Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Been stitching? (and Hyperbolic Crocet Reef)

Hello. I was going to call this post "Pathetic," but somehow I think that could sum up most of my stitching days so I'd have to use it all the time. Better I should save it for a really worthy occasion..... like say, oh, tomorrow.

I have been stitching, but apparently I've also been brain dead since I have only tken pics of part of what I worked on and then I only downloaded part of those pictures. What gives? Usually I'm all over thei picture thing. My money is on my new 5:30am wake-ups. I need to really need to commit to the pillows by 10pm.

Anyway, here's some of what I've been up to....
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In case you remember back to the last time you saw this I can say I have done some stuff. I have filled in a penguin tummy, worked out where I went wrong compensating over a penguin head, and put in part of the secondary stitch (Silk Lame) in the background (ok, it's only a couple tiny rows, but it's something.

I also have made slow, small progress on Katherine--
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I futzed with the gold and dark green stitches in the center of the light green medallions because I thought the called for version ended up wimpy.
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I have to say I hated those two rows of pulled sqaure stitches. I kept breaking my thread. I resorted to using absurdly short cuts to make it work.... so annoying.

I joined Carol's Christmas Challenge this year in hopes of having myself 12 FINISHED ornies by the end of the year. Mind you, it might be a good plan to have a tree to put them on, but one thing at a time. Anyway, my January ornie is Miss Crescent's red bird from a reecnt JCS (I think 2009):
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She's actually a lot farther along, but I lack a picture for the last 3 days. She's become my morning commuter bus piece -- I get some stitching done which makes the miles go faster, but I gotta say that smoother roads would improve my productivity no end! Eventually she's to hold a string of cranberries and popcorn in her beak. They are called for in floss, but I'm thinking of using a Kreink for the cranberries and possibly some Boucle or thin, stripped silk and wool for the popcorn.... stay tuned!

As for DC reporting I am going to limit myself to a photo montage of the Hyperbolic Crocet Reef that is currently on display at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Our croceting friends from around the world made a reef and it's stunning. No pictures can do it just, but I tried....
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Pretty darn cool, eh?!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Stash and stuff and continuing Christmas adventures

Hello Gentle Reader. How are you this crisp morning? Fine you say? Well I'm glad to hear it. I am a miserable loon.

We'll leave aside the miserable... that comes with working in the Fortune 500 aparently, and skip straight to the loon part. This weekend (aka tomorrow) I propose to start work on a new needlepoint. And not just any needlepoint. I'm probably putting on stretchers this lovely:
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Beautiful, isn't he? I think he's beautiful. I pulled a bunch of Very Velvets, Ftyre Works, Neon Rays+, and Silk Lame for him last week. I'm sure some more fun stuff like Sprinkles and fur will join the party. But really, Gentle Reader, what am I thinking. I didn't finish the dreaded stocking for my sister all that monay months ago. Have I forgotten what a pin in the assets it is to stitch on a giant canvas? Do I not already have enough things on needles? Shouldn't I finish a few things before I forget what stitches I was using in them before I tackle roughly an acre of blank canvas? Apparently not. Sigh. When you see my right mind, please give it directions home.

Also on the needlpoint front, last weekend was the first weekend of my LNS' annual post-TNNA sale. I picked up this gem--
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A Sandy Gilmore Santa which I love. The argument I used with myself was that I had no canzases for standing-weighted Christmas decorations, and I certainly had not Santa pieces. Obviously said argument was successful since now he lives in the hovel with me and 7 million other to-be-done projects. To continue the loon theme with this piece, please remember I had just come back from TNNA. Sure, no problem, you say. You have faith that I exercised discretion and restraint while surrounded by all the best needlepoint opportunities in Christendom. Well, you would be wrong. I was bad, Gentle Reader. Baaaaad. As they come in I shall happily share pictures of my haul, but suffice it to say there is a lot of canvas and a fair bit of linen coming my way.

For those of you looking for a detailed TNNA report, you may be disappointed. There was little in the xs realm there. Usually the xs people seem to stick to the TNNA events later in the year. I can say I saw a lot of really cool yarns-- enough to make me want to pick up my hooks and needles again. Shoot me now. There were certainly some lovey canvases out for needlepointers everywhere. Sew Much Fun has released a 3-D parrot who's too cute for words; Canvas Candy has a great line of canvases and matching blown glass ornaments (I succomb to a cardinal and what I call the "gold bird circle"-- you'll have to wait and see); Kirk and Hamilton had this really great gingham and floral flag which I must have; Labors of Love was there with its awesome bird tree clamps (if you flip through Needlepoint Now they were featured a few months back) and a line of Christmas Carol themed pieces; Little Shoppe has a totally adorable line of dimensional tea cups.

One thing I can show you is the tree topper I got from Whimsey and Grace--
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Yes, that stunning gold and white beauty will be mine! heee heeee. Now I just need a decent paying job and an apartment bigger than a closet. Those will allow me to have a Chrismtas tree which will allow me to place this stunning topper. Sigh.
Oh I also got this darling from Associated Talents--
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I think he'll sparkle a treat on said wishful thinking tree.

As for Christmas, I think we left of with traditions and number 23...

