31 March 2011

Quick and Icy

That's my update for today. Like the wintry mix that came through last night.

Icy is really taking shape this week. I think I have just enough braid for his shiny little belly and the twelve stitches on the corner of the block by his foot, and that reel of braid is done. I know that I really don't have that much more work on him, and he's done, but what's left is intimidating. Icy has a large booty that needs filled in, and those little squiggledy things are taking about an hour each to finish. So he is getting put away for a little bit, but I promised myself that the only large project I can work on is Barn Kitties til he gets done.

My Crazy January Challenge is nearly hopelessly off course at this point, but I'm hoping to get that back on track soon too. I've done most of the small ones, now I'm on the middle ones, which can be a little intimidating, but I'm trying to remember, it's one stitch at a time, or it will be, once Icy's finished, LOL. I took Sugar Plum Fairy to work this weekend, but didn't get a lot accomplished. I was too busy reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's an interesting book, told from a dog's perspective as his life comes to a close. I choked up at the end, but it was good. I really enjoyed it. I'm reading Marge Piercy's Sex Wars now, about women in 19th century New York. I've started it a few times, but never got very far, but I just stuck it out and I have to say, it's really good. I also enjoyed her book, Gone to Soldiers, about World War 2. It's funny, because I don't like her modern stuff, but she is a great historical writer. She's made me want to read more about Victoria Woodhull and the Comstock laws, so that's a plus for her.

Well, have to run. Hopefully, Spring will get the memo that April is here.

30 March 2011

Freebie alert

There are some really sweet freebies on this site. I was ENTRANCED with one of them. I'll let you guess which one I completed already til the camera battery juices up again.

Updated: Here is my finish! I am so pleased with him. He is stitched on white Aida with Russian Sage HDF. Is that not a sweet bunny? He's going on my Easter tree, or perhaps I should call it, my bunny tree. But, if you didn't want to use him that way, he would be adorable on placemats to use all spring? Or a bib. Or a birth announcement:

28 March 2011

Old and new finishes

I hadn't shared these finishes yet.

I finished this the week before Christmas. It's a freebie by Told In A Garden. I think she's so cute.

This is the finished Eden Was a Garden. I did this one last week.

Now to finish them.

27 March 2011

An Icy Update and a basketball HD

I spent all my free time this weekend working on Icy. He's starting to come together, though it's taken a lot of stitching.

Here he is, after last weekend's stitching:

And a few minutes ago.

I have to say, he got me through that nail-biter of a Kentucky-North Carolina basketball game. Since I'm a Kentucky graduate, it was my cardio for today. I was a DEVOTED UK fan in college, in the Student Athletics Council for two years, with front-row seats most of those two years. I just adored Kentucky basketball, and it has been a hard 13 years since our last Final 4. It's a beautiful relationship we Kentucky fans have with our team; someone once told me the collective mood of Kentuckians rises and falls with the fortunes of the Wildcats and I believe it's true. When they win, we celebrate as if Big Blue Nation were on the court, but when they lose, when the bus pulls up in front of Memorial Coliseum, we gather like lost souls. Much better this way. This next week is going to be the week of dreams for all the fans, especially the students; this is the week when we think, maybe, just maybe, this is our year. I was in tears the last two minutes of the game, crouched in front of the TV, shushing Left-brain because it's not over til it's over. I've taken a lot of crap from people around here, and it feels like redemption that we won, especially beating the Tar Heels (my apologies to Heels fans, it could have gone the other way, but today was our day, and I think I'm in love with Harrellson).

I hope we all have a week of dreams.

22 March 2011

A soon to be project

I think I am obsessed with Joan Elliott designs. I know I have been entranced with them lately. I have all the season fairies from when they were in Cross Stitch Collection, and all the elemental goddesses, along with the Christmas angels. I treasure them.

I pulled this one out the other day.

The Water Goddess. Isn't she gorgeous? I have been drooling over her since. I wanted to stitch her as if she was in the night time. Since there is a moon behind her and night is probably the time a water goddess would come out. I thought black first, but a couple people thought that black would be too harsh. I'd have to convert her hair to another color, and I wasn't sure what kind of a girl she should be. A red-head? Nah, that's for Fire! Blonde? Not sure on that one. So, I decided to change the fabric to one she'd fall against nicely, and would still give that nighttime feeling.

