Sunday, April 29, 2012

If ever you have the chance....

 for a stitcher's weekend.......run, don't walk to pack your suitcase.   A weekend with your girlfriends is always awesome but imagine a weekend with girlfriends who stitch.   NIRVANA!  I didn't take my camera as I promised I would, but I did snap a photos of the view I enjoyed most of the weekend.  (Now if only I can figure out how to get it off my cell phone and into my blog I'd be alright.  I thought I emailed them to myself but they never appeared so some random person perhaps in Siberia is wondering why a stranger is sending pictures of the sun and sand.)  I am not much of a photo taker of people probably because I don't like my photo taken and figure others don't like their photo taken either and then there was that time at work when some one's photo showed up plastered all over the office after a company community service event......I paid for that one with a lot of groveling .....teaches you a lesson not to photograph people.

Did it, from phone to blog, download arrived.   This is my view
for sipping  coffee and stitching.  Rough life.  Work hard/play hard!


But I can attest there were 21 of us merry stitchers in Ocean City Maryland enjoying the Lankford Hotel and shopping at Salty Yarns.  A very diverse group - Diane, all the way from Tennessee; Kathy,  a cello player with the Philadelphia Orchestra who sat on her balcony and serenaded us while she practiced (she is leaving for China on Tuesday for a concert tour); Stacy who coordinates the weekend as well as being a mega stitcher turning out oodles of awesome pieces; Susan the awesome stitcher and quilter from K of  P;  Lynn who really thinks she is no one special when in reality she is so special, she stitches things like "And they sinned" or "The French Alphabet Sampler" and thinks it is no big deal...I am in awe of her; Francine our import France with all her gorgeous finishes she shared; Pat - one of my roomies - who proudly finished two pieces this weekend; Theresa, a designer in her own right who designs the most beautiful, intricate pieces; poor Carol who seemed to frog everything she worked on and only accomplished a bit of knitting on the ride home today; and so many more talented stitchers and friends.  Sarah entertained up with an awesome cocktail party and tons of scrumptious food;  and of course Sally, owner of Salty Yarns and the hotel, has us in 'stitches' with her stories.     The weather  was great, the friends were great, the meals were great and the shopping wasn't bad either.

For now, you get sideways pixs.    I got home to unpack, do some laundry, sweep and swiffer and think about making dinner but wanted to share my treasures.   I am fearful if I sit too long I may fall asleep sitting straight up so for now, it is sideways pix!
my bag overfloweth...

I just love Blackbird Designs



Look what Diane brought us from Hobby Lobby for this Blackbird Design  project



Yes, I could have lived without this but it was calling me.  At least I held off on the fabric and floss.

Another Blackbird Designed......third of a series.  Note to self - check which one of the 3 I still need.

Splurged on the Belle Sioe in Cranberry since a snagged the fabric out of the remnant basket.

Another indulgence....all these overdyed and the humongous piece of fabric  which ended
up being the culprit as the big ticket item on my receipt.  

the humongous fabric and overdyed are for this Birds of a Feather - part of my retirement stash I am accumulating.   lol

And I treated myself to a cord maker.   No more tied to the dining room chair and using a pencil to twist, twist, twist

Seems by all accounts I won the lottery for who spent the most but I don't know how!  I really didn't over indulge except for the fabric that I didn't even pay attention to the cost.....why.....because I wanted it!  If you don't stitch you don't get it but that's OK too.

So until later ladies....for me it is time to fold the clothes, turn in early and have a three day work week for I am off to Lowell, Massachusetts heading out Wednesday night to visit my daughter.  More girl fun, me and my two daughters.   We will have fun and I am sure to get in some stitching time since I am the luckiest mom ever to have two stitching daughters.  

