Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Hello Gentle Readers.  Welcome to July.  I for one would like to know how *that* happened!  It seems like I only just finished opening Christmas presents.  Possibly we could start a petition drive for longer minutes...... especially those minutes between Friday at like 6:30pm (after the commute home) and Sunday at midnight.  Who's with me?

I have been focusing in as much as my fuzzy little brain can on my engineer nutcracker.  The goal is to be able to turn him in on Saturday for finishing.  I am making decent enough progress, but those little "x" filler stitches of Petite Sparkle Rays are slow.  Memo to self:  on the next nutcracker, please have fewer filler stitches and there's no need to cross them.

Last weekend the "country club" (aka needlepoint group) met to stitch a little and lo and behold, but my special order of the next nutcracker is in, and why, yes, I did instantly put it on bars and pull threads.

Also in the order was this little darling -- he pops up into an Easter egg.

He makes me think of growing up when my mom would decorate for Easter.  She always did this one table in the living room for Easter with fancy sugar and paper eggs, fluffy chicks in all sorts of colors, and candles shaped like bunnies.   The only other non-Christmas holiday we decorated for was Thanksgiving, and that was an elaborate cornucopia on the kitchen counter and a bunch of themed candles.  Halloween we ignored, and to this day I still don't really get the fascination with decorating for Halloween.  If it takes a village, mine was apparently not into Halloween.

Go forth and have a peaceful day!

Pratchett thought of the day:

What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge
of a major branch of government?—apart from, say, 
the average voter.
Going Postal – Terry Pratchett

Friday, June 26, 2015

Diddly Squat SFS June.

The SFS June Report of Extreme Laziness:
Month:  June
Spent:  $30.00  (I believe that last month I mentioned this was inevitable)
Allotted:  $25
Earned:  $0.00   (embarrassing -- not even a single flipping ornie!)
Holdover from last month:  
Ultimate June total: $23.40  

Yes dear friends, diddly squat.  That's what I've been up to.   Not much of anything.   I've been busy working (very busy actually and very annoyed too) or busy napping or busy changing channels in search of "something" on TV.   I have forgotten the joy of needles -- this could be due to the onset of summer which always makes Maison du Hovel too hot to feel like doing anything other than staying assiduously withing the fan's sweet spot.

I even had a couple weekends off from working at the shop so the perk-up factor of being surrounded by potential stash, inspiration, and air conditioning hasn't had a great impact on my month's output.  On my couple of shop days I did make progress on my nutcracker.  He now has a shirt and shoes (heee heee -- I guess now he can be served at most restaurants in the U.S. now).  And I just noticed that I didn't bother to take a picture AFTER the shirt was stitched.  Sigh.  I am such a loser!  Put you can see the background which is Impressions and Petite Sparkle Rays.  All he needs now is a completed background, a mouth, and hair and he's good to go for finishing.

While I was at the shop I made the fatal/fortuitous mistake of looking int he 80% off bin (remember the Badger's Playpen?) -- there was this piece that talked to me and then there were these threads that looked so pretty together.  Did I take a picture of anything?????  Noooooo.   Once again -- brain shut down for summer apparently.  The Playpen find may go back because while cute and possibly a "perfect" present, it's not like my life isn't full of cute, prefect presents just waiting for me to stitch them.

My bookshelves got new friends too courtesy of a signing party at Houston's Murder by the Book.  Yay!  I ***had*** to have the latest Kate Carlisle.  You understand, right?  It is essential.  And Hannah Dennison's Honeychuch Hall volume sounded intriguing.  Now I just have to find a place on the shelves.  Argh!  It's definitely too hot to make book space.

The newest bookish problem I have is that I'm going to WorldCon this year and I need to get reading on the nominations for the Hugos so I can vote as an educated citizen.  Do I own any of those books, novellas, short stories, etc.?  Nope.  Sigh.  I need more time in the day.... every day.

Have a peaceful weekend -- may you all be more productive than me!


Pratchett thought of the day (for my Supreme Court):

Words have always had the power to change the world.

Soul Music – Terry Pratchett

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Up to some good for a change

Hello dear friends,  I know it may me hard to believe, but I have been up to some stitching.  I almost feel like I have to ramp up the action before it hits the height of summer when it always feels too hot to stitch once I get home in the evenings.  That little ompf moved my needle in a few different directions over the last week.

