Saturday, June 28, 2008

Housesitting Heaven, or Ruth's Pretend Resort

Hi all. And many greetings of the day unto you. I'm coming to you from... hold on for this one because I'm only doing it once and you're just going to have to work it out on your own .... from my dear friend's sister's in-law's house. They literally live 4 blocks from me but it's an entire world away. Let me give you the short tour.

I (and I believe Kathrynwould too ) feel very welcomed upon entering because from the front door you see:
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You just know you've found a happy home when there's a sheep waiting for you in the living room.

The house is full of lovely features, but let me introduce you to this morning's bliss. I got up, nested in "my stitching corner"
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and proceeded to stitch and watch Wimbledon
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Post tennis coverage for the day I was able to view BBC America for the first time and got to enjoy...
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Yup, Doctor Who! Such bliss.

My friend Judy said I might have over-packed/thought on the stitching, but as a Certified Mood Stitcher I need to be prepared for everything. Just for the chuckle I decided I'd unpack all the stitching stuff I brought and show you how right Judy was, but I ran into a stumbling block--
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Namely, I ran out of enthusiasm for the "everything part." LOL So the fabric on the back of the couch is merely a sample of what I have along. And I took an auxiliary shot of the Misc Accoutrements Chair
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Yeah, I possibly overpacked in the stitching. Oh well, I'll not run out of things to do!

More later -- I need to go check the mail. May you all be as blissful as me this weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dang, you guys are good!

Either you're that good, or I’m that bad. I knew what I was stitching, and to me it just looked like a blob – and not a very Christmassy blob either. Lol I had thought I’d give step-by-step updates, so since I have the pics…..
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And here he is in all his glory:
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As an aside, I was reminded by this pattern how much I dislike charts that have you outline randomly with no regard to where the colors actually change or even where there actually is stitching. Does this bug you too?

I have my Christmas in July exchange ready to go. Here’s the ornie I did all stuffed and ready:
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Hopefully it will make someone happy.

Currently listening to: Leonie Swann’s Three Bags Full – think of cozy, village detective story where a village shepherd is killed. Only the detectives are his flock of sheep. So far it has some really cute elements, but I have to say that sometimes I have to concentrate thoroughly to get the little bits of detective character ascribed to each sheep and to translate a sheep’s understanding of humans into human.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great mail! ... and a challenge for your stitching eyes

Look what lucky ole me got!
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My Christmas in July Exchange from Anita in Beliguim. She made me not one but THREE lovely ornies and included all those cool goodies. And the card sings! Lol I got some strange looks in the office when people passed my door as I was opening the card. They’re just jealous because no one is celebrating Christmas in July with them!

Now, for the “quiz” – it’s not so much a quiz as a little challenge for you for entertainment purposes. I started this last night I’m wondering what you think it is. For helpful hints: it is nearly half done; it’s to be a Christmas ornie; it’s pictured in the correct direction.
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Lol I just thought it would be fun to find out what people thought it was.

On other fronts, I’ve neglected picturing my over-1 version of this lovely Isa Vautier’s heart (pardon my blurriness)
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I’m doing it in a Vicki Clayton silk and having a lovely time of it…. So long as the light is good!

Oh, one last thing. I felt I deserved to have a moment of triumph over my weekend desk accomplishments:
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Not bad, eh? Thanks, I’m pretty proud.

Have a lovely rest of your day!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

For Margaret, Vonna, and me......

Despite being Errand Girl (Coldwater Creek in search of skirts -- got 2 shirts but no skirts; Target for Corporate candy -- I really should take a picture one day of the Great Candy Debacle; to my friend's office for heat relief and helping her and research for my office; dinner at the Mall with shopping for my friend's mom's impending bday-- Happy Bday Sandy!; my office for The Great Candy Drop Off -- 7 large Taget bags full; home! -- See? Errand Girl.) yesterday I accomplished some stitching. I'm looking forward to more tonight, but the jury's still out on that.

Anyway, for Vonna and Margaret I made my Halloween fairy my Stitch-a-Thon project --
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See, Vonna, she's got legs and some part of her shoes!!! lol Just for you, dearie.
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Why had I been ignoring her? She's so much fun to work on! Tonight my hopes are to finish her feet and the leaves around them. It's too hot to sleep so I might as well stitch..... then again it's too hot to stitch too many things also. Cross your fingers! -- Thank you, Vonna, for exhorting me to give the girl some legs. And thank you, Margaret, for the impetus to get back to work on her.

