Friday, February 14, 2014

Ethel Makes an Appearance (or I Couldn't Face the Stars)

Happy Valentine's Day!  In honor of the day I had this sudden inspiration just now to give you hearts, but someone's photo files are inaccessible.  But I muddled around and found these offerings, and you know I think they are perfect reminders of looking for little bits of happiness where you can --

That's my shop's laying tool collection in the beautiful, hand-made wooden heart that the owner's son (a custom carpenter) made.

And this is fond proof that some of my co-workers love me.....

.... and shouldn't be left alone with glitter paints.   And, yes, that banana was part of my lunch I'd left on my desk.  You should have seen what they did to my monitor!  hee heee   It *is* fun to work with these folks.

Ok, back to today's title.  I couldn't face the stars of doom on the flag.  So I hauled out Ethel and completed ... a duck!   See, So Many Books, I am making progress on your Ethel.

Now for a little thinking, I have a face dilemma.  Here are the faces without stitching:

Here's a face fully stitched with one threads:

And here's a face partially stitched with 2 threads (the stitched part is on an angle from the upper right of the face down to the nose-- it doesn't cover the end of the nose of the mouth.):

I am leaning to the one-thread version.  The 2-thread one seems to obscure a lot.  I'm worried that it will make the mouth disappear and the nose just look like dirty thread.  The one-thread canvas is less stripey than it seems in the picture because it isn't so enlarged when you just look at the canvas.  So, what do you think?

Ok, I promise to do stars AND stripes this weekend.  I should have a nice, long time to stitch since the powers that be are closing my local freeway which really eliminates traveling to the shop or Auxiliary Family events this weekend. Now if I can just focus and actually stitch rather than piling everything on the bed and staring at it.   I will keep chanting Olympics-stitching-Olympics-stitching........   maybe I'll get the idea.

Have a wonderful Valentine's and a great weekend!

{Edited note:  Oh crud.  I've been blog visiting and now I'm obsessed with the "need" to stitch a heart.  Anyone want to lay odds on the likelihood of me holding out against a new start????}

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stitchless Sunday

While I enjoyed a fairly sumptuous weekend of Olympics fun, but I have not much to show for it.  My flag got some more stars (why in the world does it take me an eternity to stitch those blooming stars?!).  

The Blue is a Sampler Thread, the Red a Threadworx, and the off-white is Splendor.

My stitching plans to be prudently good and focused on long tern things may have some challenges -- I signed up for Janet Perry's notebook course of building stitches.  So far only the front matter and and lesson one have arrived.....

.....but that cause me to pick up the following for stitching sample squares for the notebook.  Let's see how many hours I can distract myself from those long-term projects.

I also got a collection of Whimsey and Grace ornies in that I ordered at TNNA.  I just love them and I love the little swirly holder things that they include with them.

I have done what I could to keep myself focused -- I didn't tape and stretcher the new ornies.  And I firmly forced myself to NOT open any other projects from the piles I have laying around Chez Hovel.  But still, you know what I did all Sunday?  Not a darned thing!  Sure, I did some cleaning and even managed taking the trash out.  Oh, and I changed channels from one Olympics station to another--- with great style and assurance I might add!  But NOT ONE SINGLE SOLITARY STITCH happened on Sunday.  Not one.  An entire day dedicated to sloth-ness, and not one stitch!  I am so embarrassed.

Perchance I will have better news later this week.  Certainly I can be better than zero!

Good luck with your own stitching games!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Olympic plans and scattered movement

Anyone else extremely pleased when they wake up and realize it is Thursday?  It makes me so happy!  I think I transfer all the usual person's elation of a Friday to Thursday because on Friday, while I am happy and all, I cannot help thinking, It's not quite Saturday.  But on Thursday I wake and (and pretty much spend the day thinking, "wow, tomorrow is Friday!"  Ok, that is way too much rumination on my silly proclivities.

So on to my resuscitated stitching.  I seem to have seem small level of enthusiasm for needles back.  Let us hope the trend continues to grow!  I mean what with the Olympics coming I need to be primed for hours of seated stitching/cheering revelry.   Are you ready??????  I believe my primary Olympics stitching piece will be Ellen's flag.  Though I am further along than this picture indicates, I really need to make massive progress on this.  Those stars seem to take me forever, but the words fly along.  Two weeks on concentrated non-channel-changing evenings should do wonders for this piece.

Anyone else doing "an Olympic project?"

For a while now I had been plopping this little darling, Martina Dey's Tsunami Sampler, on to my bed and planning to make progress on her.  I mean I *really* wanted to, but somehow she'd tumble out of the bag and I'd look at the giant pile of threads and never actually get stitching.  I think the problem was that when I first envisioned her I was doing it all in shades of pinks, roses, maroons, and greens with a little grey.  And now I am leaning to a full rainbow of colors.

