to carry a lot of that. Is that a quilt store sort of thing to purchase?

Don't you wish sometimes you could just commission fabric?

So where do you find fabric? Any great online fabric stores you could recommend?

20 January 2010

I had a revelation

I'm looking for ways to save money on my stitching.

The LHN ornament for this month uses seed beads. They're an optional "pretty." I'm a rule follower, so I felt like I needed to glitz up my stitching with beads. Besides, the first ornament had beads, so I want to carry the theme through.

Here's the problem. Who knows how many of the same kinds of beads will be used in the series? I'm not a bead collector by any measure, and I don't really like having lots of packs of tiny beads in the house--I think I'm paranoid they'll open up, and fly everywhere and be wasted. And I hate picking up some beads.

And then I got to thinking that those beads are a little bit expensive. At least for the colors that they've been using. They run $1.24 for a pack, plus shipping, at 123Stitch, maybe a bit more plus the gas at the LNS. And they're gold or red seed beads, nothing superfancy.

So . . . the other day, I had to go Michaels for pinking shears and I stopped down the bead aisle. They had large packs of seed beads, in colors I can use, for 2.99, way more beads than I'd get in two packs of Mill Hill. I got colors for the Pear Tree, and some to do another design I have. I thought it was a pretty good deal, I'll have to keep checking if I need beads and don't have them.

I was thinking how funny it is that, for someone who didn't know there were actual stores that sold only cross stitch supplies and nothing else 10 years ago and only bought stuff at the craft store, how limited I've become in my craft shopping since then. I only really buy cross stitch stuff or some finishing supplies there. I'd never thought up until then to get beads to stitch with, at least not since they stopped carrying Mill Hill large scale. They have LOTS of nice beads, nice charms, my Michaels even carry a bit of fabric, perfect for backing ornaments or small finishes. And the nice thing is, no wait for the mailman.

I'm sure this probably sounds so simple and stupid, but it really is changing things for me. I really am going to make an effort to be a bit more open to the possibilities of integrating the entire store with my crafting.

18 January 2010

Trying something new . . .

They say as we age, it's important to keep our mind active and vital as we age. I've always tried to keep my mind working. In high school, I wrote essays, taking an opposite stand on an issue, just so that I had the mental exercise of arguing the point, even if I didn't believe it. I've read a lot of non-fiction, just to learn more (though I do have to say, I really did not care for a lot of the subject matter; I have a book about how beer changed history that I can not make myself read. At all. I'm aging now, a bit less gracefully than before (in our house, we play a game we call, "Guess what joint just cracked and I'll tell you how many times I injured it in my misspent youth." and I'm catching up on HTB), and I want to keep my mind sharp.

I stitch ///////, then \\\\\\\. I've been doing this for 20 years. It's comfortable. I can do it like no one's business. Soooooo . . . a couple months ago, I came up with the idea of changing the direction I stitch in. At least for one project. Stitching gymnastics, as it were. At least on a small scale.

I started stitching \\\\\, then //// today. I've done it before, a long time ago, on a round robin. It was a Dragon Dreams-themed RR. The owner stitched that way, and asked the rest of us to do so as well. One woman just gave up and stitched it her way. Others met with varying success. It was not a happy week in my house, since anal-retentive perfectionist me was battling to do this dragon correctly, per the instruction, and my hand, usually so well-behaved, was pulling a, "But that's not the way we do it." I did get it done, though. It was a success. And I have never done it again.

That changed today. I started "Fa La La," a sweet freebie from Plum Pudding.
It's a challenge. My brain sees a /// and wants to put a return \\\, not realizing that we already did that. Meanwhile, it's trying to work out a system to do the stitching, minimizing the thread wastage. But I'm liking it. I like that the light hits it a bit different. I like that there is texture that I'm not used to. I like that I haven't flung it yet. I like the challenge. I already have fabric picked out to make it into an ornament. Blogger buddy Suzanne gifted me with a length of perfect fabric for this, and I'll use that. And trim it with red and green cording. I think that will look awesome. And I'll be able to say, "I exercised my brain." Cracking knees, sharpening my brain, that's ol' me!

