Monday, April 16, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness for April

WOW! half way through April already.  The weather is behaving much more like mid-March with all the crazy temperature ups and downs.  We had snow a week ago, it was 82 F on Saturday and it's 40 F something today. 

I got sidetracked tonight so this will be short.  Yesterday was the official check-in day for Gifted Gorgeousness.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by the lovely Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is designed for us to thank those wonderful folks that have gifted us with stitch things or show the things we're stitching for gifts or anything else we can shoehorn into the theme.  Except for my Small SAL piece, all of my pieces this year are gifts (all two of them) - I've just recently added three more projects but I can't show any of them right now as they are surprises.

Goldie is a gift for my in-laws.  It's a stocking that was charted by Heaven and Earth Designs of their German Shepherd puppy Goldie she has some really long registration name that I can't remember but her call name is Goldie.  Last month she was here:

and yesterday she was here:

I will withhold judgment for a while but the blue in her nose is a major distraction for me.  I am happy with my progress on this one. 

My other piece is Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine.  This is a gift for my son.  At last month's check-in it was here:

and when it went on the frame last night it was here:

I finally figured out that the corner is a water feature splashing around the rocks.

Not included in Gifted Gorgeousness is Just Nan's Pearl Orchid which went from here:

to here:

The colors are much truer in the top picture - amazing what lighting will do as they were both taken with the same camera.

It is too early in the month to report, but I have officially blown my Stich from Stash budget.  I had patterns but not fabric for the projects I need to start, so while only a bit over, I went over.  Oh well, it could have been much worse.

And before I forget, it's also TUSAL time.  Sharon at It's Daffycat hosts this SAL.  Click on the link for all the rules, but they can be summed up as: Save your bits and scraps, put them in a jar, take a picture and post.  This is a "because we can" type SAL.

Spot is not as enthused about being the model cat as Trouble was last month.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

An April Weekend

At least that's what the calendar says.  We woke up to snow on the ground this morning, so it is not a normal April so far.  It is supposed to warm up by the end of the week so maybe we will actually have spring before summer hits.

Not a very exciting week here - work was unnervingly quiet normally I like quiet but given the weird, craziness that we've been living through, quiet is scary.  I ran over to King's Dominion on Friday  we only live about 6 miles away so we have season tickets and rode Twisted Timbers their new roller coaster.  It is a wooden coaster with steel tracks.  It was a good ride, lots of air time, but other than looking like a wooden coaster it didn't have the feel of a wooden coaster - it was too quiet.  I'll definitely ride it again, but prefer the two wooden ones.

The rest of the weekend was stitching - or should have been - I did the usual "oh I can do XXXX because I have two whole days for stitching so a few hours won't matter" and frittered away a lot of the weekend.  I had a small start on Just Nan's Pearl Orchid

This is stitched on 28 count Cameo Rose Cashel with DMC.  The fabric, pattern, beads and a length of overdyed silk came in a "Pattern Pack" so I just had to pull the DMC.  I'll hold my opinion on the fabric until I've finished the stitching, but as of right now, I would not have picked it as the light pink thread (DMC 225) is getting lost.

I spent the majority of my stitching time this weekend working on Chatelaine's Japanese Zen Garden.  It went from here:

to here:

Stitched on 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan with DMC conversion
I didn't think I'd had much progress, but looking at the before and after, I'm pretty happy.  I'm still aiming for a finish this year, but I don't think that's terribly realistic.  I have a few other crafting things that I need to do and they'll take one or two weekends each, so that's almost a month of stitching time that I won't have.  This whole working for a living is getting really old.  Why was I born beautiful instead of rich?

Monday, April 2, 2018

An eyelet, a dog and a chart

Despite a bit more housework than usual and trying to get settled back into a routine before I head into the office I worked from home today it was a good stitching weekend.

The missing eyelet on Happy Bluebird from Just Nan is now in place, so I have a finish.  I picked Pearl Orchid by Just Nan as my small for April.  I didn't get any stitching time on it, but the threads are pulled and it's ready to start - maybe later this evening.

Lots of progress on Goldie.  On Friday, she was here:

and last night when I put her up for the week, she was here:

I think I finished four colors and yes, if you're looking closely that's blue on her muzzle. There is also some green that will go in later.  I don't know how those colors work, and I have learned not to question them as I'm stitching, but it is always a surprise when you come across something like that.  The lighter brown you see is more a mauve color - again how your eye makes it brown, I don't know, but it does.

I also finished the main stitching on Forever Love:

I've put this up for a while as I am deciding whether to stitch the band with the bride and groom's initials like this:  , or leave the block off and stitch their names and the date just underneath or have their names and date painted on the mat when it's framed.  I'm leaning towards stitching their names, but have until December 2019 to decide. 

