Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunrise and Sunset

It is that time of year again for me in the world of work.  I am leaving for work in the dark and pulling back into my driveway long after dark.   Just a couple or three heavy more work weeks and then I will be coasting through the rest of the winter with just the normal hectic workload.   On those chilly dark mornings I let my mind fantasize.  I cross a high suspension bridge each day on my commute and as I descend from the top, I see laid out before me a vast sea of blue-black velvet which is heaped in mounds and folds across which is a spilling of, rubies, topaz, emeralds.....I bring myself back to reality and the realization that the diamonds,  rubies and emeralds before me are the street lights, red and green traffic lights of the busy outskirts of the city waking up.   Back to reality my mind wanders into the houses and homes where children are getting more snuggles from moms, fathers are coming or to and from work, teenagers are taking their time getting up and getting ready, firemen man the station waiting a call, school bus drivers are warming their buses for their routes, a cat is sleeping on a child's bed and dog is begging at the door to go for a walk and all those everyday, wonderful, normal things just going on as I take on another day.     You see, for me, it is all about a positive attitude and I choose to see the good.  With this I am content and I am appreciative for what I have and do not worry about what I do not.  Enough gushing and my Pollyanna views of the world.  

Because of work, not much stitching was accomplished this past week.   Not even at lunch at work as lunch has been as my desk.....and so much for doing 25 stitches a day on this piece.....counting does not seem to work for me.  For me that makes it work, besides it is too cumbersome to stop mid-bird or letter.   I just keep stitching.  
This is proving to be a sweet, fast little stitch considering the stolen few minutes I have had this week to stitch.  I am hoping for more progress on this later today.

Yesterday I did truly take a day to do nothing but sooth my inner creativity with a day of finishing. Mr. W. has been in Atlanta, GA most of the week for the Winter Meeting of Drum Corp.....(planning out the summer season) which makes it easier to do nothing of a household nature.  My daughter came down for the day and brought her serger - a machine I don't want to try for fear I need one.   She sewed a jacket, then cut out a dress and started to stitch that up while I made Miss Mary Mack into a pillow.     I should have done some much need computer work but alas after long days all week with contracts and spreadsheets the last thing I felt like was logging on a computer.

I did have a vision and it actually turned out the way I saw it in my minds eye save for I ran out of stuffing.  (Diane! I need a new BIG bag)    For the back I created a bit of whimsy by making it have the look of a shirt placket.  I had four buttons to complete the back but the forth had no hole in the shank so  I fashioned a tiny bow of 1/8-inch satin ribbon and added three petite silver beads to the center.

A true prim and proper dress for Miss Mary Mack.  
Wishing you all a great week filled with many stitches and good days. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Progress and New Adventures in Cyberland

I had a great day with friends yesterday.   One friend generously hosted a stitching weekend.   Those that traveled far stayed overnight and others dropped in for as long as possible.    Great friends, good chatter, fabulous food and stitching.   Wahoo!   (Thank you Stacy for a great day!)

Here is what I have to show for it... This is where I was after last weekend........and happy with the great progress below.   I am almost to the halfway point.    I may put this aside when I get to the point. Yesterday my friend, Francine, translated the french name of this pattern.   Yes, I could have went onto google translator but it was so much cooler to have her say it in french.

"A Stitchers (embroiderer's) Dream".   This is proving to be a great take along piece to stitch on.   Maybe I won't put it aside. 

Below, progress on Drawn Thread's Love Letters.    This has been on my wish list for some time and it was gifted to me by the best PenPal in the world!  (Hi Shirley!  I'll write soon, I promise.)  I think I will pledge to stitch 25 stitches a day on this piece  Those stitches will add up.

No more progress to share on Rosewood Manor's Cornwall Cottage.   hmmm, maybe I should dedicate Sundays to stitching on it.   That deserves some thought.

And....buds on my orchids after two years.    Yeah!   Three buds on this orchid and two on another.   It is a fine balance of returning them to their favorite window and neglect!  I will be sure to share photos of the blooms.    Glad I didn't give up on these babies.   Good things come to those who wait.

Next up I need to update my other blog since I missed the last monthly DVHSG Meeting (Thank you Caryl and Lynn for notes and photos); I need to create a new blog for my EGA guild (down the rabbit hole further for a couple of hours); and finally, I need to attack the creation of a new Facebook page to launch the Corsica River SAL, starting 2/22/17.  (Ack! Could be the cyber point of no return!) It is just fear of the unknown for this one.  And I am sure it is an easy thing to do but unlike the millennials that have no fear of anything internet related, I still have the mentally that once it is out there is it out there so no "whoopsie daisies" allowed!  Not the Corsica River is in any way risqué!   LOL   An hour of computer work, an hour of stitching, rinse and report.   Sounds like a good afternoon to me.