Updates next time on my Ellen Chester class piece.   Pat finished her stitching and I am 99% finished.  yeah!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

DVHSG Retreat

We leaving for a four day retreat  in Ocean City, Maryland right after work.......can I just fast forward to 4 pm, pleazzzzzzzzzzzzz?  Me and my ladies are all packed and ready to go.  This time, I won't forget the camera and battery charger.  Pix will be posted for sure.   It is always a great weekend with friends and stitching and some shopping thrown in.   Watch out Salty Yarns, here we come!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A lucky turn around

After a crazy negative day earlier in the week I got lucky!  This week  found some blogging goodies I was lucky enough to be the recipient of in my mailbox.....


first from Andrea at The Craft Room, I received Whitman's Tin Sewing Set by Jane Timmers of Fancy Work.  I have the tin already from an eBay purchase so I am excited to add this pattern to my stash.  I like checking out Andrea's work on Drawn Thread designs - one of my favorites!  And look at her card! Wow what a crafter Andrea is.



Next I received from Pat at Southpaw Stitcher the Workbasket flyer - Quaker Cardinal/Quaker Eagle.  Both look like they will finish up cute.   Pat does a variety of different stitches and work.   Check out her progress on the Rainforest  Revisted - looking good Pat.

Have a great week all.  I'm heading for a semi-annual retreat at the beach with my guild at the end of the week and I know I will have stash enhancement  to share next week no matter how much restraint I pledge to have when shopping!  Happy stitching.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

This is a rant

for sure.......did you ever have one of those days? It started when I must have hit the snooze alarm on my phone before I bounded immediately into the shower because I hear it beeping again while I have soap in my eyes and a perturbed spouse with the eye roll which is saying.....don't you know how to use your phone?  This means I have broken the morning cone of silence.   Soap rinsed, dressed, hair dried and I am on the way to get gas at the truck stop on the interstate before my Thursday morning breakfast meeting. It really is breakfast with my BFF at work. We are in different departments (her in IT and me the Mahogany Row Admin) and we can't ever seem to ever get a lunch together.....so once a week we meet at 6:30 for breakfast. As usual, side-track Robin, I am off-course with my whole random rant. So, back to the gas station....as I pull away, it happens.....a horrible awful grinding. Now I know what bad breaks sound like and I know they sound that way when applied.....well girlfriends, I was coasting and it was happening and it was worse than any brake squeal I have ever heard. After a conversation with "Goober Pyle" at the gas pump and getting out and looking at my front left wheel - like I know what I was looking at???  I white knuckle it back on the interstate, over the bridge and  to the Toyota dealer and I am in line at 6:30 waiting for them to open at 7. Thank goodness I've got the best BFF in the world, I call her at the diner where she is waiting for me, she pays for her coffee and she is there in a flash to take me to work. So the verdict is brakes and yes, they can go just like that (really?)  and some explanation about exposure and rust-lip as to why they were making that horrible noise even when not braking.  Even better, a check up shows my serpentine belt has some cracks in it.  Lucky for me I took the car in today because I have a 3 1/2 hour drive to my son's Friday for the weekend, a trip to the beach next weekend and then a trip to Boston the following weekend.  So $350 later, and a little divine intervention, ensures I am fit to travel.

Once at work,  a woman argues with about how long I have had my car;  how I am allowing the dealership to rip me off making repairs I don't need; and, how I have now compromised the integrity of my car by getting it repaired......can you say lunatic?  Geez!  Take a chill pill.

Next I sit in my officer meeting-a-palooza marathon and doodle nonsensically when they get off topic and somehow the other Executive Admins forgot to get rescue me when it was time to drive to the state capitol for a luncheon.   Fine, I'll stay and just sit on the curb in the parking lot and eat worms.

When I get home what do I find in the mail but a Jury Duty envelope with my name on it!  I am to report on the Monday I am in Boston!  How does that work?  My day is sucking!

I was hoping for a little TLC, a little sympathy but I get "What the H E Double-hockey sticks are you doing when you drive?  How the heck did you wear them out in 50,000 miles? I had 75,000 on my truck and never replaced them.  You must drive like a maniac!"  My response was I do a lot of stop and going driving (which would mean I brake more.) and Mr. He is Not So Wonderful Tonight tells me that has nothing to do with it.   Huh?  Use it more, wear it out quicker? Makes sense to me but I guess because I am a 'girl' I can't make sense.

I was so happy to get out the door to Stitch n Bitch night and let him sit in his garage with the stupid cat!  (sorry kitty).  I am thankful that my car could be fixed, no one got hurt and no one died and I got in my stitching time. In that perspective, it was a good day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So much to catch up on.....

