29 July 2011

Hectic week!

The theatre opened a new production this week, and it has thrown my week into a tizzy. I've had a light schedule there the entire month (and my checking account is mourning it), but this week made up for it. Tuesday night, I saw the show, and then last night I had to stay to promote our 2012 season. Since I worked Sunday, that means I've spent 12 hours there so far this week, and I've got another two hour shift tonight. I didn't get to sleep last night til 1. Yes, I woke Left-brain up when I got home. He must have whispered something to the dog because good ol' Beazer got me up at quarter to six. Yep, I'm running on less than 5 hours of sleep. 5 hours' is the bare minimum I need to be a human being worth liking, so today ought to be fun.

I'd like to think I could get to sleep early tonight, but my stitching group is having a potluck GTG tomorrow. I am bringing glorified rice and macaroni salad, so I've got some cooking to do when I get home tonight. But these are no-muss, no fuss recipes, so it should not be too bad.

I still haven't decided what stitching I'm bringing, though. I have so many choices. Icy Dragon has been languishing for a while, I am thinking 8 hours on him would make a world of difference. But I could probably almost get Brave Hearts finished. Or make a dent in CItA. Or I could be really brave and start a new project--I have a Pamela Kellogg design, "A Kitten for Christmas", that I would love to work on. So you see, I have some issues . . .

I'm hoping the craziness starts to die down soon. I've still got some fair finishing to do (I should probably work on that tomorrow, right?). And I'd like to go somewhere before the end of the summer. I told Left-brain this is supposed to be our fun newly-wed year where we get to know each other and make those memories that last a lifetime, and all I do is work. I think I was just overly tired and emotional, but I told him I took the weekend the fair starts off from the theatre, and I don't want to sit at home. He asked where I wanted to go. My reponse: "Anywhere but here." We have a free weekend at a campground that came as part of our thank-you package for the camper we bought a few weeks ago, and we may use that, or else go to the shore. I don't know. I just want to have some time to enjoy before it gets cold again.

I'll take some pictures at the GTG tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun.

23 July 2011

1st Castles in the Air Update

It took me all week to get this far, but here is my first CItA update. I am using the jewel-tone version of it. I think it's gorgeous.

I sat back this morning and thought, "Now that, Rachel, is a gorgeous piece of cross stitch." It's very different from my usual subject choices, but I'm always up for a challenge. And this is a challenge.

I am leaving the beading til the end. I am stitching this on a hoop and I don't want to crush the beads. Hopefully I can see straight.

We had a bit of a tease this morning. I woke up around 7, and there was the distinctive rumble of thunder going over the house. Our yard is so dry, and my flowers look so pitiful--the poor petunia has nearly given up the ghost--that any rain would be welcome. It was so loud that I brought the dog in, I thought we would get dumped on. No go with the rain. Acckkkk.

Oh, well . . .

21 July 2011

Some pictures

This computer has gotten in cahoots with my camera and it didn't bring over the picture of CItA, but I have pictures of my finished Photobooth, and my progress so far on Brave Hearts. You'll have to bear with me, the battery in the camera needs to be recharged, but I'm trying.

First is the Photobooth finish. It's not perfect, but I am really excited to finally be getting the hang of this technique. I had the fabric in my stash, and I think the colors match the DMC conversion on this perfectly.

I did have another length of fabric that coordinated with that that I really liked, but the orientation of the pattern didn't work with this design. I bought that in 2006 at Walmart, so there wasn't any chance of me finding it again. Oh well. But this works, and it's not too glaring a pattern of fabric. And I sorta like the unwired ribbon for the bow. I don't think a puffy bow would have worked as well for this.

This is my progress on Brave Hearts so far. I am doing this with the cotton CC conversion, except I subbed out Apple Fritter for the Manor Red. I like it. I enjoy stitching this. It's only taken 2 weeks to get this far, and that's saying a lot, since I've been busy.

I really want to get this done in time for September 11th. It's hard to imagine that the anniversary is not that far off. I had envisioned spending the summer stitching patriotic designs and that didn't happen, but if this gets done, it will be a worthy tribute to all those people we lost on that day.

Hopefully, I will get my camera re-juiced in time to share pictures with you this weekend.

Stitching along . . .

I am going to try to post pictures tonight. Can I tell you, I hate the computer? I am in the midst of pricing them out, even if it's just to get a laptop to tide me over til I can afford better. I'm this close to making a decision because I hate my desktop so much. I'm leaning towards a Bestbuy purchase because they will set the computer up for you and I'm not that talented. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you for bearing with me through this time.

