Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pressure Starting to Build!

Albeit self-imposed.   Right about this time of the year I start to silently will I get the shopping, decorating, cooking, wrapping, etc., etc., all done?  Factor in all the fun things to do like house parties, dinners with friends, and Holiday Christmas Tours!   I have already crossed a few needed gifts off my list but still the task is daunting.   Fortunately (or unfortunately) you are all in the same boat with me.   But enough......

Fall is in the air and after loosing two - three days this week to a fever and sinus infection it felt good to get outside yesterday.   I felt so crummy I didn't even stitch or read so you know I was down for the count.   I slept on the couch for two and a half days!   Still have some sinus pressure but hope my doses of Alka Seltzer Cold & Sinus will knock it out.   I really hate being laid up with a cold or similar.....such a waste of valuable time!

So what have I been stitching......first is the new start from my retreat.   This is the Elizabeth Pusey sampler from Chester County, PA.   All I can tell you is that this child must have just learned the eyelet stitch.....this design is overrun with them.   I thought about changing some to mosaic but decided to hold as true to the pattern as is humanly possible for me.   You can see I grow tired of the eyelet and have worked downward in order to get in some variety of stitching.   I am also finding that lighting is more important that magnification for this and any project.

The chart called for DMC but I converted to WDW.   I like the color gradation I am getting on the satin stitching.   I guess I really should concentrate on that two toned braided band first before continuing with the lettering.

My other current WIP has taken a back seat since retreat.   Here is my progress on my current Pat Thode/Heartstrings Santa.    I have another arm, a beard, and surface stitching to do to complete him. If I only put my mind to this one, I could wrap it up this week.  Starting with a breakfast with a girlfriend this morning, dinners out on Monday and Tuesday, nails on Wednesday, hair appt. and Stitching Group on Thursday (you know how you gab so much you sometime end up taking out anything you accomplished so stitching group = no progress!  LOL).....I don't see much stitching time in my future.   And just how is a girl to loose weight with all this eating out!   Geez!

I did a little Halloween decorating....

And I got Grace Mason back from the framer and on the wall.   I really like the frame I choose and I am very happy with this finish.  My goodness!  In retirement I think I need to take up framing!  It can really be expensive but some pieces, like Grace, deserve professional framing.

I need to carve out some time to stitch since I have signed up for the Lizzie Kate Mystery Sampler - Things Unseen.  I am so excited!  The first mailing is at the beginning of November.  I always catch on to one of  these mystery stitch-alongs well after it has started and then I don't sign up.   This one - by some weird aligning of the planets - I knew about ahead of time.  It has been fun to follow the progress of the design, gathering of floss, buttons, etc., on the L*K blog.

So that's where I am this week.   More enjoyment of the crisp fall air and the rustle of leaves;   bringing my deck plants inside to winter over; hoping to get back into that treadmill routine (so easy to get out of ;-| ); a 6 a.m. airport run this week; planning to be a better co-worker after having words with a fellow employee this week (She deserved it! but it is not my style and I blame it on the medicine head I had); catching up on my other blog and two websites with some much needed updates; and saying prayers for a dear friend in Charleston, SC who underwent surgery for a brain tumor this week.  (I think a road trip south to make a visit may be in order!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Drum Roll.....and the winner is....

Me!   Every time we have our retreat at Salty Yarns in OCMD my girlfriends and I have a 'contest' for who has the larger tab at the time of checkout.....this time I was the winner!

but let me start at the beginning.    This weekend was our semi-annual stitching retreat and it was another great one.   We stopped in Berlin, Maryland on Thursday for lunch and shopping on the way. We also decided to add an extra  day to the long weekend and throughly enjoyed a relaxed Sunday and a scrumptious dinner at the Sunset Grill rather than driving home on Sunday afternoon.

Berlin is such a cute town with tons of specialty shops, antiques shops and jewelry shops.  Berlin was made famous when the movie Runaway Bride was filmed there. (Sorry, crappy phone pix)

The day was overcasted but lunch at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, MD, was over the top! Pumpkin-Shrimp soup, yummo!

