Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Head and Feet

This is how much I can stitch while waiting an hour and a half for an oil change for the car. There isn't that much left to do: two more snowmen and a flag. Oh, yes, and finishing those last bits of snowflakes at the bottom. I'm taking this and Three Gables to Arizona tomorrow, but I have no idea how much stitching I'll get to do.

Tonight I'm rereading the Hugo nominated short fiction in preparation for my panel on Thursday. I have a panel on the Hugo nominated novels on Friday. Friday midnight (EDT) is the deadline for voting. At least we can vote online and aren't at the mercy of snail mail, though mailing in a ballot is still possible.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has made so many kind comments about my progress on Three Gables. I have had this kitted up for years and I am just so thrilled about seeing this being stitched up. I really am enjoying every stitch, even the Bark.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Good Progress!

Yes, I have stitched all the WDW Basil. But there is still more WDW Bark. Another whole skein of it. Still, most of the pattern is at least outlined. There is a broom garage at the side to finish, lots and lots of confetti leaves around the bottom and an iron fence that the bird on the left is sitting on. I'll take this pattern to Arizona, but I don't think I will get much stitched on it. I am on several panels and I promised to organize next year's Westercon's programming. So I will sit their table during the day when I am not on panels. Maybe I will finish the sheep I started on the way out. I didn't stitch at all on the flights back. Instead I finished the one Hugo nominated novel I hadn't read. I knew I wouldn't like it much, but now I have a basis to criticize it properly for my Hugo panel.

The next two days are simply a whirlwind of getting to all those things mounting up in the past week (snail mail, laundry, groceries) plus packing again for the driving trip to Arizona. At least we won't have to weigh our suitcases. We can just dump as much stuff in the car as we can. A decade ago I would be visiting AAA for maps, but now I just have the address in my iPhone and GPS will get us there. It doesn't stop there though. James has a group show in the San Francisco Bay Area next week. He is flying to SFO a week from Wednesday. I will join him on Friday for the reception and we will both fly to Maui on Sunday. There are a number of issues there: the wall, the cottage which is still not sold, and now the landscaping, which according to our property manager is looking rather sad. One thing at a time: first Phoenix, then San Francisco, then Maui. I hope everyone in the United States has a good Fourth of July weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Roof, Roof!

You might have noticed a small bit of roof on the right hand side that had not been filled in. I knew there was more WDW Basil (the roof thread) used on the garage to the right side of the house, so I was waiting to get to that part before I finished the main roof. I finally got close enough to the garage to finish up the rest of the roof. Here you just see the right window and most of the door finished, but I have actually stitched all of the Basil in the chart and a lot more Bark, too. I will post a further picture tomorrow when I am back in Nevada. Right now we are going to head off to the airport to see if we can catch an earlier flight out of Cincinnati through O'Hare and back to Las Vegas. We can use all the time we can get at home before we have to drive to Phoenix on Wednesday. I am very pleased at how much I stitched on this pattern this week. I wish I had as much stitching time every week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

LNS: Sharonville, Ohio

I like going to a convention called Midwestcon in Cincinnati. It is a small convention (just over 100) without programming (a relaxacon). Many people play cards (Wizards) or talk or plan future SF conventions, but there are a small group of us who cross stitch (and more knitters all the time). On Saturday many of us head over to this charming framing and cross stitch store called Keepsakes. It is in an old house that is floor to ceiling filled with beautifully framed cross stitch. Most of it is traditional cross stitch, so there are tons (and I do mean tons) of samplers and primitives. I never manage to just look, but always find something that I just have to buy.

This is the stairway to the second floor. You have to step carefully as there are charts on the steps and in the hallway. Three rooms upstairs are filled with charts and more framed pieces and the fourth room is filled with every color of every brand of thread (and accessory) that you might want or need. Because the stitched pieces are so charming, I always see things I want that I might not have noticed by only seeing the chart. This time I was particularly taken with a chart from Raise the Roof called Charmed Sampler which lets you attach as many charms as you want. Now I can get my lovely charms out of their boxes and show them off. I also got Hooked on Tea from Handblessings, a chart I had not seen before. Since I don't drink coffee, I was glad to see something about my favorite drink. I couldn't resist a Homespun Elegance pattern called Witches Stitch, Too!!

