Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ever wonder what your pet does while you're at work?

My silly cat likes to play with running water. BF does a lot of work from home and is able to snap pics of my puddy in action during the day. There's another kitty in the house, but she hates BF and won't come out unless I'm there. Poor thing.

Image Hosting by Image Hosting by

November Goal #3

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.comThe internet was cooperating last night, so I was able to upload a photo of my latest goal completion, Fall Leaves Needleroll. The pic isn't great; the lighting was bad and I got some reflected flash off of the dark leather sofa. I only did the assembly on the needleroll this month-- the stitching was done earlier this year. Still I am feeling pretty good about myself, because my completed projects usually end up in a drawer for ages before I finally assemble or frame them.

Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.comI also snapped a pic of the Santa ornament. I have the front and back pieces done and ready to be glued together and trimmed. I don't think that I have anything on-hand for this one, so it probably will not be completed for a few days.

After my assembly work was done, I settled in and stitched a bit on Santa's Magic. What a pain!!! I'm trying to get back into the habit of working on my UFO on Tuesdays again. If I can stick to it, I can probably get this project finished (FINALLY!!!) in 2006... only 7 years after I started it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Michael's gets more of my $$

I am not a fan of Michael's, by any stretch. They don't have most of the needlework supplies that I need, and going there is usually rather painful. Unfortunately, the LNS that I loved is gone and the Evil Corporate Entity is the most convenient option, so long as I don't need anything fancy. Then it's a 30-minute (or longer) drive to an LNS, or waiting for an online order to arrive.

Yesterday's after-work mission was picture frames (Christmas gifts) and embellishments for my Santa ornament. I was expecting the usual pain and suffering that goes along with a trip to Michael's, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't so bad on a Monday afternoon. Of course, my ever-patient BF was there to haul everything and generally keep me company. I had hoped to pick up some additional metallic braid and beads so that I can get back to work on Santa's Magic, but of course the colors I needed were not available from their pitiful collection.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.comOther than the braid and bead disappointment, which was expected, the remainder of the trip was successful. I found a 5" square frame that might work for Please Don't Eat the Daisies. The frame comes closer to the stitching than I'd like, so this may be a temporary home for PDETD, but it will do for now. I won't mount the piece permanently until I'm sure.

I also picked up various embellishments for the Santa's Trimmings ornament, but when I got them home I realized that I didn't really want Santa to be holding a string of garland... or whatever... so I've left that bit off and just added a star-shaped button to the top of his hat. I also picked up some self-adhesive mounting board for Santa and started the finishing process on my ornie when I got home.

I tried to post some pics last night, but the internet refused to cooperate. Maybe this evening.

Monday, November 28, 2005

UFO Sightings

Last night I completed the stitching on the Mosey & Me Santa ornament. I haven't taken a pic yet, because I still have to do the embellishments. He's supposed to be holding a string of beads, but I think I want to do something a little different. I have to go to Michael's (yet again) after work today and will find something there to finish the ornament tonight.

Button Santa is mounted and glued together-- all that's left is the trim. I'm a bit nervous about that, though I don't know why.

With the ornament stitching finished, I needed something to work on during the evening. I have been feeling guilty about not working on Santa's Magic for so long, so I decided to pull him out. I went over the pattern, carefully comparing it to what I've stitched, in an effort to figure out where I left off with it. The project is very nearly complete, much closer than I realized. But, the parts that are left are almost entirely metallic braid and beads-- neither of which I had handy at BF's house. Santa has been put away once again, until I get the rest of the supplies from my place.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.comSince Santa didn't cooperate, I pulled out Adia instead. This is another project that has been langiushing in the back of a closet for quite some time. I didn't work on it long enough to accomplish very much, but at least she is out of hiding and perhaps will make it into a regular rotation. The photo here was taken in July 2003-- I've worked on it somewhere along the way since then, because there is much more completed than this picture shows. The top portion is essentially unchanged, but most of the bottom of her dress was done before I picked it up yesterday.

