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Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year comes to a close, a new year begins

This has been a strange year for me. As I look back, it seems as if I am in a state of flux. My interest in quilts and quilting has waxed while my interest in my cross stitch projects has waned somewhat. I've only finished a few small cross stitch designs, most of them in the beginning of the year. I also threw out my rotation somewhere along the way, though I still have it listed on my web site. I want to finish some before I start another new project, so I'd like to make that my goal this year - no starting new cross stitch projects until at least two are finished. Hopefully I haven't just jinxed myself - goal setting for me sometimes has the opposite effect (!).

I finished three quilts and am on the verge of finishing three more (okay, the Double Wedding Ring will take a bit more time because I'm hand-quilting it, but if my interest holds, I see myself finishing it in the first couple of months of 2008). Oh, and I am using my Aunt Becky tool on part of the design - the slight curve on the melon pieces. I tried using it on the design I'm doing in the middle of the "squares" but there are just too many sharp curves for me to really get into a rhythm with it there, so it's kind of half-and-half. I'll be starting a new block in January, for the SSS 2008 quilt. I also plan to start and hopefully finish a quilt for Delaney, and I'd really like to do my Cocoa Bling Kitty quilt that I purchased the fabric for earlier this year. I also want to continue to work on my GFG quilt, since I've made some good progress on it this year and it's starting to look a bit more like a quilt top.

I didn't start a new yarn crochet project like I thought I might a few months ago. I really need to organize my yarn a little better (in a variety of plastic bags in the closet doesn't really count as organized for me). I think I might like to learn how to knit socks. A co-worker came in wearing some that were knitted for her for Christmas, and they looked really yummy. I'm a little intimidated, but I'm going to try it anyway. So I stopped by my LNS after work today and bought a book, some double-pointed needles and a skein of sock yarn. Pat (LNS owner) said that if I have any trouble, I can stop by Thursday Night's Sit n Stitch and she'll help me.

I got reacquainted with beading this year. The nieces (and my nephew) all loved their bracelets, and I enjoyed making them, so I'll probably continue to try out new patterns, though I think there are only a couple of more classes that I might want to take.

I would also like to read more. If not with my eyes, then certainly with my ears. I've subscribed to and have been listening mostly to books I've already read (but a long time ago, so I've forgotten a lot of them). I think it's a good way to try books I might not normally read. I still check out a lot of audiobooks (on CD) from the public library, but there are a lot that they don't carry. They don't seem to have as much in the way of science fiction at the library, so I'll probably be using Audible for more obscure books.

I hope that everyone has a happy and prosperous New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The cat is out of the bag

I couldn't help myself, on Christmas Eve I told Mom and Dad that the Double Wedding Ring quilt is being made for them. :)

I've also been working on the Grandmother's Flower Garden some more over the past month.

And just to show that I still cross stitch too, here's the latest progress on The Sun Sets...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another quilt top complete

I took today off as a vacation day, and after I watched my Tivo'd Steelers game I ambled in to the craft room. And I actually accomplished what I set out to do on this day off from work - I completed piecing the Double Wedding Ring quilt top. This picture isn't the best, but it was the best I could do this afternoon.

Double Wedding Ring quilt top completely pieced

I can't tell you how good it feels to finally finish piecing this quilt. It is just as I had imagined it would be when I started planning the colors and fabrics. On Wednesday I made a trip back to Joann's to see if I could get the backing fabric with my 40% off coupon, and this time I was successful. I had gone a couple of weeks ago, found the perfect fabric, went to check out, and found out that because it was on sale at $1.00 off, I could not use my coupon at that time. I decided to wait it out, taking my chances that they would either still have it, or I would find another perfect fabric when it wasn't on sale, and luck was with me - the bolt that I had chosen had not even been cut since that first visit. It was just waiting for me to come and claim it. I also picked up a fabric that I thought might be a good choice for the binding, but once I got home, I saw that it won't work with the quilt top (so I'll just have to use it for something else). I'll look for something a little darker next time.

C is going to play video games at a friend's tomorrow, so I'm going to try to layer and baste the quilt so that I can get started on the quilting, which I've decided to do by hand on this quilt. I guess I should check and see if I have the batting for it first, huh? If not, I'll make a trip to the Joann's out in Mt. Juliet, because that one is a newer store (than the one where I got the backing fabric), and I think they have a slightly different selection of fabrics. I'm excited to finally be at this stage, and it's actually going as planned.

