Saturday, April 30, 2016

Something I thought would never be

The words me and grandmom in the same sentence.   Little William Geoffrey was born yesterday morning at 10:18 a.m., 8 lbs., 8 oz., 21 1/2 inches long with a healthy set of lungs.

Such joy.  We were making the drive out for (3 1/2 - 4 hours) the scheduled c-section, planning to leave home around 7.  We got a text the she was in labor around 4:45 a.m.   We left a little quicker than intended and arrived to meet our first grandchild.   

Just the whole miracle of life is so mind boggling that two cells join and make this!    This is now my wall paper on my iPad and cell phone.  

OK, I guess I just could continue to gush but I will do my best to suppress it.  Needless to say we are over the moon with little man.   I just wish they didn't live so far away.   I see many a weekend trip in my future.  

To catch up on last weekend, I was at my semi-annual retreat to Salty Yarns in OCMD.   It was another great weekend.   Weather did not allow for stitching on the porch rockers and I really missed that.   However, there was much laughter and fun with friends (24 of us!), great food, good times.   

I picked up my pre-stitching for a Betsy Morgan class in June.   Not much to it and easily doable.    I hope to finish up once I am back home. 
This is the finished piece which I just really liked from the time I saw it on Swan Sampler Guild last summer.  Do I need it, no, but that is a whole other issue.  This will be my first Betsy Morgan class and I have been told it is a real treat to have her as a teacher.   She did speak at my guild earlier this year and I got a preview of her teacher style.   She is a very sweet, talented and sharing lady.    I am looking forward to the June class.

Something else from OCMD.   My friend Diane from Tennessee makes the semi annual trip to meet us at Salty Yarns.  She gifted us with these pretty project bags.  She picked them up at the marketplace at a retreat she attended in Marietta GA.   They are from none other then Faye at the Caroline Stitcher.   I have been a follower of her blog for years.   She does beautiful finishing and  I love the top stitches and embellishments she adds to her finishing.   Each of our bags had different linings and I should have photographed the french seams on the inside.  This present was doubly wonderful to receive.   (Thanks again Diane!  You are the best.)

Finished my second cup of coffee and time to head to the hospital for some more snuggle time with little man. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hangin in there

I do love Bleeding Hearts.   This may need
transplanting into a shady spot.


What a difference a week makes.   Feeling much more in control of my life.  Spring has sprung and it is so awesome to be able to enjoy the seasons!  Let's see if I can be brief with a catch up on what is up in my neck of the woods.

So enjoying the trees coming into leaf.   Camera doesn't catch the variety of greens I can see from my deck.

I did take a time out from the weed pulling to stitch a bit on Saturday.

This would not be one of the gardens I have cleaned up.
It is begging for my attention.
Got a couple or three flower beds done with my divide and conquer method.  Vegetable garden has been tilled and is ready to plant. Last weekend we had three inches of snow, today I was working in the garden beds.  Go figure!  No where near done getting the yard in shape but it felt good to get my hands in the soil.   Feels good except for how dry my hands know how the soil just pulls the moisture out of them.

I have also been trying to purge my clothes closet.  (I know, I am spreading myself across half a dozen tasks again.)  I have made walking into the closet miserable  because I refuse to throw anything out just in case I drop five or ten pounds.  Well, I been having that argument with myself long about five years.  It is time.  I just see dollar signs when I fold and bag it up.  But the frustration of not being able to hang everything up and the frustration of so many clothes that don't fit now outweighs any thought of the cost.   I am doing a full top to bottom sort of every drawer and every will feel good to have a nice neat closet/dressing area.  It just might take me a couple of weeks.

I am happy to report as of Sunday night I finished Jeannette Douglas My Stitching Treasures.  I made a vow to myself come heck or high water I would get it done this weekend.   I have been a lazy stitcher this winter.....time to get it in gear.  Good thing I'm done because I will be picking up my pre-stitching for my Betsy Morgan class in June at Salty Yarns at the end of the week.

