28 June 2010

A warning

We have dangerous stairs.

For a lot of reasons.

It is where carpet meets tile means laminate floors. Slick city. We eat downstairs. This means maneuvering plates of food down two flights of stairs. Hoping not to slip. Or drop.

I've managed to slip twice. First time was an early date with HTB. It involved spaghetti. I managed to hold on to my spaghetti. I think this is why he continued to date me.

The second time, this winter, I dropped red hot buffalo wing chicken dip. It started off here.

And it bounced here. There were large glops of it right where the stair meets the wall.

It came to rest somewhere at the mid point of these stairs.

HTB just walked away. His face looked bad. The remnants of dip didn't look too good. The carpet looked worse. We were making it to eat while watching the Cowboys play. They looked the worst.

Did I mention we have white carpet?

Did I mention there was orange dip all over the foyer? And by all, it was eye level the whole way down. Arcs of chicken, cream cheese, and hot sauce.

4 hours in all it took to clean. I had an aversion to all the above ingredients for a few months. HTB made the dip again, but he used less hot sauce, and he carried it downstairs. He who drops is he who cleans . . .

We need a warning system to keep us safe.

Thank goodness I stitched one.

Thank goodness I had backing fabric. In the perfect pattern. And cording remnants, enough to go round. And I can halfway tie a bow.

We're safe now. It's not the best first attempt at an easel finish, but it was pretty good. I have a book about Maryland lighthouses, there were a few "off" attempts. They were a good start and served a need, and when they knew better, they did better.

26 June 2010

Revisiting from two years ago

This is from an old post of mine. I thought it might be fun to revisit and see if I'd read anymore books since then . . .

Look at the list of (100) books below. Bold the ones you’ve read. Italicize the ones you want to read. Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in. (Movies don’t count.)
1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25 . Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

25 June 2010

The master plan for the weekend is TO STITCH

HTB is going camping this weekend. Without moi. I have to work. Booger! I told him the dogs and I were going to watch chick flicks and eat ice cream all weekend. I know he worries he is going to walk in to find them eating delivery pizza and Breyers ice cream out of the container, watching Titanic . . . in bed, drooling all over the sheets. Silly HTB . . .

We're going to watch Dazed and Confused.

I guess it's OK. Really. It will give me a chance to catch up on my stitching. I figure, if I go to the store tonight, that gives me all evening tomorrow night, into Sunday morning to get the bookmark finished in order to mail it out this week. I do have a question, though. It's one of those pre-finished bookmarks, but the back is exposed. Is there a simple way to finish that, to cover the back? My back isn't messy, but I don't want to half-way do this, and leaving it open feels "half-way." I was thinking felt, or would iron-on interfacing look OK? I'm also trying to finish HTB's Sanman freebie. I want to do it as a flat-fold and I figure it will be easier to fiddle with if he's not here to see it. I'm trying to decide between using seagull fabric I just happen to have, or some nautical fabric--I guess it will come down to how much of the fabric I have. It would be nice to have it finished so that I can set it in the middle of the steps for him to see when he comes in the door. We'll see.

In other news . . . if you are looking for a fast project to celebrate the 4th of July, Aury has offered us up this sweet Quaker freebie. It coordinates with her offering for last year. I may end up stitching this next weekend--it would be pretty with a simple red white and blue homespun backing. If I ever get that shelf I bought done, I think it would be nice to stitch both of the hearts and hang them together from the pegs with some of my patriotic goodies displayed on top. Would anyone like to join me in a patriotic SAL next weekend?

23 June 2010

Does this look alright?

I'm playing with the template. Jazzing the place up for summer.

Does it look OK? Too hard to read? Just perfect?

If there are any problems, let me know?

The beat goes on . . .

Thank you for the suggestions of books to include. You all have suggested great ones, or supported me in what I thought of sending her. Heck, I may send two or three books to keep from stinting her, LOL.

Not much exciting happened yesterday around here. We're on a quest to find suitable summer fruit, which, despite where we live, is not that easy. I can never get over to the farmer's market in town to get fruit and the best places I know are quite a distance away and aren't open when I am able to get to them. Our Safeway has awful fruit, but I bought nectarines there last week, which HTB ate and never said anything, so I bought him some more last night, and the one he tried to eat . . . ohhhh, it has nearly turned me off nectarines. Mealy and tasteless, like eating styrofoam . . . I'm still gagging. Mom is giving us peaches from the orchard we used to go to when I was small, and they may be our fruit vendor for the summer. I'm almost tempted to drive over to the Eastern Shore to stock up-we have YET to get bad produce from the stands along the road. I wonder what people do if they have no other alternative? If mealy nectarines are all there are, what do you do?

