28 February 2011

At long last, the Betsy PIF

I promised to do this a few weeks ago, so I'm offering it up now. Here is your chance to stitch our gal, Betsy, by Sheepish Designs. Our home is pet-ful (I guess that's the opposite of pet-free), but I don't recall him showing any interest in this chart. If you would like to stitch it, here are "the rules":

1. To enter, please leave your name and email address in a comment on this post. Tell me why you want to stitch this chart.

2. This is a used chart. I wish I had a pristine copy of it, but I don't. Please understand what you are getting. You can still stitch from it just fine--after all, I did the bulk of my stitching from this chart in this condition--but it's not perfect.

3. You may not sell this chart. I don't think that's too much to ask. I paid $8 for it, and I'm giving it away. Please do the same, through a PIF when you're finished.

I will take comments through midnight, US Eastern time, on Friday, March 4. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, March 6, sometime in the afternoon.

Good luck.

Icy's Kingdom, revisited

Here is the progress I've made on Kingdom of the Ice Dragon. Please click for better viewing, this little view doesn't really show it well:

It's coming along. I'm battling with the rayon threads. They seem to win the battles, but I may win the war. I am a little worried that I'll need more than one skein of Marlitt 800, because I seem to be using a lot of it quickly. I may have to see if I can order more; hopefully, it's still available.

27 February 2011

Frosty in all his glory

Here he is. He's cute, if I do say so myself. Maybe not a finish worth waiting 6 years for, but he's a cutie patootie.

I'm hard at work on Icy. Today was a fill-in day, I'm fillin' in trees, and his wings. I worked a little bit on the latest LHN ornament at work yesterday (it was Opening night for our new show at the theatre, and, therefore, not the day to be working on anything intricate like Icy; he is easier to work on when the only distractions are the dog showing me his toy, Left-brain being Left-brained, or the TV), but I didn't have the two colors that are most prominent in the center, so had to wait til I could get home to dig through the giant tub o' thread. I did have them, though, and I have all I need to work on this very cute ornament. I will post a photo when I get enough progress to be proud of.

25 February 2011

Frosty's on a Pedestal

I'm sure he's quite glad to no longer be floating in mid-air.

I don't know why the pictures of this piece always turn out cruddy. It's a really nice piece on pale misty green evenweave. This was a Silkweaver solo I got back when Silkweaver used to run Dutch auctions on Ebay. Anyone remember those? They were so exciting to participate in, cause you never knew what you were going to get, and you always ran the chance of getting something really "not your speed" and the trick was to figure out what you could use them for. I think that may have been the start of my passion for grab bags. I got quite a few pieces of really pretty fabric that way. I think I'm finally starting to run out of them. I wish they'd have them again, LOL.

Since this piece is coming to an end, I'm starting to get excited about what my next projects will be. I'm going to focus on finishing Icy. Riona and I are doing a SAL. Her needle is smoking. Look at her progress! I'm going to work on this with some smaller ornaments to work on when the rayon threads get to be overwhelming. I am hopelessly behind in my Little House ornies, so I have one of them in the mix, and an old freebie I just love, and think would be perfect for spring. Hopefully I can get to them this weekend, even though we have the official opening of our 2011 season at the theatre, and it's going to be crazy because the show is already selling out and it's in previews. I'm happy about that, though; our new show is one of my favorite musicals, and it's bringing back a lot of memories from when I was in it in high school. I can't wait to see someone else's take on it, so it should be fun. If I can keep myself from singing along. LOL

Hopefully everyone has a nice project to work on and the weather is starting to break up in your neck of the woods. I hope we've had our last snow for the winter. It wasn't too bad here, save for one storm, just steady and annoying snowfalls. I did laugh at Beazer the other morning. It was in the 60s here last week, close to 70 and he was so happy. All the snow from January was melting, and he was able to stay outside and play in the mud and be warm. He's an old dog, so he just loves laying in the sun. Well, it snowed Monday night. I let him out Tuesday morning and the snow was level with the step onto the deck. Have you ever heard a dog curse? One surely did, here in Crazyville. He gave me a look like, "I'll just hold it," but I told him he HAD to go potty. RIGHT NOW. It's raining today though, and supposed to warm up over the weekend, so, hopefully, he'll get back to his warmth.