17 January 2010

A finished finish!

I finally have time to post a picture! Woo hoo!

I stitched this little Bent Creek freebie the early part of this week. It's Hare Lines, and I've wanted to do it for a long time. I think this is what really spurred me to do the Year of Stitching Freebily. It was quite fun to stitch. I wasn't sure what to do with it, though. I mean, I can't make everything a cube, and I am going to try to save box finishes for the right finish. Plus, I couldn't figure out a fabric to use out of my stash and didn't want to buy more--I'm getting overwhelmed with fabic. And then Pumpkin posted a cute finish on her blog, backed with felt. Sooooo, I bought me some pinking shears, some felt and white ribbon, and I finished Hare Lines into an ornament for an Easter tree. I think it looks cute. I think the rotated felt is great for it. I was a bit worried that the glittery felt would be too much, or it wouldn't match, but I think it's perfect. And my total out of pocket for this,not from stash expense, for the ribbon, and the felt? $3.16. A good day!

I also have been stitching on Sheepish Designs' Betsy. I started her a year ago, put her away, then did a little this summer, and put her away. I'll get her finished. My goal for the end of February is to have a wedding dress selected, and ol' Betsy finished. I think these are doable goals.

I didn't get a lot of stitching time today. HTB spent yesterday cleaning and doing laundry. The house is immaculate. I folded laundry and ran errands in my gorgeous Tony Romo jersey he bought me last year (HTB, not Tony Romo) this morning. I promised to make him Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Dip when I got home from getting my car's oil changed today. Got the dip made, we had celery cut up. Our house is split foyer, and the man cave is in the basement. As I attempted to take the dip down the stairs, I dropped it. A 9 inch baking dish full of hot sauce, chicken, blue cheese, and dip went all down the WHITE CARPETED STAIRS, into the freshly CLEANED WHITE FOYER, all over the rug, all over my new purse, my work shoes. All over the wall, all over the door, the banister separating the stairs from the living room. The only place it did not get was the couch and the ceiling, and it looked like vomit.

Before you ask, yes, I cursed. I bellowed the f-bomb. I am trying to not curse, but, if ever there were a time that the F-bomb was appropriate, this was it. HTB came out of the basement and just stared at the horrendous mess. I told him, "I made a helluva mess." And he got me a rag and bucket. So I proceeded to spend the next God knows how long scooping the remainder of the dip into the bowl, scraping it off the wall. Did you know that pre-cooked chicken will shred into little pieces when it hits a wall? Did you know that red hot sauce mixed with blue cheese dressing and chicken, when placed on a white carpet, will make said carpet orange? And it won't come out. Surprisingly it did come off the walls, and it did come out of the area rug, but not the fringe. There were drops of that stuff on eye level with me. And I got it on my new sweatpants, and my Tony Romo jersey. It's barely noticeable on the jersey, the sweatpants have an orange seat now. Oh, well.

I figured it was not a good idea to ask for help. HTB was not in the best of moods (Dallas got stomped) and the foyer was too small for both of us. So I cleaned up as best I could. He came behind and worked on the carpet. Long story short . . . we're updating the foyer. No more white carpet.

It's OK. Accidents happen. One of his friends dropped a soda in the kitchen and he had to clean that off the ceiling. He's OK with it. The foyer needed redone anyway. We just didn't have our dip tonight. I don't know if I ever want to smell hot sauce again . . .

15 January 2010

I'm going to try this--fabric covered boxes

I found this while cruising blogs, looking for freebies. These boxes look gorgeous, and they don't look that hard to make. Couldn't you see making one of these, mounting a piece of stitching on top, and then having a lovely box to store things in? Wouldn't it be cute to store Halloween ornaments in, then leave out on display for the fall? Or a box for storing mittens and gloves in the off-season? Or WIPs? Or UFOs? We even have a special set of boxes that we use at Christmas that we reuse. This would be a good way to do those--once you get over the initial embarrassment of asking people to please return the box their gift is coming in, it's not so bad, LOL. Or you could give it to the recipient and let them start the proud, cheap tradition of hoarding gift boxes.

