Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vacation Day 2

I have finished about half of the items on my "Hope to get done while on vacation" list!  So far, none of them have taken as long as I thought which makes me wonder just why I haven't finished them before!!

Ran lots of errands this morning, except for a perscription for the Hubs that we can't pick up until Tuesday, I don't have to leave the house for anything more this week! One of my favorite errands is buying the flowers for the planters on the deck. I'm really late this year and wasn't sure there would be much left, but I found some nice plants and hope to have them all potted up this afternoon.

I bought two impatiens baskets. One for this little stand :
 and one for the corner:
It's a bit smaller than this space needs, but the colors work well here, so I'll ignore the size issue. No, I don't know what the pottery thing is, the in-laws bought it in Egypt many years ago and gave it to use when we moved here. Hmmm, looks like I need to add wash the glass to my to-do list...


 Will go in here:
 The Hubs made this for me a couple of years ago, it lets me get a lot of color in a fairly small space.

Will be here:

And this is for the cats:

No, not the weeds in the pot but the cat mint.

In between all the list items, I did stitch yesterday. I've completed to here:

I hope to finish the short border tonight and start on the ibis/papyrus section.

And I got a shipping notice from ABC Stitch! The fabric I ordered back in March(?) finally came in and is on its way to me. I need to go back in my notes, but I believe the fabric is for two BBD patterns.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Complete Change of Plans!

In my last post I mentioned taking Friday (today) off to make an extra long Memorial Day weekend, well to make a short story long (something I'm very good at)...

In January of each year I put in all my leave requests for the year - we're supposed to be on a first-approved-first-to-keep-if-leave-has-to-be-revoked system so I get my requests in early - and I had requested (and been approved) for the all of next week. Right after I put my requests in I was put on a ridiculously huge project (consolidating and updating 5 regulations) in less than a year. Now I know that sounds like plenty of time, but "they" want them written and published in final form in that time frame - I work for the Federal government and just the clearance/review process alone usually takes that long (lots of different agencies/divisions, most importantly our general counsel, get to review and comment before they even go out for public comments). So I diligently set to work on said project. I didn't take the week of leave I had approved in April and had decided to not take next week and just settle for taking Friday and having a 4-day weekend (not too shabby but still not a full week). Well, I am a month ahead of my schedule! Yes, an entire month! With that thought and the fact that I'm still not 100% better from whatever bug wrecked havoc on my system last week, I decided to take not only today, but next week off too. I have a list of things I'd like to get done, but nothing that *has* to get done, so it should be a very relaxing 10-days. To reduce the amount of cooking I have to do, I picked up lots of meat for grilling and plan to make macaroni and potato salad, baked beans and cole slaw today, so all I'll have to do for dinner is throw something on the grill and grab a salad out of the fridge. Now if I could just find self-cleaning dishes...

At the top of my list is to finish Egyptian Garden. Here's where I am as of today:
All the blank spaces in the outer border are filled with 3 Algerian eyelets. I've developed a rhythm stitching those so I should have them done today sometime.  I thought it would be a good idea to get them done as close to the start of my vacation as possible so I still have a bit of tension/stress in me so I can pull the eyelets the same as the previously stitched ones.

I also did some more stash shopping - I know you are all shocked by that. Karen at Wasatch Needlecraft put some new things on her clearance page and I found this chart by Alchemy Stitchcraft. It's done with one of my favorite threads, Carrie's Creations "Fat Tuesday" so I couldn't pass it up. I'm not sure I want (or can) do it on black but may try. I have still got some Christmas money left so I am hoping to celebrate the finish of Egyptian Garden with a trip to In Stitches in Alexandria next Friday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One advantage of being sick

Oh yes, I caught something - not from my office as nobody there has been sick in ages, but on the train (the dangers of an 1-1/2 long train ride). Fortunately, I was too sick to go to work but not sick enough to require constant bed rest, although I did get quite a bit of napping done, so during my non-napping phases I was able to make quite a bit of progress on Egyptian Garden
Lots of eyelets and Rhodes stitches left, but might, just might be able to finish them this weekend. I'm taking Friday off, so that I have a 4-day Memorial Day weekend, so there is a fair chance that I will finish the stitching on this soon.

I also received some stash in the mail:

It's the fabric, fibers and first part of the Birds of a Feather mystery by With Thy Needle & Thread. Oh and it all came in the mesh bag you see there. Not sure when I'm going to start this one, but hopefully soon.