I haven't cross stitched much lately - I put in a few stitches last Saturday (Stitch Day at Melanie's), but mostly I've been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. I should have new pictures of it and of The Sun Sets... cross stitch project to share this week - just as soon as I get around to taking them. :)

Oh, I almost forgot - I put together little simple necklaces to go with the bracelets I made for the nieces for Christmas this year - Alli's is on the left, Delaney's is the middle one, and the one on the right is for Tori. I hope they like them!

Bracelets and necklaces that I've made as Christmas gifts this year

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I am so completely bowled over - I passed the ITIL Foundations exam that I was absolutely certain I did not pass (back mid-November). Granted, I didn't pass the test with flying colors like I used to when I was in high school and college, but the main thing is that I passed, period. Wow. Cool. Can my stomach stop hurting now? I've been having pain issues since the middle of the week that I took the class, and I've been to see the doctor, and I'm still having pain issues. This probably warrants another phone call / trip back to see the doctor...

But I passed the test! :)

Oh yes, and Leslie, I am definitely participating in the SSS 2008 - it's supposed to be star blocks, and my choice for colorway is black and white! I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SSS 2007 a success

I picked up my final quilt block last Saturday for the SSS 2007 quilt, promptly brought it home, pieced it, and then finished piecing the quilt top. I think it's really pretty, and I'm looking forward to having it quilted so that I can give it to my sister-in-law sometime in the first quarter of 2008. This block was Snail's Trail, a block I'm familiar with because of my brother's quilt. :)

Block 12, Snail's Trail
SSS 2007 quilt top pieced

Okay, what happened to this year? Already it's only two weeks until Christmas? It feels like I time warped ahead or something. And I'm nowhere near ready for it this year. It's funny though, I understand how close it is, and yet I don't feel the urgency like I have in the past. My first Christmas party is Wednesday, so maybe that will get me motivated...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dirty Santa

Yes, it is that time of year - when everyone decides to have a party with a dirty Santa / white elephant exchange. My bead group is the first of these, and our party is next Wednesday. I was told that most everyone makes their gifts, so I decided to do two things - a Mill Hill beaded ornament and a knit scarf. Here are the results!

Knit scarf
Beaded cross stitch ornament from Mill Hill

C's work Christmas party is coming up the week after that, so I'm going to make another knit scarf for it. Thank goodness they work up pretty quickly, and then I can get back to my regularly scheduled Christmas gift madness. :) Happy Wednesday Thursday!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Just stuff on a Friday

Monday night I didn't stitch at all. But I did finish Zelda: Phantom Hourglass while watching my Steelers finally win over the Dolphins 3-0.

Tuesday night I spent working on The Sun Sets... while we watched 6 epidodes of Charmed. :)

Thursday I played with beads, making a bracelet for my niece Alli, because I don't think the one I made her a couple of months ago will fit.

Today I'm wishing I was at home working on quilts (I'm on lunch break from a class I'm taking). Wednesday I watched a Quilting from the Heartland video that had Jean Brown as a guest, and she was demonstrating a different hand-quilting technique that I had to watch a couple of times. She uses this tool called an "Aunt Becky" underneath the quilt, and does not rock her hand that holds the needle. I was amazed at both the technique and how fast and evenly she quilted. So, you've probably guessed by now that I had to order one. I'm waiting to get my confirmation - I really want to try it out!!!

I liked some other ideas she had, and wanted to make a note:
  1. use the same color thread throughout - thread up a bunch of needles so you don't have to break your rhythm.
  2. baste your quilt in a radiating pattern instead of a grid
  3. sew the binding to the quilt top before you begin quilting - this helps to stabilize and protect the edges (and seams) of the quilt

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Four days of fun

This has been a fabulous holiday weekend. Friday we put the tree up and decorated it while we watched my favorite holiday movie, White Christmas. C has been playing Heavenly Sword on his PS3, and I've been alternately quilting and stitching. I did go ahead and start The Sun Sets... (yeah, like I could have stopped myself once I started thinking about it). :) Here is my first progress picture:

The Sun Sets... by M Designs

I worked on two quilts - I had just one variation of block 12 to make for Afternoon Tea, so I went ahead and pieced it. C said it reminded him of a chocolate covered cherry. After completing this block, I sewed on some of the setting triangles, so I now have about half of the setting triangles sewn to the blocks.