When Adia is finished, she will be framed to match Titania, which was completed several years ago.

Image Hosting by

Friday, November 25, 2005

Holiday Success

Miraculously, the dessert set up properly and was really quite good. Personally, I can't get past the pumpkin part of it, so I'm not too nuts about it. Since it was just the two of us yesterday, I opted not to do the traditional Thanksgiving dinner-- we'll have that tomorrow with my family. Turkey twice in one weekend seemed a bit extreme, so I opted for a Thanksgiving pork roast accompanied by corn spoon bread instead. Both were new recipes and turned out well.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.comIn between cooking sessions, I worked a tiny bit on the assembly of Button Santa. We should be able to hang that by the end of this weekend. I also started a new project-- the Mosey & Me Santa ornament from the 2004 JCS ornie issue. He's cute, but larger than I normally like for an ornament. If I had it to do again, I'd probably do it over one.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving... and another goal met

Image Hosting by

Last night I finished the figure panel on Castle Sampler, meeting my second goal for November. I did a mini-happy dance and have now put it away once again.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.comI've made quite a lot of progress on it, and it's tempting to continue working on it, but other projects are calling my name. I think it's looking pretty good though.

I've spent most of my day thus far in the kitchen, working on dessert for our dinner this evening. It's a pumpkin chiffon something-or-other, and I'm not entirely convinced that it is going to set up properly. We'll see. Worst case, we'll eat it with spoons.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Squishy mail and other distractions

The last few mail days have been good to me. First, I
received a shipment from Silkweaver containing some
goodies that I ordered from their Odds & Ends page.
There were two gorgeous pieces of Lakeside Linens 40
ct. vintage linen in different shades of blue, plus
one small piece of neutral colored linen.

Next came the the shipment from Wyndham Needleworks
that I had been waiting on. Some of it had been
back-ordered, but it finally arrived in time for
Thanksgiving. That shipment contained the last three
years' worth of JCS ornament issues and M Designs'
"Snow Wonderful," along with all of the specialty
threads that it called for. That designs is so
whimsical and I am very anxious to start it, but I
will try to finish my November stitching goals first.

I stopped by Michael's Crafts yesterday in an effort
to get ribbons and other trim so that I can assemble
Fall Leaves and Button Santa. I found trim, but
didn't find any suitable board for making a flat-fold.
The foam core just looked too thick, so I decided to
look for something around the house. I found a box to
use, but it looks like the cardboard is too thin. I
guess I'll go back to Michael's today and pick up that
foam core that I saw.

I put a few more stitches in Castle Sampler last
night, but really wasn't motivated to work on it for
long. Most of figure #5 is backstitched, and I will
probably finish the figure panel this evening.

I suspect that we will be released early from work
today-- that's how it usually goes on the day before a
major holiday. I'm looking forward to the time off,
even though we're not travelling anywhere. Or perhaps
I should say 'especially' because we aren't travelling
anywhere. We'll go to Thanksgiving dinner with family
on Saturday, but that is the only commitment over this
long weekend. I plan to put my feet up and stitch,
cook a little, and maybe even work on my website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Changing goals

While rake shopping at Wal-Mart over the weekend, I took a little detour to look for flat-fold/cube-it/ornie backing fabrics. What I had in mind was something for finishing my Valentine Heart, which is (or was) one of my November Stitching Goals. Silly me... I hadn't considered that it's NOVEMBER and what fabric shops will be selling is CHRISTMAS fabby. So, I've decided not to assemble Valentine Heart, but to do something with Button Santa instead.

Image Hosting by I think this is too tall and narrow for a cube-it, so it will be either a flat-fold or a doorhanger... haven't decided which yet. I was successful in finding fabric, but still need to get trim. A trip to Michael's will be in order very soon.

