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Friday, December 30, 2005

Reflections on 2005; musings on 2006

As I've said previously, 2005 had its ups and downs (mostly ups, though!). I'm feeling a little ambivalent about setting goals for next year. Which seems strange, because I did pretty good this year at meeting most of the ones I set.

Cross stitch

I've whittled my cross stitch WIP list down to 19 projects (under 20 - which was my goal for this year)! I started quite a few late this year, but finished 17 and abandoned 7. I feel that's pretty good, considering all of the other things that I worked on this year. I think if I have a couple of cross stitching goals this year, they would fall into the 'general' category:
  • For each big project I want to start, I should finish two big projects already in WIP status at the beginning of January 2006.
  • I don't necessarily have to be 'on the wagon' as far as cross stitch purchases, but I would like to continue this year's slowdown of such stash enhancement, instead, focusing on projects either currently kitted or for which I already have the chart and/or most of the supplies.
  • Stitch only those things which I enjoy stitching. If a project becomes something that I no longer enjoy, I give myself permission to abandon it. I've seen my tastes change somewhat over the past year, and they could continue to evolve.
  • If I'm going to give stitched gifts this year, I NEED to start working on them EARLIER. This applies to quilt, crochet, and knitting as well as cross stitch.

Quilting

I met my two goals of finishing Scott's quilt in time for Christmas and deciding what quilt design to use for my sister-in-law's quilt for this Christmas. I even went a little farther and have most of her quilt pieced, except for the borders. And I started a quilt for my youngest nephew, Gerrick.

2006's goals will continue to be simple, because creating a quilt takes such a long time for me:
  • Finish Gerrick's quilt in time for his birthday in March.
  • Finish Teresa's quilt by Christmas 2006.

If I have the chance to sandwich and begin quilting my Rail Fence quilt (the top has been complete for several years now), then hurrah, but I won't make that a goal. CC's quilt has been doing double duty as an extra blanket on our bed at night, and it's really beginning to show the additional wear and tear. Finishing my Rail Fence quilt will help extend his quilt's life.

Crochet and knitting

I managed to finish crocheting the squares of the 63 squares afghan this year, but I still have not put them all together. This is one of my least favorite tasks - joining them all. I know it will look great once I get that done, but it's unfortunately very difficult for me to garner the enthusiasm for the task, even in small doses. Maybe in 2006?

I did manage to finish knitting the kitty bed, but haven't yet learned how to knit a hat for myself. I'd still like to do that, so maybe I'll try it in 2006. I'm still quite the novice, and haven't worked with either circular needles or more than two needles at a time. I haven't even looked at a hat pattern, so I don't know what would be required. I should practice changing from the knit stitch to the purl and back. I've gotten much more confident with my knit stitch, but can still use plenty of practice for tension, etc.

I also crocheted and knitted several other projects, and I'm happy with the way they all turned out. I discovered Patterns by Dot, and will probably be taking advantage of a few more of her free patterns over the next year.

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I want to take a moment to thank you for stopping by and reading my blog this year. I appreciate your comments, questions, and cheers. May you all have a wonderful 2006!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A year to the day, well, almost

I only just realized that the kitty bed took almost exactly one year to finish. I started it on December 24 last year, and finished it up on December 25 this.

Just finished
Candy claims it as her own
I think she likes it! ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Post-Christmas holidays sickness wrap-up

Well, I'm back to about 80% now (was feeling more like 70% this morning as I got ready for work), and I'm really glad to have that illness behind me. I was a pretty grouchy person for about 4 days there.

While we were off, I finished Cat, the knitted kitty bed, and the first elegant lace stole I was working on. I started a second lace stole, but haven't gotten much done on it yet. Here is Cat, all done! Now all she needs is a bath and then I'll add a few whiskers before framing.

Cat, finished

Pictures of the others to come hopefully tomorrow. We watched several movies (Christmas With the Kranks, Serenity, The Island, and Fantastic Four), which helped take my mind off the fact that I had no energy to go anywhere or do anything. I also listened to Deception Point by Dan Brown - good thriller!

Mom & Dad came over yesterday and we exchanged gifts. I was amazed when I opened the final package - it was a pitcher to match my juice glass! I'll try to make sure to take a picture of that too. I think they said they found it at a new antique mall when they were out on one of their vacation trips. I just love the pattern - very simple yet colorful.

We haven't had the chance yet to exchange gifts with my brother and his family, but I'm thinking we might do that this weekend, so no reaction to the quilt to report just yet. I am really looking forward to giving that to him.

This year has had its ups and downs, but I can't complain too much. I am blessed with a close-knit, loving family, good health (for the most part), and great friends. And I'm really looking forward to what 2006 will bring.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

May you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hopefully I'll have another update before year's end as I get to feeling better - I've been down with a sinus infection (and possibly inner ear complications because of the dizziness today) since Thursday. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Whoops!!!!

embarrassed I'm so embarrassed. I completely forgot about our Black Swan Designs stitch-a-long for December (which was supposed to have been this past weekend). So sorry y'all! At least Dani (Black Belt Stitching Wizard) managed to finish her Dragon by the Fireside stocking. Go Dani!

We'll pick that back up in January, okay?

Post-vacation check-in

Otherwise known as "Sometimes things just don't work out as you planned..."

So in all, I relaxed a little bit, and got to spend a couple of days working on my parents' computer, some time working on Christmas cards (finally finished), and some time Christmas shopping (nearly done!).

I finished S is for Silence, and enjoyed it up until the end, which seemed just a little abrupt. If you read it, be prepared to do a little re-reading of some sections, just to remind yourself of things that happened with certain characters. There are a LOT of characters, and a lot of things going on in this book, which switches back and forth from first-person Kinsey in the 1980's to various third-person characters in July 1953. I think I'd like to listen to this again on audio, if it becomes available at my public library.