I have a paper box to use for the box. I ordered bookbinding glue to put on the fabric. I now have to choose a design to mount on top, and then pick fabric.

14 January 2010

not one stitch

Figures . . . I had great S.E.X., but did not stitch.

It was a busy day. I went to church last night for the Eucharistic services--we've sort of come to an agreement that this is the best service for me to come to, especially in the winter, because my church is near my office (though you wouldn't know it by the fact that, in rush hour traffic, it takes 30 minutes to go two exits down), and there is not an Episcopal church close to the house. I thought long and hard, even considered changing to another denomination, but, after some soul-searching, I realized I joined the Episcopal church because I felt at peace there, I joined my church because I feel joy there, and joining another sect for convenience is not the way that I want to go. But it means that I don't get to go to church often, and, between work and the weather, it's been a while since I had the chance to go. Anyway, I went last night and was glad I went.

After that, I went to visit my father in the rehab center. He's doing well. They are working to get him in much better shape, even other parts than his hip. He said he was sore because he was doing exercises for his shoulders yesterday. He didn't seem to mind though. He has a beard that he has been growing that he claims he won't cut til he's off the walker. I told him that this would be a hairless wedding, and if HTB isn't going to have a beard and moustache (and it's killing me, because he looks so handsome with facial hair), he can't have one either. Seriously, when he was in the hospital, he told them he would do whatever it took to get to the point he could walk me down the aisle in October. I'm touched by that.

Needless to say, it was pretty late when I got home, so we watched Bear Grylls and I read Harry Potter for a while. Bear Grylls personally has done more to dissuage me from travelling anywhere than anything else on TV. Watching him eat gnarly things--last night, he ate a rat, and I learned rats retain more of the nutrition when you roast them whole, good to know if I'm ever in a survival situation--helps my diet. Although, to his credit, thanks to the show last week where he gave himself an enema, yelling, "for England"--another survival note: if you can't drink water, the best way to get hydrated is to give yourself an enema, just try not to do it on cable TV--the whole time has given me a new perspective on the Polar Bear Plunge I am doing in two weeks. If he can self-administer an enema for the betterment of his viewers, and not die of embarrassment, I can stride forward into icy cold waters for charity. And you know I'm going to yell, "for England" when I do it!

I spent this morning going through tote bags in my sewing room closet. I pulled out a couple UFOs, including Sheepish Designs "Betsy." I love that chart, and I may put her as my stitching project to finish during February. I also found a couple of kitted-up freebies to add to the pile, so it was a good effort.

Now to just get time to stitch.

13 January 2010

S.E.X in the mail

OK, I was bad.

I was really bad.

I ordered some fabric and charts from 123 last week. I needed the LHN Ornament SAL chart for this month, and fabric, and, well, it looked lonely. So I got a few more things off my wish list. It came yesterday. I ordered Country French Wreath and Snowglobe, LHN Hark the Herald Angels Sing and and Sugarplum Fairy, plus the ornament and fabric.

I've been coveting Ink Circles' The Huddle. I think Pumpkin posted it on her blog and I've been wanting it. That came yesterday. So cute! I justified this because it's a limited edition. I didn't want to let it go out of print and not have it, not when it was reasonably priced. That came.

I also ordered four charts from Kitty and Me, from her Etsy store. They were the monthly Cats and Quilts--I got the months I liked the best, in case those go out of print. I have the seasonal cats and quilts she did, but I wanted these too. They've got the sweetest black cat on them, and I adore anything black cat. Mom really liked them too, I think she wanted to know why I didn't order the other 8 charts, but she didn't ask. I'll order them when I have the money. And a good reason for shopping.

