30 April 2010

The Christmas Carrot

I'm on the home stretch of this design. I think this is my favorite Bride's Tree ornament so far, and it makes me smile. I'm hoping, and it may be beyond hope, that I will get this finished this evening, so that I have my April ornament done in the month it represents. It might be doable--Friday nights we normally watch movies til late and the border is not so bad to stitch. I think I'll finish this very simply. If I'm lucky, I can find some gingham ribbon to match the outside border and then will probably use a plainer fabric or felt to back it. At some point, I plan on stitching the other ornaments in the set, but not this year.

I haven't worked on Pumpkin Pie this week. I have just been too busy. The chart is smaller than most of Sanman's charts, and a little trickier to read, so I want to work on it when I have long stretches of time to focus. That may mean working on it at the beach or in Richmond at the Memorial Day retreat. I'm not sure yet.

I'm toying with which project to pick up after this is done. I have to work on my ring pillow badly. I want to get that done by July 1st. But I also have to get hopping on my pandas. That will probably end up being a focus piece for May, but I still have to get the Variations that the chart calls for--Michaels did not have a good selection when I was in, so it means a trip to AC Moore for them. I really want that done by the time I go to Richmond, so that I'm not stressing about the framing.

I think this is the year that I am going to teach myself to stretch and frame my own work. When I was in 4-H, I did my own framing. It was probably not the best, and I did use sticky board, but it looked good when it was done, and 20 years down the road, the pieces are still in good condition. I figure there are good tutorials, and I'm not a stupid woman. Silly, yes, stupid no. Michaels carries frames, and most of the pieces I've done lately don't have unusual shapes, so I think I can actually make a real go at this. Or at least try . . .

29 April 2010

Second Spring

It's been a whirlwind couple of days.

We went to Pennsylvania on family business and to get my wedding shoes on Tuesday. I had found a pair I liked back in October, and I've really wanted them and keep comparing other shoes to them. So we went back up, hoping the store was still open--you have to worry about that these days. They had my shoes, but I found out that they were white vinyl with a dyed bow. Hmmm, white vinyl shoes? Perhaps cute for a few hours, but not for 8 hours. No way. I found out they were white vinyl and the words, "Sweat and blisters, sweat and blisters" danced through my brain. And that was the end of the consideration for them--it will be hard enough to lead the Electric Slide with a ballgown on, let alone a ballgown and blisters. I did find a cute pair of silver slides with a kitten heel. They're glitzy, they're fashionable, they match my bridesmaids' silver shoes, and they were $12 cheaper than the vinyl shoes. Rock on!

It was not all fun. We ordered the flowers for the family graves for Memorial Day. In Western Pennsylvania, among the older generations, Memorial Day is a day to decorate the family cemetary plots, not to go to the beach. My mother does this, and, at some point, I'll take over. So we placed the flower order, visited with Gramma and took her some pansies. I think my mom wanted an arrangement, but we found out the fall before this past one that, the cemetary groundskeepers clean up on certain days and they take whatever you put on the graves off--they took a mum I had bought Grammy off after two weeks and it was upsetting to think that Gramma didn't get to enjoy them, so I am not buying an expensive plant. Gramma wouldn't like to see plants wasted (you didn't dare bring home a plant or a bulb and not put it in the ground if you had a plan, because if you left it, she'd plant it her way), and I think she will enjoy her purple pansies for a week or so.

