Tuesday, June 28, 2011

28 Years Ago Today

Twenty-eight years ago, he looked like this:

and a couple of years ago he looked like this (I don't have any newer or solo photos):
DNephew and DS
DNephew's High School Graduation

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summertime Stitching

I am safely returned home from my trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. Met lots of new people, which is always a treat, caught up with several old friends and learned a few new things, so a successful conference.

My only regret is that I was not able to get to Ogden. I was one short hour away from Shepherd's Bush and Jill Rensel!! Unfortunately, we were scheduled from morning until sometimes late in the evening, so I wasn't able to get away. Actually, my bank account is probably very happy that I wasn't.

Rant ON - People please, if the bag you're going to carry on is bigger than you are, please be polite and check it.  We all know it's not going to fit in one of those overhead bins, no matter how many times you turn, push or jiggle it around, just admit it. You're just making it difficult for everyone else on the plane. Thank you - rant off.

I typically read while I'm travelling especially if it involves flying as there just isn't enough room to spread out and get comfortable enough to stitch in cattle regular class seats. I did quite a bit of reading but also did a bit of stitching during those "turn off all electronic equipment" times I'm not sure how reading my Kindle during take off or landing is going to cause the plane to crash, but I'm not going to take any chances during the flight on an ornament. Here's my progress:

Holiday Joys
Homespun Elegance
There's not a lot left on this, so I may go one-at-a-time on it until it is done.

Before I left I did a little, very little, bit more on With thy Needle & Thread's Birds of a Feather mystery sampler:
Birds of a Feather mystery sampler
With thy Needle & Thread
I also started Tree of Stitches by Abi Gurden over at The Stitch Specialists Yahoo Group. I'm stitching this on opalescent Ocean from Silkweaver Fabrics I really don't like stitching on opalescent fabrics, as I have a very difficult time "keeping the box" but it looks really nice and gives a frosty look which is what I was going for with Weeks Dye Works #1269 (I don't have the tag) and Needle Necessities #130 (no color name, just a number) 
The photo is taken in front of a window, so you can see the parked thread. Parts 1 and 2 are done, part 4 is partially done and part 3 will be done when part 4 is done so that the placement is correct.

Have you put your order in for this yet!?!?

Blackbird Designs - Birds of a Feather - Summer
There is a main design and two bonus patterns per chart - it's a three part series. A year ago I would have said "this isn't my usual style, but I like it", but it seems my taste is changing as I've been ordering and stitching more and more of this style project lately.  I'm sure there's some deep psychological reason for it, but "I like it", seems like a good enough reason to me.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Secret Needle Night Projects

Phew! Three posts in two days! I'm going for a record! I finished the finishing of my Secret Needle Night project from June of 2010 this afternoon. I was on an automatic for the stitching and finishing kits last year. If you haven't seen these, they're put together by the Silver Needle in Oklahoma. They release a new project the first Wednesday of each month. They're all done on low count, usually 10-count, fabric so they are really quick stitches, and come with all the fibers and beads you need. The finishing kits include everything you need to do the finishing - fabric, bows, trims, batting, and all the forms are pre-cut - a huge timesaver!!

I have some glass discs that I use for feet, but I don't know where they are, so this is footless and as I look at it - crooked...

Here are the others I stitched and finished last year:

The Crazy Carrot on the left and Angel Song by Little House Needleworks on the right

The sand castle crab is my favorite

Only six more to finish.

Two in One Weekend?!?!

Obviously I'm not doing the housework this morning...

I keep forgetting, but thanks for commenting on my posts, I really appreciate them all.  Mouse, I'm not sure what my counter tops are made of, but not granite - I wish my "baking area" was but that's a bit too fancy for my little house it's little compared to most houses built today, but it's perfect for us - I think Spot is going through her awkward teenage years and is pushing her boundaries!

Speaking of boundaries, apparently none of my cats understand them. This is what I saw when I walked back into the den this morning:

Seems, Trouble couldn't be bothered with walking back into the kitchen to her water dish. Between the last and this post you all must think I have the most ill behaved cats in the world. Of course, I didn't have to show you either of them, so I secretly must think they're pretty cute...

I've succumb to the lure of the Tree of Stitches by Abi Gurden. If you haven't seen it before it's being done as a SAL at The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group. I haven't picked out a fabric yet but I'm thinking of Wichelt's Summer Sky hand-dyed jobelan it's my favorite "neutral" fabric, but I did some stash searching last night and found these fibers:

The photos a little dark - the flash really washed them out - I do have to work on my photography skills, but does show the colors fairly well. Anyway, I don't have any names to go with them, the brown is Weeks Dye Works 1269 and the overdye is an old Needle Necessities #130 it reminds me of fall leaves with brown, rust/ochres and greens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Too HOT!!!

Remind me come January or February just how miserably hot it has been! We're in our second official heat wave and summer doesn't start for another 10 or so days! I keep asking myself why I moved from New Hampshire, but then I remember -10 degrees and feet and feet of snow for long stretches of time, so suppose the heat isn't too bad - we do have central air conditioning and a boat after all.

