Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hey everybody help me with a bday!!!!!!!!!!

I'm a lame a** friend. I missed Chris' bday. It was over the weekend. Can you help me out of my puddle of ooze and go wish her a happy birthday for me? Pleeeeeeeze.....

Chris' blog

While you're at it ask her if she's hung any of the dozens of framed xs pieces she has languishing around her house... heee heee
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See, don't they look lonely. Ok, maybe it's not dozens, but its quite a few and they deserve places of honor!

Oh man, she's gonna kill me. Remind me not to answer my phone at work for a couple days. lol

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Thanks for your kind words on my pathetic stitching progress. I swear my needle takes out rather than puts in stitches.

Kathy - yes, those stocking are needlepoint. Somehow when I think stockings I think needlepoint or the quilted one with the funky fur cuff and giant pompom my mom made me. I even have several xs stocking patterns that I love, but I never get to them.

Cindy -- I tell you what, in your honor I'm digging out Gathering of Hearts today. Want to stitch with me? I mean all you have left is those little ole sqaures.... you can do it!

Ok, I WILL do the TNNA report today. I WILL!

Here's my version of the grand entry:
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It's not the main door, but even that didn't have the usual fru-frus this year I don't think. I was shepharding my buddy Jenn and she'd done something to her ankle so we weren't walking far or fast... and I'm sure you all understand limping through a needlework show as preferable to resting your banged up ankle for faster healing. Oh come on, you know you'd limp rather than miss a minute of the show.
Anyway, just inside the door you see the edge of Danji's booth. Maybe this picture will serve as a reminder to me that I really, really want to do some of her pots. Trust me they're stunning. For instance here's a couple--
Danji blue and pink pot J-946
Danji teall pot J-948
I actually have several Danji canvases already in my hoard including this one which I had highlighted yesterday as a possible in my planning for the year:
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She has a sample of it stitched in her catalog:
Danji designs garden gate
I can only hope mine can turn out as nicely!

Be that as it may, I need to say that no photos are allowed inside TNNA. Now some vendors when politely asked let you take pictures of canvases you are considering for clients so I do have some to share.
Here's TNNA's own shot of the exhibit florr:
It's enough to make you drool, right?

One designer we always spend a lot of time with is Sew Much Fun. They are from Canada and do the most amazing dimensional animals and soft color palatte pieces. Jenn and my shop's teacher have a tradition of doing one of the animals every year. So far I think they've done a cow, lion, turtle, poodle, and something else. This year's purchase is the kangaroo---
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But imagine how hard it is to pick when you have all those options. And that's only half of their dimensional animal series!
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That's yours truly taking a really goofy picture of herself. For the record, I want to do that vases canvas above the mirror.

We spent a while chatting with a new exhibitor Barbara Bergsten. She had one of my favorite canvases of the day:
Barbara Bergsten Won the War
I have to do it. It's just wonderful.
Barbara also has a blog where she has pictures of her booth (but not her charming mother who was helping her at the show), and she also posts stich guides and tutorials on her blog. It's a place of great wonder and delight, trust me! Go visit her and say "hi."

It was a successful weekend for the shop in terms of shopping (looks like we're going to get the full line of dellica beads, and we checked out Baroque Silk which has a great lustre, matches perfectly with the Soy Lustre line, and can be used unstripped(!!!) or stripped at the needler's preferance), but also at the end of Sunday they announced that my owner had won one of the silent auction gifts-- a basket of goodies from the designer Alice Peterson--
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Alice Peterson has amazing needlepoints one of which I simply have to have:
alice peterson johnny jumpups
Those are Johnny Jump Ups and I HAVE to have them!
They also have many, many other wonderful canvases. Say, for instance, this one:
alice peterson
Imagine that all workedup with special stitches and hoards of cool fibers! It make me swoon..... but ti'd still take me forever to put that first needle in. lol

Now for those of you having to shovel stuff right now, here's a little San Diego jealousy for you. Our hotel room was on the very end of the hall so when we entered we were facing walls of glass. ie. we had stunning views! (pardon my fingers)
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That giant building with the spiky mether end is the convention center, and yes, it has tennis corts on its roof--
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A sculture on the upper level of the convention center:
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Sorry, I didn't make it up there to find out what it was called.
The convention center fronts the marina which makes for lovely ocenfront walks--
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And views of our hotel:
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We were on the point facing away from where I'm standing to take this picture in the tower closest to me.

The convention center has a nifty way of controlling the advance of creeping vines. Sure they get trimmed by a crack gardening crew too, but the edging is brilliant:
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And they use their vines to emphasize thier sculptures:
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There's this nifty walkway between the hotel and the convention center -- it's thin and winding and planted like a jungle. It would be claustraphoic, because you are wedged in between the giant walls of the convention center and the hotel, just you on this winding path with lots of plants, but it's really well lit and half way through there's this:
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... hanging waaaaay up there. And it makes this....
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... along the walls and across the walk depending on the time of day. It's really, really cool.