Surprise, surprise, I picked up Hummingbird Trellis afghan last night to work on it. I'm setting a goal for myself to have two squares finished by the end of the year and to work on finishing it in 2011. On top of everything else, I know. If I get Squares 3 and 8 done this year, that is a fairly large accomplishment, and it's time I get this afghan done, since I started it in 2005, frogged and restarted in 2006. 4 or 5 years is too long for one project. The stitching itself is not that bad, it's handling all that fabric--it's heavy, it gets in the way, it's an effort to flip the q-snaps to start and stop. I have Nature's Home afghan around too, to start, but I've decided I'll do that as quilt squares and then sew them together.

I hope the week is progressing well for everyone.

22 June 2010

A bookmark, a panda, a finish and a lesson from bugs

I thought I would share the things I've been working on for the past couple days.

First is a new start, a bookmark by Joan Elliott in the latest issue of WOXS. It's for an exchange I'm in on 123. It's moving along quickly, but I don't have a lot of the flosses, so will be going to Michaels today. I don't think the recipient reads this blog, and she's on vacation for the next three weeks. Barring disaster, she should have it before she gets home to read this. I started it last night while we were watching West Side Story on TCM. It was a choice between that or The Outlaw Josey Wales; I don't know if I spelled that right, but it's on literally EVERY NIGHT, and has been on for the last two months, too bad Clint Eastwood never ever made another movie and no one else ever made another movie about cowboys. Hah! Even HTB is getting tired of it popping up on the menu. I am planning on tucking it into a book to mail it, but not sure what kind of book I will send. The lady has a camper, so I would imagine she likes to travel. Well, that got me thinking, because I love to read travel books, and I thought I might send her a travel book about Maryland, as a way to bring a bit of my world to her part of England, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea either. And if I do, should I go silly, or interesting anecdotes, or ghost stories (to read around the campfire), or a coffee table book (I have a photography book about wild ponies, but I realize not everyone cares to see pony photos.) Or would it be better to send a novel that I have read and really liked? I am sorta torn. I know I prefer goofy anecdotal books (the Weird US books are interesting), but I'm not typical. Any suggestions?

This is my progress on Tai Shan. He's moving pretty slow, I know, but, if I stitch in good light, I can see progress. I really would like to have a Jill Rensel mat for this with bamboo painted on it, but that won't get done before the fair. What I may end up doing is framing it myself and then, after the fair, have her redo it. I don't know though, I'm still toying. It will all depend on what I can find at Michaels--they have way better ready-made frames than AC Moore.

And the finished "H" from M Designs. This is exactly as stitched on her version of it. I had toyed with removing that border, but it really does "finish" the piece. This means I will have to toy with the back stitch line to sew the biscornu, because the design is not square, but I don't think that that will make a lot of difference visually. Someone would have to be right up on it to see that, and I don't think anyone would be that nitpicky.

I hope everyone had a joyous first day of summer yesterday. I did my celebrating on Sunday evening, driving home. The fireflies have finally arrived, and they're somehow different here in the country. There are more of them, I guess. They gather in the farm fields, right over the crops, and flash. To look out across the land and see them all blinking, all on their own cadence, trying to attract a mate, was just . . . amazing. Fairy lights tossed upon the land in a celebration of all that is summer; the hard cold days are gone, and it's time to enjoy just being alive. It was truly magical; I wish I had a way to take a picture that would show what it was like, but I'm reminded again that some pictures are not meant to be and that is a good thing. They are meant to experience and keep in the heart and learn from. How many times have I driven by and missed this? Closed my eyes to the simple beauty in a mad rush to just get SOMEWHERE? I know they won't be here all summer, so it's time to slow down a bit and appreciate what I've been given to see.

21 June 2010

The Letter H

is finished!

I thought I would have it done last night, but was "proofreading" it and saw an open space that looked wierd, and realized I had missed an area (which I expected, due to the way this is designed), so I got up this morning and finished it. It feels FANTASTIC. Of course, it still needs to be transformed into a biscornu, but I'm going to put it aside for now. I have three pressing projects: a bookmark for an exchange that I have been procrastinating about, a quilt square, and the Pollyanna Pickering pandas (say that fast, LOL). The bookmark is due on the 1st, the quilt square the 30th, and the pandas for the fair, but we have to frame those, and that may take some doing.

The pandas are intimidating me, I have to say. I am using the book Mother and Baby Animal Cross Stitch, by Pollyanna Pickering. It is a beautiful book, with lovely wild animal charts. However, the charts are full color, and not every color uses a symbol. As much as I hate to admit it, my eyes don't work as well as they used to, and I need symbols. It's bad enough to tell filled in arrow from hollow arrow, but puce brown square from light puce square is asking a lot. I'm not going to give up on this project, though. I want it done for the fair, it's a very sweet picture, and I know I can do it. It's a challenge though. I just hope that the other charts are better, because I do love the book. A lot.

