30 September 2010

Harry Potter

If you fancy some Harry Potter stitching, check out the link above. There are some free charts there made by fans. I don't know if they're 100% legal. Use your judgement. Enjoy.

28 September 2010

Photo update

It's been a while since I posted a photo update, so I wanted to show off my WIP. It's not great, but it's fun and it's stitching up pretty quick! This is a freebie by Ships Manor. Since we've gotten almost everything wedding-related finished, I will have time to sit and finish ornaments this weekend. Hopefully this will finished then!

And I wanted to post photos of my wedding dress taken the other day. Since I talk about it so much, I should post about it. I don't remember if I posted from the original time I tried it on, but it looks a lot better now! Funny, I thought I was cheesing in that front view and I look totally normal. LOL

The back is so pretty. I don't think I have seen this dress in a neutral color like I chose--it's normally very dark or bright, but I think I picked well. It's still dramatic and not just another white dress, but it's a dress I don't think I'll be ashamed over. The bustle will be done so the "ribbons" keep hanging down.

Little House fans, come see!

The stitcher posted this today on 123. An entire panel of nothing but Little House Needleworks designs! Amazing!

27 September 2010

25 finishes!

Saturday evening, I put the last stitches into my 25th finish for the year. I finished my Samhain ornament. I have to do the ornament finishing, but the stitching is done. I have a lot more finishes than I thought I did. Woo hoo!

My dress fitting went OK. I had really wanted to bring my dress home yesterday, but that wasn't happening. My friend Samantha was instructed to take out all her aggression when lacing me into it. They mentioned Gone With the Wind, to which I responded, "I will never see an 18 inch waist again, so don't even think about it." I made the very painful decision to have the seamstress let out a seam in order to keep from having the side seams pull. I didn't want to do it--I have an icky personal tic about wanting to have everything near at hand at all times, but it was a choice of having my dress be almost perfect or utterly perfect. Since true style is about the fit, not the size, I opted for utterly perfect. And, really, once that's taken care of, the dress will be amazing. I know, because I spent 15 minutes, walking around, peering at myself in the mirrors. Yesterday was the first time I've had it on that it made me feel like the model made me feel, that it was the "right" dress, and so, I know it's the right decision. My friend Samantha was instructed to take out all her aggression when lacing me into it. They mentioned Gone With the Wind, to which I responded, "I will never see an 18 inch waist again, so don't even think about it." She is a good friend; she found the fine balance between giving me amazing posture in the dress and stopping before I passed out. LOL.

25 September 2010

Define "productive"

Left-brain went racing today. He woke up at 7AM. Which means I woke up at 7AM. I must be coming down with something because me, who is usually bouncy at that hour, was not so bouncy this morning. I almost fell asleep in the couch, waiting to give him a send off. The minute he left the house, though, I was UP.

I had all these grandiose plans for the day. I didn't have to be at work til 4PM, so the world was my oyster. Yeah, right.

I spent the morning watching Law and Order reruns on TV, while stitching my exchange ornament. Not a waste of time, though; Law and Order is NEVER a waste of time. Best show EVER! I finished my ornament, and then wound the silks on bobbins to be put away. I feel so much better having the stitching done on that one. Tonight I will probably work on sewing it together.

I was supposed to go to the post office and Michaels, but I got so engrossed in TV and stitching that the morning just slipped away, so I decided to organize my UFO box. It's not too bad. I have a lot of projects that a week's stitching will finish. Some bigger projects in there. I will not lie and say I expect to finish all of these any time soon. But it would be nice to have some forward progress.

Time was flying really fast because, by the time I looked up, it was 1:30, and I needed to leave by 2:30. It was time to quickly do the chores I'd planned to do: change out the towels, strip and remake the bed (which is an odious task for a short round person to accomplish. I threw a load of laundry in, filled up the dishwasher, and even kitted up my new take-along project.

I started a Halloween freebie by Ships Manor, Bump In the Night . My Halloween tree needs a few more ornaments, and this is so darling. Ships Manor is a new designer, and I'm looking forward to more designs from him, especially if the chart is as easy to follow as this one.

So that's pretty much everything from Crazyville this weekend. Tomorrow, I have my second dress fitting. Hopefully, it will be the last, but we need to figure out if my dress was tight because of bloating, or my diet, or the foundation garments. I'm hoping it's not the middle reason. I want my dress home with me!

