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Sunday, August 20, 2017

So much going on

We have entered "crazy time" at work.  Our fiscal year ends September 30th, so you'd think it would be smooth sailing for the next 6 weeks as everything is winding down.  Unfortunately, no.  I work for the Federal government and our budget process hasn't worked in years, so instead of having our money on October 1st so we can spread things out over the year, we get continuing resolutions.  They basically give us a percentage of our funds which keeps us going, but doesn't allow us to fully implement anything.  We got the last chunk of money in mid-June and have just recently received the okay to spend it, so we're now trying to fit 12 months of training sessions into about 6 weeks.  I'll be out of the office 3 of the next 6 weeks and I'm lucky as there are several folks who are out all 6.  All that to say that time to stitch is going to be at a premium until October 1st (when it's possible there will be a shutdown as Congress hasn't passed a budget or any spending bills yet).

I came home from my Philadelphia trip to a broken air conditioner.  We did get a repairman out on Friday but he had to order parts and they won't be in until tomorrow.  The Hubs thinks that a bigger part may have been damaged but we won't know until they get the little one fixed.  If the big part is damaged it will probably be another week before they can get a replacement as the unit is on the old side.  Fortunately, we have a portable air conditioner that we're using to keep one room cool.  The rest of the house isn't horrible but it's not terribly comfortable either (Virginia in August is not known for its temperate weather - it's 92 right now outside and we've managed to keep the inside temperature at about 84).  My stitching is in one of the not air conditioned rooms so not a lot is getting done.  I've found a couple smaller pieces that I could stitch in hand, so may start them.

All is not lost on the stitching side of things and I do have a 
post.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  It allows us to say "Thank you" to someone that has gifted us stitching goodness, to show things that we are stitching as gifts or anything we can shoehorn into the definition of "gift".  The one piece that I have stitched on this month is "A Glimpse of Santa" which is a gift for my niece.


I haven't much vacation time this year, but given how much is left on this piece, I am thinking about taking a few days off to just sit and stitch.

Hoping for a bit of relief from the heat, we went to Virginia Beach to visit our boat (it was nice, but not much relief) and saw this being towed:


It's hard to tell from the picture, but it's a restaurant.  As I mentioned, we were off Virginia Beach and these folks were coming from the Eastern Shore so at this point they had towed this 10 to 15 miles. Oh yeah, we saw a bunch of dolphins and pelicans too.

And for those of you in the US that have no media access there's a solar eclipse tomorrow.  My little corner of Virginia is not in the totality area but we are supposed to get to about 85%.  I did see the total eclipse that went up the east coast in 1970 and would love to see another one, but the area closest to us will be ridiculously packed, so we're staying home.  I have had no luck finding official eclipse glasses, so am going low tech to see it:


It's a pin hole projector/camera/viewer.  There a piece of white paper on the inside bottom of my fancy box (no affiliation with Trader Joe's, just a happy customer), a hole in the aluminum foil there on the left (if you look to the left of the wrinkle you can see it) and the viewing hole on the right.  If you'd like to make your own viewer, the directions are here.

I have not been doing much on the computer and am behind on blog reading and commenting - I may just have to say "from this day forward" as I don't know if I can go back a month and catch up on everything you all are doing.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Huh... I lost an entire month

Huh...  Yep, that's all I can think to say about the lost month of July and it started out with so much promise.  We welcomed a new niece to the family:


(not the picture you were expecting?)  To be fair, Michelle has been part of the family for a while, she and Alex started dating their Sophomore year of high school (or thereabouts), they've just made it official. 