So to catch up the rest of the days - Friday I got a great bill of health from my primary care physician, then got my parents' computer back up and running. While I was formatting, then reloading the OS and all of the hardware and software, I finished up the fuzzy scarf I had started knitting the night before. No picture until after I give it to the recipient - but it's quite pretty, and I love the colors.

Saturday was Christmas card day, and the rest of it was a bit of a fog. I started a new crochet project from Crochet bythehook - elegant lace stole, hoping to finish it by Christmas... and I'd love to finish two of them, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. Actually, I want to finish four of them, so there will definitely be some after-Christmas presents given this year. Yes, I am crazy, and I hope that I can do much better next year. I already have a few ideas, so maybe I won't be so down-to-the-wire in 2006.

Saturday night was the Christmas party at C's work, and it was really nice. We had steak for dinner, they gave out a few door prizes, of which we won one (a DVD player/recorder!), and 'Dirty Santa' which was much dirtier than the version we played at the Stitchin Post - gifts were being stolen left and right, and much fun was had by all. It was nice to put faces with names that I've heard for the past what, 8 months or so? I'm so happy C is working with this great group of people. They're nice, genuine, and they appreciate him.

And speaking of appreciating him, he was given two club-level tickets to Sunday's Tennessee Titans football game! Now, it's true, C pulls for the Dallas Cowboys, and I pull for the Pittsburgh Steelers (yes, and we still love each other despite the rivalry). But since the Titans are no longer in my team's division and didn't affect his team's standings, we could easily pull for them. We had really great seats, and let me tell you - Club level is the way to go to a game! Nice warm bathrooms, yummy hot chocolate (I swear, it was way better than what they were selling downstairs!), and we had a parking pass too, so we were parked really close to our seats. The weather was not bad - sunshine for the majority of the game, and the temp wasn't freezing (I think it was about 48 degrees fahrenheight). Shame they didn't win. But I kept up with the Steelers' score during the game and was happy we did! After we got home, we watched Sky High (cute, and much better than Mr. and Mrs. Smith).

Yesterday, I managed to get most of the Christmas shopping done. It was not a chore I was looking forward to, but at least it didn't take forever and a day. Long lines were expected at this late date, and I just tried to deal with them as cheerily as I could. Now just a couple more things, and then I get to the wrapping.

I don't think I've cross stitched one bit in over a week. Neither have I quilted. Maybe I'll actually get back to that after the New Year?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mid-vacation check-in

I went to my LNS's Christmas party tonight - I think there were about 14 of us there. I haven't been to sit n stitch in a while, and I think they aren't even doing it every Thursday night now - maybe just the first one of the month. Anyway, I haven't been just because I've got so much going on, their new location is smaller, and it is a little farther away from home. It was good to visit with those who made it to the party. I miss some of the 'old regulars' (from the old mall location), but the group has always seemed to change from week to week - some people would come often, then stop coming for a while, while others just came either frequently or infrequently. We had some snacks to nibble on, and almost everyone brought a gift for the 'dirty Santa' exchange. I ended up 12th of 13, and stole the gift I wanted (and didn't have it stolen from me). A pretty scissors fob and some Lizzie Kate patterns and floss. :) I think everyone was happy with what they got, once all the stealing was done. I didn't bring a project, so I decided to purchase some more knitting needles and yarn - I'm going to make another fuzzy scarf, but not with Fun Fur, it's some other brand. I think I've got about 8 inches knitted so far...

I'm about 3/4 through S is for Silence, and it's pretty good so far. There are just so many characters, that I'm having just a little trouble remembering who's who and what's what from one chapter to the next, but I'm really enjoying it anyway. Tomorrow, I'll be heading back over to my parents' house for some more computer work (hard drive replacement, sigh - lots of rebuilding there, but hopefully it won't take all day). It should still leave 3 days of vacation to enjoy just bumming around.

I'm still doing the Christmas denial thing. No bright flashes of insight as to what to do about it either... I know it's coming, I just don't want to think about it and what I need to do...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

First day of vacation

Just have to share something that fills my heart with joy. When I awoke this morning, my Smokey Boy woke at the same time. He jumped down from his chair (near the bed), and 'rrrowed' at me (there's a trilling on the r's). We did some rubby-face (his favorite kind of petting), and he purred the loudest and the longest I've heard him purr since his illness. He didn't purr loudly before the illness, but his purring has been nearly nonexistant since - just one of those things that we figured was gone, like his eyesight. The past week, he hasn't been feeling very well, but yesterday it seemed like he was over it, finally. He was playing with us, chasing us, last night, and this morning's purring is just icing on the cake. I hate it when he feels ill (he has good days and not-so-good days), because he's already been through so much.

Well, I have been crocheting those hats like crazy, and here is the result:

Hats for Christmas 2005

Four will go to the nieces and nephew, and two will be for participating in Christmas party exchanges. Oh, I should mention - I got the pattern from CROCHET bythehook, and it is called the UBW (Ugly But Warm) hat - I disagree, I don't think they are ugly at all. They may not be fancy, but I like them! I used two strands of Lion Brand Homespun yarn - just picked two colors I thought coordinated and picked up the hook. They crochet up very quickly.

Today, my first day of a week's vacation, my only 'plan' is to read a bit (I've only had the chance to get to chapter 4 so far!), then head over to my parent's house this afternoon. Tonight is Game Night with the boys, so who knows what I'll be doing - I'm just really glad I have the next 7 days to do whatever I want to do, be it read, watch tv, cross-stitch, quilt, play video games, visit with friends, shop...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Another weekend is finally here!

Work has been so busy recently that I have been thinking about it and working out some solutions at night at home. The positive about that is that I've been able to get a few issues resolved more quickly once I get back in to work the next day. The negative is that it takes away from my very important "down" time. Sometimes the trade-off is necessary, but for the most part, I like to leave work at work.