Friday night, I treated myself by going to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, for a visit to Hobby Lobby. I was looking for bird cages, and figured they were a good place to look. And it was a nice evening for a 50 mile drive, LOL. I went through Gettysburg; the store is 20 miles away right on Rte. 30, so it wasn't too bad. They didn't have what I wanted, but I did find a patriotic sailboat for my 4th of July collection and a large paper hatbox, woo hoo! The HL doesn't have a lot of stitching supplies, I was disappointed, but they do have nice decorative stuff and their craft supplies seemed a little better. And the staff was super-friendly. I appreciated that.And, driving back, I came down through the battlefield at Gettysburg, which takes on such an other-worldly quality at dusk. I always feel compelled to watch for spirits, but maybe, after all this time, they're quiet now. And, oh my goodness, the ghost tours! There had to be at least 5 tour outfits. Crazy! But I did decide that I am asking HTB to take one of the tours when we get back from our honeymoon. After all, we will be spending most of the month in wedding mode. When we get back, Halloween will be that week, and, sucker for Halloween that I am, I need to have something ghostly happen!

The weekend itself went pretty well. We met with a florist on Saturday. I like her. She had lovely ideas, and didn't make me feel like an idiot for being a bit unclear about what I wanted. We discussed calla lilies in terra cottas, with roses, and she found a way to work in white hydrangeas, with HTB in a coordinating boutonniere. She even had a solution for the flower girl's flowers, since she can't toss them. My flower girl will carry a kissing ball coordinating to my bouquet. I told the flower girl the plan; she didn't like it, but (and please don't read this as me being an ogre) I realized I am not willing to appease an 8-year-old. She will get a pretty thing that she can use. And that's it! The florist is also helping us find birdcages. I did find 3 at Homegoods, but we need more.

Yesterday was pretty laid back. Lunch with my dad, dinner with HTB's dad. I even gave Robbie a Father's Day present; just because he doesn't know where his offspring are doesn't mean he's not a father, so he got a toy. He must have told Chancey to back off of it because she didn't bother it. He should at least get to play with his toy one day, right?

18 June 2010

Ring pillow update

I don't want to be all talk, no photos, so here goes.

This was the last picture I took of the ring pillow. This is from last week. I get how HTB can't see the "H".

And here is the updated picture. The flash makes the variations in the floss really come out. I think it looks really good. I can't wait to get this finished.

I'm excited at how this is turning out.

When I grow up/win the lottery/retire . . .

Isn't it funny what people will do, at some undefined point in the future that may or may not occur, based on the random whims of biology, the economy or the lottery's computer? We'll give to charity, buy a frivolous vehicle, do a noble job instead of what we do (BTW, any job is noble if you look at it the right way. I worked at a security company on 9/11. It was a J.O.B. of the worst type, but somehow we spun it into a national security job. We were fighting terrorism by answering the phones. Now I'm bringing art and culture to people . . . and letting them know we're not a movie theatre), have an easier life.

I try not to dream about these things. I'm a curmudgeon that way. I don't know what I'd do with money like that. Other than have one day where I give 5 of my friends Visa gift cards, loaded with, say $100K, and then send them to the mall to see who can spend the closest to their limit on clothes and not go over. Whoever wins gets to keep all of it, the others get to keep, say $10K of stuff and have to give the rest to charity. I know, I know, that is a heckuva mean game to play, but . . . it would be the ultimate game of "My sandbox, my rules." I don't know what I'll due when I retire. I get antsy after a couple days of doing, not much. I was unemployed for two weeks a few years ago; I started climbing the walls to find something to do.

But, what about if we look at it from a stitching perspective? When and if I ever get serious, what are things I'd do. So I present to you,

When I grow up:

When I grow up, I will finish every cross stitch project I start. Before it smells vaguely of dog . . . or the marriage it was intended for ends, or before the child it is for goes to kindergarten.

I will stop licking floss. I never saw the issue with licking floss. Did the job, and I don't share the floss. Not til some kind, lovely person said, "Do you realize that that stuff gets dropped on the floor at Michaels?" Well, yeah, but . . . Do you know what a Michaels floor looks like?" After my eyeballs went back into my head, after I rinsed my mouth out, I remembered that most microbes can't live outside a human body. I'm banking on that for survival. But I'm aging, so I better start taking care of myself.

I will keep track of my needles better. I will stop dropping them, only finding them when they drive into our feet or HTB rolls onto them in bed(and, as bad as that was, one went down my cleavage one evening). I will stop leaving them tucked into the margins of projects to rust, or tarnish, or otherwise, go to pot. I will also stop buying crappy linen which enables them to fall out easier. It's a bad habit.

I will stop leaving projects all over the house. Because we all know, it's not necessary to stitch while cooking. Or in the laundry room. I like to keep projects around to remind me to work on them. Is that a bit OCD?

I will store supplies for a project with the chart. Nothing is more annoying to find bags of random floss with no idea what they're for. They have to be FOR something, but if I don't have some otherwise offensive floss (and by that, I mean Light Effects) in there, I have no clue what to do.

