Friday, October 21, 2016


How in the world did a month go by without a blog post?  WOW!  Funny how the blog in my head is up to date and filled with photos and witty posts while this one languishes.  Ah well, let's forge ahead and I'll see if the photos remind me of anything.

First is this one:

For the first time in ages, I took a TUSAL photo.  TUSAL is hosted by Daffy Cat at It's Daffycat and requires you to save all those bits and pieces of thread that you would normally throw out.  I'm using an old Yankee Candle jar to hold mine.  I have had to tamp this down a couple of times but I should be good through the end of the year.

The next photos are for my Gifted Gorgeousness and WIPocalypse check-ins:

It's About Time.  I finished another column and started the next since my last post.
Turns out that bit of gold in the lower right corner I mentioned in my last post is part of a bird
I am stitching a bit faster now that I have modified my key to this:

I took the three pages of the original key and cut out only the bits that were important to me: symbol; color number; and, color name and taped them onto one page and put it in a page protector.  I am surprised at how much time this simple change saves me.  I just have to do the same thing with my other HaEDS.

Santa and the Mouse is moving right along. 

This is a very messy stitch.  I do need to figure out a better way to start a round piece
 and finally Shakespearean Fantasy.  More black, more greens and almost another column finish.

I am looking forward to getting to a "clean" page as all this filling in stresses me and my hobby should not be stressful.

Oh yes, I mentioned Gifted Gorgeousness and WIPocalypse.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and gives us an opportunity to thank everyone that has been so generous with stitching gifts or to show something that will be a gift.  The patterns for It's About Time and Shakespearean Fantasy were gifts from Kate at A Kowgirl's Stitchin and Pull the Other Thread respectively.  Santa and the Mouse is a double entry as it was a freebie from Heaven and Earth Designs (now retired) and it has Santa giving a gift (or will once I get a few more columns over).

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is an incentive to tame the WIP monster.  I've been participating since 2012 and have cut down my list from 25 to 18.  I know, that doesn't sound like a lot, but given my limited stitching time and the fact that the majority of my pieces are BAPs, I'm very pleased.  Melissa provides topics each month and this month's is: What online stitching communities do you enjoy?  I remember my first foray into the online needlecraft world, it was RCTN.  It was slow and clunky by today's standards but oh my, I found people from all over the world that stitched and a few in my own backyard.  I was, and am, a fairly solitary stitchery because of location so to be able to talk about various designers and problems was amazing to me.  From there fancier bulletin boards came into being and I was able to see photos of others work - that was probably not so good for my wallet and it introduced me to the concept of STABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy), but a huge step forward.  I still read several bulletin/Yuku/Yahoo boards but most of them seem to have migrated to Facebook.  I do belong to two or three Facebook groups, but it is not my preferred platform, so I am not as active as I used to be on the bulletin boards.  My most used social media is my blog roll.  I can get lost for hours, clicking on not only my but others blog rolls. I enjoy seeing what others are stitching or crafting and I like that I is all in some order.  Facebook seems to one long stream of conscience and I have difficulty following one conversation.  I suppose that's a factor of being old and in the future, I'll pine for Facebook's simplicity.  I have also watched Floss Tube videos when I'm learning a new technique but I don't follow anyone.

A few more household chores and I'll be free to stitch through the weekend.  And just maybe I will get the post that is already composing itself in my head onto the blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Good Stitching Week

Before I get to the stitching, I have to say "hello" and "thank you" to my new followers and a "thank you" to those of you that have been following for a while.  I appreciate that you take time out of your day to read whatever it is I am rambling on about.

First, the epilogue for some already finished pieces.  Friday was the opening day of the Virginia State Fair, so The Hubs and I headed out bright and early so we could start the annual junk food feast with breakfast, but also to see how my entries fared in the competition.  I'm thrilled to say:

Christmas Presence placed first in its division (cross stitch on other than Aida) and

Secret Victorian Garden placed second in its division (needlework other than cross stitch - if your piece is more than 50% specialty stitches it goes in this division).  First place went to a very pretty The Common Thread Sampler from Jeanette Douglas Designs.  Things were set up very differently this year, so I am not sure what piece took Best in Section, but there were some very beautiful and beautifully done pieces this year.  Lots of sunshine, lots of food and lots of walking made up the rest of our time there.

Now on to the current pieces.  Thursday evening I put It's About Time on the frame.  I didn't have a lot of time for stitching but I did finish a couple of blocks:

 After the fair on Friday, I worked on Santa and the Mouse for a while

I finished 3 blocks and a few stitches more.  This one is really messy due to having started in the middle and working out.  The circular shape is already forming.

Saturday I took a bit of a break from my rotation and worked on Shakespearean Fantasy for two NOVAs and The Fellowship of the Ring.  I put in right around 1,000 stitches and had another column finish. 

I finally put some decent time into the tiger head from The Sampler Life's SAL (The Two Towers).  I am, once again, not going to have a finish for the Smalls SAL this month, but I am happy with the progress and I think I fixed the error I found last time around.