Have a great day all.   Happy stitching, happy week.

Facebook page has been created!     Title - Corsica River Stitch A Long

I also have a link to a great tutorial for the Assisi Stitch which is part of rows 2, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Keeping up with my goals....

I am keeping my promise to put more time into completing that white elephant of a project of the wallpaper removing I started last year.  I made great progress spending a Sunday afternoon attacking the mess.
and making a mess with all the bits and pieces.    An hour here and there and I will continue the progress so I can reach my goal by summer.  Good thing this is the upstairs hallway that no one but me sees!  

Today, I am just back from Camp Wannastitch in Ocean City Maryland.   In addition to stitching you know that means a trip to Salty Yarns for shopping and seeing old friends.

What a fabulous weekend.   Camp Wannasttich is part of the MAR (Mid Atlantic Region) of EGA (Embroiders Guild of America).   How can one be so tired from sitting and stitching for a weekend?   And how can one stitch all weekend and come home and want to stitch more?   It's a mystery I guess.  I got to see old friends and met some new.   We shared a table with four fabulous ladies from Williamsburg and now have great invitations to visit them in Williamsburg.

I was able to make great progress on a couple of my challenge pieces.
Before -  

I ran out of the Anchor floss I was using.   Fear not, it has been ordered

Rosewood Manor's Cornwall Cottage - before

and after -
I managed to almost complete page 3 of 12!
I am happy I starting working on both of these projects.   Both were put aside because I thought them too large and too tedious.   What was I thinking when I packed these away under the guise both were too difficult?....both are moving along nicely....for the moment.

And of course, staying true to my lack of restraint, I started this little cutie from Lizzie Kate.

Hopefully I can be done by Easter.  I have plans  for this quick  little  stitch.
Happy week and happy stitching all!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Went Fishing

So the best laid plans of my snowy Saturday went amok.    I do laundry and needed to clean first and that is where I got into trouble.    About 3/4's of the way done I thought I'd be nice to Buddy (the cat) and vacuum his kitty kat condo he climbs on.   Just as I was thinking I'd better grab that catnip fish, you guessed it.....swoosh into the vacuum it went.  So fast forward about 10 minutes and I have the vacuum in pieces, the fine dirt has come out of it and out of the canister and is all over the floor, my clothes, the cat has walked through it, paw prints everywhere, I've sneezed, dust everywhere with the obligatory I have now wiped my face with my grimy hand and have dirt across my cheek, Mr. Wonderful comes in from outside and just looks at me, puts his coffee cup on the end table next to me and he asks "what are you doing" and I just glare at him.  He says he'll come back a bit of digging about into the innards of my Dyson with a crochet hook and viola, a catnip fish!  Meanwhile I kind of resemble PigPen from Peanuts.

Now I got it put back together and I can't find the hose.   I mean really!  I only walked to the kitchen and back but now I retrace my steps  at least 3 times, through the dirt pile no less.   By this time - although I am not swearing - I am speaking out loud to no one that this is totally ridiculous.   I find the hose, right next to where I was sitting (I swear it wasn't there before).   So this whole morass has set me back the better part of an hour.....

Tools away, cleaning products away, clothes changed and I decide I am going to stitch for an hour before I start dinner (which thankfully is a big pot of soup I already made!)  I start to stitch and I (almost) complete the motif only to realize a mistake was made in my count from way back when I worked on this piece several years ago.....  It is now 3:00 and Mr. W. returns and wants to know what I am cooking for dinner......

 I get a big bowl of ice cream and sit in the recliner and succumb to the day with the Hallmark Channel and decide I quit!  Mr. W. can warm up his own soup!  It was just one of those days.

Snow Day!

Only one thing better than a snowy Saturday.....that would be a snow day during the week which would mean a Snow Day Off.....I will settle for a Saturday snow day.    The forecast keeps changing and I have no idea what the final snowfall amount will be.....I know for sure we won't be getting what is forecasted for my friend Stasi in Richmond.   (Stay safe my friend and see you next weekend!)

So what does a snow day mean to, silence, big pot of soup, and.....wait for it........crafting all the day long.   Yeah!   Yes, I have done the obligatory cleaning and making of beds and I have started a big pot of potato soup.   Now don't get excited, it is not from scratch.   It is a mix to be doctored up with bacon, sour cream and cheese.   I look forward to a side salad and a steaming bowl when I take my dinner break later today.