I will frame things with the proper mats and frames, not just what I can afford. I think that says it all right there.

My Christmas tree will have ornaments I stitched on it. And by "on it", I don't mean draping random cuts of fabric over the branches. I mean finished. I have 12 on there. I should have a lot more. I stitch all the time. I just put the finishes in boxes.

Most importantly, I will stop taking the criticism of fair judges so seriously. A snap decision from someone is not a final analysis of my talent. Nor will my ability, or lack thereof, to have many entries for the fair be the basis of my self-esteem. I'm far too competitive, but I know I'm good. And the people I love enjoy my stitching and appreciate the effort; HTB is my biggest fan, but he doesn't understand how I can obsess over getting a stitch just so, but not remember to replace the trash bag in the garbage can. "I'm an artist," I tell him, "It's part of my temperment. Do you want me to finish your lighthouse or not?"

Maybe it's time I grow up though. I'm working on winning the lottery, after all. We have a plan, carefully hatched, and heavily weighted on buying our tickets in the country (since most lottery winners seem to buy their tickets in the boonies . . . and I live just this side of the boonies). So . . . start assembling those shopping lists for the mall. That's all I'm saying . . .

17 June 2010


thank you all for listening to my awkward rant the other day. I think things are going to be OK. I am trying to remember that, no matter what, this is a day that is about the commitment we are making to each other, so all this petty arguing is nothing. Mom and I had it out the other night. I think she finally admitted what the problem is; she wants control because she thinks the guests will hold her responsible for how good the hall looks. I told her that if anyone shares a negative opinion about the wedding in her presence, a) tell them it's what I wanted, b) tell me about it and c) have bail money ready, so that, when I deck them for sharing their opinion, I won't be in jail too long. I'm utterly serious about this; I've been to weddings where things weren't the way I would have done them, but I never said anything to the parties involved. It's not my call to make.

HTB and I do think we have a theme: birds. I have seen some lovely arrangements in bird cages, and after seeing some dove release baskets, I got some ideas. Birds have always had a lot of meaning to me--they are effortlessly beautiful (think cardinals in winter snow or geese flying, silhouetted against an autumn sunset), their music, some mate for life, and what is more symbolic of the new life of spring than a robin's nest? I've found some lovely cake toppers with that theme, I think it would be both elegant and a touch of fun. HTB really took to it; he was able to visualize the ideas and like it, although I can't convince him that I would be absolutely darling with peacock feathers in my hair. Oh, well . . .

I worked on the ring pillow last night. We were watching Triple X with Vin Diesel. A fun movie, different, not one I would have chosen, but HTB was putting ribbons and bells on bottles of wedding bubbles, so I was accommodating. He has even consented to going to Hobby Lobby with me tomorrow night after work to look for decorative bird cages. Which will be, to the best of my reckoning, the second time he has ever been to a craft store. At least HL has lighthouses for him to look at, too. I didn't get a lot done, but I can see the finish line on it. After the movie was over, we watched Ghost Hunters. He dislikes the show (mainly, I think he's a bit jealous of my tiny crush on Jason--he got upset because he grew a goatee, then Jason had one, then he shaved, and Jason shaved. I told him that he is not the only bald man in America to grow a goatee, and that he's much handsomer than Jason. His reply, "H$LL, yeah." Modesty, thy name is HTB, LOL.). I do have to admit, last night's episode was a bit silly. I got him laughing because I was repeating what they were saying in my deep voice. I was just practicing my ghost hunting skills, but if I'm cracking up my partner, I may need more practice. And of course his laughing got me laughing and it was OVER. No more stitching. We do things like that all the time; I think one of the reasons that I fell in love with HTB is that, for as serious as he is, when we're just sitting around, we goof off, and he is HILARIOUS without even trying. He asked about a lighthouse design, and I told him I kitted it up, to which he replied, "Hey, don't be using all those technical terms with me.", and I started laughing.

I hope everyone is having a good week and is getting lots of stitching done. I am hopeful to get at least one project done by Sunday. The WIPs are breeding like rabbits, something needs to be done to stop the spread!

15 June 2010

What's happening in Crazyville--Tuesday edition

We're starting to kick into wedding high gear here. I am starting to put my foot down about what I want. I told HTB I need addresses for his buddies, and I need him to pick a man from his side of the family to do a reading at the service. I'm trying to narrow down my "theme" for the reception. This has been a huge, dragged out FIGHT for months. My major frustration is hearing I'm supposed to make decisions and then, when I make them, family members feel the need to tell me that they don't like the choices I want. I won't go into details, but I got fussed at for wanting arrangements in white pumpkins for the reception. Which culminated a few weeks ago in my yelling, "Y'all can just plan the bleeping wedding yourselves. Pick whatever flowers you want, I don't want to hear about it, and I'll just show up, because I don't care anymore." I think that got some of the attention it needed to get, because they've backed off substantially. Except my mother, who, today, suggested hydrangeas. They don't match my colors, they won't be seasonal, and I don't want them--I chose not to argue this point at 8AM this morning, in her front yard. I want calla lilies. I know everyone means well, but, really, if I don't put my foot down, this is going to turn into a tacky mess. And I'm not having that. If I've had nightmares over this for all this time, I'm getting what I want. HTB got on me because I was watching "Bridezillas" on Sunday. He said it was bad mojo. I consider it taking notes.