Finally here's my gleeful friend, Jenn fending off my attck when she smuggly pointed out that all she did to "fix" my camera (which I was sure I'd broken because it stopped showing me what I was picturing in its image screen) was hit the button labeled quite clearly "disp."
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She's allowed to crow. I felt like quite the idiot, relieved, but an idiot nonetheless.

Toodles for now. All this talk of stitching is making me itch to get needling!

Stitching at last

Hello all. I meant to be here earlier. I was a slug all day. All blooming day! It was really kinda nice. I meant to do some cooking and some office stuff, oh and in the wee small, INSANE part of my mind I meant to "finish" my Vierlanden sampler. Well, you know the old addage about the road to hell?

Anyway, I know I only have one last bit of Christmas to catch up on, but I have a hankering to talk stitching so we'll deal with the last days of Christmas later.

Here's what I've been up to on the stitching front--
I was sort of half-hearted at stitching in DC once I got the ornaments finished for the family. But I did manage some progress on Trilogy's Gathering of Hearts --
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I finished the blue-hearted side and put in those miniscule 2 oner-1 purple stitches on the right. Pathetic, huh.

Over the tail end of the holiday was spent getting my sister restarted on her Christmas stocking adventure:
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The above is for my BIL. I'd done the background a couple years ago so I got restarted on it with the face. He collects nutcrackers and has a fetich for "big reds" so it seemed appropriate for him..... I should explain that I picked out the stocking for the two of them at TNNA one year. My sister decided while working on stocking for both of the grandchildren that she liked doing what I call "fiddly bits" so we agreed I'd do all the "big stitching" and she'd do all the "fiddly bits." It's an arrangement I find most salubrious.
By the time I'd left my sister had taken over working on Nutty. I'd finished the face, she put in the red for the mouth and moved on the the chest.
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Go, Sis, go!

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That's my sister's stocking. She wanted one with "lots of stuff." I think it fits. Lots and lots of stuff there.
I did the train in Neon Rays. And the blurry pic is of my test of Fyre Works soft sheen for the ornament balls. I think it works nicely. Sorry about the blur; it's what you get when I photograph at 2am.

In between DC and here I've worked on a small number of projects and haven't finished as darned thing. But here goes the report --
Progress on the Vierlanden from this....
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through this in DC....
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to this the other day...
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I've made it further on this today, but frankly looking at this leaves me with one simple thought: How do all you fast stitchers do it????????

Being as the reason for me going to TNNA is I work at a needlepoint shop I thought I ought to take needlepoint with me so I picked up a small piece I've had on bars and completely unstarted since 2006! Sheesh. Unlike cross stich, for me the hardest thing to do is START a needlepoint. I stare at it and stare at it. It's not the thread; I'm ostensibly quite good at picking threads and colors. Somehow it's the act of committing to stitches. I don't know maybe it's because on needlepoints part of the public "judgement" is based on stich choices? I just sit and stare at the canvas with the threads all around working out a campaign of attack, thinking about stitches, scheming about what would go with what, what wouldn't look good next to what, what threads would work/not work with a given plan of stitches. Honest. I just sit and stare. I've spent many a whole day at the shop just looking at a canvas and poking it around the table. Frankly, it's kninda embarassing.

Anyway, the canvas of choice for TNNA was a little piece to be mounted in a clock --
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(I did a lot of it upon our return from San Diego while watching the rebroadcasts of the inaugural-- it seemed appropriate.)
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I didn't bring the gold house sitting nor did I bring enough of the background DMC. so it sits waiting for me for now.

Today I even hauled out my semi-decent listing of stash and began the contemplation of what I want to try and accomplish in 2009. I'll have to get back to you on that since as of this morning I think I'd highlighted as potentials for the year a half dozen WIPs (including the Virelanden AND my Beatrix Potter Quaker), 2-3 dozen new needlepoints, and at least 3 dozen new cross stitch starts (including a Chatelaine mandala). Sigh. I should really get a grip!

Ok, I intended to give you a TNNA report, but it's 1 blooming A.M. so I'm going to bed! Keep good thoughts and maybe you'll get TNNA tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom and me at the stunning mosaic orange
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Today my mom would be 79. I made a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. You're welcome to have some, but I have to warn you that Betty Crocker lied about how rich and chocolatey the cake would be.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hollly and the Ivy when they are both full grown....

.... will go to live in Williamsburg.....

Sure I'm behind. I know. Trust me, I know! But I've been busy. It's hell at my office. It's hell AND I'm busy at my office. And there's another round of cuts coming soon. I may be ok, butthen again. Sigh.

On a far nicer note I am ensconsed in house-sitting wonderland now. I get up early to water the gardens every morning (because, sorry winter-climate folks, but it's been averaging nearly 80 every day here for more than a week). I pick flowers. I chat with hummingbirds (honest, I do). I stocked a fresh "honey bell" seed cone, but as yet I have not seen the alleged American goldfinch that frequents the yard. I've watched Anthony Bourdain chat up locals from Venice to Puerto Rica, I enjoy a good dose of Bargain Hunt every morning, and I fully immerse myself nightly in Barrett-Jackson.

