Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Being Thankful for LITTLE things

.... and I do mean really little things.  Like:

1.  How very little stitching I can show you because while I have finished one small piece and nearly finished another one this week, I can't show you because they are exchanges.
2.  How very little photography I've managed (re: none) since I keep going home and napping.
3.  How very little time I've had to contemplate what to write about Bouchercon and other adventures this week.
4.  How ill-prepared I am to head to LosCon this weekend.

Here are The Little Things --

My showable-mini progress so far this week:

Now, eagle-eyed readers will note that this picture looks no different than the last picture of this I showed.  There's a very good reason for that.  It's the same picture.  BUUUUUT -- I did stitch on this.  Got the hand-dyed fabric arranged in the direction I wanted the "spots" to fall, got the center found, pulled out my Vicki Clayton black silk, put in two stitches, and promptly pulled them out.  See, the silk I had out to use was her premium,  It's too think to double but it does not nearly cover in single.    Tonight I will hunt up the black Splendor silk and pack that for this weekend's stitching.  Next week -- just you wait for the pic!  You will be so impressed.  [Anyone rushing to lay odds in Vegas as to whether or not I even take this piece along for the weekend, let alone stitch on it?]


And here's my first hot tip from BoucherCon,  If you like cozy mysteries and you like books, definitely go try Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile series.   I went to Boucher with the first 3 books already in hand and read, and I was on the hunt for Kate because I love, love, love these books.   I actually put my order in with her for 60 more ---   I told her she didn't have to rush-- next, oh March, would be soon enough.  This pick is of the books in the series I picked up at Boucher and had her sign (along with my original 3.  The first in the series is Homicide in Hardcover.   I have one warning though -- every cover has a cat on it.  So far there has been a cat in every book, but it is not the same cat nor do they ever matter to the story -- it is like life, there are things in every day that do not matter at all.  These cats wander through.  They meow.  They do NOT suddenly carry in the vital clue on their collar, leave bloody footprints back to the body, or leap out and claw the killer's face when he's about to shoot the heroine.  If you come back to me whining like one lame reviewer on Goodreads who said that she'd never read another one of these because there was a cat on the cover and the cat was not a pivotal character, well then I might just have to ban you.  Though I might keep you around to laugh at.  Oh, trust me, I WOULD laugh at you.



And here's a shot of the few moments that made my entire BoucherCon weekend worthwhile.  
This is yours truly and Rex Stout's daughter.  If you don't know Rex Stout, well, I don't know what to say to you ... well, maybe if I was in a charitable mood I would say how sorry I was that you were missing out on a fantastic series (and excellent opportunity for vocabulary enhancement).  Just trust me here, people, this made my weekend... I think it might actually make my year.  I was able to tell her how much her dad meant to me and how much I appreciated that she had shared him with all of us for her entire life.  That was magic.   And I don't care that it's a little blurry because Stout's grand daughter was taking the picture..... yes, I was a very, VERY happy badger.



So you see, despite all the little things that are getting in my way, I have much to be thankful for -- I'm thankful that:
1.  I have the opportunity to take part in exchanges with totally amazing stitchers all over the world.
2.  That I accomplished stuff at all even if I can't show you pictures.... and I really am thankful for my pillow which provides for excellent napping in the evenings.
3.  That I have a job to be insanely busy at and that I escaped said job for a long-weekend of contemplating murder.  Who said they might be related????   I did not say that....   ....
4.  And I am thankful that not only do I get to go have a thoroughly cacophonous Thanksgiving with my Auxiliary Family, but I get to follow that up with my traditional Thanksgiving weekend at LosCon-- the L.A. science fiction convention.  So, I shall be with two of my tribes and there will be turkey!  All will be wonderful.

I wish you peace, frog-free stitching, and a really good book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Goose, Jay, Books: A Mini Report All 'Round

Greetings gentle reader.  I bring you glad tidings of tiny stitching adventures.  Well, I bring you the best that I can given that I can't show you two of them as they are exchanges.  Sigh.  Such is the way of the world in the pre-holiday season.