The dark diamond is a Vicki Clayton premier silk, the bright pink crown is a Vicki regular silk, and the varigated, light pink, partial motif is a Thread Gatherer Silk n Colors.  For the record, I think I'm going with the change to the rainbow plan, and I don't think it is too late to pull back from the pink edge.  Cross your fingers for me!  Please, let me not change my mind on that again!!!!!

Next up is my baseball flag.  It is a tres easy stitch with it being just basketweave, but it proves very handy for moments where I just have to get needling.

And, because it is so hard from the front to see how far I have gotten --

Here is Mrs. who got the bottom edge of her bib or the top band of her dress, and she also got half a flipper edge.

 Oh and that is my new magnet courtesy of my shop owner and our teacher -- Thanks!!!!   She reminds me of sculptures by that long lost uncle/cousin of mine .

Now I know this one will be hard to believe!   But look who came out to play this week -- the golden Gate bridge ornie!!!!  He had his red heart pulled out and I put in the TNT for Team in Training (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's fundraising body) and 11 for 2011, the first time I went to the Nike Women's Marathon in SF to cheer for my sister and BIL's TNT team.  I even put in part of a row of the sky.  Another 6 years of progress on this scale and I will be done!
For the record, that is a Princess and Me canvas.

To round out the day a little stash.  At the TNNA vendor showcase night I picked up this pattern and silk/wool combo yarn from Sweet Georgia.  Isn't it pretty?  I don't think I could get much use out of it as a shawl, but I'm thinking it would be a yummy scarf.

Here is to your day being peacefully productive... and to me not thumping a co-worker (I have so many in need of thumping it is getting downright hysterical!)  Happy stitching!

Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Plans

Possibly the heading on this post should be "Better Late Than Never," but that would apply to so very many of my posts (and so much of my life in general) as to make it redundant.  So let's just assume I'm always behind the 8-ball and go one, shall we?

Stitching Plans:

  • More than last year. -- but that is a disingenuous cop out

I mean, frankly, that should not be hard since last year took the prize for Most Lackluster Stitching Finishes Year in recent, recorded memory.  Now hold the presses!   I just went and checked and actually 2010 was considerably worse.  But still, let's think here folks --  I just rewrote my WIP lists in The Sacred Book of All Stitching (hmmm, I should show you that some time) so I have the numbers at hand ---  I currently have 37 xs pieces and 21 needlepoints with needles in them.  And last year I finished stitching 21 projects.  So logic says I should be able to plow through my WIPs and UFOs in 3 years.

But wait!  A quick tally shows that 9 of the 21 finishes were started and finished in 2013.  Another 11 items that I was "inspired" to start in 2013 remain today on either the WIP or the UFO list.  Now we can assume that I will feel compelled to start a bunch of new projects (as if I could ONLY stitch from my WIP and UFO piles!  HA!).  So, follow me here, I think we can make the logic leap that in 2014 I will follow the 2013 trend and have roughly 10 of my finishes for the year be new starts, and that another roughly 10 items that I start this year will remain unfinished by January of 2015.  Therefore, dear reader, by starting 20-ish new things a year and only finishing 20-ish things a year I WILL NEVER EVEN MAKE A DENT in my piles of pieces in progress.

{By the way, you are witnessing genuine discovery in action here -- This had not really dawned on me.  How embarrassing!}  All this means that to make any progress at all I need to finish more than I start this year.  I just must.  There are no two ways about it.  It has got to happen.    

So here it is -- The Real Stitching Plan:

  •  4 finishes a month
  • no more than 2 new starts in a month (and only 2 if one of them is an ornie)
  • a COMPLETE BAN on ornies hanging around for more than 2 months.  Sheesh!   How embarrassing is a UFO ornie with no real excuse?
  • my very, very, VERY best effort to control the shopping!  Dang it I'll need a spare county to keep it all in soon!
My target projects for the year are:

Rose City Stitchers

BBD's America

Mrs. (And Mr. who I still haven't started)

Eagle Eyes (because I'm in love)

And the pieces suffering from a lack of photo--
Ladies Day
Ellen's flag
the flag needlepoint
powwow shawl dancer
In Virtue's Ways
Mary's Sampler
Tree of Stitches
Golden Gate Bridge ornie
A Gathering of Hearts
HiH Spooky
pink rose box lid
and the other 7 needlepoint and 5 xs ornies I have needles in.

