Sunday, January 18, 2015

More Sharing

I seem to be in slow gear crafting wise.......other than making about a dozen and a half greeting cards over the last couple of weekends, I seem to be in a crafting slump since the first of the year.   Not totally lost my mojo, just not doing a heck of a lot of stitching. Other things are just getting in the way.  Longer hours at work, hitting the treadmill every day as well as reading every day.  It's all good.

But up first, I have been so terribly remiss - I blame it on medicine head from that nasty Christmas head cold I had - I never shared the fabulousness of my PenPal, SW in Connecticut.   First of all, having never met each other, it is amazing how she #1 spoils me and #2 gets every gift just right.    What a slew of things this year.   From fabric, to a squirrel knick-knack, to a hand held video game great for distressing, a squirrel calendar, treats for Buddy, some pampering products, a Vera Bradley Bag and more!

It is the Vera Bradley Tote and Tablet bag that is now my new stitching bag.   Bigger than my previous and a zip closure which is good for me since I often end up with my bag every which way when tossing it about.    The iPad fit nicely in the pocket.






Running a close second as the best thing every.....are the Philosophy products.   I had never heard of them.   But SW gifted me with a great selection of products to pamper myself.   And wow, the lemon custard fragrance just makes you want to dive into it!   I am loving the sugar scrub.


















I have been concentrating on the Lizzie Kate Mystery Sampler.  I am about half way through the first installment.   It is fun as well as frustrating not knowing what is coming next.
 Today's focus was the bee and the flower.  


Hit some consignment stores yesterday with a friend.   It was first coffee together at a new place in town.   We walked in only to discover the proprietors were friends from the old days when we used to ski together and have weekend get togethers at the beach.    When shopping I grabbed these three cuties patudies at 90% off.    Two were $.75 each and the other was $.90.   How can you go wrong?

So what else is going on......like I wrote above, I have been doing my best to hit the treadmill EVERY day.   Trying to increase that daily average number of steps on my Fitbit to a higher number every week.  Not seeing any difference on the scale but my main goal is to be more fit.   Weight loss is a side benefit (which I hope I will see. Argh!  That constant struggle many of us deal with.)  Trying to go to yoga twice a week.   It is offered at work two days a week at lunch FREE of cost.  I would be crazy NOT to go.   But alas, sometimes work does get in the way.   I mean, I just can't say to CEO, Excuse me, I need to leave you now to go to Yoga.  All this 'activity' could be in part contributing to the real reason behind little stitching progress.   Truth is, I no sooner seem to sit down at night than I have been dozing off with my needle, thread and hoop on my lap.   I know this is a scene not totally unfamiliar to others.  

Staff changes at work have been trying.   You know when you can see the handwriting on the wall and the co-worker in jeopardy does not?  In addition they fail to take your corrective action advice?  It means I will be picking up the slack as well as training a new Admin yet again.   It's all good.

Just finishing reading the The Boys in the Boat.   It is the story of the 1936 Olympic Rowing Team.  It would make a great movie.  It was not a fast read but I found myself wondering what the 'boys' are up to now and was anxious to get back to it each evening.  For me, that is the sign of a good book.  I started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, not too sure about reading letters.   I checked the reviews on Good Reads and everyone raved about it so download I did.  I also started 600 Hours of Edward.  This is proving to make my treadmill time fly.   Edward is someone with obsessive compulsive disorder and I guess I see a bit of myself in him!!  I seem to read like I watch TV - flipping between two books like I flip the channel between shows.

Today on the east coast it is pouring buckets of rain and I am imagining this time next week I will be aboard the Regal Princess leaving Fort Lauderdale.   I need to commit my mental list for packing to paper for this cruise with my two daughters.   It is a first for each of them.   They are starting to get excited and the emails are flying back and forth up and down the east coast between us.  Flights are coordinated and will are meeting in the Fort Lauderdale Airport before we are off to the Hilton for one night.  Then it is All Aboard! Sunday afternoon.   More important, I am sure I will manage needle and thread time at the airport and have a little progress to report when I return.....hmm wonder if I should start a new travel piece......it's a thought.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Talent

I don't have a lot of progress to share, so I will share the talents of daughter #2.  Look at this little knitted leaf.
   