My choice:

Mystic by PTP. Do you think it will be OK? I ordered Lugana, which takes the dye a bit lighter than linen, so I'm hoping it will be a good choice. The other ones that I was looking at were more aqua and I thought that would blend in too well with her gown. I even thought of a green, so it looked like she was in a forest pool, but you'd pretty much have to see the fabric in person to choose the green, and I don't have that option right now.

I guess I'll have to have faith and check out the fabric when it gets here. If not this one, what colors would you choose to give a twilight/evening feel?

A picture update

I know it's been a while since I posted, but wanted to share my stitching progress with you. Blogger may not be playing nicely with me today, so I apologize in advance

I thought I would have Eden was a Garden done by now, but the chart isn't the best to read, and I think I kinda lost my mojo last week. I'm picking it back up again. Biography had two Charlie Sheen documentaries on last night, and I got a bit done watching that trainwreck.

Here is the Icy Dragon progress. I did get a lot done at the GTG on Saturday. The Marlitt does slow me down, but I would rather stitch with that than the DMC Satin. I don't know if I'll be able to get this done by the end of March, but I'm hopeful. If not then, by the middle of April. I've got to get working on the kitten project for the fair or it won't get done. My friend Debbie and I have a challenge going to get something in the fair this year.

His tail doesn't look very big, but, trust me, there are a lot of stitches in that thing.

Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped for my cross stitch magazines. I try not to criticize designs or designers because, well, I don't design and I don't feel qualified to critique that arena. I try to approach it in terms of I don't understand the design and perhaps my dislike is stemming from my lack of a use for it. I'm not a fan of the William and Kate designs because they're not my royals, and it would be rather silly of me to put another couple up on the wall when I have yet to get the prints of my own wedding.

But then I saw these. Feel free to go look--they're R rated, but no naughty bits are showing. I'll wait . . .

Looking at them, the internal dialogue started:

Me: WTF? Are they really getting it on? Did someone really design people getting it on?
Internal Me: Yes, stupid.
Me: Maybe I'm just imagining that's what they're doing. Maybe they're just hugging?
Internal Me: No. She looks just like Kate Winslet would have looked in the car scene if Titanic had been set 100 years later.
Me: Who would stitch that? What is your decorating theme if you're stitching . . . could you even get away with making those into pillows for the bedroom?
Internal Me: Look at Left-brain, and ask yourself who's gonna be the one to hide the porn pillows when someone housesits?

And that was the end of the discussion. I mean, I'm not a prude and these people are wearing more clothes than a few of the charts I really like. I can admire the ability to think this up. I just don't see the reason. I can't imagine them going on the wall in a place of pride. For anyone. Maybe I am more of a prude than I care to admit, it was just wierd.

Do you like them? If you like them, would you stitch them, for yourself, for your living room walls?

16 March 2011

Going to a GTG this weekend!

I'm getting kind of excited! It's group of people I haven't met before. I'm going to take Icy along to work on since he needs a lot of time without interruption. I did finish the rayon part of his wings. Next to that, the metallics are EASY PEASY. I'm also going to go through that box of kits that I brought home from Mom's and take some of the ones I don't want anymore over to see if anyone else wants them. That way, they're going to good homes. I don't have a lot else to purge from stash, not since I did that mega purging last spring at Sue Hillis'. It's starting to be easier to let things go; perhaps it's the idea that I'm not giving them away so much as they're going to people who want them more than I do. I'm starting to get that way about books too; I finished one, and it was OK, but not something I envisioned on my bookshelf forever. A very good online friend mentioned that she would have to check that one out, so I sent it to her as RAK. It felt good and it got it out of the house. There is hope for me yet!

My Icy progress right now is very slow, but I will try to post a pic when I get something really noticeably accomplished.

14 March 2011

My new WIP--Eden was a Garden

I had this very pretty freebie in my stash for many years. I decided this was the spring it would be just a little bit more than page in a binder. It's by Needle Maid Designs and is called Eden Was a Garden.

