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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I have not disappeared!!

Hope this finds everyone well and ready for the holiday that you celebrate or just well, if you don't celebrate.  I haven't posted in so long, I am not even going to try to catch everything up.  I haven't done any stitching, but I have finished all my holiday baking, wrapping, crafting and decorating.  I also made an unexpected trip to Michigan this past weekend. 

The short-notice trip was, partially, due to this guy:


Introducing my great-Nephew Jack.  He was born in the wee hours of December 1st (for those interested in the details he was 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21" long).  Mom, Dad and baby are all doing well. And YES, those cheeks!!



Or as well as you can be with a newborn in the house. :-)

I do hope to get back into stitching now that all of the holiday preparations are done - I HAVE to finish the birth announcement piece and start looking for Christmas stocking patterns so there is some incentive. 

I am trying to put together a stitching/crafting schedule for next year so that I can get back into sending hand-made birthday and anniversary as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas cards.  I am thinking of using one Sunday a month for paper crafting, card making and crochet.  That leaves plenty of time for stitching.  Unfortunately, that is the extent of my planning for next year.  My boss is retiring the end of this month and I will be acting until they find a replacement (or 120 days, whichever comes first) so I am going to need some relaxation at home as I will still be doing my regular job too.  I am trying to look at it positively, but all I'm really seeing is lots of extra stress.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Home Again

I am home!!  So what's happened since my last post... 

Oh yes - the baby shower.  I had a wonderful time.  As the theme for the nursery is "jungle", the shower was held at Rainforest Cafe.  The hostesses outdid themselves with the decorations and the restaurant had a very nice group menu.  It was nice to catch up with the families and spend time with DSon.

I was home for a couple of weeks and then off to Atlanta.  I enjoyed the conference and I think my presentation went well.  We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown.  I have stayed in a lot of hotels, but the atrium of this one was pretty amazing.  Here's a photo looking up from the main floor of the atrium (that selfie feature on my phone was finally useful).


The tower on the left is the elevator center - the elevators are all glass and very fast (my first thought was that I was getting on the glass elevator from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory").  I will admit to being a bit freaked out when going to the lower lobby the first time as all you can see while going down is the floor and not the hole that allows the elevators to pass through.  The circular thing on the right is a very large sculpture and the echoing circle at the top is a skylight.  All the Lego looking bump-outs are architectural details on each floor.  Based on the "futuristic" look, my guess is that the building was built in the late-60s, but the design has aged well.

Speaking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - the parents-to-be dressed for Halloween:



In between trips, I did no stitching or crocheting.  I did spend a lot of time on the computer designing the Christmas countdown ornaments and am very happy to report that they are done.

Here are close ups of two of the ornaments:


and here is a full set in its carrier:




The large green one is for Christmas day.  I have two of the song books started and should finish putting the third one together tomorrow.  Then I just have to print the words, add them to the books and off they'll go to their new homes. 

I have several birthday cards and the Christmas cards that I need to finish, so not sure there will be much stitching in the near future.  Once I do start stitching again, I am very happy to report that I will have an extra evening.  I think I mentioned way back in March or April that our telework days had been reduced to one day a week (I had been doing two one week and one on the other).  The union fought the new policy and won, so starting this week, we're going back to our old telework schedules.  It will be nice to have the extra hours of sleep and the extra time in the evening for stitching/crafting.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Fly-By Post

A quick post in between trips.  I was in New Orleans last week at WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference).  It's basically Disney World for engineers.  I'm not an engineer, but I can stand around in a booth and talk about the funding opportunities we offer.  It was an enjoyable week - the food especially.  I had shrimp every day - twice some days.

This coming Thursday I'm heading to Michigan for a baby shower for DNiece.  Looking forward to seeing DSon and the rest of the family. 

The end of the month, I'm heading to Atlanta to attend and present at AWWA WIC (American Water Works Association - Water Infrastructure Conference). 

In between all of this, I've been doing more paper crafting than stitching - I have almost all the birthday and anniversary cards done for the year and LOTS of ideas for next year.

But, I did do some stitching:


Here's my progress on Savannah Birth Record.  I was planning to stitch this weekend, but things just keep getting in the way.  Fortunately, tomorrow is a holiday - Columbus Day (okay it's a sort of holiday, but I get it off) - so I plan to stitch.  I may get to it tonight, but will see if I can resist the lure of the crochet hook.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Trying to get back on track

While not what I had hoped, two weeks since my last post is pretty darn good considering my summer schedule. I have a crazy travel schedule through the end of October so not sure I'll be able to keep up the every-two-weeks post, but will try.

So, I have two SAL check-ins.  TUSAL is a bit late, but Gifted Gorgeousness is right on time.


TUSAL is hosted by Sharon at It's Daffycat.  If you have had trouble keeping up with other SALs, this is one for you.  Collect all those bits and pieces that you normally throw away in a pretty jar and once a month post a picture.  Why?  Because everyone needs a low stress SAL.


The top of my jar is filled with mostly sewing thread from the baby quilt top, but there is some embroidery floss there on top of it.  I hope to add more embroidery floss soon.

