Monday, December 27, 2010

End of the year

Well, it's nearly the end of 2010 so this will probably be my last post for the year. Wow, hard to believe it's nearly 2011. How did we get this far? I remember when the world was worried about Y2K! Anyway, I always save a few vacation days so that I can take the week between Christmas and New Year's. Originally it was to be home when our daughter was on school break and too young to be by herself. Now it's so I can have time with her while she's home from college. Hubby had a long weekend but had to go back to work today. :(

So Meg and I are enjoying down time. Today except for shoveling, we did not leave the house at all, and I went back to bed for a couple of hours after hubby left at 5:15am. What luxury! In between taking care of dishes and laundry, she read and I stitched. Finally completed the backstitching on the section of Winter Fairy that I have done (p. 1 of 4). I have to order some Kreinik threads for the wing backstitching, as it is not available around here.

Here are two pictures. One is of WF as she is today. I'm excited to start page 2 tomorrow. The other picture is of Meg with the picture I stitched for her for Christmas. It says "Silly Socks are Toe-tally Awesome!". As you can see, Meg loves silly socks, and she was very pleased with her gift.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2011 will be a fantastic year for each of you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I put all other sewing aside for the last couple of weeks so that I could make my gift tag for the annual office Secret Santa exchange. I do a tag every year; it's become a tradition. At first I did some complex paper tags, but then I changed to cross stitch on plastic canvas. The last couple of years I have added beading. I always make them double-sided so they can be hung as ornament. This year the tag is completely beaded. It looks very nice, but it's a lot of added work. Cross-stitch is zip-zip, but when you bead you have to pause at every cross to catch a bead on your needle. I lost one whole evening of stitching because I hit the bead container wrong and spent the rest of the evening painstakingly rescuing beads from the carpeting. Sheesh! Anyway, it's done now and I think it came out well. The person whose name I pulled this year has a 1 1/2 year old baby, so I thought this Santa tag would be nice.

Monday, November 29, 2010

End of November Already?!

We had a very nice Thanksgiving this year. Meg was home from school Tuesday night. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner (butternut squash soup, turkey, stuffin' muffins, mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes, California salad and Meg made cream puffs for dessert). We always have a good time when we get together with my brother's family, so the whole evening was fun. Even better was the rest of the weekend. Dennis had to work Friday, so Meg and I did a little bit of Black Friday shopping (NOT at 4am!) and got our hair cut. Saturday morning we all volunteered at our church food pantry for a few hours. Aside from that, we had Wednesday evening, Friday evening and almost all of Saturday as relaxing family time. It was so nice to look up from my sewing (it was so nice to have time to sew!) and see the two people I love most right there.

By dint of working really hard, I did manage to finish the first page of my Winter Fairy! That's 1/4 done! I'm very excited - many times I thought I'd never get this far. All the half stitches in her face and hair just about drove me crazy. When I got to her eyes I decided to change the drak grey of the pattern to a dark blue of about the same shade. Here's a picture of her. Isn't she pretty? She looks like she's stepping behind a wall right now. I debated on whether to do the other top page or the bottom righthand page. I really don't like working on her skirt (white; near-white; ultra pale blue; pale blue...) so I decided to do the bottom right page and get a lot of the skirt done and out of the way. Getting to the little bunny at her feet will be my reward.

If anyone does read this, I'd like your opinion. Do you think I should backstitch what I have done or wait until the whole picture is completed? Some backstitching I can't do yet because I don't have the special Kreinik thread. I need to order that online. I will definitely leave the beading till the end.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy November!

Assuming anyone reads this, I don't have any picture updates for you today. I have finished one piece and started on another but as they will be Christmas gifts and there's the possibility of the recipients reading this post (ha! now that will keep certain people wondering!) I can't post any details or pictures. Suffice it to say that I'm very pleased with the one that is done and am making good progress on the other. All that has cut into my stitching time on WF, though. I have gotten some work done on her, but will wait until I have more so that a picture will be worth posting. If all goes well, I will be done with the first page and started on the second by Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, so that this isn't a total waste of your time, here are some things to celebrate this month. My comments are in brackets.
1-7 World Communications
4-10 Chemistry
5-9 “Dear Santa” Letter [write early - avoid the rush]
8-14 Pursuit of Happiness
11-17 Geography Awareness
11-17 Random Acts of Kindness [nice to do all year]
12-18 Shallow Persons Awareness [don't be one!]
18-25 Bible