With the modification, my November stitching goals are now as follows:

1. Complete left border of Castle Sampler (done!)
2. Complete figure panel of Castle Sampler
3. Assemble Fall Leaves needleroll
4. Make flat-fold or doorhanger out of Button Santa

I think I am on-track for my goals this month. I worked on Castle Sampler last night and figure 5 is now completely stitched. All that's left is a bit of the vine/flower background in the figure panel, and the backstitching on figure 5. Goal #2 should be met tonight or tomorrow, with Goals #3 & #4 being met over the weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Oh, my back!!!

I had such wonderful plans for this weekend. Rick and I were going to the country, where I was going to relax and stitch. I packed up Castle Sampler and he packed his guitar and laptop. This was supposed to be me...

Image Hosting by

But nooooo.... that was not to be.

When we arrived (around lunchtime on Saturday), we were greeted by a yard full of LEAVES. I have a mower with a bagger attachment and planned to use that, until I found out that an earlier repair on it hadn't been done correctly and the bagging attachment will not go on. So we were stuck dealing with the leaves the old-fashioned way. Of course, there was only one rake in the garage, which meant a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a second rake. We spent the rest of the afternoon raking leaves and managed to get the front yard done. Afterward, I cooked dinner and by the time we were finished, I was too tired to pick up a needle. So much for my stitching weekend.

Our plan was to leave by noon on Sunday, but that didn't work out either. One of my uncles came by to get a recliner from me, and a drill press from the garage. Turns out the drill press was hard-wired to a switch and was a beast to remove. After that little ordeal, Rick still had to clean the gutters. I'm not much for climbing ladders and playing on the roof, so I pulled my big wicker chair out onto the deck and got in a little bit of stitching while he tended to the gutters. I managed a little more stitching after we got home last night, but still not much progress. But there is a holiday weekend coming up, and I have high hopes of finishing the figure panel by Sunday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Backstitching Blues

I worked on Castle Sampler again last night. (Do we notice a trend developing here? LOL) I finished the last few Xs on Figure 4 and put a few more stitches in Figure 5, then I concentrated on the backstitching. I hate doing acres of backstitch (where are my trusty Mirabilia projects when I need them?) and have to do all of my backstitching as I go, or any project that had it would become a permanent UFO. To make matters worse, the b/s on this TW pattern is nearly impossible to read-- sometimes I can't tell if a grid line is simply a grid line, or if it is supposed to be backstitched. UGH!!!

This is where I have trouble getting motivated and literally must force myself to keep stitching. I did manage to make some progress though... Figure 3 is now complete, and I should finish Figure 4 this evening. I am getting near enough to the end of the figure panel that I am certain I will be able to finish it by the end of the month, meeting my second stitching goal for November. After that, I will need to assemble my Fall Leaves needleroll and make something out of Valentine Heart.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Castle Sampler update

I finally took some updated pics of Castle Sampler on Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, the computer at home wasn't cooperating, and I wasn't able to upload them until last night.

The first pic is of Figure 1. I included part of the left border, which is completed now.

Image Hosting by

And here is a photo of Figure 2. The remaining three figures are in various states of completion, with Figure 3 being the closest to finished.

Image Hosting by

I worked a bit more on this project last night, although I didn't get very far with it. I ended up having to frog a few stitches on the chair of Figure 5, and I didn't make too much progress after that.

Also, while I was in a picture taking mood, I snapped a photo of my completed (and framed!) Lighthouse, by Bent Creek. I thought I'd get some shade of blue mats for that one and go with a distressed wood frame, but I liked the cheerfulness of these mats better. They don't actually go with *any* of my decor, so this hangs in the hallway at BF's house. It doesn't go with his decor either, but at least it doesn't clash with anything in the hallway.

Image Hosting by

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Poor, neglected Santa

Image Hosting by

I used to be very good about documenting my stitching progress, but over the last couple of years life has gotten in the way and my stitching journaling has fallen by the wayside. I'm trying to do better! To that end, I have recently begun photographing all of my stitching at various stages of completion.