23 February 2011

Magazine Review: March/April Just Cross Stitch

I used to do these magazine reviews frequently. I'm not sure why I stopped, but it's something I'd like to get back into doing, if anyone cares to read my rambles. This came in the mail yesterday, and I was really pleased with the designs they chose this time. Designs that feel very fresh and fun, just what we need after this long cold winter. I've been carrying the issue around like a security blanket.

The cover design is a religious Easter one. I'm not sure how I feel about this one.

It's a fairly common theme for stitching, but I don't know that I could do it. Most of my Easter decor is secular. I kind of prefer the religious aspect of the holiday to be kept in my heart, and to immerse myself in Holy Week by going through the stations of the cross and to read the Bible story, rather than to put it on my walls. I'm not this way about Christmas, though, so maybe there's hope for me.

This is more my speed. What can I say? I like cute. I think the most literal way to celebrate Christ's death and resurrection is to appreciate the new life that spring brings us. That is why my heart sings when I see the new spring foals at the Thoroughbred farm; they, like spring, are hope and possibility. Life stretches ahead of them, unblemished and warm with potential.

This is the start of a new series. I really like this sampler. A LOT. It has bunnies and squirrels on it. How can I miss with that combination?
I can't wait to see how it progresses.

This Gail Bussi design had me at "hello." It has sheep. While they're not exactly patriotic, they're cute. And it has the words to "Simple Gifts" on it, which is probably my favorite piece of music.

My only vent with this design is that the directions say you can use aida. It's hard to tell from the picture, but that wording is over one. Now, granted, I haven't tried to use aida to do over-one, but I'm not a masochist, and I'm pretty sure it ain't easy to do. They don't offer an option for stitching it if you have aida. But then again, if you haven't tried over one, this would be a good design to try it because the over one is wording and easier to do than launching oneself off into doing on a complex design.

This is from a new designer. It's a sweet little design, it would be good to send a friend.

I LURVE LURVE LURVE this pillow design. I think it may have something to do with the hot coral border, but it's the prettiest pillow. Wouldn't that be a lovely pop of color in your living room in midwinter?

I even think taking part of the design, the part with the nest, and making a tiny pillow or a box lid, or even making it the center of a wreath, would be a really fun way to get this done quickly, so you could enjoy it before summer.

Country Cottage Needleworks contributed this.

Yes, there will be a companion piece for a boy. I like it, I just have no reason to stitch it right now.

Lastly, there is this nice design by Blue Ribbon. I think I wanted this issue just to see what the buzz was about for this one.

It's a pretty, fun design that doesn't look like it would bore you. I have a few of her pieces in my stash, but have never actually finished stitching any of them. This might be a fun one to try.

This, I think, was one of their better recent issues. There are more designs in the magazine, but 7 very stitchable designs for $6 is pretty good, especially with a Blue Ribbon and a CCN design. I hope they continue to publish this magazine at this quality level; losing one magazine, drastically cutting back another is going to be hard on us magazine lovers, we need what is left to be top-notch.

Frosty update

Thank you for your nice comments on Frosty the pumpkin. He is becoming a really enjoyable stitch and I'm excited with the progress I'm making on him.

I can almost see the finish line on this one. Funny to think it's been sitting around half-finished for all this time, and it's not that difficult a project. I think this was one of the first charts I bought from an LNS. I'm pretty sure I bought it at Stitching Pretty, when they had a shop in Laurel. It was a positive delight to walk into a shop that was full of charts, and charts that I'd never SEEN before. Ms. Inez's shop in Kensington was a good place if I needed something fast (that is, if they carried it--she didn't carry full lines of much), but they were an experience. Gosh, was that a nice shop. Full of stitched models and you could just walk around for an hour looking at inspiring things.They closed the brick and mortar shop, I'm not sure they even really design anymore. I miss them. It was kinda nice to be able to walk into a shop and talk to the people behind Ruby Slipper designs and MichelleInk, once I'd finally figured out that LNSes were the place to go. This just makes me think of those old days--could it only have been 10 years ago that this went from a mild hobby I did to pass the time to a passion? Yep.