24 September 2010

Cleaning, in theory . . .

is supposed to be a good thing, right?

You put things away, neaten up, make it nice? Then warn guests not to open the closet door, don't look under the bed, and stay out of the office?

Why then, is it so hard to find things that have been put away?

I have been searching all day for my UFO/WIP stash. It's missing.

I know GOOD and WELL that I have a lot more stuff in progress than this. This is not a theory: I'm missing some of them that I know are in the house. I will have to search this weekend.

I am trying to consolidate all my WIPs and UFOs into that lovely rolling cart thing. It's time to start keeping track of and finishing them. There is one I'm pondering getting rid of, but I'm not sure. It's RTF's Sleepy Hollow, and I don't really like it anymore. Not like I LURVE Cricket Collection's version. But I'm not sure. Maybe in a month or so, I'll like it again. I'm fickle. Life in Crazyville will do that to you.

I'm seriously thinking about doing the UFO project next year. It's tempting, but I do worry that there was a valid reason I abandoned each of these projects. And there is a certain part of me that desperately craves cracking open a fresh new retail chart, untouched by my hands, and stitching on it, especially when I opened a drawer this afternoon and found a bunch of little charts. AAACKKKK! I'm still working out the logistics: Do I offer myself a certain amount of fresh starts? Scatter them in a manner, say, 3 finishes lets one new start in? Allow ornament-sized new starts? It's giving me something to think about.

Decisions, decisions . . .

23 September 2010


Still stitching away on the exchange ornament. It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be, even considering I am doing it on 18 count aida. But that is not a bad thing--a lot of my ornies tend to end up so big. I should have it done by the weekend. Left-brain (the artist formerly known as HTB) is going racing this weekend down in Virginia, so I have some alone time to work on finishing. I feel a trip to Michaels' coming on, to pick up some goodies to put in with this ornie, but I'm a bit confused.

It's going to Australia, so it will be spring there. Great for it being spring, since Samhain is New Year, but I feel a bit silly putting in fall things, because it's not fall for my partner. I guess I should just do what feels right, and then she will use the other things as they are seasonally appropriate. But I guess the Halloween thing can be just as silly to them, celebrating the harvest when it's not their harvest. I did find some really cute "witchy" things that I think she might like. It's all very confusing!

21 September 2010

A new start

I started a new start last night. HTB was at the tractor pull with his cousin and so it was just the dog and I at home, watching TV. It's my Samhain exchange piece. I think it will stitch up pretty quick. So far, so good. I switched out the colors for HDF colors, still have to find a good green to use. Then I'll have to figure out which of my fabrics to use. The ornament has a vintage-y feel, so I want the right fabric. Hopefully, later this week, I'll have a night o' stuffing.

It's nice to have a quiet-ish week this week. Last week was all cleaning and getting ready for my bridal shower. Best Friend B had fun. They wrote all over my car in paint pen--that pen people write the price of their cars in when they want to sell them--which was cute. We played a "how well do you know them?" trivia contest. My favorite question was, "Does Rachel think HTB will cry at the wedding?"; of course I said, "yes." I got lovely gifts--my Kitchenaid stand mixer and a really cool knife block to replace the one that does not match our kitchen were big hits with HTB. My mom got us a lovely picture to hang, B bought us Tevis tumblers, and I got a recipe box, among other things. The weather was nice. All in all, it was fun!

I went and had my hair done as a trial run on Saturday morning. I brought a picture, and we used that as a base point. I also sported my "princess on the downlow" headband, which can also be worn as a tiara; I think we all need a headband that converts to a tiara. I'm trying to decide if I look more Jane Austen or Victorian. Probably Victorian; everyone in Jane Austen was stick thin, and I'm, erm, not . . .

Who knows what I was laughing at. Probably one of my cousin's stories. She teaches elementary school. Kindergarten. She greets her job with humor and fun, and it shows in her stories. She said she already has a love triangle which will probably cause great stress. And that she has had to tell a child that choosing the color crayon to use is not a major life decision. Of course, she tells the stories a lot funnier than I do! And she had to bring the photo from her wedding, 30 years ago, where my brother cut my hair. I had super short bangs. My brother was in trouble!

