Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TUSAL and iStitch SAL update

Hard to believe another month has gone by.  Another craptastic picture by yours truly, but you can see the blues from Hawaiian Garden Mandala, the browns and greens from Birds of a Feather mystery and maybe some of the black, red and green from Grandfather's Sleigh. 

And as I missed posting it this weekend, here's my progress on iStitch's SAL:

I really do think I'm going to run out of thread on this one and the color I'm using isn't available any longer.  Something I will have to worry about later. I have the day off  going with the Hubs to listen to him get chewed out by the doctor for not following any of the instructions they gave him last time and don't want to spoil it with a lot of unnecessary thinking or worry.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Autumn!

The calendar says it's officially autumn. As I mentioned in my previous post, some of the trees are starting to change color, but the surest sign is the State Fair of Virginia starts next week! I love going to the fair. For a rural state it really is we just have some very heavily populated areas but they don't make up the majority of the land area of the state it doesn't have a lot of animals and I'm usually dismayed at the small number of handcrafted items entered and always say I'm going to enter "next year" BUT I thoroughly enjoy the day, just walking around with the in-laws, eating bad-for-me food I mean really? Fried Butter?!?! and looking at the exhibits and booths.  Opening weekend conflicts with our annual trip to the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, so will most likely go the following Friday. Two fairs/festivals on consecutive weekends?  I think that deserves a Squeeeeeeeeee!

Thanks for the comments on my previous posts. I really do wish I could meet all of you in person, but this is a fair second.  I also wish I could truly capture the colors I wonder why American English dropped the "u"? in "Hawaiian Garden", they are amazingly vibrant! Mouse, I know what you mean on the cost of Chatelaines. Before the Hubs who knew he would be so darned expensive? I was able to kit most of my mandalas with all the silks and overdyes, but the majority of mine are stitched using Martina's DMC conversion.  Hawaiian  is an exception to the DMC. As it's a vacation memory piece, I splurged on the silks.  Unless mine is displayed next to one done in the called for silks and overdyes, nobody is going to know that it is "different".  The patterns can be expensive, but I figure for all the enjoyment I get out of them that the per use cost is very low and they are unique pieces. 

Stitching, you ask? Yes there was some this week.

Birds of a Feather proved to be more "Frogs of a Feather". I was one row off on the leaves, so had to pull them all out and redo. Despite that there was progress as the alphabet is now finished.

I may actually finish this before the end of the year! I have been thinking of how I want to do the tree trunk. My WDW "Bark" is very variegated and I don't really want a striped tree. I am down to two options. The first is stitch the trunk using continental rather then English method. The second is to flip one ply of thread over so that the colors don't line up and stitch as usual.

And of course Hawaiian

Photo is dark, but you can see the progress.

Carol released part 5 of her mystery sampler yesterday so I will be focusing on finishing it today. I'm starting to worry that I'm going to run out of thread, but will worry about that when I have to and try to not ruin the fun I'm having stitching this piece.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I know I was complaining about the heat, but this is ridiculous! It was near 80 when I went out at lunch time on Thursday, by the time I left to go home around 5:00 it was in the 60s! Last I checked, we hadn't cracked 60 yet today! I don't mind the cooler temperatures, but little by little would have been easier to adjust to!! Fall (I read somewhere that fall is only used in American English - don't know if that's really true or not) is starting to make itself known - a few of the maples have started to show some color and the tulip poplars are going yellow.

Finally went out to check around the house and property to see what, if any, damage there was due to the rain. We have some planting areas that are washed out and need to be remulched well the mulch needs to be moved from where it ended up back to where it belongs - that's what I'll be doing later today but nothing serious.

In response to your comments, if you haven't stitched a Chatelaine, I highly recommend you give them a try. Martina has an amazing way with color! She explains her speciality stitches fairly well and well, you just have to love all the bling! I have too many several started, have finished Caribbean and Egyptian Garden large mandalas, two samplers and several of her small designs. I read a lot of folks complaining about the monotony of stitching the same thing four times, but most of her newer designs, especially those representing specific places, such as Tuscany, Caribbean or Hawaii do have different scenes on each side.

