Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two Windows

I am still enjoying stitching this pattern. I love the fabric (stiff and dense) and the threads (WDW and DMC). It's just that the next bit is rows and rows and rows of WDW Bark, Bark, and more Bark. I'm thinking about skipping around to the bottom, which is mostly confetti stitching of autumn leaves. When I go back to the rows of Bark, I will probably be happy to have an area where I won't have to count every stitch so carefully.

Actually I am planning on stitching this only for two more days. My husband leaves for Seattle and Maui on Thursday afternooon and I'm going to return to Hawaiian Mandala for a few weeks. I can spread out all those threads without worrying about cleaning them up again every day.

Now that the floorplan of the house is finished, we are thinking about the finishes for the new house. Yesterday we went to Walker Zanger to look at marble and granite. There is so much lovely rock there that I almost want to design another house to fit it all in. Still, I think we have found rock for the bar (Eutruscan Fossil with a lot more fossils than shown in this picture), the kitchen (Oro Prieto), the guest bath (Mettallic) and the powder room (Ponte Vechicco Antiqued). I tend to go for really wild, textured rock, so I may change my mind about putting Portofino (blue, green, and white large swirls) in the master bath. That my be a little too much to wake up to.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Animal Quackers

Yes, I did finish this adorable sheep a couple of days ago, but although I had a picture ready yesterday, we were interrupted in our routines by a not exactly pleasant surprise.

Because we are not always here, when we are gone, the local ducks think that our pool is a perfect mating pond. When we are here we do all we can to shoo them off to the more duck friendly venues of the water ponds along the nearby golf course. A couple of years ago I had to rescue a dozen ducklings by myself. This entailed getting in the freezing pool water, lifting the ducklings with a plastic pool skimmer into a rubbermaid tub and releasing them in a pond about 100 yards away from our house. It really would be cruel to leave them in the pool because the lip of the pool is too high to allow the ducklings to get out of the pool once they are in there. And I have no idea if there is actually anything that ducks eat in our yard.

This rescue was a lot easier with my husband at home. We both chased them into a small cove. James used the skimmer to lift them into the tub that I was holding close by. He did have to catch the last one by hand, but instead of three hours in the cold pool, it only took us 30 minutes to get the ducks corralled and no one had to get into the pool! Now the tricky part of guiding the mother duck to the pond. There was no way that we were actually going to catch her. We drove around the wall at the back of the pool and enticed her to fly over the wall. Then James walked 60 yards to the pond and made sure that the mother duck could hear the ducklings peeping. Once she figured out where they were it took her only seconds to round them up and herd them over to some shubbery near the water. Rescue complete!

After that it was on to our scheduled items for yesterday. For the next three weekends there is a houses tour available called Parade of Homes. Our media company for the new house gave us free passes, so we needed to go over to the other side of town to pick them up and see the first six houses. Although these are large and lavish houses, there is not a single one I would trade of the design of our new house. We did get a few tips about finishes and cool lights, but overall, I have better taste than most of the designers. Few of the houses are at all practical. Today we are home doing chores, but tomorrow we will see the last six houses. James is in Seattle next weekend and unexpectedly in Maui the weekend after that. So it is see them now or never. Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life Is Good...if You Are A Two Legged Sheep

For the first time evar, I have run out of a thread in a Bent Creek kit. There was only one six strand thread of Onyx in this kit. It is stitched three over 2 on 25 count linen. I was a little worried when I stitched the head and the L, i, and only had three strands left for four legs and the rest of the banner. After two legs and f,e,i,s,g,o,o, the thread was gone. Mmmm. Usually there is a lot of thread left over in these kits. At least a strand or two. In checking The Black Sheep kit, there was also a lot of Onyx. Did I dare to borrow some from the other kit? Well, heck, yes! As a matter of fact I finished stitching this last night, but you will have to wait until tomorrow to see the finished design. Like all Bent Creek sheep, it is very cute.

Meanwhile we are still working on the new house. The plans are done, done, done, including the entirely redesigned kitchen. But that still leaves the choosing of the general contractor. Our architect wants us to choose someone as soon as possible, so that the contractor can check the plans before they are submitted. We are down to two; one company that is a bit smaller, but who is our realtor's favorite and who has been talking to us since January. The other is the architect's favorite, but who has never built a house in our new community and who might resent the commute from the other side of town. We will have a meeting with the architect's contractor tomorrow afternoon and show him the lot. Then we will decide.