First off, I have to say Bouchercon was marvie!  Truly, you should have been there.  There will be more to come in future days on the con, but for now allow me to explain one of my personal joys of conventioning-- stitching during panels.  I sit in the conference room stitching in hand, snacks and  and little notebook for writing down books I need to find and brilliant/funny stories/quotes balanced on one knee.  And while I sit there people entertain me with bookish stories.  I tell you it's flipping fabulous!

I cannot show you a great deal of my Bouchercon stitching progress because, as we discussed, it is largely secret.    What I can show you is what I consider grand progress on my goose -- 


I need to finish the "L" in the dark blue and do the backstitching and he will be DONE!!!!

Next up in the minis will be, I believe,  this little blue jay who I have loved for years and never gotten around to.  2014 is finally his lucky year.


For the record, I only need one of  the multiple rusty browns, but I could not decide when I was kitting him up which one would be best.

I will leave you with a Bouchercon teaser-- my little collection of freshly-signed J.A. Jance books.  She was our Guest of Honor.  Jealous?  You should be, she tells cracking-good stories about writing and publishing!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Minis and Sheep and Exchanges and Conventions... oh my!

Hello all.

[Warning:  Just got annoyed by a stupid supplier phone call.  Pissy little pain in the a@@.  Anyway, the call has put me off my blogging chirpiness.  So I apologize in advance if I seem... off.]

Yes, that right there below is my pathetic Mega Mini progress since last week.  I know, think positive.... he has a few more feathers than he did last week.  But there are some mitigating factors for my lax performance on this piece which will be discussed below........


Sheep #2 is completely ... errr..   wooled.   And looking darned (sorry, honestly no pun intended) cute if I do say so myself.

 Now, for the mitigating circumstances......   Remember those exchanges we chatted about last week?  Well, here's me seeking inspiration--- of the singing stitching pattern as I like to think of it....


Now, I assume you stitchers understand the above picture.  To the untrained eye I am certain it looks like a plain ole mess.

And yet out of that mess came a little humming.  Not a full-blown chorus, just a little humming, mind you.  So, ta da -- I can bring you ornie exchange #1 --   


And Probable Ornie Exchange #2  (an internal debate continues as to whether the idea these go with is really "the perfect plan")

Frankly, if you're whining about no fabric and no patterns, I'm shocked.  You know me -- I have to keep some secrets!  But it causes problems because these are minis and yet I can't show pictures of them for something like a month!!!!   What's a slow stitcher to do???

Well, this slow stitcher is off to drown her stitching conundrums at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention!   If you love mysteries you should come sometime.  This year we are in Long Beach for Bouchercon 2014 Murder at the Beach and all in attendance receive these awesome bags full of books, the opportunity to meet dozens and dozens and dozens of authors, and the chance to bask in the glory of the written word surrounded by people who "get it" all weekend long!


Why yes, I do expect you will hear news of my adventures.  hee heee    I will try and keep the gloating to a minimum.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you



For all my serving friends, my family veterans, and veteran friends -- thank you so very, very much for my ability to be a darned lucky American.  

And a special thank you to my veteran of the day, Albert.  He is one of the founders of my little corner of the Fortune 500.  He will never see this as I think blogland is something he does not bother with, but he came by my desk looking for chocolate wearing his WWII service ribbon on his suit. Ninety-something years old and proudly wearing his colors to work.  Bless him.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Minis continue as does vacation and the rest of the world

Gentle Readers -- a happy Friday unto you and yours.  I hope your little bit of the world is peaceful right now.  It is not so bad here amidst the Fortune 500 -- most of my team is out today so I have only average emergencies not all-hands-on-deck-to-defend-the-realm kind of emergencies. It's the little thing that can make a girl's day.

Little things and thoughts of stitching.......

My latest mega mini (thank you Justine for picking up the ball for this month) has not seen sterling progress.  But some stitches is better than no stitches:


At least my goose has most of a neck and part of a wing.