And finally, I worked on To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler.  Here's where it was before I started adding the names:

I completed DNephew's name and found it was one block off AGAIN!  Maybe The Return of the King isn't the best movie to have on while working on something that takes some concentration This time I put a pin in the starting spot, frogged his first name and restitched it then moved on to the rest of his name.  It is now centered.  I have finished the "and" between their names and part of his fiancĂ©'s name and feeling so much better now that the names are pretty much behind me.  They were much more of a chore than I expected.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A gifted WIPocalypse check-in

I am a few days late for the
and  the

check-ins, but given my track record the last few months, I am very happy with a few days late.

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings for some reason I can't get to her site today to link the address but will keep trying.  It started in 2012 as a tongue-in-check nod to the end of the world and an attempt to leave with as many WIPs completed as possible.  I've been trying ever since to complete mine.

Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way for us to thank all those folks that have gifted us with something stitching related or to show our progress on something that will be a gift.

I have two pieces that fit into both categories that I have progress on since my last post.  The first is Shakespearean Fantasy

This pattern was a gift from Pull the Other Thread.  I completed the small strip I think it was three stitches wide up to the blue line.  I know I've mentioned how I don't see the picture developing on these until I sit back, well with this one, I completely missed it.  Leonore and Justine both commented about the fairies in my last post.  I really could not see what they were talking about.  I kept seeing tree leaves, but kept staring at it with squinted and crossed eyes it always worked with those magic eye pictures that were all the rage in the 90s but still was not seeing it/them.  I'm not sure why but after stitching the last bit of that tiny little column, I sat back and they jumped out at me.  There is half, or so, of one at the bottom and you can see just a bit of wing forming there on the edge. NOW the weird color changes make sense!! After consulting the map/guide to the piece, this section represents A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

Fortunately, It's About Time doesn't have a lot of hidden bits and pieces. This pattern was a gift from Kate at A Kowgirl's Stitchin Blog. 

I am very happy to say that this is a page finish.  I'm looking forward to seeing what that blob of yellow/gold in the lower right corner turns out to be.

I spent a bit of time working on To Have and To Hold Bridal Sampler, but I had to frog most of it as I miscounted and the name wasn't centered.  No photo as I was a bit frustrated with myself and just set it aside, but I have now run a basting line down the center and will be stitching the names from the center out rather than thinking I've counted correctly to the edge. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jo's Big Birthday Blog Hop

Jo of Serendipitous Stitching and Gifted Gorgeousness fame is celebrating a big birthday today.  A blog hop was organized to celebrate and I have 2009!  To read the rest of the years of her life, click on over to Serendipitous Stitching for the links to the other blogs and to see some of her gorgeous stitching.

On to 2009 - Jo was 43.  The Small Boy arrived early in the year, weighing in at nearly 10lbs it was not an easy birth.  He was unwilling to arrive and eventually came "out through the sun-roof" as they say.  The Large Boy was not keen on this new arrival at first but once he realised that babies come bearing Lego he was resigned to the situation.  Plus he got a great new bedroom with a midsleeper bed complete with slide.  Jo continued to run her Toddler Group, now with a qualifying baby, and also help with the PTA.  Three new PTA babies were born that year so there was often a "nurse-in" at the meetings.  Stitching was pretty non existent although Jo did complete one piece for a friend.

For me, 2009 was a year of ups and downs.  As this is a celebratory post, we'll leave out the downs.  The highlight of the year was a week long trip to Hilo on the big island of Hawaii.  It was a work trip but The Hubs was able to go with me and we had a really good time.  He would scope out all the neat places to see during the day and then when I got out of work we'd rush around to see them before they closed.  We even got snorkeling gear and were able to swim with sea turtles.  It is an amazingly beautiful island and definitely worth the jet lag to visit. 

Unlike Jo's baby, The Hubs gave me time to stitch during the year - except for the week before his leg surgery when he was pretty much bedbound - and I think I had a pretty productive stitching year that year.  I stitched the center of Chatelaine's Hawaiian Mandala while sitting on the balcony of our hotel room in Hilo, so that piece is doubly meaningful.  Jo has definitely made up for lost stitching time.  This year she's been doing a lot of Christmas and Just Nan stitching but she also does a lot of Hallowe'en stitching.  I don't do a lot of Hallowe'en stitching but this piece

has the look of one of the pumpkins in Just Nan's Counting Bats which Jo recently completed and I think is one she'd like.

Many Happy Returns on your Big Birthday Jo!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

An attempt at regular posting

Maybe this schedule will help me get back into the habit of blogging.  The weather has taken a definite turn towards fall, we're supposed to be in the mid- to upper-80s this week with low humidity rather than the mid- to upper-90s with matching humidity.  I do love this time of year.

After running around and doing errands on Friday, I thought I'd have the weekend for uninterrupted stitching and a chance to settle back into my rotation.  That didn't happen and I had another weekend of being unable to tell you where the time went and what exactly I did. 

Some stitching did happen though and I had a column and page finish.

The column finish happened on Santa and the Mouse.

If you look really hard you can see a bit of Santa's face. As this is an ornament, there are only a few blocks on the second page, so it's not a lot bigger than this. I'm stitching this one-over-one on 28-count antique white Jobelan.