(wow, that fortuitously adds to 30 -- honest I didn't plan that)

The only other planning that really gets me intrigued is reading.  So here we go --

The Reading Plan, 2014:

  • 5-6 books a month 
  • at least 2 books a month off the unofficial list of stuff that has been waiting a long time
  • a serious attempt to stop channel surfing in a futile effort to "find something worth watching" -- who am I kidding, it's not like I *need* to know what is in the mystery basket on Chopped, what the boys of Duck Dynasty are getting up to, or what is going to go wrong this week on Love It or List It.  And, let's face it I NEVER need to know anything related to Cupcake Wars so why do I even bother to pause?????   
Key target books of the year:
  • Gaiman's American Gods (am I waiting for a personal invitation???)
  • all the books that have been interminably languishing on my "in process" list -- namely: Powers' Strange Itineries; Vaughn's Kitty and the Midnight Hour; and Poitevin's Sins of the Angels
  • at least 2 by Glen Cook and Simon R. Green, and Carrie Vaughan, and Sharon Shinn
  • at least 3 on Ireland
  • 12 nonfictions
  • oh, and let's try for at least 3 of those books that people think "everyone" ought to have read -- you know.. "those"

So there they are The Grand Plans of 2014.  Wish me luck... I do the same for you and your schemes for the year!  Here's to success for us all.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Embarrassed Blogger

Two months?  Really?  Two entire months?  Whatever was I thinking??????  

Well, I know what I was thinking some of the time -- I was thinking:

  • that I had not been accomplishing anything worth showing
  • that it was going to take more brain power than I had at the time to pick good pictures
  • that I did not have pictures of what I wanted to show you
  • that I was an idiot for forgetting the pics.... again
  • that I might have to shoot an IT rep who did not transfer the pics from the old machine to the new machine (still the case)
  • that I still had not really accomplished anything of note
  • that maybe the stitching fairies had left me bereft of all inspiration or motivation
  • that I ought to do a blog on TV channel changing because that was all I seemed to do when not at work

Well, all of those still hold true, but I ****AM**** going to post today!

Here's the best I can do with what is at my disposal right now --

A couple weeks ago I got to go "play" at TNNA with my needlepoint shop crew.  Our small squad made the trek down south to San Diego for the festivities.  I, for one, was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready for shopping.

Here's the scene of the massing hoard entering the buyers showroom on opening day:

Here's the entertainment/decor they put on for our show (Sorry, I did not get the carving team in action) --

And it was personalized just for us -- don't you just love the spool and the stitching?--

And here is our happy crew the night before the big shopping weekend.  We were enjoying a little nosh and small designer displays

We looked FAR less perky the next two nights!
Oh, and that preview night I fell for my first piece of the show --

He is by The Collection.. They were our first stop of the show the next morning, and I commend them on their perkiness!  This arrived last week at the shop--

Isn't he beautiful?  I am waiting for the stitch guide so I can start the thread pull.  He's soooo pretty, and I am eager to start him.

Apparently TNNA this year was The Year of the Eagle for me because I also ordered something I fell for last year at TNNA.  I know!   Can you believe it?  I exercised a little control... for a whole year!'

He's called "Eagle Eyes" and is by Waterweave.  What can I say I had to have him.  Waterweave also had their fast-mailing crew on staff because that arrived last week for me as well --

Yes, gentle reader, he immediately went on bars and under the needle.  I think I am going to call him George after the "husband" eagle in the mating pair near Mount Vernon (yes, he's married to Martha).

I also found myself very enamored of the new 3-D piece from Sew Much Fun

I believe her name is Zoe.  We ordered her for the shop so I expect to be seeing some Zoes under the needle in the next few months.

The show was a grand success -- though a lot of booths were smaller than previous years.  There were plenty of pieces that stole our hearts, and lots of socializing to do.  What would TNNA be without frantic waves and squeals of greeting ?  .... and really tired feet.

In my own stitching life, I have been trying to get going again and I managed to actually get some respectable stitching done--

 This is the dress bib on the canvas I'm calling "Mrs." --the black stripes are Kreinik, the white are Kreinik and Sprinkles, the light pink are Belle Soie and Krienik, and the raspberry rows are Belle Soie over Kreinik.  A couple months of dedicated stitching will get her done --- unless I wander off and work on Mr. at the same time.  I need them both done by the beginning of October.  Yup, with my attention span, I'm doomed.

Thanks for your patience -- be back soon... I hope.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Week (aka LosCon Countdown Week)

Hi darlings.   And a happy week unto each of you.  I am happily puttering through my short work week -- God Bless Thanksgiving holidays!  It is truly amazing how the promise of a shortened week can allow me to hold onto my chipper spirit in the face of one computer and/or office screw up after another.  Currently the tip of the ole work iceberg is that every time I print something it knocks my printer servers offline (as well as my Adobe) so I can do one print one item then have to wait for IT to come up and reset the servers.  I am scheduled to have my computer rebuilt this afternoon -- oh the joy!

