Thursday, June 30, 2016

So. Very. Tired.

I should be asleep.  Actually, I might be asleep and just not know it.   Maybe that's it -- I'm just dreaming of being a responsible blogger.

In my dream, O tell you about getting exhausted in a good way by wandering The Mall in D.C. enjoying the American Folklife Festival.  This year it featured the Basque heritage and the state of California.  Don't get me wrong, it was fun, but it's smaller than it used to be, and it almost seems these days like the states invited don't really put out much of an effort.  Sure, California is my home, but jeez what little bit they did was so boring.  There's a lot of culture, talent, and heritage in California, but the only craftsman working today was a mask carver from Mexico..... they couldn't even manage to scare up a single CALIFORNIA craftsman?????  Ok, done grousing.  The Basque side of the festival was fun and the weather was pretty near perfect so the whinging will cease.

Generally, these gentleman encased TIGHTLY in sheepskins do their bit in January-- I bet it's a lot more comfortable than in the height of summer.

I decided that how tight the bells are tied to them is only fair considering the years of corsets we women endured.

Lovely weavings were showcased--

I was particularly fond of the giant tea pot --- it's easily two feet across

And I loved the woman who for 40 years has been mending nets seaside--

In my stitching world the flag came out to play --- those stars take me FOREVER!   there is no reason they should, but they do.

This Celtic cross has not actually gotten stitched on while I've been here, but I'm hoping showing him will embarrass me in to working on him.  At the moment I am leaning to the overdyed Kreinik for the shamrocks.

I'm making good progress on my Kathy Schenkel piece....

My angel got her wings!   Yea!  She may only take me 6 years to finish.....

Before I thought to pull Think or the Celtic cross back out, I was "forced" to start this awesome plaid snowflake.  I got a who two dozen stitches in I think.  This is how I get myself in trouble with ta gigantic pile of UFOs

Ok, I believe my dream of finishing a blog post like a good person is coming to an end......   Any second now I'll roll over and wake up..........    nite nite.

Don't forget -- come on over and join the cozy mystery readathon in a couple weeks... just think, if even for only a couple hours, you could be part of an international community of people enjoying the bliss of reading :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

It's not all gin and giggles......

... but you might not be able to prove it by me.

Sure, I'm on the road.   Sure I'm taking some vactaion days, but lordy I've spent a lot of time working.  And yet I feel so much more rested and I've been having what feels like more than my share of fun (possibly that's a throw back to early American roots-----I can't possibly deserve all this fun, can I?)

Well, Also harkening back to those Colonial roots....   I've managed to make a circuit of some nice potent potables.   Hey, the Founding Fathers did a lot of distilling and brewing, and Jefferson did his best to develop an American wine industry!   So, really, I've been doing my part as a good American!

We had dinner with our friend, Margaret from Team in Training (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and that was accompanied by an al fresco Manhattan --

After the dishes were done I moved on to a Perfect Manhattan (add another kind of Vermouth) and all was right with the world.

Tonight (and several other nights) there has been wine accompanying the evening ---   This particular glass was for my niece who probably really needed it.  The littlest great nephew banged his head pretty badly at school today earning himself two big lumps and a trip to the ER.  He's fine and chipper if a bit lumpy, but mommy needs a couple glasses of vino at least!

And it hasn't all been booze---  remember please that my dear brother-in-law presented me with a box of  chocolates upon my arrival.   I've had one about every other evening or so.  Honest!  

You don't get to see the first one I ate because it didn't dawn on me to take a picture of it before consumption--- I can't help it, if you saw these in person you would understand that they cause brain short circuits.

This mint darling of a 5 nights ago was amazing!!!!

Two nights ago it was this darling with the gold smear--

OMG, gentle reader, it was peanut butter -- subtle, silky, delectable peanut butter cream.    I'm still smiling thinking about it.

I even made some stitching progress -- this has been helped immensely over the last two days by the advent of the Barrett Jackson car auction live broadcast.  The BIL is a car guy and years ago he hooked me on Barrett Jackson.   I learn all sorts of fascinating things watching -- things no one really needs to know, but I find it all fascinating.