Ethel's Sheep #1 (aka Spot) is now fully fluffed out in floss (face and legs) and Silk and Ivory (body)


And Sheep #2 (as yet un-named though I believe he is my favorite) is partially fluffed--


Yup.  that there is my stitching progress.  lol   Apparently I have been focused on my world-class napping skills and reading.  What I need to focus on is some pattern picking.  I signed up for two yahoo exchanges (Friendly Stitchers and Specialty Stitchers) and someone you know has yet to be inspired by patterns.  You know me by now, right?  I have to be inspired by a pattern-- it needs to speak to me-- to sing out with the perfection of its ... err.... perfectness.  Well, the dang things ain't singing folks.  Dang it!

While I wait for the Heavens to open to the glory of the perfect ornie patterns, allow me to bring you another phase of my recent adventures in Northern California.  When we last spoke, me and the family (Sis and Brother-in-Law, aka Brother) left SF and headed south to Carmel to visit friends.  Well, I say "friends," but really we visited the house of friends because said friends were a university board meeting in another state at the time.  Bummers because I miss them.  Buuuuuut, check out what they left us---

The view from the upper deck:


Wildlife in the back yard from the lower deck--

When we could drag ourselves away we went to see more wildlife (courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium)






Down the street from the Aquarium, my sister and I cave in to our own wilder sides and had the world's best peanut butter-peanut butter cup cookie here.  If this were in my town, I would be DOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our coastal adventures continued with a drive down 17-Mile Drive -- if you have not toured California that sounds strange to you, if you have, it makes perfect sense.   Along the way we enjoy many sights such as these --




Of course we visited the most famous tree of the coastline.......

And occasionally I turned around and wondered at the beauty that was not water --


The Brother surprised us by getting us to the Ventana inn on the cliffs of Big Sur to watch the sunset --

and enjoy the sky's changing mood--



I leave you, my firends, with some chuckles.  Well I hope you chuckle and I don't offend you when I show you this "beauty " on offer at a local furniture store---   that is genuine, patent-finish, neon pleather!   Honest and true.  This store has the worst taste in furnishing ever, but I am glad they are around to allow me a good long guffaw on a regular basis.


Take care and happy stitching!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Closing the Mega Minis for October, Other Stuff, and Wistful Vacation Moments pt.1


Hi there and a Happy Halloween to you and yours.  I have never been much of a Halloween girl -- costume parades in school sure, but never house decor.  I think it's because I come from a long line of Christmas decorators so there is not room in the house for the storing of Halloween decorations.  No, seriously.  No room.  We probably had two boxes of Thanksgiving decor (one for the cornucopia and Indian corn and one for the character candles--- Pilgrims, turkeys, etc) and one box of Easter (candles and those fluff bunnies and chicks, you know the ones I mean-- all fluff no substance with little wire frames).    Now Christmas --- let's just use my sister as exemplary for us----  every year we hang at least 700 ornaments on her tree.  Seven hundred.  In case you were wondering, that's a heck of a lot of holiday commitment, and it does not even count the ancillary decor all over the house.

Anyway, I wish you a Happy Halloween, but I will just pull up a chair and giggle when those of you crazies have to take a weekend and pull all your decorations down.  You can pull up a chair and laugh at me around New Years when we box up the decor at my sister's.

So, on to the "decorating" that really matters (lol) the stitching not that my pics get to qualify as decorative.  I remember taking this first one of my most recent Mega Mini (thanks to Pull the Other Thread for getting this going and inspiring me to get something done this year!!!!!) finish and thinking "yeah, that's good."  Umm, no, Ruth.  It is not good. Sigh.  I owe you one of my little peach house---


I actually finished the backstitching on my first Mega Mini piece last week--


I think I'd like to live there -- looks like it has good light for reading and stitching and room for stash!

The Mega Mini has been great for me in terms of making me think small in the midst of all my giant projects.  If you have been having fun with this challenge in October, come on over to Justine's -- she has happily volunteered to keep it rolling in November.  You can sign-in with her at Justine's Cross Stitch.  See you there I hope!