21 February 2011

From UFO to WIP

I've decided to finish this project

Cricket Collection's "The Frost is on the Pumpkin", from the chart, "Frost".

I started it in May, 2005, and it's been coasting around my UFO pile since then. Sometimes the chart is with the WIP, sometimes not. It's becoming a joke, so I decided, that, Finish-it February is all about the pumpkin. I worked on it a little bit a week or so ago, but I'm committed to finishing it by the end of the month.

I thought I'd get more done this weekend, but it was a "fun" weekend. Friday night, my friends and I went to a Grease Sing-A-Long at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring. I've been wanting to see what this place was like since the American Film Institute opened in this very old movie theatre, and just haven't gotten around to it. It was a great way to introduce ourselves to this theatre. One friend saw the movie when it was first in theatres, I played Marty when I was in high school (sheesh, has it really been 20 years since I was in that part?), and my other friend loves musicals. It was a blast; they brought around microphones, we hand-jived til our hands stung, and the whole theatre was dancing in the aisles by "You're the One that I Want." I don't think I've had such a good time since I used to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show and dress up.

Saturday was Left-brain's cousin's surprise 50th birthday party. She thought it was just a belated Christmas party, but it was all for her. Her friends from across the Bay even came. We did have to referee a few spats between children, but it was a great time. Lots of laughs, lots of really good food, and time with family.

Yesterday should have been my lazy day, but I was up early for church, and then met a friend for lunch. We met up at a really good barbecue place near the theatre I work at, and chowed down. I am so glad I found this place; I prefer to not eat at chain restaurants, and, although the DC area has a great food culture and you can find small independent restaurants with almost any cuisine you want to eat, finding a place with really good barbecue is difficult. And what barbecue there is is predominantly Texas-style. This place is wonderful because it has pulled pork, and you can not only get North Carolina vinegar sauce, you can also get South Carolina mustard-based sauce. That is a rarity INDEED. And! They had fried green tomatoes. I have made it my mission in life to never turn down the opportunity to eat a fried green tomato, because they're not that easy to find and always worth the cost. These were THE BEST. EVER. I'm still craving them. I would have brought some home for Left-brain, but he does not appreciate them, and so, lost out on the fried green yumminess.

I did get home in time to watch the end of the Daytona 500. I felt really bad for Dale Jr. He was doing so well, then got wrecked so close to the finish. Arrrghhhh. If that was me, I'd just sit in the car and bawl. I realize I could never be a racecar driver because I'd just end up crying every time my car was wrecked. Left-brain says you can't take it personal, but I don't know. That would be so darn frustrating. But I guess Jr. has wrecked people too, and they can't take it to heart.

I am hopeful that this will be a good week. I'm well-fed, well-rested, and I had the chance to yell, "Whop bop a loo bop." Got a UFO under control. This might work out well.

18 February 2011

But for the Buttons . . .

Official Snow Guide is FINISHED. I guess that makes it unofficially finished, an unofficial Official Snow Guide?

I'm trying to decide whether to do a small new start or work on a UFO or to pull another Crazy January project out of the tub. Hmmm . . . this is hard to decide.

17 February 2011

Slow and steady progress

I am so sorry for the abysmal quality of this pictures. Long tall designs are hard to photograph and my wrist gets in the way and casts a shadow.

I'm getting there. I need to finish the shovel, so the part at the top and get the buttons, but I'll soon be done with this. I think I'm going to pull out one of the bigger pieces next and work on it.