I've been explaining to friends that this one "is as far as I can go" because I forgot the thread for the wings and the dots.   But actually, that's not true.  The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that I could do the hair.  Sigh.   Dearest gentle reader, do you have any ide how much I hate long-and-short, random stitches????   Sigh.   What was that Scarlett said..... Tomorrow is another day.....

I'm sending her to a finisher who doesn't need takeaway and does fancy shapes, but I am seriously considering doing maybe 2 or 3 rows of something around her -- maybe green (like the Christmas tree she will hang on), or a maroon or red.  Thoughts?

Because I "couldn't" work on the angel, I was forced to start a new canvas (because the 4 xs projects I brought with me didn't fight hard enough for my attention I guess.   Anyway, I started this Kathy Schenkel which will also be a Christmas ornie --

Initially I couldn't decide if I wanted more sparkle int he peachy pink --

But, hey, I tied off and kept going so it's going to be just fine!   Besides, I clearly remember it being the only appropriately colored semi-sparkly thread I could find.  So it's just perfect!

Well, that's my story for now.....   working, drinking, stitching, plotting my reading {don't forget that you can join me a a bunch of like-minded literary goof balls in the Save Our Cozies Readathon  on July 16th --- my list-making self gloried in adding a list to the right side bar here to track what I thought would be maybe 10-12 possible titles I thought I'd like.  But since it's me, on day one I had 18 and now I think it's up to 20.  And I *know* that even if I get all day to read I'll get at best 2 done.}, and viewing.......   such a life.

There I am!   the little freshly manicured toes peaking out around the laptop.  Me in the Yellow Suite (formerly, and sometimes still, the Blue Suite-- the accents all lend to blue and the walls used to be blue) --- the BIL's mother's quilt on the bead, my great grandmother's lace framed on the wall, and Barrett Jackson on tv.   I hope you at least as content as I am at this moment!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Teach a Publisher a Lesson (and enjoy yourself at the same time)

Gentle Reader -- In case you hadn't heard there's a flurry of nonsense in the publishing world.  It seems that in general publishing houses are cutting back their rosters -- most especially onerous is Random House/Berkley Publishing Group and what I can only call their "attack" on the cozy mystery genre.  I can hear you now, "And why, Ruth, do stitchers care?"

Well you care, my friends, among the writers dropped by The Morons of Penguin was Monica Ferris.   Monica, too perfectly wonderful for words, Ferris.  If you haven't read her, shame on you!   She writes the absolutely perfect Crewel World mysteries series based around a lovely needlework shop in Minnesota.  Ms. Ferris, is guilty of making me laugh out loud numerous times, and I am fairly certain she has a hidden camera in my LNS because I swear I know these people she writes about.

Anyway. that's by way of introducing my point of the day.  a bunch of people have banded together to host a Cozy Mystery Readathon next month.  24 hours (or any portion thereof) dedicated to the joy of reading cozies, talking about them all over social media, and hopefully impressing upon publishers what utter and complete idiots they are.  Links to sign up and follow all the excitement are:

Save Our Cozies Facebook  there's always lots of chatter and conviviality in that group (if you join the group, on its files page they keep a running list of what authors and series have been cancelled and such plans for said series as they know)

Save Our Cozies Readathon blog   with instructions on how to sign up

Save Our Cozies Readathon Goodreads Group

If you care to, come and join -- you may find new friends and new authors, and maybe even some will become both at one time.  There are nifty prizes in the readathon too, but mostly it's just fun to "virtually" hang out with people who love words as much as you do.

In the other part of the world.......

It's been pretty here in Northern VA.  Lunch today was a picnic in Rock Creek Park on the way back from Johns Hopkins.

