Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Crazy Time of the Year, Computer Issues and 10 Book Challenge

It has been such a busy two weeks and I'm sure it has been for everyone!  I always feel like I've been sucked up in the tornado that went through Kansas and dumped down in a heap after the holidays!  But I do love it so, especially because my kids aren't getting any younger and I know that in a few years I'm going to be missing all the hustle and bustle, kitchen with flour and sprinkles from one end to the other, the kids being excited on Christmas morning (well, DD still is, DS is getting too old I think). 

Not a lot of stitching to show since I last posted:

Some of the verse on Adam Alone.  This over one stitching is killing me.  By the time I've been landing in the stitching chair, my eyes are just about crossed from sleepiness, but I've been plugging along.

And progress on my Prairie Schooler alphabet.  This is stitched one over one too!  I've already messed this thing up, but I'm going to keep plugging along.  I made the length of the block one square too long so there is an extra row above the A, and then for some reason I made the bird's tail one square over into the margin, but I think I can work around that.  I love how this looks and have set my goals on one block a month - we'll see what happens.  All of this stitching over one makes me want to pull out something else that's a little easier to work on, but I'm trying hard to resist.  Although I'll tell ya a little secret - I ordered a new pattern - Ann Rayner - that I hope arrives soon so that I can have her as a New Year's start -  Gotta have a gift to yourself, don't you think?

Other than that it's been cooking, baking, last minute shopping, wrapping, etc.  But then thrown into the mix to make me crazy was an emergency run to the Orthodontist for DD as she broke two brackets on her braces (she thought that she could just eat a couple Fritos - NOT), a couple items that needed to be picked up for relatives that DH forgot to mention, our computer crashed big-time so I'm hopelessly behind on all the blog reading (so bear with me - I'll get there) and I broke a tooth.  I was scheduled for my sinus lift and implant on January 4th, but it now seems that I need a root canal on this broken tooth, so that will have to moved once again.  How did I get so lucky to get all this excitement?  LOL

And I figure I can publish my list of books that I read for the reading challenge.  I didn't make ten - I made nine, and the book I'm reading now is probably going to take me through the end of the year.  But here's what I did get read:

1.  My Life In France by Julia Child
2.  Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch (was I on some kind of Julia kick??)
3.  Mental by Eddie Sarfaty
4.  The Guersey Literary and Potatoe Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
5.  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
6.  Finger Lickin' 15 by Janet Evanovich
7.  Twinkie Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger
8.  The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
9.  Audition by Barbara Walters

As I said, I probably won't get Audition done as it's a large book.  I am enjoying it though.  I never was a huge fan of hers, but I'm enjoying her book.

Well, that's it for me.  Still more baking to do for our Christmas feast tomorrow night!  My in-laws are Polish and always have their big dinner on Christmas Eve.  And yes, there is homemade kielbasa, periogies, the most wonderful mushroom borsht and just about anything else you can think of as being Polish.  It's a sweatpants kinds of meal!  LOL

Hope that everyone has a wonderful, peaceful and joyous Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Very Little Except Mary Little

Happy Thursday everyone!  Are you braving the cold and snow in your neck of the woods?  Winter sure came through with a vengence yesterday, but we didn't get more than a few inches of snow.  But enough wind to make it bitterly cold and blow the wreaths off my windows outside and it's still howling out there.  I tried to get some Christmas shopping done this morning, but the mall near my house is an open air mall - definitely not the best place to shop on a day like today!!

I know that I'm breaking from convention with not having a Christmas finish, but the fill-in on my angel was driving me nuts, so I went searching for something little and came up with Mary Little:

Mary Little 1840
The Good Huswife
DMC Threads

Ivory 32 count tea dyed linen

I wish that I could get a better picture of this because I used Vonna's tea and coffee dyeing tutorial and I was absolutely thrilled with how it came out.  You may be able to see it better if you click on the picture.  I had the homespun fabric in my stash, but the linen was as white as snow, so I wanted the linen to be a better match. 