Last night I could not control the urge to start a new mini (yeah-- something for November!), so welcome my goose.  You can't really tell too well, but he's on a light blue overdyed jobelan


When the Mega Mini started I discovered a problem.  Well, in truth I knew I had this problem, but I decided to avoid it, But the MM challenge would not let me do that any longer.  You see, my boxes of bobbined floss were depleted---   not because I was out, mind you.  They were sadly empty because I'd stuffed bobbin after bobbin in various projects and never returned them when I finished the project (read: shoved the undone WIP in a box to deal with later).  Soooooo, when I went to kit up enough minis to choke the Mega challenge I had a distinct problem finding colors or even replacements for colors.

All that led me to my latest "stitching" time sink--- bobbin winding.   My shop had a pack of these beauties (anyone else HATE the plastic ones that don't actually hold the thread ends????).

And over several nights created piles like this--

And you may not believe this, but I actually put them all away in the floss boxes!  Yes.  Honest!  Ok, ok, it is probably a miracle.

On other fronts I put some stitches in my flag needlepoint--  though not many I will admit, but needle-ing did happen!



 And I thought I would close with some more shots of San Francisco and my adventures there (I am hoping to bring you the joys of Carmel next week... cross your fingers!)

This is the wall of marathon participant names outside the Nike store.... always a highlight of race weekend.

The beautiful peppers of the farmer's market--


Of which I took home this little darling:

I mean it is a purple pepper.  How could I resist?

Brunch as always is my tradition was at the fish stall ....   yes I know I posted a pic of this earlier, but this is a better one off the "big camera" and I love these so much that I could not resist showing them again.

Some big beets.... nope, didn't bring one home


Some AWESOME tomatoes -- and I ate plenty of those.  Love them!!!!  I even managed to bring some home for snackage (I was supposed to eat them on the plane but I think I napped instead.)


Also joining me on the trip home was my new suitcase.......


You see, as a rule my small suitcase does not get much exercise.  I take totes or trips requiring The Big Suitcase.  So the little one sits under the kitchen table holding finished needlework that has no display space.  I hauled it out of its repose and dragged it off to SF only to discover a problem.  By the time I got to the airport, my hands smelled like crayons.  Apparently as the handled aged the plastic broke down and what I ended up with when I applied the heat of my hands was, well, something that smelled like crayons. I swear -- no lie. By the time I got to the Hilton in SF they REALLY smelled like crayon.  I scrubbed.  I lotioned with scented product.  My hands still smelled like crayons.  Now, I like crayons as much as the next kid-at-heart, but I don't want to spend a day smelling like them nor do I want a suitcase to smell like them.  So my sister and I swerved into Ross on our way back to the hotel from the TNT Inspiration Dinner and picked out a new travel buddy for me.

Also making the trip home from SF is another "problem" of mine.  I have an earring addiction which I indulged at the art part of the farmers market.  I mean look at these -- they had to come home with me right?

I also visited Needlepoint Inc., the downtown SF mecca of needlepoint goodness.  Somewhere there's a pic of that that I will track down, but I cannot show you what I bought as it comprises a fair amount of presents.   Sorry!

Go enjoy your day and your weekend -- may both be pleasantly peaceful and productive.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mega Adventuring.... with a little Mini on the Side

Ok, this has to be quick because 7 million things await my attention, but I had to drop in and wave at y'all.

I am freshly back from:

On the flight there was a little stitching:


While I was in transit and in SF, I was generally sustained by:   [note: distinct absence of a check mark for decaf]

I enjoyed pretty views:

I had to put up with a lot of this:     [sheesh-- you'd think everyone in town had season seats!]


 But I made it the the Ferry Building farmer's Market and enjoyed my traditional Saturday of race weekend breakfast -- the one of the left -- salmon, cream cheese, farm-fresh tomatoes, red onion, and capers (capers $.50 extra, but well worth it!):

I was with friends (and family):

And we had a serious reason to be there:

My own personal reasons -- a desire for a world where I no longer needed these honor-tags and did not need to tie my hair up in yards of purple and green.

Now, go have yourself a good day.  That is an order.   More adventure news will follow.