Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bye Bye 2014

Dearest 2014, it's been nice having you, but it is time for you to go now.  Not that I'm rushing you.  You have been decent enough.  Hopefully your friend 2015 will be kinder and gentler and more peaceful.

Here's to you, 2014 -- you let me get some stitching done (not much at all though!).   And you let me get a decent amount of reading done (she says preening that she met her goal of at least one more page than 2013).  I have a cool family and friends, more stash and books than I could finish in a lifetime, and the Fortune 500 has not redundanted me yet (fingers crossed).  All in all, a fine year.  Thanks.  now, 2015, if you could work on the peace-on-earth thing, I'd be over the moon.

Here's to you 2014...... and to your promise 2015--

Lighted penguins on the patio, outstanding champagne in my glass, and all is pretty decent with the world.

All the best to you Blogland!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Peaceful Holiday Wishes and Gracious Holiday Miracles

As I was selecting pictures for this Christmas Eve post, it struck me how many little holiday happinesses I have already been lucky enough to have.

There was Hanukkah with my Auxiliary Family complete with the unveiling of my friend Jenn's completed Raymond Crawford menorah --  what you can't quite see in the picture below, but I bet you can imagine and smile about is that both of "my" girls, Dahvi and Sophie, have their hands clasped together and held close to their chests because as they ran to see the freshly unpacked candles they called the True Stitcher's Mantra to each other -- "Don't Touch!!!!"

Somewhere I have better pictures of these, but for now this wussy shot will have to do.  They are truly stunning.

I've also had the Happy Geek Moment -- -with my Katie (niece) as she and I poured over the map of Ankh-Morpork which came as an insert in one of my presents to her.  All hail Sir Terry Pratchett!

I mean come on folks, what else besides a holiday miracle would bring a 14-year-old and a none-of-your-business-year-old together for over a half hour to pour over a map of a fictional city looking for favorite locales, people's houses, and streets of notorious repute?!

There was also the blissful hour plus spent learning about blowing glass from Cousin Tom--- who was exceptionally patient with people who knew not of the glass-making process.

And check out some of the glistening miracles he's created---

See that all green swirly ball with the red top in the upper center of the pic?  It is mine now.  Another lucky bit of holiday happiness.

I have even had a little holiday postal joy.  Mary  received in good order and in excellent time the following ornie I made her (one of the secret, unseen projects.... unseen no longer) as part of a holiday exchange with the Stitch Specialists yahoo group.

It is a pattern from Gift of Stitching magazine done in Icing and Herb Garden by Belle Soie with copper-colored beads.

So, see, many miracles and much happiness has come to me, and I wish the same to you and yours.

Peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Whew -- made it, and, Whoops -- off again

Hello gentle reader.  I made it safely to the East Coast only to be packing to head to Missouri tomorrow.  I feel a bit like the beginning of a whirlwind.  I've only had boots on the ground for maybe two days, and off I go again.  I bet this time I don't get a fast pass from TSA like I did on the way here ---- it was so cool not to take my shoes's the little things.

But before I head west to hang with my niece and cousins for a bit, I have stuff to share.  Stuff I have been making you wait for.   At long last you can see the ornie that went to my friend Sally in an exchange in Yahoo's Friendly Stitchers group.  Sally said she liked snow and whimsey so I finally had a reason to stitch this little guy --

I had been wanting to do him for a long time and finally I had the perfect excuse.  Thanks, Sally!

This was his back--

In exchange, check out the awesome ornie Sally sent me -- Isn't he wonderful?  How ever did she know I have a soft spot for cardinals?

Of course, in typical me fashion, just because I have gotten a couple ornies done didn't mean I focused on long-standing WIPs and UFOs.  Oh no!   I started a new piece --

He's by Vee and Co, but I'll be switched if I can remember what he is called.  Oh, and he'd have been started earlier if he too hadn't been caught in my infamous missing-black-silk affair.  He made the trip east with me so maybe he will become more apparent to you soon.

It will be a while before the above ornie takes real shape though because I have my hands full for right now........Practically the first thing off the plane began the tree trimming.  Decking the tree is serious business at my sister's house -- we have limited time to get 750-900 ornaments hooked (my job) and arranged on the tree.  Here's table one of many, many, many!  (Table one and two are always the Radko batches.)

On day one of decking the tree I hooked about 400 ornies and my sister got them all up on the tree.

Here's this year's poor tree before the 400 -- he has spinal issues.

With 400 ornies on him he barely looks decked!

And this, for the record was the first ornie to get hooked this year.   (with my gift of a needlepoint cocoa cup for my sister for Christmas last year in the background)

And here is the end of the evening--- the dregs of my whiskey smash.  Yummers!

Nope, no hall decking after whiskey smashes--- my sister is smart!

Nite nite -- someone needs to get to sleep so she can get up early for work so she can get plenty done before joining the jet set again.

Pleasant dreams/days to you all.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Apparently Christmas Is Coming......

... whether or not I am ready.   I can tell this because finished goodies that had deadlines for my finishers so that there was time to pack them for Christmas traveling have started to arrive.

Remember this guy?   I'm pretty happy with how he came out.   I gave my finisher free rein on fabric, cording, and feet with the only guidance being "not too fussy or blingy."  I think she did an awesome job.

I love the copper ball feet and the suede -- I would never have thought of that tan suede on my own.

