Friday, March 16, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness and it's IHSW!

After days with temperatures in the 80s a few weeks ago, we have been below normal the last week or so.  It has also been very windy - like blow my car around on the highway windy.  I don't drive a high profile vehicle so I am not used to it.  Ah well, I ran all my errands this afternoon, so I plan to stay in all weekend and participate in !! 

 is hosted by Joysze at Random Ramblings and Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  There is also a Facebook group.  IHSW is a chance for us to be independent together - shout out to Hermey from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for that.  Coincidentally, the little crab is also called Hermie .  Participation is easy, pop on over to Joysze's blog for all the "rules", but basically, you stitch as much as you can this weekend with people from around the world.  In addition to the outside errands, I almost have the laundry done and have slow cooker meals planned for tomorrow and Sunday so I should have plenty of stitching time available.  The Goldie Stocking is back on the frame for this weekend.  I think I forgot to show my progress from a couple weeks ago, so will do that now.  When you last saw Goldie, she was here:

and today she's here:

This shows the full width of the stocking top.  It starts narrowing down in a couple more rows to start the stocking shape.

It is also time for my Gifted Gorgeousness check-in.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Yes, the same Jo I mentioned above (she's a very busy lady with all her hosting and blog hops).  Gifted Gorgeousness is a way for us to thank someone for a gift of stitching supplies or to show something that we are stitching for a gift or anything else we can shoehorn into the theme.  Both of my focus pieces are gifts, so fit perfectly in this SAL.  I've shown you Goldie.  My second piece is Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine.  It was here when I posted the beginning of March: 
and when I put it away last weekend, I had gotten to here: 
This is on 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan with Martina's DMC conversion.

I also had some progress on Just Nan's Happy Bluebird  
It's a bit crumpled as I'm stitching this one in-hand.  Not as much progress as I would have liked as I found a counting mistake and had to pull out all but about 10 stitches.  Now that the backbone of the piece is in, I should be okay.

Getting very excited, as Thursday I head off to Michigan for my weekend at Camp Stitchalot hosted by Stitches 'n Things.  After the seemingly never ending stress of the last few months, I am looking forward to some quality stitching and family time. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

February WIPocalypse

If you live on the east coast, you know March is coming in like a lion!  We're not getting the snow or rain that New England is, but we are getting the wind.  We live in a bit of a hollow so we're not getting the worst of it, but a few of the gusts shook the house and rattled the windows.  I ran out for groceries and there are a lot of trees and branches down.

The resident cats thank you all very much for the attention and would like to ask if anyone would  give them a kind, loving home where they could eat as much as they want.  Their annual trip to the vet was last week and Salem weighed in at a whopping 18 pounds no wonder I can't move when he jumps on me, Spot and Trouble weren't anywhere near that but were a bit on the chubby side, so the vet said the "d" word.  I don't know about yours but putting my cats on a diet is torture.  It was bad enough when the bottom of their food bowl was even slightly showing between the bits of kibble and they thought they were starved.  But now that the bowl is actually empty at times? I am so glad they can't use the phone or I'd have the Humane Society at my front door.  Salem lays down in front of the bowl and just stares at it.

On a much happier note - Olivia was adopted on Sunday.  So both guest cats now have families and I am hoping they are forever this time, the poor things have had two long- and one short-term homes.

So on to stitching.  It's past the end of the month, but it's still WIPocalypse time.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a little nudge to remind us to pay some attention to those pieces we've already started.  No pressure and no long-term commitments necessary, just stitch and post when you can.  Melissa does give us topics each month and this month's is:  Gadgets! Show us your favorite stitching gadgets.  I don't know if it counts as a gadget, but my favorite tool is my stand.  Years ago The Hubs bought me a Needlework System 4  stand and scroll head.  Yes, it was pricey but this was in the days of two jobs and disposable income but it has been worth every penny.  It's well made and makes stitching so much easier just a happy customer and in no way affiliated. They also have great customer service.

I have it easy this year, I don't have to do too much thinking about what's on my WIPocalypse list and what's on my stitching list.  I'm only working on two pieces.

Goldie went from here:

to here:

And Zen went from here:

to here:

I ran out of DMC939 so there's a little gap in the dark blue there in the upper left, but I bought a new skein this evening and will fill that in next round.

I also had a new start:

This is Just Nan's Happy Bluebird.  It's stitched on 28-count antique white Brittany with the called for DMC.  I know I said I was going to stitch The Sampler Life SAL blocks as my Smalls piece, but I am finding many, many excuses for not stitching it, so I have decided that I'm going to do one more block and call it done.

And, this photo says that the ground hog was wrong:

Saturday, February 24, 2018

February Smalls Check-in

It's time for February's Smalls SAL check-in. But before I get to that, Trouble, Salem and Spot are rather upset that I have been giving the guest cats more attention here than they've been getting. So to right that here's a picture of the resident cats:

The two black lumps are Spot (on the left - if you look very closely you can see the white spot on her foot that gave her her name - that and I thought it was funny to call an almost solid black cat "Spot") and Salem (on the right) and Trouble is in the bed in the front.  And yes they have their own chairs.  A couple of years ago, The Hubs and I bough new desk chairs.  We couldn't get to the dump right away, so we pushed the old ones to the edge of the room.  Weelllll, the cats started sleeping in them and the chairs haven't made it to the dump yet.