I am stitching this for my mom. She takes great comfort in her garden, and is out there with her watering can all summer. It is a sweet little design and one I hadn't seen stitched up before. I'm stitching it on PTP Flapper. Maybe it wasn't the perfect fabric for this, but it's working, and the color was hard to resist. It called out to be used for something "springy". I'm going to redo it for myself in different colors, now that I know what's going on, but I think my mom will love it.

I couldn't keep this to myself, but the chart said no sharing and the link on the bottom of the chart is dead, so I took a gamble and checked with a site I use occasionally. By the power of the Wayback Machine, I found it for you: Eden was a Garden Although this feels kinda shifty for some intangible reason, it's completely legal, and you can find some good stuff. I hope that the simple joy of this brightens your day. Enjoy!

13 March 2011

Weekend update

Are you sure we're actually having one this week?

I was so busy yesterday.

I was out of the house at 8AM for the Motor Vehicle Administration. I've been procrastinating about changing the name on my driver's license. I changed it with Social Security, which was easy peasy, in and out in 8 minutes, and with my banks, not so easy, but no biggie, but the MVA is a whole other situation. I never changed my address when I moved in with Left-brain (a long story), so I also had to prove residency, but I sucked it up and went over. It wasn't too bad, all in all. I usually look like a grimacing troll in my photos, but this time, it did not so bad (I think it was the fact that I actually had all the documents needed on the first shot). I can live with this picture.

Next stop was my mom's house. She needs some plumbing work done in her basement, and I still have some stuff down there. Mostly stash--I know, sometimes I look at this stuff and wonder how much nicer my savings account would be if I hadn't bought all that . . . or at least my footwear. So, since the stuff had to be moved in order to get the pipes, and this marriage thing is working out, I decided it. Was. Time. I got three boxes of stuff out of there yesterday. And went through some boxes of clothes I still had there. By and large the clothes are getting gotten rid of--I've gotten portly the last year or so, and, should I lose the weight, I probably won't wear the clothes, I'll just buy new ones. So, those are going to charity. My little Gus-cat helped me clean and go through boxes, though "help" is relative. While Felix sat on the steps and watched, Gus came down and, when the lids were lifted off boxes, he crawled in them. He claimed it was to make sure it was safe, but I think he was told to make sure I didn't steal anything, LOL. He rolled around on top of my charts, which did not look comfortable, but he's old enough to do what he wants to. He rubbed his face on the kits, and told me they were pretty. He then told me I was beautiful--he's a charmer, that tubby tabby of mine. I did have to cut the flattery out, though, when he chomped on my engagement ring--he does this a lot, but I don't think it's good for the gold or the diamond, or his teeth, for that matter.

When I got those boxes wrangled out to the car--how did fabric and paper and thread get so HEAVY--I had to head off to the store to find something to wear for a meeting I have tomorrow. I did find a navy suit, but now need to go over it with a lint brush--I was a bit dusty. Darn it. I also found a cute aqua, 60's-style dress that I think will be cute for Easter, so I bought that too. Left-brain is not exactly entranced with that dress, but he never knew me when I was owning the British schoolgirl look back in the mid-90s. Some cute slingbacks, a French twist, and I'll be perfectly proper for Easter dinner. LOL. I also found a very cute, butter-soft sweater which is just right for early spring, on clearance for 80% off. It felt a little wierd to spend money on clothes like this, but I needed them and it's a treat. It's OK to treat oneself occasionally.

I capped off the day with a trip to my favorite used bookstore, a place I have been going to pretty much since I was sporting tights and jumpers to my college lit classes. They have a wide selection of books, and most are $2.95. Even the large paperbacks are $4.99--that's a good savings off retail and you never know what you'll find. I love just going in there, walking around, and letting the titles catch my attention, and it doesn't hurt that I spent what I would spend on two books at Barnes and Noble, and came home with 2 bags of books.

I tried to stitch last night, but I honestly couldn't do it. The news coverage from Japan is heartbreaking. I feel so very sad for the people and they are in my prayers. We ended up switching over to "Band of Brothers," which is one of my favorite movies. I highly recommend it, even though it's a war movie and graphic. It's amazing. Even the technical parts of it are fascinating.I'm wierd in that I love the technical parts of movies better than the acting--I love seeing and learning about the details, and the dedication that takes to accomplish. I read that they made the snow they used in the Battle of the Bulge episodes out of paper, and it's just fascinates me. I can't tell it's not snow.