A dinner of misc nibbles (and my thoroughly yummy cucumber/tomato salad) was accompanied by a lovely environment ,,,,,

A little stitching has happened.  I've made small bits of progress on Painted Pony's Home of the Brave canvas --

I've been at her for years.  Yes, i know that's embarrassing, but it's true.  I did parts and then put her away.  Then I'd haul her out for an afternoon and then she'd go away again.   I think because she (and her sister canvases which I also own) are for me, they don't ever get their time n the sun.  But since it's trip time, lots of small canvases came out to play.   At the moment she lacks the stars (allegedly those are supposed to be beads but I think that might be too much give that nothing else is beaded and it's not like the stars are a focal point), the trees, the eyes, the blue dots in the skirt, and the wings.   I'm planning to send her to a finisher who does amazing shapes without the stitcher have to round things out with background or even give takeaway rows.   Let's hear it for our awesome finishers!

Also likely to get some needling soon is LK Flip-It Holly --

I've also been at this an absurd amount of time -- something like 6 months at least.... maybe a year.  And, yes, I did change the colors on this one.  How observant of you.   Look how close she is!   I know I can hammer her out.

I want Brave and Holly done for their own sakes but also so I can start a needle in Think by Kathy Schenkel--

As you can see she's all kitted out and ready to go.      I also have Holly's Flip-It partner, Stocking kitted up and ready to start too.   In short, I'm itching for finishes so I can earn new starts.

But as much as I want to stitch I am currently obsessed with reading.  It's one of those months where my Nero Wolfe shirt "Go to hell I'm reading" is indicative of my motto.   Anything that interrupts my reading --- meals, friends, emergencies, dinner, work, etc is too annoying for wards.

Half of today was spent at Johns Hopkins with The BIL, and they have some nice art there.  This "lace" is one elevator lobby --

Every time I've gone this installation makes me smile.

Until tomorrow...... go on, go sign up for the readathon now  :)  


Stitching Accomplished:
nearing completion on Painted Pony's "Home of the Brave" canvas

Reading Completes:
Franklin W. Dixon -- The Missing Chums
M.C. Beaton/Marion Chesney -- The Flirt

Reading Actively in Progress:
Ngaio Marsh -- Black As He's Painted

Stitching Finishing Hopes:
Home of the Brave

General duties I need to remember:
Cookie baking!  Sheesh I need to get going on that before my BIL runs out of the chocolates I brought him.
Garden tending---must stay up to date with my watering!
Plan a cocktail hour for local friends -- drinks and giggles, that's the plan.
Make it over to The Waste Knot to pay my respects (and practice trickle down economics)
Work.  Dang it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Finishing things is almost as cool as vacation

Hey there, look who's back already.  Must be vacation perkiness setting in.  That or having a finish to share.

This little guy who got started at the airport on the way here is now complete.  It's from Pickleberry and I did it in Anchor and Kreinik.  The little sheep needle minder is a fresh addition to my life.  I picked him up at In Stitches in Alexandria.   Maybe I will call him Alex though I don't think he looks much like an Alex.

 Aside from my stitching finish, I have also been making headway on a lovely box of custom chocolates that my ever so kind brother-in-law got for me from a chocolatier in Richmond.  I am doing my best to make sure that I don't go hog wild on them..... one every other day.  Yeah, that's the plan.

The reason I'm here on the East Coast "enjoying" the humidity is that I'm hanging with the BIL while my sister is in Peru on a marathon vacation -- part marathon, part vacation.   I wonder if there's an LNS there.   Here's her group kicking off their adventures in Cusco.

So while she's off enjoying Cusco Day (the day she arrived happened to be the city's annual celebration of itself) and getting ready for Inca adventures and trips to the Amazon, I'm adventuring about NoVa.  This morning found the BIL and I at the Alexandria farmers market --

I've got some time...... the squash above and bowls below may find a new home next weekend.....

And check out the yummy yarn!  That cream basket is cotton and it is so soft!

Produce from this morning's shopping is now happily marinating in the fridge......

After the market we headed to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for an inspirational brunch for Honored Team Mates in Team and Training.   My BIL is the Honored Team Mate for Team Tom which to date over the last 6-8 months raised $201,000!  GO TEAM !!!