Although I was taken by these charts, don't worry. I have been working away on Three Gables. One of the non-stitchers in the group was admiring it and thought that I was almost done. I wish I was, but there is a ton of confetti stitching at the bottom that will take a long time. Still I have stitched more this last week that I have the previous month. It's good to see one of my goals on the way to completion.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

LNS: Lexington, Kentucky

One of the pleasant parts of our visits to my husband's family in Lexington, Kentucky, has always been shopping at The Stitch Niche. It's even better that it is not too far from my mother-in-law's house. I've always found things that I fall in love with here, including the full button kit for Three Gables that I bought many years ago. This is where I bought my first Kit & Bixby sheep. They carry an impressive amount of cross stitch patterns from every major designer and also some from small designers you may never have heard of. Several of their designs feature the University of Kentucky logo (and basketballs!) I think of them as carrying mostly traditional designs, but they did have a good selection of Monsterbubbles and other non-traditional designs. Their selection does not stop at cross stitch. They also have DMC, Rainbow Gallery and Caron threads, hardanger, needlepoint, frames, Sudberry boxes, and a ton of yarn for crochet and knitting. There is a huge backroom that has space for two simultaneous classes. If I lived here, I would certainly take several. This time I limited my purchases, but I still walked out with some gorgeous 32 count evenweave fabric in a very light grey green, a Shepard's Bush kit, and a card of glass buttons in purple and green. You could spend a day just looking through all their gorgeous fabrics. Of course they also frame cross stitch and block needle point. A women brought in a fabulous wool needlepoint pillowtop with more bullion stitches than I would ever attempt for blocking. There are also walls and walls full of finished cross stitch, especially one wall of trains. If you are ever close by, you should certainly browse and drool here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bark, Bark, Bark!

Since all four generations of the family were having dinner at my sister-in-laws house, I decided to take Three Gables along and just stitch on the parts needing Weeks Dye Works Bark. Not much counting and certainly no color changes. I finished the right part of the bottom gable and filled in another row in the middle. I also started on the left side of the house. After I got back from dinner I stitched the right door frame.

To treat myself (from the endless Bark), I finished the right bottom window and the door window this morning. I'd like to finish most of the bottom of the house this evening, but that might be a little ambitious. Again most of the family is going out to dinner together except for my nephew and his wife and children. They get to endure, I mean enjoy, a birthday party for a 3 year old at Chuck E. Cheese. Meanwhile we will be eating good New Orleans fish at The Ketch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Presents FAIL!

I was overly optimistic. Although I did stitch most of the turtle, I didn't finish him. I didn't finish the border and I didn't frame the baby announcement. Technology got in the way. My husband's very old G3 MacBook has about given up the ghost. Since I use a laptop much more than he does (he edits his photography on a 30" screen), it was time for me to get an updated MacBook Pro and to give him my older MacBook Pro. Here is the old machine (on the left) being cloned into the new machine (on the right). Although I don't like the keyboard quite as well on the new machine, I do have to say that the new machine is blazingly fast and has tremendous battery life. So between working on odds and ends of the new house, tidying up the old house, and packing for our trip back east, nothing was stitched last week. I'll just have to send them the finished stitching after I get back.

Which is not to say that I have given up on stitching altogether. On the contrary, since I have no computer access at my mother-in-law's 19th century home (wired telephones, no computers or internet), I don't have much to do except stitch. I stitched this much of Bent Creek Winter Sheep on our two flights to Lexington, Kentucky. This was remarkably wonderful trip. I was worried about racing from Gate B16 to Gate B92 at Denver airport. It's about a mile and a half. But we had just started out when a great tram driver apparently saw my exhaustion (I do not do well at high altitudes) and offered both of us a tram ride to the other end of the terminal. He could only take us to B60 as the rest of the gates are down an escalator, but after riding for a mile, the quarter mile walk was a breeze. We also were upgraded to first class on both flights. I guess being a million mile traveler on United does have some status. And the best miracle of all was getting our luggage. The last three trips here all resulting in delayed (but not lost) luggage.

After a small start on Saturday, I stitched quite a lot on Sunday and got this much done. I could have trundled right through to the end, but I had to remind myself to save a bit for the trip back. I have brought Three Gables with me, so I will work on that Real Soon Now.