I started the Prairie Schooler SAL that Vonna also set up.  I'm making this my Sunday stitch for a while because that seems to be the day I can get the most stitching done.  I didn't get too far, but since I know this is going to take me a while, I might as well just enjoy the journey and get what I can done:

Prairie Schooler Alphabet SAL
DMC Threads and 28 count Ivory Jobelan
Stitched one over one

Other than that, it's just been decorating and shopping.  DD finally got all the ornaments on the tree - or as many as she could get on before I stopped her.  When she was done she called me out and this is what I found:

Pretty funny if you ask me, but she's a ham.  Anyway, here's our tree.  Usually I have garland on it, but this year, even though there may look like some spare branches, there weren't after I did some rearranging:

Now, for the life of me I couldn't get a picture where you could really see the lights on it.  As I said, I've done a little bit of rearranging of ornaments when she wasn't around, but she did a great job.  A couple more of my favorite ornaments are, of course, Wizard of Oz:

And Noah's Ark:

(Yes, I did cut the tag off this one!!)

I'm just finishing up the decorating in our family room today, but my husband brought home some beautiful poinsettias.  I think that red would have looked a little better because the room accents are red, but he said that he couldn't find two the same size.  In any event, they're beautiful. (Just a note here that the picture leaning against the fireplace has only been waiting for three months for DH to put up - he's always a little slow!!).

Well, that's all for me.  I want to get the family room finished up today.  When I think about it, Christmas is in , what, two weeks?  Yikes.  Still not done with the shopping!!!

Before I go (and I'm editing this post to include this), the great ladies over at The Quilt Shoppe are having a great Holiday Bingo - check it out:

Hope you have a great weekend and:

(you know that this is DD's ornament, don't you??!!  :0)

Friday, December 4, 2009

So Little Stitching

It seems like I just can't my stitching mojo back since I've returned back from my trip.  Of course, you know it took me at least three days to clean up the mayhem that resulted while I was gone!  Then, of course, there was Thanksgiving and trying to get the tree up, etc.   I've barely gotten any stitching done this week:

Sorry for the rather dark pics.  Winter came to Michigan last night with a dusting of snow on the rooftops and deck.  And the sun doesn't want to stay out for anything.  Anyway, I stitched up the border to the point that I've gotten to (have I ever mentioned I don't like borders - bad for someone who likes samplers), got the grass in with more of the Florentine stitch and made no mistakes like I did with the upper portion.  Then I ran out of steam when I got to the over-one letters.  That and that fact that I've been so enabled by everyone's blogs who are doing Christmasy things that it's made me feel like a Scrooge.  So I went into the stash pile and picked out a couple of things to do.  One was Angel Song by Shepherd's Bush.  I had seen Isadarina's start on this a while ago and decided that I needed to do it.  Well, I pulled it out, but didn't start it (figures).  I started this instead:

Hark the Herald Angel
Ewe Eye & Friends (Twisted Threads)

Again, bad pic, but I thought this would be a fun, quick stitch to work on.  Considering I've only worked on it two nights, I've made good progress for me!  I also finally rounded up the supplies for the PS Alphabet SAL and hope to start in on that this weekend.

I received some goodies in the mail this week.  Be still my heart for these fabrics:

Fat quarters from Moda's French General line thanks to Kim (Enabler Extraordinaire)!  She was the one that made me order that Phebe quilt that I alluded to in my last post.  Twisted my arm and everything!  Only kidding, but ya gotta blame someone, right!  Anyway, I can't wait to get the rotary cutter in hand and go at these.  Although I still haven't settled on a quilt to make with them yet.