 I am using the beads and charms I have on hand but may 
need a charm or two more from Salty Yarns.  
A few more beads, mounting on backer board and move this to the completed column.

Mr. W. started a fire for me on Sunday night,  What a nice way to end the weekend.   Fire, 
glass of wine, current book I am reading and Simon and Garfunkel playing in the 
background.  It was a refreshing weekend...

Need to start my list and get packing for OCMD.   Have a couple of little things I want to finish and maybe a new Jeannette Douglas start.....which I hope to adapt to the colors of the My Stitching Treasures box.

Have a great week all.   May your stitches be many and your frogs few.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Feeling Stressed

Just too much to do and not enough time.......maybe I do need to retire.....but I fear so much time home will lead to too much stash enhancement and too many WIP's across all genres of creation!

I think I am still recovering from all the baby shower prep, house guests and hoopla.   We are on a count down now for baby.  It could be anytime and hopefully not the four days I am in OCMD!   It will be a long ride to western PA from Maryland but I'll do it.

It is work too.....changes in personnel.....and we always go backwards before we go forward.   I seem to be the forever 'go to girl' for every new person and for that matter, anyone with a question.   It just makes me fall further behind on my tasks.  The interruptions.  I don't know who answers the endless questions on days I am out of the office.   Oh yeah, they call my cell phone, that's right.  Sorry, just a bit testy about it.   I like helping but sometimes they know the answer and I am their security blanket.   Time to rip off those covers!

And holy moly! when am I going to get some yard work done?   I know.   Calm down.   It is only  April.   But my calendar is filled with weekend trips and baby and stuff!

Sorry, just venting a bit......too much to do and too little stitching time makes me a grump!  I admit, I need that fix at least several times a week to stop the brain from reeling and to just mellow out.  I want to do it all and had to actually hack a few things off my list today.   I know I can do more than one thing at a time but I have not accomplished being in two places at one time.  So instead of joining my guild for lunch and a tour after our regular meeting, I am heading to Philly for the rest of the weekend to help my daughter as I promised.   We will have fun as we always do.

A lot of paperwork (tax returned and annual filings for my non-profit) and website work (for my other blog - are behind me and that is a big weight that has been hanging over my head.  I need to do the post for sampler guild right away or before I know it it is the eve of the next meeting and I am beating myself up for delaying.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.   And so nice to have friends I can unleash on.   Thank you Bloggers!

So what have I stitched with the meager few hows I have eeked out?   Well, stitched a Peacock, frogged a Peacock, restitched a Peacock and am happy with the end result.   The floss for the lighter blue was more of a cord-like thread.   When doing the full cross is was lumpy (technical term) and it actually pushed the threads of the linen out of shape.  Not fun to frog the over one but well worth it.

I ripped it out and restitched in tent stitch and I like the result much better.  I am so close and just need a good old stitching retreat with endless stitching in one of those fabulous porch rockers on the boardwalk to help me round that corner of completion!  I also added some extra stitches to the grapes.   They are stitched in a Rhodes stitch and stitched a standard cross in the blank areas.

Grapes before I added extra stitches.
Coming up I need to make my list for Salty Yarns.   I hope to continue to be more selective with what I buy.   I really am doing a hard look at a pattern and asking if I really am going to stitch it in the next year or two.   What if my taste changes?   What if other new and tempting projects come my way?   What about stitch-a-longs or classes that come my way?  I really think a cold hard look at stash can make one a bit in shock after a gander at all the fibers, floss, fabric and patterns just waiting to be played with.   (big sigh)   Such is life.

Monday, April 4, 2016

We Did It

I am exhausted but I pulled off the baby shower and rave reviews of course.....