2 Plan Your Epitaph
3 Cliché [but not on your epitaph!]
3 Sandwich [try something new or revisit an old favorite]
8 Cook Something Bold and Pungent
11 Veterans Day [thank a Veteran]
13 World Kindness
14 Teddy Bear
15 America Recycles
17 Chocolate Celebration [I thought that was every day]
18 Mickey Mouse
20 Great American Smokeout [encourage someone - or yourself - to quit]
23 Buy Nothing
25 American Thanksgiving
26 Electronic Greetings [tell someone you’re thankful for them]
30 Stay Home Because You Are Well [now there’s a good way to end the month!]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bookmarks Done!

I finally finished stitching and putting the backings on all my bookmarks. Dorothy sent me hers as well - they are so cute and beautifully done! - and the package is on its way to St. Judes Hospital. Here's a picture of all dozen of them. Mine are the two "I [heart] to Read", the rose, the elephant, the ghost and "Read" with the little animals on the letters. I'm thinking of trying to get people to do a batch for a late spring mailing. It really feels nice to do something creative and then send it off to brighten a stranger's life, particularly a child's. If anyone reading this is interested in participating, please let me know.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mid-October Update

I finally had time to sit and work on my WF, and I completed another whole portion of her wing. One more portion of wing and half of her lovely face to go and then I'll be done with the first of the four pages of design. Obviously, she will NOT be done for this Winter! But I will continue to take advantage of my Sunday afternoons and holiday time and finish her for next Winter. So here's the latest look at her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bookmark #5 Done

I kind of zipped through bookmark #5. It was a bit different, as it used a single thread over 18 count. It was fun and simple enough that I could work on it while watching TV - so I did. Isn't it cute? The fabric and pattern were a kit. I changed up the colors slightly, so I would could use floss I had on hand, but they're very close to what the pattern specified.

Just one more bookmark to complete for the package to St. Judes. I will go through my patterns tonight and set up a new kit. We're busy for a lot of Saturday, but I'll try to get a start on it. I've designated all Sunday sewing as purely WF time. I may work on WF at other times, but any sewing on Sunday is on her. Once I finish the last bookmark I'll start on the Christmas present I plan to do. I also need to choose and make a gift tag for my office Secret Santa gift. Busy hands are happy hands! Meanwhile, here's a picture of #5.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ah, September

I don't have a favorite season. My favorite time is the beginning of each new season - the first snowfall of winter, the first crocus in the spring, the first time it's warm enough to wear short sleeves with no coat, the first nip in the air that brings out all the snuggly clothes. So I'm happy to see Autumn arriving with all its glorious, intoxicating colors. I love switching out the flowery summer decorations for the rich, deep leaves and bright chrysanthemums.

Stitching, however, is a year-round pleasure. I've been going great guns in my "snippet time" (little bits here and there) and am nearly done with bookmark #5. I'll have a picture of that to post next time. After this, I have one more bookmark to do by October, and then finish them all to send to St. Judes before Halloween.

I have also made some more progress on Winter Fairy, as you can see. Got more wing done and a little bit of her hair that frames her face. However, barring winning the lottery and thus having nothing to do but sew all day every day, I've reluctantly come to realize that there is no way she'll be done by this Winter. So my goal has shifted to finishing this first page and getting a start on the second page by Thanksgiving.

I have one other project to start after I finish the bookmarks, but that is a Christmas gift, so I will not post any descriptions or pictures until after it's been received.

Monday, August 30, 2010

End of August update

I haven't updated for a while but I have a lot to show you. We had a very nice vacation in Vermont, although never as long as we'd like. It was rainy a lot of the time, and the light wasn't good for my WF project so I finished bookmark #4 instead. I hope some child at St. Jude's will enjoy this little ghost. Of course, once we got home it turned sunny and hot again. Before I got back into cross-stitching, though, I made some cute rice bags for all my college girls - I have 5 this year. The bags will be nice for them at "that time of the month". Meghan and Tracy picked out the fabric and I think the other girls will like it. We got Meghan safely back to college and then I settled in for some stitching time on Winter Fairy. In spite of having to do some frogging, I finished a wing and got most of WF's lovely shoulder done. Ahhhh! Wish we had, say, another week of vacation so I could sew a lot more! Oh well, back to work this week and then we'll have a 3-day weekend for Labor Day.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update-August 9th, 2010

What a great date - 8-9-10! lol Yes, I am easily amused.