I am not sure what I will get into today but after that War and Peace missive of a post of my last post - and I applaud all the diehards that lasted through that post in its entirely - I forgot to share Miss Mary Mack!    She was my last finished for 2016.   I have plans to finish her as a  pillow with a flanged edge....but we all know that sometimes what I envision does not always turn out as it was in my minds eye.    She was stitched in R & R's 28 count Winter Bran with WDW Molasses, pattern by La-D-Da.

 I stitched the dress on a diagonal and like how the color variation in floss played out.

"Miss Mary Mack, Mack Mack,
All dressed in black, black, black,
With silver button, button, buttons,
All down her back, back, back.

She asked her mother, mother, mother,
For first cents, cents, cents,
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants,
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high,
They touched the sky, sky, sky,
And didn't come back, back, back
Until the 4th of July, July July."

I thought I knew which fabric I was using for my finish - the center one because of the scale of the print.   However the color above is more true than as it photographed below.   Now I don't know which one to use.

Some of the silver buttons I have pulled from stash.   I really like the one with the black center.   It has a large shank and would be perfect at the center of a biscournu.

Also there was another big project  I started in 2016 that I didn't share.   This is something I have been contemplating and been advised against by professionals for several years.   But I took the plunge and started the process.    Intrigued?   LOL......I stopped dying my hair last June or July.  Of course a hairdresser is going to advise me against it.   I am letting the gray grow in and I like it.  The long months of a technicolor mane of hair are behind me.  I am about maybe a haircut or so from getting the last bits of dye cut off.  In my little pea brain I choose to view it as natural frosting.   Maybe it was turning the big 6 0.   Or it was seeing pix of friends on their boat sharing his catch of the day and noticing how gray he has become that got me thinking why do guys look distiquished or sexy with gray hair and women don't.   I can tell you it is very liberating.   If I was any good at taking a selfie that look more like me and less like some sort of big eyed alien head looking like a dazed deer in the headlights, I would share the color.  

Enjoy your day whatever you decide to do.  Hopefully I will have something more than a tale of cleaning, sorting and purging stash to share for my day o' crafting.   Life is good.  Happy week everyone!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Quick Fixes

Will plays peek-a-boo with Auntie Heather
This is going to be a long that is.   Recovery from the holidays is well underway and almost complete.   OMGosh!  William had a fabulous first Christmas as did the rest of us.......Isn't it wonderful to have all the family home for the holidays and isn't it just a tiny bit wonderful when they leave and you can have your house back in order, no waiting your turn for the bathroom or shower, no countertops covered with mugs and glasses and cell phones and chargers, no sink full of unending dishes and life is back to quiet evenings of stitching.   I do love them coming and we have so much fun, lots of laughter and even though the silence is welcomed and I am no longer tripping over dogs and quaranting the cat,  I miss them already........

I kind of just melted into the sofa when the last of the house guests left on New Year's Eve.  I started bright and early New Year's morning with cleaning and pulling down the decorations.   As I did, I reflected on 2016.      Mr. Wonderful retired and that seems to be going OK.  We had a Grandchild! and he is wonderful.  I accomplished some of the things on my 2016 list; accomplished some that were not on the list; I did things I never expected and had things happen that I never planned.......   I read 15 books, I completed several projects,  I 'announced' my retirement by giving my boss a 3-year notice of my planned date of retirement.....overall it was a good year for me.

I hesitate making New Year's Resolutions or planning stitching goals.  I feel like it is setting yourself up for failure with unattainable goals.....something always gets in the way....a new project, a class, a diversion (squirrel!),  of my well meant intentions....but it is the thing to start fresh with a clean slate,  plans in place, list goals.  It is like when you get a new planner at work or calendar and it is all fresh and clean and none of the pages are dog-eared and possibilities are endless.  And I do work best with a list.....there can be a sense of accomplishment when you cross things time to just suck it up buttercup and make my list, resolutions or not!

I spent New Year's Day getting my house back in order.   I stripped beds, vacuumed, did laundry, wiped baseboards, found stray socks and moved furniture back in place.   I did stray a bit and spent some time looking through my basket of WIP's.  As I was restoring order,  I made  mental notes of nicks of paint here and there that need a quick fix.   (not from my houseguests....just normal wear and tear) And then there is that wallpaper project from last year.   Well I can rationalize was summer, it was hot, I needed to be outside in the yard, the pool was calling, I offered money to a friend to help and have a girls night with wine and wallpaper.....nothing, nil, nada accomplished other then my first attack which created the point of no return ..... so I vow for 2017 to work one night a week on removing the wallpaper until it is done!   Hopefully, that will see the job done.