I'm going to resist the urge to stitch them. At least for right now. I'm liking this freebie project. I don't know about you, but sometimes, I feel guilty about starting new things when I have UFOs or WIPS, but it feels so good to put the first stitch in a fresh piece of fabric and start a new adventure and doing this has given me permission to do it more. I finished Hare Lines last night (will try to post a photo, but I can't guarantee it tonight). I have my next freebie chart selected and ready to go; it's a Halloween freebie from the Sanman board in 2007 that I want made into a banner. I've had that kitted up forever, but never stitched it because I had other things that I felt like I "had to do," vs. wanted to do. Now, I don't have that looming "to do" list to keep me from the freebies. And I've gotten two finished. I'm pretty pleased about that. I'm even seriously pondering a few new finishing techniques--I have a couple French-inspired designs that I could showcase, along with some souvenirs best friend Brea brought me from Paris in a shadowbox. Since I'm not spending money on the design, that gives me money for finishing supplies. I am going to get things finished this year. Even if it means I won't stitch much during my February finishing stint, I'll get things done.

12 January 2010


I started a new project yesterday. It's a Bent Creek freebie called Hare Lines. I am using threads and fabric from stash. I found two of my three thread colors in the stuff I brought in from the garage the other day; they are GAST and came from a Loose Threads pack I got over the years. I pulled a purple for the rabbit, and a white for the border. Somehow I don't feel too bad about using these up on freebies. For part of the border, I also pulled a skein of Needle Necessities floss out--my inner hoarder is not happy about using a discontinued floss, but it worked the best out of all the choices. And, those skeins of Needle Necessities came with A LOT of floss. When I have 20 yards of six-strand loveliness, it is a little more acceptable to use up one length of 2 strands.

The fabric came from a grab bag I bought on Ebay from a place called Dove Stitch in November. I think I paid $16USD for it and got 10 pieces, so it wasn't a bad investment, and it's pretty fabric. It was a good size for a freebie. I hoped to have it done last night, but it was date night, so we went out for dinner, and stitching didn't happen. I should have it done tonight.

I really hope that no one is taking this freebie project as a bad thing. Someone posted negatively on one of the boards about people only stitching freebies, and it has started to worry me. I never knew anyone could get annoyed that people stitch freebies--why design them if you don't want them stitched, after all. I'm not doing this to get over on anyone, and I certainly hope that doing this isn't going to put a designer out of business. That isn't my intention at all. I have all these beautiful freebies I've been collecting for years, and they're not doing a lot of good in binders, unstitched. It's a way to introduce yourself to a designer. If I'd had the option to stitch a Teresa Wentzler design before I attempted to tackle a big design, I might have not been so intimidated, or I might not have bought that other design. Plus, if you can't afford to buy a chart, a freebie is a good and legal way to satisfy the urge to stitch. Am I off on this idea?

11 January 2010

They multiply like rabbits

I got the brilliant idea the other day of bringing my floss in from the garage. It's not the best storage solution out there--dust blows in around the garage door, it's precariously stored, and it's cold out there--and I've been buying new floss instead of getting it out of what I have. Which is not a good idea all around. So I went to bring it all inside.

While I was hauling the box of floss down off the top of the pile, I realized one of my other drawered storage units was damaged, to the point that the drawer wouldn't go back in it. Since it's pretty dusty in the garage, and since there was good fabric in that box, I cleaned that one out, too. I brought it all inside and went through it.

Bad idea. But in a good way.

I had at least 10 UFOs tucked in that box. I guess they're UFOs since I haven't worked on them since I moved in. There are a couple that I'm not sure if I want to work on them anymore, but I had put Kustom Krafts' Ghost Wind in there, and I like that one. I even found one I kitted up during a trip to the LNS in Fredericksburg, VA, a few years ago (we took Chancey along that trip, just to show her where she came from, the town, not the LNS), Simple Gifts by Told In A Garden. There was even hand-dyed floss in some of the envelopes. No wonder I walk around, telling myself I KNOW I bought a specific color of WDW and wondering where in the heck it could be. I have it, I just shove it in the most idiotic places, like in with the Brittercup Fox I started as a SAL with my friend Kathy a couple years ago--she stitched both designs, and I'm not half done with the first. I am an evil person. I showed HTB the envelopes--I don't know if he was stunned, impressed or if he has just given up trying to understand me.