And, get this -- I even managed 2 ornie starts and finishes between Thursday and yesterday --
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They are Charland's tree from last year's (?) JCS and a modified LK from JCS (also last year I think). The beads are all courtesy of powwows and the floss used for the tree is Crescent's Belle Soie, but I don't remember the color name right now. I'm kinda hopeful in that I'm all excited about Christmas ornies right now. I'm thinking of declaring next week Ornament Week. Want to join me?

Oh, I got some stash last week that I've neglected to share. A bundle from Carrie's Creation Threads
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She has the most jewel-like colors. Don't you just want to dive right in to those blues?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blessing to the mailman!

Hey everyone! Lookie what I received from Marie for Fair and Square exchange round 7:
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I am a lucky ole soul, aren’t I? Marie stitched me part of LHN’s school sampler in a beautiful read from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. Thank you very, very much, Marie. You made my week!

Hey Vonna – I made progress upwards from your legs ---
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Here’s wishing you all a simply beautiful rest of your day!

Recently completed: John Le Carre’s A Call for the Dead. This is his first Smiley novel for those of you familiar with these things. I got it in Audible’s recent half-price sale and I have to say it’s confirmed my suspicion that some books shouldn’t be listened to. Spy novels are apparently part of that non-audible club. I still like Le Carre, but it’ll be a cuddle up and read not a stitch and listen.
Just completed: Rex Stout’s Not Quite Dead Enough. Darn I love Nero Wolfe. And this one has pigeons – and well-done pigeons as key characters. Ya gotta love it.
Currently reading because I can’t find Sookie #2 – Rachael Caine’s Ill Wind. It might be good, but I’ll take a while to decide since I keep reading with the front part of my brain while the back part wonders where that next Sookie book got off to.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's about darn time we had a weekend! (a Vonna update)

So, how's the weekend treating you? Big plans? Will there be steaks for Father's Day? I'm probably having some curried lentils -- mostly because they're what I have left over. But that's apropos of nothing.

First things first, thank you all for your help on the bear. I'm still torn, but I suppose I can wait to see if anything screams out when he's actually all filled in. Kathryn, the white part of the body is going to be in Silk and Ivory and possibly a little sparkly integrated.

I realize now that I forgot to share the "stash" I got at the needlepoint shop in between tallis bags -- a cool little volume from Susy:
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Yes, if you have a collection of Susy's previous books, this one is made of selections from two of them so maybe you don't "need" this one. But it's a handy little 5x7 size which makes it easier for travel stitching than her usual jumbo-sized books. Some of the detail is missing -- like the numbering of many of the stitches, but what the heck, we're pretty smart folks; we should be able to figure it out. The pictures are clear and there's a little bit of everything in it-- strait stitches, cross stitches, rounds, backgrounds, etc. A perfect balance of handy things that could be useful when packing a canvas for a trip. And, did I mention, cool stitches too. Check out this sample:
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I predict that this little darling will go on the road with me a lot.

Despite the lovely little book, my needlepoint has been missing me because I have been drawn back to my Vierlanden. I don't know; it just called to me. Here's where I've gotten to:
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It has even drawn me off my "Vonna piece" (aka The Legs) [Sorry, Vonna, I can't help but think of you when I see those legs hanging there bodiless. lol] For the record, here's what the legs are supposed to be attached to:
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It's companion will be stitched next to him
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Here's my "progress" picture for today:
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Does it look like I'm having fun????? lol If you can't guess right on that one the first time then there's no hope for you as a gambling person.
For the record, it's official. The tangelo has definitely gone free range. I haven't a clue where it went. Probably to Hawaii without me.... dang it!

It has come to my attention that my dear friend "Martine" has received her little goodie:
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Yes, I know that my dear friend's name is Michele, but I call her anything that starts with "M" because at the Cross Stitch Pals convention last year she kept forgetting fellow Pal, Louise's, name. So Chris and I started calling Michele "Midge" or "Molly" or "Mehitable" etc. what can I say, we're goofy and we were sleep deprived.

Quote of the day: Fandom takes hostages.
Marion – Zombies of the Gene Pool – Sharyn McCrumb [If you don't get it, don't worry. If you do, the chuckle is yours, free. I know it makes me laugh.]