I wanted to make sure I know how to get to the cemetary my father's family is buried in as well. I know it is "out in the country", but am never really sure how to get there. And I need to know that. I don't want to think my grandparents and my father's baby brother and sister would go without flowers for my lack of initiative, so now I know. Also, it's where my great-grandmother is buried. I was on, and people were asking about her. I thought it would be a help to someone to at least have a picture of her tombstone, even if they don't know the other stories about her. It's pretty wierd to me to think that I have cousins who know NOTHING about our family, especially when I see Daddy and his cousins at the reunion. They speak Pennsylvania Dutch to each other, they remember being children together in the late 30s, they know who's related to who. They were the ones who told me about my great-grandmother, raising children alone after my great-grandfather died, how she was the daughter of a man who fought with his Mennonite neighbors because they didn't feel it was right that he took a pension for his Civil War service, and he should give it to the church. He'd fought in the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Gettysburg, and he told them they didn't bother to keep him back, they didn't fight alongside of him, and they weren't getting his money. I wish my relatives knew this--I know that there have been times that I've reminded myself of the tough stock I come from to get through a bad time. It's a resource. We all need this. Anyway, I know now. I renewed the connection. I'm glad.

We sat and watched the turbines on wind farm off the Lincoln Highway near Stoystown for a while. They are starting to put them up up there. I know it's a devisive issue, but I like windmills. Mom and I both agree that we think those windmills are beautiful. It's like watching a living piece of art--they're very graceful and delicate, and it's a good use for land that was stripmined at one point. It brings movement and life back to what could be a very desolate place and we say we wouldn't mind living by a wind farm.

One lovely souvenir I've brought home from up there is an allergy attack. The same things are blooming up there that were blooming down here three weeks ago. Only I wasn't outside so much then because it was in the 90s here. We were outside pretty much all day, and in greenhouses, so I was huffing pollen all day long. Yesterday I woke up with a swollen face and a headache. I went to work, but came home dog-sick. I laid around all afternoon. I don't think HTB took it seriously til I didn't eat dinner, and went up to bed at 8:30. I didn't want lights on, I didn't want to think too hard, or focus on anything. Today, I feel much better. I may just live.

I'm going to try to get my Christmas Carrot finished by the end of tomorrow. That way, I've finished April in April! Woo hoo!

26 April 2010

Picture update

I realize I haven't posted in what feels like forever. Last week turned out to be not such a good week. Nothing major happened. Just everyone was out of sorts, some people close to me said some things about some choices I made for the wedding that really really upset me (apparently, I looked so pi$$ed off, HTB asked me if I lost my job--I told him I didn't want to talk about it, and gave that ol' elliptical a beat-down), and, on top of all of it, our theatre patrons were acting like nasty spoiled children on Saturdaay, and I had about reached my limit; if I wanted to deal with kids, I would have stayed in school those extra years and gotten an education degree. I just don't understand why some people thrive on being nasty; I try not to be like that when I go in stores, but I guess it's too much to think other people want to extend that same courtesy to those who serve them. I came, drooping, home at Saturday at 10PM and told HTB I have to get out of customer service work.

We did see Avatar finally. I bought it on Thursday, and we just LOVED it. I had been convinced that I wouldn't like it, because I don't like fantasy that much, but it was amazing. The story was beautiful; maybe it will inspire people to realize that we do share a connection to our world and that we need to respect that and honor it. I think this goes high on my list of favorite movies, but it's one I won't be able to watch again right away. I want to savor it and think for a while.

I did finish Irish Kitty on Wednesday. I have managed to misplace it in the middle of organizing my freebies--I keep coming onto caches of stuff I've printed off, LOL. I do have fabric for a tuck pillow for it that looks good. It's shamrocks in colors that match the shamrocks on the design. It also has ladybugs, which the design doesn't have, but, when I look at it, I decided it needs a ladybug button. It makes sense to have the kitten looking at something, and it ties the design to the fabric.
I bought ladybug buttons, and have to have HTB cut off the shank and drill a hole for me to sew it on to the design. I think it will be a lovely, whimsical addition to our spring stuff.

The pictures above are my new WIPs.The first is Christmas Carrot from a 1990 edition of Country Stitch magazine. It's not the best picture, but there are a lot of ornaments in the set, and the magazine photo is far away. To get any better, I'd have to show the chart, and that's illegal. I'm maybe a third of the way done. It's pretty fun to stitch. He looks like such a determined guy in the picture, lugging his dinner home, LOL. I'm not sure about two shades of green in the border though. I may switch it out to a red for the outside. I'm not sure yet.