Been making some more progress on WF. I finally finished the skirt on this page and have moved on to her wings. I will have about 45 minutes most afternoons this week to sew while waiting for my daughter's bus, so I expect to get a lot more done. The wings are fun and work up quickly, partially because I'm so happy to be off that darned skirt for a while! I've also gotten some sewing done on my fourth bookmark, the ghost. I'll post a picture of that when it's completed.

I was getting a little concerned about the creases in my fabric from folding it between stitching times, so I got a mailing tube and am keeping it in there. The tube isn't quite as long as my fabric, though, but someone at the Yahoo cross stitch group recommended the simple solution of putting a plastic bag over the end. I had been keeping everything in a large canvas bag, but it was a lot more bag than stuff. Now that I have a different way to hold the fabric I've transferred all the rest to my handy-dandy DMC cross-stitch organizer. It holds all my floss, needles, patterns and other accoutrements, and is much neater. The tube with my fabric fits between the handles when I carry it.

Enough details, if you're here you probably want to see the update photo, so here it is.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bookmark #3 done!

I haven't stitched on my Winter Fairy since the 4th of July weekend. Last weekend was taken up with: Taste of Buffalo on Saturday morning and attending a high school graduation party Saturday afternoon; church on Sunday morning and then Sunday afternoon we went to see The A-Team movie, which is a perfect summer movie - fun, lots of action and just enough plot to keep going. Anyway, add in little things like grocery shopping and laundry and that was the weekend.

During the week, however, I had plenty of stitching time while waiting to pick up my daughter and her friend from the camp bus. They're counselors at a Girl Scout day camp and also bus aides so I drop them off at the bus in the morning and collect them in the afternoon. This week I averaged about 45 minutes of sewing time in the afternoons, and gleefully completed my elephant bookmark. I like him so much I know I'll do the pattern again sometime. I changed the headdress colors and added the backstitching because he didn't stand out well enough against the white plastic. I'd love to do him as an ornament or hanging sometime and do the headdress in beads. So, here is a picture of the fine fellow. I haven't decided on finishing yet. I may leave it in a rectangle or I may cut out the outline.

EDIT: This pattern came from an issue of the Australian magazine, Cross-Stitch & Beading. They show how to do every piece in both cross-stitch and beading, with charts and photos of both. It's a bit expensive, but has really wonderful patterns of all sorts. I do all my Christmas ornaments from them.

I've already chosen my next bookmark and set up the kit. It's a fairly simple ghost but I'm tweaking it a bit. I'll post a pic when it's done.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ah July!

Had a lovely, long Fourth of July weekend and got some good stitching done. I finished the scarf on WF while watching "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (which we watch every year). I had hoped to finish the skirt portion today (7/5) and even though I didn't quite manage it I did get a lot done. I even got to start a new color (light green)! I could have sewn a bit longer but it's so hot that I'm working up a sweat just sewing. Enough is enough! So here's a pic of my progress.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Old Stitches

I thought I would post pictures of two long-ago finished projects. These were done in the days before internet (gasp!) and I've never gotten around to posting pictures of them before. The blue stitching is hardanger, which is challenging and particularly nerve-wracking when it comes to snipping threads, but it makes beautiful patterns. I did it for my hubby's return when he was stationed overseas. The second is my daughter's birth announcement. I really had to search for a pattern that wasn't too cutesy-custey and I liked this one as soon as I saw it.

Update - 6-27-10

I've been busily stitching lately. My third bookmark, the elephant, is coming along nicely. I'll post a picture of him when he's done. Meanwhile, here is the latest update on Winter Fairy. Working on her scarf is fun because the colors are so lovely and I love how they blend to make it seem three-dimensional.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bookmark #2 Done!

It took a little while but I have finished bookmark #2. Isn't it lovely? Thanks to Dottie for the wonderful plastic Aida canvas. Partway through I wondered if I should have worked it on a lighter color so it would stand out more, but I really like how this looks in the end.

