Saturday, February 28, 2015

Long week and a check-ins

I travel fairly frequently for work, but it is usually Monday through Friday. My trip last week was Sunday through Friday and that extra day was huge. Combined with the three-hour time difference and the 12+ hour days, that extra day just about did me in. There was no blog reading, or much of anything at all for that matter. I would get back to the hotel and be asleep before 8:00. BUT I did get to see a fair bit of the state of Washington -it's on my list of places to go back to so that I can actually do all the touristy things - I did tour four sewage treatment plants (do I have a great job or what?!?), but most folks don't have those on their list of places to go and things to see when they're on vacation (or any other time I imagine).

I should be home for a few weeks before I head out again, so maybe I can catch up on my blog reading (which is probably all I will be doing as I am so far behind that I don't think I will be able to leave comments), stitching and reading.

I did finish up on piece before I left and it is my February

entry. Here is the completed Janie Hubble Designs contribution to The Sampler Life's Yahoo Group's SAL:

The pin is a placement reference for the next block, which should be released tomorrow.  I don't know which designer has done March's block, but I am looking forward to seeing and stitching it.

If you are interested in participating, the SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus. You should be able to click on the badge above or in the sidebar and go to her site.

And one last SAL/Blog hop for the month is

DESIGN allows us to highlight a designer each month, all we have to have is a current WIP. This month, I'm going with Lizzie*Kate. Linda is not a new designer, she's been designing for the cross stitch market since 1996, but she consistently puts out new and fun designs. The one I am currently stitching is Holly and Hearts Sampler.    This is the finished piece from her website.  This is the fourth or fifth Lizzie*Kate piece I have stitched and I have an equal number in my stash and several others on my wish list. Her color choices could be described as non-traditional but the colors all work well together. I guess whimsical best describes her style. Her pieces range from Snippets (5"X5" or smaller) to larger pieces. Many of her pieces use over-dyed threads and buttons and charms, but DMC substitutions are included and the charms, while cute, are only extras and not major parts of the design. She has a number of kits which I have found to be very high quality with more than enough thread to finish the piece. If you are looking for a fun stitch, this is really the designer for you.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February Stitch from Stash update

As DSon said, "This map tells me one thing... it's COLD!!" Lake Ontario doesn't look frozen over, which we both found strange, but the prevailing winds may be pushing the ice away from shore (or maybe it's a strange shadow) but brrrrr covers the rest of it.  Our high the last couple of days has been significantly lower than our normal low. Today's forecast is for the ever popular "wintery mix" (snow, sleet and freezing rain). I am just glad I did all my running around yesterday and am safe and warm inside today. I am traveling tomorrow for work, heading to Washington for the week, so I do hope it makes the change over to rain earlier than expected as I really don't want to drive to the airport in ice.

Before I head out for the week, it's time for February's
update. Mel at Epic Stitching hosts SFS and started the challenge, and it certainly can be, to help us all put a bit of a curb on our stash spending. We get $25 (or your currency equivalent) each month to spend on new stash. If you don't spend it all, you can roll the balance over to the next month so by the end of the challenge, you could have $150 spending spree. We can also earn some extra money for finishes but I am not taking advantage of that portion.  So, for February:
Carried forward: $25.
February Budget: $25
Available: $50
Spent: $0
To March: $50
I had one new start from stash this month: 
Janie Hubble Designs contribution to The Sampler Life's Yahoo Group SAL
I also stitched on several WIPs but the only one that had any progress since I last posted pictures is Shakespearean Fantasy. It went from here:

 To here:

If you look really hard, you can see green!! Yes, I finally stitched something other than black or dark navy blue.

I hope to finish the Janie Hubble piece this afternoon and put Holly and Hearts back on the frame for this evening.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Computers. You can't live with them....

...and you can't throw them out the window - even though the satisfaction level for that would be very high. I had been having issues with my computer for a while, slow loading, hang-ups, just general awfulness, but lived with it. Last weekend I got so frustrated that I just turned it off and decided that I could live without it.  That thought lasted about as long as it took to think it. Fortunately, I was on travel for work last week and wouldn't be using it, so The Hubs took it on in to our friendly, local Geek Squad for diagnosis and repair. It came home this morning with lots of new memory and a brand new hard drive. No more slow loading, freezing or any of the other irritating things I had been dealing with, but between the computer issues and the travel, I am late for three check-ins.

So back tracking a bit to last weekend, I had check-ins for  and YOTA. Both SALs are designed to help us work our way through those WIPs that may be causing some guilty feelings when we look at them that just need a little bit of attention to get them through either the mid-project blahs or finished. WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and YOTA is hosted by Pull the Other Thread.  I have a list of projects that I would like to either finish or make progress on this year and worked on three of them, Christmas Presence, Shakespearean Fantasy, and Holly and Ivy Sampler.

