Thursday, June 20, 2013

I've strayed

from the straight and narrow of not starting anything new that wasn't on my list.    It always happens about this time of the year.....a little reward for my diligence to date.   But I have an know us stitchers, we ALWAYS can justify a new start.    Gift stitching and class stitching projects never count as a deviation from your to-do list.

I am getting ready for a two day class in Sturbridge, MA with Jeannette Douglas.   We are starting to get emails about the schedule, ordering t-shirts, selecting meals and a count-down to the event.   Getting excited!   Part of the event will include a voluntary exchange of smalls with a patriotic theme.   I flipped through my patterns and found something I bought from Sharon Verbos of The Purple Thread.  Sharon's patterns are great and come kitted up with fabric, speciality threads and embellishments.

For the exchange I am using stash;  I'll save her vintage ribbons and wool fibers for my own little red, white and blue strawberry.   I started Wednesday night and am pleased with my progress.  It's going to be a quick stitch. (another reason it can't count - finished in under a week)    I usually don't participate in these exchanges because I guess I am intimidated by the other fabulous finishes.  I think by the time we are done stitching on something we are tired of seeing so our own work doesn't look as great to us as it does to fresh eyes. Hope to have this all stitched up and finished by the end of the weekend.

AC if off, windows are opened, crickets are chirping and it has actually been about 36 hours 
since it rained last.  It's all good on a Thursday night.  Here's hoping for a dry weekend.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Feeling good

I didn't take that ride to the shore that I had planned this weekend......I emailed my sister Thursday night and kind of built myself up all day Friday that she would reply that she'd join me but she had a wedding to go to.   Imagine that....the nerve of one of her in-laws getting married on a Saturday afternoon in June!
So appropriate to be hanging in my craft room.

I decided to tackle some half completed projects.  Doesn't it sometimes bogs you down when you don't know where to start.   I pulled out my trusty timer and set it for an hour and started on a task.   First up,  a little yard work, followed my craft room which becomes a catch-all.   Every fourth hour of my rotation was the reward - one hour of stitching time.   Repeat as above and substitute with other tasks.  My weekend with my one hour snippets of time on different odd jobs did as much to sooth my soul as a total escape to the beach.  Part of my time was spent in the yard.
Harvesting my lettuce
Beans are flowering
Jersey 'maters on the vine!
Making a return visits after many years absence
They are Alpine Strawberries that produce June-July-August
and don't send out runners!  Win/Win
Cukes and peas climbing their trellus
Lantana - so much prettier in person.
Purple Cone Flower
Bachelor Button's
Near the Sea of Shasta Daisies

My new method on stitching (work on one project start to finish and for the most part don't stray to another) must be rubbing off on my task list.   Even thought I hopped about between tasks I am working on paring  down the list by clearing up some loose ends, painting a bit of trim here, pressing and rehanging curtains there, fixing a rip in pillow, hemming a pair of pants (funny I'm the seamstress and I'm the one with pants too long!), etc.     I can't believe how accomplished in two days.    There is something to looking at the timer and seeing I only have 15 minutes left on that task that makes me move faster.   A bit of a control freak I guess.  Look, I have to do something to entertain myself with Mr. W.  on the road and this year I don't even have a cat to keep me company this year.  I did talk to two telemarketers since Friday night and talked to television last night while watching Saturday Night Live.   And I almost forgot, I had two visitors to my garden.

Mr. Frog took a swim and Mr. Snnaaakkkeeee decided to sunbath.

Delegating time helped me finish Witchy Washy complete with buttons, sequins and beads without feeling guilty for spending all my weekend stitching.  The witch's bloomers called for Colonial Knots but I jazzed them up with the sequins and beads.   I think  stitched faster knowing my time was limited to an hour.

Witchy Washy by Raise the Roof, 28 ct. Picture That Plus Lugana in a shade of mottled lavendar
A girl's not ready without the right shoes.

Maybe this explains why some witches are cranky.   Sharp
and bumpy bits sewn to their unmentionables!  I guess I'd be cranky too.

I haven't decided if I want to include the lettering "Witchy Washy" or not.    I have a little bit of time to decide but I won't let it do too long.....don't need this hanging out there on the partially completed column of the task list!  Feeling great about all my accomplishments.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Want to come along?

I think I want to do something totally useless......I think I want to fold up that to-do list and shove it in the junk drawer.    I think I want to pack my little cooler with some waters and fruit and am  taking a road trip for the day.  No more to-do list.    Some bubble gum for the brain.  Some well earned down time.  I decided I am getting in my car bright and early in Saturday morning and heading out......stopping at Wawa for a special coffee. Where I am heading, not sure but I bet I will stop at each and every neat looking consignment shop and antique shop.   I have a feeling the beach will be involved as I feel that tug of the ocean.   Sunroof open, music blaring then walking on the boards enjoying the sounds and smells of the ocean.  A good lunch at a neat deli or bistro or just boardwalk junk food.  And perhaps I will take along some stitching to sit on the boardwalk and put a few XXX's in.    Want to join me?   Got room for 3 or 4 four to hop on it.  Hurry up Saturday

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I've not been hiding, I promise

Just a busy little bee.  (this post was pre-empted by my bug trifecta!) I just seem to be one of those people that has an unending long to-do list.   I seem to seek tasks out that others don't see.