At least while my work has not been productive my stitching has --

I realized I hadn't shared the Sampler Girl Hope piece all boxed up.  I for one feel it is lovely.  Now I just have to figure out where it can sit and what ought to go in it. The threads are Belle Soie -- Indigo I think and Noir,

And here's my Mary's Sampler progress.

Yes, of course I changed the colors and it is on a violet linen.   So far so fun!   Though I would like to know why my floss bobbins hide from me.  Does this happen to you -- you go to pull a called for color and it's not there-- even though it is one of those oddball colors that you just know you don't have in some project bag?  Seriously where does the, for instance, beaver grey medium dark go?  Or the oxidized mustard?  Have they packed up in a huff and gone to find someone who they think will appreciate them more than me?

This is ByGone Stitches' One Nation.    Ok, so I am a very, very slow stitcher!

But I am planning not only to make it my primary piece over Christmas at my sister's, but also I am taking it to LosCon (my Thanksgiving weekend tradition -- the Los Angeles area annual science fiction convention) so I should have good stitching during some of the panels though many of the ones I'm particularly intrigued by are JPL and NASA ones and they usually have the lights out -- all the better to see the stars by dontcha know.  Oooo, there is even a panel this year on Japanese fabric flower making -- I plan on being there will bells on!  

Now the real problem I foresee for the flag is the new bits that are calling to me -- like the following from this year's JCS ornie issue--

At least I am relatively lucky -- so far these are the only offerings in the magazine I really like this year.  Maybe I won't get in too much trouble while I am packing for the Con.  I would not, however, place a bet on that Gentle Reader.   You have to know these are not my only recent acquisitions, right?  I will share more another day.... I promise.

For those of you in the U.S., I wish you a very peaceful Thanksgiving.  Travel safely and please, may you lack for family drama!  When your cousin starts to drive you nuts, just go stitch his annoying self away!

Stitch well and be happy!

P.S.  For those of you picked int he great 2013 blogiversary draw your goodies are mostly sealed up and ready to go.   It may be they go out today, but it might not be until next week......   cross your fingers!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finishing, Finding, and Starting Anew

Hello and happy Wednesday unto you and yours.  May it be peaceful and frog-free.  I am aiming to be happy the whole live-long day (despite what my corporate IT department may be doing to my server-- there's a story, but I can't even face it right now).

So, to go with the happy theme-- look who rustled up her pictures!

Here's Workbasket's Penguin Quaker back from the finisher  His backing is navy moire taffeta with burgundy, navy, and white cording.  He is, for the record a standing weighted piece, but I couldn't properly photograph him in Chez Hovel's light if I stood him up.

And Susan Roberts' Chef Nutcracker is home from the same finisher -- also standing weighted with a moire backing--

Another recent "finish" is Theron's Berry Bird from one of the older JCS ornament issues.  Now "finish" is iffy -- really he's a recent "find."  See I completed his stitching and put him someplace "safe" and "out of the way."  In Chez Hovel that translates to I lost him.  Once lost I could not remember if I had finished him or not, so he stayed on my UFO list.  Now that I look at him, he might not be done after all.  Please note:  now eye.  But it is not all that bad empty is it?   I mean it is just a little ornie who is, frankly, just going to spend most of his life in a box with other ornies. Do you think they will give him a hard time about being eye-less?  Damn.  I am NOT moving him back tot he UFO list!!!!!  He either goes without or gets fixed tonight.  Thoughts?

I have been having Fall cleaning season at Chez Hovel, and one of the beneficiaries was Tish's Ladies Day.  She got unearthed and hauled along tot he shop this weekend.  and she even got *gasp* stitched on!  I filled in the first part of the sand stitch in between the women shown --

But, before I get too congratulatory, I also started something new.  Well, I had to.  You all made me.  I started Plum Street Sampler's Mary's Sampler.  I am going with Sampler II on it and doing it on a plum linen.   Sure, I am changing some colors (mostly because they were not in the floss box when I looked for them) -- it would not be me stitching if I didn't switch some colors up.

Finally, because I know it is Fall in most of the country.  But here in sunny So Cal I'm looking at a 90 degree day.  Anyone want a few degrees?  In honor of my later summer, I bring you all some sunny floral thoughts ----

Now go have a peaceful day!   Thanks for stopping in.

Oh, and if you posted on my blogiversary post, check the post below this one to see if you are a winner!