Right after Alex's wedding, my niece finalized the papers for the favors for her wedding in October.  I spent the next couple weekends cutting out the bits and parts for 20 of these (200 individual boxes):

 

My niece is not fond of cake so she is having pie at her reception and these little boxes tied in perfectly (at least they did after we made a few modifications - like adding the "crust" pieces.  Her fiancĂ©'s favorite pie is coconut cream (above) and she decided on cherry.  She found some very cute red paper with lighter red dots for her pies, I just didn't have any finished when I was taking pictures.  The 2 is the table number and they have decided on lottery tickets and lucky (hopefully for someone) pennies to go inside as the gifts.  I was in Michigan last weekend for a family reunion and then a day of folding and gluing to get the pies all finished.  Both nieces, both Grandmothers, my sister and I worked on these so truly a family affair (or gathering of Goddesses whichever works for you).
 
In between the wedding and the pie-ing, well, you'd think I would be stitching my not so little fingers off as I need to finish my new niece's Christmas stocking, but no - I haven't picked up a needle since my last post.  The Hubs had a medical mess that took up the time between the wedding and the pie-ing/reunion.  He was scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff; unfortunately, on the day of surgery, his blood pressure was sky high (at one point during the day it went up to 199/148).  Instead of recuperating from surgery, he spent the next six days in the hospital (3 of them in ICU) trying to get his blood pressure under control and deal with the underlying health issue. It's been rounds of appointments and follow-ups since he was released and I have been too worn out to focus on stitching.  He has an appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday to see about rescheduling the surgery. 
 
In the 30+ years I have been stitching, this is the longest I have gone without picking up a needle.  Because of all the other stuff going on, I can't say I missed it, but I am ready to get back to it and normal.  I am almost caught up with all the things that were sidelined (sooo much laundry), so maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will see some Xs put in fabric. 
 
 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Late, a Bit Early and Really Early

After mowing the lawn today I have decided that I'm going to let it get long and overgrown.  We have been invaded by deer flies!  I noticed them swarming the car the other day when I stopped to pick up the mail, but I didn't equate that to being swarmed while riding the lawn mower.  I have 3 bites that are absolutely driving me crazy with the itching. Living in the middle of not a lot, we've always had them. but this summer is a banner year.  I don't know if it's because we've been so wet or warm or what, but I do hope that whatever is causing it stops soon.  I read that dragonflies are predators, but I haven't noticed an uptick in them (but would be willing to import a few)   I suppose if I can't be outside, I should be able to focus on my stitching and blogging a bit more, so a good trade off.

So, my blog title.  I'm sooooo late for my June Gifted Gorgeousness post, like 9 days late!  ACK!! Jo at Serendipitous Stitching hosts Gifted Gorgeousness as a way to say "thank you" to those that have gifted us with stitching items or to show things we're stitching as gifts or anything else we can shoehorn into the definition.  I have progress on three pieces this month that fit (or I can make fit) into the terms of the SAL.  The first is A Glimpse of Santa by The Stoney Creek Collection.  It's a gift for my Niece-to-be (she'll be my niece one week from today)

You can see the glimpse of Santa that gives the stocking it's name.  I've started the back stitching.  That on the left is wallpaper.  There will be yellowish "dots" added later.  I may have a dig through my bead stash to see if I have something that will work rather than the random xs that are called for.

The next piece is Santa and the Mouse ornament by Scott Gustafson and adapted by Heaven and Earth Designs. This was a freebie on the website a number of years ago, so I am counting it as a gift from the designer/adapter.  He hasn't seen too much progress in the last few months, so it was nice to pull him out for a few hours.


And the final piece is Carnation by Cross Stitch It.  Rather than make you go looking for the picture I'll post it again.

This was another designer freebie, so a gift.

I am a day early for the June WIPocalypse post.  Melissa at Measi's Musings hosts this SAL as a little extra incentive to finish off some of those WIPs many of us have languishing.  The pieces above are all on my WIPocalypse list, so that part is taken care of, but Melissa gives us questions each month in the event we have writer's block and this month's is:  Show us your stitching space!  Where do you sit, and what is going on around you while you stitch (TV, audiobooks, etc)?  We have converted the third bedroom into a computer, crafting, and stitching room so I spend my stitching time in there.  Usually I'm listening to audio books while I stitch but lately have been catching up on some television shows on Amazon's Prime Video and Acorn TV.  I"m thinking of subscribing to The Great Courses channel and maybe Britbox (replacing Acorn TV) but I haven't decided on that yet.  If I do subscribe to either one, I'll be watching much more TV than I do now.   As far as what it looks like here are some old pictures - other than a new chair it looks much the same.  The bookshelf is an IKEA Expidit and it holds the majority of my crafting books, magazines and paper crafting and sewing supplies.