I started CItA this week. I chose a jewel-tone colorway, and it looks so luscious right now. I can't wait to see it progress, even though that large amount of blank space on the fabric is daunting right now. I am using DMC metallic, the old kind on the spool, and that is a bit annoying to work with, but I'm making it happen.

I also managed to finish the Photobooth design into a no-sew. I started it last weekend, since Left-brain went racing with his friend. I came home Friday night, armed with new DVDs and went to work. I watched the first Sex and the City movie, which I really liked. I was not a fan of the show when it first came out, but I imagine that was because it came out when I was not quite 22, and I didn't see anything in the 30-something characters that related to my life. Funny how 12 years later, it meant more to me. And the movie did not disappoint; I knew how Carrie felt when Big left her, how it seemed easier to just sleep and ignore the world. And I was so impressed at how Kirsten Davis handled the moment when, after the first wedding, they confronted Big. It felt so particularly "real" to me. It was a good movie to finish and stitch by.

I also saw "Remember Me," with Robert Pattinson. I've thought about it all week, and I just can't figure out if I liked the movie or not. There was a wonderful performance by the girl who played his little sister, but I found Pattinson's Tyler to be a jerk. But I can understand why Ally liked him; for most of us, your early 20s are for dating the jerky boys, so that you get trained to appreciate the good-uns. And the ending was heart-breaking; I won't share it, but it was hard. It reminded me of how innocent we were back then, how lucky.

I also worked on my "Brave Hearts." I have run out of the Cocoa Bean CC floss that the words are stitched with, but will wait til our stitching GTG next week to get more. I love this chart. I even found the house more bearable to stitch, since I was using gorgeous Wavy Navy floss for it. It felt kinda wierd to step away from it, half-completed, but I can't wait to finish it.

I will try to post some pictures tonight. I am not working out this evening, and I don't have any errors to run, so be on the lookout!

13 July 2011

Call me crazy--Castles in the Air

I was looking around, and found the Papillon Creations SAL for Castles in the Air. How have I not seen this before? What have I been doing for the last two years? It's a very pretty sampler. And, at roughly $1.45US, a bargain.

So I signed up for it, downloaded all 23 parts, and am going to find my fabric. I'm thinking of just using evenweave from my stash, or the cheap MCG stuff. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I have no issues with that, and I've won ribbons on work done on it. I'm kind of excited about this one, enought to almost put down what I'm working on right now, LOL.

Thank you for your kind comments about the start of this new exercise/get healthy kick. It's a challenge to start anything new, especially when I'm looking down the road and I know it won't be easy and it's going to take a while. I'm still in the stage where I'm getting re-acquainted with the machines, and starting to build stamina, so I've got a bit to go. I'm also working on cutting 500 calories a day from my diet. This is not as hard as it seems, since I was drinking 320 calories at least a day. I found some drink stuff to put in my water that is 5 calories a pack, and it makes those 32 ounces of water much more drinkable (I like my water with Coke in it, LOL), like adult Kool-aid. And I've saved myself 315 calories, which is A LOT for me. I've been upping my fruit intake; this is the best part of summer for me, everything is so available, and fresh. I had the best pluot this morning; whoever developed pluots has given the world a gift. So yummy. I'm very hopeful that I'm going to see good results from this commitment.

On other fronts, Left-brain and I were talking last night. I'm behind in my fair preparations--mainly because I have some stuff that needs framed, but I'm afraid to try to do it myself, but that's the only way it's gonna get done now--and so was thinking of skipping the county fair and just putting stuff in the state fair. Left-brain thought about it and said he was fine with that, but the county fair does give our families a chance to see what I've been working on. And to see my blue ribbons (he is hopeful, ain't he?). So, I'll just have to suck it up and get some finishing done this weekend. I know I have to revamp the ring pillow, or it won't be worth it, and I have a small finish to frame, along with finishing my patriotic cube. I have some other bigger projects, but those need to wait to see if there is a frame sale or a clearance sale. And, if I have to break out the stickyboard as a temporary support for those pandas, they're getting it! Darn it!

So that's what's happening in my neck of the woods. I hope you're keeping cool if you're in a hot zone. We were at 100 here earlier in the week, but today, I could actually function without the A/C in the car at max. It was nice!

11 July 2011

A small update

I don't have a progress photo to show this week, because I haven't been doing a lot of stitching.