In more peaceful news, I started two new projects this weekend. My mother bought CHS Visiting Bird two years ago, and asked me to stitch it for her. I pulled it out on Sunday. Now, it's not a freebie, but it's for her, and it's a fun stitch. I'm making good progress. HTB also brought me a lighthouse and asked me to stitch it for him, so I started that. It's an older Sanman freebie, By the Sea, from a newsletter, I think. I had to kit it up with my own colors, since the model used Seaside Treasures floss. I chose Anchor floss--the colors are bright and clean to me, and it will be pretty. It's pretty small, on 22 count Hardanger, so I'll finish it as a flat fold with some seagull fabric I have in my stash. I think it will be cute and summery, and he can display it where he wants.

I did work on my ring pillow, too. I spent all of Friday evening and most of Saturday on it. It should be done this week, at least that front panel, and the back shouldn't take that long. I decided that I want to try to find a clear, understated button for the front, and then put a knotwork one on the back. The back will probably be fairly simple (though HTB keeps pushing me to add beads--I think the man is moonlighting for Mill Hill. He wants beads on the lighthouse too. I refused), and some knotwork would look good back there, but putting a fancy button on the front would put it right over the edge into "too much." At least this is what my head says, the part that isn't concerned with being able to stuff it properly, LOL.

I hope I haven't driven anyone off with my maniacal rantings. I know that everything will work out right, it's just that it's a big task, and I don't want it to look wrong.

10 June 2010

Finish and WIP photos

Picture time!

I finished the center panel of Sleepy Hollow last night. The backstitching on the angel's wings was a PITA. It's so close to the colors of the wings, and the stitches don't always end at the corner of blocks, so it was pretty fiddly. It took me a good hour and a half to do it, and that is unusual for me. HTB thinks the backstitch adds something to the project, but I'm not sure. I think, if I were to have the courage to stitch this again, I'd use the glow in the dark floss for the backstitch.

I'm not going to start the side panels for now. I have other things I need to get finished first, so it will go back in its box to wait for a bit. This was a major accomplishment, and it feels like "enough" for now.

I haven't done an update for the M Designs ring pillow. I work on this sporadically, but it's moving up this week to the focus piece. It should go pretty quick. The floss color doesn't really photograph well, but it is a fairly close match to the bridesmaids' dresses, at least as close as one gets in GAST.

One issue that I'm trying to reason out to myself is how to do the back. As I've said, this will be a biscornu; I think that will make it more "fun" and it won't be the everyday ring pillow I see in catalogs, plus I'll get to practice my biscornu skills. I want to put our names, the wedding date and the name of the church on the reverse. My problem is, do I put the wording so that it becomes an outer point that straddles a corner, or make it so that it's an inner point of the biscornu and you see the names in a straight line? It's a hard decision to make. The inner makes it very proper, the outer makes it a bit "whimsical" Any feelings?

Lastly, my progress on the GTG kit. I like the Sullivan floss. Really I can't see a huge difference between this and DMC. But I wouldn't mix and match the two and I wouldn't sub in Sullivan for DMC if I ran out of a color. I always fret about the difference in "sheen" and the richness of color difference between Anchor and DMC, and it would probably be noticeable here too, but it's fun to have a new floss. I'm hoping to get this done pretty quick. It's charted for a standard frame, so I'll be framing it myself. We were looking at the frames Sue had for some other finishes at the GTG, and realized that it's not that hard to make those frames with gee-gaws on them, the rosettes and moulding. My father has a catalog to order the gee-gaws, and they're cheaper than the store, so I'll be using that. I'll post the name of it when he gives it to me.

I hope this week is treating everyone well. The theatre starts the second half of the season this week, so I have a challenging stretch here for the next few weeks. Uggghhh, it's hard to leave at 6AM, knowing I won't be home til 9. Especially this week--it's fireman's carnival week in my town. The ladies' auxiliary makes the best crabcakes ever--no filler, good Maryland crab, they're reasonably pricedand it's heaven on a bun with tartar sauce--and we usually get over at least once. I've been so busy, we haven't had a chance, and I'm not sure we'll get one. BOO HOO! HTB is consoling me with all I can eat crab legs at a restaurant, but there is something about a handmade crabcake that all the crab legs in the world can't touch. I've made some very hard decisions that I have to cut back my hours til the wedding, or things won't get done and I'll have a nervous breakdown. It's going to be a change, but I'm blessed that my new boss at the theatre (formerly the assistant manager) understands. After all, we spent 15 minutes one evening watching videos of the wedding march on YouTube and crying happy tears. She just wants to be sure that she gets some cake at the wedding, LOL.