If you've never Barrett-Jacksoned before, I'd say give it a try. It'll be on the Speed channel on Saturday for 10 hours and they on Sunday for 4 more hours. It's a classic car auction of the most amazing mobile art. Ok, I have to admit, I don't get GTOs. Sure they're fast, but they aren't pretty. I myself am apparently a 50s Bel Air or Thunderbird girl, although the 2-toned Nash they auctioned off Tuesday was lovely ... hmmm maybe I'm just a sucker for the "Indian turquoise" and white paint combos? Anyway, I find it all so very fascinating. Tomorrow they'll be auctioning off the very first ever Thuderbird... as in the VERY first one ever, not just the first model, not just the first year, but THE VERY FIRST Thunderbird car made. They'll also be auctioning off some modern day race cars (they did a Dale Earnhardt racer today), a very first production car for next year's Shelby edition, an antique plane, Speed Racer(!), and a Batmobile. See, a little something for everyone! Watch it-- check it out online -- you can see the cars, check out the sales records, think about the car grandpa had and how you should have kept it,... It really is a ton of fun.

Now my firends Jennifer and Judy would want to point out at this point how utterly hysterical this penchant of mine for Barrett-Jackson viewing is. You see, here I am insisting on staying up half the night so I can see both the first and repeat airings of the days sales of expensive antique cars when I don't even drive! lol It's true. It's weird. I know. But I don't much care that it's weird. I've watched B-J stem to stern thus far.... thus far being the key there because I'll be missing the 10 hours of tomorrow's broadcast because I'll be at...... wait for it...... are you prepared to be jealous??? You sure? I'll be at TNNA -- that's The National Needlework Association tradeshow. Yup, I'll be helping my needlepoint shop shop WHOLESALE in a sea of opportunities! Oh my, you're looking a tad greenish. Whatever could the matter be??? hee heee I promise a report Sunday night... ok, maybe Monday... at least sometime soon.

Now, back to Williamsburg. It's a recreated colonial village. Some of the buildings are original, some have been added to bring back the full "village effect." In the trade we call it "living history." It's fun all year long, but I especially like it around Christmas... even more so if it's a temperate year as it was this year. You can take tours with famous or not so famous historical figures (apparently my BIL once heckled Thomas Jefferson! Is that even legal?????) or you can prowl on your own. I remember quite fondly a particularly freezing Christmas one year where we took a night-time stroll with a historical guide. It was very wonderful and I was never quite so happy to see hot cider as I was that night! If you are an adult of "advanced experience" you can wander at your own pace, sit a spell where ever, have a nosh at one of the inns that line the main street, and stroll some more when you want to. If you have little energetic ones you can let them race their legs off down the cobbletoned streets and happily let them sleep their way back to your hotel in the backseat of the car. In short, it's great for everyone who has a fondness for history and quaintness. It is a couple hours from DC, but worth the trip if you are so inclined. Oh, they also host what I consider a cool sounding but hideously expensive stitching event every year called something like "Christmas in Williamsburg." Sound like fun but it'll have to wait until I win that lottery for which I keep forgetting to get tickets.

Among the sights.....
Governor's Mansion--
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which they do a lovely fireworks display over for the 4th of July and New Years.

The streets are lined with period shops which will educate you on what life was like (as well as sell you goodies), period homes (which are inhabited by real life normal folks who have to agree to keep the outward appearance (even the view through their windows) in keeping with Colonial America (no TVs or cars visible, etc) (oh and you have to decorate for Christmas), and opportunities to learn about life in the colonial era.
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I think my favorite was this guy...
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Ok, you want me to decorate for Christmas. I'll decorate for Christmas! lol

the shoemaker's shop:
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the dressmaker's shop:
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more of "town"--
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Learning experiences include "strolling" (ok, standing and chewing) oxen--
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which are really cool when they..... err do something liquish.... ewww grandma, did you see him?!
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You can stroll passed the sights or book a carriage ride--
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Should I have gone with "Please put a penny in the old man's hat" for a title? Apparently I was fascinated with hats that day. I must say, they were particularly photogenic.

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Post Williamsburg, my nephew took us to see his office where we met some authentic wildlife --
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There were 6 deer in the group, but somehow they resented the grand nephew's attempts to make friends.
Or maybe they resented his efforts to look like a lion (as in the kind that guard the entrances to buildings.... he's fascinated with those right now):
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In my nehpew's office we met his jungle (that'd be the nephew)--
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that would be his wife's picture subsumed in what my BIL calls the nephew's "kudzu" (yes we all know it's a common houseplant, it just seems so kudzuesque)
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And that, dear friends, is how a geek allows for plants to keep creeping. lol For the record from the vantage point of the first picture, that's behind me, behind his door.

Have a lovely day -- I promise to have fun at TNNA for you ... heee heee