Wasn't a great stitching week for me. I had a training to give this week, so got home late Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. But some good may have come out of that, as I found that I wasn't that much more tired working that extra hour each day, so am going to give a compressed schedule a try at work. We have to log 80 hours in a two week period, so each Monday through Thursday I'll work 9 hour days, 8 hours on one Friday and then have one Friday off. Basically means that every other week I'll have a 3-day weekend. I'm rather excited at the thought as I'll be able to get all the housework done on Friday and have two entire days for other more enjoyable things. Anyway,

Carol released part 4 of her mystery SAL early and I was able to stitch it up last night.

Here's my progress on Birds of a Feather mystery. Part 2 is actually a good match for my stitching time. I can do a letter or leaf or two and there are enough leaves to keep me busy for ages a night and, even with my limited stitching time, see some progress. 

And finally my progress on Hawaiian:

I have a chance of finishing this part in the next month or so. I won't meet my goal of finishing through part 6 but I'm further along than I was at the beginning of the year.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Unexpected Semi-Long Weekend

Thank you again for all your kind comments - sorry for creeping anybody out with the spider picture. I haven't checked to see if she survived the storm, but I did see a few fairy blankets in the yard a bit ago, so if the little ones survived, maybe she did too. After finding Grandfather's Sleigh in the bill pile, maybe I should start looking through a few of these other piles to see what else I "put in a safe place"!

Looking out the den window, you'd never guess that we've had something like 8" to 10" of rain the last few days, it's sunny with puffy clouds in a clear blue sky - just beautiful.  The afore mentioned rain caused a few issues - namely the flooding and washing out of the bedding for the train's tracks.  As they can't safely run trains across the tracks until CSX has inspected and repaired them and CSX can't inspect or repair until the water goes down, VRE (Virginia Railway Express) cancelled service for today. Unfortunately, I didn't find this out until I was in the almost empty parking lot almost empty except for the folks who either don't subscribe to the email update list or who didn't read their emails before leaving the house - I'm in the latter group. I quickly decided that although I didn't have a huge amount of work with me, I could work from home for at least a portion of the day the alternatives to the train are not doable for me without a few hours notice.  The worst part, isn't the getting up at 4:00 AM although I hate that, or the 60+ mile round-trip from home to the train station and back, or confirming that I'm sometimes a doofus, it is the fact that I have to drive back to town to go to the grocery store it doesn't open until 6:00!  Oh well, the plus side is that I finished a couple of projects that had been languishing on my desk, have all my on-line training completed for this year, reviewed a couple of very strange proposals that would have taken forever in the office just too many interruptions and am done for the day!

Well that certainly made a short story long!!

Stitching-wise, I had a fairly productive week. Okay, I had a productive weekend - I was too exhausted by the time I got home each night to even think about stitching.

I finally finished part 1 of Birds of a Feather mystery!! Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it, but it looks like everyone else who used the called for colors and fabric... I did move on to part 2 and have A through E done. I'll probably work on it a bit more later this afternoon.

I do; however, have a picture of my Hawaiian Garden Mandala progress:


And after:

As I stitch top-down/left-right I have to flip my pieces occasionally for ease of stitching. I'll work on this some more tomorrow.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Trying again

It seems photos and I are just not getting along well recently. Hopefully here's a photo of my progress on iStitch's mystery SAL:

The photo is a bit washed out, but given the issues mentioned in my previous post, my crappy photography skills are probably a good thing.

And I have a finish!! I was digging around in the bill pile of all places and found this:

Grandfather's Sleigh from Shakespeare's Peddler
Unknown 40-count over-dyed fabric and threads

I started it earlier this year and had set it aside and promptly forgotten where I put it well it certainly didn't belong in the bill pile so why would I have looked there?!?!!?. All I had left to stitch was "Emma", the greenery at the bottom, the candy canes and the year so instead of stitching what I had planned, I decided a finish was in order. Everything, except the sleigh, is over-1. That normally doesn't bother me but this is done on a 40-count overdye so it was probably closer to 42- or over 43-count. I don't know what the fabric or threads are as this came as a kit I pulled it out of a clearance basket at In Stitches a while back. It was marked down from $14.00 USD to $2.00 USD!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stitching Update #1 and a Spider picture

First, I have been remiss in thanking everyone for their kind comments on my stitching. I'm, as many of you are, an isolated stitcher, and while the Hubs comments on my stitching, it does mean a lot coming from other stitchers. I do wish I could capture the vibrancy of Hawaiian Garden as the blues just pop off the fabric. If DS comes to visit maybe I can convince him to photograph it for me what use is having a professional photographer for a son if you can't take advantage of it occasionally? Okay he's a professional photographer by training, but he's a butcher to pay the bills.