The page finish was on Shakespearean Fantasy (two down 58 more to go)

I also did the 3 stitches in the column that were on the next page, so have a little bit of a start on page 3.

It's About Time had a square finish (but I also finish a square whenever I stitch, so that's not as big a deal)

I did get some graph paper and have graphed out the names for To Have and To Hold but didn't do any stitching on it.  I also didn't put a single stitch into the tiger on the Smalls SAL.  I did spend a lot of time trying to figure out what happened to the other pages I had up to there, but have almost given up on that one.  The other thing I tried to figure out was this:

We have two very comfy beds, lots of chairs, a cat bed, and fluffy blankets set out so the cats can be comfortable when watching the birds, but Spot has decided to sleep on the scratch pad (the computer and monitor cords are only there on days I telework).  I know, it's a cat thing and I wouldn't get it even if she could tell me... 8-)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I'm back

I am back from my week in Philadelphia, but, since I have become such an erratic blogger, you probably didn't even know I was gone.  For all the time I have spent on the east coast, I had never been to Philadelphia and am very glad I had the opportunity.  I definitely want to go back to see all the things that were closed or I missed. 

In the time since my last blog post, I stitched on every piece in my rotation so lots of pictures.

Before I get to the stitching, Christmas Presence came back from the framers: 

Excuse the reflection of my head but I could not find anyplace in the house that didn't have some reflection.  I really like the way it turned out.  I would not have picked a black mat on my own, but it was the first mat the framer pulled out and I think it fits the mood of the piece well.

I started Santa and the Mouse

This is a round piece so I started in the middle and will work out from there too much counting to find the right starting place otherwise.  Practice does help with this style piece as it is going much faster than Christmas Presence ever did.

I worked some more on It's About Time and am a couple blocks closer to a page finish.

More black on Shakespearean Fantasy

I am close to a page finish on this one you've heard that before.  There may be some more green and blues added, but I think it's mostly black for the rest of this column.

I have done a terrible job of keeping up with the Smalls SAL that Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts, but I have been slowly but surely working on one.  Here's where I am  on the tiger

I decided to do this in 20x20 blocks as I made a counting error further down and will need to frog a few stitches. I am aiming to finish this for the SAL check-in this month it's good to have goals and I love the sound the deadline makes when it goes whooshing by.

I got to the names on To Have and To Hold  sooner than I thought I would, so I need to get out and get some graph paper before I can go any further.

I got into an organizing frenzy the other day and ordered enough bobbin boxes and bobbins for the thread for the HaED patterns I have stashed.  I don't anticipate stitching them anytime soon, but will be so much easier to find and use the threads if they aren't in gallon plastic bags in a basket.  I don't know when I will get around to doing it but sounds like a great winter project.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A 3 Fer Post

In an attempt to pretend that I am keeping up my blog, you will be getting three SALs in one post!!  Lucky for you, they all use the same piece.

I am so far behind in posting that I am not going to try to catch up, other than to say, I had a wonderful time on vacation (DSis and DBIL are wonderful hosts) and the office renovations ran a week over which meant an extra week of working from home.

I didn't end up taking any stitching with my on vacation, but I did do some stitching in the evenings during my extra telework week and..... insert drumroll!!!

I finished Christmas Presence.

He was finished on the 14th, but I didn't get around to trimming the back and washing him until today.  Michaels is having another amazing sale on framing so I took him in and should have him back right around September 2nd.  I have decided to enter him into the state fair also he's in a different section than Secret Victorian Garden so won't be competing against myself.
I put Santa and the Mouse ornament onto the frame and will start it later tonight.  I can't find the pattern for the ornament on the Heaven and Earth Designs website but the large pattern can be seen here.  The ornament focuses on Santa's face and the mouse (which nobody would ever guess from the title).
And that is my only entry for Gifted Gorgeousness and WIPocalypse this month.
Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way to thank those wonderful folks that have gifted us with something stitching related.  Christmas Presence was a freebie for the 2015 HaED SAL so I am counting it as a gift from the company.
WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and provides some incentive to work on those WIPs that many of us have hanging around.  Each month Melissa gives us a topic to help us move our blogging along and also introduce ourselves to the group.  This month's topic is:  Have you ever read any fictional books that involve embroidery?  Yes I have.  I was a big reader of Monica Ferris's Betsy Devonshire Needlecraft mysteries. Unfortunately, as happens with many serial stories, they started to read alike and they faded from interest, but they were fun, cozy mystery reads.  I do still have the books as each one came with a pattern and there were several that I added to my to-be-stitched pile.
The 3rd SAL starts today and is .  IHSW is hosted by Joyce at Random Ramblings and is a wonderful excuse to sit and stitch all weekend and unlike me, post about it when you're done (I seem to forget that last part).  If you're interested in participating, click on the link and it will take you to the sign-up post and then just sit down and stitch.  It is supposed to be a bit cooler (90 and 92 F) this weekend, but I don't think I am going to be doing too much outside (although the lawn does need a good mowing) so IHSW will be a perfect way to use my time.
For only having one piece to show, I sure did go on for a while.  Hopefully the yakkiness lasts and I'll post sooner than the middle of September.