I know I watch entirely too much television. Last night I dreamt that C and I were actually taking part in the show Prison Break. I was also flipping channels and saw an episode of Days of Our Lives on SoapNet. A lot of the actors are the same, but I was really confused about some of the characters. Apparently Marlena has amnesia now? And the guy who played Roman is playing this guy named Alex? I tried to find a web site that had some general "what's the storyline now" information, but only wound up with daily updates, which would take much too long to read in order to catch up. I haven't watched Days in years. But it used to be one of my little guilty pleasures - I would watch General Hospital and DOOL. Actually, at one point during the summer in high school or sometimes in college, I had a 4-hour block of soapies to watch - Young and the Restless, One Life to Live, GH, and DOOL. But that was many years ago, and many, many characters and storylines. Does anyone know of a good web site (that doesn't have a bazillion ads and / or pop-ups-unders) where I could find out how Marlena got amnesia and where this Alex character came from?

Night before last, I crocheted a hat (no picture yet) as a Christmas gift. I think it turned out well, but I'll wait until I have the other three crocheted before I decide which nephew or niece will receive which hat. It only took a couple of hours, started and finished in one evening, so I think three more before Christmas is definitely doable. Besides that, I'm kind of in denial about how close Christmas is, and what shopping needs to be done. At this point, I'd be crazy (and I'm not saying that I'm not yep, crazy) to attempt some sort of hand-made gift for everyone.

Last night I stitched a little bit more on Catnip Tea, but there was not very much progress (as has been the case much this week - owing back to that whole 'taking work home' mentally thing). When I was looking for the pattern for the crocheted hat, I stumbled upon several charts I had bought on my last splurge (October 2004!) before CATS Nashville this year. Apparently I had never put the charts "away" in my binders. Silly me. I had wondered where some of them were when I was browsing through my binders some time back. I also forgot about buying a couple of the charts! doh! Once of them was a really nice Jeannette Douglas sampler (I think it was either Northern Shield Sampler or Northwoods Sampler, though I could be wrong). My mind - would everyone check around and see if they can find it? I think I lost it quite a while back, LOL.

And as if work wasn't enough to try to keep me away from my stitching... I picked up S is for Silence at the library yesterday. So far, I've only gotten to read the first couple of pages, including the Acknowlegdments and Note from the Author. I don't generally read those in all books, but I started doing that with Sue's because the narrator would read them on the books on tape. I got a kick and a chuckle out of reading the Note this time, especially the last sentence. You go Sue! So anyway, it's a good thing I'm taking about a week's worth of time off work in a few days - I'm going to need it to do everything I have on my list!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This week's theme: Cats

So here are the updates for a couple of projects I've been working on, Cat (Candy) and Catnip Tea:

Cat, now with a cinnamon-nose, just like my Candy
Catnip Tea, through part of band 7

I've also been working on Gerrick's Aquarium some, and I'm up to 14 blocks quilted (out of 42).

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Friday vacation day

Yes, I took today off, so I have a nice 3-day weekend. I spent the morning doing just a little sleeping in. After I got up and ready, I drove to the Comcast customer service center and traded in my two older digital boxes for some new ones. Hopefully that will fix some of the problems we have been having with some of the digital channels. Then I stopped in the service center to have the oil changed in Spice. From there it was lunch with C (whose happy birthday it is, by the way!), and now I'm about to decide what to do with the rest of my afternoon.

Meanwhile, here is my progress on Catnip Tea (another Just Nan) - I started it night before last, but haven't been able to work on it much yet. It seemed just a little washed out in the scan - hopefully when I get a few more bands on it, the scanner will balance it out a little better.


Hooray for the Weekend!!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Star of Wonder


Started November 24 and finished November 26, 2005
stitched with the silks provided in Just Nan class kit - thank you again Katie!!!!

We drove to Arkansas and spent the Thanksgiving holiday with our friend Dave, who moved there over a year ago. We had a really enjoyable time and spent Friday watching the entire Star Wars series of movies from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi (well, okay, we finished Return up Saturday - we just couldn't keep our eyes open Friday night). I stitched a little on Gothic Castle last night while we watched some Frasier episodes and the very strange Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let's all have some Blackberry Jam


At 10:30 last night, I finally put the last bead into it! I couldn't believe how much time it took - mainly because I kept finding places where I'd missed some backstitching - here, there, and everywhere. But finally, I think I managed to get all of the beads put into place, and now I can start on Star of Wonder without any guilt or hesitation. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Called out

LOL, Ann, you are absolutely right that I should finish my Blackberry Jam first. And I'm hoping to do just that tonight! If I concentrate, it really shouldn't take that long to do. If I do get it finished, I'll try to post a pic tomorrow.

And if I don't get back here before Thursday, Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2005

A goal achieved


I was determined to get Merrick's robes stitched this month, and I did! I also managed to begin stitching the sea creatures before putting the project away until December (not so far away-yikes!), and so we have an octopus and a fish.

It's a nice short week (Thanksgiving holidays both Thursday and Friday for C and myself), and we're really looking forward to the extra time off.

I also managed to get 2 more blocks quilted on Gerrick's Aquarium, so there are 10 out of the 42 now done.

Thanks again to everyone for your sweet compliments!

Oh, and I'm thinking about starting a new Just Nan project over the holidays - either Catnip Tea or Star of Wonder. I haven't decided which one yet - I have both of them completely kitted up because they were gifts from my friend Katie. I'm trying to decide whether I'm in a Christmas-y holiday mood yet...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Quilting and some new xs progress photos

Kristen asked how I learned to quilt. I did not take any formal classes, but I can't really say that I'm self-taught, because I read many quilt books, and borrowed videos from both my local public library and a local quilt shop when I started to learn quilting. The videos were invaluable. I was able to actually see someone go through the process, not just try to figure it out from a book (not that you couldn't, I'm just a really visual learner). The first video was 'A Video guide to quilting' with the New England Quilters Guild. Some of the others were Jinny Beyer videos, and my local PBS station was showing some 'Quilt in a Day' shows at the time. I taped some of the Quilt in a Day shows (as well as 'Simply Quilts' on HGTV) through the years, and actually refer to them quite frequently. Thanks for asking!