Block 12, one variation, Afternoon Tea quilt

I finished piecing the "blocks" of row 8 (of the double wedding ring quilt) together, and I finally got to start piecing the rows to each other. Piecing the rows to each other is not going as quickly or easily as I had thought it might be, because it is a two-step process. First the melon pieces must be pieced to the center pieces. Once all those are done, then you piece the connecting diamonds to each other. Although I've learned a lot with this quilt, and I love the colors and the way it looks, I probably won't make another one. The construction of this quilt makes the Drunkard's Path one I did a couple of years ago seem like child's play (and trust me, it wasn't).

Close-up of connecting diamonds

Rows 6-8 pieced to one another (I started at the bottom and am working my way up this quilt)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vintage Stitches progress

I've been working a bit on Vintage Stitches over the past few days, and have a quick progress picture to share.

Vintage Stitches progress

I'm stuffed with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner (thanks Mom & Dad!), listening to the new Duran Duran album (it is FABULOUS, and I'm a long time D2 fan - when I first heard Justin Timberlake and Timbaland produced and collaborated on it, I was skeptical, but I was oh so pleasantly surprised) while we watch football. I'm thinking of starting my new chart, "The Sun Sets..."... should I? I guess we'll see in a couple of days, eh? If I can just get off the computer... LOL

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And we're off! For the Thanksgiving holidays, that is...

I'll be spending some time with family, and hopefully spending a little bit of time in my craft room with a quilt or two.

I finally took a picture of my progress on the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. It is almost to its final length. I think there is one more whole flower to go at the bottom. Then I'll begin working my way across.

progress on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt

Last Friday I picked up Mini Perle from my framers, and I finally got around to taking a picture. Unfortunately, you can't really see in this photo the dimension of the frame. The inner part has a profile that sticks up from the rest of the frame. Trust me, it's really cool, and accentuates the design perfectly. :)

Mini Perle finally framed

I've been working on Vintage Stitches a little bit, and I should have a new progress picture of it next.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Road Trip!

Cheryl, Dana, Wendy, and I decided to take a road trip over to Crossville, to visit the new cross stitch store owned by designer Mary McLenon (M Designs). It was a lot of fun, and for me it was the perfectly timed get-away that I desperately needed. This week at work was consumed by an ITIL Foundations class, studying at night and during the day when I wasn't in class, followed by a test Friday afternoon that I'm pretty certain I did not pass. We won't find out for at least 3 weeks. I do not handle stress well at all. It tends to cripple me physically, and I'm still trying to deal with its repercussions. So yesterday's trip was just what I needed to help me not think about the last week at all. The drive over was beautiful, with one stretch of highway completely surrounded by the red trees of autumn. The companionship was awesome, and Mary and her shop were a delight.

I stayed within my budget, and picked up some nice stash.

Stash enhancement from road trip to M Designs in Crossville, TN

Here's what I got:
  • Ice Blue Snowflake Kit by Mill Hill (for a Christmas party Dirty Santa gift)
  • A package of perforated paper that I'll use to make some other ornaments
  • Letters G & H by M Designs
  • Witches' Familiar Silk 'n Colors by Thread Gatherer (for use with the letters leaflet)
  • Dragonfly Needle Roll by M Designs
  • Autumn Leaves by The Prairie Schooler
  • Donner by Nora Corbett (Mirabilia) - I love her new reindeer designs!
  • Red Heart freebie by Dessins DHC
  • The Sun Sets... by M Designs
  • Crystal Carnival Cashel linen by Picture This Plus (for The Sun Sets...)
  • 10 Crescent Colors (for The Sun Sets...)
I've started the Snowflake kit, and my next start will most likely be The Sun Sets... The model was much prettier than the picture. It's the case, once again, where the picture on the chart didn't really impress me, but the model really did.

Thanks to Cheryl for driving, and thanks to all the girls for the great companionship. I always enjoy my time with other stitchers, and this time was no exception!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quilts, quilts, everywhere again!

I have to confess I haven't cross stitched in over a week. I've spent most of my time either playing Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on my DS or piecing quilts.

I've finally gotten back around to working on the double wedding ring quilt this weekend (I took off Wednesday-Friday for my birthday). Although I didn't finish assembling the quilt top, I made some great progress, piecing rows 5-7 and the melon pieces for row 8. I still haven't pieced any of the rows to each other, but I look forward to starting that soon. I probably won't have a new photo to post until I finish assembly of the quilt top.

I do have a couple of pictures to share of my SSS 2007 quilt. I picked up my November block on Saturday as well as a finishing kit for the quilt, and I started assembling the quilt even though I don't have the 12th block yet.