The other one has been kitted up for FOREVER. It's a Sanman Halloween freebie from 2007 called Pumpkin Pie. I've never seen a finish of it . . . I can't imagine I'm the only one who liked it? It has the CUTEST verse--"A little ghost flew through the sky and crashed right into bat/Bat went swirling to the ground and smashed poor Jack flat/Frank came by and made pumpkin pie/ and that is that." I'm playing with the last part a bit, depending on how much fabric I have left at the end. I may change it to be, "And that, my loves, is that." I bought a fat quarter of Carnival PTP linen to stitch it on, and I think it's so neat. I am trying to do it as a bellpull, I think it would be pretty cute. Or maybe I'm just twisted?

I am hoping this is a better week. We're going up to Pennsylvania to order one pair of my wedding shoes (I want low heels for the service, higher for the reception, it probably won't look so good if I'm constantly shifting because my feet hurt), and to get some flowers. Hopefully that will go well. Any week, I don't work 6 days in a row is a good week.

I hope everyone else has a lovely week.

22 April 2010

Follow up on the reading list

I hope that my reading list posting didn't upset anyone. Looking over it, I'm not even sure that that's the 1001 books I'd say I had to read before I died. Some of their calls are a bit iffy. For example, Stephen King's The Shining. I LOVE Stephen King--the old stuff, his newer stuff is not up to par, though On Writing is a great book. But I don't think The Shining is his best book. My personal favorite is Delores Claibourne, although I did just buy his short stories again and I'm LOVING THEM. I'm also not a huge Anne Rice fan (don't hate me, I just read Interview with the Vampire and thought, "Why all the fuss?"), but I like her non-vampire stories.

They also didn't have anything by Bill Bryson, who is one of my new favorite authors. A Walk in the Woods is on my top ten list of books: funny, heart-breaking, curmudgeonly, probably the kind of book I would write given the same task.

Or Pat Conroy. Or John Jakes. Or a slew of other quite worthy authors. Maybe we need a list of them. Hmmmmmmmm . . .

21 April 2010

Looking for some light reading?

I found this yesterday while looking for ideas books to read.

Like most stitchers, I like to read. I've always liked to read. My sainted grandmother's only flaw was that she did not value my passion for books when I was a child; she used to ask me couldn't I find anything else to do but stick my nose in a book? Probably my mom heard her saying that one day and told her to cut it out because, long about middle school, she stopped saying it. In college, with my major, you picked an "emphasis," with a secondary emphasis, and then a supplemental field of study. As I so often said, "I'm-majoring-in-arts-administration-with-an-emphasis-in-theatre-and-a-secondary-emphasis-in-music." My supplemental field was English and History, and I focused on American history and literature. So I'm not up on my English Lit. I just read Pride and Prejudice last fall. I have never finished Wuthering Heights. But I decided to see just how many of these 1001 books I have actually read.


I've read 46 of them. And that may be generous because I don't remember if I actually did read Nana, by Emile Zola. I know I read Germinal; I had mono in the spring of 1995 and my doctor told me that, if I wanted to get better, I HAD to sit in a chair for an hour a day and do NOTHING. So I read. Voraciously. Vanity Fair is on my "read" list because of it. Also The Jungle which, the nasty parts that supposedly inflamed the country into action against the meat-packing industry, that all of us read in high school, and then refused to eat lunch and toyed with vegetarianism as a result of, are the only mentions in the ENTIRE BOOK. I read it and thought, "Why the hype?" Maybe it was just the mono talking, I don't know . . . But I am not sure I read Zola's Nana.
But, I figure, I read The Little Prince in the original French in high school, so it all kind of evens out.

What strikes me today is that, of those 46 books, they came to be on my "read" list from so many sources. I read "Le Petit Prince" in French. It's hard for me to think about it any other way. I didn't know Camus' L'Etranger was The Outsider in English, but I read it in high school.