Speaking of the Phebe quilt, I finally found a fairly good picture of it:

I am so in love with this quilt.  The center reminds me of a sampler with those two A&E-ish people.  I can't wait to get it.  I can wait to do the applique because I'm not very good at that, but I will learn.  I want this quilt too badly not too.  There is another quilt from this company too that I would like called the Civil War Bride quilt and you can see it on this blog - Civil War Bride Quilt  But that one has a lot more applique, so I think I should get my feet wet with Phebe first.

Then a couple weeks ago I won Jennifer's giveaway and received this Sensibility chart from The Sampler Girl and Jennifer included a fat quarter in with the chart:

I love them both and I think the fabric is going to look great in the Phebe quilt when I make it.  Jennifer's and my wedding anniversaries (18 years for me) are the same day - the day after Thanksgiving.  Kind of a cool thing knowing someone who was married the same day as you!  Speaking of Jennifer, she's having a great give-away on her blog so you may want to check it out!!!

Pathetic person that I am, my tree is still being decorated.  I keep begging for one of those pre-lit trees, but DH whines in the background, "But this tree still looks so good" (read - I am cheap!  LOL).  Well, it does, but my hands look like a disaster after I put the danged thing together.  Last year, after I took it down, I managed to drag the thing in its box out to the curb for the trash collector.  DH intercepted it and I walked down the basement a few days later and discovered it partially hidden in the corner of the workroom!  UGH!  Like seeing something out of horror movie!!!  This will be my last year - mark my words!  Anyway, when I get all the lights on it, there are over 3,000.   I'm surprised I haven't burned the house down.  But it's still not finished, DD and I will do that tonight - she insists on doing the tree trimming this year.  Our tree is nothing fancy, but encompasses ornaments from our lives:

This one I painted probably 24 years ago when I had a little Yorkie and was in my artsy-fartsy painting mode.

These two I just collected - the bear for my daughter when she was little and the hot air balloon , just because I liked it.

Then, of course, there are always the ones that the kids make you in school.  This one is compliments of my DD.

Well, that's about it for me this week.  Now I'm off to peruse Ebay, Amazon and assorted places to see what items my kids have on watch for me to buy for them!  There's no telling what's in there!  DD has probably marked everything that has a Peace symbol on it as something she wants - she's going through a stage with Peace symbols.  But, heck, it makes life so much easier sitting at the computer and not having to fight the crowds.  Then I need to string garland up the stairs, lug up the rest of the ornaments (which if DD has her way, every single one will be on that tree), and do some other decorating. 

Thanks for all your comments again.  I'm so happy that you stop and say hello.  Have a great weekend and make a lot of X's.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back from New York

Only in New York can one exhaust oneself so entirely that it feels great!  I'm dead boned tired and my legs are killing me (and my stomach too).  My yearly trip to the Big Apple is over and my entire body is trying to recuperate from the massive abuse I put it through, but I had a wonderful time. 

The first few days with my sister were a lot of fun.  We scoped out just about every antique store, thrift shop and tag sale on both the North and South Forks.   A lot of them were very pricey, but then again, dealt with merchandise probably from the rich and famous.  But there were some things to be found.  My sister found this:

She has blamed me for her new liking of flower frogs.  She's actually going to use this for her pencils or paint brushes (as her craft is painting) on her desk since she doesn't have my lust to use these for scissors.  I found a couple things, but I can post them later.

The weather was beautiful (almost 70 the first day) while I was there and it's a beautiful place.

The Lighthouse at Montauk and the Beach

Then we hit just about every winery on both the North and South Forks, but they were jammed packed (a lot of thirsty people there for the wine tastings), so we hightailed it to the roadshop stands and came home with this:

I can't even tell you how much seafood I ate while I was there - calamari, clam chowder, lobsters and clams, and a huge lobster BLT in Greensport.  Oh yeah, and then a wonderful Mexican dinner and margaritas the last night I was there (needed a change in food).  I don't dare get near the scale for a week or so. 