I need to keep this short so I can put needle and thread to fabric tonight after updating my Words With Friends.   First to my time on Facebook has been seriously curtailed.   FB has its place but its place in my life was keeping my from my passions.  Second, I did what I said, I went back to basics and although life may be demanding, I am feeling good.   I have been spending my evenings prepping flower beds and spreading mulch.   I love my hands in the soil.     In my planting zone I need to wait until mid-May to put in my veggies......except for my potatoes.  They are in!

Minus the 50 year old Maple Tree

I can't wait til it is warm enough to get a  big geranium to put on my oversized front step.

Love the Bleeding Hearts and think I need to get some more.

Oops!  Time to tie up the remains of the Tulips!
    
English Woods Hyacinths - Like these too!
I got back into my reading too.   I finished The Time In Between it was good but not as good as The Other Boleyn Girl...which I read next.   What a page turner.   As driven as Anne was to become the queen, was how I was turning the pages.    Now my treadmill companion is Catching Fire.   Since I read Hunger Games last year and the movie came out I figured I'd better get a move on reading the next two in the series.  I had set a goal of reading 6 books in 2012 and I nearly have 3 done already.  

So on to the stitching segment.  OMGosh!  If you ever have the chance to take a class with Ellen Chester, run, don't walk, to the nearest computer to sign up.   What a wonderful, warm, sharing person.   The classes were FABULOUS.  The weekend started with dinner with six guild board members and Ellen and her husband, Tom.   The company as well as the food was delish!  Class all day Saturday on the Sampler  Huswif and all day Sunday on Long May She Wave.   Ellen's kits and supplies were only passed in quality but her personality and teaching. 


Don't mind all the threads......there was no time to finish the two rows of each stitch before moving on to the next stitch Ellen taught. 

The fabrics and fibers ----- oh I wish you could feel how sumptuous they are!


Again the fibers ... to die for!  Ellen really puts together a beautiful  kit.

My class progress on the needlebook for my Huswif.
It was worth waiting a year to have a class with her and I for one would be on the list to take any she teaches.  I was exhausted by the time I got home Sunday after class.   I don't know how Ellen manages to remain so sweet after being on her feet most of both days.  

It was worth keeping my promise to not start any new projects because I knew these were waiting for me.   These will definitely be packed in my stitching bag to go to OCMD next weekend for a stitcher's retreat.  


Sunday, April 8, 2012

March WIPocalypse from Robin

Some of these are repeats from earlier in the month but needed to post for Measi's UFO Challenge.    You all witnessed my shame of the longest project......with my documentation in stitches.  


And here is my status of Shakespeare's Peddler KEYS.   I am not even sure I add any stitches since my last photo 10 days ago.  







Last but surely not least my now completed  Etui.   What will a I do with? What's it for? I have been asked both questions.   Well, I might consider putting it under glass and what's it for.......to marvel at that I accomplished it!    The finishing touches were some of the hardest.   I just didn't seem to have enough hands to hold it and manipulate in to the proper hold while I stitched the top.    I had a brilliant idea to create a hinge by using bugle beads but alas my completion did not match my vision. 

I ended up attaching the top with a ladder stitch.


I attached the ribbons by making a loop and threading a bugle bead into the loop and attached the bead to the lining.   I am pleased with my solution.



Through all of this, the rubber band and my clip-on cheaters became my loyal assistants!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hi and low

Thursday was a bonus day off!    Annual Report done, submitted, CD's burned, packaged and 9,000 copies returned to my office at the end of the day Tuesday!  It sounds simple but it was a process that started in October 2011!  And since my envelopes were ready ahead of time, my copies are in the mail to bankers and investment types.   I only have to mail a very small portion with the majority done by our Investor Relations Dept.  So I decide to reward myself with a day off.   Usually we are awarded a "Good Health Day" if we use less than 12 hours sick time in the previous year, but this year we got two (2!!! days) Good Health Days awarded so I decided to take one and play in the yard.  