Japanese Zen Garden is on the frame for this week. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Retreating, WIPocalypse and Smalls

Camp Stitchalot was a resounding success.  The weather here on the East Coast another Nor'easter made for a tense Wednesday as they kept pushing back the snow stop time and I was leaving early Thursday morning.  Fortunately the snow stopped, the roads were clear and Federal government offices in DC opened two hours late, so I didn't have to deal with horrible traffic on the way north.  An overnight at my sister's and I was off to Davison, Michigan.  I made a stop at Stitches 'n Things it was sort of on the way after all to do some pre-retreat shopping, but didn't spend too much as there was going to be a boutique at the hotel and I could always go back to the shop if I really needed something.  I got checked-in, settled in and did a quick run around the boutique before heading off across the parking lot to Lucky's Steakhouse for dinner with my sister-in-law.  The retreat officially started at 7:30 with a welcome and a very nice gift bag (including a very nice bag).  I've already put all the things away so no pictures but it included two limited edition GAST threads, a fabric frame, some yummy candy and some charts. 

Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes was the guest designer and I signed up for her pendent class here are my finished pieces

Friday evening we picked and cut out the pictures and glued them into the pendent.  Saturday we sealed them and Sunday we put a resin coat on them.  They're about 1" square and I think I will make scissor fobs out of them.

The rest of the weekend was stitching, stitching and a bit more stitching with some shopping thrown in there for good measure.  I started Silver Creek Samplers Forever Love as my retreat project and got it to here before I left:

Stitched on 32-count Picture This Plus "Earthern" with Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Art Sampler Threads
This is a wedding sampler for The Hubs' niece.  A couple more words and some filling motifs and the major part of the stitching will be done.  There is a band across the bottom with the bride and groom's initials and wedding year to finish it all off.  I hope to have the majority of it finished this week.  The wedding isn't until next year, so I am well ahead on it!!

I also worked on Just Nan's Happy Bluebird while there and finished it at my parent's.  This is where the Smalls SAL part of my title comes into play.  The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus and is a reminder that bigger isn't always better.  I had great hopes of finishing my The Sampler Life SAL this year with this SAL, but so far I have found other smalls that are more interesting. 
Stitched on 28-count Antique White Brittany with called for threads and Bluebird charm
And looking at the photo, I just realized that I missed an eyelet, so a 99.99% finish.  I'll be stitching an eyelet tonight for a 100% finish.

I mentioned shopping.  Here are three of the things I bought:

The pattern is "Bloom Where You're Planted" from With Thy Needle and Thread.  There's a thread inside the package the pattern does not come with the thread I just store them all together, so the photo is actually of four things.  The fabrics are from Hand Dyed Fabric by Stephanie.  Stephanie herself was there and honestly we looked a bit like a swarm of locust descending on her when she came in.  The fabric on the left is 32-count Balsam Fir and the one on the right is 28-count Autumn Splendor. In addition to the pictured items, I ordered a piece of 32-count Glastonbury Tor for Mirabilia's Shakespeare's Fairies after hemming and hawing over colors - thank you to everyone that helped with the decision making.  I also picked up Crab from the Mill Hill Buttons and Beads collection and the GAST for Ingleside Imaginarium's Guardians of Notre Dame.  I am happy to report that I stayed within my budget, but I could have blown it wide open with the fabrics.  The whole "colors are different on your monitor" thing?  TRUE!!  I never would have picked Glastonbury Tor if I hadn't seen it in person.

Last but definitely not least is WIPocalypse.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a gentle nudge to finish some of those pieces that may not have been getting the love they deserve.  Melissa gives us blogging topics each month - this month's is: What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?  I am always the last to find out about something new, so if I mention it as new it's most likely many months or years old. So with that caveat, for me, Stephanie's fabrics from above are definitely my newest "oh my, where have you been all my stitching life" product. 

As far as WIPocalypse stitching, Goldie went from here:

to here:

and Japanese Zen Garden went from here:

to here:

My weekend plans other than a boatload of laundry are to add that last eyelet on Bluebird, finish off the main portion of Love, pick out my small for April, and then figure out where I am in my rotation - I really think Goldie is up but would love to put a few stitches in Zen.  decisions, decisions....

Monday, March 19, 2018

IHSW Round Up and TUSAL

So, I had Saturday and Sunday to stitch.  Minimal interruptions and Cadfael queued up on Britbox so what did I do?  Completely frittered Saturday away doing I can't remember what and spent most of Sunday morning making a packing list for my trip.  I didn't sit down to stitch until almost 1:00 Sunday afternoon.  Thank goodness dinner was in the slow cooker or I would have lost a lot more time.  Needless to say, I did not have the progress on Goldie that I would have liked, but have only my inability to focus to blame.  I did learn that the only place more dangerous than semi-modern Midsomer was/is 12th century Shrewsbury Abbey and its surroundings.

While I didn't live up to my expectations for an IHSW, there was a fair amount of stitching done.

On Friday Goldie was here:

and right before I took it off the stand it was here:

I almost forgot my TUSAL post.  TUSAL is hosted by Sharon at It's Daffycat.  If you stitch, knit, crochet or do any sort of craft you have the raw materials to participate in TUSAL - scraps and snips.  Save all those bits that you'd normally throw away and every new moon post a photo.  Why? Because everyone needs an excuse for a pretty jar.