Here are November's block (Steps to the Altar) and a [really bad picture] sneak peek of the layout of the SSS 2007 quilt. It's going to be on point with sashing strips, 6 plain blocks, an inner border to match the sashing strips, and an outer border. I wanted to go ahead and get started so I'm not slammed during December, because I need to finish this quilt top by January. If I take the completed top to the quilt shop when I pick up my January block for SSS 2007, I get that block for free! :)

November's block - Steps to the Altar
Sneak peek of the layout (on point)

I've also been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden, but I don't have any new photos yet. I may try to take a photo later this week.

Oh, and one more I nearly forgot - I stitched up three variations of block 11 of my Afternoon Tea quilt, so I have one more variation of one more block to go, and then I can begin assembling that quilt too!

Afternoon Tea, block 11, 3 variations

Sunday, November 04, 2007

3 high school reunions in one year

Last night I attended my third 20-year high school reunion this year. Why three you ask? Well, because I attended three high schools in the same town when I was growing up. Freshman year was Lebanon High, Sophomore and Junior years was Castle Heights, and Senior year I finished up at Friendship Christian. I had joked with my mom that if I found out when the Lebanon High reunion was going to be, I would crash it, just to see all the classmates I went to school with for most of my schooling, because I went to public schools through 9th grade, and most of the elementary and junior high schoolers ended up going to Lebanon High. Well, it turned out I didn't have to crash because I was invited anyway, LOL.

I wasn't sure how many people would be there (of course, it was a much bigger class than either Friendship or Castle Heights because it was the only public high school in Lebanon), but I figured there would be at least a couple of friends that I made through those years attending. As with any reunion, there are the awkward moments ("Remember Me?" "I think so... help me out..."), and the dinner itself was not anything special, but the whole point was reconnecting and catching up with people I haven't seen in (in this case) over 23 years. Wow, it hurts to write that. I'm in total denial that it has been that long.

After the regular cheesy reunion contests (who's got the most children, who's been married the longest, etc.), they opened up the dance floor and played some good music, but as usual, no one wants to be the first on the dance floor. I actually told some of the girls that if they joined me, I'd get out there, but no one wanted to take me up on it. So we visited some more around the room.

And then they started playing a good dance song, and Letitia finally came and got me, and she and I got out and started to dance. It was just a very small group at first, but it opened it up for others afterwards. After some basic dancing, they played the Electric Slide song, and then the Macarena, and then Electric Boogie again. Each time, more people (mostly us girls) got out on the dance floor, and I just can't express what a good time we had. I was about to pack it up to head home, had started saying my good-byes, when they started playing the Cha-Cha Slide. Anyone who knows me, knows I can't resist this one (I was even dancing it in the line for the roller coaster at Cedar Point several years ago), so we had one more good dance, then it was really time to head home. There were, of course, many people who I wished had come that didn't, but it was nice to catch up with the ones who were able to make it. They even reminded me of things we'd done that I'd completely forgotten (some maybe on purpose).

Anyway, I think a good time was had by all, certainly by me. Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pumpkin Patch finished on Halloween

I decided to go ahead and use the charm on this one, since I already had it. At least it's not too bad or bulky. I guess if I want to do this one again, I'll think about an over-one pumpkin. Over-2 just wouldn't give the detail I think the border deserves. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Musings

I have an itch to start a new crochet project. I haven't finished the Pressed Flowers scrap afghan yet, but it's just not doing anything for me right now. It's very dense, and thus, very heavy, and I think I'd like to do another one of those mile-a-minute afghans. I have plenty of yarn, so I wouldn't need to go out and buy any (YAY for the pocketbook!). I would just have to decide on the pattern and colors.

Of course, what I REALLY need to be working on is the Double Wedding Ring quilt. I haven't touched it for several months now, and it sorely needs attention. I need a couple of weeks off in my craft room! :)

Speaking of my craft room, Sunday night I was rummaging around in there, and I happened across a little chartpak that I don't remember buying, but must have gotten from one of the shows I've attended (I know - that is just SO wrong). Anyway, it's Pumpkin Patch, one of the Little Leaf Designs, and I thought it would be a perfect little quick stitch for Halloween. I like a lot of the Little Leaf Designs, but I haven't bought any except for this one because they seem expensive (to me) for the size. Of course, you get a charm to use in them, and I think most of them use an overdyed thread which is also included, but sometimes I'd rather just have the entire design stitched, and not have to rely on a charm to complete it. Don't get me wrong, Pumpkin Patch is going to be very cute when it's finished with the charm, but maybe I'd like to stitch it twice, and so I'll have to go out and find another charm. I don't think I have any pumpkin designs that would fit inside the space for the charm, and my design skills are pretty limited.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another Afternoon Tea block, Winter Maiden

Finally, just under the wire for October, I've assembled two variations of block 10 for Afternoon Tea. This month has seen virtually no quilt progress, as I've been distracted by a million other things (or at least it seems).