Sunday, I took the train into the city.  I just love it there!  There is so much to do and see!  Fun things and some funny things!  Food, people - it amazes me that the City, while crowded during the day, becomes even moreso at night!  Although I do have to say that the economy must be hitting hard.  I stayed at the Marriott Marquis and you could have almost rolled a bowling ball through the place.

What did I see?

Yep, the Naked Cowboy.  And that's not me with him!!!  I think that you're suppose to pay him for the pictures you take, so I hid off to the side and shot it. 

I had all sorts of plans to go scout out the trim shops, and a xstitch shop in New Jersey, but I ended up realizing that I really didn't need any more stash, so I walked and walked.

Times Square outside my Hotel

Central Park

The Guggenheim

This year's trip I decided to do a couple more museums - The Guggenheim and the Museum of Natural History.  The Guggenheim was showing a collection of works by Vasily Kandinsky.  While I didn't even know anything about him, his works were very interesting.  And because of the layout of the Guggenheim, his paintings started at the bottom and worked their way to the top from his earliest works to his later works.  It was very interesting to see the progression made in his paintings over the years.  After that museum, I had to stop for this at the Stage Deli:

You just can't go to New York without going to a Deli where the sandwiches could feed a family of four and the cheesecakes are as big as tire wheels.  Just so you know, there was no way that I could finish this thing, but I love Pastrami, so I made a noble attempt.  Didn't try the cheesecake though.  I don't think there was any way I could have found space for it.

After that, a trip to the Museum of Natural History.  This museum had so many interesting things in it, but there is no way you could make it through in one day and absorb everything that is in there.  Then it was more walking around, then back to the hotel, and then to a wonderful Italian restaurant (I did a French one the night before - don't tell my family - but a mom has to have a good time once in a while - I get tired of my own cooking - LOL).  I have to say that I've never had a bad meal in New York, nor a bad glass of wine for that matter, but I've always come home a few pounds heavier.  I guess the treadmill is going to become my new best friend.

Well, needless to say there was no stitching done, but I was still enabled on my trip.  Vonna started a new blog for the Prairie Schooler Alphabets right before I left.

I've wanted to do them, and now I have an excuse to ride along with the SAL.  I stink at them, but I'll give it a try.  Then Kim posted a quilt that she had ordered from the Threadbear and when I went to the website, I discovered one named Phebe that I just have to do!  I can't get a good picture of it, so when I arrives (yes, you know I had to order it the minute I got home), I'll post a pic.

Well, that's it.  I took a ton more pictures, but I still have to unpack and try to decide what to make for dinner.  Seems I got out of practice the past few days.  There's nothing like being waited on!  Have a great Thanksgiving and make a lot of X's.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stitching and the Art of Procrastinating

Well, another week has gone by!  Hope that everyone is having a great one!  Why does this year seem to be going by so fast?  Do you all feel the same way - that this year is going like a train out of control?  Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner!  YIKES!    I'm trying to get ready for my trip - I just can't wait!!!!  As my DD used to say when she was little, "I'm Excitedly".  And that I am!  But I'm not ready in the least - I don't have a darned thing packed and I leave Thursday.  I procrastinate quite a bit, but find that I work better under the gun, then I fly around like a chicken without my head on!

 I've made a little more progress on A&E (pictures are clickable finally):

Not the greatest pic.  I'm still loving this, but I swear that if those fig leaves were any lower on those two, there would really be no reason to wear them, don't you think?  They kind of remind me of the way kids wear their pants down around their hips these days.   I had hoped to be further along on this, but as usual, too many other things going on that have prevented me from landing in the stitching chair at a decent hour.

I've managed to get a little more sewing done on my quilt:

Those went really quickly - maybe an hour tops - which has been all the time I've been able to find to sew!  They're part of the pieced border (picture in my last post).  Only problem is - I'm missing a couple pieces of fabric - there are suppose to be two more of these little flags.  GASP!  I've kept all the scraps so don't know what I'm going to do - it's the red that I'm missing.  This was a BOM (Block of the Month) from a few years ago, so getting the same fabric is out of the question.  I'll just have to come up with something similar.  Whose going to know?  Well, I guess you all will now!  LOL

I mentioned being a procrastinator and I must be one in the first order.  Digging through things has made me realize how bad I am.  Should I make a New Year's Resolution to stop that?  Hmmm, I don't know if you can teach an old dog new tricks, but I guess I could try.