Pleased as punch: that Stephanie won America's Next Top Chef -- proves that you don't have to be a horse's behind to be a chef
Woo hoo: Army Wives is back!
Just finished (again): Sharyn McCrumb's Zombies of the Gene Pool -- title aside this is a mystery. Sharyn's wonderful. If you don't care a thing for the scifi world, then explore her Southern mysteries. If you like NASCAR, try her two NASCAR novels. For me Zombies was an exercise in hanging with an "old friend" and and proof that books strike you in radically different ways depending on "where" you are when you read them.
Can't wait to finish although I'll be sad when it's over: Charlaine Harris' Dead until Dark

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Needlepoint and a "gift" for Vonna

Let’s see, I said I owed you a needlepoint update from the weekend so here you go.

Actually, it is kind of funny in that last weekend I worked at my needlepoint shop. I was filing in for the owner who couldn’t find a baby sitter for her grand daughter. So off I traipsed to the shop with 3 pieces already on stretchers and kitted up and 4 canvases looking to be on bars and possibly threaded. Sure, I knew we had at least to bundles of people coming in to pick out and thread tallis bags for their little darlings who are approaching bar mitzvah time, but neither my buddy (who I was working with) or I expected it to turn out to be Tallis Bags R Us weekend. Sheesh. To our best reckoning at the end of the day we sold 7 tallis bags and threaded all but 1 of them. {For the record a tallis bag is pouch, generally the shape of a large, rectangular couch pillow in which you keep your tallis, or prayer shawl.]

My cross-stitching buddies may not understand, but those of you who needlepoint will. Threading a large canvas is a significant undertaking on a good day, but picking and threading a tallis bag is a MONUMENTAL undertaking. First of all on your average canvas what you are dealing with is one woman (or man, sure, we’ve got a couple guys who frequent the shop without twitching) deciding between silks, wool, perle and shades of colors and maybe picking a stitch to start with. When you do a tallis bag you are dealing with the bar/t mitzvah child, the parent(s), the sibling(s), a child’s friend or two, and the aunt/grandma/family friend who is doing the stitching. So, you take this herd and as a group they debate the virtues of the 200 or so tallis bag canvases we stock – with whining about colors, alignment, etc. Then once a single canvas is settled on you get to the threads. I divide the shoppers into the “sparkly pink pony” crowd and the “adults.” The Sparkly Pink Pony folks are the ones who are lead by a boy/girl who really like pink, purple, unicorns, UCLA football, the Yankees, etc. and really, really, really want their tallis bag to feature that. The bigger the crowd with the Pink Ponies the longer the debate over canvas and threads because the stitchers/parents are trying, without squashing youthful enthusiasm, to impart the idea that in 5 years you’re going to be thoroughly embarrassed by this bag and grandma/auntie/Mrs. Good Samaratin isn’t going to do doing another one for you. The “adult” kids are the ones who can think at least partially forward to a time when lavender won’t be their favorite color and the world won’t revolve around baseball.

So, we did 7 tallis bags on Saturday which meant from a quarter to 10 until 4pm (when we close) I did not one single stitch. I did have some non-customer time, but that was spent staring at a canvas wondering why I’d pulled the threads I did for it. Why is it I created these great needlepoint mysteries for myself. I mean it was soooo obvious when I change the threads used in the stitch guide, but now I’m completely befuddled. Why, oh why don’t I write these things down?????? Hmm, I should have taken a picture of that for you. Oh well, you’ll have to wait until I finally get some stitches in.

By the end of the day the “accomplishment” of my shop day was that my buddy pulled out the section of my Zuni bear that I had stitched. Here’s what it was looking like:
Zuni bear close up

I wanted thicker coverage so later in the day I replaced it all and now I’m much happier:
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The sparkly crosses are Tiara, the blue those sparkles sit in is Gum Nuts, and the turquoise line is Splendor. The next wide line below the Splendor is supposed to be turkey work, but that’s just not happening. I’m going to try a plaited stitch I think.

Question for ya’ll – I simply had to do this bear, but I have no clue what to do with it. The two options so far have been to have it finished to its bear shape and mounted to a pillow top with cording around the bear’s border, or to make him a weighted standing doll. What do you think? Any ideas I am being blind to at the moment.

The only think I “accomplished” at the shop was to restretch one canvas of mine (still not yet started…. It’s been kitted up for at least 6 years! Heaven help me if the moths find it.) and to tape and put on stretchers two small canvases I brought with me – both ornies that I figure are handy to have ready for a quick take along if I have a needlepoint yen.