Christmas Presence with a few more colors added. Stitched on 28-count Antique White Jobelan (1 over 1) with DMC
Shakespearean Fantasy still just two colors but the blob in the upper left corner is larger!! Stitched on 28-count Antique White Jobelan (1 over 1) with DMC
Holly and Ivy Sampler by Lizzie*Kate. Stitched on a 28-count mystery evenweave from Silkweavers with Weeks Dye Works and DMC (for the one color I ran out of)
For WIPocalypse, we are given a discussion topic each month.  February's is:  How do you overcome that feeling that you’re in a rut with a particular project?  I would love to say that that never happened but the reality is I hit the rut phase with every project. I am not sure why but it is always when I am close to finishing. As you can see with Holly and Ivy Sampler, there really isn't too much more to stitch but it has taken me weeks to get just that bit done that is showing on the left. I dither and dally and find all sorts of other things to do, even though I know if I sat down and really put my mind to it, this could easily be finished in a weekend. After years of trying to trick myself out of this habit, I have given up and just go with the slow pace and try to remember that I am not racing with anyone and that it will eventually be finished.

Two of the above projects are also my  pieces for this year. Jo at Serendipitous Stitching is hosting this SAL. It gives us a chance to show the people that have gifted us with patterns, kits or other stitching bits, that we do appreciate their gift and to thank them for their generosity. Shakespearean Fantasy was gifted to me by Pull the Other Thread as a RAK and Holly and Ivy Sampler was gifted to me by The Hubs as an anniversary present in 2014. The very nice thing about gifted projects is that not only is there the initial excitement of receiving a gift but the joy continues as you stitch it and display it.

I did work on one other piece  this month. This is Janie Hubble Designs contribution to The Sampler Life's Yahoo group SAL. One design is released each month until they run out of designers, I think they are at 22 right now, but more may have decided to contribute since I last checked. Each design is 50X50, so easily finished in a month. I am doing them all on one large piece of 28-count Vintage Light Examplar from Lakeside Linens with DMC fibers.  Janie did a companion piece that is available on her website and Northern Expressions Needlework provided a pre-SAL piece that I will also incorporate into the finished piece.

I had a couple of questions from my last post asking about the thread I used to grid my HAED pieces. I use Sulky Sliver metallic thread to grid all my pieces and the transparent or opalescent to do my beading.  I believe it is designed for machine embroidery so it is strong and doesn't stretch too much.  I use it for gridding on my HAEDs and as edges on my band samplers because, unlike sewing thread, it is almost impossible to pierce, it is easy to see and most importantly, it pulls out easily when I am done stitching with minimal disturbance to the stitches. It also looks pretty. I have had some issues with the red staining the fabric (just a thin line) but have not had an issue with any of the other colors. It is also, as far as I can tell, but I haven't tested it to the point of fail, heat resistant, so I can iron my piece if I decide to leave it in.

I just looked out the window and it has started to snow. We are forecast to have 7" to 11" before it's all finished tomorrow morning sometime. If we do actually get that much, I will not be going into the office tomorrow and most likely not Wednesday either - I used to feel guilty when I first moved here from New Hampshire when I didn't make an effort to get into work when it snowed, but after 7 years, I think I have finally gotten over it.  I will still be working but I will be set up at my dining room table rather than my office.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Februray 2015 HAP SAL check-in

Before, I jump in with check-in, I want to welcome and thank my new followers. I appreciate you taking the time to stop into my little corner of the word and read whatever it is I'm blathering about that day. I do try respond to all your comments but I have been having trouble lately with a few responses bouncing back, I am working on that, but please don't think I am ignoring you or don't appreciate your comments.

The 2015 HAP SAL is hosted by Stacy at Crossed Stitches and highlights all those huge projects, defined by Stacy as "the smallest of the dimension of the stitch count is 300", you are or want to stitch and maybe even finish.  I was planning to start Shakespearean Fantasy from Heaven and Earth Designs, so joining up made perfect sense.

When I posted my starting picture, I was here:

When I finished gridding, it looked like this:

completed gridding - 450X867 so definitely meets the minimum stitch count

And today, it looks like this:

I am stitching on 28-count Antique White Jobelan, one over one, with DMC thread. Mostly black and dark navy blue (DMC939)  with about a half dozen green stitches thrown in for variety.

I stumbled upon the 2015 Designer SAL on The Sampler Life's Facebook page and was sucked in. Each month a new piece is released, each is 50X50, from a different designer. I think the last count was 22 designers so it will stretch out well into 2016. I found a piece of 28-count Vintage Light Examplar from Lakeside Linens in my stash and should have all the threads, so this will double duty as a Stitch from Stash piece and my monthly small. The fabric is just wide enough for four blocks with five stitches in between and more than long enough for many more than 22 blocks. I am a little concerned as the fabric is an odd cut, 18"X55", so not something I would just normally buy, but there was no project name written on the label, so I do hope that a few years down the road I am not terrible upset with myself when I go to start a long, narrow piece and can't find the fabric, I know I bought.