I know I write occasionally about being plump. Mostly, I refer to it fleetingly, but, frankly, the extra weight is becoming a bother. My clothes do not fit properly, I do not feel "cute" anymore, and the capper was, walking the dog a few weeks ago, I had to stop midway up the hill to catch my breath. I don't want to live in fear that I am going to have a heart attack walking through the neighborhood, so I recommitted myself to exercising and joined the gym. Not only does the fact that I am spending money, and I don't want to waste that compell me, but I have realized that I tend to goof off when I exercise outdoors. I don't walk, I amble. Being inside focuses me, and I need that.

I had my fitness evaluation last week. One thing I can say, when they tell you you are obese at the gym, it doesn't sting so bad. They don't whisper it; they just say, "You are considered obese." I prefer that; there is something about having that word whispered to you that just makes it worse. We can pretty much all see I have a weight problem, including myself; after all, I do buy my own pants. No need to whisper it, but doctors have. It's an odd thing. They're a lot blunter with drug addicts. But, then again, maybe it's to try to be kind, since most large people's experience with being reminded that they're fat has either included an obscenity including our butt or calling us a fat female dog, or, in my particular case, being asked in the checkout line if I was planning on eating "all that" tonight, when I was purchasing a lot of food because we hadn't grocery-shopped in a month. That was a little rough; I think it hit me when I got out to the car, and by the time I got home, upset, it made Left-brain FURIOUS. He of course wanted to go back to the store and deck the guy, mumbling words like, "If I'd have been there . . . ". I had to point out to him that things like that DON'T happen to fat people when they're with large, physically-imposing people. They only seem to happen when we're vulnerable. But he can't be with me all the time, and I'm tired of it, so I don't want to be this way anymore.

I'm not in great physical shape. I knew that. I have a far, hard path to tread. The trainer said I do have motivation, and that is a good thing. When I walked out of there, I thought for a minute about going home and cocooning, but I decided to go walk on the treadmill instead. In the end, it was a better way to deal with the stress.

05 July 2011

As promised, pictures

Before I get to the good stuff, I thought I would share some of the pictures I took yesterday. I am not a good photographer, but I wanted to share how pretty suburban Maryland can be.

This is the part of the towpath we walked. The actual canal would be off to the right of this photo. It is taken care of down-county, but up here, it's not. The towpath itself is beautiful. Very quiet and nice to walk down.

The Monacacy River as seen from the Monocacy Aqueduct. It's not as well known as the Potomac, but one of the best parts of growing up in a small country town is that we get exposed to stuff other people are too busy to enjoy.

And me in the woods.

Here are some of the things I have been working on.

Plum Street Samplers First Day from the JCS preview issue, with my color changes. A very quick stitch and I am looking forward to having it on the tree. It's probably going to be felt-backed unless I find some pretty coppery fabric in a holiday mood.

My newest WIP, Brave Hearts by Little House Needlework. Stitched with the CC cottons conversion, except I'm using Apple Fritter for the red. I liked how my skein went better with the other colors.

I love love love this chart. It's stitching up pretty quick, and the colors are luscious. Plus, not only is it patriotic, but it has a sheep. Please designers, get on the patriotic sheep bandwagon! We're a cult, but we're coming out in the open.

Before I share the pandas, I mean to fully share the quilt square I did. But, for some reason, the camera and computer are working together tonight and not behaving, and I'm too tired of fighting computers today. I will share the picture as soon as I can.

OK, so that out of the way, here are my finished Pollyanna Pickering pandas, from the chart "Bear Hug."

I think getting this done has been one of my proudest accomplishments of the year. Considering they were supposed to be a 2010 entry for the fair. There are a few mistakes, but, at some point, you gotta let it go, and so I did that with this chart. They were worth the PITA they turned out to be. They make me happy.

So, that's all for now. Thank you for bearing with me.

A Belated Happy 4th of July

Where is the time going? I realized just now I had not bothered to wish everyone a wonderful and safe celebration. I hope everyone had a happy weekend, and, if this is the weekend your country celebrates a holiday, stopped to think about history for a moment.

It was a nice weekend here in Crazyville. Saturday morning, Left-brain went with one of his buddies to go 4-wheelin'. I went and picked blueberries with my mom, which is one of our 4th of July weekend traditions. We went to our nearby orchard, the one we've been going to since I was a kid. We had three buckets between us, and I filled most of two, with mom doing one herself. She ended up with 5 pounds or so, I had 7 til it was all said and done, not including the ones I ate :). No, I'm not planning on eating all of them myself; I gave away probably a pound and a half already to co-workers. I think I'll make a blueberry cobbler tonight to use up some more of them. Otherwise, they are going in cereal, because nothing screams summer like blueberries and corflakes.