Okay, on to cross stitch and pictures!
Nova framed!
Blackberry Jam getting close!
Summer Maiden, about halfway finished
Cat, a little more progress

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Brrrrr!!!

Last night before the storms I was wearing a sleeveless shirt around the house with my windows opened. This morning - I'm layered with a couple of long sleeve shirts, and I have my portable heater on. How quickly the weather can change around here. I think that Winter is nearly upon us, but for now Happy Fall, y'all.

I managed to quilt the red block in the middle on the quilt last night. Then I moved into the bedroom and did a little stitching on Cat. I'll be able to post new progress pictures on that and the summer Maiden this week. While I'm still not feeling 100%, I do seem to be feeling better. As long as I keep up with my exercises and stretches for my back/shoulder and with trying to protect my tailbone, I am able to stitch, quilt, etc., for a bit longer now.

This weekend coming up is the monthly Black Swan Designs Stitch-A-Long. I haven't seen Merrick in a month, and I'm looking forward to visiting with him again. I've sorely neglected some of the WIPs in my rotation, but I expect to be able to get back into a rhythm after Christmas. Oh, and I hope I can get a decent picture of Nova - I finally went and picked it up from my framers yesterday, and well, it's even more beautiful than I remember. It's so hard to capture that digitally, but I'm going to try!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Gerrick's Aquarium

First of all, thank you all for visiting my blog and web site. You have been so bountiful with your comments and praise, and I can't even begin to express my gratitude for such sweet online (and offline) friends.

One of the most wonderful things about my brother and his family is that they really DO appreciate the things I make for them, and when it comes to quilts, they absolutely get used, all the time. For me, that is the highest compliment. I look forward to seeing his face when he opens his present on Christmas day.

Next up in my quilting world, Gerrick's Aquarium is now finally getting some attention. It's smaller, and the quilting is simpler, so I've been moving right along and have 3 blocks quilted already.


The quilted blocks are the ones under the 'gummy fish'. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Finished pic

Hooray!


I've just spent the better part of the afternoon basting together Gerrick's quilt - I think I'm going to change the name to Gerrick's Aquarium. Just have to put it into the frame now, and get to work! ;-)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

It's official!

The quilt for my brother, Scott's Ships is complete (with label attached)! I'm going to go ahead and wash it before I take a photo. This is one HUGE happy dance, yippee!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A little bitty stitching update

I have finished the top and the right sides of the binding on Scott's Ships quilt - just two more sides to go...

Oh, and Melissa - I bought Tetris Worlds, Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, and Super Mario Brother 3 (I've been told by many it's the best in the series). Now I just have to figure out the gameplay - it's a little different from my Classic Warioland and Donkey Kong games. :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Peer Pressure

... with a capital P. Apologies to anyone who is hoping for a stitching update - this is mostly about video games. I have stitched just a little, but not much progress for a scan or report.

It all started with one co-worker talking to another one about a Game Boy Micro, and it spiralled out of control from there. The result: I got a Game Boy Advance SP yesterday, along with a few new games...

I've been playing Castlevania on my PSOne again recently, but I wanted to have something that could go with me for playing in those waiting rooms I seem to be in a couple of times a week, at least. Sometimes I like to take a book, sometimes I like to take a crochet or stitching project, but lately, I've just wanted a game to play.

I got my old Game Boy Pocket out, dusted it off, and played a little with it, but I was frustrated by the screen. It the old 4-shades-of-gray (or something like that), and no lighting whatsoever. You have to be in the right light and at the right angle to see the screen properly.

So, when I saw one of these Micros, I was really impressed by the screen: backlit and color, and while it was a little small (it IS named Micro for a reason), it was easier on the eyes than my GB Pocket. I started doing a little research, and discovered that the Micro only plays GB Advance games. I don't have any of those, since I never upgraded to the Advance, but I do have several Classic games, which I still enjoy. Then and there, I decided the Micro was out.

But I also discovered that Nintendo has recently released a new version of the GB Advance (with an SP in the name). It has a brighter screen which is also about twice the size of the screen of the Micro. AND it is backwards-compatible with my GB Classic games. Well, there you go. Actually, now that I think about it - either my nephew or one of my nieces (probably both) has one of these, because I saw one at my parent's house a day that the kids and I were visiting.

This thing is so cool - it has a rechargeable battery (no more AAA's!), and it even adds color to my colorless Classic games (like Donkey Kong and WarioLand) which are SO much easier to see now. And the GB Advance games are pretty darn cool so far.

I'm having a wonderful Wednesday, and I hope you are too!

Friday, November 04, 2005

It's Friday!

And once again, I'm so ready for the weekend. This week has been really busy, probably because of the combination that I was off work last Friday and Monday, and I've taken on a couple of projects in addition to my usual workload.

Quilting: I have Scott's quilt completely quilted, I've attached the binding to the top of the quilt, and I'm working on securing it to the back of the quilt now - I have one side done, 3 to go.

Cross stitch: I have also been working on the Summer Maiden some more. Whether it's the design, the chart, the fabric, the colors, the beads, or a combination of all of the above, I am having a wonderful time stitching this. It's so relaxing and exciting at the same time.

Knitting: I haven't worked much on the kitty bed, but I have put a few more rows in on the side that I'm knitting. I have about 10 more inches to knit before it can be put together.

Crochet: I'm still basking in the glory of having finished the Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan. I do need to get on to putting together the rest of the 63 Squares one though! Especially before I start a new afghan. I really like having a crochet afghan project in progress for when the eyes are too tired for cross stitch or crochet, but not too tired for the yarn and hook.

Healing: I'm still going to physical therapy for my back/shoulder, and I can tell that I am healing, though more slowly than I would prefer. ;-) The attention that I have to pay to my tailbone has obviously taken some of my attention away from the shoulder, but that too is getting better (VERY slowly).

Whatever you do this weekend, have a wonderful one!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

...and Sunday's Happy Dance


The last of the little tails (and were there a bunch of those, whew!) woven in, my Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan is finished, yippee!!!!