I've already started my next bookmark, an elephant. The pattern for that is also from the wonderful magazine, Cross-Stitch and Beading from Australia, to which I subscribe. I would probably get more bookmarks done if I stuck to the very simple patterns like my first one, but where's the fun in that?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Update - June 13th

Wow, here we are halfway through June already. The year is going fast, so I'd better get to work on my WF if I'm going to meet my Thanksgiving deadline! I have made some good progress on her this weekend (especially good because, knock wood, I haven't had to frog for a while), so here's a new picture. All the pale stitching goes faster when I'm simply filling in an area. I'd really, really like to finish this page (page 1 of 4) by the 4th of July weekend so I can start the second page then. That would be big progress!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Poking along

Sorry, couldn't resist attempting a clever title. I finished and have mailed both my entries in the Pokes-N-Seeds Exchange. I know the one arrived in Virginia and hopefully the other will make it safely to England soon.

The first picture here is of the beautiful poke I received from Gina. Didn't she do a wonderful job? It says "Sam's Garden" because Sam is my Hobbit alter-ego, both of us being fond of our gardens. This poke is in the pot with the Rex Begonia that was my father's and I can see it from my desk at work every day. The second picture here is of the two pokes I made. My oh-so-clever hubby made the little wooden stakes for me and drilled a tiny hole through each for me to thread the, er, thread. I painted the stakes to compliment their respective pictures before putting everything together. This was a fun challenge for me. I rarely (okay, never) do tiny pictures, so I had to hunt around to find some. I added tiny beads for the teddy bear's eyes and the stamens (is that right?) on the flower, just to give them a little more interest.

In other news, while I haven't worked much on WF, I am about 2/3 done on the rose bookmark I'm doing. I'll post a picture when it is completed - hopefully by next weekend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

WF Update-5-23-10

By working hard on Saturday, we managed to have a "proper" Sunday. Went to church in the morning and then had no chores to do or errands to run for the rest of the day. I completed sewing my second poke for the Pokes & Seeds exchange, and put the backing on both of them. I'll post pictures after I've mailed them, as I don't want to spoil the surprise for the recipients. I also made some more progress on the Winter Fairy, so here's an updated picture. All the recent sewing has been in the white/almost white/very pale blue of her skirt and it goes s-l-o-w-l-y! Happily, Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day, so I had very good light for my sewing. I'm looking forward to the long weekend coming up and hope to finish this portion of that darn skirt so I can get back to some colors!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Update, 5/11/10

It's been a little while since my last update. Sewing is still going slowly. I have finished one of the pokes for the Pokes & Seeds exchange and finally got a kit together for the other. (It's maddening when you're trying to put a kit together and realize you don't have the colors you need and you can't get to the store until the weekend.) I'm starting on the second one today, and as it's small I hope to have it done quickly.

I cannot, however, work quickly on the Winter Fairy. As I've said before, it's a more detailed pattern and on finer fabric than I've ever done, so I have to be careful or I make mistakes. Hubby laughed when I said my goal is to finish her by this Thanksgiving but I'm sticking to it. Among other things, we have a week's vacation at the end of August and I tend to spend at least 50% of that relaxing, so I'll get a lot of stitching done then. Meanwhile, I've finally gotten enough done to warrent an updated photo, so here it is. I will be very glad when I'm eventually done with all that white and pale blue in the skirt!

Monday, April 12, 2010

WF Update -4-12-10

Weekends are still hectic, but I managed to find some time to sew on Saturday. I finished the fairy's long glove. I think if it's good and sunny next time, I will work more on her skirt. As it's white and pale blue on very pale lavendar, I need the best light I can get to work on it! Meanwhile, here's a photo update.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Update 3-28-10

Things have been rather overwhelming here lately and I am glad to say they are settling down a bit. I have gotten the tiniest bit of a start on a new bookmark - only about a dozen stitches, but it's a start. Yesterday I managed to stop myself rushing around and sat down for about an hour's stitching on WF before dinner. There's really not enough progress on her or the bookmark to photograph yet, but I will post pictures soon. I'm happy to be stitching again; I find it calms my mind and refreshes me (at least, when I'm not making mistakes!).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Winter Fairy update 3-10-10

Work has been progressing slowly on WF. Most of our free time, such as it is, is being spent cleaning out my parents' home, as the sale closes in less than 2 weeks. Once that strain is over I should be able to spend more than an hour a week on stitching. Right now I'm lucky to manage that much.