Of course I got dirty while doing this, and, since I'd planned an LNS trip, I had to go home and clean up first. I headed over to my LNS, to pick up a copy of JCS for a friend and to get some supplies for new projects. I tried to be good. I really did. But fibers add up after a while, and so does fabric. But I ran into blog follower Cindy. She and I had never met, but she recognized me by my pictures from the message board we frequent, me as a poster, she as a lurker. We talked about how sometimes, message boards are better than soap operas. The employee who was helping me couldn't believe people act like that.

So it kind of got me thinking on the way home. Sometimes it is hard to believe that grown women (and men) act as poorly as they do on public forums. I do believe it's because we feel emboldened by the anonymity of the computer screen. Since you can not see the response of the person to your words, the self-censorship that comes from proximity is gone and we say things we wouldn't say if we were in slapping distance. I confess I've had a few childish moments myself. But I'm trying to do better. I guess it's like Chancey. My sweet girl dislikes how the cats bicker amongst themselves. She never has. Her solution, when faced with two cats arguing, or rolling about, is to wade into the fray, head up, chest out, determined to break up the fray. Usually she comes out fine, the cats just roll away and break it up for a moment. Sometimes, she comes out scratched, sometimes she comes out with a mouthful of fur. There is usually some unintended growling. Whatever happens, her day has been messed up, and the cats won't stop fighting; inevitably, it repeats itself. Robbie, on the other hand, has learned to stay away from the cats. He doesn't like em, doesn't need em, only engages when he is bopped on the head. His face has a few less scratches, and he rarely gets a mouthful of hair. So, is it better to avoid the cats, or fight them? Because, somehow, down deep, is engaging the combatants, even for the best of intentions, somehow damaging me? I'm thinking about this. Cindy has made me think. It was great to meet you. You can comment here anytime. No cats on this blog! Except stitched ones, and the occasional photo of a real one.

Sunday was my stitching group. I really can not tell you how I enjoy the time I spend with these ladies. They meet at a church in Arbutus, near Baltimore, and we have a lot of fun. We solve all the problems of the world, or at least talk about them, we laugh, we share our stitching. I am very fortunate that my social group appreciates my stitching, but it's different to be with stitchers. I took along my pandas and finished them during our time together.

Yep, after a little over a year, those pandas are finished. I already took their picture, but last night, I just did not feel like messing with the computer to upload them. it felt good to put in those last stitches. There are some boo-boos in the project, but I'm going to let them go . . . this time.

I started "Brave Hearts" by LHN after finishing the pandas (I'm not wasting time if all I gotta do is stitch, LOL). That is coming along. I didn't realize how LARGE it is. I guess I'm used to smaller LHN pieces, but this is a big guy. But it's so pretty, and such a beautiful sentiment. I'd like to have it done by Veterans' Day, but am not making any guarantees.

Of course, when I got home, startitis kicked in, and I started the Plum Street Sampler design from the JCS ornament preview. I changed the colors to match the scheme for our tree, and it looks AMAZING. I chose a Prussian blue and chocolate, but put a little more blue in the design than the model. It's a quick stitch that I really enjoyed and finished last night.

Yesterday dawned hot and sunny. I had asked Left-brain to come walking on the C&O Canal towpath near where I grew up. He had never been there, never even knew that part of the canal existed, though he did remember going to the nearby quarry as a teenager (as apparently all down-county kids in the late 70s to mid 80s did, before the police bought it because people were getting hurt jumping in). We walked a good long way, enjoying the quiet of the woods. I like using the holiday as a day to reflect on our history and to experience it, if only vaguely and for a few hours. Last year, we did Gettysburg, and he really enjoyed that. Perhaps next year, we'll do Fort McHenry or Mount Vernon. We had a picnic when we were done. It was nice, but I was so tired, I almost fell asleep--not a good idea for a fair-skinned person. We went home, and then napped, but woke up in time to watch the fireworks from DC on TV.

Usually we would have watched fireworks outside, since my neighborhood is full of folks who like to blow things up, but that didn't happen this year. It has been very dry, and so Left-brain didn't do it, but, on Memorial Day weekend, one of the police officers who came out for a blocked drain said that they would be out in force this weekend and handing out tickets. They mentioned the people on the street above us, and the guy down the street, who does an exceptional job with his displays. The people on the street above did set off a few rockets, but I guess the police went and had a chat with them, cause it stopped really quick.

So that's what's happening in my neck of the woods. I'll try hard to post pictures of my work this past week, including the quilt square I finished for Lisa of Primitive Needle. It was hard to stitch, but I hope her family takes some comfort, knowing their loved one affected people so. I'm so grateful I was allowed to stitch for her.
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