Friday, January 30, 2015

D.E.S.I.G.N. for January Designers Everyone Should Instantly Get to Notice is hosted by Leonore and is a way to spread the word about different designers. My first thought when I saw this SAL was, "I don't stitch anybody's work that everybody doesn't already know about", but I went ahead and signed up because maybe, just maybe I do.
This month I worked on two pieces, one by Lizzie*Kate and the other by Homespun Elegance, but will focus on Homespun Elegance as I don't see her pieces in blogger land to often. The piece I worked on, and finished, was Blessings to All:
This was a freebie from either her blog, Plain & Fancy Merchant or website Homespun Elegance several  years ago. Leonore provided a list of questions/topics for each post (which I love as I don't have to think too hard):

Have you stitched a design by this designer before?  I have stitched one other Christmas ornament, but I can't find a picture of it. I do have many of her Cinnamon Stick Santas kitted and waiting for their turn in the rotation.

Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again? Why or why not? Definitely. While primitives are not my usual style, there is something about her designs that do appeal to me. I saw a display of her finished annual Christmas ornaments at Haus Tirol in Williamsburg, Virginia and wanted almost every one and of course the Santas.

What made you chose this particular design/designer? Although Sandra has been designing for years, there are 20 of the Santas alone, I hadn't heard of her until I moved to Virginia. I did a search for cross stitch stores in Virginia and Homespun Elegance came back as hit. I immediately went to the website and found she was located in Fredericksburg which is only 35 miles from my house so I was thrilled. I was less thrilled when I saw that it wasn't a store but a designer's page, but when I saw all the designs, I was thrilled again.
Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others? What I really liked is that while her designs have evolved, she has remained true to her style.  Perhaps it is easier with primitives but so many designers have lost me when they started chasing the latest trend or changed their styles so drastically as to be unrecognizable. I do understand growing does sometimes lead to changes, but not such that I can no longer tell that a piece is by A, B or C. I also like that she frequently has companion pieces to her stitched pieces available on her blog and Etsy shop.

Monday, January 26, 2015

And chaos ensued

January - $0 spent - $0 earned (I'll explain this a bit later)

When we last left this blog, the comment was, that DFIL was in the hospital. We thought it was for tests, at worst stents, for his heart and that he would be home in a day or so. Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple and his "I'm not feeling too good but I'm fine" turned into triple by-pass surgery. Fortunately, he was taken to *the* cardiac hospital in the area. The doctors have all said that if he hadn't come in when he did, he wouldn't have made it through the night. He went home Friday and is resting,  recovering and promising that he won't ever say he is "fine" again! I stayed with them through the weekend and think everything is at an easy maintenance level in both the house and kennels.

So, stitching - well there wasn't much. I threw my travel project bag in my backpack, but as I was able to connect to the hospital's wifi system, I spent most of my waiting room time working and talking with DSIL and DMIL and I was just too worn out over the weekend to stitch.

While I didn't stitch, I also didn't stash which makes my first
report easy. For January:

Budget: $25
Spent:  $0
Balance Forward: $25

This year's SAL also allows us to earn extra money for finishes from stash, but I don't plan to take advantage of that feature. I did start three pieces mostly from stash in January, Christmas Presence, Shakespearean Fantasy and Blessings to All.
I have shown my progress on CP and SF previously, but Blessings to All is a newbie for the blog.  It is a freebie from Homespun Elegance, or was, I can't seem to find it on either her blog or website.
It is stitched on a piece of mystery linen from my stash that is a bluish/grey color and I think 32-count, with DMC. The pattern mentions a brass angel which I suspect goes in the upper right area. I am still thinking on what, if anything to put there in its stead. Thinking on it, this piece will do double duty as my January  entry.  It is also my first finish for 2015.
I hope that things will settle down a little bit over the coming weeks so that I can settle back into a stitching routine and pay a bit more attention to my blog and SALs, but having DFIL home and healthy is worth missing out on a few things on-line.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness

Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way to show the folks that have gifted us with stitching goodness that it is appreciated. I have two pieces right now that fit the criteria Shakespearean Fantasy and Holly and Hearts Sampler. You may have a strange sense of deja vu (I know there's a way to get accent marks but am short of time this morning) reading this post as the photos are exactly the same as my last. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of stitching happening here in the meadow this week.

I'll start with Holly and Hearts Sampler as it is the oldest. It's from Lizzie*Kate and was her mystery sampler late in 2013. The Hubs bought it for me for our anniversary last year. I started it right away (You do have to reward good behavior if you want it to continue don't you?) and am hoping to finish it within the next week or so. Right now, it is a little further than this (my camera battery is recharging so no new photo):

Shakespearean Fantasy was a RAK from Pull the Other Thread and brightened up my recovery from surgery immensely. I started it January 1st and got this done:

 I hope to spend some time with it this afternoon, but DFIL is in the hospital so in addition to a visit, we are needed for dog/cat/bird duty as well as errands and chauffeuring DMIL.