Saturday's Happy Dance

I finished Gathering Pinecones!


Yesterday was a wonderful one - I worked a little more on Scott's quilt, and now I only have one square left to quilt, and the binding to attach. I also got REALLY close to finishing the Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan.

We've already been grocery shopping today, a pot of chili is in the making, and I'm looking forward to sitting down with a cup of hot cocoa and watching some NASCAR. Oh, and we have taken tomorrow off also, and we're planning to go see Serenity. It's a wonderfully long weekend here in Nashville. The sun is shining, and we have the windows open with a cool breeze blowing through. I hope everyone else is enjoying their weekends too!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Almost there

We drove down to Chattanooga yesterday to visit the Tennessee Aquarium, and had a great time. By the end of the drive back, my tailbone was a little tired and sore, but mostly it was okay. Watching the little otters playing / wrestling was one of the best parts. It was also neat to see the octopus and jellyfish up close - I've only seen them in books or on tv before.

On the way down and back, I managed to finish putting the panels of my Vacation Mile-a-minute afghan together. I've worked the edging and now all that's left is weaving in the tails. Expect to see a happy dance (or two) from me before the weekend is out! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rolling along

Last weekend was pretty good! I managed to get some stitching in on Summer Maiden, made quite good progress on Gathering Pinecones, and actually got in some quilting on Scott's Ships! I tried to pace myself, because I'm nowhere near back to normal, but at least I felt better. And I'm happy to report that I have 3 corners of Scott's quilt finished, and I've started working on the 4th. When you get down to having less than 3 blocks left to quilt in the two months before Christmas, suddenly things seem more manageable (even with all the cross stitching and crochet that I do).

So, here are the updated Summer Maiden and Gathering Pinecones pictures:



Oh, and we're finally getting our house exterior trim and siding painted (it's only needed repainting for the past couple of years...), and I hope to take some good "second coat" photos tonight. We're going with a slightly different color this time, and I'm quite pleased with the look so far. I think the new colors go well with the brick, and brighten it up a bit. :)

Friday, October 21, 2005

HAPPY FRIDAY!

This is just a weird time for me, stitching-wise. I find myself constantly wanting to start new projects (most of them small), instead of working on what I've already got in progress. So, right after I finished the Pumpkin Kitty, what did I do? Bought the fibers I didn't already have for two Hillside Samplings designs I've been wanting to stitch ever since I bought them (a couple of years ago). Then I checked to see if I had a piece of fabric at least the size I would need for Gathering Pinecones, did a floss toss, and started it.

Here is my progress so far

It's not very big, but these border acorns are taking a bit of time to do each one.


That's because they're done with the Cretan stitch.


What it's supposed to look like when finished.

Each one of the pinecones in the middle section is made of a different stitch, and there is an acorn button in the middle.

So that I don't feel too guilty, I have also worked some on Summer Maiden (Maidens of the Seasons). I hope to have an updated picture after this weekend. I've added some beads to her hair, and started working my way downward a bit. I've been anxious to get to her dress, as I wanted to see how the pinks are going to look. So far, so good! Happy weekend everyone!

Oh, and yes, I added beads to the border of the Pumpkin Kitty. They are gold-colored delicas. I just couldn't resist adding a little extra. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Merrick progress and a careful little happy dance


Here is my progress from the Stitch-along weekend, finally the dolphin is complete.


And a careful little happy dance - the Pumpkin Kitty

Thanks again for your sympathy and encouragement! I just keep trying to remind myself to take it one day at a time. I know it could be a LOT worse. One positive out of it is that it helps take the attention away from my shoulder. ;-)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Well, now that would explain it

For the past couple of weeks, I've noticed pain in my tailbone area while sitting on the couch and some chairs. I have just been enduring it, changing my sitting posture frequently, thinking I must have bruised it, and that the pain would just go away in time. But it hasn't. In fact, when my chiropractor was checking it out, it felt just a little worse - and a little odd. So I set up an appointment to see my sports medicine doctor about it, and we've discovered that at some point (we don't know when), I've fractured my tailbone at the tip - and we're not talking some little hairline fracture. The tip of my tailbone (looked to be almost an inch long) looks like it is hanging off at about a 30 degree angle (yes, my coccyx is cock-eyed)! No wonder I've been having some pain. I have no idea when it happened (though I can think of several times over the course of my life when I have fallen on my tailbone-especially at roller skating rinks), and I can't think of any event recently when I might have re-injured or aggravated it. Oh, and there really is nothing the doctor or I can do to 'fix' it. Anti-inflammatory meds and pillows or other devices to take off the pressure while sitting to try to protect it. Sigh.

I'm so glad it's Friday and the weekend is upon us!

I have been able to stitch just a little bit, and this is how far I've gotten on Pumpkin Kitty


Oh, and it's the Black Swan Designs SAL weekend! I will be pulling Merrick out for as much of a go as I can do. Have you worked on your Black Swan design lately? :)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Some progress, a finish

Cat (Candy) by Vervaco

Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan

February Doily in Peach
from the Year in Doilies 4 leaflet by Leisure Arts
I didn't get much more stitched on Cat before finally taking a scan. On the one hand, I wanted more progress, but on the other - well, I moved on to other things, obviously.

As I said, I've started putting the panels together on the Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan, and I have them all in pairs of two currently. Next I'll pair the pairs and work on getting the entire thing together.

I have been working on the peach-colored doily for a couple of weeks now, no big secret, I just didn't feel like trying to take progress pictures - this thing looked so wavy before I washed and blocked it. I also wasn't 100% certain I would have enough thread to finish it (but fortunately I had plenty).

And I've given in to another cross-stitch start, and it's another Sweetheart Tree design, Pumpkin Kitty. I don't know what it is about Halloween and Sweetheart Tree designs, but I think I love and want to stitch every one of them! I started with the border (and haven't even finished that yet, so not enough progress for a progress picture), and I think I'm going to add some beads in the border. It is the same stitch as in their By the Sea Sampler that has beads (below the top waves and above the bottom waves), and I really like the look with the beads - an even better dimension.