I'm trying to figure out a better way to store kitted up WIPs and UFOs than the system which I currently have, which, as you can clearly see, is not working. I have a little cart filing thing I nabbed from the office when we moved that I put some in. That's full to the bursting. I looked at baskets at Michael's the other day, but I think my UFO/WIP pile would overwhelm those baskets. Maybe a hamper? Maybe a storage unit? I am renewing my efforts to work on them, though--HTB thinks I should maybe stop the year of stitching freebily and make it the year of UFOs. I just gave him a look. If I can intersperse small finishes to satisfy me with larger UFO finishes, I think I'd be a lot more satisfied.

10 January 2010

A finish and a Summer Ball update

I meant to post yesterday, but it was a long day at work, and I was exhausted when I got home, so I didn't have the energy to post. Not that I'm complaining--it feels kinda good to know I worked 25 hours at my part time job since last Friday. The money at least feels good. We watched football all afternoon. My teams won this weekend. The Cowboys of course, my first and dearest love, and also the Ravens. I grew up in Redskins country, and was never a fan, but it feels so good, now that I live closer to Baltimore, to have a team worth being a fan of!

I finished Midnight just now. It took a bit longer than I expected, but I like him! I don't know if this huck towel feels finished, though. It needs some writing at the top or something. Or else I won't be using any more of these for these, and will use the ones with the thin band, and use the huck towels for something else.

And this is my progress on Summer Ball. It's slowly moving forward. The main girl's face is done now, and there is more floor, plus, let us not forget Seth Rogan's head, all the way over there on the right. I'll get it finished. One of these days . . .

07 January 2010

61000 stitches

Yesterday, my father had hip replacement surgery. We hope that this is the last step in getting him back to how he was before the car accident. It all comes from one of the injuries he sustained in the accident--the rod chewed up his hip joint and he's been basically wheelchair bound for the last two years, so this was the only real option he wanted to go with. The surgery went well; I always get nervous anytime my father has surgery, because he does not have a good heart (family history, 2 heart attacks, and a 55 year smoking habit will do that to a person), but he had it done at Georgetown University, which I think is the best hospital in the DC area, and they took good care of him. Barring any complications, he should go into a rehab facility, and hopefully be able to walk again.

Anyway,we were down there all day. I took some stitching projects and the third Harry Potter book to read to pass the time. I chose Midnight to work on, and brought along Summer Ball. SB was probably not the best choice, since it had mondo color changes and is pretty intricate, but it was actually the one I worked on, sitting there, balled up in a chair in the surgical waiting room. I guess I had forgotten that, in times of great stress, I prefer the focus of these complicated pieces, since they require total concentration, and that kind of takes me away from the worries around why I'm in the hospital. Mom dealt with the stress by reading her wedding etiquette book. And we chose the invitations--they're not classically elegant, but they're more than just my usual whimsical. We even had a discussion about "Save the Date" cards. My father had said that morning that they were pointless. My mother said, "We don't need them, I already told people to mark October 19th on their calendars." Leaving me to say, "And that is why we need a Save the Date card. I'm getting married on the 16th." I could tell from my mom's face that the Save the Date card round went to me. And I now wonder just how many out of town relatives are wondering why I chose to get married on a Tuesday . . .

I realize why I'm not making stellar progress on the piece. When Dad went into recovery, I picked an area of the wall to work on. An hour later, I had only managed to stitch a square inch or so. And that wasn't even a really detailed part--the floor was a lot slower going. Not great progress, when I realize I've got something that is 8"X30". And maybe it was just the stress of the day, but I'm starting to think about the people in the picture. There is one girl on the left hand side who looks like she is really mad about something. Maybe the main girl is dancing with the guy she wanted to dance with, maybe main girl has a prettier dress. I don't know, but she looks like she's about to punch someone. And the guys across the line, one looks like Michael Cera. The guy that's turned away reminds me vaguely of Seth Rogan, or else he's the main guy's frat brother and drank a bit too much grog or punch or whatever they drank back in the day. I started stitching his hair last night, we'll see how he progresses.

05 January 2010

The Millennium Cats

In case anyone was wondering what these looked like, I found this link to an album with them in it.

Midnight is really a fun stitch and it's amazing to me that the shading is so well done with so few shades of floss. I was never a Pam Kellogg fan, but lately I've been drawn to her work And these just make me HAPPY!