I need these moments. The wedding is three and a half weeks away. Right now is a lot of picking up last loose details. I bought the cake topper and guest book today. The guest book is chocolate-brown satin. Maybe not the most bridal idea, but it's fall-like and pretty. The cake topper mirrors the shape of the calla lilies for our cake, but it's not matchy matchy, it's not frou-frou, it's "me!"

I did decide what I will start calling HTB when I mention him. His new name is "Left Brain," in honor of Jeanne Roberts, who calls her husband the same. Jeanne and I approach life in very similar fashion, with humor, and our mates seem to be the same way, both very practical, left-brain thinking. I need his think it throughness, especially when I run around, shouting and waving my arms. So I won't be mocking HTB, I'll be appreciating him.

20 September 2010

October 31st

It is probably a bit early for this, but it's never too soon to start planning.

I am hosting a SAL on October 31st. This is expanding on my project from last year where I worked on a Halloween-themed project all day that day, in between the other stuff I was doing (whoda thought Halloween would be so busy?). It was fun, and I made some good progress.

I would like to invite everyone to join me on that day to repeat last year. It's a simple, no-frills thing. You pick a Halloween or fall-themed project (I know not everyone is into that particular holiday), work on it, post updates on your blog throughout the day, eat a little candy or something pumpkin-y. I tried to do it every three hours and it worked well for me. It doesn't even have to be cross stitch. Maybe you are crocheting, quilting, scrapbooking, or you feel like finishing that day. Like I said, it's no-frills!

If it sounds like something you're interested in, leave a comment on here. I'll post a list of the participants on the 30th so we can all enjoy each other's projects all day.

14 September 2010

Patience rewarded

I finally have pictures to share.

I haven't been working on anything really hardcore this week. Mostly just UFOs. I've been too busy. I have been reading more than anything. And playing with the dog. He's doing a lot better. He was "helping" me clean this morning, if helping can be construed as sitting in my lap, trying to put his feet in the boxes I was putting things away in. I finally put him outside. He didn't like it, but I was afraid he'll break something. He's chewing on his tennis ball now.

I did finally find the perfect ornament tree for my halloween ornaments. They had them at Hallmark. At $25, they were a bit pricy, but the wreath I was going to get was $19.99, and that really was not what I wanted, so it was a matter of spending $5 and getting this guy. Now I can display the lovely ornaments I've gotten without fear of a wagging tail knocking them down. And there is room around the base for things that don't hang so well. This should do me for a while as far as my ornament displays go--I've got a lot of finishing to do!

I pulled out a Margaret Sherry that I've had for a while. I believe this is a 2007 UK Cross Stitcher design of mice in a nutshell boat. It's been fun to stitch, but I get distracted from it. I did a little Saturday night while watching Lord of the Rings. Someday I will actually watch all the movies all the way through. I'm gonna need a big project for that. This may be the right one!

I did a little bit on this today. This is White Willow Stitching Arabian. I've had this forever and I pull it out every so often to work on. I love it and I think the detail is amazing. Jamie does a fantastic job with her designs. At some point, this is going to be a focus piece so that I can get it all done; I just get confused if I don't work on it for a while, and confusion breeds frustration, which breeds disillusionment, LOL.

My simple project for the week is this Blue Cat Scissor Fob, a freebie by Cherished Stitches. I'm going to try to finish it in the next couple days, which shouldn't be that hard. I am stitching it using DMC Variations 4240, a really rich blue, and I'll put it on my peacock blue DMC scissors. After this is done, I will get that ornament started, since September is almost half over. Can you believe it?

And, lastly, a message from Caesar Beazer: Reduce, reuse, recycle! This dog loves a water bottle. He carried this around for two days. No chewing, just carrying. Although it was wierd to see a random water bottle on the floor of our spotless house, it made him happy.

I hope everyone is having a good week so far! We have a little cooler temps here in Maryland. And got rain on Sunday. Fall is on its way!

13 September 2010

If you hear yelling,

I'm cleaning out my sewing room to make it back into a guest room.

And I'm annoyed.

Where did all this crap come from? Seriously . . . I'm not going on wild spending sprees, we haven't had a gifting holiday since Christmas. Surely I didn't bring that much from my mother's house . . . did I?

