Monday, December 30, 2013

Ornament Check-in and a Year in Review (a bit early)

Despite me initial doubts, I did it!!  I managed to stitch twelve ornaments this year as part of Stitching Lotus' Ornament SAL.  I did stumble a bit and not finish one in September but I made up for it by finishing two in November.  You can see all my ornament finishes in the 2013 Ornaments tab.  So without further yakking about it, here is my final ornament for 2013:

1999 Schooler Santa from The Prairie Schooler.  Stitched on an unknown 28-count blue evenweave with called for DMC.
I left out the backstitching on the front of the coat as I did not like the look, but I think it turned out okay without it.

So my slightly early recap of my 2013 stitching. Other than missing IHSW during the summer, I didn't officially participate, but I did stitch those weekends, I think I kept up with all the SALs that I was a member of.  It did help that none of them are really stressful ones and mostly provided me with the incentive to keep stitching.

I was going to post all sorts of before and after photos, but I kept track of my finishes and progress in those little tabs up top there, so decided to save us all from a huge, picture heavy post and just link to the tabs.  I don't have a lot of stitching time, but I was able to finish 17 pieces this year. If you'd like to see them, they are in Finishes tab. WIPocalypse and YOTA were great helps in keeping me focused on finishing four of my long-term WIPs, making progress on two others and reducing my WIP list to 18 and the Ornament SAL filled my need for a new start and quick finishes.  My WIPocalypse recap can be seen in the 2013 WIPocalypse tab.  I am looking forward to participating in YOTA and WIPocalypse again in 2014, as well as all the other SALs that I have signed up for.

I normally start a project on New Year's day, but this year, I didn't wait.  My parents Thanks Mom and Dad gave me this

for Christmas. It's Three Tulips from With Thy Needle and Thread along with the called for threads and fabric.  I immediately had to adapt my stitching plan Kevin at Cabbages and Kings discussed plans and resolutions so much better than I could.  I decided that as I now have five pieces in my rotation and I am off work this week that I would stitch on a different project each day and start my stitching plan on Sunday - I will work on my Smalls project on Saturday.  Three Tulips went on the frame first and is coming along quite nicely - it will be difficult to stop working on it, but I want to give some time to the other pieces in my rotation that have been neglected since about July when I went OAAT (one at a time) with 99.

Currently, my 2014 stitching plan is to do a one week rotation, Sunday through Saturday, with Sunday mornings and my compressed Friday (I am scheduled to work 44 hours the first week of the pay period, 36 the second and have every other Friday off) set aside to work on smalls.  As I am participating in the Just Nan SAL, a Just Nan project will be in the rotation every month.  I haven't yet decided if I will designate a specific week or just randomly tuck it into the rotation.  I am leaning towards random, but the plan is a work in progress and subject to blowing up dismantling being ignored revision at any time.

And before I forget, again, Welcome to my new followers and an apology to anyone that may have commented and didn't receive a response.  Yahoo! revamped things and went to a conversation format - they lumped all emails with the same topic into one list.  I suppose it makes sense if you have only two people involved in the conversation but with blog post comments, it was hard to keep track of who I had responded to and who I hadn't.  I wasn't ignoring any of your comments, just not dealing well with technological "advances".  I have finally figured out how to turn that feature off, so there should not be a repeat in the future.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December IHSW

I love International Hermit and Stitch Weekend.  Settling down into my stitching chair, focusing on nothing but my stitching and making great progress on my current project... Ummmm, yeah, that's the concept, unfortunately, this last one of the year was spent doing just about anything BUT stitching. Lots of running around, baking and wrapping and I still have a couple of things to do to feel that I'm ready for the holiday.  I finished the chocolate covered cherries this morning and have the dough for the pecan tassies in the fridge.  I will bake the tassies and some bread tomorrow and then I will truly be ready well except that I need to put the tassies and the cherries in the gift tins so we can give them to the neighbors and in-laws.  I tell you, when I shut down on the 27th visits and gift delivering on the 26th, I am not sure when I will move againI just have to remember to crash near my stitching chair.