Today is check-in day for Gifted Gorgeousness.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  You can add this one to the low stress SAL list too.  If you've ever been given a stitching gift, are working on one, or have a way to it a project into those categories, this is the SAL for you.  I have one gift piece that I started and two that I finished-finished.

The one I started is the Savannah Birth Record.  

A red bird and a bit of giraffe.  This is done on 28-count Platinum Cashel with the threads from the kit.  The fold will iron out when the piece is washed and ironed.

The two that I finished are the Mom and Dad for my Niece-in-law and Nephew.  I finished the stitching a while back but couldn't settle on a finished form. I went easy and did pillows.  

Here's the front of Mom:


And the back:

I love the backing fabric and wish I'd bought more for other projects.

And here's Dad:

The backing fabric reminded me of a tie.

I also did some stitching on my Smalls piece, but didn't finish it for August.  If you're interested in a SAL that focuses on Smalls check out Smalls SAL over at Stitching Lotus' page.  She's already said she's going to continue this in 2019, so I have my first SAL for next year lined up.


This is my version of Just Nan's Seasonal Gems I: Autumn.  There's still a bit to go on it, but I think I can finish it this month.

Other than stitching and finishing, I've been doing some paper crafting and crocheting.  I've started and ripped out three different baby blanket patterns but I think I've finally settled one that I like and will work with the yarn I have.  I now have a month to finish it.  

Monday, September 3, 2018

More flitting

I am not sure how flitting from one thing to another gets, or seems to get, more accomplished than concentrating on one thing at a time, but for me it seems to be working. 

I finished painting all the ornaments.  I now have 36 red, 36 white and 3 green Christmas ornaments all ready for decorating. 

I also finished the baby blanket.


I kept trying to square up the center when I realized that the center IS square, but the yarn is throwing everything off.  At a glance, each band looks the same width and on the outer edges they pretty much are, but not in the center and that's making it look tilted - of course I laid it out in an area too small for it so there wasn't enough room to really work the left and right edges straight (or as straight as they are).

Oh yes, I started and finished a hat.


I don't know why I had this yarn in my closet, but, I'm glad I did as I was able to learn the ribbing, figure out decreasing, work on my tension and still have a decent, finished item.  May not be a fancy yarn, but it will definitely keep a head warm.

I now have a quilt top:


Another poor angle, but while looking for someplace to hang this so I could take a picture, I realized I don't have many walls that are blank and just wasn't in the mood to take things down and put them back up.  I'm not sure about the actual quilting -  I would love to have someone else do it, but haven't found anyone in the area - need to look up some quilt shops and see if they have recommendations.  If I don't do that, then I'll probably just quilt around the triangles.  I made a major mistake trimming the rows so when I took my seam allowance I don't have nice points on my pieced triangles - hopefully the baby won't mind.

While I had the sewing machine out, I did some mending and hemming - it was nice to get that pile finished and put away (I'd forgotten what was in it to be honest) - and finished three pieces into pillows.  I just need to find my bag of stuffing and finish them off - I'll post pictures when they're all done - right now they're looking a little flabby.

I was at Joann's looking for a large tapestry needle so I could weave in the ends of the blanket (I know there are some in the house, but I have no clue where they are - I also can't find my package of hand sewing needles, suppose the two went off together) and was wandering around the yarn section when I found this Dimensions kit in one of the yarn bins:


 My initial thought was "not putting things back where they found them, how rude" but then I saw the picture and remembered that my great-nephew's nursery is being decorated in a jungle theme so this was perfect  AND it was on clearance for $4.47.  The only thing I didn't like was the fabric, but I had a piece of 28-count Cashel in my stash that was big enough so switched that out and will be starting this later today.  I still think whoever left this was rude for not putting it back, but it sort of seems that I was meant to find it given the odd location. 

Speaking of stitching (which is what I'm supposed to be talking about on this blog) - If you're looking for a cute pumpkin pattern, By the Bay Needleart has a freebie here.  I have a leftover piece of PTP Haunted that I think is big enough for this, if not I know I saw a blue-ish piece in the leftover bin that would work.

Back to the office tomorrow.  It's my short week, so already planning what I want to get done (and there's finally some stitching on that list) next weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hummingbird crafting

You've never done hummingbird crafting?  I'll bet you have, most people call it "not being able to concentrate", but it's when you flit from project to project, doing little bits on several but not finishing any of them.  Hummingbird crafting happens mostly when you have several large projects that can't be finished in one sitting, so you have to do bits of each of them to make any progress.

The first one is this:


Those are clear plastic Christmas ornaments that I have been painting.  I can only do a dozen or so at a time because I only have 12 bottles of paint and until last weekend I only had one egg carton.  Here's what it looks like when they're draining:


I was initially filling, coating and draining one at a time and then putting them in the egg carton to finish draining and drying.  As I was standing there doing the second one, I noticed that the neck of the ornament was about the size of the bottle opening and well, this is the result.  I add the paint, coat the inside, insert the neck into bottle and let them sit for ages before putting them in the egg carton to finish draining and drying - it takes FOREVER to dry!!! I have another dozen left to do before I start decorating them.  What am I doing with them you ask?  I am making three Christmas countdown sets.  I am going to put Christmas carol titles (cut from vinyl with my Cricuit) on each ball and then number them from 1 to 24 (working how to do that).  Then I'm going to print out the words to each carol and make them into a booklet (working on this too)).  On December 1st, you find the ornament number 1, hang it on the tree and sing the carol while you're doing it.  I am thinking of calling the book, "Sing a Song 'til Christmas" but that is subject to change too.