A lot of books came from references in my classes. They talked about the literature in my theatre classes. I'd write down the titles and then read them. It was confusing--theatre was so low-class back then, and there was all this fancy literature. I asked how these people read these books, then went to minstrel shows. My professors explained that no one read the books, LOL. Makes sense, right?

Anyway, I printed off the list, and I'm going to start to try to read the ones I've missed. Not all 1001--I don't really want to read all of them. But I could probably read another 300 or so and be OK. I did make a trip to the used bookstore today--I bought maybe 5 off the list, including a big volume of Edgar Allen Poe. I liked him in college, and it's a good thing to re-read. I also have War of the Worlds now, which I've meant to buy for a while. I know it will not be like the movie, and I want to see the difference.

20 April 2010

Still here . . .

Things are just a bit hectic around here right now.

I've been wedding shopping for the last 5 days. I now own 200 votive candles in various scents, appropriate for fall, 192 bottles of wedding bubbles with matching bow tie-ons, 6 totebags indicating the roles of various women in my bridal party, and one extremely expensive wedding veil. Of course you know I tried the wedding veil on as soon as I got home from the store. I guess veils are like hats--some people can wear them, others can't. I'm a hat girl, but Lord, do I look funny in a veil. Every time I put the blusher back, I look like a twisted 60s singer with very big hair. Anyway . . . I'm only wearing it for the ceremony and pictures, which sorta makes the price all the more shameful, but it is what it is, right?

I'm not stitching all that much. I am probably 3/4 of the way through with Irish Kitty. I have to say, there are some interesting color choices for his fur: B5200, 746, and 739. So I don't know if he's a creamy white kitten, or a very pale orange tabby, which is a beautiful color, but not my favorite tabby variation (my boy is a redheaded orange tabby)--I'm thinking he's white. Either he's a bit creamy or else a lot dirty. Hopefully, I can get him finished this evening, and then figure out how I want to finish him.

I did mail in my reservation for Sue Hillis' Get Together in Richmond next month, so that is a huge accomplishment. I'm getting excited. I took the Friday off so that I can get down there in a timely manner. I think I'm bringing my Sleepy Hollow WIP to see if I can make some progress on it. I've been working on it for 2 years now, it's time to finish that booger, before the pretty fabric gets ruined. I may also bring a couple smalls to work on, but not sure. They are having a "Bring and Brag" deal where you can show off your work. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to bring. It's a toss up: Houses of Hawks Run Hollow or Treaty Fairy? Or New Birth of Spring? All have their own merits. Treaty Fairy is the kind of thing I really like to stitch, whimsical things. New Birth of Spring is all about the animals and is really an impressive piece--my MIL can't believe you can get that shading using floss and it really is one of the nicest things I've seen Stoney Creek do, but Houses is an impressive picture, on the whole--everything I did with that piece worked in harmony and told the story I wanted to tell the way I wanted to tell it. Decisions, decisions . . .

And I've been going through my freebies, trying to weed out extra copies I printed off. I know why I do it, I'm trying to make sure I have a copy before the chart is unavailable and, if I can't find it, it upsets me. But I'm trying to stop this.

And to top it off, the battery on my camera died. I carry it in my purse now, and the lens cover came open in there and drained the battery. BOOOGER.

So I'm still here, just busy! Camera battery is recharging, freebies are stacked, veil is hung on the back of the door where I won't be tempted to wear it at random moments. I've accepted my creamy kitten, and we're moving forward.

16 April 2010

irish kitty WIP

Or should I call it Irish kitty and frog? I spent last night frogging on this. I had a bad night at my part-time job--we had a rental, which is always "special" (the theatre is historic and it makes my eye twitch when I see how some of these groups treat the space), one of my co-workers was being a pain, and my sinuses are acting up. I probably shouldn't have been stitching, but I did it anyway. And so I frogged.
It won't be the first, it won't be the last, and it was all fixable, so no harm, no foul.