Mrs. (the giant penguin) came back out to play for a couple nights during which I:

  1. finished the light pink band which had been languishing mostly done)
  2. figured out what to stitch in the purple band (and got the whole band put in)
  3. put in the bottom edge of the flipper (that was because I thought I knew what I was going to do with the gold bracelet and I needed the flipper part out of the way.  Turns out I didn't know.  Oh well.)
  4. figured out what to stitch in the black band and got it partially put in.  

Also I have allegedly worked out what to do in the medium and dark pink bands, but until those sections actually start I have learned that I am prone to vacillation.

I don't think I had a picture of this last time -- this way my last finish.  A LK Flip It which was easy as pie.  Why did it take me forever to get around to it?????

Last weekend (I think) I had a flag marathon.  I just settled my fanny in and basketwove my little fingers off.  I got from here:

to here:

And, why yes, I am very proud of myself.   Just to put int in perspective -- that's probably 6-8 hours of stitching.  See!  I told you my needles were slow!

Also, one night another star appeared in my sky --

While I know that is rather pathetic.  It was actually quite amazing given that I was too tired to really start stitching when I pulled it out, but I powered through..... and then collapsed into my pillow.

On a bookish front, I went with our friend So Many Books to The Last Bookstore -- an amazing space for books (mostly used) in L.A.  It really is a neat space --

 with cool book art -- (I think this is a security cam picture of what my bookshelves do when I'm not home)

Now, while I loved the book art, I am a bibliophile at heart.  Book art is all well and good, but I need to be able to get to books and I kept getting stymied in my progress by people trying to get the perfect pic for instagram or facebook.  I swear this one pair of 20-something women took a dozen pictures each of themselves posed in a book "window."  There was a certain undercurrent to their repeats of "people in the background"-- well, duh, Buffy -- it's a store. We're here to shop.  Take your blooming picture and get out of the way!

Another annoyance was that I found it hard to come away with a pile.  It seems that my authors are just too awesome in general for people to give them up.  So I came away with this small collection of goodies:

Happy Stitching and Reading to you all -- may your needles be faster and trendsetters not be in your book shopping way!

Pratchett thought of the day:

Nothing-to-see is what most of the universe consists of.

Going Postal – Terry Pratchett

Thursday, May 28, 2015

SFSing Successes (unless you count finding the &*@*#^&*@#%$ pictures)

Greetings, Gentle Reader, and a Happy day unto you.

First thing up --
The SFS May Report of Joy:
Month:  May
Spent:  $0.00   -- (Don't worry.  It will NOT last.)
Allotted:  $25
Earned:  $10.00 
Subtotal of May's accumulated earnings:  $35.00  
Holdover from last month:  -$2.40
Ultimate May total: $31.60  --- Woohoooo!   Extra hooooo!   

Yes, as a matter of fact I am as shocked as you are.  But never fear, I'm working at the shop this weekend so no doubt the joy of being in the black will overtake me.

Here are my earning finishes--- with big thank yous to my friend who needed dog/house sitting.  Her excellent light and comfy recliner helped immensely with my productivity.

LKs (nope, not the colors they were charted for).  They have their charms too.  Can I figure where I put that photo? Nope.  I guess it is high time I sorted out the flash drives.

A little bell ornie I've been wanting to do for years.  I just love him.  O believe another one of these will happen soon.

Another LK that happened post-house sitting.  Possibly under the influence of the house-sitting high.

There's another finish -- a little candy cane from the same series as the bell.  Apparently *someone* did not take a picture of that.  Sigh.   And there should be two more LKs, but *someone* can't find them to attach their charms.  *Someone* has a lot to answer for!

And then some little bits of progress --  Prairie Moon's Home of the Brave which hadn't seem the light of day in a while.  I do really like working on this piece.  It is a nice balance of blocks of color and yet enough color changes to make it interesting.   It just got sidelined because of commitments to other things, but I really want to see it under my needle more regularly.

One of those commitments... the baseball flag came back out to play a couple nights ago.  This one.... I tell you.  I stitch and stitch and stitch and get maybe an inch done.  Sometimes I think that even if you left me in good light, in a cozy spot, with perfect audio books, no TV, and only this piece for a long weekend, I'd still only get maybe a row of those dang balls done.