I came across some more goodies this week in my quest to get myself organized.  Here are a few of them - yes, there are more, but I'm not going to bore you with all of them.  Now, how bad is this one?

Meet Me At the Field
Sheepish Designs

Do you not see the date of this thing?  It's been done for over 10 years and never framed.  I suppose that I should so something about this.  The figures aren't A&E, but close enough.  Then I found these - how pathetic is this:

Okay, now before you all go thinking that my kids didn't have stockings at Christmas, rest assured  they did, just not the ones that I so lovingly made for them.  I had a chuckle when I found these because it reminded me of Siobhan's recent trials with her stocking and her comments about stitching with burlap!  Man, is that fabric count HUGE!!!  Looking at these I'm wondering how I did them too, but that was back in the day before linen became the fabric of choice.  I guess that these should become a project when I get back - my kids are 16 and 12 - I really should get them done.  I hang my head in shame.

Another further embarrassment.  I do birth samplers for my kids.  Nick's is done and framed, but Catie's is in this state.  I repeat - she is 12 YEARS OLD:

Without digging the pattern out, I think that there was some sort of arbor over the woman's, but I was going to omit that and put in Catie's name and birth date.  I know I cut the picture close to the woman's head, but rest assured there is no name or birth date.  I hang my head further in shame.

One other piece that would probably look good in my stitching room:

Yes, I used to love those Lavendar and Lace and Mirabilia patterns.  I still do, but samplers call to me more.  Looking at these two, I'm wondering why I never became a stitcher of those wall-to-wall stitched Heaven & Earth Designs patterns.  I think that I should get this one framed and put in my craft room, don't you?  Won't go with all the A&E's I plan to put in there, but I'm a ways off before I'm going to be filling that wall, so this will work in the meantime.

Then I did more digging and came across this quilt that I was making for my sister.  I think that when we moved, I tucked it away and it just reared it's head this week:

Now I think that it would have been nice if I had found this three months ago so that I could have had it quilted and taken it with me this week when I went to see her.  Maybe with some luck, I can get if off to her sometime around Christmas time.  She's probably been wondering where it was, but too nice to say anything about her sister's procrastinating ways!  Looking at this picture, I'm almost thinking that I would have liked to see some red in the center.  Oh well, next time.

Well, that's about it for me this week.  I need to go get my packing done!  Thanks again for all your wonderful comments - I love each and every one of them!!  Hope that everyone has a great week and makes a lot of X's. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bit By the Crafty Bug

Happy Thursday everyone!  Hope it's a great day where you are.  It's gloomy here, but they say the sun is coming out.  Yet to be seen, but I hope so.

I made a little more progress on Adam Alone this week.  I'm just loving the colors in this thing and it's so much fun to work on:

I'm just getting to the good part - Adam and Eve, but I don't know how much progress I'm going to be making the next week - a pretty busy one for me.  But a heads-up to anyone that is thinking of doing this chart - you're going to need two skeins of DMC 500 if you use DMC threads.  I have to tell you though that the Florentine Stitch really was giving me grief.  I'm blaming it on the fabric, not the Operator! 

I have to thank everyone for all your wonderful comments about my craft room.  I was just tickled!  I'm thrilled that now I actually have a room put together after years of working in the living room, dining room, etc., dragging threads and pins all over the house.  And I've already been able to make some good use out of it this week (I'll show pictures in a minute).  But first, I wanted to answer a couple questions asked in my last post.  I'm sorry that I don't really email responses - just don't have the time, but a few people asked questions:

Berit asked about the DMC sign - I can't tell you where I got it, Berit.  Probably some country/prim shop long ago.  I have probably had this sign for over 20 years.  I bought it not only because of the DMC thread logo, but my initials were also DMC before I was married - kind of served double duty. 