This is the corner on the shawl my daughter stitched.   Amazing.    
I am in such awe of her talent (as well as that of other knitters!)

This is a blanket my daughter from Boston has made.    I am lucky to be able to do the garter stitch and basket weave.

 (don't know why the camera changed the color.   The overall view above is more accurate.)


 Rats!  I didn't get a pix of the sweater knitted into a square but you can see part of it
on the lower left.    She was fast busy crocheting several rows of shells around
the outside.  Edging completed and wrapped up for gifting to a friend who moved to the west coast.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Time to get naked

Not me people!   Please!  I am already dreading the thought of a bathing suit later this month when I go to the Caribbean.   The house needs to get naked.  Doesn't it seem bare when the decorations come down?   But alas, the holidays are over and down they will come.   I have found in the last few years I am putting up fewer and fewer decorations.   So the last two years when I put the decorations away I mark the boxes with the year.   Amazing how much I am NOT using.
 And this is less than the normal.   Time to stow this and tackle the greens, garlands and trees!

 I think a good rainy day exercise in the spring will be to sort some of the decorations and purge a bit.  Too cold to hang out in the attic of the garage right now.

 So let me tell you about my new start.  Ever struggle with a start?  My struggles are the right side above. Now you see it, now you don't.  I had this piece in and out of every set of Q snaps I own.  Tried stitching in hand.  I was having such a terrible time seeing and counting.   I couldn't could seem to get this pulled tight enough to see the threads.   It is 32 count which shouldn't be that much of a problem.  I used about four different pairs of cheaters to try to see the threads.  Not at the same time!  Well maybe my regular glasses and one set of cheaters over them.   Stitches were going in over three threads instead of two which seemed OK until the subsequent row and my count was off.   I don't know if it is the fabric color, the floss color or what but I was really struggling and not at all pleased with the prospect of continuing on this piece....and that was only day one!  Fabric slubs and irregularities in the size of the linen threads was not helping.  Stitch three, frog two was about what I was doing.   Just a hot mess that seemed to resemble a snowball rolling down hill and gathering momentum and debris along the way.   I finally pulled out the traditional old style hoop and tried again.

I took a good hard look at the piece out of the hoop and realized I had orientated the fabric wrong.  It is a rectangle with 165W by 205H.  Just a quick 90 degree rotation should not have made such a difference in the visual appearance.  Back in the hoop, turned the right way and I am off to the races.....so far so good and much easier now.  I didn't even bother frogging the corner stitched on the wrong side.   I think the fabric is so taunt now that has made all the difference.  Spoiler alert!  This is the Lizzie Kate Mystery Sampler.   I haven't seen any other pix on the internet and don't know if it is taboo to be posting it.  Mea Culpa if it is.   I just got an email from my LNS that Part Two is in the mail which leads me to believe that anyone else who signed up has to be way past the point I am at.  So glad this is now working out.....one night I just gave up and drink a glass of Pinot Noir instead of stitching!  Hmmmm, not necessarily a bad thing.

Back to the undecorating and them some stitching time tonight.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Early Wrap-up

for 2014.......looking back over the past year like everyone is doing this week, I am pretty much pleased with all things.  Made strides with stitching, sewing, reading (one day I will have to share my episode of my first audio book on my 3 1/2 hour to visit my son - geez!)  closet cleaning, decluttering, home improvements, rekindled a friendship and managed some self improvement!

I have two final finishes for 2014 to share.   How about these for some no calorie cookies?    They are a kit of precut felt pieces from Lumenaris.  My guild did a needle book project from Lumenaris earlier this year so when I saw their booth at a quilt show, I just had to patronize them!

Also, this WIP from 2013.   I thought this would make a nice framed piece to display on a easel at Thanksgiving. When I realized I would not finish it for Thanksgiving last year, I stowed it away in the abyss of unfinished objects.  Not much to do and I guarantee it will be completed BEFORE the stroke of midnight tonight.