Since I did call this my IHSW check-in, here is what I worked on:


This is the 1995 Schooler Santa.  It is stitched on an unknown 28-count blue evenweave with the called for DMC.  This is my last ornament stitch for the year, so I do need to get a move on so that I can finish it for the Ornament SAL check-in.

I did also finish/finish another gingerbread house from The Nutmeg Company.  Here it is on the tree:

I found another SAL to join because five wasn't enough.  Mel at Epic Stitching is hosting:

Stitch From Stash 2014

If I did it right, you should be able to click on the image and go to the information/sign-up page.  It's really a very simple SAL - stitch from your stash.  She does allow a rather generous $25 each month for purchases, so you're committing to a stash diet, not a complete fast.  Seeing as how my stash budget is pretty much $0, this one should be an easy lift.

Hard to believe, but my next post will be a 2013 recap.  I hope everyone that celebrates has a Happy Christmas and those that don't, I hope you have a happy next week.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Wonderful Customer Service

Five or six years ago, The Hubs gave me a Needlework System 4 floor stand.  It quickly became my most prized stitching accessory.  Fast forward to about a week ago.  A phone call from The Hubs began with, "You're going to be really mad." Not a good start to a conversation.  He went on to say that his leg gave out (a troubling comment on its own), he'd fallen across the scroll frame on the stand and the only two plastic parts on the stand broke. We aren't talking about flimsy plastic pieces, but math not being my strongest subject, I won't try to do the math to determine the force generated by a large man falling, suffice it to say, it was a lot. No, I wasn't mad and fortunately The Hubs wasn't hurt, but I was disappointed that it had happened.  A few minutes after the first call, The Hubs called back to say that he had called the folks at System 4 and they were sending two new pieces in that day's mail, free of charge!

The stand looked like this when I got home:

The screws you see are supposed to have a scroll frame attached to them.

Friday I got home from work and the stand looked like this:

The pieces came in and The Hubs was able to get everything put back together just like new.  I have been so busy with holiday preparations that I haven't had a chance to stitch, but it is nice to know that I can.

Thank you to the folks at Needlework System 4 for a wonderful product and great customer service.  The usual disclaimer of no affiliation just a VERY, very happy customer. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

TUSAL, YOTA and anything else I may have missed

First things first:  Happy Birthday to my sister Nancy!! 

I finally feel like I have recovered from Thanksgiving, although we are I am still eating leftover turkey and will be for a while. Next year would you all please call, email or text The Hubs and tell him that a 22 pound turkey is not necessary to feed four people?  Fortunately, I do not have to worry about him getting anything bigger as I don't have a roasting pan that is large enough for even an ounce more. 

I had a wonderful week off from work.  We did not get the predicted Yuck but we did have white lumps  in the rain Wednesday afternoon.  According to the forecast, the Yuck is predicted again for Saturday evening through Sunday.

Before I get to the stitching, here is my last TUSAL post for 2014:

If you're interested, I heard a rumor that Daffycat was going to continue the TUSAL for 2014, but haven't seen it in writing yet.  The little house is my finish-finish of The Nutmeg Company's Gingerbread House Oranges and Lemons.  I had trouble getting the bottom on correctly so it's a bit wonky, but it will be fine hanging on the tree.

Speaking of SALs, I've joined a couple more for next year.  Stitching Lotus posted sign-ups for the 2014 Smalls SAL.  You can click on the badge on the left side bar or here for information.  Pull The Other Thread is hosting the YOTA SAL again in 2014.  Sign ups are open now.  And Measi at Measi's Musings is hosting the WIPocalypse. Clicking on that link will take you to a place holder page as sign-ups aren't open yet. The nice thing about all of the SALs is that they are no pressure, just have fun and stitch events.  YOTA and WIPocalypse are specifically to whittle down your pile of WIPs/UFOs if you don't have enough, I would happily lend you a few And for me, the Smalls SAL will help reduce my stash a bit.  Yes, I do realize that is a foreign concept to most stitchers... 

So on to the stitching:

I did work on Santa's Magic but did not make the progress I hoped.  Here's the before:

And, for my last 2013 YOTA posting, here's where he is now:

I finished the pears and added some of the furry stitching at the front of his hat and the gold headpiece, but that's about it.  Oh well, each stitch done is a stitch closer to finished.

