Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Snowman (?) and Stash

The other day my son and I were pulling out of the driveway and my son started snickering. He's 15, mind you. I asked him what was so funny and he said, "That doesn't look like any snowman I've seen before". His face is getting red. When I asked what he thought it was, he got redder and said, "You know".

Well, I didn't know, but to me it looked more like a snow figure of the middle finger. Now, you can't really see the carving out at the bottom, but he was referring to something, shall we say, more phallic in nature, because the bottom is carved in a round manner. (I didn't want to get too close when taking this picture as I didn't want the neighbors to to see me, so I snapped it hanging out my garage door.) I told him that I, considering the neighbor who lived there, thought that he was probably giving the neighborhood the finger. Not to go into any detail or anything, but he doesn't like most of the people in the neighborhood. I don't know why - he's a really funny guy, has a great sense of humor, etc. - but the more I thought about it - he's giving the neighborhood the finger.

He's lived here longer than I have and probably knows more about everyone who lives around here than what I do (and what I do know - well, let's just say - we have our own Wisteria Lane going on here. Did I ever mention the time another neighbor asked me if I wanted to see his big stick? Hmmmmmm. No thanks - I'll pass). Anyway, he used to enjoy hanging out with the people who lived behind him - the 60-something's that used to get drunk in their garage, blare out Dark Side of the Moon from their stereo that they'd bring outside for these occasions, and then go ringing doorbells - you know, Ding Dong Ditch. Strange people. So anyway, I think it's the middle finger myself.

On the stitch side of things, things are progressing slowing with Shores. I made a road trip today to my not so local xstitch store to touch and feel stuff. I miss that tremendously. Most of the shops that were around here have closed up and I'm resigned to phone ordering. I just brought home mainly fabric and threads I needed. But of course, there is always something to tempt you. They had a couple of the La-D-Da girls (Merry Sunshine, Eve, and Friends Forever) done on 40 count gauze. Did I buy the gauze? You betcha! They were so adorable! What's a few more projects, right? I was looking for some smaller things, right? I should be committed! LOL

Then I noticed that Prairie Schooler is coming out with charts for each month. I'm envisioning these all stitched together (yes, I know, it would become another BAP). So I picked up the ones they had in stock. I'm figuring one a month would be good. No, I'm not going to start these now - I have enough on my hands, but maybe in a while. I told my friend Terri (terriboog) that I should be committed. She answered back that we could be put into a sanitarium and be laced with Prozac and margaritas. Sounds like a good plan to me!

I'll post a pic of my Shores progress and stash acquisitions in a couple of days.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What a Surprise!!!!!

Surprisingly enough I was able to get on the computer today (had to fight off DH because he's doing taxes), and what do I see?????

On Terri's blog is a Special Friends Award and "Love" Pendant that she has given to me! That just about bowled me over. Thank you so much Terri! She says that I'm a true and real life friend and an inspiration, which is so sweet. But, I have to say that Terri has been a huge inspiration for me too! I covet her finished pieces and framing (which are stunning, btw)! But seriously, Terri is a true and real life friend that I can share all the fun of stitching with! Someone who understands why stash is such a wonderful thing. So thank you so much Terri. I'm absolutely tickled by the award. You have really made my day! The description of this award reads:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These Kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propogated. Please give more attention to these kind of writers. When you pass this award along please include these guidelines. I am to choose eight friends to share this with."

Passing this along is going to rather hard because other real-life friends that are stitching sisters don't have blogs (may explain why they get so much more done than I do), and have been instrumental in my stitching. And I haven't been a blogger for very long myself, but I'm going to pass this along to ones that I really enjoy. It's tough, though, because I've come across so many blogs that I enjoy and that inspire me.

The first one has to go back to Terri . Hopefully you can do that! As I said above, she's a true friend, sister stitcher and a great person. Did I mention, she has a great sense of humor too???

I think the next one, without question, has to go to

Siobhan. Although her blog is somewhat new, I'm familiar with her through the Legacy board and have enjoyed reading about her trials and tribulations with living in Ireland, running over cross stitch projects that give her problems and the crazies in her town. She can really get a laugh out of me when I've woken up on the wrong side of the bed. The next one is

Anne's. I have been reading her blog long before I ever thought of getting a blog. Her pictures are beautiful and she has the wonderful SAL Alexandre project that recently finished (although I believe still available on her blog).