This photo of Santa's Magic, by Mirabilia, was taken just a couple of weeks ago. That is not to say that I have stitched on it, or even touched it, in recent memory. The most recent photo I have prior to this one is dated July 27, 2003. I like to think that I've worked on this project since then, but I'm not sure. I know that I haven't touched it at all in 2005... maybe not even in 2004.

I first saw Santa's Magic in my local needlework shop. He looked so regal in a dark wood frame with double suede mats that I just had to stitch him. I purchased the recommended fabric and all of the necessary supplies. There were piles of metallic braid and beads, not to mention Wisper thread. I ran up quite a bill at the LNS that day.

That was 1999. It's now November 2005, and Santa still isn't finished. I started out quite enthusiastically, as this scan from December 1999 shows.

Image Hosting by

Before long, the ACRES of metallic braid started getting old, then the beads. And then I made the mistake of trying to use the white Wisper thread that was called for in the pattern. As it turns out "white" Wisper is not nearly as white as the DMC B5200 that I was using to stitch the white areas. Having the two threads together made the Wisper look yellowish, so I had to frog the Wisper that I had stitch. Have you ever tried to FROG that stuff? It's not fun.

And so my beautiful Santa has turned into the UFO that languishes in a drawer while I work on anything else. What really bugs me is that he is sooooo near to completion.

Perhaps I'll make a point of working on him again after the figure panel in Castle Sampler is completed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Little Happy Dance

I haven't actually finished anything, but I did reach ONE of my November stitching goals over the weekend. I completed the left-hand border of Castle Sampler! I was getting tired of the figures at the bottom and decided I needed something a little more 'mindless', so I switched back to working on the border. Now that it is done, I can focus again on the figure panel. I worked a bit on them last night and have made a teeny bit of progress. For one thing, I completed the backstitching on figure #1.

After looking at the photos that I posted of Castle Sampler, I've realized that I really need to take some new pictures. The project has changed a lot since the October 11 pic.

Now that I've made some progress on my sampler, I would like to go ahead and assemble my Fall Leaves needleroll and do something with the Valentine Heart that I stitched several years ago. My inclination is to make that one into a flat-fold or cube-it. I haven't tried either finishing technique before, so that will probably be fun.... NOT. But it needs to be done, and I haven't spotted the Finishing Fairy flying around my neighborhood recently.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A day off

Today is Veteran's Day, which means that my office is closed. That was supposed to translate into a day of stitching, but so far none has taken place. I had grand plans to spend some quality (read "quantity") time with Castle Sampler but somehow I keep getting distracted.

I did manage to upload some of my recent stitching photos, so I can finally get something besides words into this blog. The photo thing ended up being something of a pain... some of the images were huge and somehow distorted the linen on some of the photos. Then, I tried to upload the pics to my Geocities site last night, only to find out that I have exceeded my storage space, so most of the pics didn't make it up there. This morning, I opened an account at Picturetrail, so hopefully that will work. I haven't had much luck with uploading the pics from the PC directly to this blog... it just won't cooperate for some reason.

Enough rambling about the technical nonsense of the photos.

Here's how Castle Sampler looked as of October 11, 2005.

Free Image Hosting at

And here is a close-up of figures #2 and #3 that was taken on November 4.

Free Image Hosting at

I've made quite a bit of progress since those two photos were taken. Figures 1, 2 and 3 are completed, except for some of the backstitching, and I have stitched most of figure 4. Figure 5 is started, but I haven't done much on that one yet.

I spent last night working on the left border and am very near to finishing that section of the design. All of the over-one letters are done, as is the border itself. I just have to fill in a few pink stitches in between the letter blocks and stitch the vine motif in the top two squares. Once that is done, I will have met one of my November stitching goals.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tuesday already?

I can't believe it's Tuesday already. Where has the time gone? The weekend whizzed by and managed to pass without much stitching activity. We drove to the country on Saturday and I got wrapped up with assorted things around the house. By the time I finally sat down to stitch, I was too tired to focus on it. On Sunday, an uncle and aunt came for a visit and took a few things from the garage. I don't know if I will ever get rid of all that needs to go, but at least I am finally getting started on it. We had a nice visit, and I managed to get a few stitches in before heading back home on Sunday evening.