It was a good thing I got that picture of the roses when I did - the promised rain came - buckets and buckets and buckets - it wasn't a nice gentle rain, it was torrential rain with wind and thunderstorms - multiple times every day! There are now rose petals all over the ground and driveway. The good thing is the bushes are covered with buds, so there will be flowers in the near future.

Thanks everyone for the well wishes for DDad - he's doing well - no hospital stays this week (knock on wood) and the doctors are very happy with the results from his most recent blood tests. Fingers crossed that things stay on an even keel.

Lisa, I've never stitched with q snaps so I can't give any advice on beading as you go. I lay a strip of quilt batting at the top of my piece, so that it rolls up along with the fabric and that seems to provide enough cushion for the Delicas - I save the cubes, bicones, etc for last - but I don't know if the same strategy would work for q snaps.

Siobhan, I see the evidence of slugs here (slime trails) but I don't see the actual beasts themselves very often. I tend to pick plant varieties that are very good at fending for themselves so I don't have to spend a lot of time pretending that I don't see slugs, bugs, etc. 8-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Rainy Saturday in May

Thank you all for the thoughts for my DDad, he got home Sunday afternoon and went back into the hospital this past Wednesday with a sodium count lower than it's ever been! He went home yesterday with strict instructions to not drink more than a liter of fluid a day until he can get in to see his doctor - all the water he drinks is flushing the sodium from his system - sodium levels can't be increased quickly as it will damage his heart but the low levels aren't doing much for it either. DDad never does anything the easy way!!

My computer desk sits at a window facing our front yard and our bird feeders are right in front of me, so I get to watch all the comings and goings. This time of year is especially enjoyable as we're along the migration route for a lot of birds. A female rose-breasted grosbeak has stopped by today. The chuck-will's-widow (this link will take you to Cornell University's ornithology site, it's a great birding site) has returned also. That one I don't see but hear - ALL NIGHT LONG!!! It's very loud and there have been times I swear it's sitting on the pillow next to me. It's a member of the night jar family and sounds rather like a whip-poor-will. We are right on the edge of its breeding territory - lucky us...

We had beautiful weather all week, but the clouds rolled in yesterday and look like they're here to stay for a goodly while. I'm definitely not complaining though, all this water is good for the well (I live in fear of it going dry) and it's certainly greening things up around here. The Hubs was able to give the lawn its first mow of the season - looked more like he was cutting hay it had gotten so long, but it looks very nice right now. The azaleas have gone by without me getting a picture *again*, but I did snap a pic of the roses -
I adore these roses even with the colors being a bit washed out - they're really a deep red! They're Double Knockout roses and while I'd love to say that I spend hours laboring over them to keep them this beautiful it would be a lie. These roses are pretty much maintenance free (a little pruning in the early spring) and then they take off on their own! No bugs, disease resistant AND they bloom from early/mid-April until October (northern central Virginia) which means they put up with humidity and high temperatures. No, I don't sell them, raise them or have any interest in them other than the fact that they make my house look beautiful and between these and the daylilies, they make me look like a real gardener!!

Here's a close up of one of the blooms:

As this is supposed to be a stitching blog, I suppose I should talk about my stitching a bit. Egyptian Garden received a bit of attention this week. Actually, in addition to my weekend time, I stitched on it three nights this week (a bit of a miracle for me with my schedule) and got to this point:
I'm hoping to finish this border over the weekend. As I'm a top-down, left to right stitcher, I'll probably turn this in the frame at some point.

I did receive some stash in the mail, but forgot to take a picture. Unfortunately, the one pattern that I really wanted,Witches Hollow by the Primitive Needle, is out of stock and they don't know when, or if it will be stocked again. I was going to pull motifs from that one for a "Cape Cod Cats". I'll try a couple of other stores, but I'm afraid I missed my opportunity.

This has been a very long, rambling, disconnected post, but if you ever get the chance to sit down and talk with me, that's how I am - one thought leads to another, leads to another, etc and more than likely none of them seem to be and often aren't related at all. One of the real dangers of my random access memory - just never know what's going to pop out! I also am easily distracted by sparkly things and butterflies - difficult to believe I'm trusted with multi-million dollar decisions on a daily basis!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Stashy Goodness and Some Stitching

First, thanks for all the comments on my previous posts. Trouble is currently lording it over the other two that *her* picture has been on the blog more than theirs! Darn cats and their egos!! So to keep some peace in this household, here are pictures of Salem and Spot...
Brother to Trouble and Spot. He has green eyes and a very thin tail.
 We think his dad may have had some Siamese in him
Spot, yes Spot, she has a spot of white on her right back paw.
Sister to Salem and Trouble. Yellow eyes just like Trouble
We usually call her" Dot" or "Spotty Dotty" as DSon mentioned that "Spot" was not really a girl's name.
As I predicted in my post last Sunday, my "weekend cottages" kits arrived yesterday! Less then one week from order to delivery and there was even a nice handwritten "thank you":