Another powwow offering for your enjoyment because:
        1.  I promised you
        2.  I can't figure out where I filed the other pics I was supposed to be adding here.
I just loved the rainbow dying on the middle guy's head piece.

Though I am most partial to the shawl dancers.

...and shopping.....

Now, sally forth and have a wonderful rest of your day.

Pratchett Thought of the Day:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Insanity and Fun .....

.... two things that often go together for me.

Hello, dear friends, last weekend I decamped Chez Hovel (or The Untidy Sett as I am inclined to think of my digs) for a friend's house to dog/house sit.  You see, I was the one who set her up to adopt said dog therefore she declared it really was rather my responsibility to watch it while she gallivanted off to NYC.  Since she has wifi which allowed me to keep my coworkers from imploding and I was once again maxed out on vacation time, I saw no reason not to head off for what I thought of as a resort retreat without pool boys.  I mean a choice of recliners, a devoted dog, really good natural lighting --- what's not to love, right?

So on Thursday morning I arrived at my temporary home and unpacked part one of my insanity:

Now, I was there from Thursday morning through Monday night.  So of course I apparently thought I could finish every major project I had going.    The white corner showing at the top is my Boothy (that didn't come out of the bag the whole time I was there), the green fabric in the hoop on the left is a Celtic cross ornament that I also didn't get out of its bag, the baseball flag I could stitch for hours and hours on and still only finish an inch (that didn't come out either), and the states flag in the right corner also did not make an appearance.   I did manage to do 2 of the 5 LK Flip Its (they haven't made it to the "dope" list because I didn't bring a thread matching the fabric to attach the charms with), one of the little ornies (from the sheets between the flags in the picture), and a batch of Ethel's sky.

Pathetic!   II mean I did stitch a lot... I'm just that slow.   Ok, I did cook a lot too.   And I swear on my stash I did not nap the weekend away.  I never got a nap in actually, because my four-footed charge seemed to think napping indicated a lack of "better" things to do like walking or petting.

My roomie was at first very suspicious of this stitching stuff --

Then she went with the crisis of confidence look -- the apparently-I'm-not-cute-enough-to-put-down-that-thread-crap pose.

But she did seem to like the audio book effect.  She really had to since the TV only came on for the hockey game.  Which leads me to part two of my insanity.  Not only did I bring enough stitching to make it through 6 months, I also came with reading--

That's 6 paperbacks and two books on CD.  That is IN ADDITION to the 20-ish audio books I had checked out from the library and loaded on my computer (and we'll not mention the 100+ Audible titles also on said computer).  I believe I finished 5 books -- 4 library check outs and an Audible title.  I did open the top book on the above pile (a Kate Carlisle), but really I could have skipped that bag.

Oh and it gets funnier.  My buddy is also a reading fiend, so it's not like I could have lacked for books at her house.  As a matter of fact she told me to check out the box she was putting together to donate and I pulled the items below out because she'd been singing their praises for a while and I thought I'd try them (mind you, I gave her the Charlaine series, but apparently I didn't buy it all for myself.  or at least I didn't get it all input into my online catalog).  

Currently they are on my floor waiting for me to figure out a path to the shelves so they can join their friends.  [You think I'm kidding?  Silly you.]

Regardless of my insanity, or possibly because of it, I had a lovely time.  I stitched, I read, I got a lot of these walk-me/pet-me/what's-that-you're-doing-now looks:

I picked strawberries in the backyard while my furry friend had breakfast al fresco.

I sniffed heavily from the gardenia bush.

In short, I had a grand ole time.  I can only wish you as pleasant a weekend as I had last weekend.  And, for my American friends, a peaceful Memorial Day possibly filled by red,white, and blue stitching.  I'll be at the local national cemetery.  Where will you be?


Pratchett thought of the day:

Monday, May 04, 2015

And We Have a WinnerI

Hello World, drum roll, please........  The winner of Chessie and Me's In virtue's Ways is.......


Congrats, Gillie.  I'll contact you about arranging delivery.  I hope she brings you a few hours of stitching fun.

Speaking of stitching fun, look who got several stars done on Ellen's flag (By Gone Stitching's One Nation)!

And I celebrated finishing Big Tree by starting another ornie -- one of the Lizzie Kate's that I've been saying I am going to do for years.  Sharp eyes will notice I'm changing the colors.  Why do I make my life so difficult?

