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Monday, October 16, 2017

I haven't stopped

I haven't stopped blogging, although it may seem like it.  The last month has been a whirlwind.  In my last post, I mentioned one more work trip to Michigan.  That's been and gone (the training went well and I had a wonderful time visiting my family afterwards).  There was a long weekend in there somewhere - The Hubs and I went to Virginia Beach, took the boat out and visited his dad.  And when I logged off my computer Friday afternoon, I was officially on vacation for two weeks!  I went to the grocery store to pick up things to get through the weekend and a bit and then spent the next two days working on DNiece's wedding card.   Yep, on Wednesday I'm packing the car up again and heading back to Michigan to attend my niece's wedding on Friday.  The bones of the card were done on Saturday and all the decorating finished on Sunday.

I decided on a modified exploding box.  It is fairly plain on the outside:


because the inside isn't:

From above.  Heart idea from http://paperfirefly.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/ruby-wedding-anniversary.html


As with my nephew's card, I used bits and pieces from the bouquet I carried at my sister's wedding  (Yes, DSis and DBIL had two weddings within 3-1/2 months of each other - I'm sure they'll be glad to be done and dusted with weddings) to add a little "something old" for good luck   DSis and DBIL have been married for 30 years this December, so there must be some good vibes associated with it all.  

With the wedding things done, I am focusing on  A Glimpse of  Santa for the remainder of my vacation.  This is a gift for my new niece (wife of DNephew) and fits perfectly into Gifted Gorgeousness.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is designed to showcase projects that are gifts to someone or projects that were gifts to us (or anything else you can shoehorn into the SAL theme). 

Here's where it was last month  

And here's where it is today:  
More of the tree, finished off the window casing, some of the wallpaper design and a start to the little boy's head.  My goal for today and tomorrow is to get to the halfway mark so I can roll it up and move into the foot and toe area. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sigh...

I am so good at making stitching plans.  I spend hours searching for just the right combination of projects, making lists, reworking lists, figuring times and supplies, and I finally have the perfect plan. The problem is my carry-through sucks.  For example, take a gander at the WIPocalypse Project List and 2017 Stitching Plan tab at the top of my postings.  That plan took me ages to work up, but it has the right balance to get a lot done.  I was keeping up with it pretty well, until July.  All my planning since the beginning of July has been for naught - how come that's pronounced "nawt" and draught is pronounced "draft"? (at least in my  mish-mashed American version of English).  I am pretty close to calling a free-for-all through the end of the year and see where I end up.

Since my last post, I've been to New Orleans - yes we got rain from Hurricane Harvey, but no wind and no flooding (other than the room of one of our trainees - a pipe burst in the room next to his and flooded his room), been home for a couple weeks and am getting ready to head to Michigan the end of the month for a week of training.  I should be done traveling for a while - probably this time next year when we get our travel and training funds - so maybe I can settle down a bit.  Who am I kidding?  DNiece is getting married the 20th of October and I need to make a card and get things around for that trip.  Rather than just a few days of either side of the wedding, I decided to take the week on each side, so two weeks off work.  Other than the travel for the wedding, I have stitching planned.

Speaking of stitching (which is what I am supposed to be doing on this blog) it is time for September's Gifted Gorgeousness check-in.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Pop on over there and say "Hi".  She's having a birthday tomorrow, so wish her a Happy Birthday while your there.  Anyway, Gifted Gorgeousness is a way to thank the generous people that have gifted us stitching things or to show things that we are stitching that will be gifted or anything we can shoehorn into the stitch-along theme.

I only have one project that fits into any of these categories (heck, I've only stitched on one thing for the last few months).  It actually fits two as it is a gift for DNiece2 and the fabric was a gift from The Hubs last Christmas.  Here is A Glimpse of Santa from The Stoney Creek Collection.


It is stitched on 28-count Antique White Monaco with DMC threads.  After a bit of a translation problem, I am moving right along.  The translation problem was  - I couldn't figure out what these symbols meant:


It's a horrible picture, but see those double symboled stitches?   My first thought was printing error, so I started stitching those areas in regular cross stitch.  Then I decided there was too much of it to be an error so tweeding was my next thought.  There were no colors represented by that symbol.  Read and re-read the directions, double checked that I had downloaded all the pages, swore a bit and then figured out that they were half stitches slanting in the direction of the slash. Nothing in the directions mentioned this little tidbit of information.  Maybe it's a peculiarity of this company's patterns, I haven't stitched enough of them to know, and they assume you know it, but I sure didn't and I wasted several hours stitching, figuring it out, and removing the stitches I had already done.

Need to throw a load of laundry into the washer and then hopefully settle into some decent stitching time this afternoon and evening. 

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.