I apologize for the not-so-good photo. I'm stitching it on blue Charles Craft 14-count aida, but it's not as blue as the picture makes it out to be. I went back and forth about what fabric to use for this. Should it be a green, or a blue, or a cream or a khaki? I just couldn't find a green that went with the shamrocks, thought, and the neutrals would have just blah'd it out. I wanted a color to make the kitten pop and it really does pop off this. So do the shamrocks, so I'm pretty pleased.

I haven't quite figured out how I want to finish this. I initially thought as a cube, but now I'm leaning towards a tuck pillow. I don't know. I have quite a bit of St. Patrick's Day fabric that needs to be used up, but I'm not sure if people who make tucks would be willing to make it with this fabric. Maybe it would be better as an ornament, though. I'm not sure.

I hope everyone is having a pleasant morning. Enjoy the day!

15 April 2010

Found my next ornament for the Brides Tree SAL

I will have some WIP photos to share tomorrow. I started Kustom Krafts' Irish Kitty, from their newsletter, Tuesday night, and am LOVING it. I'm already about a quarter of the way finished, and it's just a lot of fun, and not a hard stitch. I think having a newsletter is a brilliant idea for Kustom Krafts; it's a wonderful way to ease into their designs, and, as far as freebies go, it's a bit meatier than average, with shading and all that. Pretty awesome.

I also picked my April ornament for the Brides Tree SAL. I'm supposed to be doing a rabbit this month. It's been hard to pick a rabbit to do. There are so many to choose from, but a lot of them are Easter-themed, and that would be a bit wierd on a Christmas tree. So I've been putting off working on it because nothing shows you take a decision seriously like procrastination.

Monday night, I stopped in to the big used bookstore around here. I wanted some books to read, and their prices are really reasonable--half cover price, which, if you are looking at older, mid-80s, early 90s printings of books, are A LOT cheaper than at the bookstore. Anyway, they carry craft books as well, so I wandered over. They had a decent selection of cross stitch leaflets and magazines, so I looked through them. I pulled a bunch of issues of Country Stitch and FTLOCS, and had a wonderful time reading them. I don't have a lot of issues of Country Stitch. I don't know how long it was in print. It's a good magazine, though. Simpler designs, but pretty. Not overly "80s", not too much duplicate stitch, whatever that was?

In the November/December 1990 issue, they had a series called "A Country Kind of Christmas." It's a set of Prairie-Schooler type animal designs to use as ornaments, or for decorating table linens. They had a horse design, always a joy to find. And A BUNNY! Bestill my heart! He's hauling a carrot over his back, and has the sweetest little Santa cap on. I love him! I think he will be a sweet addition to the tree. I kitted him up already and will start him as soon as I finish the kitty, which shouldn't be long.

13 April 2010

Picture post

Two finishes to share.

Joy, a freebie by LK, stitched with DMC on linen from my stash. I found some cute fabric to back it with, so can't wait to get it finished. This was a superquick stitch. I started it last night, finished it just now. I got this from the Lizzie Kate stitchers group on Yahoo.

And my finished One Flag over Chessie, renamed to One Flag over Gussie, by Chessie & Me. I love tabby cat charts (along with bunnies, and horses and black cats, and everything else) and this chart has been high on my "to-do" list since my LNS kitted it up last summer;I am pleased with how my customizations turned out. The LNS changed out the stitched stars for buttons, which I am grateful for. I stitched his body color in Whiskey, and the stripes in the darker color called for in the pattern. His whiskers were supposed to be black, but my orange tabby doesn't have black whiskers, so these match my guy a bit better. I think Gus would approve of his stitched self! I want a patriotic-style basket of smalls and I think this will be so cute in there, probably as a pinkeep, but I may make it into an ornament so I have more choices of how to display it.

Did you know . . .