Best friend B is coming on Friday. I can't even pull out the pull-out couch for all the crap. I did take a load of dry cleaning in to the cleaners this morning. Before you applaud, it's been sitting in there since April. I never had time to get it in by 9 so it could be out by 5. I have a bit of room for improvement in that regard.

Sooooo unless I want her to sleep in the camper, which, although it would be fine and dandy in any other location than the driveway, would be Unsouthern of me, I got to get to getting.

HTB said I can not stack all my craft stuff in the office like we did last time, since we actually use that room. I work from there three days a week from now and I'd hate to miss a deadline because I mashed myself under a pile o' magazines. Or the dog; when that tail gets thumping, he makes no guarantees.

I guess I can stick it in the garage. For now. Or put it in the closet and tell B to not open the door. At all.

Or I could run screaming from the house.

Or I could watch Hoarders, which functions as both a wake up call and a reminder that it's not so bad.

But I'll probably pick it up one piece at a time, like always. And it will be OK.

If nothing else, a year of UFOs would reduce the clutter . . .

10 September 2010

In honor of September 11th

I've seen these quilts in person. They're beautiful. I didn't stitch a square, but they're amazing.

I wish they didn't exist.

Only because I wish they didn't have to exist.

But they do, and they're a tribute to the people lost, and the way we stitchers tend to deal with trauma. We pull out our needle and fabric. We pour our grief into our work and make beauty from loss.

9 years out, I hope our souls are starting to heal. I hope we can spend the next 9 years healing the world.

09 September 2010

My poor neglected blog

First, thank you so much for your comments on my pillow finish. I appreciate all of them. I am so glad it's finished! One more thing off the to-do list.

I have not been around much in the last few days. Our weekend was very busy: my family reunion in Western Pennsylvania was on Sunday, and my MIL's birthday was Monday. We had all that good Pennsylvania Dutch food on Sunday, including gobs, which, us old timers at the reunion know you get when you get your first plate of food. Cause they won't last til you are ready for dessert. Gobs are also called whoopie pies, but when you get them made by a bakery, they are filled with icing, while the homemade ones in my family have a flavored whipped cream in the middle. There is nothing you can buy in a bakery that matches a fresh gob, made by a little old lady, wrapped in a square of waxed paper, carried to a reunion in a shoebox. That is gastronomic heaven. And, as if it was not enough to glut ourselves on gobs, fried chicken, and strawberry pretzel salad, we had crabs on Monday at my in-laws. A lot of work for a little reward, but you treasure the things that are not so easily gained. We tried to teach the kids how to pick them, but the 5 year old is more interested in mashing them. The 8 year old has be gone behind because she wastes more than she eats. The three year old LOVED crabs, though. He is a true child of the Eastern Shore.

It hasn't been all fun though. We made the difficult decision to help our sweet Shocka cross the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday. He has not been "right" for the last month. First, we thought he pulled something out in the yard and it just needed to heal. He was still eating well, but he started to lose weight. Not much, just not himself. When HTB went away on his camping trip, he refused to eat dry food. I figured he missed his Daddy, so was giving him treats, because he wanted those. Then, he didn't want the treats, but he ate canned food. This past weekend, he was not "right". Eating very little, didn't want to come out of his cage, he'd actually started keeping away from Caesar. I have been around enough old dogs to know when they're disconnecting. Maybe it's something they do to get the pack used to them not being around. He was ancient for a pit bull, so I knew that whatever he had was terminal. We had to make the choice of what to do with him, so we did the kindest thing we could. So we took him in on Tuesday evening. The vet looked at him and agreed there wasn't anything that could be done. HTB tried hard, but he couldn't stay with him. Shocka wanted to follow him out of the room, but he listened when his daddy told him to go lay down with me. I stayed, but I understand; it's a horrible choice to have to make. As it was, he can't understand how he can hunt, he's hit animals with his vehicle on accident, but he can't see his beloved pet die; he sat out in the car and cried. I don't know what hurt worse, seeing a pet with pain I can't fix, or seeing a man with pain I can't fix, but I tried to be there for both of them. I told him all about the Rainbow Bridge, and that he didn't have to worry no more; he always worried about us, even at the cottage, when we were swimming, he whined til he figured out how to jump off the dock in the water to come check on us. And I thanked him for being my dog. And he left. I picture him now, running through a field of late summer grass (I always imagine it's late summer across the Rainbow Bridge, that quality of light and the breeziness that a late summer day has), his ears held high, that quizzical look he had. He probably turned around to look for us, but he's off playing, chasing a fat slow groundhog.