Michelle's blog is another one that I recently discovered due to some on-going discussions about the SoHRH SAL and the A&E SAL, both which are in the processes of starting soon. I love her pictures. The next one would have to go to

Vonna whose blog is just a hugh wealth of information on all sorts of different topics, especially finishing.

Patti's blog is another one I enjoy reading and am familiar with her through the Legacy Board also. I hope to be a big cheerleader to her as she starts And They Sinned. I know she can do it and will love every minute of the process.

Vero's blog is another one that I have stalked for the past couple of years. Her pictures are gorgeous and so inspiring. She does more of knitting and quilting now, but her site is truly an inspiration.

Susimac's is another site that I recently found. I love her finishes of smaller type projects.

There is also a award that I'd like to give a non-blogging friend, Diane, which I will do soon. She has been a huge inspiration to me in the world of non-samplers. She's taken me out of my box, so to speak, and challenged me to try new things. When time allows, I'll post a couple of her finished works for all to see.

On another note, some stash did come in this week, but there is still more out there, so I'll put off posting a picture now (everyone seems to be screaming to get on the computer today so time is limited). Well, maybe I can slide one shot in. In my quest to find some smaller things to do, I ordered these two Blackbird Designs charts. I loved the design on the journal cover. Anyway, I'm sure that my postman thinks I've gone off my rocker. I either meet him at the mailbox or have my nose pressed, piggie-style, against the glass when it's too cold to stand and wait.

I have made a little bit of progress on SoHRH. I would have had more done (like the sun), but somewhere I goofed up and had to rip out what I had stitched (the outlining of the sun). I am really enjoying this though. I don't know why my pictures of this are so dark, but am assuming it's because of the color of the fabric.

Well, better get off before there is bloodshed. Thanks again Terri for the award!!! I'm so thrilled with it. And I hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Start on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow

Right about now, I'd like to be on the Shores of somewhere - no, not the lakes around Michigan - it's raw, windy and somewhat snowy today - but somewhere warm, sunny - like the Carribean! But I'm settling for the Shores of Hawk Hollow (sorry for the somewhat dark picture - it's cloudy here today and I can't seem to get a good shot). I couldn't stand it any longer and made a start on it last night. And I'm lovin' it! Yes, I removed Frances from the scroll rods as my new ones still have not shown up yet.

Speaking of things I've ordered, absolutely nothing has arrived yet. AUGHHHHH!!! My hope was that they'd arrive before DH took a few days off. Just my luck, it will arrive by the truckloads while he's home (make note - ambush postman at the corner, then throw the stuff in the back of my car before walking back into the house). Not that I'm going to start anything right this minute, but there's just something about opening the envelopes and caressing that new stash. It's such a great feeling!

I should admit that I did receive a couple things, but both were ordered before market - A Petit Sampling Etui, the collaboration project by Cherished Stitches, Praiseworthy Stitches, The Stitching Parlor and With My Needle; and I received an orphan from Shakespeare's Peddler by Tournicoton (I'll post pics next week). Now both require assembly after finishing. What am I thinking? Yes, I know I sew - I make quilts, used to drive myself nuts making those Daisy Kingdom dresses for my daughter for all those special occasions and all the Halloween costumes, but to do hand sewing of any kind goes against my grain. Just ask my husband when he needs a button sewn on!

DH can't understand this. I sew and cross stitch, therefore, I hand sew. No, I hate it. See, he thinks that because I cut pieces of fabric for quilts into 2,400 pieces and then sew them back together again that I do hand sewing. No, this isn't the same thing. I sew them on a sewing machine - not too much hand sewing required except for the binding. I try to explain, but he doesn't understand me (what else is new?). He thinks I'm totally wacko for taking perfectly good pieces of fabric and cutting them into a million shapes (how much a yard did you pay for that fabric???????? And you're cutting it up like that??????) . What he doesn't understand is that there is a sense of accomplishment in cutting those pieces out and putting them back together in some sort of pattern. And then when it's done, it's done. Something that I've found, is a wonderful thing. When has it ever happened that you've cleaned the house and it's stayed that way more than an hour after the kids get home? Well, a quilt stays together forever and there are usually memories tied into that. And a piece of cross stitch stays around forever and there are also memories associated with that. I can look at a piece of cross stitch that I've done and tell you what was going on in my life or my kids' lives at that time. It's almost like a timeline. And there is that wonderous feeling of accomplishment. That you made something yourself. It's also for me, a time that I'm the calmest and in my own little world!

