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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. :)