I spent my Saturday being swamped with customers at the shop, but after they all left I managed to get another basket done on Ethel-- I;m really quite fond of this one.

The complete joy of the weekend however was getting to spend all day Sunday at the UCLA Powwow.  I used to go every year but for the last few years I've been in DC celebrating my sister's birthday at this time.  This year The Sister took herself to Europe for a marathon river cruise (cruise the river and do a segmented marathon at the various port stops) so I could indulge myself in my traditional spring event,

I particularly love the little ones --

Here's my total fan-girl moment of the day -- "front row" at the Midnight Express drum (one of my very favorite drum groups)

Some of you may recollect that I do a lot of shopping at powwow-- especially for beads.  Usually a few pounds (I think of them in poundage because they get pretty darn heavy as the day wears on and on and on.).  But this year the bead vendor didn't come.  Never fear!   I consoled myself with jewelry shopping...  lots of jewelry shopping.  Pics to come!

Hopefully I'll be productive tonight and have more to share this week-- both shopping and stitching.  I'm looking for May to be PRODUCTIVE.... who am I kidding, I look for that in every month, and in every month I don't seem to make my line in the sand.  lol

Pratchett thought of the day:

There’s nothing like laughter for undermining authority.
Making Money  –  Terry Pratchett

[Must be why I chuckle so much here at the Fortune 500]

Monday, April 27, 2015

SFS Success!!!! (Want a pattern?)

The April SFS Report:
Month:  April
Spent:  $0.00   -- (I know -- I'm as shocked as you are.)
Allotted:  $25
Earned:  $12.00 
Subtotal of April's accumulated earnings:  $37.00  
Holdover from last month:  -$39.40
Ultimate March total: -$2.40  (Look at me make up the Red Zone.)

And here is my proud moment of the month/weekend-- aka, what I spent my ENTIRE weekend doing (while watching hockey, hockey documentaries, and listening to audio books.... in between naps.  Why, yes, it was a glorious weekend, thank you!):

That's Chessie and Me's "In Virtue's Ways."  I sort of kept some of the colors while changing them all to silks, and I completely changed the words and the embellishments.  I wanted to do something with this piece because though I loved it, I just couldn't "love"it if you know what I mean.  Suddenly it hit me when I realized it reminded me of my favorite book growing up.  And in that moment the redo began.  I had to change the color of the cabin since it is grey in the book and the perfect words had to be found and the dates had to be picked (LIW's birthday and the publication date of the original LHitBW).

Also completed this month was the little guy from the last post..... he's still making me laugh with that very perturbed expression of his.

Now I have an offer for those interested.  I have done my effort on In Virtue's Ways.  I'm not going to do it again.  If you'd like the pattern (including the rose colored ceramic button since it did not work with the space I had when I redid the pattern), just leave a comment saying that on this post and I will draw a winner on Friday.  [Note: In this first picture, I put the button on the bottom of the page next to the cat logo so you can see how cute it is-- it really is nice it just didn't work where I had room for it.]

Pratchettism of the Day:

The world’s turned upside down.  It’s a bit more important than you right now.Jackram – Monstrous Regiment – Terry Pratchett

(A bit of a reminder to myself, as I whine about it being Monday in my little corner of the Fortune 500 that there are people in Nepal who need my prayers.)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Yippie! Progress AND a Finish!

I know it doesn't seem possible, but I've made progress.. just remember:  Baby Steps!   [Some day I will attend the seminar that teaches me to be a speedy stitcher, or teaches my needles to stitch while I nap.]

Here is the corduroy stitch in place in Mr. Engineer's overalls -- it has worked out far better than the t-stitch in my humble opinion:

Please note, just because I love you all, I *forced* myself to put in several rows of the corduroy so you could really see how it looked in place.  No, of course it wasn't because I was obsessing about stitching it... noooooooo---- not me.  It was all for you, gentle reader.

And lookie here -- Massachusetts has arrived in Ellen's flag!   All the letters AND the little bobble at the end!  I was so overjoyed that I actually started the border on the next stripe.  I tell you it's the little things.   I should not that I was *not* overjoyed enough to start more of the stars in the blue field.  There are limits to my enthusiasm.   But I do know I need to get them done -- this weekend... yeah, that'll work.  I have a weekend of "peaceful" hockey viewing and audiobook listening time scheduled -- that should give me ample time to ignore the stars err, I mean crank out several stars.