I do have to talk about the guest cats a little.  I have been stalking checking the rescue group's website to see how the girls were getting along and on Thursday it showed that Molly was adopted.  One big sigh of relief and now huge crossed fingers that Olivia finds her family soon.

So onto Smalls SAL check-in.  The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus.  This SAL is the main reason I have any finishes throughout the year.  I tend to be a BAP stitcher so anything that reminds me that small is good too is for me.  This month's piece is By the Full Moon from Ink Circles:

 It's stitched with DMC on a mystery piece of hand-dyed fabric although I am positive it is from Picture This Plus.

And before I forget again - if you're in the Richmond area and have a few hours the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is hosting The Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China until mid-March.  I went a couple weeks ago and am going again next Sunday.  I have seen a number of television shows on the topic, but to come around the corner of the main exhibit hall and actually see them stopped me in my tracks.  They don't allow flash photography so the photographs aren't particularly good but give you an idea:

and here's a close up of one of the faces:

I may have watched too much Scooby-Doo when I was a kid, but it was not hard to imagine them stepping off their display podiums and walking out the door.  And if the warriors aren't your cup of tea the museum has an amazing Faberge (I can't get the ' over the "e") and Russian Decorative Arts collection - including five Imperial Eggs.

Zen is still on the frame and I hope to get some quality time with it this afternoon/evening and tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2018


I don't blog for a week and suddenly I'm behind on three SAL check-ins.  But first some news on the guest cats.  Molly and Olivia are now in the care of the wonderful folks at Feline Foundation of Greater Washington.  One of the first rescues I contacted back at the beginning of this saga texted me with their information and suggested very strongly that I call them, so I did.  Forty-five minutes and  several emails with pictures, etc. later, they tell me that there is someone very interested in Molly and a waiting list of people wanting long-hairs and/or Maine Coon cats so they don't expect that Olivia will have to wait too long for a home.  I dropped them off Friday and sniffed and had watery eyes the whole way home, my brain knew my part in their story was going to be short but my heart didn't get the message - I don't think I'm cut out to be a foster, but I know this is an amazing chance for them to find wonderful homes.  So onto SALs....

Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  It is a way for us to thank the generous people that have gifted us with stitching things, or to show things we're stitching as gifts or anything we can shoehorn into that criteria.  Two of my pieces are perfect fits for this SAL as they are gifts, but they are also part of  my  post.  IHSW is hosted by Joysze at Random Ramblings or on Facebook by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching.  IHSW takes place on the third full weekend of each month and is a wonderful excuse if you need one to sit and stitch for the weekend.  I worked on three pieces this weekend and as I mentioned two of them fit with Gifted Gorgeousness.

My main focus this weekend was Goldie.  In the last few minutes of Sunday I had a page finish.  It went from here:

to here

This is the fastest I have ever stitched a Heaven and Earth Design page.  Fingers crossed that I can keep it up.

Japanese Zen Garden went on the frame this morning.  When I showed it last, it was here:

And right now, it's here:

The majority of this was done last weekend, I have only stitched one rock and the blue stitches on the outside there.  The open areas will be filled with beads and specialty stitches.  I want to finish the cross stitches in the next section out before I start adding all the bling and fussy stuff. 

I had a bit more progress on By the Full Moon.  Not sure if I will finish it before the Smalls SAL deadline, but will give it a try.

And finally TUSAL.

TUSAL is hosted by Sharon at It's Daffycat. Another no stress SAL - just save all those bits that you'd normally throw away in some sort of container and post a photo each new moon.  Mine are accumulating nicely.  I'm pretty stingy with my thread, so it always amazes me how many ORTs I collect every year.

I'll be working on Zen for the rest of the evening - gotta love long weekends.

Monday, February 5, 2018


Survived what you ask? Taking Molly and Olivia to the vet.  I figured things had calmed down too much so they needed stirring up again.  Anyway I am very happy to report that both girls are healthy and are now up to date with their shots.  Both girls are also younger than the in-laws said.  The vet estimates they are no older than 7, the in-laws said they'd had them for 10 years.  Molly, who I have not heard say a thing made her displeasure about the trip and being at the vets know LOUDLY to all who would listen - she made one of the dogs in the waiting room jump with one of her howls!! 

