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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stitching & Craft Room (Lots of pics)

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Hope the sun is shining is your neck of the woods.  It is here today, but it's getting rather brisk.  I heard that we may actually see some snow (hopefully very little) this week!  Probably snow flurries, but heck, snow is snow, right?

Since a couple people guessed the name of the sampler I started, I can reveal it now.  I was going to wait and see if someone could identify it before I posted the name (Cari and Siobhan guessed it right, so a little surprise could end up in the mail soon!!!). 

This is the progress I've made this week:

Adam Alone
Sheepish Designs - Second Examplary
DMC Threads
WDW Parchment 35 ct. linen

I seem to have been struck by the Adam and Eve craze that's going around and I'm bound and determined to get that A&E wall filled.  I am so loving this piece.  The colors are brighter than I anticipated, but there is a lot going on with this.  Queen Stitches (those things actually used to make me tear out my hair), over one (which still does make me want to pull out my hair), and Florentine Stitch!   I have to admit though that after I snapped this picture, and then sat down again to stitch some more, I realized that I was off a thread on the dark blue portion of the Florentine Stitch, which proved to be something that I couldn't fudge without it looking hopelessly lopsided.  So I had to frog it out almost to the center.  GRRRR!!!  I was not happy!   So far it's holding my attention enough that I haven't given in to the urge to slap another piece on some scroll rods.  But I have to admit that doing that Florentine Stitch made me start yearning for a needlepoint piece that I have upstairs that I've barely started.  So don't be surprised if you see that pop up in the near future.  Since I've put Ann down I feel like having a stitch free-for-all!

I was pleased as anything to win one of Missy'sThirteen Days of Halloween.  I thought this was such a fun giveaway:

Isn't that a great package?  I love, love, love the crypt with the scissors (since we all know that I've become a scissors whore).  But I'm keeping these babies in the crypt and displaying them all year!  Thanks Missy!

And finally, I've gotten my craft room into some semblance of order.  It's not finished by a long shot, but here's a short tour.  Ignore pieces you see on the floor - I still have painting to do on them.  This room is a little wonky because it has 7 walls and three doorways.  Makes it a little hard to arrange things.

My craft table made by my wonderful FIL.  He did such a fantastic job and I'm just tickled pink over it.  The shelves on the sides are removable so I can arrange them as I please.  I found the little shelf on the table a while ago in a thrift shop and thought that it was perfect for displaying some of my pincushions (I still haven't found the rest of them). 

My daughter added her decorative touches with the wreath on the door.  I'll leave it up for a while, but it's covering my DMC thread sign.
To the left of that table is a very long wall where my sewing machine sits.  I didn't want to run rampant through the house and rip samplers off the walls, so this wall is going to be filled with different things.  In the meantime, this arrangement will have to do.  I still have some small cupboards and things to paint that will go on this wall.  And samplers when I can get them stitched.

At the end of the wall is my walk-in closet and a slight alcove-type of thing.  On the right is the closet - on the left is the entrance to the bathroom.  Convenient set up!  The people who previously owned the house had a ton of kids and built two bedrooms in the basement with a Jack and Jill bath and small walk in closets.  All I need is a refrigerator in this room and I could camp out for a long time!!

The closet definitely does need some help.  I basically moved everything from the other room to this one and didn't go through it:

Pretty bad, huh?  Obviously, I need to do some work in here and obviously I need to really sort through this stuff.  I dream of having a cleaning woman, cook and chauffeur so that all I'd have to worry about every day is playing with my stuff (yeah, what was I sniffing this morning - LOL!).   Anyway, the pizza boxes hold cut- up quilts that I have every intention of sewing one of these days.

More pizza boxes, and bins holding kits, fabric and needlepoint pieces.  I definitely need to sort all this out.  Especially now that I've embarrassed myself with my slovenly closet habits.

Another shot - the closet doesn't seem so messy from this view (or maybe it does!).  You can see a couple pieces I still haven't put up on the floor waiting for paint jobs.

Another wall and an empty bookcase.  The shelving piece I found at a shop in my travels recently.

And then my favorite place! 

The stitchy area!  The chair and ottoman are from our old house and I'm glad we kept it because it's perfect to stitch in.  Actually, I stitched in this chair before we moved.  The table is just a folding table I covered with a quilt for the time being (actually it made a great paper-piecing table when I was doing a lot of quilting).  I'm still trying to find something suitable.  The bookcase I just bought this weekend and I couldn't be more pleased with it.  I looked high and low for something that was bigger than usual because I have a lot of books (still in boxes at press time).  I saw it in a shop recently and the owner was going to distress it all up.  She said that her brother made it and it had been sitting on the floor for a while so to move it she was going to make it look old and get rid of it.  Well, she did get rid of it - right into the back of my van (it was a push to get it in there).  It's solid oak!  I can't imagine distressing this!  And because she wanted to get rid of it, I got a fantastic deal on it!  I can't wait to get all my books on it.

So that's the tour!  Still definitely a work in progress.  And that's about all that's going on this week.  DD's basketball team had a real nail biter of a game last night with a team that they had lost to earlier in the season by one point.  Well, they lost by a point again, even with double overtime.  If you wanted to see a very long, sad face last night, it definitely would have been my daughter's!! 

Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks even more for the wonderful comments you leave.  Have a wonderful week and make a lot of X's.