Of course the obvious.....hmmm, the weight.   No need to get on the scale and see that ugly number.   It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know there is a problem when the sweats are the pants of choice.  I've always struggled with weight loss but I am planning a different approach.  Just as important as loosing weight is getting fit.  My plan is to work on getting fit, built my endurance, increase my speed and distance on the treadmill, become more active, do more yoga,  and if weight loss happens, all the better.  And the most important part to remember is that at 2 pounds a year of weight gain over the last twenty years will not disappear overnight.  No quick fixes here.

I also am vowing to do more Random Acts of Kindness.   They may be as simple as giving up a parking space, allowing someone with only a few items ahead of me in the grocery store, writing a quick note to a sick friend.   Simple things that will make a difference in that person's day.  

Stitching Plans for 2017
I have two large pieces I'd like to concentrate on in 2017.   Funny, the first is from my "list" for 2016 and it never saw the light of day since I put it there.   The second is a stitch-a-long I am hosting.  (see this post)  My guild is hosting a challenge to complete WIP's and this could be a good thing when it comes to my basket of shame.  Then there are ornaments to stitch.  Every year I just swoon at all the pretty ornaments everyone stitches......this could be the year I stitch a few.  You know you always need that quick fix of a quick finish.

I am creating my own rotation method to stitch through the year.   I need to rotate through different projects because different stitching times call for different stitching pieces.   A lunchtime project is different than a weekend at my daughter's project and different still from an evening at home project.  

My focus pieces will be Rosewood Manor's Cornwall Cottage Sampler and Queenstown Sampler's Corsica River.   I just love the colors in the Rosewood Manor pattern.   At the time I brought this pattern, it was such a difference from their normal sampler themed designs.  So far I have two of the twelve pages of charts completed.   I will be happy to make it to four or even, hope of all hope, six pages!

I just really was taken by Corsica River piece when I saw it at a guild meeting this summer.   It has some stitch techniques I have not used before and I always enjoy the challenge of blackwood plotting my route in and back.   This is planned as a two year project so there is only pressure to keep up but not to finish.

 Some finishes I'd like to complete in 2017.
 My pen pal gifted me this and I did need to steal 30 minutes to get this started before Jan. 1.

 This Mill Hill kit looks creepy but Halloween is the time for all things creepy.  I've seen this completed and it is really very pretty.    Halloween is permission to be outlandish!

 Another gift from my Penpal from a couple of years back.   Time to get a stitching on this.

Pardon the sideways photo.   This is an Alma Lynn pattern from the 1990's showing a duplicate stitch Uncle Sam.   My Thursday night ladies and I are stitching this on 18 count and plan to make this a stand up 4th of July design.
 This is something I started a million years ago.   Hopefully my skills have improved and I am a faster stitcher now then when I started this.

 This is a kit from my visit to Longaberger in Dresden, Ohio in 2006.   Got about 30 stitches in place in the hotel room on that trip and then no more.

 Oh my!  This was on my list to finish in 2016.   I did double my progress but there is more to do.  I get hung up with the tons and tons and tons of smyrna crosses.   Yes, had I not diverted my path down the entire left side I could have replaced some of those smyrnas with another stitch....

 I am sure there are more projects...some new starts.....some WIP's....

 And then we have the many faces of William....Happy

What, you want me to model my sweater knitted by Auntie Amy again?

 Hmmm, what shall I get into next?

  Best present ever.

 Hey dad! Share that donut!

 Peek-a-boo gramma.

I know it's a John Deere but I am really not ready to start grass cutting.

And then there is travel to look forward to.    I have three stitching weekends in Ocean City Maryland to look forward to.   I have already signed up for a Betsy Morgan Class this spring and probably will sign up for a Lauren Sauer Class in the fall.  I am toying with the idea of starting a Thompson Family Reunion this year.  (more incentive to get the wallpaper down and the hall and stairway painted!) The Second Annual Mother and Daughter long weekend with my daughters will be in the Rhineback area of New York in late August.  I am trying to talk my travel buddy into a cruise in the fall.   I'd like to try the New England cruise in October but I am still twisting her arm.   I have some have some plans for continued pruning and revamping flower beds and gardens.   I am sure there will be some show and theater events to attend.   I already know I will buy tickets to Straight No Chaser when they are back in the area next fall. And last but not lease, I have an open invitation to my boss's place in Florida that I just might take her up on this winter.

And congrats to you if you managed to stay with me all this time.   It is going to be a great year!