And I'm very happy to announce that I've started Winter maiden, the last of the four Maidens of the Seasons. I finally get to stitch with those Needlepaints flosses that I bought [so long ago] when I first kitted the project. They are only used in the Winter maiden, so I've been anxious to get to her. I've been beading as I go, but I haven't backstitched yet, so she looks a little like I do without makeup, LOL (blondish-red eyelashes are practically invisible).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jury Duty

For the first time in my life, I had jury duty this week. I was randomly selected for the first pool of 30 potential jurors in a criminal case on Monday, and then I was randomly selected as one of the first 13 in the jury box. It took all morning to make it through voir dire (and I must have been deemed acceptable). The trial didn't start until after lunch, and finally wound up this (Tuesday) afternoon. Wow, was it an interesting and learning experience! It may be the same in most juries, but I was so pleased that my fellow jurors were all very thoughtful with great questions and discussions. It made me think critically in ways I wouldn't normally, and I think that's what I value most about the experience. So many times I like to think in black and white terms, but there are such shades of gray that must be considered, and I appreciated the chance to be a part of the process.

After the trial was over, the judge came back and gave us additional details about the case to which we were not previously privy, which were not part of the evidence (and which likely would have influenced us had we been). It was fascinating!

I'm still considering where to go next with my stitching. Meanwhile, I've begun working on Winter Maiden, which is pretty much non-fantasy. I also still really like the Midsummer Night's Fairy, so I imagine she'll be attended to fairly soon also. :) Thanks for your comments and support!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Raccoon's Visit

I decided not to add the outer border to my little raccoon. I like him just as he is, and I'll likely make him into an ornament for our Christmas tree this year. :)

Raccoon's Visit by Something in Common

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A little bit of Avatar

But first, Zeb had asked what stitch type I used on the bracelets I made last weekend. Most were variations on the daisy chain. A few were made with right angle weave (2, 5, and 11), and the 7th bracelet was a zig zag stitch.

I worked on Avatar most of this week, and filled in some more of his cape and stitched the dragon's tail.

As I've been working through my WIPs, I've been thinking about the types of projects that make up my current list. When I started stitching, there really weren't very many fantasy-related charts or kits available. I found and stitched Teresa Wentzler's The Castle, and bought the chart for Fantasy Sampler. But there just weren't many other cool fantasy designs.

After I discovered the bulletin boards on the web (TWBB, Cross Stitch Corner on EZBoard), a whole new world was opened to me. At the same time, it seemed like a lot more fantasy designs were being created (that could be a coincidence or not), and I, well, went crazy buying and starting a lot of new projects, including a lot of fantasy-related ones.

As I have worked to whittle my WIPs back down, I've left myself with a lot more fantasy projects than any other type. And because of this, I think I'm in fantasy overload. My desire to work on fantasy-related projects is waning, and I'm increasingly drawn to other types (samplers, animals, scenic, etc.). I have no idea how to deal with it. So, I pulled out a little raccoon freebie from Something in Common, and started to stitch it last night. That is my current plan. I don't know where I'll go from here, but I just had to share my feelings because they've been coalescing for some time now, and I might need some support. It's a little disconcerting and depressing, especially for someone who is usually so enthusiastic about fantasy projects.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A productive beadwork weekend

Here are the beadwork projects I completed over my extra-long weekend: my spiral rope necklace and a variety of bracelets.

I like them all, but my current favorites are numbers 2, 10, and 11.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Block 10, Courthouse Steps

Today is, of course, the second Saturday of the month, and so we went to pick up my quilt block packet for October. This month it's Courthouse Steps, and I've always liked this block, though I've never actually made one before today (regular log cabin is as close as I've gotten). The colors are nice and autumn-y.

