Friday, March 30, 2012

Little Houses

Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my stitching.  As mentioned in my last post, the cherry blossoms are now gone; however, the walk around the Tidal Basin is still beautiful and you can take in three different memorials - Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Now is the perfect time, not too hot and humid and much smaller crowds. Listen to me sounding like a tourist guide! 

The pines have joined the pollen parade as evidenced by my yellow-green colored car and my itchy, watery, puffy eyes I am hoping that all the plants have their grand spring celebration all at once and the allergy season is short.

I worked on Chatelaine's Hawaiian Garden this week and almost finished one hibiscus corner.  Here's a view of the entire section:

And here's a semi-close up:
Hawaiian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine
Stitched on 28-count Summer Sky Jobelan with recommended fibers and beads
I know nothing I have written so far has anything to do with little houses, but this does:
This all comes in that little package in the upper right corner.  It's the kit for Parma Violets from The Nutmeg Company's The Christmas House Collection, Gingerbread Houses and when it is finished it will be 6cms or a little more than 2-1/4"It's a very complete kit including pre-cut fabric and frame pieces the finished stitching is sewn to them to give them body so they will stand when stitched together.

Marsh Marigolds on Logan's Creek will go on the stand for this weekend.  This one is close enough to being done, that I may have a happy dance before the weekend is out. Of course now that I have voiced that possibility, something will come up to prevent it from happening. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring and LOTS of Other Stuff

This will be long and rambling not like my other posts are any different so as Mouse would say grab a cuppa and settle in. I don't have a kettle and don't know the first thing about making a proper cup of tea but I am willing to try and do always have iced tea in the fridge and despite living in the south it is not sweet tea!

Thank you to everyone on the comments on my progress on Winter Watergarden. I do love Chatelaine designs and just wish I had the time to stitch more of them although looking at my WIP list time is not stopping me from starting them.

Where to begin? Well it is definitely spring here in central Virginia. Not that we had a winter to speak of but there is no question that the season is changing.

The dogwoods are just opening and should be beautiful in another few days. This one is in the woods around our house, so it is just an ordinary tree and not the showpiece you might find in an arboretum.

I have mentioned that I work in Washington DC, so instead of my usual three laps around the third floor the Department of Agriculture building is huge, each lap of the walking "trail" on the third floor is right around 6/10ths of a mile at lunch on Monday I meandered down to see the cherry blossoms.  It was a cool, partially cloudy day but it was so nice to get out of the building.

Unfortunately for the organizers of the Cherry Blossom Festival, the blossoms are not going to be around for the opening of the festival. These photos were taken on Monday, the flowers last about 10 days and the festival isn't due to open until next week sometime.

So where to next? Rebekah at The Stitching Frog kindly awarded me the Liebster Award. Thank You Rebekah.   Liebster is a German word, meaning favorite, dearest or beloved, and the Liebster is awarded by bloggers to other, newer bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to spread the word and help the new(er)bies gain wider recognition. The award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:

1. Choose five up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to.
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.
4. Share five random facts about yourself that people don't know about you.

 I have done #2 and part of #3, #1 will be a bit more difficult but I will work on it while I write this although I may just guide you all to my blog list (on the left side bar) and invite you to visit all of them. I jump off to lots of other blogs from these and it is so much fun to find a new blog.  And #4, five random facts about me.  I am a pretty random person, so you would think that would be easy, but it has had me stumped for the last couple of days, but here goes:

1.  I hate cooked raisins but will eat them "raw".
2. My favorite word is aardvark. I just like how it looks and sounds no great love for the animal although it is interesting.
3.  Yellow is my favorite color, followed closely by red
4.  I am not a morning person although I have had to make myself pretend to be one due to work
5.  I still watch Scooby-Doo cartoons

I won a give away!! Donna at By the Bay Needleart has been designing Stitch an Inch projects. Each chartpack contains seven designs - six major plus a bonus chart - that can be stitched all as one scene or as individual designs.  If you stitch 1-over-1 on 28-count fabric, they are one inch square.  I won her give away of Stitch an Inch "Winter". There was a slight mix-up in some mailings and she graciously sent me Stitch an Inch "Spring" as well. I am a total sucker for seasonal series and as I already had "Summer" and "Autumn"  I now have a complete set! I can't wait to get these into my rotation.