Here's a full frontal:


The samplers above it are all Just Nan class pieces (I didn't attend them, I was able to purchase them from a needlework shop that did cyber classes)  The pieces on top of the unit are from the Silver Needle's Secret Needle Night.  On the right is my yarn storage and mending pile.


The smaller set of cubbies has my DVDs (oh yeah, I watch those when I'm stitching too), kitted up projects, The Hubs' WoW books and a bunch of stuff in baskets that I couldn't figure where else to put.  But the real mess is behind the burgundy curtain: 


This is where I keep everything else - quilting, beading, jewelry making, card making and stamping supplies, there are WIP thread boxes, cross stitch patterns, and on the right you can see my fabric stash.   This is an older picture and some of the items have been donated or rehomed.  The threads you see to the right of the red box (I love those 12X12 boxes) are non-DMC threads.  I have them on split rings (one per company with the threads in alphabetical order) and hang them from the wire shelves.  The closet works pretty well, but I am constantly reworking it as my interests change.  I'm doing a lot of card making/papercrafting right now, so those items have moved to the front.  There is 30+ years accumulation of supplies/stash, so I suppose it is going to take a while to get it all just right, but I dream of the day when I have a craft room with cabinets and shelves and counter space and, and, and...

The final bit of my title - I"m quite early for the Smalls SAL check-in but I leave for Michigan on Thursday and won't be back until Monday (the above mentioned wedding) and I am really tired of being late on check-ins.  Heather at The Stitching Lotus hosts this SAL and it is, as you probably figured out, focused on smalls.  You define what a small is, so the only pressure is what you put on yourself.  I do have a finish this month.  Look back up to the Carnation block in the WIPocalypse section of the post for a picture.  I have started July's but forgot to take a picture and really need to wrap this up before it wins an award for longest blog post ever, so it will have to wait. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Little Stitching and Crafting

I seem to have settled into an every other week blogging schedule (with the frantic "I'm LATE!! SAL check-in post thrown in for good measure) and I think I can live with it until I get myself settled again.

I haven't been to good at sitting myself down and stitching since my last post, but that is a recurring theme.  I do have a finish to start off with!!

This
is Carnation by Cross Stitch It and is part of The Sampler Life Mystery SAL.  I think it needs beads, but can't decide what color or where.

My next stitching piece is A Glimpse of Santa. The windows are almost done and you can see a glimpse of Santa:


Most of the stitching was done the weekend of the 10th.  I spent this past weekend paper
crafting (my other obsession hobby) a card for DNephew's wedding.  I made a grand mess in the dining room testing out inks, papers, shapes and designs.  I ended up with two finished cards but decided on this one:


It's called a triple heart easel card. The hearts are obvious, and when you turn it sideways, so is the easel. 


Plain old white cardstock and lots of bits and bobs.  To add that something extra, the little gold flowers were from the bouquet I carried in DSister's (mom of DNephew) wedding.  Yes, it actually does fold flat.  Well, as flat as something with all the dimensional things can.  I already have ideas circling for DNiece's card - which is good as it's going to have to be really something to beat this one. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It all started...

It all started...










59 years ago today.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.


Monday, May 29, 2017

May's WIPocalypse

It would normally be a WIPocalypse and Smalls check-in, but I did not finish a small by the cutoff date (I won't finish it before the calendar month end either).