The shower wasn't a surprise but mom-to- be didn't know exactly who was coming.    Anytime she asked about a particular person I told her that person had not RSVP'd.....speaking of which, is the courtesy of RSVPing a lost pleasantry?  32 invited, 16 RSVP's, 28 attended, some of which were not even on the invitation list.....makes it very hard to calculate the food.....At any rate, we had people from Connecticut to Maryland show up and delight my D-in-L.

Most left by 5 on Saturday but cousins stayed until the wee hours of the morning playing cards and board games and mixed in much laughter.  They returned on Sunday for more fun and food.  We  cooked and cleaned from the time my daughter arrived early Friday morning.    I thought I'd be able to get some things done today with the shower behind me but silly me.  I love when they visit but the household swells from 2 to 8 plus two large dogs which upset the cat.  The last guests left at 6:30 last night.  I feel like we are the Bumpus's at these times.  I am out of in the Thompson house used to be like this every day; now it is much more sedate.   It is no wonder we were all so much thinner when we were younger.....the running around never stopped back then.

It is so good to have them all together no matter how exhausting.  Laundry will wait. That said, I am pooped beyond belief.

 A favorite outfit sent by my dear friend Roxanna.

 One of my son's favorite outfits.

They are so happy and so excited about the baby.

 Aven helping Morgan with the unwrapping.

A boy and his dog.   My D-in-L's son talks a well deserved nap.   Gavin was such a big help with the prepping and clean up.   It's hard work getting ready to be a big brother.

And somehow I am getting there with my Jeannette Douglas piece.  These two sections were partially completed and I finished each one up.

I have been working on the over one in the top section.   It is proving not to be nearly as bad as I had thought it would be.

I've was surprise that I actually have made more progress than I realized when I pulled it off the hoop to take the picture.  Here is where I was at my last post.  It is doubtful I will make the self imposed April deadline but it's all good.  Any forward progress is good.   I am looking forward to putting my feet up this evening to get in my much needed stitching therapy.  Problem is I am sure I will be sleeping in the recliner not much longer after I settle into a comfy position.

And one more thing.....I did sign up for the Betsy Morgan class at Salty Yarns in OCMD in June.   I said self, it is time you do something for yourself!  Have a good week all.   May your stitches be many and your frogs be few...........

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Shower Central

and I am not talking about the weather.....whew!  What a good job done.   The shower is two weeks from today but next weekend I am traveling so I had to get it done.  Nothing like a deadline to help you put it in high gear.

I made this clothes line as part of my decorations....I was going to wait and hang this up the morning of the shower after banishing my d-in-l from the house but I said - Hells Bells! (might actually be a quote) I've got too much to do setting up and putting out the food to have to mess with it.

My first attempt at chocolate covered pretzels.   We looked it up on You Tube and got some good pointers.  It wasn't bad and I took a stab at it after everyone left and managed with no mess at all.   Which was not the case earlier with all the slips and snips of paper and ribbon everywhere.  Start to finish under an to put them in their bags.

 I got playing cards with personalized cases for favors.   But of course, I had to go above and beyond and made 'hospital bracelets' for each deck.  My sister did a bang-up job putting them on.

And these are just too flipping adorable!   I used card stock I had on hand, bought the little bling circles, used ribbon I had and I was off to the races.   This could be adapted for just about any event.   BFF Gay Lynn patiently followed my creativity and colored in the "h" and the "e" on the Hershey bars as well as helped with all the paper cutting and trimming!

And then there is Mr. Easy Rider....a You Tube find.    I usually make a diaper cake for showers but came across this and thought it was a better choice.  Wheels are diapers, fenders are bibs, sippy cup is the headlight, handlebar and forks are a receiving blanket.

His little 'sneakers' were my son's!

So very glad this is done.......Thank goodness my sister and my friend Gay Lynn helped me today.   The extra hands sure made the work do fast.  And it is always fun times with sisters and friends!