Yeah, I guess I really couldn't stop at that. Last night I did this much more, but really, I did stop! This morning I took out Three Gables and stitched more Bark, Bark, Bark! We have dinner at my sister-in-law's this evening; eight adults and two children (my nephew's). I'll bring Three Gables to work on while everyone is talking. This will probably be my last post until possibly Friday or Saturday. We will drive up to Sharonville, Ohio (near Cincinnati) for a convention in a hotel with internet access (FINALLY). Every time I stay at my mother-in-law's I swear that next time I will stay in a hotel instead, but I really do like her and wouldn't want to make her unhappy. I haven't had enough access to post comments from my iPhone, but I have been reading everyone's blog postings, so keep stitching everyone. I really love your projects.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Fish

I said I had most of the fish ready to go and I did. I just had to stitch him to the blanket and add his bottom fin. I have even made quite a bit of progress on the last applique, the turtle. Most of his lumpy satin circles are done, though there are a lot of bits and pieces that will need to be stitched down and outlined. Then the blanket stitching around the entire blanket. Luckily it is a baby blanket and not one for a king sized bed. If I'm not being too optimistic, I might have this finished by this weekend. That would give me a week to work more on Hawaiian Mandala before we leave for back east on the 20th.

I will have more free time this next week because my husband is leaving for San Francisco tonight for a week. I will miss him, but we do talk on the phone several times a day. Hooray for unlimited long distance. I hope you didn't find the last post too silly, but I do want to mention that most of the house is very tasteful and uncluttered. Just don't look in my sewing studio!

I Win

Sorry, Chiloe, when it comes to silly man decor a single item stored in the basement does not earn top honors. Even a single ugly fish isn't in the running. To truly have man decor you have to have a collection, especially a Tiki collection. And my husband has more Tikis than most Tiki bars. These two silly gentlemen live on either side of our front door. I guess I am so used to them, that I don't even really notice them anymore.

This flaming tiki next to a lovely photograph by Jerry Uselmann is a little harder to ignore, but at least it is hidden down a back corridor next to the laundry room.

One of the first piece of his eclectic collection is not even a Tiki. It is this mannequin that he picked up from a store going out of business in southern California. She used to live in the garage where coming upon her at night was enough to give one a scare. I had a throw a blanket over her so I wouldn't think there was an intruder in there every time. Now she has a fetching chain mail outfit and lives in his "studio". If you want to talk about hardware, I haven't even begun to photograph the collection of swords, shields, double bladed axes and various implements of personal destruction that are also in this room. All photo props, you understand.

And if you think that the unusual is confined to the private areas of the house, I give you this replica dinosaur bone that lives on the back patio.

I haven't begun to itemized the other bits and pieces around the house; the tikis on the dresser in the master bedroom, the mermaid in the cubby hole for a television in the master bath, but I leave you with one wall of my husband's closet. He has more art in there than clothes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Octopus Finished

Yes, he is finished. It didn't actually take me as long as I thought it would, but I did only stitch for 30 minutes or so before putting it down and doing almost anything else. When I let out a particularly naughty word my husband asked what I was doing. I said I was stitching felt, which has a tendency to just shred, especially on the corners. "Ah," he said. "You are trying to stitch a hairball." I actually finished this on Saturday and am now almost finished with the next fish. I should finish the fish today, if we don't spend too long at the plumbing supply store.

We had a long meeting with our contractors on Friday discussing a tentative schedule for the house. The next thing they would like us to decide are all the plumbing fixtures. Some of what we decide (especially bathtubs) need to be planned for before they pour the concrete foundation. Since we are not going to order any fancy Japanese toilets, this shouldn't be too hard. I hope everyone has a good week, however you measure good.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lumpy Circles

Yes, I have finished all the satin stitch circles on the octopus. There are a few more on the turtle, but only a few. I have also cut out the octupus, so I see I have a few days of applique stitching in front of me. He has a very long outline!

The satin circles were not the only circles I needed to finish before I appliqued the octopus. I had to back stitch all the bubbles around the octopus, too. At least I will be over half finished when the octopus is appliqued. There is only a small fish and a medium sized turtle left to do. Good! Although there is also buttonhole stitching to complete around the entire blanket, I should be finished well before the 20th. Then I just have to frame the baby sampler (Gift of Love) and I will have two presents for my nephew's new son.