Work continues to take much of my waking hours but I am in a much better place mentally about it as well as treating myself to be out of the office no later than 6 p.m.   For the first two months I was scurrying around like a mad woman thinking I had to make it all work and feeling like a failure because I couldn't.....then I had a stern talking to myself and let the reality that we are 5-five-FIVE! admins down due to transfers and illness sink in and accept that there is no way one person can pick that all up and make it continue seamlessly.  I now have the second of three major filings off to the Public Service Commission, CEO off to the west coast next week, CFO off to his timeshare for two weeks, temp started Monday, replacement Admin hired today and starting July 1 and I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel which is no longer the oncoming train.

The deck is just about ready.   Need a stretch of dry days
to get it stained.  This is a fav spot to have morning coffee, to
stitch, to have a evening drink, to read or to just be.
Bought and hung a basket on the big blank wall on my deck
I still find myself falling asleep at 9:00 - 9:30 at night with a stitching project on my lap and little actual stitching progress.   Mulch was delivered about 4 weeks late and I have spent a couple hours each night getting a few wheelbarrows of it spread and was able to finish up this past weekend.   My above ground pool had a leak which hampered spreading of mulch....why spread it around the landscaping around the pool if we may be taking it down.   Mr. W. had a $$$ amount in mind of how much he was willing to spend to make repairs. Since I am the only one who uses the pool, I guess I see where he is coming from.  We replaced some fittings and gaskets which slowed the leaks did not stop them entirely and then used some underwater epoxy to actually finish the job.  Seriously, Mr. W hasn't been in the pool since the 90's! and the kids only come down 2 maybe 3 times a summer to use it.    I feel like such a spoiled brat about being sad about the
possibility of pool being torn down.   I look forward to coming home from work and floating with a big glass of ice water (or glass of wine), doing a little aqua aerobics and listening to music.   It is my reward after a day of yard work, a gathering place for girlfriends, my evening zen place.  I have had a pool in my backyard since I was 8.   When we were first married, we didn't have a pool but both my mother and mother-in-law did and both lived nearby.   I don't see me joining the country club set so you may find me with my lawn chair in a plastic kiddie pool this summer.

We had some new windows put in (remember my outburst about the discovery of termites?)    We replaced all the windows in the house 27 years ago and some needed updating.   We had a couple that the seals were broken and condensation was clearly/constantly visuable between the glass and several that were very difficult to open due to either settling or maybe not installed 100% correctly to begin with.   It meant moving furniture, taking down valances and blinds, etc.   We changed the window configuration in two different rooms and that means I have screw holes from the previous blind hardware.   Getting out the spackle and paint for those touch-ups I might as well tackle the corner that needed repair.   Due to a groundhog
burrowing under the concrete slab that my dining room sets on, the front corner of room had settled and skewed the drywall tape in the corner.  My initial action was to chip away the wrinkled tape and slap some paint on it last summer.    Yeah, I know, shame on me....should have just done the job then.  It is not perfect but my stitching pals and I have a saying......"looks good from top of the bridge"....and I can live with that.

I have finished up and framed the Christmas Tree Farm.   I am really proud I tackled this one since I feared it so for so long.  I think it was all the pages of instructions.  I framed it myself with the frame I ordered from Joanne's.     I didn't use glass because this will only be out over the holidays and it will be wrapped and stored the rest of the year.

Ma and Pa on their way home
I love the cardinals!

I did the finishing on Icelandic Christmas.   I originally fell in love with the cute little cover picture of the kit finishing but then I got to thinking......hmmmm.....what about a more carry-along friendly little set?   I pulled out a pattern for the 'snap' purse and put my thinking cap on.    I used the design section intended for the pocket on the purse.   I took the different smalls and repurposed them.   It is by far, not a perfect finish but I had already cut the linen per the instructions for the smalls before I decided on finishing it this way so I had to work with what I had.  Overall I am happy with it because 1.) it is a finished finish and 2.) because I got to use the snap purse pattern that has been in my stash for quite some time.

Don't look too close.  My first attempt at free motion quilting.

The snowflakes are from my card making stash

I have been trying to get in a few stitched each morning to finish up Witchy Washy.    I have a class with Jeannette Douglas at Sturbridge, MA in July and really want to have this project done before I dive full speed ahead into a class piece.  I am beginning to really like this working on one project at and time and crossing off more than I am adding to the list.  Basket done and ready to start work on the second tree now.

I was trying to decide what color sequins to decorate the witch's
bloomers and I decided to mix it up
So that's what I have been up to and why I haven't been seen a up, see how I am painting a rug on my deck!   Mr. W. hits the road this week and I will have all my time at home dedicated to crafting for the next 6 to 8 weeks.  Once I get a dry week and can stain the deck  out comes the painters tape and my rug painting idea.  Pix will definitely follow but I really do want to cross some things off the list before adding yet another project!   Squirrel....I am so easily distracted by anything new and crafty that passes before my eyes.....