I'm still working diligently on Castle Sampler. I finished the last bit of stitching on figure #3 last night and have most of #4 completed. He's still headless and doesn't look like much of anything. I took a photo of my latest progress on it, but haven't uploaded any pictures yet. The last several pics that I took of my stitching didn't turn out well at all-- the background of the fabric looked wavy. I'm not sure what the problem is, and I haven't found a way to avoid it.

Yesterday was a good mail day-- I received my "treat bag" from Silkweaver. There were 4 pieces of linen, all in 32 or 36 count. There was a 9" x 13" piece of raw linen, a small cut of R&R fabric in a bright pink color, and two larger pieces-- one in a tan color and the other in "miracle mint". I have to admit that the miracle mint is not my favorite color, but it will probably be lovely for needlerolls and such. I don't think I'd stitch an entire project on it though.

I had an email this morning from Wyndham Needleworks saying that my order would be delayed because some part of it is out of stock. I was a little bummed about that, because I was anxious to receive my new pattern and JCS ornament issues. Oh well, at least this way I won't be tempted to start a new project before completing any of my November stitching goals.

Speaking of my goals... I am not sure that they are realistic. The figure panel on Castle Sampler is extremely slow going, as is the over-one portion of the alphabet border. I'm not going to edit my list of goals though. I'll just do what I can and will know to be more realistic next time.

Friday, November 04, 2005


It's Friday, and I'm looking forward to a trip to the country for the weekend. Thankfully, it's a relatively short drive, so we're able to drive out on Saturday morning and return late Sunday afternoon.

I had to get a furnace inspection at my condo yesterday. Between the house in the country and my place up here, I am getting to know more than I ever wanted about furnaces. Of course, this meant that I had to take yet another day off of work. This is absolutely NOT how I want to spend "vacation" time, but at least I did get some stitching time out of it. I am still hard at work on Castle Sampler and yesterday was no different. For now, I am concentrating on the panel of figures at the bottom. Figure #1 is completely stitched, but not yet backstitched; figure #2 is stitched and most of the backstitching is done; figure #3 is about 3/4 stitched, but no backstitch; and I have started on the bottom of figure #4. Tonight I will probably finish the backstitching on figure #2 and perhaps will finish the stitching on #3. I'd also like to spend some time on the left border this weekend, since that area is also included in my stitching goals for November. There is quite a bit of over-one stitching to do, which will be good to alternate with the stitching/backstitching on the figures.

While the furnace man was at my condo yesterday, I spent some time going through some of my finished pieces that still require framing or other finishing. The pile is pretty big, and there were a number of small pieces such as ornaments and needlerolls. I really would like to assemble some of these and have been looking around the internet for some finishing ideas. There are some really terrific sites out there!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

November Stitching Goals

I've never been particularly goal-oriented in my stitching, but I would like to start. Since I'm new to this, I will keep my goals modest. So here goes...

My stitching goals for November 2005 are:

  1. Complete the panel of figures at the bottom of Castle Sampler
  2. Complete the left border of Castle Sampler
  3. Assemble my Fall Leaves needleroll
  4. Make something out of A Valentine Heart maybe a flat fold or cube-it

Image Hosting by

A Moment of Weakness

I've been in a stash acquisition mood lately and recently joined the Fabric of the Month club at Silkweaver. I couldn't make up my mind which wonderful option I wanted, so I decided to try customized. According to the site, those packages ship around the first of each month. I knew that would be a couple of weeks, so I also ordered 5 of their Expressions fabrics in the meantime. Wouldn't you know it-- they arrived while I was in Nebraska. It was wonderful to come home and have a squishy envelope waiting for me.