I did start my December ornament:

This is the 1995 Santa from The Prairie Schooler.  It's stitched on an unknown 28-count blue evenweave with DMC.  I have to admit that this one gives me the creeps as it reminds me of the Roboform Santas from the Doctor Who episode, "The Christmas Invasion".

I'm not sure how much stitching time I will have this weekend.  I have to finish making cards and envelopes hopefully The Hubs will help with those, decorate the tree and bake goodies for the Kiddo so that I can get his box in the mail next week, and, Saturday is another big college football day the games are really going to have to go some to beat that wild finish to the Auburn/Alabama game last week.  If you didn't see it, Google it!  It ranks right up there in the top five of wildest finishes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A finish, a finish and another finish

Before I forget, thank you to everyone for their comments and welcome to my new followers, hopefully my on again/off again blogging style won't chase you all away.

I have almost caught up on my sleep, am relaxed and feeling chatty, so as Mouse would say, grab a cuppa and get comfortable...

Lots of things going on here in my little corner of Virginia - mostly weather related right now.  We are forecast to have a morning of YUCK! that's a technical term for sleet, freezing rain and snow turning to rain by the afternoon but they are saying 2" to 3" by the time the front gets through on Wednesday.  We're all settled in and planning to stay in until at least Wednesday well I am, I really can't speak for The Hubs.  I am very glad that I took this week off and don't have to think about slogging into the office the commute is bad on a nice, dry day, it devolves into chaos when the weather gets the least bit messy.

Oh yes, for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I found this friendly reminder on Stitches 'n Things' newsletter:

You may have noticed a new SAL badge up there on the left, Zeb at Keep Calm and Cross Stitch is hosting a Just Nan SAL for 2014.  If you click on the badge it will should take you to the information page and hopefully get you excited about stitching through or adding to your Just Nan stash.   Hang around and read through her blog too, you have got to see the one on her new craft room - I dream of being that organized!  I only have one Just Nan on my WIP list and will concentrate on that to begin with but my mind is rushing around thinking of what I should start when it is done - I have enough Just Nans in my stash to supply a small cross stitch shop.  She was a must buy for me for years and I was fortunate enough to be able to kit most of them up, so I'm in a great position to reach in, grab one and start but for me the planning is half the fun.

So, one SAL for 2014 is definite.  The ornament SAL that Stitching Lotus hosted for 2013 is morphing into a Smalls SAL for 2014 sign ups and "rules" haven't been posted yet and I will probably sign up for that one also.  No other stitching plans just yet, but I do have another month.

Given the title of the post, I suppose you're expecting to see stitching finishes, and I do have three to show you.

The first is The Nutmeg Company's Sugared Almonds Gingerbread House:

This is stitched on 14- and 18-count Aida with DMC and Mill Hill beads all included in the kit along with the parts needed to make it into a house.

Next up, from Chatelaine is:

I don't know if it has a name but it is one of Martina's advent freebies from 2005 or 2006(?).  It is stitched on an unknown color of 32-count Silkweaver fabric pre-current owner so don't know if it is a current color, with my own DMC conversion of the called for Gloriana silks and Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid and more unknown beads, crystals and center thingy.

 As I didn't have an ornament finish in September, finishing two in November at least keeps me caught up.

And finally from Plum Street Samplers is my version of Mary's Sampler 2:

 It is stitched on an unknown color of 40-count linen with DMC, Simply Wool Oatmeal (for the white sheep) and Crescent Colors Hickory Sticks (for the DMC 3371 - how can I not have what I consider a basic color like that when I have duplicates of most of the current DMC colors?)

Santa's Magic is going back on the frame for the rest of the week so hopefully I have some amazing progress to show this weekend probably not, between baking and getting things ready for Thanksgiving dinner and card making, the week will be over before I know it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November IHSW

While I have a few more minutes before I have to start getting things ready for work tomorrow, I don't think any of those minutes will be used for stitching, so here is my IHSW progress:

First is Mary's Sampler:

This week's part was a small one - two crowns and the cross.  Next week's part is the final one and will most likely fill that bottom left corner I do have a grasp of the obvious don't I?