Monday, June 10, 2013

Insects x 3 = goodbye to my floors*

Just a big old rant here.....what's the worse thing that could happen to a homemaker?   Yesterday I spread the final bits of mulch.   Halfway through I said, self, you deserve a break.   After dusting all the loose bits and pieces and dirt and such off my sweats, I sat back in the recliner with a big glass of water, an orange and my laptop intent on checking email.   Then it happened, did I see what I thought I saw out of the corner of my can't be.....there it is can't be....but it was.....a flea!  And I don't even have a cat anymore.   Just sand fleas I guess from working in the yard and rolling around in the grass.  Caught that nasty bugger and squished him I did.

Fast forward to this morning and an 8:30 text to call my contractor who put in our replacement windows last week.   I just figured he was closing the loop and wanted to make sure I was happy with the work.   Wrongo!  he found termite damage.  I told him to put me on his list and come around when he could.   Wrongo again.   So much that he is pulling off the siding, the sheathing and replacing the studs starting at 7:30 tomorrow.  It is an emergency.  He is afraid the front wall of my house which is supporting the roof, will crumble.  So instant headache for the remainder of day.

After a tornado scare at work and me leading all the third floor occupants to the basement and into the corporate vault, I get in the car to head home.   I am sitting at a red light and what do I see....another DAMNED flea and then a second.   What the heck!

It's all good.  I am riding home in my still smelling like a new car car.  I reflected on all I accomplished over the weekend and was able to cross off my to-do list.  Finished the mulch.  Got the patched up pool vacuumed.   Spackled the corner of the dining room where the drywall tape had buckled.  Bought refreshments for and manned the snack table at a puppet show.  I have left-overs for dinner so no cooking necessary.  No where to go tonight.  So life is good.....until I get home and discover ANTS!     Just what I want to be doing at 9:00 on a Monday night, scrubbing floors and countertops and wiping down the backsplash.  I have fleas.   My dining room has termites.   My kitchen has ants.  A real banner day!  Looks like the money I have been squirreling away to have my floors* refinished will be thrown into the termite remediation.  It could be worse:  I guess I could have bees colonizing in my walls!  It is all good, just bump in the road and nothing that can't be remedied.

However, I say that while I sit with my friend for the evening.....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's Stitching Time

See those tell-tale stitch marks at the bottom.....
yep, frogging been happening
I have managed a few stray stitches here and there between things.   It still amazes me how we get the feeling something is missing when we  don't get our stitching time in.   Strange I know.   So here's my progress and status on my current WIP's.....

First - my SAL from my Delaware Stitching Guild.   We do three rows each month.   I am really struggling we Row 7 - the colonial knots.     It is 'knot' that I can't do them....I just can't do them in even rows as the chart and photo indicate.   I need to see how the others handled this at our next meeting.  I moved on and I stitched Rows 8 & 9 last night and ripped it out Row 9 with my morning cup of tea.

So hard to see the white on white even in person!
Row 9 - Insertion Stitch #1 - What the heck!  I finished it great but seems
I miscounted the first series and there was no way to correct without starting over.

The all too familiar evidence.  Guess I am having trouble counting to two.

Next, Victoria Sampler's Christmas Tree Farm.    This has been about 3 dozen stitches away from being finished for at least 6 weeks.   Oh the shame of that statement!    I've run amuck again and went off to start something new and left things nearly complete in a heap.  I need to put in the ole stitching key and get a move on.   I ordered the frame from Joanne's but I will stretch, mount and frame myself.
Really pleased with this project.    I was intimidated to start
this one for so long.   Glad I got past that roadblock.
Poor little featureless snowman.....I need to give him a face and arms
and put the bow on the wreath.
Third, fabulous new fabrics I just had to have.   Here is the link to the quilt I have in mind for these.     It is called "Aubrey".  I guess that would mean I should devote some time to the other five quilts in progress.   Oh to be burdened with Crafting ADD.  I certainly didn't need the fabric but I couldn't live without it at the same time.   Mr. W. is getting ready to hit the road again for 8 weeks so maybe I can spend some of those evenings working on the backlog. Wouldn't that be fabulous to have Monday be quilting night, Tuesday be yard night, Wednesday be stitching night and so on.  I have no stitching schedule.....just seem to pick up what I am in the mood for.

Fourth, a new venture......I have this darling all cut and ready to stitch.   I picked this out when I re-did my dinning room and wanted some black accents.   This should be a piece of cake to stitch up.....all blanket stitched.  Might be a good one to take to stitching night so I don't ended up frogging much of what I stitched while chatting.

And last but not least, my current main stitch is from Raise the Roof.    I started this April 26th and should have been finished by now but that is a whole other story that I have put to rest already.   I think I want to finish this as a wall hanging instead of framing it.   Hmmm, I see a list starting for the quilt show in September.  I have a bit more stitching to do before I have to decide.
There's a second tree and birdhouse to the right
to be added and of course, the basket to finish.   

So that's me and my stitching update.   For today, trip to Costco, more mulch moving, lamenting over a pool that is leaking and an evening of needle and thread time.  Happy stitching all.