Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stuff has been accomplished... just not nearly enough. (or, What Was I Thinking)

Hi all -- happy Year of the Sheep, though by The World's Most Important Calendar, that of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld, it is the Year of the Spinning Mouse.   All hail the Spinning Mouse.

I know this will come as a shock to you, but, honest and true, I have been stitching.  Just not fast enough to suit me and my GIANT list of things to do.

Last night I unearthed my Carriage House "A Mind Independent and Free" last night.  It's over-one in Vicky Clayton silks, Belle Soies, and some Thread Gatherers on some evenweave--- why, yes, it has been a long time since I started it, how could you tell?

Want to know why I unearthed Independent and Free?  Well it is/was a confluence of two Ruth-isms. 1.   I downloaded my sidebar WIP and UFO lists into Word to make a table and made the mistake of letting Word number the entries.  OMG, I have 59 things started!   And that's not even counting ones I probably forgot to put on the dang sidebar.  Fifty-nine!!!!!!   Sheesh.  That shock caused me to really look at the lists and remind myself of how cool I thought all of those 59 items were and how much I wanted to get back to work on them.
2.  I saw how short my WIP list was (defined as anything worked on in the last two months) and how few cross stitch pieces were on there. This caused me to think especially fondly of all the xs pieces on the UFO list.
#1 + #2 = I unearthed Independent and Free.   One last confession -- it got unearthed because it was the first of the UFO xs pieces I could find in the piles of Chez Hovel.   I am figuratively hanging my head in shame for my lack of order.

I also found these beauties near the to of the piles this week and got them out for some stitching time.

There's the Susan Roberts engineer nutcracker who got a cap and his train completed this week:

And Mrs come out to play.  I sincerely hope to have her done for Christmas this year.  Which means she needs to be done in September.  Dear Lord I just realized I'm going to need to get her her own suitcase to haul her to Christmas!   Why did this seem like such a great idea?????

It is easier to see her progress from the back -- this week her feet got finished as did the vertical black lines on her "skirt."

I made anti-progress on my By the Bay Serenity Sampler because the rose colors I picked did not work in the least when I got them stitched in.  The pink flosses in the picture below are what is called for, but I wanted red roses like the ones that grew over my Grandma's garage.  My new selection are the floss and the Splendors--

And there they are in.  I think they work much better.  Opinions?

I leave you with something that I am currently obsessed with -- this pigeon mural that is along my bus route in to work.  Before Christmas he appeared thusly:

Mid January he started morphing --

 And currently he looks like this --
What can I say -- growing up with a backyard full of pigeon coops with largely homing pigeons in residence makes me quite fond of the little blighters.  And this guy is just a homing pigeon extraordinaire!

Once again -- go forth and enjoy this second month of The Year of the Spinning Mouse!  Reading a Pratchett can help improve your day/week/month/year immensely.

Take care and happy stitching!

P.S.  For the record, I have refrained from buying that crow on a pumpkin canvas thus far.  Yes, I know, it is early days.  I have, however, visited the 80% bin again.  I would show you how bad I was, but the pics from that keep insisting on rotating sideways........ possibly a hint to me to stop shopping?????

Friday, February 06, 2015

Little bits (and fights with Blogger)

Dang Blogger.   I'm telling you up front that you would have more pictures of other projects, but Blogger has decided to flip the and not allow me to get them right side up.  Sigh.   I don't have time to deal with this nonsense today.

I have had progress on things that Blogger does not object to showing you in their proper alignment, including this old friend, the baseball flag --

Since it is hard to tell what is stitched on this without seeing the back.....

 I swear on all my stash that I have spent hours and hours on this and it goes sooooooo slowly.   It could be because it is 18-count basketweave, but sheesh.  At this pace it will be done in 10-12 years.

I have also done some small stitching on my other flag -- Connecticut is a little more present --

I hope to make major progress on this in February.  I need it off the to-do list.  And, joy of joys, when it is done I get to start another one of it for me.  Sigh.

Last weekend I had great fun with my shop owner pulling down all the canvases on the walls and putting up all new stuff.  Nothing like the joy of resetting all the canvases in the shop to get me all excited ----  unfortunately, I get all excited about stashing NOT stitching.  Sigh.

I am eager to get to work this Saturday and see how many of these beauties have found new homes.

Personally, I fell in love with this guy by Share One's Ideas.   Isn't he cool?   I am not a Halloween girl, but I do like pumpkins and he is a pretty fine bird-- not quite menacing enough for the average crow, but cool.