Weekend Cottages from The Nutmeg Company
(back - l to r) Summer in Sussex, Autumn in Stratford on Avon, and Christmas in East Anglia
(front) Easter in the Cotswolds
These are great kits (just a very happy customer) they come with everything except scissors - even the pieces of plastic canvas that support the walls come pre-cut. These are small, about 6.5cm (2.5") when finished, but that's the perfect size to sit on my computer at work so I can dream of where I'd like to be my office is in the basement and is despite large windows a bit dark and sometimes dreary.

I have another order that is finally winging its way to me. According to the update site, it was shipped Thursday, so will probably be here Monday or Tuesday - today if all the planets and stars line up correctly.

Egyptian Garden you ask, or maybe you don't, but here's the latest update pic:

Egyptian Garden by Chatelaine
Stitched on Sand Belfast (yes, the photo is washed out)
If I can remember correctly, which is questionable most of the time, I finished the beading of the pyramid (shows up fairly well here), filled in the "water box" and started whatever type of Egyptian plant that is. This weekend I hope to finish the whatever flower, the cat (over-one and I've got a bad case of "allergy eyes" right now so that will be a challenge) and start the outer border.

My DDad is back in the hospital - I think he has something going on with one of the nurses, I mean three times in six weeks? The pneumonia in his right lung is now almost cleared up but his heart rate went down to 49 yesterday - which is, I suppose really great if you're a marathon runner, but DDad's definitely NOT. There was talk of a pacemaker early on yesterday, but as of last night the discussion was that his sodium level is extremely low and that that's the problem. DSis and I were talking of stopping in the local farm supply store and picking up a salt lick for him, but not sure he'd appreciate that. Actually, given DDad's sense of humor, he probably would...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


At least I can keep up with this!!

It's hard to see, but all the new pieces are from Egyptian Garden. I realized that choosing a glass ornament was *not* a good choice for my ort holder, it looks nice BUT I can't fish through it for a piece long enough to do that one last stitch that I don't want to pull an entire new length of fiber for.  I'm usually pretty stingy with my threads, but sometimes pieces will get thrown in that are long enough for two or three more stitches and I have been known to "recycle" them. Please tell me I'm not the only one that does that!

And just because I can, here's one of my little tyrants furballs:

This is Trouble and yes she lives up to her name in her favorite spot. She's way too big for this but that doesn't seem to bother her.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day!

No, we don't do anything special for May Day, but I remember as a girl making baskets from paper strips and picking dandelions from the yard and "sneaking" them to my mother - mostly by leaving them on the porch, ringing the bell and "hiding" where she couldn't see me - like she couldn't see my sister or me when we hid under the covers on their bed 8-)

I did another stash buy yesterday. I adore The Nutmeg Company's little houses and am totally blown away by this one scroll down to "It can be complex...", I have these four - scroll down to  "Sweet Gingerbread Houses" and this one from the "Weekend Cottages" collection, so after a quick peek/update of the finances, I ordered the other three.  If this order is anything like my previous ones, I should have them in about a week -yes, I get orders from the UK faster than I get them from the US store I order from and in the case of these, much cheaper even with the exchange.

I suppose I should post my April recap. My goal for April was to stitch and despite a slow down the end of the month, there was progress on one piece and one piece only - Egyptian Garden. Here are my before and after photos (April 2nd on the left and April 30th on the right):

That thread I thought I was going to run out of? I have this much left.

The black case is my Gingher snip, it's about 4" long.

My goals for May? I am going out on a limb with finish Egyptian Garden. I'd like to start stitching on the train home again, but I'm not going to make that a goal, more an "if it happens...", as I'll feel compelled and then it won't be relaxing, which is what I need on the way home. My non-stitching goal is to comment more on the blogs I read.

And completely unrelated to stitching, isn't this the cutest lunch tote?
It's from Igloo and is totally insulated and has a zipper top, the tag said it would hold a six-pack, I'm not sure of that but there's plenty of room for my breakfast, lunch and various snacks I take to work. I have been using a Vera Bradly lunch tote for the last few years, but I'm trying to eat more fruit and veggies and it's tough to get more than one apple into my VB bag along with my yogurt, oatmeal, etc., so when I saw this at the grocery store the other day, I grabbed it.