This cute little Jim Shore snowman came in the mail today 

Funny thing is, I didn't remember ordering it.  Now I do forget things, like where I put my keys or parked my car or why I walked out of the room, but I don't forget needlework orders ESPECIALLY as I'm participating in Stitch from Stash right now.  Digging around a bit more in the envelope and there was a letter congratulating me on winning one of the prizes on The Stitchers' Village 12 Days Event!  THAT I had totally forgotten about entering mostly because I never win anything so I never went back and checked. 
Speaking of Stitch from Stash, I had a zero spend in January but have already spent February's budget.  I caved and signed up for the Ingleside Imaginarium Guardians of Notre Dame SAL.  If you haven't seen it, here's the border and first two parts: I have no idea what color fabric or whether I will order the over-dye to do the border, but I love grotesques and gargoyles so looking forward to starting this.
I am still filling in the ear/head on the Goldie stocking.  When I put it on the frame last week, it was here:
And when I took it off the frame a few minutes ago, it was here:

It's definitely looking more doggish. 

So there's some stash and some progress and now, a new start. 

This is By the Full Moon by Tracy Horner of Ink Circles.  It's from the 2010 September/October Just Cross Stitch and is stitched on an unknown scrap fabric although I suspect it is either 28-count DaVinci or 28-count Haunted both by Picture This Plus with DMC.  Yes, I know I said The Sampler Life SAL pieces were going to be my smalls until I finally finished them off, but I just couldn't find one that called to me.  When I went looking for one, this jumped out and grabbed me.

Zen will be going on the frame for this week.  The PTBs finally showed up so I plan to go back to the middle and tart it up a bit.


Monday, January 29, 2018

January WIPocalypse

It it's WIPocalypse it must be the end of the month.  WOW!  A weird month - one minute it feels like it flew by and the next it feels like it's been forever. 

No you're not seeing things there were two WIPocalypse posts this month.  Yesterday as the last Sunday of the month was the official check-in, the one the beginning of the month was a warm up and introduction.  If you haven't heard of it, WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a nice reminder to focus on those pieces we've already started rather than all those siren calls from the stash pile.  Each month Melissa gives us questions in case we can't think of anything to write about and also to get to know everyone.  This month's is: What SALs are you participating in this year? and if you are participating in the Olympic Stitching Challenge, what challenge are you accepting?  What are your goals? 

I can answer the second part of that question quickly - No. I am not participating in the Olympic Stitching Challenge.  I am doing obligation pieces this year again and I don't want to put extra pressure on myself.  I will be cheering all the participants on though.  As for SALs, I am not participating in any that are "release a part a month" although I am very tempted with the Guardians of Notre Dame SAL by Ingleside Imaginarium and will probably cave in a few months.  I am participating in several "let's stitch and post our progress" SALs.  WIPocalypse obviously but also:

  • Gifted Gorgeousness hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching
  • TUSAL hosted by Sharon at It's Daffycat
  • IHSW hosted Joysze at Random Ramblings and Jo on Facebook
  • Smalls hosted by Heather at Lotus Stitching and
  • Stitch from Stash on Facebook
You can get to all the groups, except Stitch from Stash, by clicking one of the badges on the left hand side at the top the page.  I've been doing all of these, more or less, successfully for years.  I tend to pick SALs that reinforce my stitching goals for that year.  Basically my stitching goals for the last six or seven years has been to reduce my WIPs.  I started with 28 and am down to 17.  I know that doesn't sound like much of a reduction but I have very limited stitching time, and there have been a few starts in there, so I am very pleased.

Now that I've thoroughly answered that question - progress photos! As I mentioned, I am only working on three pieces this year:

Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine.  On January 1st it was here:

and today it's here:

It is stitched on 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan with Martina's DMC conversion.  The package containing my PTB is still "on it's way to destination" I could have driven to Michigan and back faster than it's being delivered so no sparkle for another week.

Goldie Christmas Stocking charted by Heaven and Earth Designs:

January 1st:

And when it went on the frame this evening

This one is stitched on 25-county Antique White Lugana with DMC.  I am stitching 1 over 1.  It is also the most progress I have ever had on HaED in a month's time.  Hoping I can keep up the pace.

And finally, The Sampler Life SAL piece despite the name I didn't count this in my SAL list as the actual SAL was finished almost two years ago:

Friday, January 26, 2018

January Smalls

I am thrilled that I have kept up with my SAL check-ins this year.  Yes, I know it's only January, but given my last week or so, I am all for celebrating anything I can! So today, I am celebrating the January Smalls SAL.

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather over at the Stitching Lotus.  This one, like all the others I participate in, is very low stress.  Pop on over to Heather's blog and sign up, you can join in at anytime, stitch a small (you define what's small) and post a picture on the last Friday of the month.  Simple right?  The SAL is designed to encourage us to love those small designs too and for me it's a chance to actually say I've finished something.  For the next few months, I will be working on The Sampler Life's SAL from a few years ago.  I have five or six more blocks from that and then I will start the Joyful World SAL.

This month's finish is Fountains from Lori Laughlin of Rainbow's Daughter

Not my favorite piece because, well, backstitch!  But I do like the color combination.  If I did it again, I would probably use beads instead of French knots in those diamonds.  As I mentioned, I have a few more blocks to stitch; however, only a couple are 50X50 like all the rest, so a bit of fiddling and math to figure out how to make them fit best.

Zen is on the frame for the rest of the weekend and I just got a notice that my order of PTB is on its way so I may actually be able to fill in some of the blank bits soon.