They were advertising next year's block-of-the-month signup as a variety of star blocks, and the color choices were brights, Civil War, or black & white. I think the Civil War colors would be kind of similar to the Thimbleberries that I've done this year. And while I love brights, I've decided to go completely out of my usual comfort zone with the black & white. C mentioned one time that he thought a black & white quilt would be neat, so I will make it for him. And here I was thinking that I might not do next year's BOM, imagining that it would be similar colors and patterns to this year's, ha! I expect it to be very different. :)

Zeb, I do a variety of beadweaving techniques, including right angle weave, peyote, square stitch, spiral rope, and netting. I'm taking classes almost monthly to learn new "Stitches of the Month." I've done loomwork, but it isn't my favorite, so I'm skipping that class. If you're interested in some of my recent projects, feel free to browse my beadwork section. I've also bought several books, and I'm working on making some bracelets from them, practicing some of the stitches. :) I have always loved beads, but it wasn't until recently that I became obsessed with them again.

Well, I'm off to finish up my latest - a spiral rope necklace in my colors: the core is a dark, almost chocolate, burgundy, and the spiral is made up of a mixture of seed beads called golden grains - creams, golds, oranges, purply-browns in a variety of finishes. It's very me. :) I managed to pick up some really pretty buttons that I plan to use for clasps at Joann's this morning too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

And then there was the lack of restraint

I had an early supper with a friend after work Wednesday over in the Berry Hill area. Afterwards, and I have no idea why, I decided to run over to Beaded Bungalow. It's in the same general area as BeDazzled Beads, but I haven't been in the shop in several years. I guess I was trying to satisfy my curiosity, because I've been wondering how their prices were on seed beads (what I use mostly when beadweaving). I went in the shop and was quite impressed with both their selection and prices. Now, mind you, it's a small shop - smaller than BeDazzled - but I was "dazzled" by their seed bead display. So I bought a few...

Seed beads I bought at Beaded Bungalow on Wednesday

Okay, I guess that's more than a few. Yes, I showed a nice lack of restraint there after I was all proud of myself with resisting the NN floss a few days ago. But they're so pretty! Now I just have to decide on the patterns of bracelets I want to make. I'm actually wearing one today that I haven't taken a picture of - at a distance, it reminds me of a tennis bracelet. I used silver-lined clear and AB-finished lavender beads, and it's my favorite bracelet at the moment. I will have to take a picture to share.

I haven't really stitched much this week, but I did do a little on Pageant Kings. I've since moved on to Avatar, so I'll share what little progress I made on PK.

progress on Pageant Kings

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A little Enchanter progress

In working my way through my WIP list, I brought out Enchanter for a little attention this week. I worked mostly on the column, and a little more on his robes this time.

Enchanter progress

We had our Castle Heights Class of '87 reunion Friday night, and though we didn't have a huge turnout, we did have a really nice time with our classmates who were able to make it. I had fun reminiscing and catching up with everyone, and now my fridge is full of excellent leftovers, lol. I just gotta say, Amy Beth - you did a fantastic job of coordinating both the clubhouse and the food. It was the perfect place and an excellent menu. Though we both worked on this reunion together, I think she had the harder job with that because I'm terrible at party planning. I did the mailings and nametags and the mid-80's music mix, and that was way easier than securing the food and accomodations. Homecoming on Saturday was really nice as well, as a few of our classmates were able to stay overnight and attend the luncheon they have every year. After all the ceremonies, we cooled off in the Chop House and had a great time just hanging out again.

It will be back to the old grind tomorrow, but at least I have a nice long weekend to look forward to - we'll be taking next Friday and Monday as a mini-vacation, but not going anywhere - my favorite kind of vacation! :D I'll hopefully have a little time to play my new Legend of Zelda game - Phantom Hourglass (for the DS). It's very cool the little I've gotten to play so far. Oh yeah, and I've pulled out Pageant Kings for a little cross stitching attention.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I feel the need to toot my own horn today. :) I've shown restraint in the wake of news that Needle Necessities has gone out of business. Normally, that would have me racing to every LNS in town buying up skeins of their floss *just because*. Instead, I sat and thought about all the designs I have and that I want to do (currently), and of course, all of the skeins of their floss that I already own. And I couldn't come up with a good business case to do just run out and buy some. I'm so proud of me, lol! Of course, I understand those who have ornaments picked out to stitch, or who have charts waiting to be kitted up that will require certain colors - I'm just not in that group. Plus, I've heard the rumor that another company is going to come out with the same or similar floss (with different color names) maybe next year, and so I've decided that I'll take my chances on being able to find what I need when I actually need it.

Regarding Mini Perle, I, too, am amazed when I think that it was over two years ago that I finished it. It really doesn't seem like that long ago. I'd like to eventually do some more needlepoint projects like that, it was really fun (and pretty!)