I have to decide what to work on next. We will be going to Lexington, Kentucky, at the end of June, so that is the new deadline for Under the Sea. Which means that I can stitch something else for a couple of weeks. I was going to go back to Hawaiian Mandala, but with the contractor coming over tomorrow, I don't want dozens of thread packs scattered all over the living room. I'll probably go back to Three Gables for a week. Next Thursday my husband will be in Seattle for a week, so I can spread out then.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Surprise!

Sometimes the old cliches are the best. But it is true that if you apply your fundament to a chair and work, things get done. I stitched this much last night and I plan to get the rest done today. There is just a bit more wool, head, feet and the banner yet to do.

As a ruthlessly pragmatic person, I believe that it is not what you hope to do, but what you actually accomplish that matters. I would like to stitch more. I would like to sew more, but I am realistic about my goals and energy. My last boss maintained that what you do in life is what is important to you. If something else was more important, you would have done that instead. I know we all have dreams of learning a language or playing an instrument or other accomplishments, but to be realistic, if these goals were important, we would do them. My stitching is important, but I probably won't become a designer and I probably won't stitch more than ten things every year. This is not stopping me from buying more kits and patterns (yes, I have a new Bent Creek sheep, The Black Sheep), but someday soon I will have to start really focusing on the kits and patterns that I will realistically finish in the next couple of years.

On a lighter note, some of you may have recognized the title of the last post. Yes, it is from an old vaudeville routine used by Abbott and Costello and The Three Stooges in their movies. It involves a post hypnotic suggestion. When an unsuspecting person says the key phrase (for the Three Stooges it was Niagara Falls!), the hypnotized person says, "Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch..." and then attacks. As a kid, we used the phrase frequently, but usually drew the line at any attack.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Slowly I Stitch

stitch by stitch, inch by inch... or maybe not. A few more lines of wool and three green stars. That's all I have done. I have probably only spent about an hour stitching in the last week. I know I have slowed down drastically since instead of looking for more new podcasts to listen to I am now over six weeks behind in listening to my main podcasts, Marketplace, Buzz Out Loud, This Week in Tech, and MacBreak Weekly. I keep trying to catch up, but am falling further and further behind. Six weeks in the tech world is almost a lifetime anywhere else. The tech issues have been hashed and rehashed on the internet by the time I hear about it on an elderly podcast. Possibly I can catch up a week or two this weekend. My husband will be at a local convention starting tomorrow afternoon and I will be at home without a car.

I wish I could say that I was diligently working on the house during this slow stitching period, but actually there hasn't been much for us to do. The architect has been feverishly working on the retaining walls in order to get final HOA permitting this Friday. If anything I had to trash the bar and pantry area in the new house plan, because no matter how I configured the kitchen, there simply wasn't enough room for everything. If I can get four more feet in the kitchen I should be happy with it all. Instead of stitching, I have been reading and watching The West Wing. I think I will have to be happy with getting only half of my yearly goals done this year.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Sheep

Yes, this is another Bent Creek Sheep kit. This is called Life is Good. I love these sheep and I love spirals, so this is the perfect project for me. I started this on the plane to Maui last Tuesday and have been working on it a bit while I have been here. I am going to put it down again to work on something else, but I will stitch on it again during the plane ride back to the mainland on Wednesday. I should also have time to finish it in April, which is good, because I haven't had a finish in a while.

Thank you all for your kind comments on Three Gables. For those of you who love the color of the roof, it is Weeks Dye Works, Basil, a lovely blend of green and purple. I am so enamored of those muted colors that I am trying to figure out how to paint my new studio in those shades also. It's a big room, so painting it entirely purple is probably not the way to go. Right now Three Gables is my favorite piece to stitch, but I really should get back to Under the Sea. And I will pick up Under the Sea again, just as soon as we get back from having some sushi for dinner.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Now THIS is Stitching

I had put this project aside to work on French Noel and Under the Sea. But when I got stuck on Under The Sea, I decided that this project would get me stitching again. I was so right. From my stopping point in February, I have now completed another gable and window, finished the left roof and started on the large windows on the middle gable. I still love stitching this as the Weeks Dye Works threads are some of my favorites. Later on towards the bottom there are a lot of confetti stitches (fallen leaves, ya know) so I'll slow down a little there, but I am glad I finished this much. Although I love this project, it is on 11" x 11" Q-snaps, which is a little too big for stitching on the plane.

So I started Bent Creek's Life is Good sheep. It's a long plane ride, but I slept some. The bed in San Francisco doesn't agree with my back, so sleep there is always interrupted. I should have enough stitched by tomorrow to post a picture that looks more like a sheep and less like a beige blob. It is windy, cloudy and drizzly here in Maui. A good time for stitching and reading.