23. Here's to new traditions! This year I, with great trepidation, approached the 9-year-old great nephew with a plan to make ornaments for his grandma. As I explained the plan and my thinking behind it (ie. while his mommy isn't hot on non-standard ornies, his grandma loves them and cherishes all the differences and especially honors the ones his daddy made for her when he was little) he just looked at me blankly. But when I stopped (thinking I was going to get shot down in favor of computer games) he grinned from ear to ear, said excitedly "cool," and began a laundry list of things he thought would be cool to make. Whew! So we spent about 5 hours one day secreted on the ground floor of my sister's house (on a plastic tarp becaues my BIL is a former Boy Scout leder and knows what crafting with small children can be like) making these gems:
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Pertty cool, huh? There's also a tree, but somehow it missed its photo op.

24. We went up to the Mormon temple for their great light display-- what can I say, I'm a sucker for Christmas lights.
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For all the traffic the show draws I can imagine the neighbors are sometimes annoyed, but they do get one seasonal break -- they definitley don't have to put out their own light displays.
They also do a series of Christmas trees in their main lobby. and right there I got a nice chuckle:
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Yup, that would be a lovely pair of Israeli dolls decoating a Christmas tree.

25. will wait for another day....

Here's wishing you all a beautiful rest of your day!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Suggestion, Stitching, and the Continuation of Christmas

First things first -- do you have stitched pieces waiting to become something? Did you have barren tree branches this holiday because you have a showbox of ornaments waiting for finishing? Got a hanger/drawer/box of pieces waiting to be framed, boxed, or pillowed? Join the brilliant Diane and her growing legion of stitching friends who has started a finishing society at the POSSIBILITIES blog. Come on, you know you want to join the fun. Besides, all you folks in the Crazy January Challenge and the UFO stitching challenge will really need the support of the get-it-the-heck-out-of-the-dresser/closet/box bunch. Aw, come on. You know you want to.

After a day spent working at my LNS, I can happily report that I have my first finish of 2011--
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I still need to work out sewing the suede up, but at least I have completed the stitching bit on my little needlepoint bookmark. I started it last year and it stalled at the cone stage because I couldn't decide the perfect color. The ice cream is Flair with brown beads. The cone and background are DMC floss. My mom was a big fan of mint-chocolate chip ice cream (except at Christmas when there would be peppermint stick ice cream) and so this bookmark just called to me. I'm not sure what books a beaded bookmark would be good in, but there it is.

After getting over the rush of finishing something yesterday, I picked back up another little needlpoint that had been waiting for me to remember it --
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Mr. Moose is in Fabulous Fur, his antlers are Petit Very Velvet, the background so far is DMC floss.

I even got the courage up to tackle a little more on ny NYC cube ornie--
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I finished the flames, but got bored before moving on to the background and/or outlining the bases of the flames.

Once home from the shop I pulled out Catherine -
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Some over-1 and another row got completed. If I didn't need sleep I would have made it through the rest of that green row before I gave in, but instead I downloaded pics and worked on transferring them to a flash drive for you. Just for you. No one else. Feeling honored yet? lol

Oh, and despite my great regard for you, in the rush of craziness at Christmas, not only did I never did finish any ornies for hanging/gifting, but I didn't even show you. Here's what I managed in the last week before Christmas --
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Now, back to D.C. and the belated coverage of the Christmas Adventures of a lazy stitcher. I believe we left off on #12...

12. I learned that some dogs are very polite --
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Princess worked out exactly where her present was and waited patiently for someone to unwrap it for her. Honest to pete. And for at least a week after she'd check that exact spot periodically to see if the tree had grown another bone for her.

13. I also learned over the course of two very long afternoons that a 9-year-old boy can be VERY patient when he wants to be.
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That's a very big pottery project and a very small brush... and we had to put on 3-4 coats of pait with that very small brush. Six hours in and my dear sister can expect another 6-9 hours of pottery painting adventures before it will be declared complete.

14. Christopher was the absolutely perfect tree -- great chape, great hanging braches, and even without putting all the usual ornies on him, he still looks lovely--
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15. It is sooooo cool to be the aunt who passes on the joy of reading --
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That's in the midst of present opening -- we had to stop and review our new books one by one. Heee heee.

16. Every geek needs a Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutter--
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I got one too. and I'm damn proud of it.

17. The National Christmas Tree was especially pretty this year
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Yup, that's the White House in the background.

18. The Udvar-Hazy is amazing!
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19. Arlington is forever awe-inspiring. [We went to visit our Great Uncle Ellis.]
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They go on forever ...
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Possibly my favorite picture of the entire holiday --
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20. My BIL can be very creative--
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He took out left-over star fruit and decorated a tree for my lunch plate. Cute, eh?

21. Old traditions are wonderful -- this is the BIL's family gum drop tree
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I did my best to defloiate it over the holidays.

22. New traditions are cool too --
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My BIL turned into Martha Stewart one day. He made sticky buns from scratch, toffee sauce for said buns, and the above -- peppermint marshmallows. I have declared (not that anyone listens) that he should always make these marshmallows for one of his offerings at the annual Bake-Off. I hope that next year I can report again on their subtle yumminess.

23.... another day.

Happy stitching to you all.