04 January 2010

The Year of Stitching Freebily . . .

officially began this morning.I started one of Pam Kellogg's Millenium Cats on a tea towel. I started the January cat, Midnight. This was a series she did that I printed off in 1999, September 16th to be exact. I don't know if there are photos of them out there, but I did one or two on a RR one time, and I had the charts, and I wanted to do them. I think they'll be cute in our kitchen, as purely decorative objects. And, at $5.99 for the tea towels, plus the cost of floss, it was hard to resist them.

I know I've said this before, but my major focus in 2010 will be to stop collecting all these freebies and stitch them. I have several binders full of free charts, plus stacks of paper and those stored on my computer. Such fabulous charts being given away for free! I keep telling myself to sit and stitch them, but there is always a reason I don't do it. So, this year, I'm breaking out of my comfort zone, and focusing my new starts as charts that were not offered for sale. I've toyed a lot with the idea of how to define a "freebie", since some of the charts I have were originally offered as free charts, but were then sold, and I bought them once sold. Was that how I wanted to go? Could I stitch those and still call them freebies? I've decided for me, the answer is no. The charts I will work on will be ones that were "free", meaning I didn't pay out of pocket for the chart when I got them. This leaves me with all those binders of freebies, plus the freebies my LNS kitted up that I just never stitched, plus the free kits that come with British magazines (I could spend a year on just those.)

I am allowing myself a few exceptions:

Circle of Life, by Pollyanna Pickering, because that's a fair entry.

Kingdom of the Ice Dragon, by Dragon Dreams, my January 1st start.

Any UFO or WIP. I have so many of those. Summer Ball and Sleepy Hollow are major projects and deserve to be finished.

Anything for the wedding. It's not that I don't think that there are good enough free charts available for our wedding sampler or the ring pillow, but I found what I want, I haven't found a better free alternative, and I can't wait to find one. I don't want to get in a situation where it's our wedding day and I don't have the things done because I procrastinated.

Charts for the SALs I'm in. That's kinda obvious. I signed up for these SALs and I need to keep going.

I think this gives me good variety for the year.

I worked on Summer Ball for a couple hours last night. It's a tedious stitch, especially on their faces. Someone on 123 finished it in a hundred days; she is my hero. For some weird reason, the girl in the center of the picture reminds me of the actress who played Becky Sharp in the version of Vanity Fair they used to show on A&E. Maybe because the other girls look vaguely annoyed with her? That should probably not be a good thing, but I really loved that miniseries, and I have always liked Becky. It probably means I have spent too much time on this project that I think things like that, but, oh well. HTB asked me how long I had been working on it. I told him since 2006. I think he thinks I'll never get it finished . . . He may be right, but I'll give it the old college try.

03 January 2010

A grateful and happy new year

I hope 2010 is treating everyone well so far. I've been crazy busy this weekend. Worked New Year's Day and today. Last year, I would have complained about having to work, but this year, I'm not going to complain. I've resolved to be more grateful this year, and part of that is not complaining about having two jobs, when there are people who can't find one job. Besides the people this weekend were nice; my job is a pleasure and a joy when I get a weekend like that.

Anyway, I know I posted about would I be able to finish Boo Club before midnight on December 31st. I was not able to do so. We didn't realize how early dinner was, and so I didn't stitch on it anymore on Thursday. When we got home from the party, it was 1:30 and I had to be up at 8. So I took it work with me on Friday. And got this accomplished:

It's all finished but the buttons. I'll put those on another day. So, to me, it's finished. Woo hoo!

Today, I pulled this out and finished it. I think it's by Sunflower Seed. It was in my mom's basement and I found it there in October. I didn't do very much and then put it aside. I think there was more to it. Probably a tin or something like that that my mom wanted and gave me the kit part. I'll make it into a teacup pincushion. I can't think of what else to do with it.

Lastly, I finished this three weeks ago. It's a Pine Mountain Pillow kit my Secret Sister got me last fall. It was a fun stitch.

I also started Kingdom of the Ice Dragon as my New Year's Day stitch. I hope to have it finished before the fair. I will post when I have more than a dozen stitches in it. As for right now, I'm off to work on Summer Ball.
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