I don't recall this being addressed on many blogs, but, in my travels along the information superhighway, I've discovered an invaluable resource for connecting with fans of your favorite designers, along with a great source for freebies. Yahoo! Groups!. I won't post the direct links, since I'm not sure if I would get in trouble, but it's worth a look to see what's out there.

I've joined communities for Brooke's Books, Lizzie Kate, Oak Haven Designs, even Little House Needleworks. They're nice communities. The designers post to some of them. What a great way to have contact with the designers, especially if it's someone you want to become familiar with before you spend money on a chart. And it's a chance to network with other stitchers, which I never get tired of.

Today, I'm working on a very cute ornament-sized LK freebie, Joy, obtained through a LK group. It was a shop handout, so I know it's a legal freebie (you have to watch for illegal stuff online, there are a lot of sites out there posting charts from kits. I don't see the point of that). It's a fun, quick stitch, and I'm using a scrap of fabric from my stash. All it's cost me is the cost of three skeins of floss--it needs four colors, but I had one, readily accessible. I'll have this finished by the end of the evening. It's a work of heart, and a chance to join a great group for less than $1 outlaid!

So, go explore, see what's out there to enjoy. What neat groups for stitchers can you find?

12 April 2010

Another finish--He's a Flake

I finished this last night. I think this has been my favorite of the three LHN ornaments I've done so far. We're watching Life on the Discovery Channel and it's hard to stitch while watching this wonderful series, but I got it done. I did figure out that the backing fabric I bought will not work, but I have other fabric I can use, so I'm not worried.

It was a busy weekend. We headed over to Lowes for a new garage door to replace the one that broke--it literally broke. We have been needing one for a long time--we had to have a work-around since last spring, when one of the springs let go. I was home alone before work when it happened, and the house SHOOK. I thought, not quite logically, either someone shot the house, or there was an accident, but couldn't see any damage. Now I am just glad it didn't do that while anyone was in the garage, or even when the dogs were in there. We found this new one for a reasonable price, it's lighter and better insulated. The only thing is that it doesn't have windows, and I told DF that we need to have a light on when we put the dogs in the garage during the day, or their eyes will go bad. He said that was a good idea--I'm sure the savings because of the insulation will offset the cost of the light.

We also got some flowers. I have a planter on the front landing that we put pansies and things in. It cheers up that area, it's a splash of color, and it's something that I can say I contributed to the house. This was a rental house before HTB bought it, and he's not a flower man, so there are no flowers, just some trees and the ornamental grasses to give privacy for the dogs. I found some calla lilies in a peachy salmony color, which will look nice, so I planted those in my box. I told HTB I will get more flowers in a week or so, just to warn him, we shall have color! And I bought a lavendar plant. I miss having it, and, even if we don't stay at this house too long, I wanted some. It's just heavenly in the summer, when the sun warms it and releases the scent. I was so happy to find it, I was smelling the leaves; I am sure the neighbors now think I am crazy, huffing lavendar, but that's life! I wanted to find tomatoes, but they didn't have the upside down planters and I need those, so I'll hold off til I find them. We usually plant tomatoes in May anyway.

I even got my Mother's Day shopping done. They had a new series of yard decorations by Jim Shore, really cute stuff, from a bird bath to wind chimes to little stake things. My mom loves Jim Shore stuff, so I figured this was a good idea, and they were fairly reasonably priced. I know how popular his stuff is, and decided I better get the windchimes now, because they will NOT be there in a few weeks. DF wondered why I was buying windchimes; he seemed a bit better about it when I told him what it was for, but I'll have to find something just as nice for his mom.

We were a'planting and a'installing all afternoon. It was kinda nice. I'm excited to see what my lily bulbs turn into. I'm happy in a deep-down way that I have lavendar now. And so stoked about that darn garage door! I even cooked last night!

It was a very productive day!

08 April 2010

I found it!

Sometimes I think I need to rename this blog, "The hunt for stuff I threw in a box and forgot about." I knew I had this set of freebies.