It's been a smokin' debit card kinda week here. I got a small raise at work, and have my income taxes done, so I celebrated by, what else? Buying some new stash. I swear this will not become a habit, as so often occurs when people get a bit more money to play with. We took a 5% pay cut 2 years ago to keep our jobs, and I promised myself that, if I was ever given the money back, I'd be a better steward of the financial blessing than I had been in the past, and that is my goal, but I figured one time wouldn't hurt. I have been eyeballing the rotary cutter that makes the pretty edges since Vonna of Twisted Stitcher told me who made the one she uses. I figured I could afford it, just this once, particularly because I'd had such a crappy Monday. So it made its way into my basket at Michaels, along with some floss I needed for a small project I want to start (yes, I checked the bins, I didn't have the floss), and some ornaments for the Easter tree I'm starting.

My parents are collectors, and, growing up, we had a massive display of their East German-made wooden bunnies. I just loved setting out the pieces of it, and putting up the "tree", a bunch of pussy willow branches from their first house to hang ornaments on. We were told to be very careful of them, and I just dearly loved them. I want to have that here; I think it's possible, since Caesar doesn't go in the living room unless we're there, so I don't have to worry about a ravaging tail. My parents even still own the house the pussy willows came from, and my mom's OK with me going up and cutting off branches, so I'm going to try this. If I can mix stitched pieces with bought pieces, it ought to be pretty cute. I'll post a picture when I start it.

I also sent my Santa's Bunnies off to be finished by The Twisted Stitcher. She's finished it and it's coming home now. It looks so good in the pictures! I can't wait to see it here at home. I can't wait to enter it in the fair!

I hope everyone is having a great week so far. The Nashville show is this weekend. Is anyone else excited to see the new goodies?

15 February 2011

Snow Guide Update

Here is a better picture of my WIP

I am really enjoying working on this one. It's very light-hearted and fun. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that about Lizzie Kates.

14 February 2011

Picture update

Left brain fixed the computer. He's a smart man, that husband of mine. This is why he and I work so well: while I'm running around, crying, he's trying to fix the problem, and I know to stay away.

I did work on some projects this weekend.

I picked up LK Official Snow Guide. After I put aside the idea of making it more realistic by saying, "2 inches, run amok, 4 inches, panic, 6 inches, tell the whole world you're sick of snow, 8 inches, abandon all hope", I worked on it. I am doing my own color changes on it, because I didn't like just using the two shades of blue. I am going to buy the buttons, as soon as I figure out which ones I need (LK didn't put the product numbers on the chart).

And more dragon progress. I'm all the way over to the other side now. And it will meet in the middle. I even covered the hole, and you can't see it. Woo hoo!

Hoping everyone is having a nice holiday. We're eating leftover Chinese food and watching Shawshank Redemption. Romance is real!

Not such a great Valentine's Day . . .

i had a lot of hope for this, my first married Valentine's Day. My mom gifted us with special place settings, I had planned to make Left-brain something luxurious and chocolately for dessert, I took a half day at work to have time to make the dessert, and set the table, and go to my LNS to show myself some love, it had set up to be a nice day. Beazer was sleeping.

And then, I went to turn the computer on to work.

Something is wrong. We think it's my router. I spent 2 hours this morning, on the phone with Comcast, and my IT person, and nothing got fixed. So I hopped in the car and came down to the office, all 65 miles of my commute. OK, "hopped" is not the right word. I was crying. Literally. Crying. Because I wasted 4 hours of leave on the phone and in the car. I have a new router, hopefully, Leftbrain can fix it. He can call Comcast and deal with them. I'm so mad at the thought of those beautiful dishes that I won't be using today that I don't want to deal with Comcast--they said it's an issue with my laptop, and started trying to get me to change settings. I told them this was a work laptop and they can't be going in and doing that. Left Brain asked me why I was crying when I called him; he tried to tell me that "it didn't matter if our plans aren't ruined", I told him it mattered to ME!

I know it's no big thing, in the broad scheme of my life. I know romantic dinners on a romantic holiday is so cliche, and it is more important, that, just after midnight, Left brain woke me up to wish me a Happy Valentines Day. I'm sure there is some hormonal issue involved in my crying. I'm sure I'll laugh about it next week. But this is not next week, and I'm kinda upset. But I'll be alright tomorrow.