I am not making any crazy goals for 2015.  I think sometimes we can set ourselves up for failure by setting unrealistic goals.   For reading, I hope to read one book a month.  For stitching I have three new starts on my list just waiting for needle and thread to pierce the fabric.  I plan a reward of a new start for each WIP's  I finish.  On New Year's Day I will be starting the Lizzie Kate mystery sampler.  I also hope to stitch Rosewood Manor's Barnwood Buttons in 2015.   And I've leave myself open to for a stitch-a-long sampler with my guild.  See my other blog for a preview.  I am not that naive to realize that 'these plans' of mine will change the minute I dig into my stash and find a treasure I have forgotten!  or fall completely for a project I see a friend working on.

Random Thoughts - about half complete not counting the pulled thread border.
I hope to concentrate on my Drawn Thread - Random Thoughts, my Chester County Sampler and my Jeanette Douglas Stitching Treasures as far as my WIP's.  









Realistically I know there will be other bright and sparkling goodies I will see that I will have to do.  There will be stitch-a-longs I will have to participate in.  There will be the occasional smaller piece that will be super rewarding to see started and finished in a week.  And then there is the temptation of a class here or there or the dreaded shopping at a retreat!

Lots left to do with Jeannette Douglas, My Stitching Treasures.

Jeannette uses the most sumptuous fibers, both the feel and the color.

My nemesis.....a Ka-Billion and one eyelets.


I do hope to pare down and better organize my stash.  To stop curtail the impulse buying by taking a moment to step back and ask myself if I buy it will I stitch before my taste changes and I am no longer over the moon about it?  But no rebuking myself if I stray.

Wishing everyone a bright and shiny New Year filled with much health and happiness.   Thank you all for your visits and comments if you leave them.   I do read and am touched by each one but not the best at always replying.  (maybe a resolution is in there somewhere)  Now back to my blanket, tissues, Fishermen's Friend cough drops and the recliner for me as I end the year with the remnants of an annoying head cold!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Exchange

I had to wait until my parcel arrived until I could share these photos.   Since I am such poor planning of time management, I did not get her package in the mail until Monday, which meant Dec. 26th delivery.   

Putting the final stitches in my Christmas Exchange with my Pen Pal.   

Along with an assortment of handy to have needle work items I left my comfort zone and stitched up some things.   My stitching is good enough for me but I never feel like it is good enough to be given as a gift but I took that leap this year. 
 I picked up this pattern at the Mancuso Quilt show this past fall.    I love the 'tape measure' ribbon sewn around the middle.  I stuffed to crushed walnut shells.   I like the feel the crushed shells give to  pin cushions.

 Added some matching pins from JABCO.

 Included Blue Ribbons Designs Stitch Started and stitched up the sleeve to store it.

 A little needle book.




Scissors fob and matching scissors.
(Ack!  Look at that messy work space! and the photo is yellow
since it is from my phone and not my camera)


My present from SW in Connecticut arrived before I sent mine to her off
so I waited until Christmas night to open hers to me since.     I can tell you she spoiled me!



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas One and All.



Dining Room Tree 



Look close - it is all cookie cutters and kitchen things.

A bit of color to brighten the stairs.


Carried the Green, Gold and Red throughout.



Oops! Forgot to add Santa!

 New, thinner tree this year.

 Prairie Schooler from a consignment store for $3.00


Victoria Sampler Christmas Tree Farm
 

Bright spot by the front door.


More Red, Green and Gold on the bookcase.


Same Green, Red and Gold


A different venue for my Byers Dolls this year.

My new Lefton punchbowl and cups.   Just ready for me and a friend.  (That's Penny America in the tray under the mugs.)

More color in a kitchen corner.



Touches of color.

China closet 'spruced' up.



Top of my Hoosier Cabinet.


Love when all the lamps are out and only the strings of lights are lit.
Boy is it going to be bland when everything comes down.

Merry Christmas to all and a safe, healthy new year.