Been wanting a new Vera Bradley wallet/wristlet.
I always treat myself to a new start while on retreat.   This time it is the Elizabeth Pusey Sampler from the Chester Historical Society.    I pulled the DMC colors and did my best to match up with some Weeks and Crescent colors instead.  Then there was the discover that I never noted the DMC numbers on the colors I pulled, sooooooo...back into the store I went.   Not a big deal, just had to get up from the porch rocker and walk about 15 feet!

Don't you just love how quickly band samplers work up?

Four of us are at it again doing another Pat Thode/Heartstrings Santa.  We are going to do the "Celestial Santa" which is in the middle back...... I just have to finish this year's Santa first.  (I'll have to share my progress in my next post.  He's getting there.)

Next to Christmas, I love stitching patriotic stitches.   From Pine Mountain,  this kit comes with everything but the pillow form.  This will be a great take along project to work on.

Another patriotic stitch.   Grande Olde Flag Sampler from Chessie & Me.   I really fell in love with the weeping willow tree.

Fell in love with these Quaker Pears.  Picked up a couple of remnants of "Gardener's Green" to have at the ready when I want to start the stitching.

From La-D-Da, a name tag pattern for me.   I have taken a bit of ribbing since my nametag is a color xerox copy of our guild logo that I shoved in a lanyard.   Kind of cheating on my part.  Hopefully I can stitch this up quickly.

Miscellaneous charms, floss and fabric I needed for projects.

And the piece that put me over the top.....cost wise.   Not because of the $$.   This was in my bag, out of my bag, back on the shelf, in my bag and back to the shelf all weekend.   Well I succumbed to peer pressure and rushed from the Lankford's lobby and back into Salty Yarns to make that another  purchase it put me at the top.  I am glad I did since Sara told me is it a limited edition and one of only two she had left.    See, if I had hesitated until the spring I might never have been able to get it!  Like that reasoning?   Sounds like good rationale to me.

 Sunrise this morning.

 The weather was beautiful and both the boardwalk and beaches had considerable amount of people all weekend.   Not so much this hour of the morning!

Bacon, chocolate donuts!    I have no words!  

Already counting the days until our April retreat.   I will make sure I mark up the out of office calendar when I go into work tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Can you say 4 to score?

How can this be?   Four weeks in a row, a finish to share.  Me? the self-proclaimed and family endorsed Queen of All Things Unfinished! This truly is not a testament to my swift needle but rather how I take a project to the brink of completion and then go off in an entirely different direction amassing a treasure trove of pieces waiting to be completed.  Side Track Robin for sure!  But enough.....

This week I finished this handsome man, just in time for the fall season.   I plan to pair him with some autumn fabric and finish so he can hang on my wrought iron stand.

Next up some other goodies that have been just waiting in that old basket of finishes to have something done to them.   This first one is a birthday card from my daughter.   I thought it would make a cute Halloween decoration.   Easy as can be to just pull a frame out of that stash of frames in the closet.  I may take this apart to add a little saying at the bottom to capture the 'spirit' of their tea party.  That third gal from the left seems a bit ornery to me.

This is another frame from the closet 'o frames that I may need some day.  This piece was starting in February 1994 and  I remember stitching in the airport on the way to my first cruise (Booked #4 today!! - so two daughters and I are going together)

I spent the weekend at my daughter's and I sat and laced while she was pinning her quilt top, batting and backing together.  It is amazing how long it takes to lace but job well down and this is ready to hang in my sewing room.

Next is Bent Creek, the last of the series of three in the Americana Series.  I started this in July 2013, kind of put it aside and then picked it up and finished it in July 2014.   This frame, although it came out of the closet 'o frames, I purchased this from the internet from the gentleman who made the frames for the models featured on the cover of the kit.  Glad I laced this one first today or I would have been all out of the mood by the time I was done with the other one.