11 February 2011

Another Icy Update

A little more progress.

I filled in a lot of the snow at the bottom of Icy's castle, and more of the clouds and mountains. It's hard to see that I'm doing anything in those areas, but it's there. I know I'm kinda skipping around on the tree, which looks funny, I know, but it serves a purpose. I'm trying to make sure my count is right in the center and this is the easiest way to do it, especially because the snow is half stitches and those always mess me up. Besides, that's a lot of green stitching to be done and I can't do it all at once. So far, everything looks good. At least top to bottom, it's matching. I'm going to move back to his wing and work down on that.

For some reason, on this piece, I want to see the finish more than on any other piece I've been working on lately. I'm super-stoked to see exactly how the threads will all look against the fabric as a finish, not as the floss toss. I know the floss toss looked good, but I suspect, when it's all said and done, this will be a special finish and I want to get to that. Not that I don't try to do my best on everything else I do, but this has that feeling of importance and promise that I don't get with a lot of my work.

And I'm excited.

10 February 2011

We have border

I have reached a side! Icy's Kingdom has a limit!

I picked him up again yesterday and am going to work on him the rest of the week. I'm making a little steady progress, although the frog apparently lives among the trees in this piece because he's popped up a few times. I had to redo the tip of the dark tree already, and I have to remind myself to not go too far out with those wings until I get the center filled in. It's much easier to find a mistake when the reference point I use to check is 5 stitches away, not 60. This is my first real project with rayon (because if you're going to do something, do it all the way, right? The bunny ornament was NOTHING), and I don't want to make huge mistakes. Rayon is a fickle beast, but I'm starting to get the hang of it: short lengths, tight fabric, let the needle drop every so often to unkink. He'll come along.

09 February 2011

And a tiny little finish

I put the last stitches into this this morning.

Now to find time to finish it. Maybe this weekend? I took the whole weekend off, mostly as a form of rebellion because I ALWAYS have to work Valentines Day. I am getting my hair "did" on Saturday, and taking my mother to see "The Kings Speech, but, other than that, I'm unscheduled the entire weekend. Woo hoo.

Meari asked if I kept my ornament tree up all year. I don't, mainly because the Halloween tree is gnarly and black, and it wouldn't look good with Easter ornaments or patriotic stuff on it, and my Christmas tree is just too big and it sheds. I have toyed with the idea of making other trees, but I think I figured out how to display some of the smaller hanging things.

I bought a vintage looking patriotic shutter hangy thing last summer, because I thought it would be cute to hang patriotic ornaments on the louvers. Mine has two little pegs on it as well. I can't wait to put it up this year, since I've been hanging my patriotic ornaments on the key rack, and I think it will look cute, but that got me to thinking. Why can't I just use a shutter to hang other season's ornaments on? Depending on the color, it would work for fall through winter--imagine how pretty it would be to have rust reds and purples on a weathered blue or white shutter, then transition to wintry ornaments for December into January. Even a black one would work, or a gold, depending on what colors you used on the ornaments you hung on it--how elegant would black be with gold toned hand-stitched ornaments on it for the holidays? I've started looking on Ebay for them, since I'd like to do this inexpensively, and I'd prefer to not use plastic. I did find a really COOL barn vent that sent my heart skipping beats, but it was $200, and, well, I don't have $200 for a decorative piece, even if it's beautiful. I also looked up architectural salvage yards; there is one in Baltimore, and Left-brain said we could go look there (I think he'd like to look around too, and another set of arms, particularly strong ones, is always appreciated). It wouldn't be that hard, if I got a pair, to hinge them, or add some decorative hardware, so I think it's a DIY project we could both really like.

08 February 2011

Tiny little WIP

This is Lookin' Like Fall, a really sweet little freebie by Plum Pudding Needleart. I started it yesterday and I'm probably halfway finished by now. I've liked this since it was first added to her website, and I think it will be a really cute little addition to my ornament tree. I know the coverage with the black is a little sparse, and the fair ladies would feel the need to comment, but I'm not stitching for them, and I like it. I may actually be able to finish this this week the whole way through. That would be cool.