Bright and early I was sitting outside and listening to the world come alive while sipping my hot coffee.   The neighbor's front door shuts with that reassuring steel door thud.  I hear the garage door of the neighbor on the other side go up and down as she heads out to teacher school.   Ahhhh, birds chirping, the cat romping (truth be told - chasing a rock!), my daffodils swaying in the crisp morning air as I survey my domain and think how much better can it get?  How many months until retirement and I can do this everyday?   Oh, I will  finish edging my beds and spread mulch and stand back swell with pride of how it looks.  It is so bucolic and then it happens     ACK!!!!   The man who is cutting down two of our trees arrives!   Drat!  There are 5 men, two trucks, a bobcat, various chain saws and chippers and of course that nasty back-up beeper noise.  My idyllic morning is shattered!  I forgot to snap a few before photos and  knew better than to appear like the woman that lives in the house with 54 cats and has an overwhelming need to photograph strangers on her property.     For now, this is my view.....

 Here's a photo I quickly snapped from my back deck without them seeing me be a goober!

So what's a girl to do....stitch for awhile?   Sounds reasonable to me.    But first,Thursday night was my turn  to host Stitch and Bitch and I needed to make my cake.    Now where is that bundt pan?  I spent 35 minutes looking for it which lead to my downfall - stress eating.    


I mean really how many times can you look in the same place?   Did I really think it would magically appear on that 4th look into the bottom of my Hoosier cabinet?     Imagine that......in the dishwasher......waiting for me to unload it.  Damage was done, I was frustrated and full of peanut M & M's.


As for stitching, I have progressed to attaching the top to my etui and attaching the ribbons to draw the sides up.    I have started and ripped out both more than twice which is never a good thing with sewing on silk.   I have shredded the silk ribbons because of attempting to attach them.    I don't really agree with how the ribbons are to be attached - to anyone who is working on this piece - consider securing the ribbons between the outside and lining before sewing the inside and outside together.   I think it would be a nicer look than attaching the ribbon on the surface of the inside.    I am not about to take out those tedious stitches only to re-do.   The frustration is mounting on this one but I think it is because I am so close to completion and so anxious to move this to the completed column.   I've got my thinking cap on this one for a way to finish it and stay true to the integrity of the design.   


This is my mission for Sunday once dinner is in the over, to sit back and relax and complete this project.   That will make six five finished in less than four months and keep my on track to erase many off my WIP list.....as well as just in time for the two new class pieces I will be snagging at my Ellen Chester classes next week.   Definitely pictures will be posted after next weekend.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Before and after...

Remember the new front porch we put on last fall......here are the before, after and the end result....  I am learning to let someone else do the work that I can do.  Meaning....in years past, I would have been the one to excavate, buy and lug the pavers, not sure how I would have accomplished busting out the old sidewalk, but, the new me.....hire someone!  They have all the tools.   My job is to keep the CEO and CFO at work happy and on target and it is someone else's job to bust concrete and lay pavers.   So awesome to come home from work and have this fab surprise waiting for me and I didn't even break a nail!

Before - November 2011
 After - December 2011
but not yet done......
 and, today, the end result!



I think I need something more substantial than my rubber boots stuffed with forsythia to make a statement.   I can see this will easily become a favorite spot to sit and enjoy an evening cup of coffee and watch the sunset from the steps.

On to the stitching front, I finished the pin cushion and placed the inside bottom into the etui.   All I have left to do now is to assemble the top or so I thought.   Seems when I lost my stitching mojo earlier this year, I also lost my memory on what was left to do.    I need to do the two rows of back stitching first, then I will be ready to assemble and attach the top.   No fear!  I have no doubt I will finish this tiny bit up before my class with Ellen Chester on April 14th and 15th.  



As for SP - Keys, just a little stitching going on. Stitch by stitch I am getting there.   More than halfway now.

Got the decorations up this past weekend.   Mr. W. actually promised not to tell anyone if I didn't put up the Easter decorations.   With my children not living near me, he said it is not like anyone is coming and will know you didn't do it.   But I do it for me as much as for the children.   


Yes, I have a tree up all year.  This tree used to be my mom's and perhaps that I why I keep it up all year....just like she did.   She had it in her bedroom and it was laced with tulle and of all things, costume jewelry.  Sounds tacky but not in the least.   My mom had a real touch at making things look like they just spilled off of the pages of a magazine.  She had both style and class.


I like the freshness and the color and of course, the fragrance (ah-choo) of the daffodils from my yard.