This is my current project.   It is "My Favorite Things" by Pat Thode for Heartstrings.   It is the 2002 Santa.   I started this last October when I was at Salty Yarns and I did so want to get all the stitching down before I do back to Salty Yarns this week.  It would have been so nice to do the embellishments while stitching away in one of Sally's big white rockers.  

OK, so that wraps up my finishes this week.   I have beautiful pictures from the Mancuso Quilt Show last weekend but need to get them off the phone and onto my laptop before I can share them.   Also, need to share some of the beauty of Philadelphia from my stay there this weekend.  But that too will have to wait.  

This week is all about getting ready for Ocean City MD.  Leaving Thursday morning, we will be in Berlin MD in time for lunch at the Atlantic Hotel and off to check in to our efficiency unit later in the day.   Five days with about 20 gals, stitching and enjoying each other at the Lankford Hotel.   We do so look forward to our semi-annual retreats at the Lankford.  I am sure I won't post until my return and that post will be filled pictures of all the things I didn't need but bought!

Have a great week all and thanks for stopping by.....

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Three-Peat

Three weeks and three finishes!  Here is my latest finish.   Now don't go and get all excited that I am a turbo stitcher, or don't imagine I stitch 72 hours a day and I don't go to work or don't clean my house.....this is another WIP from that Crazy January Challenge a few years ago.   You know the craziness of starting a new piece every day for the first 15 days of January.....yeah, one of those.    It lead to a big basket of UFO's.
 Introducing, A Little Quakeresque by Blue Ribbon Designs, another WIP bites the dust!  

 Still wet from washing, I didn't even let it dry and press it before I just had to share this latest completion!

My mind works in mathematical ways and I calculate things nine ways to Sunday. Kind of my own version of OCD. This piece really lent itself to that mental manipulation.   (9 times 9) plus  (2 times 4) for each corner piece = 89 motifs to complete.   EZ-PZ, just do one a day and add a few days of non-stitching (what? days of non-stitching??)  and I felt confident that in 120 days/3 months I would be done.......sometime along three plus years later I am now finished.

I am doubtful I can make it Four to Score and move another off piece from the incomplete list next week.......hmmm.....need to explore that UFO basket.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crafting Crossover

Two weeks and two finishes!  It has been a slow year for me stitching-wise but I am happy to share my latest finish and I have 'finished' it.

This is Penny America from Tree of Life Sampling.   This piece particularly holds a spot near and dear to me and I wanted the finish to be something special.   One day last fall a package arrived from 1-2-3 Stitch and I thought is was some random floss I have ordered.   Imagine my surprise when I found the pattern inside and the packing slip listed the sender and sender's info as "Anonymous".    That was one of those times when I wish I could bottle the feeling you have.   So I have my theories on who my benefactor may be narrowed down but it matters not who the giver was as much as what a wonderful thing they did for me!    So without further ado...

This truly was an enjoyable piece to stitch!  I headed up to my craft room this morning after enjoying a Sunday breakfast out with a friend.  There I putzed a bit pulling different fabrics.   First up the patriotics.    I could have sworn I had some homespun fabrics in my stash.   It is kind of what I envisioned for completed the project.   But there you have it.......there is often a major disconnect between what I visualize and how the project actually turns out.    No homespun?   Well all the more reason to head out to the Mancuso Quilt Show is Oaks, PA new weekend!

I finally pulled out my civil war fabrics since that is a quilt I will probably be forever getting back to.

I tried pairing different fabrics for different looks.

I almost went with this one because the circles in the background I thought tied to the 'pennys'.

 I got my quilting rulers out to pull threads one inch away from the outside edge of stitches.

Duh! The pull threads were lost after I ironed on lightweight interfacing!  Out comes the quilting rulers again and a pencil!

Here's what I decided on for fabric.  hmmm.... but something is missing.

I added little cross stitches between the border and fabric with WDW Straw.

All laced and ready add a couple of stoneware mugs and a plate of cookies 
and I am ready to have a cup of tea with a friend.  