I have accomplished one item on my September seems weird typing that goals, I am caught up on iStitch's mystery SAL.

The picture makes the fabric R&R Reproductions Espresso darker than it really is, but the floss color HDF's Cloud is fairly accurate. The photo is not clickable as Carol has had issues with people stitching the design from blog photos. The copyright issue is making designer and shop blogs big time again - I know it never goes away but apparently there's been a surge in inappropriate use. I, for one, am completely appalled at the attitude of folks that feel it is perfectly acceptable to upload charts for others to use. I wonder if you asked them if it was okay to walk into a store and take something what they would say. I don't see any difference between the two actions, but somehow they seem to make a distinction between "sharing" and "stealing". Not that my little blog is going to make anyone change their minds, but I have added, "It's a copyright, not your right to copy" to my side bar.

Now for the spider pictures.  Those of you that are terrified of the beasties should stop reading now.  Or concentrate on this picture of a hummingbird that feeder was filled in the morning. The photo was taken about 7:00 PM. We are, as best I can tell, on the migration route for these pigs-with-wings, and have upwards of two dozen of them buzzing around at any time.  We fill the feeders at least once a day and if one happens to go empty the birds will hover at the den window to remind us that we are falling down on our duties as hosts.

Onto the spider - I was trimming around the house and saw this gal don't know  for certain it's a gal, but female spiders tend to be bigger and fancier than males had spun a web against the window frame.  It's a black and yellow garden spider that's an imaginative name! Sounds like something I'd come up with! She is only dangerous to bugs.

This picture shows her belly and how she sits against the house:

And this is what her back looks like. I had to slide the camera between her web and the house to take this picture so it's not centered, but you can see how beautiful she is okay, maybe I'm the only one that thinks she's beautiful and I will concede a certain "eek" factor given her size. Her body is a good 1-1/2" to 2" (if my math is correct that's 3.8 to 5 cm) long with her legs adding an equal length.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just Yakkity Yakking...

No pictures this post, just yakking. Suppose I should start with a recap of my August stitching. I know I cut way back on my goals from July, but I still didn't do too well.

My goals for August were:
  • Finish part one of BoaF Almost
  • Stitch on Chatelaine's Hawaiian Garden 5 nights Sort of
Not very good at all. I have a few leaves, some berries, the red flower and the center in the flower left to finish part 1 and I really should be able to get that done this weekend. I didn't stitch five separate nights on Hawaiian BUT I did spend more time on it than I would have if I'd worked on it five separate nights. Actually I think I'm going to give myself a "yes" on that one.

In addition to the posted goals I started and finished part one of iStitch's mystery SAL.

For September:
  • Keep up to date with iStitch's mystery SAL
  • Finish part 1 and start part 2 of Birds of a Feather mystery sampler
  • Five hours on Hawaiian Garden
I may be able to get a lot of these done this weekend. It's Labor Day weekend and I normally have a long 3-day weekend, but after all the travel and craziness at work the last couple of months, I took today off also. I do have a few chores to do, trimming the grass around the house is at the top of the list, but none of them will take a huge amount of time, so plenty of time for stitching. And the other great thing is college football season starts this weekend, so lots of good stuff on the television the next few days.

I've started making plans for next year's stitching, oh I'm a great planner, just not so great on the execution sometimes. Anyway, Measi  over at Measi's Musings is hosting WIPocalypse 2012. It's a great SAL with very flexible rules. I was planning to work on WIPs next year, but it's a lot more fun with others. Only thing that I really have to remember to do it post my WIP progress on the new moon. As I'm doing that with the TUSAL, I think I can remember for the new one.

Hopefully I'll have a plethora (love that word but don't get a chance to use it much, sort of like aardvark - my favorite word but it doesn't come up in everyday conversation too often) of progress pics in my next post.