STASH!!! The remainder of my threads for Serengeti arrived this week!

These are the Dinky Dyes and Wildflowers that I ordered from Stitching Bits and Bobs:

And these are the Glorianas, Waterlilies and Petite Treasure Braids I ordered from Needlecraft Corner:

And yes, I did actually do some stitching this week.  In honor of the first day of Spring, I started Mirabilia's Santa's Magic.

I am stitching this on Silkweaver's 32-count opalescent Ametrine Jazlyn.  The opalescent seems to be showing up but the colors of the fabric aren't - ah well, if I took a good, true photo I wouldn't know what to do with it.  The red bit you see is metallic fiber. I am very glad I switched out the called for Kreinik #8 for Kreinik #4, I can't imagine trying to get #8 through the fabric.

If you made it this far - thank you.  Chatelaine's Hawaiian Garden is back on the frame and calling.  Happy stitching!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

March IHSW

While I didn't have as much time as I usually do for IHSW, I am very pleased with my progress on Chatelaine's Winter Watergarden.
Here's where I started on Saturday:

And here's where I ended up Sunday evening:
Chatelaine's Winter Watergarden
Stitched on 32-count White Belfast with recommended fibers and beads
There are filling stitches in the upper right hand portion, inside the outer blue line but it is really hard to see.  The blank spaces in the center arches and points will be filled with beads, algerian eyelets and rhodes stitches.  There will be a snowflake in the very middle.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Back Home Again

I had a very nice time in Mississippi last week, the training went well nobody threw anything or ran out of the room screaming so until I can read the evaluations I'll assume it went well, and I am glad to be home again. Of course, I spent most of today straightening and cleaning, but I think I'm about done.

Thank you everyone for the kind comments on Christmas Elegance. I have a bunch of Just Nan's older designs in my stash have not been too fond of her recent releases, but was a collector for many years and always wonder why I don't work on them more often I don't suppose the ridiculous list of WIPs has anything to do with it....  The mint M&Ms are hard to find but, if you can find them, they are well worth the hunt.
Another portion of my Serengeti threads arrived while I was gone.  

Talk about a beautiful package!  This one is from Needle in a Haystack.

And inside was the Petite Very Velvet, Gloriana Petite Princess Perle and Gloriana Luminescence:

I had an email from Drema at Needlecraft Corner saying that my order was ready for shipping, so I should have everything but the Dinky Dye threads soon.

As I suspected, I did not get any stitching done while I was gone, but I did do quite a bit on Twilight of the Tsars last weekend.

Here's where I was when I picked it up Saturday evening:

And here's where I left it on Sunday:

It is definitely egg shaped now.

Chatelaine's Winter Watergarden is on the stand for IHSW.  I have so little done on it that it's almost silly to all it a WIP but I do hope to get a good portion of part 1 finished.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Earworms, M&Ms, Stash and Stitching

Thank you to everyone for your comments on my Shepherd's Bush piece, I really am happy with the way it is turning out.

I have had a plague of earworms lately.  My current one is 3AM by Poets of the Fall, which replaced Viva la Vida by Coldplay - both of them are huge improvements over the Oompa Loompa song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!  That one was stuck for almost a week - very irritating to wake up and hear that running through your head - strange thing is I haven't watched the movie recently, so I am not sure how or why it started.
Have you tried these?

Yep, dark chocolate mint M&Ms! They are addictive!  I am not really sure why they packaged them in a zip closing package - it wasn't really necessary.

Look what came in the mail!!

First is my bead pack for Chatelaine's Serengeti:

Doesn't European Cross Stitch package things up nicely?

And second is Maxim & Zoya from Plum Street Samplers:

I am trying to figure out what drew me to this as it is not my usual style.  Not sure when this will fit in my rotation, but it will be soon I hope.

Stitching? Yes, I actually did do some stitching this week.  Here is my progress on Blackbird Designs'  Birds of a Feather:

Blackbird Designs' Birds of a Feather
Stitched on 30-count R&R Reproductions Irish Creme linen with Gentle Arts and Crescent Colours

That vine border on the left? It took me three tries to get it right. Counting to five was a very difficult task for me last weekend. It seems that the easier something is, the more I have to frog. 