And, it's summer! It's time to kick back and drink lemonade!

09 June 2010

Sooo close

I am two rows, maybe 20 stitches all together, from being done with the stitching on the trees on that center section of Sleepy Hollow. After that, I just have the backstitching on the angel's wings and a couple random stitches and that center section is DONE! I am doing the side sections too, but I can not foresee them taking almost three years, like this part did.

One good thing that's come of this that I hadn't considered is that I finally know what kind of linen I like to work on. Cashel! Linen and I have a running battle. I like the look, but hate that I always end up buying linen that has a really open weave. The threads show through from the back, and the fabric just feels thin and scanty. I have bought quite a lot over the years as part of my LNS's pre-packaged cuts, and it irritates the crap out of me to come on it when I open the package--maybe this is why I always lean more to evenweave and aida. You know what you're getting, and they're sturdy! But I realized at the GTG that this Cashel is denser and I like working on it.

I'm hopeful this is true of all Cashels. If it is, I am using it from now on.

Updated: I finished the stitching on the trees! Just the backstitch to do and that confetti stitching and it can go on the sidebar here as a finish, and the stitched piece put in the "to be finished" box! Woo hoo.

08 June 2010

Off-topic, but worth reading.

This was posted on my Schipperke group (the twins need to bond with their peoples!) and I thought it was worth reading. And passing along.

Back stitching!

I finished the March Inky Dinky SAL block from Sanman yesterday. This time the snowman is surrounded by clover leaves. Pretty quick stitch, it was. I'm still plugging away at the trees on the right hand side of the center panel of Sleepy Hollow. They're done in Weeks. Either I got pale skeins of the colors she used, or rinsing them affected them, but the colors of the trees aren't popping like I'd like. Though, to be honest, my issue is probably that I hate doing large area of colors in overdyeds more than anything else. I know, that is wierd considering the ring pillow is monochromatic in GAST, but I think the difference is just that, in the latter, it's one or two blocks, maybe 10, where the trees are just large blobs of color. And crossing each stitch takes SOOO MUCH time. I am plugging away though. I have five more lines of carrot to do, and maybe 20 of the yellow. Trust me, I'll be happy dancing when that is done.

I realize I'm letting my freebie stitching fall to the wayside for now. I fully intend to get back into that as soon as I get that center panel and the ring pillow done. I know now that it would be impossible to stitch up all the freebies I wanted to get done this year, but I have to say this is, midway through the year, really been an enjoyable time. I knew for sure I'd have already cheated and done things that weren't free, but so far, except for UFOs and those LHN Ornaments, all I've done is free stuff. And the urge to stitch retail charts is not as bad as it was. I haven't felt trapped or that the things I'm doing are any less "worthy" than their retail counterparts. I'm glad about that. It's been a refreshing revelation.

07 June 2010

A summer adventure

I didn't stitch at all this weekend.

I had a better offer.

Instead of stitching, I spent the weekend on the banks of a tributary of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. HTB's mom and her sisters have a summer cottage right on the water. I've never been down, because HTB doesn't go down a lot and, usually, I have to work. These are the moments when having a part time job really gets me down. Anyway, we went down this weekend in the camper. Other than getting a lot of ticks, it was fun.

The dogs loved it. Although Shocka was not sure what to make of it all. This is a dog who adores our pool. His entire existence in the summer revolves around getting up on the deck to see if he can get in it. I guess creek water (I am starting to realize there are "cricks" and there are creeks. I live near a crick. No way was this a crick, LOL) is a big change. He couldn't seem to figure out that water flows. If something goes in it, it doesn't stay there. Not ducks, not muffins we put in to feed the ducks, not a tennis ball. He wasn't sure he liked that. He really was not sure he liked Caesar Beazer swimming in it. I think he thought Caesar would go like a muffin. But he went in with Caesar, he waded (and took the sticks Caesar kept bringing out, thank God he didn't go for a water snake). He went in, kinda willingly, but we were afraid he couldn't swim so we stood at the ready, waiting to have to pluck this big dog out of the water.

He preferred the dock. He kept walking up and down it, watching the waves. Then we went swimming. Well, he didn't like that at all. He stood on the dock and yodeled--he doesn't bark, he yodels, it's enough to peel paint. He didn't want Mummy and Daddy in that water, he wanted us close. So HTB's parents helped him in. And he realized he could do it. That water wasn't so bad. Not when, standing on his hind legs with his front feet on Daddy's arm, he could stand up. He gave both of us kisses to make sure we were OK, and then he was off.

He was in the water all day. HTB's mom and I went into town to get something, and his father was watching them. He quickly realized that, if he could hear them, it was OK, but they got really quiet, and he realized that they were walking away through the creek. And Beazer was easing the little snails on the marsh grass.