And here is my glorious finish!   Done done done!   He just cracks me up.

The fabric is an overdyed jobelan from Wichelt and the threads are all DMC save for the black which is Splendor.

On behalf of Sir Terry Pratchett and Lady Vimes, please enjoy your St. George's Day responsibly:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Howdy, Monday!

Good Morning, World!   Why, yes, you do detect a whiff of perky in my tone, which is most unusual for a Monday.  And said whiff was quite absent until just a half hour ago.  But on the way back from caffeinating myself I ran into my buddy Ye (yes, I know you don't know her, but just stay with me here), and she announced that she got engaged this weekend!   I am so happy for her.  She's awesome and deserves the best.  That guy of hers better be good enough for her or he's in for a world of hurt from me!   Anyway, you can all thank Ye for the big, doofy smile on my face and my reinvigorated outlook on the week.

Certainly my showing on my list of hopefulness for the weekend just past does not warrant a perky outlook on the week.   But let's start with the sunshine --

Now you can see why I call the Vee and Co ornie pattern "big tree"--

I'm just bordering shy of completion.  Mind you we almost came to a squawking halt last night when I ended up a mere stitch away from that bottom line of text -- it's supposed to he 3 stitches away.  I swear on stacks of stash that I counted several times before stitching.   Regardless I just love his expression.

Ethel got one of the three baskets I was hoping for--   this one in alpaca and velvet -- very upscale for dumping on the grass on the way to market, but I like how it turned out.  Well, I like all but the rim, but I  figure that will get covered over a lot when I put the greenery and flowers/fruit in.

And Ethel also got a decent amount of sky.  I have committed to filling in all of the sky and stitching the clouds over the top in Whisper -- I think it will help with a more whispy, ethereal effect.

And look what arrived in the shop all shiny and new---- several locale ornies from Kirk and Bradley!

Thus far I have refrained, but I've  been to Paris and NY so I think I will eventually need those.  And I definitely *need* to go to London so I can earn the right to get that ornie -- the pigeon is just too cute!

So let's review Friday's hopeful list (come on, you know you could use a laugh):
  • Ethel progress -- those 3 small baskets and some sky
    • 1 basket and some sky....  reasonable all things considered
  • Mr. Engineer -- figure out new stitch for the pants
    • Yes!   Sorry I lack for picture on this.  I don't know where my brain was.  4 books and a half-hour of flipping and debating had me settling on the corduroy stitch.....duh!   Why didn't I find that earlier???? 
  • progress on Boothy -- this should not be so difficult dang it
    • Got it out.  Looked at it.  Put in back in the back and shoved it to the end of the bed.
  • a finish
    • Ha!  Don't make me laugh.  Somewhere after Father Brown and in the midst of the ACMs I hauled out the Big Tree with finishing in my mind... yeah, like that was going to happen at that time of night.  
  • 2 books completed
    • Uh, no.  Someone forgot that not only did she have F1 in Bahrain (her personal fav track) but she also had an entire day of NHL playoffs and a non-existent Saturday due to working at the shop followed by an entire evening birthday fest for a friend (which involved a significant quantity of negrones and a dirty martini and, consequently, a difficultly waking up on Sunday) 
  • something actually cooked... in my kitchen!  
    • Oh that's a real howler.  
  • the dang pots back in the one cupboard I have in Maison d'Hovel's kitchen (the stovetop is looking like the leaning tower of cookware)
    • Maybe Wednesday  (not tonight or tomorrow -- those are The Voice/Top Gear nights)
  • winter clothes tucked away (rather than blocking my path to the closet of spring-appropriate choices)
    • Kinda.  I hung up or dumped into the laundry everything on the top of the pile.  Taht's a step, right?
  • progress on putting stash in some reasonably "away" place (Much as I love my stash I really don't need immediate access to it so it ought to get out of the way!)
    • Uh, no.
  • books on shelves ( love them too.... and don't have nearly enough shelf space, but they too need to be out of the way and where I can actually ind them)
    • Nope.  Looked at them thoughtfully though.  
Yes, I'd say my hopeful list worked about as well as it always does.  LOL

Go have yourself a beautiful day!


Pratchett thought of the day:

The Universe is a lot more complicated than it looks from the outside.Rob Anybody -- Wee Free Men