I'm still doing my exercises, but now that we're adding in some chest stretching, my outer shoulder has started to hurt a bit. I'll be discussing that with my PT the next time I see her. And unfortunately, I have yet to find a pain reliever, so the stitching is still just a bit sporadic, but I did manage to finish one quilt block on Scott's Ships today - I've only been 'working' on that for a couple of months now... ;-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thanks for the input!

Of course, I haven't gotten started on it yet, but I do plan to measure my pieces of cross stitch fabric and label them to start. I currently keep them in two plastic bins (blacks/blues/greens/purples in one, whites/beiges/pinks/browns in another), folded, but I'll keep your comment in mind if I should notice any fading along the crease lines. One of my problems is that they really aren't labeled, so I have to really look and sometimes measure to figure out if a piece is 25, 28, or 32 count. I'd love to just be able to see at a glance if the fabric is big enough before I start a 'floss toss'.

I've worked a little more on Cat (Candy), but want to get some more stitches in before moving on to the next project. I've also added two more (of eight) blackberries to my Blackberry Jam - I'll try to post new pics of those over the weekend, and maybe a pic of my progress on the Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan. :)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I have a question

For those cross stitchers who have a fabric stash and keep track of it, how do you measure the odd pieces where you've cut out a portion? The ones that look like an L (or even more different)? I was wondering this when I started to look at cataloging my evenweaves. I'm not so keen on cutting the pieces further (so that they will be even rectangles again), because I'm not sure which direction the length would be needed most. Does anyone have suggestions?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

And just like that

the weekend was here, as was the first of October. It's funny how time seems to crawl throughout the week and fly over the weekend.

I've worked a little on Gothic Castle, and I've finally completed pages 1 and 2 (there are 6 total, but two of them are only half-filled with stitches). I find it interesting to see how my tastes have changed in just a few short years. When I originally started working on Gothic Castle, I was stitching it on 14 ct. orange aida. That was a disaster, as the orange really showed through the stitches, and so I decided to start over on something lighter - ivory. And for some strange reason, I decided that I wanted it to be bigger, so I went for 11 ct. ivory aida. I'm using 4 strands of floss for better coverage, but even with that many strands, the coverage isn't the best, especially in the black areas. As I sat stitching on it tonight, I wondered what in the world I was thinking when I decided to put it on 11 ct. fabric. It didn't really need to be bigger to be better. But it is, and because I still like the design (and I am NOT starting it over again), I'll continue to stitch it on this fabric, but now I think that it would have looked better if I'd stuck with 14 (28) ct. fabric or even 16 (32).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Unicorn Mystique

I decided to work on the unicorn, and made a little bit of progress, so I thought I'd share.

Unicorn Mystique progress photo

I've put in a little more of the background, and I finally started giving him some hooves. No stitching tonight, I'm going to read a little (if my eyes aren't too tired).

Linda, I feel for you - I have another friend who had some foot surgery a few years back, and I remember how it affected her. We'll just have to let some of those things stack up until we get better, eh? ;-)

Ann, there are diagrams on the pattern for those stitches (satin stitch at the outer edges, hem stitch at the top and bottom, and knotted clusters for the 'holes') that show the stitches, and it took a couple of trials to figure the clusters out, but you're right, they do look like dragonflies. :) That's one of the nice things about her (Teresa's) patterns - she provides good stitch diagrams. The pattern is available from Teresa's freebies page, you just have to download the Acrobat reader if you don't already have it, to view and print. It may seem intimidating, but it's a really small project, or you can always try them out on a scrap piece of fabric.

I even had an oopsie on that design, and I'll point it out, because I don't think it's that noticeable, but it wasn't something I could go back and fix (and I'm okay with that). If you look at the top row, you may notice that the outer stitches are a little taller than on the other sides. I didn't count correctly on the outer hem stitch (the row in between the outermost row of stitches and the knotted clusters), and I didn't realize it until I had already cut the threads and completed the knotted clusters. I just made the plait stitch a little taller so there wouldn't be a gap between it and the hem stitch (over 3 threads high instead of 2). Even after 20 years of stitching, I still make mistakes, but I try not to let them bother me. :D

Up next: who knows??? I'll just let something jump out at me. Have a great rest of the week - it's probably going to be a busy one for me, but I'll post again soon!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Intermediate Whitework Ornament

It's a freebie from Teresa Wentzler, and I stitched it on the same fabric as the Harvest Time kitty ornament (a 28 count beige/tan linen) with Vikki Clayton silk floss - Fire Dragon color.


I've also been working just a little on my Unicorn today while watching NASCAR and football. Exercises and laundry are nearly done, and I'm looking forward to a nice dinner and catching up on some of the new tv shows we've taped. Thanks for showing the patience that sometimes I don't feel. :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Wow, has it really been that long???

I haven't posted since Sunday, and it's kind of freaking me out. I guess I've been pretty busy, what with some building issues at work, training classes, and physical therapy, of course. Thank goodness the weekend is here!

I don't have any new photos to share yet, but I hope to by Sunday night - I've worked a little more on Merrick, wanting to get some more of the dolphin done, and just a tiny bit more on Blackberry Jam. I've also put together 2 sets of 2 panels each on the Vacation Mile-a-Minute afghan. I'll probably have it finished before the 63 squares afghan (though I do have all of the squares done now). I only have 4 of the 9 rows put together on it so far.

I've been very scattered lately, not knowing what I want to pick up and work on, thus I've started another crochet doily and the Teresa Wentzler Intermediate Whitework Ornament. Scott's Ships quilt sits in the other room patiently waiting for me to get back to it. I think October might be a good time for that - that's his birth month.

I'm taking off Monday from work so the girls and I can have a Scrabble Day. It should be nice and relaxing, and I'm looking forward to it, as always. Tonight is the mid-season (they're calling it summer) finales of Stargate: Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica. I'd better make sure to get the videotapes set up...