While I only have a WIPocalypse write-up, there was progress on my small.  As of this afternoon, it was here:


It is coming along quite nicely, but I had to go searching for a color (I finally found a bobbin worth in a Just Nan project box) and got sidetracked (in a past life, I was one of those dogs that gets completely pulled off the trail be squirrels and butterflies).  Honestly with everything going on at work and the mental time I am allowing it, I haven't been doing much of anything.  My stitching has been minimal, my blog reading and commenting has been close to zero and I've been spending much too much time aimlessly clicking around Pinterest and playing Candy Crush and Bubble Witch.  I do have to get myself in hand and stop allowing work pressures to take over my leisure time.

So onto WIPocalypse.  Melissa at Measi's Musings is the host (and a wonderful host she is too) and has since 2012.  It's very simple to participate, pick a few WIPs you'd like to finish up, stitch on them and post each month.  Melissa also provides us with topics each month so we can get to know the participants a bit better and, in some cases, get more stitching ideas.  This month's question is: Which designer's projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?  Intimidated?  I'd say none. I tend to jump in with both feet if I like a design.  It's all just one cross after another and with all the resources available on the internet, even the most complicated specialty stitches can be mastered in short order (although those darn Queen stitches still elude me).

The one piece on my WIPocalypse list that has been getting what little attention I have been giving my stitching is A Glimpse of Santa.  It went from here (still can't get the photo to rotate):


to here:

It stitches up fairly quickly as it's all full crosses and fairly good sized blocks of color.  But, I do not much like the pattern - too many similar symbols.  Two different squares but one is fractionally smaller then the other.  Circles that are different sizes and bold or not, etc. so it's VERY easy to grab the wrong color (yes, that is the voice of experience speaking).  I think it's because it's a fairly old pattern and there just weren't as many symbol choices in pattern software at the time.  I prefer to think that rather than think the designer set out to deliberately confuse the stitcher.

Monday, May 15, 2017

May's Gifted Gorgeousness

It's the 15th of May which means Memorial Day and the start of summer vacations here in the US is in two weeks.  I suppose the two days of temperatures in the 90s later this week are a warning test drive for the next few months.  The 15th also means that it's time for my Gifted Gorgeousness post.

Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way for us to thank those that have given us stitching goodies or to show off pieces that we are giving as gifts or anything else we can shoehorn into the theme.  If you're interested in learning more, click here.  If that doesn't work, the icon in the left side bar should be clickable and take you right there.

Another huge thank you to Jo for the wonderful threads:

I have pinned the package up on my bulletin board and admire them whenever I look up.

I have spent most of my stitching time the last month working on A Glimpse of Santa a Christmas stocking for my niece-to-be.  I've decided to wait until it's finished before I go looking for all the sparkly bits that are supposed to be on it.  As of tonight, it looks like this:





No, I am not stitching it on its side, but for some reason Blogger is being stubborn and not letting me post it correctly.  Anyway, lots of white, beige and cream in this one so far.  I've gone in and done the light colored bits so I don't end up with dark fuzz on them due to stitching along side the darker bits.  I plan to start the tree on the right (bottom) side after I finish that one window pane and then I can do the backstitching around the window parts.  Lots more backstitching on the left (top) side for the wallpaper.  This is the third piece I've worked on that is backstitch heavy and I will be so glad to finish it.

The second piece I worked on is Carnations by Cross Stitch It.  This was one of the blocks from The Sampler Life SAL.  As it's a freebie from the designer, I am counting it as a gift.




This one is on its side too but it's not as noticeable.  I hope to finish off the blue and start filling in the flowers on Sunday when this comes out again. 

One last gift: 


No, it isn't stitched, but I had a great time putting it together.  DNiece and her fiance are very into board games so I sat down with a Scrabble game and started putting wedding/marriage/couple words together.  I bought a set of number tiles for the year and stole a couple tiles from an old game to finish up one word (If you're counting letters, there are too many Ps and Ts).  Thanks to DMom and DSister for the assistance with the frame and mats decision.  It was nice to have extra eyes and opinions as I am always nervous about my choices.

Back to the office tomorrow.  This is my short week but not sure how much stitching I will get in on Friday as I really need to do some yard work.