Today has been slow so far. I brought another two boxes from Mom's house, and I've been at work since noon. Hopefully tonight I can stitch. I'm looking forward to it.

I hope everyone else is having a great weekend.

10 March 2011

Cardinals Winter

is finished.

I love it. It looks just like I wanted it to look. Frosty and icy, red popping, just the way the cardinals look when they come to visit us during snow storms. I love watching our cardinals visit. (Except that one female who lands on the window screen and glares at us--I don't like being rebuked by a bird) The males are not all the same shade of red; some are richer ruby red, some are this incredible devil red that, surely, God was having a really good day when he made. I never noticed that before moving to the country. In the summer, we don't notice them as much, but, when the world around you is dreary and white, it sure is a basic "happy" to see that pop of color. Our bunnies are a bit more "whispery"; they zip across the front yard after dusk and live under the front steps or in one of the bushes. In the winter, it's a little gift to find their tracks in the snow.

One of the things I've tried to do this winter is to start noticing things like that. It seems to me that, for all the annoyances of snow, it hides the ugly and allows nature to show itself. I rush by farm fields in the winter nights, eager to get home, but, this winter, I've tried to notice the details, and it's been fascinating--seemingly barren fields where I've never seen deer, but I see their tracks now, and I know they're there. I like that. I like seeing them silhouetted against the winter night sk (as long as they stay off the road). I love seeing the colors of the birds, the blue of the jays and the red of the cardinals--you can't manufacture that pretty. It's been a wonderful winter in that regard.

09 March 2011

I will never catch up

Barring losing both my jobs, I will never catch up with the LHN ornaments. I'm not even finished Cardinals' Winter, I just got the envelope with the second one for the year, and Diane has posted the third one on her blog. What is a girl to do?

She gives a good little demonstration of how she does her French knots on the same post. This is actually the way I make mine after many years of trial and error, including what I like to refer to as my "let's tie a knot in the thread on top, pull it back through and tie it off in the back, no one will know the difference" period, during a time in college when I was rocking miniskirt suits and belly shirts, altogether a time of poor judgement. Anywho, my French knots turn out right 99% of the time with this method, so if you're a bit shaky when it comes to your knotting "skillz", check it out.

Like I said, I'm still plugging away at Cardinal's Winter. I think I can get it done by the end of the day, but I'm not holding my breath. I got the Anchor Marlitt I ordered for Icy from Sewandso in the mail yesterday. I feel a lot better knowing it's here, in my posession, since it was not easy to find. I'd like to get the entire project done by the month, but, since I'm only working on it when I have long stretches of uninterrupted time, it's hard to say that's possible. But it does move fairly quickly when I have the time to work on it. I am starting to think about what kind of frame I want on it, what kind of mats (this needs mats, definitely), so I know it's getting there.

08 March 2011

Freebie alert

Sylvia of My Little SAL fame has gifted us with a very cute new freebie on her blog.

Scroll down to the Bunny Theif. Ain't he cute? Her finishing is FANTASTIC!

07 March 2011

Weekend progress

I made steady forward motion with Cardinals Winter and Icy this weekend.

Icy was my Saturday project. I worked mostly on the border. Fear has a physical form, and it is the distance between those two blue boxes. It is exactly 102 stitches wide, and it's a creamy grey green. That, kind hearts, gentle readers, is terror. I was pretty sure it was going to be OK, since the other distances seemed to be OK, but you never know when you're bounding off into an expanse of white fabric whether it will end well, or you're gonna have to put it aside for a while.

Fortunately, it all matched up. Icy's Kingdom even has mountains now. And a distinct northern and eastern edge.

I worked yesterday, so yesterday was all about the Tweet.

I did have to do some frogging on Friday evening. The tree was off, the snowflakes were off and they needed fixed. Plus the floss for "Tweet" was too light in my opinion, on this fabric, and it was annoying me. I know myself well enough to know that I'd rather pick it out and put it in right than stare at it on the Christmas tree for the next 20 years, annoyed at it. I think it looks MUCH better now. I like the way everything looks together. The bunnies are the soft color they are here in the winter, and they go really well with the wintry blue (I think it's GAST Cornflower blue, but I'm not sure). I have been hesitant in the past to change colors from the charted ones, but this is improving my confidence.