Okay, I started rambling. Sorry! Anyway, maybe with one of these new designs I'll actually break down and do some hand sewing and put something together. It's helped that I've found quite a few tutorials on the internet.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Small Update on Frances

And I mean very small. Seems that I just didn't get the stitching in that I hoped to this weekend. Saturday I missed my few hours of early morning stitching because I slept, get this, 12 hours! That is unheard of in my book. I'm lucky if I sleep six hours on a good day! Then there was the problem of, with every motif that I stitched, I made a mistake and had to frog it out. Then I noticed that on the butterfly, the stitching across it's body is suppose to be black. Oh, well, I like red (at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I have to say that the colors in this are much brighter than I had anticipated. At first, I was ready to chuck it out or change to GAST or something. But I decided to give it a chance and see how it evolved. I'm actually really liking it now and am rather glad it's not more muted.

I've been stalking my mailbox for the postman for Nashville goodies. Then the lightbulb went off: today is a Government holiday - President's Day. Ughhh!!!!! Banks and Government offices closed. Of course, I should have realized this when this was a day off for DH (although he still went in). What a disappointment! I'm actually waiting for some scroll rods also. I'm ready to start on Shores - I have the fabric, I have the threads, I have the chart - but no scroll rods. I am not a stitch-in-hand girl unless the project is really small. I used to stitch-in-hand all the time, but then I discovered scroll rods and never went back.

Anyway, I do have some scroll rods, but Provence is on the size I need. And I know this sounds really anal (or stupid, not sure which), but I hate taking a project off the scroll rods if I think that I'm going to work on it soon. I hate, and I mean HATE, sewing the fabric back on the rods. I've tried masking taping it on (yes, I know, not a good thing - a real no-no as the tape leaves a residue). I've also bought archival tape (used for scrapbooking) that seems to have a mind of its own. Sometimes it really holds that fabric on there, and other times keeps falling off. I did come across some quilting tape (from my quilting days) in my stash that worked really well, but I can't find any more of it at Joanne's. So, what do I do, order more scroll rods! But Frances and Provence are large projects and so is Shores, so I needed more rods. My DH never should have pointed out the fact that I kept last month's charge bill low. That's like food for fodder - telling me that I didn't spend anything last month. Well, we can't have him get used to that now, can we? I think I've taken care of that with Nashville goodies and scroll rods.

I hope to get more of Frances done this week (a lot more). We'll see what happens. But I'd like to start Shores also. The SAL I've joined has a start date of March 1, but seeing how I'm stitching like a snail, it's best for me to start as soon as possible. My hope is a block a month, but with summer looming in the horizon, and me virtually living in my car taking the kids from one activity to another (can't wait for my son to get is license), I know my stitching time will be limited and Shores is really too big of a project to haul around with me, so I've got to make the best of my time while I have it.

But as far as this week goes, my kids are off for three days this week, and they sleep in late so I can get up and stitch until I yank them out of bed (as late as possible). But DH mentioned talking a couple days off too (a monkeywrench in my plans) and he gets up at more of a normal hour, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Small Pic

Yes, you'll notice I changed my screen. I couldn't stand that pink background I had. I have been trying to get a new background for my blog for a couple of weeks without any luck. For some reason, I can't get the script copied from the Cutest Blog on the Block - or anywhere else for that matter). Oh, it did save it as a screensaver on my computer (how that happened I don't know), but just wouldn't copy over to the blog (thank goodness, I noticed a comment from someone else that she was having the same problem). I'm really computer stupid - I mean big-time. It's pretty bad when your 15 year old son and 13 year old nephew have to show you how to use the video cam (and in fact, my son will have to show me how to change my screensaver back when he gets home - no, not really, but there is just a lot I don't know). In fact, if anyone has a clue as to how to get those tools off the sidebar of my blog, I'd appreciate the help. Seems I came across something about it, but you know how that is - I wouldn't be able to find that site again in a million years).

So, anyway, I copied Terri's template (terriboog) who just set up a new BLOG. Go check it out! It's listed on the side - Chocolates for Breakfast,......... I'll change my background soon Terri - promise!!

Anyway, I started Frances, but as you can see, I have only gotten one motif done (probably because I've been spending all my time trying to work out the blog thing and some other computer related things). Hopefully, over the next week I'll get a lot done. The kids are off for three days next week and I take advantage of their sleeping in and get a lot of stitching done.