07 February 2011

Yummy . . .

Edited to fix the link for the recipe

These are the cookies I made yesterday. So good, so easy. I don't always have success with cookie baking, and I'm trying to get better without wasting ingredients. I feel like I should be a better baker, since I was just gifted with very nice kitchen supplies, but it's still a learning process to change over from cooking with gas to cooking with electricity. But these came out very nicely and looked pretty much like the picture, which is always a good thing in my baking world. Even Left-brain, who does not like lemon, and who, when told I am baking cookies, automatically assumes them to be chocolate chip, said these were good. He's not a fan of my more exotic cookies, so I know they're good. They're a little bit of color and light in the bleak mid-winter.

It was a fruitful weekend stitching wise. Here is the finished Patriotic Summer by Midsummer Night Designs. I'm not sure if I want to make it a framed finish or an easel finish, but if I can find a square frame, it will probably end up on the wall.

I also pulled out an older UFO, Frost is on the Pumpkin, by Cricket Collection and worked on that on Saturday.

It's pretty slow going, though, but I feel no shame in admitting I worked with the area that needed DMC 922 because I need that floss for another project I'm working on, and wanted it out of that envelope into the next. So I worked on that a little, because any progress is progress, right? I started this in 2005, but didn't have all the floss, and then it got separated, and I lost interest, so it's been a long term UFO. I might as well finish it. I think it will make a pretty fall wall hanging.

I was on a roll, so I pulled "It Snowed Last Night" out into the rotation to work on on as my Superbowl project. I made a little bit of progress on it. It's a fun project to work on with really pretty colors, and, since I didn't have a vested interest in the game, other than being against the Steelers because they knocked my Ravens out, I needed something to focus on.

As for the game, it was OK. I liked the half-time show, but I love the Black-eyed Peas (I wanted to use "I Gotta Feeling" for our reception entrance music, but Left-brain didn't like that idea, probably for the best). I didn't really like a lot of the commercials, but I did like the Motor City Chrysler commercial A LOT. I kept asking Left-brain what Eminem was driving, because it was a hot car. After we found out, I told him I WANT it. He just looked at me. It was a fantastic commercial; I thought they were talking a bit about America. Maybe Detroit's struggles are really just a smaller version of our struggle. But they're not dead, we're not dead. Did anyone else like it?

Since I've finished 5 projects so far in 6 weeks and started my fair entry, which puts me MONTHS ahead of my usual schedule, I felt like it was OK to start something new. This morning I've started "Feels Like Fall," a freebie by Plum Pudding. I had all the threads in stash, and am using a scrap of fiddler's lite, which is my go-to for fall ornaments. I'm going to finish it into a small banner ornament in a rustic style. I think it will be cute. It should be a super-quick finish for me, something to break up working on larger projects. I won't post a photo til I make some real progress on it--right now it's just a few lines of black.

So that's pretty much it for my weekend. Hopefully, we can get through the week without a major snowstorm. Spring is a lot closer than not!

06 February 2011

Another finish

My camera battery needs recharged, so I haven't taken a picture yet, but I finished Patriotic Summer last night. I took it to work with me, along with a UFO from the bin, but forgot the floss at the house, so I wasn't able to work on it til I got home. But I have three Crazy January finishes now. Woo hoo!

I'm baking today. I found a recipe for Zesty Lemon Cookies on Full Bellies, Happy Kids (the blog link is to the left), so I'm going to make them. I want something light and springy for dessert. Hopefully these will turn out yummy. This is my second try wrangling the big stand mixer, so I am hoping it plays nicely with me.

03 February 2011

Into the wayback Machine

My mother stitched when we were growing up. I have memories of her working on Told in a Gardens when we would go to my aunt's for vacation. I do remember going to the cross stitch shop in Virginia Beach as a wee lickle sprout. I was fascinated with the sheen of the threads and the way you drew a picture with floss; OK, I'm still fascinated by this.