Amazingly they did not step on a crab. Or an oyster shell.Or a beer bottle left over from earlier days when family members disposed of trash by throwing it in the water. Shocka did cut himself on a rock, but he isn't even limping. I think he had a good time. There may be a future as duck retrievers for these two pittybulls.

It was a lovely weekend. Nice and hot, but campers with AC and close proximity to water made it tolerable. We had Eastern Shore Chicken BBQ for dinner Saturday evening. I found out all about the house, how it was an old slave cabin MIL2B's grandfather convinced her father to buy for the then-staggering price of $750 in the 1930s. How going "downa shore" in her childhood meant a ferry ride, during which she could not get out of the car because they thought she would fall overboard, no electricity in the house til 1971, and they did dishes by hand--she said my then-two-year, very adorable fiance was fascinated by the tools they used to build on an addition and bring the house up to modern standards; he was destined to be a tinkerer! We ended the evening, sitting on the porch in the dark, watching fireflies dance in the breeze and, farther off, lightning over the water. It was such a wonderful way to pass the time.

Some photos:

They escorted Daddy down the dock. I wanted a shot of him posed with them. None of the three stood still long enough.

"I not a water dog. I a land lubber. I stay on the shore. I buried a bone on land. I watching my investment."

"I not sure about dis. I trying to be brave, but I not a Lab!"

"I can help Grampa in hunting season. I get dem geese for you. I not give em back when I gets em, and I'll drool, but I gets em."

Beazer and I. Two red-headed, sunburned Marylanders!

02 June 2010

Finish and a WIP

I finished Christmas Cardinal last week. I still have to wash and mount it. It was a pretty fun stitch. (I still am not a fan of the beads. HTB can have ownership of those)

My start on the kit from the Stitch-In. The verse will say, "I cannot count my day complete, til needle, floss and fabric meet." It's stitched using Sullivan floss. It's not so bad to use so far. It feels a bit thinner than DMC, and doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi, but, all in all, it's OK. That said, I won't deliberately go out and buy Sullivan floss unless the chart calls for it, but Sue has said she is looking for alternatives to DMC, so she'll use it more.

Julie asked how we handled the unfinished finishes at the GTG to keep them from walking off. A lot of people were around the tables and we all kinda watched. You know who owns things. And I don't think we would have sat back and let someone walk off with someone else's work. Most of the women I was there with I trust to do the right thing--I've known them long enough to leave them unsupervised with my stuff. Maybe that's dumb, but, at some point, you have to give people credit.

Housekeeping post

I had a couple questions that need to be answered.

First was where is the Inky Dinky SAL available. That is on the Sanman Board at It can be a bit confusing because the site says it's closed. The retail side is, but the link for the message board works. Look under "Message Board". This is a great board to join, if you aren't a member. Sandy is lovely, and it's a great group of people to visit with. I've been a member since at least 2004, and hope to be one for a lot longer.

A couple people mentioned the Glow in the dark Light Effects. I was asked if it's easy to use. YES! Emphatically, YES!. Like regular floss, it's divisable. It doesn't look like plain floss on the skein, and, used by itself, you can sort of tell it's a different fiber, but, mixed in with other floss, it looks just the same, and is a bazillion times better to use than the metallics. I wish I could show you a picture of it glowing, but my camera doesn't allow for that; you just have to let the floss "charge" up by exposing it to the light before you try to see the glowing effect. It's pretty cool. I will definitely use this for Halloween projects. I have a Monkeyworks freebie that is DYING to have a glowing skeleton.

I am also sharing the link to my album of photos from the GTG. It's not a lot of photos. My camera battery was low, but I think you can see how fun it was. Sue is a gracious hostess with very cute cats who enjoyed welcoming us to their home. It was a wonderful time to meet with other stitchers.

Party in the USA

01 June 2010

Updated Sleepy Hollow

Quick post, to show the progress of Sleepy Hollow since the last time.

This was the last post where I made any real progress on it. Back from Halloween. I was focusing on Icabod's horse that day.

I decided to bite the bullet and work on the rest of the angel. I finished that and the wording this weekend. Sleepy Hollow is stitched in glow in the dark floss--it was a delicious thrill to take this into the bathroom Sunday and be able to read the words and see the crown glowing. Her eyes don't glow as much as I'd like, but oh, well. The panel is mostly finished--all I have to do is finish the trees on the right, do some back stitch and a few confetti stitches, and the center panel is done. I should be able to finish this by the end of the week. It's just a pain to keep untwisting the Weeks. I washed it before starting to get the excess dye out and it's a bit unruly now. But it's a fun stitch. I will be doing my Halloween project this year, only it will be a freebie, and, unlike this, hopefully, I'll finish it.

Memorial Day Stitch-In

This is a fly-by post because my camera battery needs recharged. I did take photos.

The GTG was fantastic!