And next up is Santa's Magic:

In case you forgot (I did) where this started, here is the before:

And here is where I am tonight after looking at the before and after, I got a lot more done than I thought:

The colors in the before picture are much more accurate than the after.  The gap in the beard near the face is supposed to be filled in with Wisper thread.  I have a love/hate relationship with that fiber so I am not sure if I will use it or not. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Starting IHSW

Are you ready to stitch?  It's a IHSW weekend! Care to participate?  Hop on over to Joyce's blog and sign up.

I have dinner in the slow cooker (and a slow cooker meal for tomorrow also), laundry in the washer and dishes done, so all I have left to do is.... STITCH!!!!

Santa's Magic is on the frame so will continue with it as I am still enjoying it.  Here is where I am right now:

I will also be stitching on the next part of Mary's Sampler when it comes out tomorrow.  I have been able to keep up with this one which is a huge surprise to me and with only two more parts I may actually finish it this year.  Here's where I am with this one:

I made a slight counting error on the angel on the left, so had to do a little artistic redesign to make the stars fit correctly.

I did have a finish this week, but it's my monthly ornament, so will hold off showing until the "grand reveal" on the last Wednesday of the month for the ornament SAL.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November YOTA and TUSAL

Happy November, welcome to my new followers and thank you all for your kind comments!!!  The best thing about November besides Thanksgiving?  Daylight savings time ended!!  I never really adjust to springing ahead so will enjoy being in synch with the world until March. 

Yesterday was the first Saturday of the month and time to post my YOTA progress.  Santa's Magic is my focus piece right now and I had a fair amount of progress.  Here is my before:

And here's where I am now:

He's stitched on 32-count Silkweaver's opalescent Amtrine with DMC, Kreinik, Wisper from Rainbow Gallery and Mill Hill Beads (eventually). 

Today, being the new moon, is TUSAL check-in time.  I don't take nice artsy photos, so here's my bowl of ORTS:

I have also stitched on a couple of other pieces, here's Mary's Sampler SAL from Plum Street Samplers parts one through 6:

Another star and a shepherd were added today.  I'm using the DMC conversion on an unknown color of 40-count linen.  It just hit me that Paulette said this would be finished up Thanksgiving weekend, if this is a nine part SAL and this is part six?  YIKES!  I need to start working on a menu and grocery list!!

And here is Sugared Almonds from the Nutmeg Company:

This is stitched with kitted fabric, fibers and beads.  I have switched out the DMC metallic very nasty, horrible stuff IMO with Kreinik which I really don't like either, but I didn't have a good Petite Treasure Braid substitute.  The needle, a John James petite, will give you some idea of the size.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Ornament

Time for:
 I worked on an ornament in September but didn't finish it, but I did start and finish one in October:

This is Poinsettia by Brittercup Designs.  It's from the 2007 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue.  Stitched on 28-count Queen Anne's Lace Jobelan with fibers from The Gentle Art and beads from Mill Hill.  I rather like the design and will be stitching it again.  Not sure how I will finish-finish it but have a couple of ideas.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A multi-tasking post

My one and only stitching resolution for this year was to keep up with all the SALs that I had joined.  I did fairly well, until August (missed IHSW) and September (missed IHSW and the ornament SAL).  I have missed a couple this month but will make this my catch-up post and try to keep up with them for the rest of the year.

Before I get started, thank you everyone for your kind comments on my finishes and WIPs, I really appreciate you all taking the time to read and comment.  And yes, a temporary deal was reached on Wednesday, so I was back to work on Thursday.  Only one voicemail message but oh my aching email!!  As I work as support for our field offices, I thought that there would be minimal emails as they were all closed as well, boy was I wrong.  Seems I get more outside emails than I thought as I finally finished sorting and flagging and could start answering them Friday morning.  I should be busy the next couple of days, at least, with that.

So back to stitching and SALs:

The first Saturday of each month is the YOTA SAL - a fun, no pressure, WIP reducing SAL much like WIPocalypse but with different posting days.  As I posted photos of the WIPs that I had worked on for the last month in my last post, I won't post them again - to see them again, click here.

It's hard to tell, but I had a lot of new threads in TUSAL container (I think I am going to use something different if this one continues into next year):

Lots of new browns from 99 but a fair number of more colorful pieces too.