For now, I think I need to go outside and enjoyed this beautiful weather we are enjoying yet again!  Maybe a nice afternoon bike ride is a good idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Day Tripping

Way back in June I took a Friday off and me and a couple of girl friends went to Winterthur to see the Downton Abbey exhibit.   What a great day.  First some history about Winterthur.   Located in the Brandywine Valley (Delaware) this is a former duPont estate.   Henry Francis duPont had the incredible insight to create the home, the mansion, the museum he did.   Worried that architecture, design elements and furnishings would be lost, Mr. duPont would buy up rooms -- entire rooms  --including moldings, trims, windows, floorings and furnishings in buildings that fell into disrepair or were to be destroyed.   He would then recreate these rooms with exact precision within a space within the walls of Winterthur.   He was also a meticulous horticulturist with acres and acres of gardens on the 1,000 acre estate and the records to match.

Anything duPont holds a fascination for  me.   I have lived in a 'company' town my whole life.   Growing up, we locals knew not to venture out on the main road between 4 and 4:30 Monday to Friday because of "plant traffic".  Those were the days when 25,000 plus employees worked there but that number has sadly dwindled to not even 10 percent of that number still employed.  Between my husband, brothers, father, mother, grandfather, uncles, aunt and even myself, my family has over 250 years of service with the  duPont Company.  

But back to our tour.  I was speaking to some ladies from Rhode Island that made this part of a 2-day stop in the area.  They had never been to Newport, RI to tour the mansions there which was in their backyard and I was only visiting Winterthur for the second time.  It is funny, we all travel far and wide to visit an attraction but rarely do we look in our own backyard at what we have nearby.  Do people who live in people who live in Charleston SC never drive by Rainbow Road or visit the straw market the very places that as a tourist I checked off my must see list on my last visit?  I think I need to be more vigilant and start enjoying the wonders close to home on free weekends a little more frequently.

Just makes me want to grab some stitching and sit.

Heck, I forget the details on this Sycamore.   Either the oldest or largest in the State of Delaware.

It's hard to see but there is a house these in the center.

In addition to exploring the exhibit and museum, we toured the home.
The depth of this hall is an illusion.   Each archway is smaller then
the one before it giving the hall the look of greater depth.

What a lovely guest room.

Guests were afford all the pleasantries.

Moldings always intrigues me.    I am always in awe of the amount hand work and hand-tooling this would have required.

Family weddings have been held here.   Can't you just imagine how
pretty a bride would be coming down this staircase?

Can't remember what room this was......but the wallpaper was beautiful.

The chandelier - one of many - was beautiful.

The dining room what exquisite.

Mrs. duPont, like her husband, kept meticulous records.   No guest every sat to dine at the same table settings,
meal or bedroom dressings.  If a guest committed a faux paux on a previous visit, their room
were be made up in all white linens and bedding and they would know they made a transgression.

Benjamin West’s unfinished American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace 
Negotiations with Great Britain. This is intentionally unfinished because the British 
refused to sit for the portrait.  Guess they were still angry about that whole revolutionary war thing.

This stoneware is what caught Henry duPont's interest and curiosity and
desire to amass the collection and create the museum.

Life at Downton with Lord and Lady Gratham would have been the English counterpart to the duPont's at the same time, early 20th century.    It was interesting to see what would how Americans would have been conducting themselves compared to how the Grantham's did during the same era.  If you are a fan, you know it takes just one show for the Crawleys to draw you into their family.

The bells in the servants quarters.

Oh that O'Brien!

 A collection of finery worn by Elizabeth McGovern and Shirley MacClaine.

Lady Edith's wedding dress.   Poor Lady Edith, left at the altar.

Remember Sybil wearing this "improper attire" to dinner.  
Lord Grantham flipped his black tie and tails that night!

Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess.
That Violet, what a hoot she is!
Cleverly displayed with the movie scenes being shown behind the display took the viewer
right back to that night in the snow when Matthew proposed to Lady Mary.

Interesting 'trained' fuchsia flanked the entrance.

Beautiful stone walls made from the local stone.

Gigantic Japanese Maple!
It is time to go out and enjoy all things local taking that one tank of gas day trip!