Birds of a Feather was my Friday stitch, the rest of the weekend I worked on Just Nan's Christmas Elegance

Just Nan's Christmas Elegance
Stitched on 28-count Antique White with DMC, Kreinik and beads
Twilight of the Tsars has been put onto the stand and is ready for some stitching. I will be out of town for work next week, so I won't get a lot of time for stitching, I may take something small with me, but my experience has been that I am so tired after a day of training that all I can do in the evenings is review my notes for the next day and sleep.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March Came in Like a Lamb

Yes, March came in on 70+F temperatures and sunny skies. We're supposed to have thunderstorms and rain for the rest of the weekend and given the weirdness of the weather, who knows what will be in store for us.

When I got home from the grocery store this morning, my front yard had a very "The Birds" look to it, except instead of seagulls and crows it was robins.  There must have been 100 or more hopping around the front yard and I could hear more in the trees. The feeders have also been inundated with finches, both gold and house, and grackles.  The red-winged blackbirds should be showing up soon they are my favorite summer birds.

Welcome to my new followers and thank you to everyone for the comments.  I am really enjoying having some of my older WIPs come out of hibernation. I noticed when I was working on Secret Victorian Garden that I hadn't done any of the beading. I think that the next rotation will be a beading only one as there are, as usual for a Chatelaine, a ton of beads and spending days and days beading at the end is not appealing. And yes, I use scroll rods and bead as I go. I run a strip of quilt batting/wadding right up next to the scroll rod before rolling and that provides enough padding that I have yet to crack or break a bead and it also keeps the tension more even. I only do the Delicas as I go, the bicones, cubes and other assorted bling are added last.

Cover your ears as I am going to SQQQUUUEEEEEEEEE here! I won a give-away! I was so shocked, I don't usually enter drawings on blogs but Doris at A Pause in the Journey was looking for good homes for some of her mother's projects so I gave it a try and won two beautiful The Drawn Thread kits Summer into Autumn and Winter into Spring.  I LOVE The Drawn Thread's patterns and really couldn't resist.

Thank you so much Doris.

Serengeti? Did someone ask about Serengeti and my crazy "treasure hunt"? Well, my first thread showed up! Thistle Needleworks came through in amazing time with the Fiesta Impressions from the Caron Collection.  Here is the thread on my chosen fabric which is fairly close to what the fabric color really is although not quite as bright - the fiber is a bit washed out as it is much more in the brown/orange range. 

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my other fibers and the beads.  Part one has been released and while this won't be in the rotation for a bit I'd really like to have everything on hand. I have already pulled the called for DMCs and somehow I was missing four. That might not be unusal for some people, but I swore I had at least one complete set with duplicates of most of their colors. I stopped into A.C. Moore on the way to the grocery store this morning and got the missing four.

So on to the stitching...

My focus piece this week was Shepherd's Bush's Holy Night. The colors are a bit brighter than other Shepherd's Bush I've worked on but it could be more a factor that it's done with two threads over two instead of their usual one.  I'm using the recommended fibers, with the exception of the called for Rainbow Gallery Alpaca - I switched it for The Gentle Art's Simply Wool as that's what the shop had, but have a 28-count fabric instead of a 19-count. I don't have the name of the fabric, but given the coffee smell, it's an R&R Reproductions piece which makes sense since I bought the chart and fibers at Dyeing to Stitch  in Virginia Beach which is their shop the fabric is brown/gold despite what the picture shows but by now you should all be used to my craptastic photos.  All I had done when I started last week was the "A" and the top vine border.

Holy Night by Shepherd's Bush
Stitched on unknown 28-count R&R Reproductions fabric with TGA and Crescent Colours fibers
I am going for a new start today, Blackbird Designs 2011 Birds of a Feather.  Karen at Wasatch Needlecrafts had this one as an automatic so I will be using the recommended 30-count Irish Creme from R&R Reproductions and GAST and Crescent Colours. The ones I have seen finished across blogland are beautiful and I can't wait to get started.

Next week's focus piece will be Just Nan's Christmas Elegance which is, as the name implies, very elegant and very much an "old style" Just Nan.

I hope everyone has a great week.