I thought that joining FOTM and adding a package of Expressions fabric would satisfy my stash craving, but it didn't work for long. After posting yesterday's blog entry, I decided to order the 2005 Just Cross Stitch ornaments issue from the Wyndham Needleworks website. I could pick it up on my own easily enough, I suppose, but I get to an LNS so rarely these days that I decided to order it online to make sure that I got it. I missed out on the 2004 issue because I didn't make it to the LNS, so I also ordered that one as well. Then, I couldn't remember if I had 2003 or not (I'm really bad at picking these things up in the store), and I decided to order that one too-- just to be sure.

Well, you can't go to Wyndham to order one thing (okay, three things) and not browse through their wonderful selection of charts. I decided to have a peek, but I was JUST LOOKING. While I was browsing, I ran across a wonderful winter-themed pattern that I just had to have. I'm not a big fan of winter and thought that something whimsical to stitch would be just the thing to cheer me up during the colder months. I think this will do the trick. Of course, I wouldn't be able to stitch the pattern without any supplies, so I ordered all of the threads as well.

In the meantime, Silkweaver is having their Spooktacular Mystery Sale for a few more days. Their "treat bags" look especially appealing, and I doubt my willpower is going to hold out for very long. I'll be surprised if it lasts until the end of the day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A hectic couple of weeks

I can't believe that it has been just over 2 weeks since I last posted anything here. I've been doing plenty of stitching, but haven't had much computer time. It all started when I realized that I needed to have the oil furnace serviced at the country house. That meant taking 2 days off of work-- okay, it really meant only one day, but I was greedy. We were in the country on Friday & Saturday and returned home on Saturday evening. On Sunday I had to fly to Nebraska for the week, where I spent the week teaching and had extremely limited computer time.

Getting to Nebraska was painful. The trip began with a lengthy delay at the airport, after the plane had been boarded. They said it was something to do with the hydraulics. Whatever it was delayed us for roughly 2 1/2 hours. Getting delayed in the airport is bad, but being stuck on the plane NOT MOVING for all that time was much worse. I was supposed to have 3+ hours to connect in Chicago, but that was reduced to under 30 minutes. And as always, the flight to Chicago landed at a C gate and the flight to Lincoln departed from F. F11 to be exact-- all the way at the end of the terminal and then downstairs. I was sure that my flight would be in the air by the time I finally got to the gate, but I was lucky and it was running just a few minutes behind schedule.

On this trip, I decided to bring my stitching in my carry-on luggage. I always put the project itself in my carry-on bag (there's no way I'm going to trust the airline with all of my hours of hard work), but I normally leave the scissors and other supplies in my checked bag because I'm never quite sure what can go through security. This time, I substituted a pair of nail clippers for scissors and took the entire project along in my carry-on bag. It worked great, and I will certainly do this again in the future. Sadly, I didn't have access to my stitching while we were delayed on the ground-- I put the bag in the overhead compartment and didn't want to climb over people to get out. I doubt it would have done me much good anyway, because I was seated in the middle seat, firmly wedged between two fairly large men. I'm sure that if I had tried to stitch I would have ended up poking them with my needle. I did manage some in-air stitching and it went well enough. I only worked on "mindless" sections like the straight edges on the border sections.

I'm generally so worn out after teaching that I don't feel like doing much, and there isn't a lot to do in Lincoln anyway, so I was able to spend some quality time stitching. Even though I'm not crazy about being away from home, I have to admit that I enjoy not having anything to distract me from my stitching for a few evenings. I got a lot accomplished, but there is still a lot to do. I don't think I have even hit the half-way point yet.

Since my arrival home, I have had a hard time getting motivated to work on The Castle Sampler. I don't know what it is-- maybe boredom? That would surprise me since this project has so many different things to work on that I rarely become bored with it. When I am truly bored with it or simply can't focus, I usually work on the borders and get still make some progress without it being too taxing. I did pick it up again last night and am trying to finish the last bits of stitching in the lower left quadrant of the piece. So far, so good!