In 2006, at the Indianapolis Market, they released a set of charts called the Town Square. There were 40 participating designers, from Bent Creek to JBW to Shepherd's Bush. There were all kinds of building. I bought the set, but never stitched them; 2006 was a bad year. I threw them in a box and forgot about them.

My stitching pal Riona (of Oubliette fame) mentioned she had found her set of the charts. She is starting a SAL. That got me thinking, "Ya know, I HAVE those. In a box of chaos." So, today, I went searching at Mom's. After a certain small Schipperke man gave me 15 kinds of hell for looking at cross stitch, and not playing with him, I went down in the basement and started looking.

I have a lot of stuff I need to get rid of. I have already decided I am getting rid of all my extra charts at the Sue Hillis get together next month. Today was debating about all the UK magazines I bought for a former friend who never paid me for any of them (including the $180 worth of magazines she begged me to send her telling me she'd pay, and then never paid me for). Part of me was like, "It's stupid to give them away at the get-together, I spent money on them. Sell them." Another part said, "Well, the money wasn't a big enough reason to not have them in a box in the basement." Frankly, looking at them makes me mad. So I'm up in the air as to whether to sell them or not. I stopped buying them in mid-2005 when I realized that I seemed to be laying out a lot of money and not getting anything in return, so I could probably get some money for them now. I don't know. Will have to think about this. It's a hard choice.

I did find my Town Square charts though! In the same box as the magazines. I am stoked. I think they would look supercute as a display for Christmas, maybe as a mix of backing fabrics. They're a bit more kid-friendly than porcelain houses (which I love, but, as anal retentive as I am about my Fitz and Floyd Santa, I'd be worse with houses)and they would be fun. I think I'd only be out for the specialty threads and charms. Hopefully the designers still would offer them.

I was thinking today, they keep talking about the great Recession. I realized that it's affected my stitching, but really, it's been a positive change. I used to be the kind of girl who lived at the LNS every weekend. I bought and bought and bought and never used any of my supplies. I would joke and say it was for when I was a hermit, but I don't think I really appreciated it. And I can say now, the recession has taught me to appreciate what I have. I'm using my over-dyed flosses, I'm enjoying the fabric from my stash. At first that was wierd, because I always wanted that "cushion" of floss but it's easier now. When the alternative is expensive, you get over your issues. And when I'm buying, I buy because it's a true addition to my stash. I'm shopping at stores that genuinely want my business or offer a value. And it's a treat to go to an LNS; I had forgotten what a joy it really is to walk into a cross stitch store and I appreciate the "reset" the recession has given me.

Do you see positive changes in your stitching from the Great Recession?

07 April 2010

More WIP pictures

I had time to take pictures this morning.

My progress on Shores. You can see the first of my changes to the chart in the words. I'm a little leery about how I'm working from all sides in, instead of center out. I always worry I've miscounted, but I can't just work on large blocks of color. I know it's on a Silkweaver fabric, but honestly don't remember what it was.

This is our wedding pillow, by M designs. I really am enjoying this and I think it will stitch up into a very unique momento of our day. I am glad that I didn't pick something fancy and hardanger-y to do; this is a lot less stressful than all that cutting and such, and, since I'm not really going for fancy and floaty and lacy with anything else in the wedding, I think this is just right. I'd like to find some knotwork buttons, so may head over to the fancy fabric store on the Pike to see if they can help me. But I've got a good start, I think!

I hope the weather is amazing where you are. We are in the midst of a heatwave. It was 80 here at 9PM last night. Not that I'm complaining. You don't have to shovel heat!

06 April 2010

Drive by posting

I noticed the blog was a bit picture-less, so wanted to show off this start. LHN he's a flake, on 32 count Fathom by PTP. I love this fabric! I bought a lighter blue and white harlequin pattern to back it with. I think it will look good like that.