I almost want a round of applause, please.  I did NOT bring this canvas home.  I don't suppose I should get all that much credit since I have a hard and fast rule at the shop-- everything has to stay up on the walls for at least a month before I buy it because I want actual customers to have a shot at seeing how cool everything is.  After all, I know where the order books and the rolodex of designer phone numbers are.  My desire to call for a round of applause is also tempered by the fact that as we redid the walls, new things landed in the 80% off bin.  And, yes, gentle reader, your friend hopped right in there and brought MORE stuff home.  If I get sealed in my apartment by a snowmageddon, I may run out of food, but I have stitching enough to last me though at least 5 years of full time stitching. ...... hmmm-- I need to stock up on light bulbs and snacks just in case. 

Happy stitching to all and to all a good day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SFS and Smalls Stitching (aka as Smalls to the Rescue)

Here we are -- it is both the final day for reporting January Stitching from Stash "accomplishments" and the January reporting check-in day for the Smalls SAL.  And, as luck would have it they go hand-in-hand for me this month.

SFS Report:
Month:   January
Spent:    $59   ( I CAN EXPLAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Earned:  $12
January Financial Summation:  -$47
Overall January Summation:  Sigh.

So, gentle readers, here were my shopping downfalls-- explanations will follow......  

You see my needlepoint store does one sale a year.  Just one.  365 days in a year and we have only 14 of them where we have merchandise discounted.  It is always just after TNNA, the big needlepoint/needlework tradeshow in January.  What's a girl to do??????   Usually I go to TNNA with the shop crew, but this year they moved the show up two weeks and I was still back east while they were glorying in the wonders of new stuff in Phoenix (apparently a lot of the wonder was that there was not a lynching of the guy who *had* to smoke in the men's room at the conference center, got caught, and threw his lit cigarette into the trash can thus catching the trash on fire and forcing the evac of the center and the extreme ire of the vendors who were in the middle of taking many orders).
So, usually I'm at the show and getting in PLENTY of trouble while I'm there, but this year I got in trouble in the shop at the sale.   All the above canvases were freshly dumped in the 80%-off bin!   Can you believe it?  I couldn't help myself!   Oh, come on!  You know you couldn't resist either.   Heck, that Ewe and Eye reindeer I actually already have as an XS pattern and still I couldn't leave it be!.... the stitch and thread options will be way cooler for it as a needlepoint anyway.

All that means that by the middle of January I had ONLY spent $34 on three needlepoint canvases (yes, $34 for all three canvases!!!!!), and I was already over budget.  Those of you with keen eyes will note that the Thanksgiving canvas has an array of threads on it.  Wellllllll, there I was $34 already spent, and then I remembered that my friend, Jean, was working at the shop last weekend and she'd done this amazing Fall rooster, so I grabbed my new Thanksgiving piece and trotted it off to have her help pick threads because the ones on the stitch guide that came with the piece were just not going to cut it.   Cha-ching.... another $25 in threads for a canvas that I won't even start anytime soon (at least I think I won't, but I taped it so maybe.....).

I will fess up now that it would be even worse for me if it weren't for the fact that I pay wholesale for those threads.   Can you imagine how shamed-faced I would have to be at full retail?????

Now for the Smalls SAL Report -- Also known as:  Smalls to the Rescue!

 After the ramifications of my two week's of shopping adventures really dawned on me, I began a frantic (and doomed) rescue campaign of trying to get some stitching done to help counteract my spending.  In the last 10-12 days I have started and finished these darlings which will all become ornies for Christmas this year.:

The pair of bells is for me and my sister in honor of our mom who was in the church bell choir for years (so was I --- I miss those bells!).  The pattern is from one of those 365 patterns books... I'll look it up for you later.  They are done in Belle Soie save for the light red which is a Sampler Thread.  For the record this is Bell #2--

I think we probably all recognize the glorious fun that is a JBW tree.  In Belle Soies and it's all mine!   At least for right now I think I get to keep it.

Bell #1

That is what I have been up to.   I am now going in search of either Shopping Blinders or a spine to help me be more balanced in February.

Oh, on the reading front, I have to say that I am really liking King.  I'm shocked I tell you.  Shocked.  I was a fan of his stance in support of genre fiction (in the face of "literary" fiction snobs), but I was always certain he was not for me -- I have a very willing suspension of disbelief which makes me exceedingly prone to getting freaked by books/TV.  Mind you, it's early pages yet since I've been stitching nonstop, but I am happily impressed. 

Sally forth and have a great day!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Progress on many fronts and something ridiculous

Greetings gentle reader.  So good to see you.  I have resettled into life in the land of Really-This-Is-Winter?-Who-Knew-?!  Today we are supposed to hit 71F  This weekend we needed to air condition the shop. Honestly, last Thursday it snowed on me and now I'm trying to find light enough sweaters to wear to the office.  Oh well.  I guess I will just have to muddle through.

On to the exciting news ----   I stitched!   I know-- it is gasp worthy.

