Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy SHEEP Day!

Yes, I did finish this in a couple of hours last night. I really liked working with the colors and the restful four squares. No confetti here. We are pretty much ready to hit the road. It only takes four hours to get to Los Angeles from Las Vegas, so we should arrive before dark. We have GPS navigation in the car and lots of iTunes music and audiobooks to travel with. Happy Turkey Day to everyone in the US. I am thankful that we have a great highway system and that at the end of the road I will see lots of friends.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

At Least It's a Sheep

I got this much done by the end of Sunday night for the Stitch-a-Thon. I had hoped to finish it off, but I was missing several borders and another birdie. Currently I have most of the borders done, but I still have some black, blue, and the birdie to finish. I may have a Happy Dance by the end of the day.

That assumes that I can pack for Los Angeles pretty quickly. Clothing isn't much of an issue, because the convention is pretty casual. And for the first time in years we do not have to pack for a room party. No stand-up Elvis, no bowls and cutting board, no flyers and lighted Las Vegas sign. Just us, our car, our clothes, and books that I want autographed. I really love this convention in Los Angeles because will be able to chat with dozens of friends from all over that I only see at conventions. (Hope to see you there, Ruth). However, I do miss having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It really makes the most sense to drive there on Thursday and not have to get up at o'dark o'clock and drive there Friday morning. I usually cook a make-up dinner sometime in December as I love cranberries and mashed potatoes and dressing. At least this year I might get a chance to actually shop on Black Friday (I have coupons for JoAnne's). Usually I am sitting a table or on a panel. My first panel (Fiction 2008) on Friday isn't until 3pm.

It is approaching the end of the year and I still have these outstanding goals:
  • Start Hawaiian Mandala and finish at least 8 of the 12 parts.
    Well, I started it, but I have only finished Part One (without the beads) and half of Part Two. Since I knew I couldn't finish the entire piece in one year, I'm not too unhappy that I have fallen behind. I'll put more time into it next year.
  • Finish another Michael Powell piece.
    If the Michael Powell piece that I started actually had the right chart, it would be finished by now. I am thinking about taking this to Los Angeles and working on it, but I might actually accomplish this goal more easily by starting one of his Mini-Christmas Windows.
  • Finish the plastic canvas Christmas ornaments.
    I'll work on them when I get back from LA. There is not too much left to do.
  • One exchange or RR piece.
    Too much travel. I just don't feel comfortable with an exchange when I don't know where I will be six months from now. I may try again in 2009, but I might just not be a good candidate for an exchange.
  • Start and finish Bothy's Cut Thru Rocket.
    Well, it is started. I'll just carry it over until next year.
  • Sewing projects
    I have done none of them of that I set as a goal and haven't even finished the Hawaiian Shirt that I was doing for James' birthday. I need a better sewing setup before I am going to get in a sewing mood.
Which is really not too bad. I do have 11 finishes that weren't even on my goals list and have finished three of my nine goals and one extra credit piece. There is still time enough to finish two more goals, so I will probably set goals again next year with the hopes of finishing 90% of them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

THIS Weekend is the Stitch-A-Thon

I thought it was last weekend and planned to finish up this pattern, but when I found out that it was this weekend and not last weekend, I sort of abandoned it. Then James came home on Monday night and we spent most of Tuesday discussing what Big Project we should attempt. Then we discussed the pros and cons of various projects that should (or could) be done, but eventually decided on what we have been talking about for some time. I don't mean to be overly secretive, but we are still in the early planning stages and there are lots of details that are undecided. It is a Big Project and it will probably limit my stitching time somewhat next year. We made the first steps on Thursday and Friday and should be ready to talk about it sometime after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile I do have time for stitching this weekend and will probably buckle down and finish this sheep. Yes, it is a bit fiddly, but I do enjoy it.

I have also learned that I really like medium to large projects best. I know small projects can give you a great Happy Dance in a short amount of time. And my medium and large stitching projects do have a tendency to become UFOs. But even my oldest and most ignored projects are still in the back of my mind. I know I will finish each and every one of them Some Day. So I'm off to finish THIS project. I won't complete all of my goals for this year, but I should be able to complete a few more in the next month.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Found A Round Tuit!