05 April 2010

Flighty flighty flighty

I have been flittering between projects for the last few days. I started LHN He's A Flake. I like him so far, he seems like a quick stitch (good, cause I'm now 3 behind on those). I am using PTP Fathom, which might be a tad dark, but, then again, these are MY ornaments for MY tree, and I LIKE the Fathom. I cut it so I have a piece left over. There's a certain Halloween freebie out there that is gonna be put on a GORGEOUS piece of fabric. I even have the beads. I bought more of those bulk sets at Michael's. I know I'll be able to use them.

I also picked up the ring pillow. I need to get that finished, and it really is an easy stitch. I am liking how the colors play in and out because of the over-dyed thread. It's a lot of fun.

But then, Saturday, I was out in the garage, and pulled out Shores of Hawks Run Hollow. It's been out there, neglected, in a mesh bag, since it was a witness to the horrific demise of the Neon. I figured, since Carriage House Samplings will no longer be publishing (and that's all I have to say about that, she says in her best Forrest Gump impersonation), maybe I ought to get to stitching on it.

It's wierd. I love this chart (aside from the fact it was in the garage, but the dogs were taking care of it.)I want our someday dining room to be in the blues of Shores (I can see it now--dark wood, white linen, and icy blue), and I want to get this finished. But I took a look at it Saturday and thought, "Can I really, really handle another two year stitching project? Do I really WANT to do this again? CAN I really do this again?" Houses was an amazing stitching experience for me, but part of me wonders if that was just a fluke. It seems silly, but I worry about these types of things. And I've made some changes for my version, what if they look like crap on the fabric, and I've just made an expensive mistake? And part of me, the willful childish side looked at those borders, 92 stitches long, and said, "B*tch, you crazy! I'm not doing it. You can't make me do it."

And then, very calmly, I understood. I've probably told this story before, but, when I was in college, it was a 10 hour drive to get to Kentucky. My father drove me, because I didn't have a license til I was 20. The route we took was in 3 parts: west on Rt. 70, to 68, to Morgantown, West Virginia, then down to Charleston, then west on 64 into Lexington. The highway runs through the mountain right beyond where you get on 68, so you get through it, and you can't see where you came from.Sometimes I didn't want to go back to school. I used to get panic attacks when we would leave. It wasn't that I didn't love school, I found myself in college, but I just got intimidated. But I got into the mindset, as long as we hadn't gotten to where 70 hit 68, as long as I didn't get into the mountains, I could always turn around and go home. Once I got on 68, well that was committing; I couldn't ask my dad to stop the forward motion and I had to continue down the road. And of course the feeling passed when we got to Morgantown, and by the time we hit Charleston, it was, "Come on, we gotta get home," because, despite the hard work, and the panic, I wanted nothing more than to see what would happen. because my life was made all the fuller just 10 hours away.

And so, I realized, I was at my Rt. 68 with this sampler the other day. I could commit or turn back. Do my best, knowing it won't be easy to get this finished, but that it is accomplishable, or put it aside. And, just as I never once turned back on my way to Kentucky, I committed to my sampler. I don't know how it will play out with the other things. Maybe a few less freebies will be stitched, maybe I won't get my Bride's Tree done. But who knows. Maybe this is a confidence kick!

02 April 2010

Spring Blessings

I hope that today finds us all in good circumstances. I think the weather has finally broken here in Maryland. It was gorgeous yesterday; warm, trees and flowers blooming. The peepers were singing to each other in our Shrek-swamp. I drove to my part-time job with the roof open, windows down, and music blaring, and, to my DELIGHT, at the nearby Thoroughbred farm, they had put the broodmares out in the fields, along with their new foals. It's funny, but, ever since college, when I would sell my soul for a ride out into the surrounding backroads and horse farms around Lexington, it doesn't "feel" like spring til I see a foal. I used to wonder if I was looking upon a future Derby winner when I would look at them. Something about those long twinkly legs, and that flip-flap tail, and their enthusiastic grace, it just speaks of the promise of the season. Hard work lies ahead, but, for now, let's embrace the newness of life.
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