So Easter and spring decorations may not be up, but I am ready for the shower except for the cooking......and now I heading for my stitching chair  for a a little sit down and some stitching!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Focusing My Camera

As I pulled out my laptop to do today's post, I thought, I have so much to share....where to start.    But I decided to share my mental house cleaning and the resetting of the appeture of my focus.    I have enough self-awareness to know that when I am scattering across more projects than should be legal, it is always because I have a task I don't want to do.    My avoidance of this task is actually more time consuming than the actual work would be.    My nemesis is work on the website for the non-profit I assist with.  When my group morphed into a new organization by merging with another not for profit community group I agreed to stay on to do the financials, budget and website for one year.....that was three years ago.   I am so over all of it and I think recognize I resent corrections like ...."your calendar of events shows March 20th, not March 20, 2016....."   I mean really.  I keep the calendar current rolling off days as they past.   I doubt there were be confusion of whether it is a 2016 or 2017 event.    I have identified the dragon, next up, I will slay it! But enough.....

Many of you commented how do I get so much done......well from where I sit, I don't see it that way.   I see too many irons in the fire and a Jack of All Trades and Master of None and a myriad of WIP's of all nature.

I decided to pass along a couple of tips that help me and may help you.   First up, I am most productive when I use a timer.   Yes, a timer,   I have one from Pampered Chef that I can clip to my shirt collar and I am off.   The thing with me is that once I go down that rabbit hole of working on a project, I could be lost for a day.   And then the things I need to do like grocery shop, gas up the car, or laundry don't get done and contribute to the following week being not so nice.    On productive weekends, I usually think of the things I need to accomplish over my first or third cup of coffee and then I decide the best way to get it all done.   It is always a time and motion study.   Clean kitchen and bath while the clothes wash, then stitch while the clothes dry, or I may walk on the treadmill while they dry.  Of course I parse out the time for good things too like reading, stitching, etc.   If I do not manage my time like this,  I think I could live like the cat woman who was a hoarder of stuff and is discovered covered with orts and cat hair in her recliner.    I know it sounds a bit too managed and not spontaneous but for me, it makes me so much more productive which equates to much more happy.   Also, I don't get bogged down stuck in a nasty task all day but I manage to make headway on it.  If I set aside an hour to cut fabric or sew or even clean a closet or the fridge, I feel like that hour is more productive because I know I have a limited time.   Make sense?   Working long hours all week, it helps me make the most of my weekends.  With warmer weather and the desire to be out in the yards to 24 hours a day, I need to 'budget' my time.  Like I said, not necessarily a method for everyone but it definitely makes me more productive which means makes me happier.

Hand and hand with my timer method,  I am a list maker.   What a feeling of accomplishment when I can put a check by a completed job.  I have more than once jotted a list early Saturday morning, plugging in my estimates of time to complete only to realize I have listed about 18 hours of tasks to complete.....time to regroup and prioritize or better employ that time and motion study method.

My third tip I learned from teacher at a quilting class I took.   She told us that when we finish our sewing for the day, to set up the next step.  By doing this, I can jump right in before work for 15 minutes of sewing or cutting.   For me, those 15 minute bursts at the sewing machine really add up and move me closer to completing a quilt top.

So real quick, my stitching progress this week......I completed the block of bargello.

I did some more over one stitching.   I stitched the top motif incorrectly and decided to make the bottom one match and then center and modify the last motif.   Much better than frogging the over one stitches.

 Completed this block as well.   Beads are still needed for the flower centers.

This week, I hope to complete the partially stitched pineapple on the right and fill in another empty block.  I did not make my goal of completed this my by March guild meeting but I am getting there.   Maybe my April Guild can hope.  I am heading to Salty Yarns in April for my semi annual retreat and I want to get whatever beads and charms I need when I am there.

Stay tuned for future posts about a tour of Westtown Quaker School (sister school of Ackworth), trip to Chester County Historical Society, meeting Betsy Morgan, shower progress, and hopefully a decision on signing up for Pioneer Sampler Girl Project with Betsy Morgan in OCMD.