Mind you, I have a problem now-- exactly how am I going to safely transport this across the country?  It's a personal failing I know, but I am never successful at bow fluffing.   Oh well-- I'm a big girl;  I guess I will just have to cowboy up on this one and work it out.   If you see me on a plane clutching a box to my chest as if the Ark of the Covenant was in it, you'll understand.

And this little darling came back.  I am embarrassed to admit I forgot I didn't already have this.  LOL   I would probably have forgotten all about it if left to my own devices.  The red is Very Velvet, the white is Snow, the cording Patina.  The finisher used raw silk for the sides and back and you can barely see the rhinestones she studded the sides with.

While I totally love how this came out I fear it is going to cause me a problem.  You see I am pretty certain once my sister sees it in person she's going to want one too.  I hope the finisher got extra rhinestones.

The arrival of these finishes got my brain kicked into gear thinking about packing for my Christmas adventures.  This has caused another problem for me.  You see, I am lately obsessed with reading-- totally and completely obsessed.  Partly this is because I've run into some wonderful book series  in the last few months, but it is also fueled by the fact that I'm within something like 900 pages of topping what Goodreads said was my total number of pages read last year.  You know being that close just makes me itch for that extra page.  LOL  I know-- it is nuts.  Why should I care how many pages I read.   But I just can't help myself-- if Goodreads is going to give me that metric I feel compelled to look at it, and *thwap* I get hit in the face with a new compulsion.   Possibly I need a 12-step program for reading obsessions... no wait, I like me as a compulsive reader!  I'm pretty certain it is cheaper to be addicted to books than drugs.

Anyway, all that is to say that I started making a pile of books to pack.  I knew I was in trouble when the pile looked like this:

With serious consideration I got it down to this:

Do I except the reading-to-pack pile to stay this circumspect?  Nope.  Sorry, I know me.

I leave you with a little urban, Christmas spirit--   I love it when a city glitters!

I will say the laugh of the district is why does the fountain say "10880" when that is not the address.  Sure it is actually a "decorative" pile of tree ornies, but why make them look like a street address?  Possibly it's God's way of giving me something to chuckle about?

Friday, December 05, 2014

Little things

Friday greetings, gentle reader--   How has your week been treating you?   Hopefully well -- hopefully gently.  

Mine has been singularly annoying and unproductive.  Now you won't believe that when I share the pics below since I actually have some stitching to show, but I hasten to say that these little bits were accomplished last weekend at LosCon--- it is what happens when there aren't panels that are worthy of much note taking.  

So, save of the charm placement, LK's Home is done--  a very fast and easy stitch.... bless you LK!

And Peace is done save for a charm and bird eye--

Also completed over the weekend was the finishing on my two exchange ornies.  The Post Office has them now.  Soon I hope to show you them in all their ornie glory.

While LosCon did not offer too many fascinating notes on what to read, it did continue to add to my jewelry collection.....     I go the earrings that match this last year:

And I needed more purple and green jewels for Leukemia and Lymphoma events so this amethyst and green semi-precious stone whose name I don't remember right now had to come home with me:

And even without any real book recommendation alerts from the panels, two more books made their way home with me.

And, yes, you can possibly guess form the tenor of the comments above that I did not find it a particularly good convention experience.  I actually thought of packing it in and checking out of the hotel early.  Yes, day one was *that* lame.  I stayed the course though and things got better -- though I expect that I just lowered my expectations and focused on chatting with my tribe rather than getting any of the usual convention joys -- like finding new books, new authors, science fiction chatter (spies as a theme -- now which dunderhead came up with that?), masquerade fun (only 4 entries, really?????),  and damned funny panel debates.  There has to be some really amazing story about how all the programming managers were hit by an asteroid and the chairperson had a lobotomy so she was unable to see her con degenerating.   I almost did not buy a membership for next year, but I caved in the end -- though another disappointing showing next year will probably spell the end of my 20+ year Thanksgiving tradition.

Have yourself a peaceful and productive weekend.  May the stitching fairies be kind to you!

Friday, November 28, 2014

One Mini Done, One Mini Started, and Shopping Happiness

Happy day-after Thanksgiving gentle readers.  May the leftovers be abundant and yummy!

I come to you from LosCon... this year the most disorganized con in the Western world.  Ok, I have not been to all of them, but this one is pretty bad.  It is really quite embarrassing.  You think I am exaggerating, wellllllll, I will close this post with a pic of the Opening Ceremonies.  You'll see.

First things first -- happy, happy, joy, joy!   I have a fini I can show you.  The goose is done!!!!!

And the next Mini Mega piece is started --
 Now the observant amongst you will note that this is not the blue jay which I said was the next Mini start.   Well, I would have started the blue jay *IF* I had brought the black Splendor silk downstairs to the convention panels floor with me, but I did not.  Yes, I am a loser.

But, I am a loser with happy additions to my life---
Today's books shopping:

And today's earring collection -- apparently I was in a blue mood --

Now, it is late and I need to get my fanny in bed so I am perky enough to stay awake in the freezing conference rooms (they have not been this cold for the last couple years so I left the sweatshirt at home.... sigh.), but I did promise proof of the lameness that is this year's con.

Behold the Opening Ceremonies 10 minutes after they were supposed to start:

The person on stage was not part of opening-- she was part of a small crew taping the curtain wall at the back of the stage together.  Uh huh.  I left.  I think they did not bother to tell the guests of honor when/where opening was.  Oh well.  I went and shopped some more.

Here's to tomorrow be another, better day.

Happy stitching to all and to all a good night!

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!