The second is the baby blanket/afghan.  I don't have an updated photo, but it looks like it did in my previous post, just bigger. :-)  Based on the yarn I have left, I probably have two or three more rounds left.  I have enjoyed doing the blanket so much that I found some more yarn to make another one.  My next one is going to be a rectangle rather than the more traditional square.

Apparently, I'm worried that the great-nephew is going to get cold, because in addition to the two blankets, I've started a quilt.


These are all ready for ironing and trimming down.  The fabric is a really soft flannel. I haven't decided how I'm going to lay it out, but really like the colors.  It has been ages since I made a quilt, and I'm really enjoying it.

The other two pieces are stitching!!  I finished the stitching on the main piece for Snowman and Pals and started the back-stitching/outlining.


and added a bit more to Just Nan's Seasonal Gems I: Autumn


I am, again, leaving off the writing so have had to do a little pattern modification.  This time I've ended up with gravity defying grapes.  There is a motif in the side middle but I'm not sure it will fit with the changes I've made.  I have decided that I'm going to make a cube once I finish all four of these.  I even have the fabric picked out.  A few embellishment decisions to make but having a finishing idea at this stage is huge for me.

I broke down and bought some patterns:



Yes, it's sideways - I can't seem to get Blogger to flip the picture.  I have been watching Cottage Garden Samplings' The Songbird's Garden Series for a few months now and finally gave in and bought #1 and #2.  I don't know if I'll buy the whole series but cardinals and chickadees are two of my favorite birds, so had to get these.  The pattern in the back at the right bottom is Peace on Earth Sampler also from Cottage Garden Samplings. 

In addition to Cottage Garden Samplings, Xs & Ohs' 12-Northern Days of Christmas ended up in my cart.


This one just made me smile.  It is such a fun change from the normal interpretation of the 12 Days of Christmas.  I like all of them, but really love the "Lords a-leaping".  I think I'll do them as separate ornaments - I am planning to have a 12 Days of Christmas tree some one year and these will be a wonderful addition.

So that's what I've been up to the last couple of weeks.  I'll be back to hummingbirding on Friday and maybe actually have a finish to show.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Huh...

So there's July done and dusted.  In my last post, I was getting ready to go to Michigan for a family reunion.  I've been and come back from two now.  Yep, my Mother's family reunion was the 14th and my Dad's was the 28th.  It was so good to see everyone again and I had a wonderful time with the immediate family too.

Nephew and Niece announced they're having a boy!  Let the crafting begin!!  I probably won't have a lot of stitching for the foreseeable future as I'm making a quilt.  I also took my crochet knowledge (one unfinished scarf) added lots of YouTube watching and started...


It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am completely chuffed.  The yarn is Jordan Almonds from Caron. It's self-striping so it looks like I know what I'm doing when all I have to do is keep up with the pattern (which is just the same thing over and over). 

I did do some stitching in July and actually have a finish:

Just Nan's Seasonal Gems I: Summer
I finally decided an extra eyelet balanced everything out just fine.  I'm contemplating adding a bead on each side but have to see if there are any left after I finish:

Just Nan's Seasonal Gems I:  Autumn

I'm counting Summer as my July Smalls SAL entry.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts the Smalls SAL.  It's a very no stress SAL, stitch a small and post a photo of it the end of the month.  Don't have one one month (or 6 or 7 as happened to me last year)? No problem, just join back in when you do.

I also worked on Snowman and Pals the Dimensions' Whimsies I mentioned last post.  I was able to get a decent picture of it:

Need to finish the light and there's some background stitching and lots of backstitching before he's done.  There are two side pieces to stitch and then they're stitched together to finish the standup.

I'm a few days late but still within posting time for WIPocalypse .  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and reminds us to give some love to something we've already started before starting something new.  The snowman and Summer were both from my stash, but they weren't WIPs so they don't count and I didn't put a stitch in either of my targeted WIPs so this month's report is a big 0.  Melissa gives us topics each month to nudge us along if we can't come up with something to say.  This month's is:  Half-year recap:  How are you doing with your goals so far?  Not so good.  I realized early on that I had, as is typical of me, over estimated how fast I could stitch.  I should be half through each of my focus pieces as I was hoping they'd be gifts for this Christmas, but I am nowhere near close to half way on either piece.  I've had a mini-slump going on either for mental health reasons or vacation/traveling BUT my major stresser at work left for greener pastures and I won't be traveling again until October.  So I should be able to settle myself back into a routine.  Once I finish up the quilt and blanket (probably blankets as I am really enjoying it) I can get back to my stitching.

I'll be pulling the sewing machine out this evening and getting myself into quilting mode - I might even hem those two pairs of pants the The Hubs hung over the back of my chair a while back...