Here are photos from Betsy's site - Will Hands.  I fell for this project when I first saw it on the Swan Sampler Guild page last year......It is going to come down to regret....will I regret it someday that I didn't sign up for this weekend class?     I am thinking yes.... I even talked to Betsy yesterday about how much pre-stitching is needed and it is not lot.   I will keep you updated.

I am curious, what are your secrets for getting it all done?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Time to narrow my focus....

What a beautiful morning we had one day last this week it's 70's in the forecast.

 Just the right kind of sticking on the roads.   I am just such a sucker for snow!
I have been up to a lot.   That crafter/project ADD I have is in high gear at the Thompson House.    I have started decorations for the baby shower I am hosting for my D-in-L.  Using pendants I made for my daughter's birthday last year, I hung baby clothes using little blue clothes pins and will hang above the food table.   Double duty here.....I have a decoration and I don't have to wrap these.  It will hang in my sewing room until I need it. I'd better hand a bib over that lonely red pennant and add some other goodies too.  Stay tuned for this and the 'centerpiece' I have in mind to create.

I tell you one thing, I am out of the swing of this whole throwing a shower business.   I thought those days were behind me.  I thought it was my turn to show up,  shut up and eat cake.  The last shower I threw was 18 years ago and seemed so much easier then now.   Nowadays there are so many ideas on Pinterest but that also brings pressure!  But it goes....

I have completed the first month on the BOM I joined.   This block is 30 inches square.  

Why is it when you cut carefully and sew everything at 1/4-inch seams that some seams meet and some do not?

Even though it is a BOM, this is not a quilt of 30 inch blocks.   The next step consists of sashing and borders added to this central block.

Here's the fabric pack for BOM 2.   Hopefully, I will stay on track sewing two nights a week.  Maybe even BOM 2 will be finished before BOM 3 arrives.  It's all about a positive point of view!

Cross stitching has kind of taken a back seat.   Lunch meetings,  working lunches, extra hours at work, or dinners with friends have nipped into my sewing time.    Pardon the hoop marks.

But I am getting there one motif at a time.  Time to fine tune my focus.

And then there was the frogging of the  bottom border.    It seems I made up my own stitching pattern when turning the corner and subsequently had to frog it all when I realized I ran amok.  In the end I will be happy I frogged and restitched.   Just not a really fan of backwards progress.

I did do a bit of work on my Chester Co. Sampler when I became disillusioned with the over one in the above piece but I am back to concentrating on it with renewed dedication to finish!        
My Guild arranged for a private tour of the Westown School and the Chester Co. Historical Society this Friday.   I am lucky enough to be going.  Westown School, a quaker school from the 18th century in West Chester, PA.    They have a fabulous selection of quaker samplers on display and perhaps a new pattern will find its way home with me.  It is a much anticipated day off for me at the end of a week in which I have wrapped up the annual heart ball and released our annual report to the printers (deadline this Friday and I am hitting send on Wednesday! - Kudos to my tenacity of herding cats to get this done!)   Not to mention the enjoyment of spending the day with friends for the tours and lunch!  We are dining at the Lincoln Tea Room.   A great place to visit if ever touring West Chester.

So like I don't have enough balls in the air with my juggling act of projects, I decided to remove wallpaper in my upstairs hall.   Simple right?  Well not exactly.   I guess I was better at putting up the wallpaper than I gave myself credit for.   Thought I could do this in two weekends - one to remove and prep and one to paint -  and have the hall and stairway spruced up for the shower.   Another fine mess I have gotten myself into.  If only I had four arms!  I imagine I'll make this job drag on until summer.
So as if I don't have enough irons in the fire, I pulled out my Happy Hooker book to brush up on my crocheting so I can start a baby blanket.  

I need to reign myself in for sure.
I've got excuses, no explanations, just doing my thing.

Imagine what an accomplishment-a-palooza it will be to finish all my WIP's.  Have a great week everyone.