Now what? For what seems like the longest time I have been moving from one Must Do project to another. Although my life has not been an endless round of crises or work, there just has seemed that there has been one Important Time Dependent Project hanging over me for a long while. When I returned from Europe, I knew I had a design layout project of 80 pages for an all volunteer convention. I expected to have information about this project in my mail any day, but nothing. Finally, I got in touch with the people involved only to be told that someone else had done the project instead. That's alright, but I wish they had told me sooner. This isn't even the Stitch-A-Long weekend (that is next weekend).

But that does leave me in a peculiar state. I have plenty of projects to do, but none of them are Major or Urgent. Instead I have bunches of baby projects all whistling at the top of their lungs, "ME! Me! Over here, do me first!" There are a few projects that I will do today: laundry, cooking, and stitching. I will take the car in for an oil change tomorrow and pick my husband up at the airport tomorrow evening. But this does leave time for other Big Projects. There are some that can only be done in Hawaii (remodeling that horrible kitchen) and some that can only be done in Nevada. I'm going to think very carefully over the next few days and see what comes to the forefront. I don't think I can live very well without some Big Project.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Very Belated THANK YOU!

See how perfect this scissors fob is for this project? Now I just need to find the perfect scissors for it. I was lucky enough to win this beautiful fob from Cindy who gave three fabulous fobs away for her third blogoversary. But since we have returned from Europe I am still wading through my mail. So although I received this safe and sound some time ago, I am only now getting around to putting up a picture and giving Cindy a big THANK YOU for this lovely fob.

As much as I would love to start this project right away, I still have a lot to stitch on Summer Wool. Summer Wool is my focus for the November Stitch-A-Thon. After that it is back to the plastic canvas ornaments. Unless I start something else really small I might not have any more finishes this year. I have been focusing on some larger pieces and I am happy about the progress I have made on them. Next year will probably also be filled with medium and large projects. Now that I know that I can start a large project and progress, I'm happier to tackle some of those larger projects that have been lingering in the bins. I also better have as 2009 goals some framing done. I'm starting to pile up stitching that is just sitting in a drawer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Few More Squares of Sheep

You can see that I'm following the pattern at the front of the sheep and trying to follow the model, sort of, at the back. So there is more stitched at the front. But overall this is going well and I am really enjoying it. I don't have that much more sheep to go, but there is still a lot of border (and two birds) to do. Then I will probably move on to the plastic Christmas ornaments. I should be able to finish them before Thanksgiving. After that I will have to look at my goals list and decide what will be done and what will be abandoned for this year and carried over to the next.

Although my husband safely drove to San Francisco yesterday, I didn't bring my sewing machine out. There is too much paperwork and organizing to do. I think I will work on that until he comes back next Monday. The refrigerator in the loft is not fixed. Sigh. The repairman could not find the leak, so he filled the units with freon and will try to find it again when this freon leaks out. If they weren't built-in units, I would just get them replaced.

This picture of Convento do Carmo may not be as beautiful as some of my past travel pictures, but if you get a chance to visit it in Lisbon, I'm sure you will love it as much as I did. Unlike the cathedrals in England, it was not unroofed by fiat or war, but was destroyed by the immense Lisbon earthquake of 1755. This disaster not only destroyed Lisbon entirely, but also damaged cities from Morocco to England. Since it destroyed all the churches in Lisbon and occurred on November 1 (All Saints Day), it also affected the thinking of European philosophers such as Voltaire and Kant. It was difficult to see a benevolent god behind such utter destruction. The convent was not completely rebuilt, but left roofless as a reminder of the Lisbon earthquake for future generations. Now the ex-convent is a small, quiet archeological museum.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Or are there more and more patterns and models that don't match? This is Kit & Bixby's Summer Wool. The border on the model is stitched one stitch higher than the pattern (I followed the pattern). The rear of the sheep is charted in the same light greys as the top of the sheep, but the model has the rear end darker (and if you know sheep, you know it should be darker). I'm trying to follow the model. The inside of the ears were charted in 924 (Grey Green - Very Dark, though the thread looks more dark blue than green), so I used the same thread as the model, the darkest of the five greys in the sheep's body. But even with these minor changes, I am still enjoying stitching this. The checkerboard pattern means that I can do 4, 8, or 12 stitches without looking at the pattern at all. I also have Autumn Wool, Winter Wool, Spring Wool, and Haunted Wool. At least one of these will be stitched next year.

I started this on the flight from Lisbon to Frankfurt. I thought I would stitch a lot more on the flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco, but instead I got caught up watching three bad movies and playing video games on the new United inflight entertainment system. Mama Mia! had great actors who can't sing or dance. My husband, who could see my screen but not hear the sound, said it looked like a Bollywood picture. At least I didn't expect a story. X-Files: I Want to Believe did not resemble any X-File episode I'd even seen. They should have named it, I Want to Talk and Not Resolve Anything. Not even any cool monsters. The last movie, Wanted, with James MacAvoy and Angelina Jolie, is pure unbelievable action. First I have to say that I can watch James MacAvoy read from the telephone book and be pretty well entertained. Secondly, I guess I'm just an action junkie, but I really liked it. And just so that they don't come to my house and remove my Mensa card, I can recommend a truly great movie we just watched from Netflix, Charlie Wilson's War. Directed by Mike Nichols with dialogue by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing). This is a political, feel good movie (if that is not a contradiction in terms) about the successful covert funding of Afgani rebels against the Soviet Union.

The minor projects we need to do continue onward. We have a new pool guy. The California car got it's first servicing in possibly two years. (It's hard to get a car serviced when you only have one and you are barely in town for more than a day or two.) Dry cleaning and prescriptions picked up. iPhone plug replaced. We will keep working on things until James drives back to San Francisco, probably next Tuesday. Then I will get out the sewing machine and see what happens. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hooray for PhotoRescue!

YES! I did manage to rescue my missing photos from the deleted memory card with the help of the amazing PhotoRescue. At least I was quick enough to realize that they were missing right away and to not shoot any more photos on this memory card, so I got all 173 photos back. This one is the pattern that I want to use for a Christmas Ornament. I want to use the dark blue line in a variegated thread in red and green and then do the linking boxes in solid colors that match the reds and greens in the variegated thread. I might do it all in satin stitch rather than cross stitch.

And since some people have asked for more travel pictures, I leave you with this picture also from the Alhambra in Granada. You may not think that this looks very Arabic, but the Alhambra was also the court of Queen Isabella when she finally granted Christopher Columbus his warrant to explore the western passage to India. There are several beautiful Spanish courtyards in the Spanish part of the fortress.

I know I promised a picture of my new stitching start, but I will have to leave that until tomorrow. I must admit that I have been a bit obsessed with it. It looks like I will just keep stitching it until it is done.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No NaBloPoMo This Year

Last year I posted every day in the month of November for NaBloPoMo. I had a vague idea that since I would be back in California on November 1st that I could do it again this year. Well a two and a half hour flight from Lisbon to Frankfurt followed by an eleven plus hour flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco plus hours in customs left me face down in the mashed potatoes by the time I got to the loft. By eight o'clock I was sound asleep, only to awake at 3 am (of course). It was good to have high speed internet access again, but we also had no refrigerator (making cooking or even cold drinks out of the question). So we investigated getting an earlier flight back to Nevada. Ouch, we would have to buy completely new tickets! Maybe rent a car one way? Mmmmm, we have a van in California, why not just drive that to Nevada? My husband has to go back to California next week, so if he doesn't mind driving back by himself, it's done. Plus this let us take lots of very large artwork to Nevada. We would have to make this trip sometime, so why not now? The only issue was that we would have to leave as soon as possible as I knew I would be asleep again by 8 pm. The drive was actually pleasant as the day was sunny and full of beautiful clouds. A stop at Harris Ranch on I-5 for steak and we were home by 7 pm. I was right, though. I was too tired to even unpack the car and immediately went to bed.

Although we bought very little on our trip, I was on the look out for cross stitch and cross stitch magazines. This was the one kit I bought in the Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

I also collected these magazines while walking around Barcelona, Sevilla, and Lisbon. They are mostly from Portugal, but I also have a French point de cruz magazine (Septembre/Octobre 2008) that I picked up in the Frankfurt airport. I haven't even given more than a glance at them, but do want to pick out at least one pattern to add to my 2009 goals list. And speaking of stitching I do have a new start that I will post tomorrow. Only one guess as to the subject -- sheep! I hope everyone is having a productive week.