Happy weekend all!!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Blackberry Jam and Merrick



I just wanted to share - I took your collective advice and stitched on something new that I *wanted* to stitch - Blackberry Jam by The Sweetheart Tree and a little bit of progress on Merrick. Isn't the little blackberry the cutest??? It is so 3-dimensional, and I think it uses about 5 different colors of beads to create the very realistic-looking blackberry (imho, that is). Merrick got a little bit of work on his robes and the dolphin. Not as much as I would have liked, but progress nonetheless.

I've been given some additional exercises (I'm up to 17 different exercises and stretches now), that I do every other day (the stretches I do every day). I know it is helping me grow stronger, but I'm also a little more sore because of it. This weekend's been a little better though. Hopefully it will help me a little more throughout the week.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Last night was better

Yesterday, after my exercises and dinner, I sat down and didn't feel too tired to stitch, so I did. And I didn't have to stop so quickly as the day before. I worked on Merrick while we watched another couple of episodes of Voyager. It's still hit-and-miss at this point, but I'm encouraged by any amount of time that I can stitch without feeling tired or sore.

I have this battle raging inside right now, though. Because I can't stitch as frequently or for as long as I could before, I feel the need on one hand to make sure that whatever I do work on is something with a deadline, or it's close to being finished, or it's in my rotation already. On the other hand, I feel the need not to pressure myself if I'm not 100%-completely enjoying the projects that have deadlines, etc., in favor of something else 'more fun.' Because of this inward battle, I feel almost impotent, because then I work on nothing, even when I feel like I can stitch or crochet or quilt a bit. Talk about frustrating!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thank you

Thank you for your comments! Every comment I receive I appreciate, and they continually encourage me. Ziall, Harvest Time is a cross-stitch design, which I would categorize as a form of embroidery.

Last night I had planned to work on Scott's quilt while watching the last disc of The Tomorrow People. I didn't get very far, only completing one small sail's worth of quilting before I decided I wasn't up to it yet, even with my new frame holding the quilt just where I need it to.

I didn't stitch one bit after that, and it's almost scary - I don't remember doing much of anything except a little chat on the phone with a friend and my mom. The guys were playing PS2 football, and I went to bed a little before they were finished.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Another little finish, again...

Started Thursday, September 8, and finished today, Harvest Time by Dinky Dyes designs (Stacey Tippin). I stitched it on a piece of 28 ct. linen that was in a grab bag from a LNS, so I'm not sure of the color, but it's close to DMC 738. :)


I haven't decided how to finish-finish it, but I think it will look really cute with the other Halloween-type designs hanging on the wall in my craft room.

I think I'm going to pull out Merrick and have a go at him. Next weekend is our monthly Black Swan Designs stitch-along weekend, and I'm glad to be able to participate this month.

Oh, and GO STEELERS!!!! They played an awesome game against the Titans today.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ta-da!

Another little finish!

Obviously, I'm feeling better. I'm still fatigued quite easily, and a little sore, but I'm still keeping up with my PT appointments and exercises and stretching as I'm supposed to. I even have a new keyboard drawer and chair ordered for work. Now I just need to get a new computer chair for home.

Anyway, this is Sweetheart Tree's By the Sea Sampler, and I think it's adorable. I'm thinking of a white or almost-white frame... sometime down the road. It's going to fit in perfectly with two other designs I have hanging on the wall together (Mermaid Magic and Castles by the Sea).

Monday, September 05, 2005

Another little finish

I wanted something small to work on while my back and shoulders were healing - something I could put down and pick up easily. I got this freebie design by A Family Affair at CATS Nashville 2005 in the Picture This Plus booth (having purchased some very cool overdyed linens), and it seemed to fit the bill.

I pulled out a scrap piece of linen, picked out one Anchor floss color and some overdyed flosses that I'd gotten in my "Opps" bag from Dinky Dyes, and here is the result. Oh, and the eyelets are stitched with the 'Yellow Knockered Fairy' floss that was in almost every "Opps" bag. :)

Completed September 2, 2005


I'll probably stick to stitching some little designs for a bit, before getting back into the swing of my rotation.

Friday, September 02, 2005

One little picture

Here's a mini-doily that I finished on the drive back from Bristol last weekend. I finally got the ends woven in. I crocheted it with some DMC perle cotton. The colors are funky, and I really like it. I'd almost be tempted to do a room in these colors. :)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

So much for August's goals

While I did manage to finish 3 squares on my 63 squares afghan (leaving one to go, and then the assembly), I didn't manage to achieve any of the rest of my goals for this month, mostly because of my back and shoulder problems. As a result, I don't think I'm going to set any goals for September, except to get to feeling better, and hopefully to stitch and crochet when I can. I'd also like to work on Scott's quilt some more, and we'll see how that goes, but as for Gerrick's quilt - I don't see myself finishing that by Christmas this year. He will be two years old in March, so I might set my sights on his birthday.

September's goals: get better and stitch! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Let the new tv series begin!

Last night we watched Prison Break, and I'm already counting it as one of our must-watch series of the new season. I liked Dominic Purcell in John Doe (and I'm still smarting over the way that show was treated - it was good and had such potential!), and the new kid, Wentworth Miller, is intriguing.

We have quite a list of must-watch wannabe's this year, with Surface (what was wrong with the name Fathom?), Invasion, Ghost Whisperer, and Threshold as potential new sci-fi-ish shows, while Commander-in-Chief, E-Ring, and Reunion top the potential dramas. Out of Practice is the only show that looks interesting in the comedy arena.

And that's not to mention the shows that already have slots in our weekly recording schedule. But I seriously doubt that we will end up watching all of those shows to the end of the season. Some will most likely disappoint us (they usually do).