I left here at 11:00 on Friday. I had thought I would miss the traffic, but I underestimated the power of my fellow Washington area residents to smack into each other's cars as a way to start the weekend. I got held up on the Virginia portion of 495 by a three-car collision. No one appeared to be hurt, just a bit salty. Traffic was pretty much stop and go the whole way down 95. I think I got there around 2:30/3:00, really not too bad. Especially on a holiday weekend.

My roommate, Chrissy, was already there, so we hung out til Beth, our third roommate got there. Beth got a bit misplaced in Richmond, and ended up at the Courtyard by Marriott, not at the Marriott. OOOPPPSSSS. When everyone got in, we chatted for a bit, and went through the stash we'd brought to exchange. Beth had Joan Elliott's Oriental Odyssey, and I asked for that. Such a neat book! I gave Chrissy a book of Celtic designs.

We were getting hungry, so we started looking for dinner places. A cab driver outside the hotel recommended a really good Chinese food restaurant not that far away, so we headed over there with the "help" of the Tomtom--it wanted to take us some wierd ways to get there. We were hopeful that the food was worth the hassle, and it WAS. Beth got shrimp in lobster sauce, Chrissy had beef, and I got curry chicken. We all shared--soo good. It was an indulgence, but an affordable one, and yummy.

We headed back to the hotel for the meet and greet, which was in the hospitality suite. I posted photos of my wedding dress on 123 last week, and so I was "the bride." Everyone kept telling me how pretty my dress is and asking about wedding plans. The general consensus is that 4 1/2 months will go by in a whirl. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad, or a mix of both, LOL.

The stitching room did not open til the morning, so we spent the rest of the night, stitching in our room. We had been told we could stitch in the lobby or by the pool, but we couldn't find the pool, and the lobby seemed full when I brought stuff in, but it was OK. Chrissy made us laugh by asking, "I wonder what all the staff thinks when they see all our orts?" I can just imagine--stitchers must be a CSI's dream. But the staff was wonderful--they all seemed to take an interest in what we were doing. The hostess in the cafe wanted to come see what we were doing, because she is Turkish and handwork is still very important in her country. She told us that you have to have a well-stitched dowry, and your mother in law checks your stitching to make sure your mother did her job properly. Interesting!

The next morning, we took our giant box o' stash down to the trading table, and checked it out. I was a vulture, I admit. However, I contributed a huge chunk of stuff to that table, and my thought was, as long as I didn't come back with more than I left, it was OK. I did get Jean Farrish's America chart, and Fairies in Shoeland, which I have wanted. I got a few more charts (some would say a lot more), but it's all stuff I want. And it was all looking for homes. There was even styrofoam for finishing available! Jackpot!

We shopped a bit. I really enjoyed meeting Designs by Karen. She had her Chincoteague/Assateague series out and asked if I'd been. I told her I loved it there, and that we'd gotten engaged on Assateague. She wanted to hear the story, and said how romantic HTB is. :). I picked two pony charts for me, and a chart of the Assateague lighthouse for him. I also picked up two thread palettes from Catherine Jordan, and a patriotic Sue Hillis chart. Beth got a Halloween SH chart, and Chrissy a chart that benefitted a no-kill shelter in Richmond.

Our goodie bags for the GTG were awesome. We got ALL KIND of kits, including one I want to start NOW. We got a tee-shirt, and a needle minder from Kelmscott, a keychain, even an emory board. LOVED IT.

We spent Saturday stitching. I had Sleepy Hollow along. I wanted to get the angel finished by the end of the weekend, and I was hard at work on that. People asked a lot of questions about the Picture This Plus fabric I am using. It was nice to visit with everyone and see their work, and talk about our projects.

We headed over to Sue's gorgeous house for a barbecue dinner at 5:30. Her cute little cats, Lucy and Ethel, greeted us and were wonderful hostesses. Lucy LOVED Chrissy! Dinner was fantastic--beef barbecue, coleslaw, bean salad, and potato salad, with strawberry shortcake cupcakes for dessert. Great way to kick off the summer!

After dinner, we stitched til pretty late. Sue had a contest we could enter our stitching into. Patsy had brought her lovely Cats' Whiskers chair finishes! Oh, were they lovely! Someone entered their Christmas at Hawks Run Hollow, which was stunning. It was just a wonderland to see all the finishes.

I left Sunday. I wanted to have some hometime with HTB, and then found out his gramma had died on Saturday afternoon. I had been toying with staying, but I know my place was with him. We'd known she was leaving us--she has Alzheimer's and had been declining since Easter. HTB went to see her on Monday, and he knew that she wouldn't last, but he told me he didn't want me to come home from the GTG til Sunday. He is handling it well; she's at peace and with her husband now. And he had the blessing of having her for 41 years; most of us don't get that many years with our grands. I know he is grateful for that.

I will try to post photos when the camera battery recharges.
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