This weekend after the customer flurry left for the day (Saturday was the first day of my needlepoint shop's annual post-TNNA sale, and the shoppers were out IN FORCE!), my little stitching country club settled in for a get together and Ethel got all the leaves (Sampler Thread) in the uppermost basket and the flowers started going in (French knots in white Flair which may be joined by very, very pale blue and pale blue Flairs as well).  And, she also got a bit more sky because that's where I started only to quickly work out that to do any more sky I needed to rid myself of the waste knots  in my way and to do that I needed to get those threads running through the white flowers anchored.   If I had done a better pic you could tell that the Flair makes the flowers sparkle a bit.

On Sunday I hunkered down at Chez Hovel, put on an Agatha Christie audio book, and stitched and napped the day away.  It was blissful!   First up on Blissday was starting my By the Bay Serenity Harbor.  I am loving it.  

I am changing the roses in the border from pink to red.  As far as I can tell I have not messed up my counting yet, but I am accepting all prayers and good thoughts that not only is that assumption true but that they continue to be true.  I have a habit of just giving up on things where I get off in count and can't find the mistake in an hour of hunting.  It's a character flaw, but life it too short to be frustrated for long.

And Ellen's flag came out to play --

That's By Gone Stitches' One Nation -- and it got some new stars and an "O" in Connecticut.  I know, I know.  A 10-year old could stitch faster, but hey, I'm getting there.  

I am going to leave you with a little ridiculousness from DC.
Behold, Sound Suit by Nick Cave. (from the Smithsonian American Art Museum)

The front:

The back:


My first reaction was "dang it someone's grandma did those."  Eventually after circling the thing for a while I decided I might have to come back from the grave to shoot someone who did that to my stitching.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Journey Continues (even with some stitching)

Hello there.   When last we left tales of my travels we were kinda in St. Louis.

I had put a special request in to visit "the Cathedral" not knowing that St. Louis not only had two, but that both were basilicas.  Silly me.  We visited "the new church" which is covered in mosaics and absolutely beautiful.  Absolutely, I tell you.  And very inspiring for stitching!

From the New Church we hustled to my niece's climbing gym to see her in action --

The girl rocks!   Yes, I might have meant that pun.

From St. Louis, I returned to DC, changed luggage and headed to Richmond for time with the nephews.

Their decorating was done -- there are a couple needlepoint stockings you've seen before on that mantle :)

Possibly my primary duty while with The Nephews is making ornaments for their Grandma (my sister).  Here's the next Dog of Christmas, Jesus (no lie, but the Spanish pronunciation, please....   The first time they took him to the vet ---in a conservative, Bible-belt Southern town-- in the midst of a crowded waiting room the tech screamed "JESUS" like the Christ child was pretty embarrassingly funny.  Possibly it's only funny for those of us who weren't there.).  Jesus is keeping the Medium Nephew (I do them by size -- Large/Dad, Medium/first son, Small/young son).  company while he does his FIRST NEEDLEPOINT!!!!  (That's just the pattern in the pic-- and it was a terrible pattern to try and follow.)

And here we are all done!   Ok, I know it's plastic canvas not needlepoint, but hey, he is only 13!  And.... busting a gut with happiness..... he said to me about a third of the way through, "Aunt Ruth, can we just do these from now on?  I like this."  Heee heeeee I have another convert!  I think next year I'll try a cross stitch and a plastic canvas with him.  

In previous years we have made all sorts of goodies like this bead-covered ball-- 

And the blue and white foam star below --   pictured with a small part of the ornaments I stitched them over the years (gads, I'd forgotten then tree -- it's a plaid and I did every other block in Fuzzy Stuff which when done on jobelan is not what we call joyful. Oh, and I remember a certain amount of praying going on during that all outlined/backstitched poinsettia wreath... I think the first one I did ended up not meeting.  Sigh.). 

This was the first year The Small Nephew got in on the action.  This is him drawing "Grandma's Christmas apple tree with two branches and two apples."  He made Granddad a "red Christmas tree with one branch and a blue bird."  It warmed my little heart to hear that a couple weeks before I arrived when they announced to Small that I was coming for a couple days, Medium told him "You get to make ornaments for Grandma with Aunt Ruth.  It's cool."  Can you feel my smile from there?

My sister and brother-in-law came down for an overnight, and they got to stay in Medium's room.  For the special occasion he got out the NASA quilt my sister made him (he's scared to get it dirty so he only gets it out for special occasions).

And, since I have succeeded at turning Medium and Small into readers (I consider myself in charge of making sure there are future generations of readers as well as stitchers), Small demanded reading time.  So when asked to get "a book to read" came back with this pile --  

A chip off the ole aunt block   :)    :)     :)     :)  

And I can't leave The Newphews' trip without introducing Skip, the world's chillest dog --

Smart as a whip and generally twice as shy of cameras, Skip was unwilling to give up the serendipitous moment when the velvet blanket fell on the floor for him to snuggle in, thus he had no choice but to live with the camera.

Go forth and have an excellent day!

NOTE:  The title did not promise the stitching would be current.  hee hee