How did the rest of my weekend go? Well, we made it to Bristol and back in one piece and only slightly the worse for wear. The physical therapist had a job yesterday of loosening the tight shoulder and back muscles, but she did a good job and I feel better for it. I am scheduled to see her again Friday, doing my stretches every day and exercises every other day. It's still difficult to remember to sit with better posture, but I'm working on it.

Over the weekend, I managed to get another couple of squares crocheted on the 63 squares afghan (rib stitch and basket weave), and I now have about half of my By the Sea sampler complete. :)




Thanks again for your well-wishes, they are very much appreciated!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Physical therapy and stitching

I've been a good little patient, as I've been all of my stretches and exercises, and I went to my first physical therapy appointment this morning. It consisted of a lot of (what I would consider) pressure point massaging of the affected muscles on my left back, neck, and shoulder areas, some new exercises (for rotator cuff strengthening too), some new stretches, and some heat and stim at the end of the session. I felt very good about it, even though I'm still very sore (and I know it will take time to heal). I really like my therapist, and she even praised me for raising my head correctly (with my hand supporting it), though I told her that was learned out of necessity from when I couldn't raise it last week without the support.

And I've been able to stitch for short periods of time! I decided to reward myself for good behavior by letting me start By the Sea Sampler (The Sweetheart Tree). It has 21 rows, and these are the first 5, stitched over 2 days. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Check your posture!!!

If you are reading this, then you are most likely sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Check your posture!!!

I had my appointment with Dr. Sports Medicine this morning, and really should have guessed where he was going when he asked me if I'd been a web developer for more than 6-7 years. He called it 'Silicon Valley syndrome'. And basically it means that over the years, sitting at my desk, my posture (which I had thought wasn't TOO bad until this point) has deteriorated, stretching the muscles in my shoulders and upper back, causing them to tighten and become weak. The muscles in my chest have become drawn, causing my shoulders to droop forward, creating a strain on my neck and upper back. Basically, he said that any (even unnoticeable) movement that put a strain on those muscles could have caused the spasms that started last week.

I have some shoulder and upper back stretches and exercises that I have begun doing today (shoulder rolls, etc.), and I start physical therapy Friday. I really should have known when I went back to work on Monday and felt the shoulder muscles tightening and straining as the day wore on that my posture was not so good. At least we have recognized what is wrong, and I am taking steps to strengthen my back and shoulders and correct my posture.

This is your Public Service Announcement: please take a moment to get up from your computer and stretch - even go for a walk - and be aware of your posture when you sit back down at your computer again! Take frequent breaks - I've learned my lesson.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Another doctor's appointment

So, I have my MRI films, and the radiologist's report shows nothing abnormal with my discs. I'll be taking the films to a sports medicine physician tomorrow morning, to see if they can pinpoint the problem and give me a solution!! The back muscles aren't spasming like they were, but they are still irritated.

I put a few (very few!) stitches into the Summer Maiden last night before giving up for the evening. A little is better for the spirit than none at all. I went to bed early to give it some more rest.

Stitching scientist - yes, it is mostly retail prices, but a few deals can be had from various vendors (like grab bags in the Dinky Dyes / Enchanting Lair booth). I loved it because I got to chat with designers/owners as well as shop for items not usually available at my LNS's. Enjoy your Hershey CATS, I've heard it is a good show. :)

I wish I had some pictures to share - maybe this weekend... it is driving me CRAZY not to be able to stitch , quilt, crochet, knit, or otherwise craft! I've done a lot of staring at stash, and the pile of things I want to start just keeps increasing, LOL.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

CATS 2005 Stash!

I really (really, really!) didn't think I would want to spend much money on stash at the shopping mart. Apparently the not being able to do anything for over a week made me a little crazy. Thank you so much for the well wishes, they are greatly appreciated. My back is still sore, but at least it is not spasming like it was most of the week.

I decided to go ahead and attempt the shopping mart at CATS Saturday afternoon, and I'm really glad I did. I saw lots of friends and familiar faces, put faces with names of online friends, and made even more new ones. I especially appreciated getting the chance to talk to Jo (Dinky Dyes) and Laura (Enchanting Lair), and to meet the Vanosdalls of The Sweetheart Tree. I learned a lot more than I thought I would at a shopping mart, and I didn't even take any classes! The TWBBers had a great dinner at Rachel's, and I envied them all going back to the Stitcher's Lounge afterwards (but I was pretty worn out, so I wouldn't have been doing myself any good staying). I'm sure they had a fabulous time, and I look forward to reading all about it on the boards and blogs.

Okay, I'm going to get back off the computer and go rest a bit more. Here's what I acquired at the show...

  • 3 designs by Stacey Tippin using Dinky Dyes silks (plus the fiber packs)
  • An Opps (yes, opps not oops) fiber grab bag
  • 4 fat quarters and 1 fat eighth hand-dyed fabrics from Picture This Plus (heather, legacy, relic, raisin, tarnish)
  • 2 kits and 2 charts from The Sweetheart Tree
  • One Ever So Little chart from Simply Old Fashioned

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Not much better yet

Thank you for all of your well wishes! I have now had an MRI, and we're waiting on the radiologist's report (hopefully available tomorrow). We're all stumped as to why I'm not getting better, and it's so frustrating that 'taking it easy' along with the ibuprofen is not helping the healing much.

I may only go to CATS on Saturday, and if I'm not feeling much better, it may be only for the dinner with the TWBBers. I'm going to go get as comfortable as I can now, awaiting some magazines being brought to me from a dear friend. Surely reading them can't be considered overdoing it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Your intrepid blogger sidelined by injury

I do have two pictures to post, but I haven't been able to stitch because I somehow hurt my back Sunday. I have no idea how, but it has severely curtailed my activity over the past two days. My chiropractor and I are working on it, and hopefully I'll be good as new for CATS this weekend.

First is the 10th panel of my Vacation mile-a-minute afghan, through round 4! I'll be doing the outermost row around the other 9 panels, and then can start putting them together. :) Next is square #61 of the 63 squares afghan! I now have 4 rows of squares (of 9 total) already put together.