Here's a current photo. The lighting's not the best because I took it tonight instead of in daylight, but you can see what's done. I've done more of the sash and started on her gloved arm. It's kind of exciting to reach a different section.

Why, yes, I am doing just about nything to put off more white stitching. I promise - I will get to the skirt again -- sometime...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WF Update-2-21-10

Progress is slow on my WF, but every bit is exciting as a new curve is revealed or a new section completed. Working on the white and ultra-pale blue remains a challenge. I can only manage small sections at a time, preferably after I've stitched the surrounding colors. "Next time" I will either choose a darker fabric for more contrast or a figure who isn't wearing white! At any rate, here is what she looks like now.

After getting this issue of Cross-Stitch Collection in the bookstore, I was so impressed with it that I subscribed to the magazine. My first issue arrived in the mail Saturday, and the cover is graced by another beautiful pattern from the same artist. WF was the last in a series of seasonal fairies. Now the artist is creating elementals. Water is the first and she is exquisite. She shares many of the same blues and purples as the WF. The next one due out is Fire, and I'm agog to see her (or perhaps him??). I really need to win the lottery so I can quit working and have enough time and money to stitch all of these lovelies!

Monday, February 8, 2010

WF update - 2/7/10

A snowy start to the day turned into a beautifully sunny Sunday yesterday, and I was able to spend a couple of hours stitching. Since the light was so good, I decided to take the plunge and I started on the white. It was still awfully difficult to stitch, so I ended up stitching the colors around it (mostly very pale blue) and then simply filling in the white. Before I tackled all that, though, I stitched more of the blue in the top portion. I'd guess I'm about a third done with the first of the four pages of pattern. It's a good start. Here's a picture of how much I've done so far.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bookmark #1 finished

I've completed bookmark #1. Here's a picture of it. Aside from changing the colors a bit, I changed the lettering. The original had "to" but I think "To" looks better. I bought some fine denim to use for backing all the bookmarks. I'm going to wait until I have a few all stitched and then do the backing all at once.

Bookmark #2 is started, but not enough to warrant a picture. I'll post about it later.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bookmark #1

A few of us from the online cross-stitch group to which I belong are making bookmarks to donate to St. Judes Hospital. Here's my progress so far on my first one. It's on 14 count plastic canvas, using 3 strands of DMC thread. This is easy and portable, so makes a nice compliment to my complicated, stay-at-home WF project.

WF update

I got a bit of work done on my Winter Fairy, then discovered I'd made a mistake. I had to frog almost everything I'd done - and frogging on 28 count is hard - but I could not continue knowing that it was wrong. So, it's all corrected and I've progressed a bit beyond where I had reached before. This picture shows the work to date. If you compare it to the model, this is her sash and just the very beginning of some of her dress.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Starting WF

Having gotten some very helpful advice from my friends at the yahoo cross stitch group, I made a start on my Winter Fairy. I'm posting a couple of pics to show my first day's stitching. Doesn't look like much, does it? Well, it's a small amount for the picture (the second pic shows how much space is still to fill!), but a large step for me. No, I don't plan to post daily pictures, but I wanted to document my start. I'll probably post as I finish sections.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Big plans

Here's a picture of my next planned project. I've never done anything so large and complex (well, not since doing needlepoint kneelers for my church a long, long time ago). I have the fabric and threads, except for one specialty thread.
I'll be starting her in January and my goal is to finish her for the winter of 2010. I will post progress pictures as I go.

Harp cross stitch

Here is a harp ornament I did for a friend. It's on 14 count plastic canvas, done with DMC threads, and beads for the holly berries and strings. I had to figure out a reverse pattern so I could do two and sew them together to make a double-sided ornament. It was tricky work but I'm pleased with the result (and so was she!).
Finished: November 2009


I suppose I ought to post something to get this blog started. I plan to use it primarily as a place to post my plans and progress in cross-stitch. I expect to post pictures as well, of course.