In short, while my sister is off gallivanting in South America, I am "struggling" through life in Northern VA --

It's tough work, but someone's gotta do it, right?


To exercise my love of lists--

Vacation Stitching Wins:
Pickleberry snowflake heart

Vacation Reading Finishes:
Monica Ferris -- And Then You Dye
Franklin W. Dixon -- The Secret of the Caves
Victoria Hamilton -- A Deadly Grind

Next Stitching Targets:
LK Snippet -- Holly
Painted Pony -- Home of the Brave angel

At Bat in the Reading Realm:
Franklin W. Dixon -- The Missing Chums
Steve Perry -- The Man Who Never Missed

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nearing Summer with Dragging Feet

Somehow, though I have tons I could say, I can't work out what to say.  I have started this post a few times and only ended up deleting it when I stared at the blank screen without a clue as to what to say.
I've decided to go with "say something" just to get yourself going as a strategy.

I trolled pictures and came up with an embarrassment of missing things.  This little dolphin came back to me from the finisher looking very adorable.  He's mine -- all mine! He commemorates my childhood trips with mom to Sea World.  One time I got a stuffed dolphin which I remember to this day because the grey fur on the sides was sewed on so you could only pet it "properly" from the tail to the nose.  I don't know how old I was at the time, but my mom was an amazing seamstress and I knew all about nap.  I remember telling my mom that they should only let people sew these toys together if they knew about how to construct them properly.  :)

This half-done Santa is actually done now and off to the finisher.  He was fun even though I struggled with the background.  I had selected a soft yellow ThreadWorx, but everyone but me thought it was awful.  It took a couple weeks of searching the shop to find a thread that worked--- *every* blue in the world clashes with that teal hat.  I couldn't go white because of the wings.  Light purples looked hideous.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when the color that worked was pink.  Pink?  How did that happen?  The pink quandary is somewhat balanced in my memory by how much fun I had experimenting with the beard.

This little guy is done too.  Nope, I could have sworn I had a finished pick of this too, but Heaven knows where that is.  Possibly it went holidaying with the finished Santa pic of the canvas above.

I recently became obsessed with this piece.  It's for my sister, but no surprise since I sent her a picture of the canvas to see if it made her smile instantly as it did for me.  It did so it will be hers.  It's going to be a tray.  I will do the background in wine Silk and Ivory.

I'm fond of both the grey-gold Crystal whatsitsface I did the glass outlines in and the Kreinik copper metallic for the words.

And now phase two... this is my current obsession -- I pulled him to travel with.  It kept me good company at the airports and on the planes over the weekend.  I got to spend extra unplanned time enjoying Texas hospitality because of the extreme weather that settled over Dallas as my plane was trying to go through.  It's not like I could do anything about the delays so I stitched and did what I could with my impromptu overnight in Dallas.

Before this trip east, my Dove candy had a message for me.  LOL   I shared its thoughts with my dear buddy, Anita, who said I shouldn't ignore important guidance like this.  She tried her hardest to convince me to ignore packing the day before my flight and go book shopping with her instead because obviously I needed more books.

Silly Anita -- I already had these packed... and a Kindle.... and 26 audio books checked out from my local library on my laptop.

When I finally arrived in DC, my brother-in-law had a collection of packages waiting for me--  

I think I'm set for reading material for now.  [And, for the record, I believe I'm set for stitching too -- I brought 3 new, small cnavases; 1 small canvas to finish; by giant flag cross stitch; and 3 xs ornies.  And you know what, when I was picking up the magnifier, I almost bought two patterns.....  I think I have a stash problem.  LOL]

So far on this trip the BIL and I have had one adventure (my sister is off gallivanting in exotic locales so us domestic sorts are staying here at home) -- we were passing George Washington's mill and distillery (on the way to an LNS to get me a small clamp magnifier) and we swung in because neither of us had ever toured the place.  It was wonderful fun and a beautiful day.

Thanks for being patient with me........ Maybe this will help me start getting in gear with writing again.