Okay, so maybe this photo is more an excuse to showcase Trouble again, but you can see the ORTS in the jar.  You can also see the not so yellow flowered meadow.  The current forecast will have the meadow white by Wednesday afternoon or evening.  They're predicting a snow storm starting anywhere from now until sometime Wednesday with anywhere from 0" to several feet of snow.  Okay, they haven't said feet, but the constant coverage on the television would make you think so.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness and it's IHSW!

After days with temperatures in the 80s a few weeks ago, we have been below normal the last week or so.  It has also been very windy - like blow my car around on the highway windy.  I don't drive a high profile vehicle so I am not used to it.  Ah well, I ran all my errands this afternoon, so I plan to stay in all weekend and participate in !! 

 is hosted by Joysze at Random Ramblings and Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  There is also a Facebook group.  IHSW is a chance for us to be independent together - shout out to Hermey from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for that.  Coincidentally, the little crab is also called Hermie .  Participation is easy, pop on over to Joysze's blog for all the "rules", but basically, you stitch as much as you can this weekend with people from around the world.  In addition to the outside errands, I almost have the laundry done and have slow cooker meals planned for tomorrow and Sunday so I should have plenty of stitching time available.  The Goldie Stocking is back on the frame for this weekend.  I think I forgot to show my progress from a couple weeks ago, so will do that now.  When you last saw Goldie, she was here:

and today she's here:

This shows the full width of the stocking top.  It starts narrowing down in a couple more rows to start the stocking shape.

It is also time for my Gifted Gorgeousness check-in.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Yes, the same Jo I mentioned above (she's a very busy lady with all her hosting and blog hops).  Gifted Gorgeousness is a way for us to thank someone for a gift of stitching supplies or to show something that we are stitching for a gift or anything else we can shoehorn into the theme.  Both of my focus pieces are gifts, so fit perfectly in this SAL.  I've shown you Goldie.  My second piece is Japanese Zen Garden by Chatelaine.  It was here when I posted the beginning of March: 
and when I put it away last weekend, I had gotten to here: 
This is on 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan with Martina's DMC conversion.

I also had some progress on Just Nan's Happy Bluebird  
It's a bit crumpled as I'm stitching this one in-hand.  Not as much progress as I would have liked as I found a counting mistake and had to pull out all but about 10 stitches.  Now that the backbone of the piece is in, I should be okay.

Getting very excited, as Thursday I head off to Michigan for my weekend at Camp Stitchalot hosted by Stitches 'n Things.  After the seemingly never ending stress of the last few months, I am looking forward to some quality stitching and family time. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

February WIPocalypse

If you live on the east coast, you know March is coming in like a lion!  We're not getting the snow or rain that New England is, but we are getting the wind.  We live in a bit of a hollow so we're not getting the worst of it, but a few of the gusts shook the house and rattled the windows.  I ran out for groceries and there are a lot of trees and branches down.

The resident cats thank you all very much for the attention and would like to ask if anyone would  give them a kind, loving home where they could eat as much as they want.  Their annual trip to the vet was last week and Salem weighed in at a whopping 18 pounds no wonder I can't move when he jumps on me, Spot and Trouble weren't anywhere near that but were a bit on the chubby side, so the vet said the "d" word.  I don't know about yours but putting my cats on a diet is torture.  It was bad enough when the bottom of their food bowl was even slightly showing between the bits of kibble and they thought they were starved.  But now that the bowl is actually empty at times? I am so glad they can't use the phone or I'd have the Humane Society at my front door.  Salem lays down in front of the bowl and just stares at it.

On a much happier note - Olivia was adopted on Sunday.  So both guest cats now have families and I am hoping they are forever this time, the poor things have had two long- and one short-term homes.

So on to stitching.  It's past the end of the month, but it's still WIPocalypse time.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a little nudge to remind us to pay some attention to those pieces we've already started.  No pressure and no long-term commitments necessary, just stitch and post when you can.  Melissa does give us topics each month and this month's is:  Gadgets! Show us your favorite stitching gadgets.  I don't know if it counts as a gadget, but my favorite tool is my stand.  Years ago The Hubs bought me a Needlework System 4  stand and scroll head.  Yes, it was pricey but this was in the days of two jobs and disposable income but it has been worth every penny.  It's well made and makes stitching so much easier just a happy customer and in no way affiliated. They also have great customer service.

I have it easy this year, I don't have to do too much thinking about what's on my WIPocalypse list and what's on my stitching list.  I'm only working on two pieces.

Goldie went from here:

to here:

And Zen went from here:

to here:

I ran out of DMC939 so there's a little gap in the dark blue there in the upper left, but I bought a new skein this evening and will fill that in next round.

I also had a new start:

This is Just Nan's Happy Bluebird.  It's stitched on 28-count antique white Brittany with the called for DMC.  I know I said I was going to stitch The Sampler Life SAL blocks as my Smalls piece, but I am finding many, many excuses for not stitching it, so I have decided that I'm going to do one more block and call it done.

And, this photo says that the ground hog was wrong: