Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Finish for 2009

Yes, Mix It Up, is finished.  I didn't finish it in Kentucky, but I did finish it this morning.  This also means that three of the six Kitchen Collection kits are stitched.  I love how all their colors blend together without having all the same colors in every piece.  It also is handy that the beads are similar.  I can separate them all and put them in tiny baggies together rather than hunting through a pile of beads to find just the right one.

I also started the next kit in the Kitchen Collection series, Lil' Cupcake.  It's better to start a design before you get on a plane.  I had hoped to get more of this stitched on our long flight, but as it turned out the Delta flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas really didn't have sufficient light to stitch.  There almost wasn't enough light to read!

Delta?  Atlanta?  Yes, we had gotten to the airport on Tuesday evening for a United flight to Chicago with plenty of time and then we sat and sat while the mechanics tried to fix a problem on our plane.  We even got an upgrade phone call for our Chicago to Las Vegas flight.  You know this story is not going to have a good ending.  They canceled our flight, the last one from Lexington to Chicago, because the Public Address system wasn't working!  This is a very small plane.  If the flight attendants stood in the front and whispered you could probably hear them in the back of the plane.  Luckily as a Million Mile Flyer I have some standing with United.  So when they told me that the next flight out of Lexington that we could get on was 6 pm on the 31st, I told them to start looking for anything from Louisville or Cincinnati.  Heck, we would even drive to Chicago and get a plane home from there.  After a long time on hold they got us on a 6am Delta flight from Lexington to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Las Vegas.  It meant we got very little sleep that night and lost almost a entire day (yesterday), but as each plane actually took off and left the ground, I could only say "Hooray!  We are finally going home."

I probably wouldn't be so frantic about getting back to Nevada if we were not leaving again at 1am on Tuesday morning.  We would usually get there the day before and spend the night, but we really need every day we can have in Nevada.  We have to be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by 1:30 pm on Tuesday, January 5th, to board the new Seabourn Odyssey.  We are taking a 16 day cruise from Florida to Los Angeles through the Panama Canal.  So away goes all the sweaters and coats and I'll start digging out the t-shorts, shorts, and swimsuit again.  I will have a round up of my finishes for 2009 tomorrow (after all I have 14 hours to finish one more project, lol) and some posts on 2010 plans after that.  I don't know how much I can post from the boat.  They have internet, but it is rather pricey.  May all of you have a Happy New Year and lots of stitching in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Can Almost Taste It

Yes!  The mixer is stitched.  Half the backstitching is done.  Another heart is added.  A quarter of the red border is done.  I should have this finished by tonight or tomorrow.  I already started kitting up the next design in the series, Lil' Cupcake, and decided what colors I can stitch on a plane without using beads.  I may have done a lot of this week's beading sitting on a sofa, but I am not crazy enough to bead on a moving airplane!

We head back to Nevada late tomorrow.  I can not wait to be home!  I love my in-laws and have enjoyed all our conversations, but physically this has been a tough trip.  My mother-in-law's guest room is just big enough for a double bed.  Two large grownups in a double bed means not much sleep unless we take turns.  Instead of being almost too warm, my mother-in-law has turned the heater down to almost cold enough to see your breath.  And the hot water heater is hardly up to the task of a short shower.  When I get home I am taking a long, hot, deep bath and curling up in our king bed under our feather comforter.  It really doesn't take much, just space and hot water [OK, OK, and WiFi], to make me happy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Working

Here's the latest picture of Mix It Up.  The mixer itself is almost finished.  Then I need to finish the tedious red band at the bottom, two more hearts, some lettering, and backstitching all around.  I should get a lot of this done this evening while the family is watching the Kentucky - Clemson football game. 

Football is not a sport that interests me, but I can stitch while the others watch.  Since my father-in-law taught at UK, my niece and nephew went there and Lexington is really just a college town, UK sports of all kinds are really big here.  I am fond of UK basketball, where there is a lot more action than football, but I don't follow SEC sports that way everyone else does.  My sister-in-law and niece even have tickets for the SEC finals in Nashville in March.  When the kids were growing up, every day was sports day for them.  I'll stick to indoor pursuits of reading and stitching.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not Finished

This is as far I got with Tranquility before we left for the holidays Back East.  If I had gotten the shells themselves finished, I would have taken it with me and would have presented it anyway.  But with just the suggestion of shells in the bottom half, I decided to wait, finish and frame it before send I it off to my mother-in-law.  The two stitched and framed items that I gave my nephew's wife and my niece for Christmas were very well received.  My niece even gave me a gift certificate to The Stitch Niche.  So although I certainly do not need any more stash, I did get a couple more patterns.

Although I did not bring Tranquility with me to Kentucky, I have been stitching on Mix It Up.  Comparatively it is so small that I should have it completely finished before we leave on Tuesday.  That will mean that three of the six Kitchen Collection designs will be finished.  I brought two others with me and will probably start one of them.  I also brought the canvas piece that I bought in Austin, Texas, Angel Cat.  My mother-in-law always gives us money for Christmas and asks us to buy something.  We always have something to show her that we bought with her money, so I showed her Angel Cat.  I am eager to start it, but I also think that it would be the perfect start for January 1, 2010.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas and is looking forward to the new year as much as I am.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finished!!

Like many of you, I am pretty good about finishing a piece of stitching, but less enthusiastic about finishing finished stitching into something useful.  Case in point is this cow which I stitched for my niece.  I finished stitching it in 2000? 1995? earlier?  So it feels particularly good to have this framed and packed for our trip back east.  I've been looking for a bright pink frame for it for a long time, but have finally just settled for this bright red frame.  Actually, I think it looks good.

I would have never tried framing a stitched piece myself if I hadn't seen a tutorial on framing using stainless steel pins and acid-free foam core rather than lacing. I've always been a bit intimidated by lacing. I was sure the fabric would fall apart when I gave the lacing a final tug. And I knew I would never get the picture straight with only lacing.  But with pins, I lined everything up and measured it before and after placing the center and edge pins.  When things weren't exactly even, I could always unpin and repin.  Success!  I just hope all these pins don't set off the TSA metal detectors!

I am now so jazzed about framing like this, I want to frame up all of my stitched pieces. The only problem, of course, is that I have particular ideas about the frames I want for each piece, but I don't have the frames in hand. I least I know I can do framing when I get the frames.  And even better we now have two gifts for people who had no gifts before. 

Christmas is always a really big holiday for my husband's family.  When we all were younger we had lists that we gave each other and we shopped for the perfect things.  Now that we are all much older, none of us can think of things that we truly want or need.  James told his mother that he was going to wear a bow in his hair and that would be her Christmas gift.  Believe me, she would be perfectly fine with that.  We can get some things for the kids, but they are only one and three.  Not quite old enough for the traditional toys of dolls, trains, and books.  Usually we just land in Lexington and spend the next two or three days shopping.  We will probably do that again, but if my brother-in-law gets a stuffed iguana, then it serves him right for not giving us any suggestions.  Of course, I am equally bad.  I couldn't think of a single thing that I could get for my husband or that he could get for me.  Maybe I'll be the one getting the stuffed iguana.

Today is the day of traditional Chores That Need To Be Done Before We Leave:  cleaning the cat room and washing their bedding, shopping for cat food, cleaning up the kitchen, packing, and picking up the See's candy that we bring back east for the Christmas morning feast.  If we don't bring my sister-in-law some Key Lime Truffles, we will hear about it.  She has convinced her children and husband that they are "spoiled".  More for her! It's good to have these family traditions.  I hope you are all enjoying traditions of your own.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Progress and A Problem

I was very pleased to finish the upper left hand quadrant a week ago Friday.  This project seemed to be moving along smartly.  But then I looked at the calendar.  There were less than two weeks until we left for Back East.  There certainly wasn't enough time to get this framed, even if I did it myself.  Usually, in these cases, I just wait until next year and promise myself I would get it finished by then.  But James' mother is 89 year old and frail.  She might not be around next Christmas.  Maybe I could wrap up the finished stitching and frame it later.

But as the week went by, I realized that even with dedicated stitching, I wouldn't be able to finish the stitching before we left.  This was even more apparent when I miscounted one row on the inner frame and had to unstitch all the bottom inner frame and several shells along the bottom.  Still, I couldn't just abandon the project, so I have been soldiering along, stitching as much as I can each day.  Much of the inner lower left quadrant is finished, but that leaves a lot of water below the inner frame and all of the lower right quadrant.  It is apparent that I won't finish this before Christmas, but I should be able to finish and frame this before the end of January.  I've heard of belated birthday presents.  I guess this will be a belated Christmas present.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Austin Stash

It is nice to find patterns you don't already have.  The clerk that was helping me at Ginger's also loves sheep and pointed out Sophie's Sheep.  The other two sheep I found on my own.
But it is not all sheep.  I particularly liked the Three Stockings model I saw right by the front door.  They had done the pine needles in Artic Rays rather than regular thread.  It gave the piece a wonderful three dimensional look.  Besides sheep, I do love pumpkins.  This small pattern should be good to take as a traveling piece.
But I have to say that my favorite purchase of the trip was this 18 count canvas from The Needle Works.  I had a ton of fun ransacking all their luscious threads looking for just the right ones for this project.  I started doing needlepoint and only came to cross stitch late in my stitching life.  Cross stitch probably makes more sense for me as I am drawn to intricate patterns on small count canvas.  Although I have a ton of needlepoint stitch pattern books, I find myself doing basketweave and continental with lots of different threads rather than patterns with a lot of background stitches.  Right now all I want to do is start this project, but I am being good and working on my shells.  If I put in some hours today, I should have another quarter of the pattern done.  But I can tell that 2010 will be the year of needlepoint.  I have a stash of canvases that are crying out for some attention.  I am very tempted to take this canvas with me back east for Christmas, but I can't do that unless I have some stitchy presents finished first.  Back to stitching!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yes, Things Are BIGGER in Texas



I have to thank Anna and Jane for pointing me to these two fabulous needlework shops.  First I hunted down Ginger's Needlarts, Quilts & Framing. 



You do have to do a bit of searching to find them.  They are in Cameron Village just north of 51st Street, but I passed them the first time and had to swing around again to find them.



Yes, they do have a bit of quilting materials, but mostly they have dozens and dozens of models and hundreds and hundreds of patterns. I have to admit I bought several patterns just because I saw their lovely models. They don't have a website yet, but they do ship via mail order if you call them and ask them if they have a particular pattern in stock. The clerks there are quite knowledgeable and can probably tell you if they have a pattern right over the phone. If they don't have it at the moment they are quite willing to tell customers where they could check for the pattern or supply online.  They also have a good selection of fabric and threads and hundreds of buttons and beads. In the back is a huge classroom where they also have open stitching nights.



But I couldn't leave Austin without checking out The Needle Works. Again it is huge, but tucked away in back of a funky southwestern mall.  (Look for the Frost ATM sign with the 1206 address.)  It is a truly fabulous needlepoint store. They might not have as many canvases as I've seen in other stores (but then again they were also having a 35% off sale, so many canvases could have gone home with someone else before I got there.) However, they have the most complete collection of threads I have ever seen.  Needlepoint Inc. and Gloriana silks, all the Rainbow Gallery lines, Renaissance and Dinky Dyes, and of course, hundreds of colors of wool.  I really wish that I lived closer so that I could take a class in their fabulous classroom where there is plenty of room to spread out and daylight lamps for all.

So what did I buy?  Ah, you will have to wait until next week to see that. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Corner #2

Yes, the top left hand corner is finished.  In fact I think about the top third of the entire design is finished.  But finishing the top is important because the entire design is just a little too big to fit on 11" x 11" Q-snaps.  Now I can reposition the fabric to work more on the center and the bottom.

I am feeling better and looking forward to going to Austin, Texas, tomorrow.  We leave at o'dark o'clock when the temperature here is supposed to be below freezing (though no snow!)  So do I take my bulky down jacket, which is probably too warm for Austin, or something lighter?  I don't think a sweater will be quite enough, but since I don't have to wear coats that often, I don't have a lot to choose from.  I hear there is a great needlepoint store in Austin, where I just might have to stop.  But mostly I want to get some Texas things for my nephew's children (girl, 2 1/2 and boy, 1).  Not that they don't have a hundred stuffed toys, but wouldn't a plushy armadillo be fun?  Yes, I am taking this stitching with me, but probably will not stitch on the two flights (both short).  There should be time to stitch while listening to people talk.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Shells

No, I didn't post this before Thursday and I didn't drive to Los Angeles either.  On Thursday morning I not only felt awful, but I hadn't gotten much sleep at all the night before.  So I sent my husband off to LA and decided to stay home and rest up.  It did give me plenty of time to stitch, so some more shells in the upper left quadrant are done.  Actually there are less shells to do in this quadrant than any of the others.  Most of the upper left area is blank.  Also some of the shells have only three or four colors rather than twenty, so they are stitching up much faster.  However, it is time to go back to the water on the left side.  When I just can't face another confetti stitch, I can always go back to the rows and rows of water.  After all there is much more water than shells.

This week is resting up to make sure I am up to the trip to Austin, Texas this weekend.  We leave very early on Friday morning, but will be back on Sunday.  All I have to do is go and eat BBQ (and talk to my friends who I missed seeing in LA).  I should be up for that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turning the Corner

It's not the upper right hand corner, but I did get to the edge (and down the left side) on the inner frame.  I actually got there Thursday, but was too cranky to create a blog post.  I seem to have picked up an annoying cold that makes me want to sleep for 12 - 15 hours a day.  But unfortunately going to bed does not result in sleep, but merely in tossing and turning.  I am a bit better now and so is this project.  I have stitched to the upper edge and added another shell.  I should have another project picture before we drive to Los Angeles on Thursday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Confetti Everywhere

One reason I abandoned Three Gables and moved on to this project was because the confetti stitching that was left on Three Gables was driving me crazy.   So instead I had the confetti stitching on the two top shells on the right side to drive me crazy.  There are over twenty different colors in them and most only five or six stitches.  I haven't stitched every single stitch in the top right quarter of this pattern, but I have certainly done more than a quarter of the stitching needed overall.  I'm going to move the fabric on my Q-snaps and start stitching the upper left quadrant.  I need to go back to the long boring water stitches.

Still no final permits for the new house, but as they say, Real Soon Now.  Mostly we are planning our travel for the next couple of months.  We always go to a convention in Los Angeles (Loscon) over Thanksgiving.  The following weekend is SMOFcon, which is in Austin, Texas this year.  Hooray, bar-be-que!!!  Of course, we will be in Lexington, Kentucky, for Christmas.  We thought about taking a cruise just before Christmas, but waited too long and all the lower price cabins were sold out.  So instead we are taking the same ship (Seabourn Odyssey, their new ship) on January 5 (leaving from Fort Lauderdale), sailing the Panama Canal, to Los Angeles.  That does mean we will miss CES (Consumer Electronics Show) again (went MacWorld last year and was too sick to attend the year before that).  MacWorld is in San Francisco in February, so we will be there then.  I am glad that I have been in one place for the past couple of months.  It's been very relaxing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Top Right Hand Corner

You know how good it feels to stitch to an edge of a pattern, especially if you start in the center. Although the corner is a row of half stitches in a pale color, I have reached the top right hand corner. In fact, I think I have a good chance of reaching my weekend goal of finishing all the stitching in the top right hand quarter. There is just a bit of stitching for the shells, but a lot more backstitching. The water area has quite a few blank spots, so there is not a lot to stitch there either. Then I'll move over to the left hand top quarter. That quadrant has a lot more water, but the shell area is relatively blank. I can tell that I must have been stitching a lot because I have caught up with all my podcasts. I'll have to start listening to some of my audiobooks.

I have all this time for stitching because my husband has been gone since Tuesday and won't be back until next Sunday. And there isn't much to do on the new house until the retaining wall permits are granted. The only serious project I have to do this week is figuring out how to eat and dress for two days while they are resurfacing our flooring in master bathroom (the only access to my closet) and the kitchen. Time to get out the coolers and fill them up with drinks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Blue Green Sea

I considered participating in NaBloPoMo as I did two years ago. I even had this picture ready for a post on Sunday, but as has happened a lot this year, life intervened. Sunday was spent "cleaning up for the cleaners". Getting all the papers picked up, the kitchen counters cleared, and our closets picked up, so that the cleaners could actually clean in those rooms. It's been a long time since they have been here. They only clean half the house (not the office or our studios), so there are places to dump stuff. It was a good thing we did a throrough job on Sunday because although we left some time for a final sweep, the cleaners had not gotten the message about the time change and showed up at 8:30 am on Monday rather than 9:30 am. It was amazing that we were up and dressed. Unfortunately they used some caustic chemicals on the marble floor in the master bath which will have to be repaired. The cleaning company was quick to get it looked at. A floor restorer came by on Tuesday and will have the job started and completed next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday was an early day because we left the house at 4:30 am to drop James off at the airport for a 6:00 am flight. He is taking an unplanned trip to Maui because we are once again being asked for more money and more paperwork about an "illegal" wall on our property that was requested by the local electric company to support the meters for four houses. Some of our neighbors have gotten these threatening letters about illegal walls and some have not. Some are being fined $300 per day, some have lowered the wall from seven feet to four feet (certainly making it more difficult for the meters to be read), and some are just ignoring the whole thing.

I stayed here in Nevada to take care of anything that might come up with the new contractors. Things are working out GREAT! These guys want the job, they keep us up to date with email and phone calls, and are straightening out the problems that the old contractor let pile up. We are very happy with them.

Now I can back to stitching!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Some Backstitching

I was going to backstitch at least three shells, but you have to not only finish the shells, but also finish stitching parts of the nearby shells that are next to the back stitching. I do have three more shells stitched, but not their neighbors. I also thought I would stop stitching this and go back to Three Gables and finish it in October, but I haven't. Instead I frogged about a third of the right hand border and restitched it. I also moved the stitching on the Q-snaps so that I could stitch all of the upper right hand corner. I've finished the upper right border and started on the top border. There is a lot of water, so I will be stitching that for a while before I go back to the shells.

Mostly we have been spending time deciding what to do about building the new house. It seems to be in a state of permanent uncertainty, so on Monday we fired our general contractor and yesterday talked to another contractor who we had liked before (and who certainly has more experience dealing with the City of Henderson if they are the problem). It has been very depressing to think that we are another month or two from starting this project. We thought we would be breaking ground in August!

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Xs and /s

This is the middle part of stitching. Progress, but nothing really finished. I am wandering all over the chart as I stitch a needle full of one color. And there are some holes because there are colors that aren't stitched again until I get to the top, bottom, or the extreme left of the chart. I think I am going to stitch a bit of the upper portion of the chart for a while because it has less quarter stitches and more bands of the same color.

Meanwhile I am behind in reporting my Ten Book Reading Challenge.

  1. A lovely urban fantasy by a Canadian writer who I have been reading for a long time.
  2. The Defector by Daniel Silva
    A spy thriller about Israeli agents working in Russia. Very well written and thoughtful.
  3. Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story by Evan I. Schwartz
    A biography of L. Frank Baum. I learned to read by using the Wizard of Oz books, so I had hoped to learn a little about the author. There is some biography here, but there is more modern psychobabble that is completely annoying. I really dislike when current writers insist on subscribing contemporary motives to people who lived hundreds of years ago.
  4. Darker Angels (The Black Sun's Daughter, Book 2) by M.L.N. Hanover
    I loved this author's science fiction quartet. The first book of this dark urban fantasy was choppy and confusing, but this one was quite good. I read it in a day.
  5. Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition, Editor, Rich Horton
    A short story anthology with many wonderful stories that I had read before and several weak stories that are better off buried.
  6. A Better Angel: Stories by Chris Adrian
    An advanced reading copy of a short story collection by a pediatric surgeon. Some stories take place in hospitals, some feature damaged children. Well written, but a bit repetitive.
  7. Friday by Robert A. Heinlein
    An old favorite that I took down from the bookshelf while waiting for an Amazon order to arrive.
  8. Transition by Iain M. Banks
    A weak and confusing effort by my once favorite science fiction author.
  9. Julian Comstock : a story of 22nd-century America by Robert Charles Wilson
    A post apocalyptic novel of politics and war. Unexpectedly charming.
  10. The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom
    I am not quite finished with this dense philosophical treaty on the basis of American thought and culture. Very interesting, but not for the faint of intellect.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Possibly this picture will make the subjects more evident. They are a group of seashells floating over a shallow ripple of waves. My mother-in-law is crazy about seashells and loves the ocean. She used to spend weeks every summer near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she owns ten acres of pine forest entailed from King George III. Whenever my husband's family took a vacation, it was either to South Carolina or Sanibel Island, Florida. Hunting for shells was their favorite pastime.

I picked up this kit to start, because I thought it would be easier than searching for fabric and threads for a pattern. Well, not so much. First I replaced the Aida in the kit with a piece of Monaco. OK, that was simple. I can't imagine how anyone stitched this pattern on Aida as there are hundreds of quarter stitches. Then I spread out the threads under my Ott-Light and started putting them in the kit's included thread holders. Oops, only two six hole holders for 18 threads. OK, I can make another one. It was easy to separate out the 20 lengths of Pale Dusty Teal and the 6 lengths of Mint Green. But a lot of the colors had only one length and most of them are in the Tan, Beige, or Terra Cotta family. One length of Pink (818). Check! One length of Lt. Yellow-Orange (6121). WTF? That is not a DMC color number. That isn't even a DMC color name! Maybe it is Anchor? Maderia? And what about Rose Beige (2560) or Lt Orange (3722)? I spent what seemed like an age trying to find a conversion chart that mentioned those color numbers or names. Nothing, unless I wanted Rose Beige makeup or underwear. Finally I found a Bucilla-DMC chart that pointed me in the right direction. Mostly. Translating the Bucilla numbers to DMC numbers and checking my DMC threads under the Ott-Light with the kit threads only gave me a vague color equivalence. When it came down to the last few threads, I simply declared, "THIS is Light Orange and THIS is Light Rust." If they aren't, at least they will be consistent. I haven't figured out exactly what to do about the flower symbol in the chart that is not seen anywhere in the list of threads, though I have already substituted an orange tan for the pink called for in the upper shell, but not seen in the finished picture.

Someday the finished stitching should look like this. There are lots of half crosses, so I hope that parts of this go very quickly. So far the part of the inner frame I stitched in half cross was done in a flash. I hope to have this finished by Christmas. Yes, this Christmas. Though that means that most of the goals on my 2009 List will have to wait until 2010.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

You know that I must be going crazy when I would rather backstitch than cross stitch. But the only parts left to cross stitch are all those darn confetti leaves. Not just the leaves sitting around the bottom on the house and garage, but the ones floating down in the middle of nowhere. There are still dozens of them to stitch. Finally last night I couldn't take it any more. I couldn't look at another WiP. I didn't even care if I finished Three Gables, even if I am oh, so close.

So, of course, I had to start a new project. It is an old and out of print kit that I am stitching for my elderly mother-in-law. She used to needlepoint (even finished covering eight dining room chairs), but doesn't see well enough now to stitch. You are welcome to guess what it is, but it won't look like much until much more of it is stitched and backstitched.

Meanwhile I did take Mix It Up to Pasadena and back on Saturday, but didn't have a chance to add even one stitch. The living room where we held the meeting was rather crowded and there really wasn't enough room to swing a needle, much less safely keep my scissors and needlethreader close at hand. It was an interesting meeting and I am glad that I went, but I have to say that I was equally glad for the shopping we did. I love Crate & Barrel, but there are none of their stores in Nevada. I often stop by their store in Pasadena when I am in southern California. This time we bought a huge black glass vase and some tiny handblown juice glasses. We also had a chance to shop at the Bath & Beyond Outlet and the Williams Sonoma Outlet in Primm. I tell myself that I don't need anything from these stores, but I always walk out with some things. I'm a sucker for bath products that will help me sleep.

I'm going to go back and stitch on my new project while I am still excited by it. I hope everyone has a happy and productive week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back to Square Two

Not all the way back to square one as there was a lot of this design that I did not have to frog. But I did finish the entire mixing bowl. I think it looks so much better with the correct threads stitched in the right places. I even went ahead and stitched a bit on the mixer tower stand, but now I am moving back to Three Gables. I thought I might have Three Gables finished last week, but since it is not, I would still like to finish it in October. We are driving to Pasadena for a meeting on Saturday, so I will take Mix It Up there and work on it some more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

I wasn't feeling well. I wasn't sleeping. There were too many new shows on television to watch. I spent too much time reading. We had to go out and interview a pool dude and a hardware flooring guy for the new house. It was my week to cook. I had to drop off my husband at the airport and pick him up. I had to take the car in the shop for an oil change and Smog Check. I finished my audiobooks and don't want to listen to my podcasts. Sure there are lots of excuses why I am not stitching, but the truth is that frogging that amount of stitching makes your mojo run away and hide under the bed. And since our bed is only six inches off the floor, it's hard to crawl under it and go get that mojo back. I have stitched about half of the mixing bowl. I had hoped to post a picture of the bowl completely done, but that will have to wait.

Probably a better excuse about why I am not stitching is right here. I was in JoAnne's last week and found these bead boxes on sale. I got two to start with to see if they would work and then went back and bought five more. I have three of them filled up and have enough Mill Hill beads to fill two more. Then I need to decide if I want to put some of my other brands of beads in these boxes or not. The small boxes are 2" x "1" x 1/2". Twenty four of the smaller boxes fit in a hinged larger box. I really like that my 1/2" label maker makes perfect labels for these boxes and that I can see all the different colors through the larger clear box. (The A stands for Antique Beads, the F stands for Frosted, and the M stands for Magnifica.) The boxes can also hold more than one package of Mill Hill beads. I need to finish this project by the end of the week so that I can get all of this off the dining room table and back in the sewing room where it belongs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stepping Into Darkness

Thought for the future: Don't try to separate threads from a kit under bad fluroescent lighting, especially the lighting in the Red Carpet Club at LAX. As I was working on the mixing bowl, I was confused by how dark it was compared to the picture on the front of the package. There also seemed to be only two shades of grey, rather than the three I was expecting. Did they pack the wrong threads in the kit? Were the shades of grey too close?

In search of the answers, I pulled out the three DMC colors called for in the kit and compared them with what I was sewing with. Oops. I misidentified all three colors. First I thought the Light Grey (762) was actually a thread of white. They are pretty close in value except under strong sunlight. Then I picked a random thread of Medium Grey (415) and decided that must be Light Grey. I even started stitching with it for my first 22 stitches. That left me with Dark Grey (318) as both Medium Grey and Dark Grey. And it left me with a duotone mixer. Sigh. To frog or not? It's not as if this is for a competition or EGA Guild Challenge. But like most of you, I had to fix it. Even if I am the only one who ever sees it, I still couldn't live with having it this far wrong. But it has slowed down my stitching mojo. Only today do I have all the wrong threads (most of the mixer except the real Dark Grey) frogged. Luckily all the grey beads were stitched with Dark Grey, so I did not have to frog them. And I did not even attempt to separate the red threads until I did have good sunlight to do it in, so all of the rest of the stitching is good.

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to stitch this week. We met with our contractor last Thursday and we will be back talking to vendors this week; the pool guys tomorrow and the hardwood flooring people on Wednesday. It is also my week to cook and I am completely uninspired. Wednesday evening James flies to San Francisco until Saturday evening. Maybe stitching will occur at the end of the week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rouge comme... FINISHED

It seemed longer to finish the mushroom than I thought it should. There are a lot of different reds and the motif is split badly over two pages. Actually all of this pattern is split very badly from page to page without any overlap. I did have to fold and photocopy some of the pattern in order to get any of it stitched when a single motif was split over four pages.

I am very happy with my choice of beads on this project. The spots on the mushroom were just charted for DMC Blanc. Instead I used these pale beige beads (Mill Hill 2001) and I think they look great. Now for the harder thing; how to frame this when I have only about two inches of fabric outside of the design. I will also have to find more audio books (or go back to podcasts) as I have finished all 600,000 hours (approximately) of George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series. Onward to Three Gables.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Addiction

I know I said that I would work on Rouge ... comme or Three Gables, but I can't seem to stop working on Mix It Up. Maybe it's the bright colors or the beautiful beads, but I keep telling myself that I will work on something else after just a few stitches here. If I was as enchanted by all my WiPs, I wouldn't have any UFOs! Well, at least I know that if I do put this down, I will have no trouble picking it up again. And no trouble finishing the next three kits in this series.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Travel Stitching

Rather than continue on with Three Gables, I decided to do some beading on Mix It Up while I was on Maui. I did stitch 22 pale gray stitches just under the top line of beads on the plane from Los Angeles to Honolulu, but I didn't stitch a bit in Honolulu. The rest of this stitching was done in Maui. And it looked exactly the same when I landed in Las Vegas. Again I wasn't very motivated to stitch on the flight, though I have stitched quite a bit more since I got back to Nevada. I am about to switch back to finishing Rouge...comme. Apparently that is where my skeins of DMC 3045/3046 went to. When Rouge...comme is finished, I'll finish up Three Gables. Even after both of them are finished I will have accomplished only three of my ten stitching goals for this year. I'm going to have to decide if any of the other stitching goals are even possible in the next three months. I also have some sewing goals that I haven't even started.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Almost, But Can't Be Finished

I've finished all the leaves on the ground on the left side. I've finished most of the garage. But when I reached for DMC 3045/3046 to stitch the broom straw, they weren't on my floss bag ring! Did I forget to pull them? Did I borrow them for another project? (This project has been kitted up for a long, long time.) So though I can finish the rest of the garage, finish the leaves on the right side and do most of the backstitching, I can't finish all the stitching until I get back to Nevada and track down the missing threads. No running to the local LNS here in Maui.

And speaking of DMC colors, I don't know if you can see the single blue stitch at the collar of the broom. That is DMC 3807. It is the only place that color is used. Since I have all the DMC colors, I don't mind using a color for one stitch, but I wonder why the designer didn't choose DMC 333 used at the bottom of the door and in the windows? I probably could swap DMC 832/834 for DMC 3045/3046 in the broom, but I will wait until I can stitch with the charted color. I guess I have my work cut out for me back in Nevada; finish Three Gables and finish Rouge...comme. Both are so close.

Ten Book Reading Challenge: Finished book two a couple of days ago, The Defector by Daniel Silva and 80% finished with book three.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Fence Is Finished

Here is the finished fence and most of the leaves on the left hand side. Not only are there more leaves left to be stitched on the bottom, but there are dozens of leaves floating though the air that need to be stitched one at a time. My only complaint about this part of the pattern is that there is supposed to be a big, fat pumpkin button stitched right over the dozens of confetti stitches that I did below the fence. I will probably move it more towards the steps, so it doesn't cover up too many of the leaves.

I also gave the birds legs and added posts to the two smaller gables. There is just the garage, more leaves, and more back stitching to go. Drea asked if I was trying to finish this before Halloween. Not really. Even if it is finished, it probably won't get framed for a while. The reason I am working on this so strongly is that right now I have the time to do it. I have less than half of my yearly stitching goals done and I really want this to be one of the goals I finish. For the past three days my husband has taken our only car on Maui and attended the Maui Photo Festival and Workshops. That means I am either stitching or reading (or watching NCIS on Video On Demand). When he is finished we will have to start working on a couple of projects that we need to finish here on Maui.

When we get back to Nevada after Wednesday, we will jump right back into working on building the new house. We have been depressed about the months and months that our plans have spent in the City of Henderson Permit department. They had one small, picky change after another. I swear that they change the building rules weekly! But we have an almost complete permit now, with the question of the fireplace [installed in dozens of venues in Clark County, but apparently not good enough for City of Henderson] left to a committee to decide. I'll put in bookshelves before I will buy the only fireplace approved in the City of Henderson (and sold by one of the city commissioners!) So we might even get to break ground next week. We will start with the retaining walls and pool footings for a couple of months, but will eventually get to the house foundation. Soon the walls and roof will be up, but then the majority of the time will be taken with the interior finishing. I will get excited about the house again when they scoop that first shovelful of dirt.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The House Is Finished

Yes, the middle gable is finally finished, also the steps and the foundation. Just the fence, leaves, and garage to do. Plus some back stitching and a bunch of small french knots for eyes in all the windows. I'll have to wait until I get back to Nevada to attach the buttons as I did not bring them with me. But even if I finish before I leave Maui, I have several Mill Hill Kitchen Collection kits that I can work on. This will definitely be done this month.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Crows Have Beaks

When there are only a few stitches of a certain color thread, I usually leave them until I can finish them all up at once. In this case the broom handle and the birds' beaks are the only places that use DMC 435. So I waited until I was ready to stitch the broom handle to finish up the birds' beaks.

I have also started on the last skein (of three) of Bark, added some chimney pots, and started the roof of the broom garage. After the garage and house is finished there is a riot of confetti stitches at the base of the house that look like fall leaves.

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Week and One Day

That's how much longer we will be in Maui. We leave for the mainland again a week from Wednesday. Is it enough time to finish all the cross stitch on Three Gables? Possibly. Especially considering that my husband is involved in the Maui Photo Festival and will be gone with our only car for at least two days. I might drop him off and pick him up one of the three days, but not the morning he is planning to leave for a shoot at Haleakela at 3 a.m.! I did work on some Bark on the middle gable and on the right side of the door last night. I wanted to save the trickier bits for better lighting.

I got absolutely no stitching done in Oahu. If we were not tromping around Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley we were eating tasty food from the high (Chef's Mavro's incredible 15 course tasting menu) to the low (Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in Kahuku). Literally the highest point in this vacation came via a Stearman Biplane out of Dillingham Field. It's an open cockpit plane with room for only one passenger and the pilot. My husband wanted to try this for his birthday, even though he doesn't have the best stomach for flying. At least he didn't go for the acrobatic tour! Instead we separately took the Sacred Falls tour that travels the North Shore coast, inland to Sacred Falls, over the Polynesian Village at Laie, the shrimp farms at Kahuku and Turtle Bay Resort.

Yes, the scenery below was wonderful, but I can't begin to describe how amazing it is to fly in an open cockpit plane. You feel just like a bird. I spent as much time looking at clouds and the horizon as I did the land and sea below.

Ten Book Reading Challenge: I have finished my first book, The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff. Yes, I read quickly and didn't spend much time doing anything else but reading yesterday. I hope everyone has a productive and interesting week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reading, Listening, Stitching

This is the current audible.com book that I have been listening to while I have been stitching. It is actually the fourth book in the series (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin. I have actually read/listened to 90 books so far this year, so this Ten Book Reading Challenge by Vickie is just perfect for me. I can't tell all of the books that I will read by the end of the year, but I will start with The Defector By Daniel Silva, Finding Oz by Evan I. Schwartz, and Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson, which are the three books that I brought with me to Hawaii. I also have Transitions by Iain M. Banks waiting for me when I get back to Nevada. All stitchers who are readers, should check out Vickie's blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not Quite...

This is as much as I could finish before I left Nevada for Hawaii. There are still a couple of letters to finish
and the top of the larger mushroom. Rather than stitch a scattering of white stitches on the mushroom tops, I will add more light tan beads there. But I really didn't want to pack all this up (including the beads) and take it to Hawaii for just a bit of stitching, so I left it in Nevada. Three Gables was packed and ready to go, so I will work on that when we get settled back in Maui on Sunday.

Now we are in Honolulu for James' birthday. I started Debbie Mumm's Mix It Up from the Mill Hill Kitchen Collection, but I only have a line of 22 pale gray stitches on a bright white fabric that I stitched on the flight from Los Angeles to Maui. Not enough for a picture. Undoubtedly there will be more to show you by the time we leave for Maui on Saturday. I picked this kit because there is quite a lot of gray without beads to be stitched.

I did finish up the citron background beads on the ladybug. I can see stitching next year a lot of the Miribilia charts with the tons of beading that I have been dreading. There is also a Wentzler dragon I want to do next year, but it is almost all made up of forty different pairs of two blended threads. Ouch. But for this year, I think I have a good handle on Rouge...comme and Three Gables. If I can finish both of those, I will have about half of my goals for this year finished.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Poppy Finished

Not only is the poppy finished, but I particularly like the frosted black beads that I used for the center. Although the rest of the beads are shiny, the black beads look much more like a real poppy. I couldn't have done this without the extra fast shipping from 123Stitch. I got my extra beads (and the last two Kitchen Collection kits) in seemingly no time at all.

As long as I was beading, I decided to finish off the background beading on the two bottom corners. That just leaves the mushrooms on the top center, the last of the border, and the beading around the ladybug. I may have time to finish this before Wednesday, but I am not going to rush it.