I don't have a new picture yet of Enchanter, but will post one in a few days when I've made a little more progress. Thanks for the suggestion Cheryl about posting it to the TW October Stitchalong thread on The Wagon - I'll definitely do that! Meanwhile, I have another picture to share of my progress on the Maidens, specifically Autumn Maiden - she's finished, so I just have one more to go!

Mirabilia's Autumn Maiden (from Maidens of the Seasons)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cat Eyes has a new home

Yes, thanks to Katie, Cat Eyes has a new home. And Leslie, thanks for your comments and support - I actually thought it was a phase over a year ago when I considered moving it out of my rotation, and set it aside for a little while at that time. Now I've really decided that it's time to let it go, and I feel better that it's going to a friend's mom. I truly hope she will enjoy it.

So, I'm going to move it out of my rotation list and move on to something else. Ooh, Enchanter is next in the list - one of my many, many TW wips...

Oh, and some framing news - I finished Mini Perle over two years ago, and this morning Melanie and I took it to Midtown Gallery & Framers to pick out a frame (she was looking to frame a print for herself). It took about an hour and many frame and mat samples to come up with what I believe is the perfect frame, no mat (I think it took all of 10 minutes to come up with the perfect frame and mat combination for her print, lol). I should have it back in a couple of weeks, so I have a little time to find the perfect spot to hang it. It's the perfect kind of day to be out running errands like that - sunny, high of 80 degrees, very nice.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bye-bye Cat Eyes

So I decided that I would start rotating down the list of cross stitch projects this week, just for something different, and I pulled out Cat Eyes, which is actually a needlepoint project stitched with wool. I worked on it for fully one evening while we were watching several episodes of Charmed (or was it a couple of episodes of Prison Break?... ). Anyway, I kind of remembered why I haven't stitched on it in a long while - because although it's a cool design when finished, I find no joy in actually stitching it. I actually find it rather tedious. And it is for that reason I've decided that I will no longer feel obligated to finish it. There is a stitcher who was interested in the chart several years ago, and I had promised to send it to her when I finished it, so I've emailed her to find out if she is still interested and get her snail mail address. If she's not, I suppose I can try to find someone else who would like to have the entire WIP to finish. It's not that I don't like needlepoint - in fact I do, but I like the more geometric designs with different fibers, not solid tent stitch with wool.

This brings me back to something I've been struggling with for the past oh, year or so. I have to be very careful of starting too many projects, or having too many going at once, because my tastes have changed over the years, and I find that I don't love some projects as much as I [thought I] did when I started them several+ years ago. And it's hard to give them up, knowing that I've invested time and money into them. I think there's a guilt factor in there too. My parents never gave me the "there are starving children in China" line at dinner, but I almost have that kind of mentality regarding my projects. Has anyone else ever felt this way?

Okay, so I just got a "failure notice" email, which shouldn't surprise me - the last time I corresponded with that stitcher about Cat Eyes was 2003. Does anyone else have any suggestions? I don't want it just taking up space in my craft room anymore, but I would hate to just throw it away.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Middy about halfway

A Midsummer Night's Fairy, about half-finished

I think I've gotten about to the halfway point with Middy. She is still a joy to stitch, so it's no surprise that I continue to focus on her.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Christmas comes early

... in more ways than one...

Britty Kitty Christmas ornament

First is the Britty Kitty Christmas ornament that I stitched this week. How this came about is that I found another WIP that I had started some time back - far enought that I'd completely forgotten about it until I saw it between the pages of the Just Cross Stitch ornament issue that I just happened to be organizing the other day. I had started the Britty kitty on 28 ct. antique white reflections lugana from Silkweaver. It's the same fabric I'm using to stitch Aurora, and I thought it would be really pretty (with a nice little sparkle) for the little kitty ornament. Once I pulled it back out and started putting some stitches into it again, I realized why I had abandoned it the first time. Over-1 stitching on lugana is for the birds. It is extremely hard for me to do. Why? Because if you've ever looked at lugana, the warp and weft threads are loosely twisted. I don't know if you can see it, but there are some closeup pictures at Willow (I'm not a customer, I was just searching for a good photo on the 'net). Anyway, this is compounded ten-fold by the fact that there are also little metallic threads running through the fabric also. After just a few stitches, I wanted to tear my hair out, so I decided to start over, on a completely different fabric. The end result? I stitched it in two nights, and am looking forward to finishing it and hanging it on our tree this year.

Second is my Christmas gift from C, which I already knew about, and which he graciously allowed me to go ahead and order early so that I could start enjoying it now... my new 160GB iPod!!!