I wasn't allowed to learn to stitch. My elementary school teachers told my mom I lacked fine motor skills. I realize now this was because they were insistent upon me learning to write with my left hand curled around the paper, with the paper at a precise angle, the measurement of which I couldn't tell you if I had to to save my life. I wouldn't do it, because I saw no need for the exercise. My abysmal drawing skills probably factored in, but we see how far that's taken me. So, instead of letting me adapt their way of doing things to a way that would allow me to excel, they told my mom something was wrong with me, and she thought I was developmentally delayed. Nope, just left-handed. I also liked to jump back and forth between things, and she thought I wouldn't pay attention long enough to finish a project that required counting.

I could stitch no-count pictures. That didn't require a lot of skill, I guess. I don't think they thought I'd finish. But I did. And something happened. I wanted another one. So it was off to MJDesigns for a kit--kits and rotating were natural parts of stitching for me.

(Oh, man, was MJDesigns a haven for stitchers back in those heady days of the late 80s and early 90s. Aisle upon aisle of needlework, or so it seemed to me. And aisles of charts. Everything one could want, all laid out neatly and invitingly. I can't stress how wonderful it was, and how I underappreciated it. It was only when MJDesigns closed and I'd bought everything that I loved at Michaels and ACMoore that I started shopping at an LNS.)

And I chose a design of bunnies. It took me all year. (I've often asked myself why it took a year for the early projects, when they don't seem to be THAT hard, and I wasn't particularly busy--we lived in a small town and I didn't do a lot of activities, illegal or legal, and I don't remember what we were doing that took up so much time. I'll never know). And this is how it ended up:

My father and I framed it with sticky board. We bought the frame at MJDesigns. I didn't realize people actually paid other people to frame for them. It seemed so easy, and it probably was, thanks to the stickyboard. I realize now, looking back on those days when my dad would frame my project (because my dad always framed my fair entries, we don't see eye to eye much, but he was always there with tape and pliers to do it for me), how much we lose in life just because people tell us what we are trying to do is hard. Whether it's framing a cross stitch project, stitching a Stoney Creek, learning to drive a stick, or trying to accomplish career goals, it only seems to become hard when other people tell us it is. Back then it was just a matter of popping it in a frame that matched the size pretty good, tacking it down to the stickyboard, and going. Am I better or worse because I know better?

The frame's a little battered from being stored under the dresser when my teenage tastes changed, the red floss at the top ran (yes, Virginia, regular floss can run too.), I entered it in the fair and didn't win, but I did learn all stitches have to go the same direction (I can remember the judge with her magnifying glass looking at it), and I'm pretty sure those French knots need lazy daisies around them, but it's pretty good for a kid who lacked motor skills. I even got really brave and initialed and dated it (I don't do that anymore.)I learned to stitch counted cross stitch that summer, and moved to my first big piece that fall. Yep, that one took a year too, but it was a start.

It's good to occasionally look and see where we've come from. This is not a favorite piece of mine because that bleeding red looks wretched, but it's good. If nothing else, it proves my teachers were wrong. I urge you to find an early work of your own, and enjoy it, even if it's just to show you how far you've come.

Patriotic Summer Progress

Patriotic Summer is moving right along. I'd like to get it done by the end of the weekend, but I don't think it's gonna happen. I still have the stack of critters on the right to do (I have finished the sheep's feet, but that's all), and the flag to do, along with putting windows in the house.

I need to say this. I don't like CC's Sassy Brass. I like every other color Crescent Colors makes, but I don't like Sassy Brass. It's not pretty. It's tolerable in small quantities, but that house is too much. Problem is, I couldn't think of another color that would have looked alright for it that's not already used in the chart. So I'm stuck with it. Maybe it will "settle down" once I have all the other things stitched. That happens quite a lot, and usually it looks alright. I may just be looking at that color with "in the moment" hatred.