Carol of Stitching Dreams also stitched this ornament. She and I think alike because she also customized her bunnies and her "tweet"; "Tweet" didn't stand out for her, either, so she made it a dark green, and her bunnies are darker to match the bunnies she sees. If you get a chance, head over to her blog to check out her cute finish!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. It rained all day yesterday. Cold and steady. Last night, I had to stop at the store on the way home from work because Left-brain, desperate for food on Saturday night in a house where all our meat is frozen, made us chocolate chip cookies for dinner. Before you commend him too hard, we did have spaghetti fixings, and . . . they were the ready to bake cookies. But I stopped to get him food because, well, a man shouldn't be learning to bake cookies in this manner. I got him a frozen pizza for tonight. It better be good because the box got wet, the wrapped pizza fell out and rolled all over the front yard, because my arms were full of other bags and my purse and I had to chase a pizza in the wind and rain. I don't think anything else fell out on the ground while I was running around, but it did snow last night. I couldn't believe it this morning. Hopefully, today will go better.

06 March 2011

And the Winner Is . . .

We put the names in the white basket o' goodness at work today and chose . . .


I'll be emailing you tomorrow to get your mailing info.


Thank you to everyone else who entered. I will keep my eyes open if I see another one.

04 March 2011

This week's progress

Friday is finally here, and I don't know about you, but I'm glad this week is over. March has truly come in like a lion, if not so much in weather, it's an emotional lion.

I did manage to get some work done on Icy. I know now that one strand of Marlitt would have given adequate coverage on my 28 count, but I've got so much done in two strands, I have to keep going. Fortunately, I ordered more from Sewandso in England. It's on its way, so I think I'll be OK on that.

He is so large that pictures that fit all the piece don't show the detail, and the "pretty" of this is in the detail.

I also worked on LHN's Cardinal's Winter. I am substituting some of the colors out so it coordinates better with a particular backing fabric I have, and also because I didn't have one of the CC it called for. I switched out Roasted Chestnut for Bunny Honey, and I think it works well with the cooler colors. I know the border is GAST, from one of those Loose Thread packs they used to sell. I had been holding onto those threads for a long time, but, as part of my general push this year to be a better steward of my many blessings in life, I decided it was time to use the threads, and not keep them in a bag, without purpose. I am not sure which color it is. I used another color blue for the word Tweet, but I think I'm going to frog that and use the border color.

It's stitched on silver sparkly aida from Charles Craft. I think it's turning out pretty well, all in all.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend. Hopefully, next week will be better than this.

03 March 2011

My Spooky SAL for Lisa

I didn't post my progress on this yesterday, as I thought I would be able to. Here it is.

I got started pretty late, but I made a bit of progress. This is "No Scaredy Cats" by Waxing Moon. The cat is Gunmetal, not the color called for in the chart. I didn't have the color, and figured if he was a smoky black, not a black black, no one would really mind. It will help soften when I do the other kitty in Amber, so I am hoping it looks good.

Another reminder for my Betsy PIF. Remember, you have to leave a comment in the PIF post below to be entered. Good luck.

01 March 2011

To honor Lisa . . .

So many expressions of shocked grief today on so many blogs. So many people who are so sad, so horrified at the loss of someone most of us only knew through her needlework designs. At times like this, I like to think that our lives are woven together in a design like a piece of cross stitch. We see only the back: the knots, the fumpy threads, the vague outlines of what will be the final design. Someone else sees the top of the design, sees the patterns in a clearer view, understands the harmony of the colors, and sees how the little xes all fit together to create beauty. And, while we have to accept that life is not always beautiful, seen from the back, in the end, it is as it was supposed to be, even with the fumps and knots.

I read on another blog that people are having a Spooky SAL in her memory tonight. We were supposed to spread the word, so I'm spreading it. Will you join me tonight in working on a Halloween piece (or a fall piece, if you're not a Halloweeny person)?

A horrible loss to the industry

I clicked on 123stitch this morning to hear the news that Primitive Needle designer Lisa Roswell has passed away. I have some of her charts and was looking forward to stitching them.

These are the threads where they discuss this.

Please join me in sending prayers to comfort her family in this horrible time.
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