In addition to the pieces shown in the post linked above, I do have some new ones for my WIPocalypse and IHSW:

This is Poinsettia from Brittercup Designs.  It's from the 2007 JCS Christmas Ornament magazine.  It's stitched on 28-count Queen Anne's lace Jobelan (it's tannish not blue) with Gentle Art Sampler Threads and Mill Hill beads.

I finished part 4 of Mary's Sampler from Plum Street Samplers this morning.  It is stitched on an unknown color of 40-count linen with the recommended DMC conversion. 

As I mentioned in my last post, Mirabilia's Santa's Magic was added to the rotation.  I don't remember the last time this one was on the frame, but given where my "before" photo was in the archive, it was probably a year ago.  This is stitched on 32-count opalescent Ametrine from Silkweaver using DMC, Kreinik metallics and Mill Hill beads (I may try to convert them to Delicas as I really don't care for the way Mill Hill's sit on the fabric).  Here's where it was when I left off last year:

And here's where I left off today:

The fabric color is fairly accurate in the photo but the sparkle from the fabric is not quite as obvious in real life.  Most definitely not "normal" Santa colors but I think that's why I am so attracted to it.

I think for the rest of the year, I am going to change my rotation.  I was switching out projects each weekend, but I think a "screaming" rotation sounds like good way to finish out the year - no stress, no pressure, just stitch what I feel like.  I have started thinking about my stitching plan for next year already but don't have anything firm yet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's this?

It looks like a neglected blog.  September was a bit crazy here in my little corner of Virginia.  The Hubs had two surgeries,  he has severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, that we are hoping will be successful.  After almost a month, neither one seems to be doing any better but the surgeon said that it could take up to six months for the nerves to wake back up if they are going to wake back up.  Work was absolutely crazy but that is pretty typical for the end of the fiscal year, unfortunately we weren't able to tell each other "good job" as my division is part of the several hundred thousand Federal employees that are locked out of their offices until this country's leaders and I am using that term loosely get over their childishness. As of today, I have been out of work longer than I ever have been since I started working and I am not liking the feeling.

I tried knitting years ago but never learned anything other than how to knit.  A few years ago, I knitted a number of scarves on huge needles (50 US/25mm) and really enjoyed it, so I started looking around for scarf patterns and have had the yarn and needles in my stash for this scarf since then.  I figured now was as good a time as any to give it a try and here's where I am:

I do have to work on keeping my tension even and pattern reading but I am happy with how this is turning out with simple knit and purl stitches.

I do have two finishes since my last post!  I am as shocked as any of you over that news!!!

Here is 99 by Ink Circles:

This is stitched on 32-count Golden Walnut with DMC.  Mine is in a different order from the pattern due to a placement error when I started so I do have to type a new guide but I am very happy that it is finished.

And here is Twilight of the Tsar by Dimples:

This is stitched on 32-count Smokey Pearl Belfast with DMC, Kreinik and Mill Hill beads.

 In addition to the finishes, I have made progress on several other projects:

Serengeti by Chatelaine stitched on 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan with recommended fibers and beads.

Sugared Almonds Gingerbread Houses by The Nutmeg Company stitched on kitted fabric, fibers and beads.

And, Mary's Sampler II SAL by Plum Street Samplers.  Stitched on a piece of mystery linen, it is actually browner than shown in the photo, with provided DMC conversion.  I used Simply Wool in oatmeal for the white sheep as it added a little bit of dimension.

Santa's Magic by Mirabilia has been put in the rotation.  That gives me three very large projects in my rotation so I am glad I have Sugared Almonds and Mary's Sampler II or there would be no finishes for the rest of the year.

