Friday, January 30, 2009

The Monster is Complete

I know it might seem a little strange calling this sweet 5" x 7" birth announcement a monster, but anything that you don't want to do and that prevents you from getting to things you do want to do, is a monster in my vocabulary. Not sure where the name Caleb came from, but my brother-in-law is Michael, my nephew is Joe Mike and now my nephew's son is C. Mike.

This has taken forever mostly because we have been tidying up the house so a potential architect and our realtor could see it. Unfortunately the architect got sick, so everything was pushed off until next Thursday. I wish I could just wrap the house in Saran Wrap as the cleaners were here Wednesday, but won't be back for another month. I needed to get this done today because tomorrow we are driving to Los Angeles to go to a board meeting in Chatsworth. That's a little less than four hours driving one way. We usually spend the night, but sometimes we just drive right home. There are usually a few stitchers, a knitter and a lacemaker at the meetings, so I wanted to take Three Gables with me. I am glad that I will be able to work on it full time for a while. I should have a picture of the progress on Three Gables after the weekend. It's going along swimmingly.

I also want to get to some stash organizing at the beginning of next week. I can tell right now that anything with the least amount of backstitching (or pastel colors) will probably be put in the Not Ever Pile. I'll have to cool down about backstitching and rethink those pattern later, much later. We are having some friends from Seattle visit this Sunday, so it's a full weekend for us. I hope you all are having a good one, too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Crosses Finished

Now on to a ton of backstitching and french knots. I completed the crosses by simply sitting down and stitching until they were all done. Not pleasant stitching, but necessary. I actually took this picture last Wednesday, so I can say there is more progress since then, but I am not going to post another picture until I am completely done. I also have some progress on Three Gables; more roof and more windows. I won't stitch on Three Gables again until A Gift of Love is done.

Most of my time is still involved in thinking about and organizing things for THE House. On Wednesday we went to the International Builders' Show at the convention center in Las Vegas. We borrowed passes from a contractor who wants to build the house. We could not see all the exhibits in a day, but we did see some awesome fireplaces, torches, and a tankless water heating system that I am sold on. We also saw some twelve foot tall curved sliding windows that I loved, but are probably not practical. That's the downside of deciding. Yes, there are dozens of cool things I would love to have, but eventually you have to be practical and consistant. There are lots of different styles that I like, but a house has to be consistant. An English country bedroom would look pretty out of place in a contemporary house. Some things I will just have to admire without owning.

We also decided to bring our San Francisco architect here to Las Vegas for a day (this coming Thursday), so while James is in San Francisco, I am trying to organize all the books and boxes piled up in the back hallway. Stitching will have to take second place until this house is a bit more presentable. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Second Gable

One way to get your stitching mojo back is to stitch something that you really love. I really love The Cross-Eyed Cricket's Three Gables, so I sat down last night and started the second gable. I promised myself that I would return to A Gift of Love tonight. Maybe I need to rotate each day to make sure that I finish that baby announcement and not just stop stitching altogether. If I know I can come back to Three Gables, I won't stop stitching.

I wish I could stitch while watching television or movies as many of you do, but if I am watching, I am really involved in the story and I don't want to look down every minute or so to see where my needle has gone to. I might find it in my thumb rather than my fabric! At least I do have my iPod and plenty of podcasts. I also have some audiobooks that I am planning to listen to next weekend. My husband will be in San Francisco from Thursday to Monday, so I am planning on some concentrated stitching and sewing time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This is NOT a Friday Only Blog

Though so far this year, the only day I have posted has been Friday. Maybe this is because we have been so busy with other projects or maybe it is because I still don't want to stitch this birth sampler. I did add a few more stitches and a lot of backstitching on the flights to and from Seattle, but I haven't picked it up again since we got home late Monday. Instead we have been watching Netflix and catching up with the television shows on our DirecTv DVR. I swear I will stitch some more this weekend, but then again I thought I would stitch today and I haven't.

I am constantly amazing at all the great knitting going on. I'd love to take it up, but there wouldn't be much chance to wear it at all. Today the temperature hit 70 degrees. I don't suppose we will have any more lows in the 30s for the rest of winter. So I have hung up my coat for this season and soon I will put away all my heavy sweaters. I have some, but I only wear them for a few weeks or if we travel back east. It's not quite tshirt weather yet, but it will be here next month, especially when we go to Hawaii. We finally will be free to go February 10th and will be able to stay two weeks.

Before we go I hope we have choosen an architect and a contractor for the new house. So far we have two great contractoring companies. Both of them are experienced and terrific people to work with. It's going to be hard to choose. But we still don't have an architect. The best one we have found so far is one we used before in San Francisco. That's a long commute. The ones in Las Vegas, so far, have been visionless or inexperienced. We hope to get another few interviews in the next two weeks. Meanwhile we should be getting passes to the International Builders' Show here in Las Vegas. Whee! I love looking at windows and tile and granite and flooring, but I can skip the hammers, nails, and saws!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Busy, Non-stitching Week

I guess when I have to work on a stitching project that I am not particularly fond of, I'd rather not stitch at all. I know I need to to finish this small birth announcement, but I'd rather clean the kitchen floor than stitch this! The tiny confetti stitches, the endless backstitching, and the pale colors are boring me to tears. This is how far I got before I got on a plane to San Francisco. At the end of the week I've only put in another hour on the backstitching. And I did that today on the plane to Seattle! I might finish this this weekend as I have a very light day on Sunday, but then again, I may just read.