On an xsing front I have at long last remembered to take a picture of the new patriotic piece I started. Because I “had” to adjust the pattern I was forced to stitch it starting in a bottom corner which leads me to this as a progress pic:
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Every time I look at it I think of Vonna, who commented on one of pictures of my Halloween Fairy some months back that I really needed to give her some legs….. and here I am, legs only. So, Vonna, these legs are for you – and one of these days that Fairy will have legs too! Lol


P.S. Here's how far I got on the office -- not bad for a single day:
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Yeah, that's a bag of potting mix. It's a long story.
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Cyn, the green polka dot thing is a Beanie baby bear covered in shamrocks and wearing a top hat. Since my Ph.D. is in Irish-Ameircan history folks tend to give me Irish-themed things.
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And the tangelo is there somewhere but I'm not sure where. I didn't eat it, bubt I can't find it now. Dang it! It's gone free range!!!!! lol

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Thank you USPS

Hey all. Happy weekend! Well, what's left of it anyway.

Today I'm being grateful to the USPS for promptly delivering some stitching packages for me. Let's see.....

Teresa received her 4th of July F&S exchange:
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It's an adjusted version of Plum Street Sampler's "Liberty Street."

Marie received her F&S round 7 exchange:
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That's an adjusted version of a pattern whose name escapes me at the time. The funny thing is the same day Marie received this she also got an exchange from another group where the person did the same pattern! Of course, both of us stitching it adjusted it differently. lol

Kathryn received her PIF
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It's been so long I can't remember where the pattern is from, but the thread is a Silk and Colors something-or-other.

And Barbara received her PIF:
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I had to stitch those bunnies!

They took far too long for me to finish and even longer for me to mail..... see the post a couple back about my post-office-visiting issue.

Well, I have piles and piles to do yet today. Due to office lameness here is what I'm facing:
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Wish me luck!

Oh, yeah, I have a needlepoint update for you, but that'll have to wait til later.

And thanks for the interest in a fantasy SAL. I'll probably set up a blog for anyone interested later this month. I figure a spot for visiting dragons and other fantastic stitching would be a cool place to hang out.

Recently finished: Rex Stout's A Family Affair -- outstanding! If I could reincarnate a mystery writer to hale and hearty writing form it would be Stout.
Wishing I was reading (instead of working): Charlaine Harris' Dead until Dark
Looking eagerly forward to: a new season of Army Wives starting tonight!!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Quick question

I'm ruminating on options. So now I'm wondering if anyone is interested in joining me in an open pattern "fantasy SAL?"-- dragons, castles, spaceships, oh my.

It's needlepoint day tomorrow. Wish me luck! I'm not overly hopeful fro progress since already a half dozen people have said they'll be dropping by the shop for thread choosing/stitching help.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A couple more bite the dust

Sure, I know some day my stitching streak will come to an end, but for now I seem to be making unaccountable progress. Over the weekend I managed a whopping 3 finishes! Yes, they are small, but they are still finishes and I'm happy dancing over them.

First I started AND finished Shepherd's Bush tiny America sampler kit -- I still need to iron it and attach the button, but the stitching is all done
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If you have an in with SB could you please share my pet peeve with their sits that come with matting -- they cut the mat as if it doesn't need to go under the edge of the frame moulding which means when framed the mats look really strange... like somehow you were too lame to realize you needed an extra 1/4 inch on all sides to make the piece look right.

I also finished two in process pieces:
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That's Blackbird Designs ornie from one of the JCS issues

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this is last week's leftover -- Cherished Stitches' ornie from one of the JCS issues

I've also started another new piece, but someone lame (ahem) forgot to take a picture of it. Oh well, it'll wait. And, yes, I know, I needed another in-process piece like I needed a hole in my head.

Belatedly I can share a pic of a PIF I finally sent to Mel --
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Thanks for the opportunity to stitch for you, Mel!

I even made it to the post office-- you know, that shouldn't be a minor miracle considering the post office is only across the street from my office! lol How is it so difficult for me to leave my office once I'm in? Anyone else have that problem. Anyway, I made it to the post office which means some packages should be arriving to some folks soon. Fingers crossed.....

Say, did anyone catch the premier of In Plain Sight? I taped it and will probably watch tonite. I have high hopes. If it doesn't pan out at least I have the return of The Closer and Burn Notice to look forward to.