I have to say though that I've fallen victim to some of the new Nashville releases. I swore I wasn't going to do that. A couple of them are of the A&E variety from Praiseworthy Stitches and The Primitive Needle. Which got me thinking (not a good thing sometimes). Please keep in mind that I'm a SAH mom who has inhaled a lot of cleaning products over the years. Anyway, I'm thinking about Adam and Eve in the garden and Eve giving Adam the apple. Thus, they sinned. Now what was up with Adam???? Surely, he had thought of this before Eve provoked him? And he's a man right? Where was the drive? Where was his sense of adventure? Well, perhaps he needed some prodding. Perhaps he needed some directions. That's it - men don't ask for directions, do they? LOL. Shows that women definitely have more of a handle on things then the men do. So I continue to think that if they had not sinned, where would all the rest of us be? Seriously? We wouldn't be here to blog and stitch. Thank goodness, Eve had the guts to cross the line or none of us would be here, would we?

Told you I inhale too many cleaning products!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Couple Small Finishes

My BAPS were wearing a little thin, so I decided to tackle a couple small projects. After getting those done, I came away with some sense of accomplishment.

Stash Keep by Homespun Elegance. The pattern called for a Moss Belle Soie Silk, but I ended up using a GAST to match the box (and thanks Terri for the hint about stuffing this).

And the Merri Cox hornbook. I ended up crossing the tent stitches and finishing it up.

I remembered, after I had posted those hornbooks last week, that I had another one lurking around here. This has been done for a while. It's one of my favorites by Hillside Samplings. Sorry the picture isn't clearer - it's pretty cloudy here. BUT, it's going to be 60 degrees - a record high!!!! After all the absolutely foul weather and snow that we've had around here - it's going to absolutely balmy! Have to enjoy it though - it's going to be freezing again in a day or two. But at least we've gotten rid of a good portion of the 2+ feet of snow that's been lurking around here for the past month!

Little progress has been on Ann Medd. I started working on the over-one dogs and have had to rip them out twice. I'm on my third attempt and they will stay however they turn out. This is suppose to be fun (I keep telling myself that). No progress pic yet as one of the dogs is sporting a fifth leg (I accidently started over too far and haven't ripped it out yet)! I don't think anyone is really interested in seeing a mutated dog! As far at the mirror image of it, I did end up going to Kinkos. I tried a few programs on the computer and couldn't get a mirror image.

My fabric came (finally) for Frances Eden! Ya-Ho! I'm looking forward to getting started on that. Then I ran into a dilemna on SoHRH. Our guild meeting was this weekend and it seems that not everyone was liking the Shores. What's not to like????? Anyway, the Guild decided that we could pick out one of the Hawk Hollow charts to work on. I sat there mulling over whether I should forge ahead with Houses (of which I'm on Block 5), pick up Village (of which I have all of one block done), or do what a true Startitis nut case would do - start Shores. Well, you guessed it (and it helped that I had a little persuasion from that Enabler of All Enablers - my friend, Diane), I'm going with the Shores (plus I'd probably have Siobhan and Michelle to answer to if I didn't - LOL!!). I do have a specific purpose for that piece (my basement bathroom), so I might as well go for it. And funny thing, I have the fabric for this! Why am I not shocked.

In the acquisition department, I ordered the chart and fabric for the CHS Adam and Eve so I could join the SAL with Siobhan and Michelle. I really need something else to do like another hole in the head, but this will fit the requirements for getting that A&E wall filled and also will be a smaller project that I can carry around while waiting for my kids.

And no, I'm not turning this into a cooking blog, but while I was going through all my dilemnas with "what to stitch", I baked. I needed comfort! This will just about take care of any ill that you have. It's a gingerbread upside down cake. My kids love gingerbread, so I took a recipe for Pineapple Upside down cake and kind of made it my own. I love this stuff too, but only ate a small piece. Serve it warm with whipped cream - oh yeah, baby! But like I said, I only ate a small piece. I've been spending too much time lately with my new best friend, Wii Fit, to ruin what I'm trying to accomplish!

So now I'm feeling a little better as far as the projects go. I'm working on Ann until the end of the week, and then it's flipping between Shores, Frances Eden, the CHS Sampler Ball and A&E whenever it gets here. It will be interesting to see if I can do this. I love all of them, but again, I'm more of a "stay on one project at a time" person. But we'll see how this goes.