Monday's flight to San Francisco was uneventful, but there were plenty of adventures when we got there. First the car battery completely gave out. We had to wait over an hour for AAA to come and get us because our car is in a locked commercial garage that they couldn't find. We drove to Oakland to pick up some postcards for James' show and decided that a side trip to Alameda was in order. I wanted to visit Needle in a Haystack that Edgar talks about so much and James wanted to visit a tiki bar called Forbidden Island. Unfortunately Alameda is closed on Monday, but we did buy a new car battery. We were so frustrated rather than eat there (and find another restaurant closed), we drove back to San Francisco and had a delightful meal at Lulu's, a great Mediterranean restaurant around the corner from our loft.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent at MacWorld. It was a terrific show! We don't care if Apple didn't have any great announcements. We come for the small vendors who have specialist products for Macs and iPhones. First up on Tuesday was a live podcast of MacBreak Weekly. From the right, the host, Leo LaPorte, the regulars, Alex Lindsey, Andy Inhatko, Scott Bourne, Merlin Mann and two guests. I then found some sync software so that James and I can sync our iCal calendars, another sync program for our iTunes libraries, and a database to help me keep track of all my fonts.

On Wednesday I found some disk cleanup software, a portable backup battery for my iPhone, and a recipe database. I also did a standup promo video for lynda.com, a great site that has training videos on every program you can imagine. Shooting the video was great fun. I guess I just miss my days in marketing. James and I also listened to a lecture by Scott Bourne, a noted wildlife photographer, on organizing and cataloging your digital images. He gave away this terrific print called Cranes in the Fire Mist.

Thursday was back to business. James had a board meeting of the Peninsula Art Museum. We got our hair done, then off to an interview with the architect who designed the loft in San Francisco. We would like to use him to design our new house in Henderson, but are concerned that he doesn't have much experience in designing for the desert. He has worked on houses in Hawaii and Seattle, so the distance doesn't bother him that much. We will interview a few more architects next week and try to make a final decision.

This morning we got up early and caught a plane for Seattle. James is Artist Guest of Honor for a small convention here. We hung his prints in the art show, had an early dinner, and went to Opening Ceremonies. Tomorrow we both have lots of panels that we are on. James has his Guest of Honor slide show. This is the first one that he has done and he is pretty excited about it. Sunday is pretty quiet for both of us, so I should get some stitching done. On Monday we are going to shop for glass in Seattle and catch a late flight back to Las Vegas. I hope everyone is having as fun a weekend as I am.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Goals

Here is the start of a 2009 Goal. This is Cross Eyed Cricket's Three Gables (at least the first gable). I stitched this much yesterday, but had to wait until full sunlight this morning to take a picture. The fabric and threads are so dark that I don't think I will have as many pictures of this project as I have of other projects. Still this is a pretty faithful representation of the old gold/green R&R fabric and the WDW threads. I wish the Bark used for the gable was a little more variegated, but the shade is lovely.

I could keep stitching on this for weeks, but obligation stitching calls. My nephew's new son, Caleb Michael, was born yesterday at 2:43 am. Now that I know his name I need to finish off his birth announcement and stitch at least one bib. I should be able to take these projects with me to San Francisco and Seattle next week. We will be in San Francisco for MacWorld (maybe the last one?) and in Seattle for RustyCon, where my husband is Artist Guest of Honor. I'm seeing a lot more of his great old photographs as he prepares his Guest of Honor speech. He's a fun speaker. I will probably also be speaking, but I don't have my schedule yet.

2009 Goals:
  1. Finish A Gift of Love.
  2. Stitch another bib for Amy’s new baby boy.
    I need to finish these in January.
  3. Start and finish Cross Eyed Cricket’s Three Gables.
    Yes, it is started after being kitted up for years. I would stitch on this exclusively I love it so much.
  4. Finish Michael Powell’s Cottage Garden.
  5. Finish Madame's le Fee's Rouge ... comme.
  6. Finish DMC's Flower Fairy.
  7. Finish Bothy's Cut Thru Rocket.
    You can see a theme here. Finish starts in 2008 before moving on to more 2009 starts.
  8. Finish Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Hawaiian Mandala.
    I still want to stitch this, but it can't travel. I am being much more realistic about how much I can finish in a year.
  9. Start and finish one Kit & Bixby sheep.
    Summer Wool needs a partner.
  10. Start Ink Circle’s Beautie Spotte.
    I have the silk threads and the pattern. I just need to find the right fabric.
  11. Sewing:
    I am not giving up on sewing. I will get some of these projects done.
    One apron for my mother-in-law.
    Piece the top of Zig Zag quilt for the guest room.
    Finish my husband's flamingo shirt.
    One purse from my collection of bag patterns.
    One piece of clothing for me.
    Make something with the pig cloth I collected for my sister-in-law.
    Make something with the cow cloth I collected for my niece.
Extra credit:
  1. Start Me, Myself and I Round Robin.
    I signed up for this and I have the perfect idea for what I want to do, BUT I haven't started designing or laying out any of the sections. I want to do this, but I might not get it done.
  2. Finish French Noel.
  3. Finish Pineapple Fish.
  4. Finish Red and Black Box needlepoint.
    Yes, if I get extra credit for anything, it should be finishing things I have already started and not starting more new things.