Our Beazer is handling it as well as can be expected. I put him outside yesterday and he sat on the hill and howled for his friend. He may have been calling him, may have been wailing out his loneliness and grief, or he may have been telling him goodbye. It was the most touching thing I've ever been privileged to listen to, my big brave dog so sad. He's a little better today, but he doesn't really want to be outside. He's happy here at my feet, snoring and expressing himself in other ways. He'll get better. It is just a matter of letting it sink in that his brother is gone.

I will start posting photos, it's just not been the best week for stitching

04 September 2010

Happy dancing for a finish

I just finished sewing the button center onto my ring pillow/biscornu! I like it. I may tweak it a bit, depending on how well that silver ribbon appeals to me. Right now, it's OK, but going downhill fast, especially with the pewter buttons on there. And the buttons may have to be moved a bit northeast. Sometimes I win the sewing battle, usually not.

I was trying for an artsy shot with my veil. Not so successful . . .

My favorite angle. I really do love that saying, "I thine, thee mine." I lurve it!

03 September 2010

If I'm not posting . . .

It's because I'm assembling my ring pillow this weekend. I'm a bit stressed. Finishing makes me stressed. I've already decided to forego the interfacing--it made the sample piece too stiff. I'm a quarter way through the stitching, and it seems to be OK, but I have already had to remove a tiny line of dirt from the middle of the back. I don't know what it is, but I don't want it on my biscornu! I think this will work out nicely--the size is perfect for little hands to hold.

I will post a photo as soon as this is finished.

Til then, if you hear a loud stream of cursing in the direction of Maryland . . . it's probably me . . .

On a serious note, I hope all those in the path of Earl are faring well. It seems to have dodged us, far inland. We don't even have rain today--it's just cool and cloudy. The dogs are enjoying the last of these summer days. They don't like being cooped up inside, as they would have had to have been for safety if the wind were blowing. Hopefully everyone else's day is turning out so safely.

01 September 2010

Fall is coming

In case you're like me and thought today was the last day of August, surprise, it's September! It's hot as all get out outside, but we spent lunch at Michaels, getting fall flowers for table arrangement, so I'm pretty convinced that, no matter what the weather feels like, fall will, eventually, get here. I'm thinking it will be on the 23rd of the month, :).

HTB came home from his camping trip on Monday. I was glad to have him home. The passing of Hurricane Danielle by the coast created huge waves and rip currents. They had close to 450 water rescues this past weekend at Ocean City, and he wasn't that far south. He seemed pretty proud to tell me he'd spent the whole weekend eating "fat food". I bought him no-salt potato chips to make up for the excess. He advised me those chips are . . . wrong. I agree; perhaps the best part of a chip is the salt.

Our counseling is going well. We met with her today. We only have one more meeting, and then we're done. Today was about actively listening in disputes--I've had that training as part of my job. I was good at it. HTB not so good. I told him it's a lot easier to pay attention if you have a headset on. At least he knows now that he has to focus. This is way more useful than some of the training others say they had. She says she has every confidence in our ability to have a good marriage. Woo hoo.

So I've been putzing around working on UFOs. I worked on the kitten, but put it aside when we went downstairs to watch TV. Down there, I have my huge Hummingbird trellis afghan WIP. I have been stitching that. It is taking me so long, I realized, because I dislike putting a couple stitches of a color, then ending it, flipping the qsnaps over and clipping them. I'm going to soldier on, though.

I do think I need to start my exchange piece, though. I'd like to have it in the mail by the 15th. That's an admirable goal, especially because I'm not working weekends at the theatre this month. Weekends are for wedding stuff this month. Michaels put their fall stuff on sale already, so I can send her some goodies along with it. I love doing that, especially with Halloween, because not everyone has decorative things around to buy, and if you're a fan, you need some decorations! At least that is my view.

I hope we all have a blessed and restful September.
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