Well, I'm going to go outside and sunbathe! Not really, still a little chilly, but I should take advantage of getting the Christmas wreaths off our windows that we haven't been able to get to for all the snow! Heck, Valentines Day is Saturday! Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Head Spins Sometimes

I'm still in the throes of not really being able to find a project that I just want to settle on to stitch to completion. Nothing seems to be really calling me - you know - something that screams, "Do me, do me, do me" (sounds a little obscene, doesn't it?). I told myself that I would clear up WIPs this year, and that's what I'm trying to do - but it's just not exciting. Plus, I really like the idea of working on one project at a time. You wouldn't know it by the amount of WIPs I have. But I tend to pick out BAPs and not things that are more manageable.

I've have made a little progress on Provence:

This was getting really interesting and I was loving that border, but I find that if I stop in a place that I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm more liable to pick it back up again. It wasn't screaming at me loud enough to keep going though.

And I've made a little bit of progress on Ann Medd

So far only the flower and pot to the right of Adam and those two verses that you can see. I remember now what else had made me put this down in the first place. It wasn't so much that I was one thread off, but the fact that on either side of the flower pots are dogs - one on each side of the pot facing each other. The chart only has the dog facing to the right, but not to the left. I can barely walk and chew gum, let alone stitch in reverse! So, I have to make a trip to Kinkos to have a reverse image made. I never got there before, so I put poor ole Ann down.

I'm still waiting for the fabric for Frances Eden (which I thought would be here by now). And then to add insult to injury, my Sampler Guild picked their choice for this year's SAL - The Shores of Hawk Run Hollow:

Now, this I have in my stash (what don't I have in my stash), and I really want to do this (as I wanted to decorate my bathroom in the basement in a nautical theme), but there is an issue.....or rather......a couple of issues. I have started The Houses of Hawk Run Hollow......

.......and I've started the Village of Hawk Run Hollow:

As you can see, I have an extreme case of Startitis and no Finishitis. So do I really need to start Shores? I'm not sure. It's another BAP. But the other side of the issue is that it is in my stash and something that I could knock out if I take the time. When I took the picture of Houses and Village, I got perked up a little bit. Ann is somewhat drab so I actually felt a little spark of enthusiasm starting on something a little more colorful. One caveat to this whole thing though is that I'm not a SAL type of gal! Seriously! I've tried it and it didn't work out. Of course the project was rather large (the CHS alphabets). I had all intentions of keeping up, but I didn't. But maybe if I treat each block as a small project (and do one a month), I'll get through this puppy and be finished by next March!

Then there is the issue of doing some smaller projects because now I've got a bunch of BAPS - Provence, HoHRH, VoHRH, SoHRH, Convent's, Ann Medd, Marquoir de Justine (almost forgot that one) and then the infamous, fabric-waiting Frances Eden - all started (except Frances and Shores) and going nowhere fast.

Anyway, the other day my friend Terri told me that she had finished her Merri Cox hornbook

This was a project that we received from our Sampler Guild as Merri was not able to schedule classes with us, so she sent these hornbooks. I had started this, but was doing it with tent stitch. I think that I wasn't quite sure I liked the stitching on it, and put it down (stupid really, because it could be done in a night). Terri mentioned she did hers with a whole cross, so thanks to Terri - I think I'll follow her lead. I've pulled this out of the bin and it will be my carry project since it's already started. I was about to start one of the pinballs, but I'll finish this hornbook first and then move on to one of them. Seems that I'm always sitting waiting for my children somewhere and instead of reading, I'll just work on this.

Speaking of hornbooks - I love them! Again, it's just a case of finding the time to work do them

The one of the left is The Sampler Hornbook by the Prairie Sampler that I finished last year. The center hornbook is actually a cookie mold ( that I bought a couple years ago when my daughter had to spend two days at the Stoney Creek Schoolhouse here in Rochester. The school is located in the Stoney Creek and Van Hoosen Farm Historical District and they spend two days dressed as prairie children, learn their lessons from hornbooks, are reprimanded by spending time with a dunce cap on their head, etc. A lot of fun! For the occasion, I found this hornbook cookie mold and made all the children cookies. They were a big hit! The hornbook on the right I ordered from Bloom Woodworks and if you look closely have my initials carved into it. It's actually to be used as a scissor fob. I probably have got another five hornbooks that do need stitching to finish them off. Perhaps those become the smaller projects for the future.

Well, I think that's enough whining for me today.