I do have to get busy finish/finishing things soon and have been searching through the house for some boxes that I bought years ago (years before I moved to Virginia).  I know I brought them with me but for the life of me, I can't find them.  I know I will find them as soon as I figure out an alternative. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Late on Everything

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but I did take a slight vacation from blogging and to a lesser extent stitching.  As the days start to get shorter, I feel myself having the need to start getting everything ready for winter although that need is not as necessary as it was when I lived in New Hampshire as we don't have much of a winter here in central Virginia (of course now that I've said that...)  A sure sign that the season is changing is the number of young that are being brought into the bird feeders now.  I've seen two cardinals and a wren coming in with their parents, along with the crows and finches and last evening a mother raccoon and two cubs.  I'm not as excited about the raccoon family, but the sighting explains the amount of feed we're going through.  Another sure sign is the hummingbird invasion has started.  I counted as best as I could with the things whizzing around 15 of them the other day. They are so busy chasing each other away from the feeders that I doubt they have time to feed.

So what have I missed since my last post?  Well, first IHSW but I can't go back and participate so will have to give that one a miss.

Then I missed posting my TUSAL, now that one I can show you:

Not a lot new in there, but the color mix is very pretty.

Next I missed the August WIPocalypse.  Another one I can fix.  I know you're very surprised to see this one aren't you?  67 done, 32 to go.

And one I haven't missed!  My August ornament:

This is Strawberry Delight Ornament by Tink Boord-Dill Needlework.  It's done on a 28-count Lambswool with DMC.  It is definitely more of a springtime pattern, but I like the colors.  Glad it's number came up for the ornament rotation.  I haven't run the random number generator to see which ornament/small is up next.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

YOTA Saturday

The calendar say it's August, but I don't know where July went,and since it's the first Saturday, it's YOTA Saturday. Taking two weeks off from work sure did mess with my internal clock - not that I am complaining well except for the 300+ emails I had to deal with on Monday.  I did a staycation for a week and was off to my sister's and then my parent's home in Michigan, for a week thanks Mom and Dad and Nancy.  My mother's family had a reunion and it was fun catching up with folks that I hadn't seen in a while okay it had been 23 years but that's just embarrassing to say.  I definitely have to make an effort to see them all sooner.

I took 99 with me with some delusions grand thoughts that I would stitch all afternoon and evening, and managed to stitch one bottle.  Yes, one bottle, having nothing to do takes a lot of time.  I was able to do a few more once I got home, so there is progress to show but not what I hoped.

Here's where 99 was:

And here's where it is today:

Lots of catching up with housework and errands this weekend and then packing for a work trip to St. Paul, Minnesota.  I'm going to be more reasonable and not take any stitching with me - I'm training and know that won't have the energy at the end of the day to concentrate on stitching or much of anything as we're down a trainer.  I am behind, again, on my blog reading and commenting.  This time, instead of trying to catch up, I may just call a "from this day forward", certainly takes a lot of pressure off me pressure that I am so good at putting on myself.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I am a bit late with my TUSAL posting, but as I didn't do any stitching between Monday and today, my container looks the same as it would if I had posted on time.  Who would have thought that not stitching would be a good thing?

Given that the majority of my stitching has been beer bottles this is actually rather colorful.  There are some fairly long pieces in there - I am getting wasteful in my old age...

I have been rather remiss in welcoming new followers and thanking those of you that pop into my little corner of the world, it is not that I don't appreciate you taking the time out of your day to stop in, it's that old "life" thing. I am taking the next two weeks off from work so I hope to finally get caught up with my blog reading and commenting and maybe get some quality stitching time in.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

YOTA Saturday and a finish

It is the first Saturday of July already!  I finally picked a focus piece for this year and have been steadily stitching on 99 by Ink Circles for the past month.

Here's where I was the beginning of June:

And here's how it looks today:

I stitch about a row and a half each month, I am taking a couple of weeks off the end of this month, so maybe I can up that count for July.

So that none of us becomes terribly bored with looking at bottles, I am still stitching on smalls on alternate Fridays and have another finish.

This is Heart in Hand Needleart's Wee Garden Gate:

The bird is charted to be white, but I don't have any white birds around my house and I like crows so a crow it is.  Since there is a finish, I also have a new start.

This is a freebie called Strawberry Delight Ornament by Tink Boord-Dill Needlework.  It's copyrighted 1999 but I'm not sure I have had it in my stash for that long.  It is stitched on 32-count Lambswool with DMC.

Strawberry Delight Ornament by Tink Boord-Dill Needlework

 The Smyrna crosses are charted as Algerian eyelets but I didn't feel like pulling this fabric as it is rather stiff.