I came home the other night to this please ignore the dishes in the drainer:

This is Spot. No, she's not supposed to be on the counter and yes, she knows that but it certainly doesn't look like she cares.

Stitching this week has been limited, but as I've finished my major commitment piece, I'm rather enjoying the no guilt feeling of taking a few nights off.

I was able to stitch to the right border of With thy Needle & Threads Birds of a Feather mystery sampler last weekend.  Despite worries, I did count correctly after all huge sighs of relief were probably heard half way round the world!  I'd like to finish the top border and a bit of the sides this weekend. I have also decided to do some finishing work on the Secret Needle night projects I stitched last year. I stitched all the projects, but only finish finished about half of them. As I ordered the finishing kits, I have everything I need to complete them the bows even came pre-tied,  I just need to make the time and work out a treaty with my hot glue gun! Hopefully I'll have a finished project to show later this weekend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vacation Recap

I still have today to finish things up, but I also have a bit of housework and just general getting things ready to go back to work, so not sure how much stitching or fun things I'll get done today. We had a series of thunderstorms go through earlier and we've been losing power for 15 or so minutes each hour since (thank goodness for laptops with batteries). Our electric company is usually very good about keeping the power on, so something fairly major happened somewhere in the system.

So what did I accomplish during my vacation besides wishing that I could somehow really take advantage of the early retirement opportunity (50 years old with at least 20 years of service) that they've been talking about sleeping past 4:00 each morning and feeling rested each day? Well, I had my first and second finishes for 2011. I started With they Needle & Thread's Birds of a Feather Mystery:

With thy Needle & Thread
Birds of a Feather Mystery Sampler
35-county Weeks Dye Works Confederate Gray
Recommended Weeks Dye Works threads
I'm hoping to finish stitching the top section today if the power will cooperate as I'm still not sure, even after counting three times, that I've got the stitch count correct on the outer border. Thanks to DMIL for the birthday gift that allowed me to sign up for this one!!

I exercised for 45 minutes each day, started to straighten the basement (finishing *that* task will take years weeks months), did all the mending, planted up the pots on the deck, pulled out the trusty glue gun and burned the heck out of my fingers fixed several things; and hung pictures. There were a couple of things that I didn't get to (it was too hot to spend much time outside doing the weeding in the drive), but all in all, I'm very pleased, especially since I didn't really expect to finish even a quarter of the list.

Back to work tomorrow. I am travelling in a couple of weeks, a conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I'm taking two weeks off in July (I haven't taken two weeks off during the summer in better than 10 years) for my family reunion and just relaxing, so there are things to look forward to. Is it a sad statement on my job that I'm more looking forward to not being there than being there?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Finish

After taking six months to have my first finish this year, I managed to have my second finish within three days. Here's a really crumby picture of Shepherd's Bush's Santaberry Pudding:

Shepherd's Bush's Santaberry Pudding
16-count Alabaster Heatherfield
DMC #5 Perle Cotton
1 over 2 
 I'm going to start With thy Needle & Thread's  Birds of a Feather mystery this evening.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1st

Lots of little things to talk about today.

Thanks everyone for the kind comments on my Egyptian Garden finish. The picture, as usual, doesn't do it justice. The blues are very vibrant and it just sparkles with all the beads and metallics. I'm not sure how this is going to be framed. I've been sending my finished pieces to Jill Rensel for the last couple of years for framing (yes, it is very scary dropping my stitching in the mail, but her work makes it worth it). She sends an email with two or three combinations, I choose and she does her magic. It's always fun to open the package (I have never had anything packaged as well as the items she sends) and see the finishing touches she put on the mats. She is also very reasonably priced, much more so than even the big chain stores.

On the temperature, the little thermometer part is located somewhere on our deck (I don't remember where the Hubs mounted it) and that area is a bit of a heat trap, so the actual temperature was probably closer to 97 - still a ridiculous number for this time of year. And the humidity was right around 68%, so walking outside was rather like walking into a warm, wet wash cloth.

As it's the first of the month, it's time to recap and plan. My goals for May were to finish Egyptian Garden and comment more on your blogs. I did both!  As a matter of fact, I was commenting on someones blog almost every day until Blogger had it's little tantrum.

For June? I'd like to finish two more rows on both Santaberry Pudding and Just Nan's Christmas Elegance and finish part one of With thy Needle & Thread's Birds of a Feather Mystery Sampler. That's a hefty bit of stitching, especially as I'll be travelling for a week with work, but I do have five more days on my holiday so these may be more easily doable than I think.

Speaking of Santaberry Pudding. Here's a photo of my progress:

This is stitched over-2 on 16-count Alabaster Heatherfield with #5 Perle cotton. I'm having a bit of trouble getting the back stitching to play nice, but all in all, I'm enjoying this piece. I'm hoping to finish off the line of stars and the next line of verse today.

And finally, it's a new moon, so here's my TUSAL photo:

Mostly Egyptian Garden, but there are a few bits from Santaberry Pudding in there. Not that they're easy to see, but the fabric in the background is R&R Reproductions Espresso and Flax Fields which are for BBD's Gathering Basket and Wild Lilies.