I picked it up from Fedex yesterday afternoon, and I can't believe how small and sleek it is. And that it holds so much music (and audiobooks - I'm about to become an customer too, hee hee). The earbuds that came with it are the best-fitting ones I've ever tried. And my friend Melanie, who recently bought a new car that doesn't have a cassette player, gave me her cassette adapter so that I can play it through my car stereo. Now I just need to organize my library a little better... :) It's Christmas in September for me!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My weekend of quilts

I don't remember what quite happened to me last weekend, but unusual for me, I didn't whip up the block of the month that I picked up from my quilt shop for the Super Second Saturdays quilt. I also completely missed the block of the month for August for my Afternoon Tea quilt - I was so focused on other things, I guess, that I completely forgot to do it! So, here they are, Ohio Star block for SSS 2007 and block #9 of Afternoon Tea (2 variations).

SSS 2007 quilt, block 9 - Ohio StarAfternoon Tea block 9, 2 variations

And I finally finished Christopher's Bear Chase quilt. I picked it up from the quilt shop back in July, and it has been sitting in my craft room, waiting for me to cut and piece the binding. Actually, I had a plan... wink I was waiting until after I'd been to the Nashville AQS quilt expo, so that I could purchase the pattern and dvd for the fold and finish quilt and try it (the binding technique) out on the placemats I just made. I didn't have to hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt - I used the same decorative stitch as I did on those placemats to sew it down by machine. It went a LOT faster, so the binding wasn't as much of a chore! See, I had a plan... winklaugh I love the quilting - I think it's just perfect and accentuates the bear claws. I think it was called square spiral. Another Christmas present down... now if I can just get back to the Double Wedding Ring quilt! I'd love to have it finished by next Christmas.

Closeup of quilting
Christopher's quilt finished

I've also been beading a little bit, and stitching on Vintage Stitches while we watch Charmed, football, and racing. Not enough to take a new picture yet, but hopefully by next weekend. I'm already looking forward to our next set of vacation days in October (just a nice long weekend, can't wait!).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm on The Wagon!

I've joined a group on a bulletin board called The Wagon, that is... the Stash Only Stitchers group. As the tagline for this group reads, it's a place to "Come and support each other as you stitch from what's only in your stash!"

Though it may not seem like it, I've curbed my stash enhancing experiences (as far as cross stitch is concerned) somewhat over the past year or so.

Last weekend, I spent some time in my craft room cleaning up and putting things away, and I actually spent some time going through my cross stitch charts stash. I pulled out a few charts that I know I will never stitch, and I spent a little time just browsing through my collection. I have a LOT of really pretty or cool designs that I want to stitch one of these days. So if I get the itch to shop, I think I can quell it with a trip through my stash!

Edited to add that The Wagon can be found here: I think that you do have to register with Yuku to access the board, but registration is fairly easy, if I recall correctly. :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Finished placemats

What a really cool technique, and now I have reversible, dimensional, quilted placemats. I'll call these my summer and autumn placemats.

Back of placemat

Front of placemat

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A few updates

I took a picture of my quilt show stash and labeled everything.

Quilt show stash enhancement

I've been working on my test project for the fold and finish technique - a set of placemats. I haven't finished them yet, but almost! I just have the binding to add. They are reversible, and I'm looking forward to trying them out as soon as I have them done.

I've worked a little more on Vintage Stitches, and am continually impressed by how backstitching can so enhance the cross stitching. For example, the grapes in the upper left and lower right corner are basically the same pattern mirrored. But the upper left grapes don't have any backstitching yet, and the lower right grapes do. It goes from looking like nothing to perfect little grapes.

more progress on Vintage Stitches

I took my fourth beadweaving / stitch of the month class yesterday, and created another bracelet in peyote stitch. The little clasps are magnets which we also covered in peyote stitch. I think the clasps and the main section of the bracelet look great, but I'm not totally happy with the edging - the color I chose seems to wash it out, especially on my wrist. It blends in with my skin a little too much, I think. I'm trying to decide whether to take that out and use a different color of beads for the edging. Or maybe I could add a few more beads to give it a little more definition. I'm just not sure, but this is the first time where I've questioned my color choice. I love the rest of the bracelet - it reminds me of a Victorian Christmas. :)

Peyote stitched beaded bracelet, flat
Peyote stitched beaded bracelet on my wrist

Middy was calling to me, so I've pulled her back out of my bag, and I've been stitching on her a little this afternoon, in between loads of laundry. Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!