Brigette asked about the sampler over my stitching chair. 

That was the second large sampler I ever stitched.  It's the Sarah Maddock Sampler by Simply Samplers.  It's back from 1985 and I doubt that it is still in print (I didn't get around to stitching it until 1990).  You can't tell from the picture, but that border gave me a lot of problems.  It tends to go up in areas.  It also gave the framer a few headaches.

Mel, you are too funny.  I think that you're going to make me a hooker yet (see below).  You've gotten me knitting, so let's see what other mischief you can get me into!  LOL

Laurie mentioned me having a lot of pizza boxes!  Yes, I do, and there are more somewhere.  I love to quilt, but I also love to cut quilts out.  Most people don't.  When I made quilt samples for a store long ago, I was actually paid to cut out quilts for people because I love it so much.  Yeah, I know.  I'm weird.

And for all of you who asked if you could come over - the door is always open - what's a better time than friends and crafting??  I can't think of a darned thing! 

Speaking of quilts, I actually got down and put a block together:  Yoo Hoo!!!!  Yesterday, because it was Veteran's Day, I put together this block:

Okay, not a biggie, but hey, a start, right?  Actually it took me longer to figure out where I was in the pattern then to actually sew it.  This is part of a larger quilt that I had started a while ago:

Independence Quilt
Kansas City Troubles

I've gotten five blocks from this finished now.  I think so far my favorite one is this one because it incorporates quilting plus some handwork and applique.  I'm not big into applique, but I need the practice because I want to make this quilt:

Blackbird Designs
Home Sweet Home

Last weekend, our Sampler Guild held a Blackbird Designs Day.  Lots of beautiful stitched pieces and quilts!  And one of the quilts that was brought in was this quilt.  Being the lame-brained person that I am, I didn't take my camera!  What was I thinking?  Obviously, my head was where the sun doesn't shine!  LOL  Anyway, I've drooled over this quilt for a while, and even bought the background fabric for it when it came out.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but it's fabric stamped with samplers.

Anyway, I've procrastinated because I am not a huge fan of applique.  BUT I HAVE TO DO THIS QUILT!  So I whipped out my BBD books (at least the ones I could find):

And started browsing through them.  Not a good thing!  A lot of appliqued quilts.  So what's a girl to do, but practice:

This is the first block from another quilt that I've had cut out forever.  But being appliqued, I froze at actually starting it.  Yeah, yeah, I know, there is machine applique, but I want that real hand-pieced look which on a quilt like Home Sweet Home will probably take me into the next century to finish.  Well, no matter!  I got the courage up and  hand appliqued the pieces down on the block above, and then top stitched them on the machine.  I won't use topstitching on the BBD quilt, but this particular quilt lends itself well to that prim look.

Then there were these pictures of hooked rugs in the BBD books:

Okay, now I know I'm going to become a hooker, Mel.  LOL They match some of the blocks in the quilt.  Be still my heart!!!

And then this quilt that I really like a lot - I think I have some Civil War prints around here somewhere:

So, I think that now I'm going to be busy.

Well, that's it for me today.  I've got a busy week coming up so I may not post for a week or two.  I leave for New York next Thursday for my annual visit to see my Sister on Long Island and then my couple days of running amok in the City.  I can't wait!!!!  My sis says she's scoped out quite a few thrift and resale shops on the Island.  Sounds like a good plan to me - thrifty shops, calamari and clam chowder for lunch and then a trip to the Winery on the way home.  Oh Yeah!!!!

Again, thank you for all your wonderful comments.  I feel so lucky to have met so many wonderful people through blogging.  And remember, the door is always open.  Just give me a holler.  Have a great week, and make a lot of X's.