I was organizing my "collection" (see, doesn't that sound more dignified, almost scholarly? You study a collection, you hide stash,hee hee) last night, and realized I need to go on the wagon, stash wise. I found two charts I didn't know I had and rebought recently. And one or two I must have picked up at GTGs. I don't understand how I can be this disorganized, when I put a lot of effort into being organized. So, since I now have more stash than I can possibly keep track of, why add more? At least for now. And I do have to say, it was fun to go through my charts last night and renew old acquaintances. I was ogling Priscilla's Babyland, a Priscilla Hillman book, and found some cute bunny charts for my Christmas tree. I found some charts I'd bought at the last CATS and forgotten about. And some charts for smalls. I could spend a year stitching my small charts. So I'm going to try to have a bit of a backbone about this, but I make no promises.

02 February 2011

Sooo . . . I got thinking

It's been pretty quiet around here the last couple days. Well, if you excuse CaesarBeazer's snoring--that dog has some serious septum deviation issues. Times like these, I get to thinking.

Everyone talks about their stash piles, or to do piles. I always get an image of a giant pile of charts or kits next to a stitcher's chair. I know it's probably not really like that for most of us, since charts are slippery and you couldn't really have a big pile, or they'd topple, and, if it's like this house, the dog would end up walking on them. And I hate when the dog does that. I mean, really, is all our stash a "to-do" pile and we just keep our "pile" in binders, totes, boxes and the like?

Is every project you buy one you intend to stitch and will get to as soon as possible, when you're done this project, or when you know someone with a baby, when you go to the beach, or after the holidays? I know I fully intend to stitch every chart I own . . . at least when I purchase it. I know now I won't possibly stitch all this stuff, I could stop buying new charts all together, stitch for 50 years and still have things left. I am starting to consider myself a collector now; it sounds a little better than "chart hoarder", don't you think?

I don't know, I just got to thinking about it, especially since, despite my best efforts, a lot of my stash is still not as organized as I need it to be. I was pulling stuff today to work on as I finish WIPs and my Crazy January projects, and it was kind of a pain. Though I will say, I found all the stuff I need for a project that got separated, which I've been looking for a few months, so that was a score. I pulled a bunch of charts, most of them smalls, and I put them in a sewing basket I bought on Ebay several years ago. For now, that's my "to-do" pile. At least this way, the pile won't topple over. I'll see how it works.

01 February 2011

Appropriate stitching subject

With all the bad weather across the US, I figured it was a good day to work on my Kingdom of the Ice Dragon, by Dragon Dreams.

I've worked on Icy a bit since I posted the last picture of it. This will probably be a very brief diversion from the other projects, but I really enjoy working on it and watching his world grow. Even though it uses Anchor Marlitt and braid, which are not my favorite threads (although the Marlitt is easier to deal with than DMC rayons), I get why they are necessary. His wing is so cool, it glimmers and glistens just like a dragon should. It's a really neat effect, which a photo will never capture perfectly. And it is stitching up a lot quicker than I had imagined it would--this is probably 15 hours' work and I have a lot done. It's much easier to deal with icy dragons than icy roads.

I ordered supplies for three more projects today. Two patriotic sheep projects for me, and one for Mom. Hers is Honeybee Sampler by Victoria Sampler, and I really only had to order perle cotton for some sampler bands for it. I think I'll stitch that for her for Mother's Day; I can't believe I didn't have the perle cotton, but it's one of those things I just don't buy, at least not in white. I had to order floss for the other two, LHN Brave Hearts and Fanci That Hat of the Month--July. It was all hand-dyeds, and the colors that I had, I didn't have full skeins of. Since I don't want to run the risk of running out mid-project and having to worry about the dye lots not matching, it's just better this way. I did not get the Belle Soie silks for Brave Hearts, though--I couldn't justify the cost of the silks to myself. One of these days, though.

Well, thanks for letting me ramble this afternoon. And thank you for the kind comments about my pictures from yesterday. I'm excited about the things I'm working on right now, so I love the comments! Keep warm (or cool, if you're in one of the places in the world where it's hot). Til tomorrow . . .
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