Friday, October 31, 2008


I had the best intentions of posting a photo of my Lori Birmingham piece, but the evening crept up on me and before I knew it, bedtime was here. I have to say that I am really impressed with this kit. It has two lovely overdyes in it that are used for all of the stitching. They are so pretty. As always, the project is much prettier than the photo lets on. It is so feminine and pretty. I am mentally preparing myself for the hardanger doily. LOL

I am a bit tired this evening. Today was the last day at my old part time job, so I had to finish up all of my duties. I am really looking forward to just working the new job and just concentrating on what I need to learn instead of going back and forth.

It is supposed to rain like crazy here this weekend. I am looking forward to it and just sitting in front of a fire. I have a bit of homework to do and I really want to get this LB basket finished. Then I really have to get some gifts started for Christmas. Can you believe it is almost here?!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Week Is A Wild Ride

Whadda week. I am on the last two days of my two week notice of my old job while working simultaneously at my new job. It is a wee bit stressful to ramp up on one job and closing out another, making notes for the next person. On top of it all, I have developed a bad cold. Drag.

I have started the Lori Birmingham basket topper. It is really pretty, worked in overdyes. What I did not realize until I opened the package is that there is also a pattern and all the fixins for a matching hardanger doily. How cool is that. I love doing hardanger. Once I got over my fear of cutting, I was set to jet! I learned how to carefully cut the threads by Lori B. herself. She taught me to count the threads and then count them again on my scissor before I made a cut. It is actually really easy once you do it. Hardanger actually goes a lot more quickly than cross stitch for me. I love the results.

I have found the ideal spot to have my lunch at the new job. It is actually in my car. The parking lot faces a somewhat wooded area so it is somewhat serene. Plus, it is really quiet. So far I have been studying for school, but I am thinking that it is a good place to do some quiet stitching. I am wondering how I can make a little portable stitching studio for the car. I shall have to put some thought into this.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Found A Small Kit to Work On

It was a long day today with the homework, studying and test I had to take for my classes. It took the better part of the day. I had big plans of kitting up my Farmer's Alphabet, but when I finally finished my schoolwork, I was all but drooling. I got the pattern out for FA, but tried to comprehend the fabric needs. I was not sure I have 32 count in my stash. I have mostly 28 count, thanks to a door prize that hubby won several years ago at CATS. It was a bag of fat quarters, which he promptly gifted to me. But as usual, I digress...

As I stood there, pattern in hand, I was not sure I could summon the strength to kneel in front of the fabric drawer trying to find the perfect piece of fabby. Then I could not form my mind around the question of whether to stitch it over 1 or 2. I figured that given that I was drooling out of exhaustion and saturation of schoolwork, that it would be best not to be near fabric. Especially overdyes. LOL

So instead, I went to box of kits and found a lovely Lori Birmingham kit of the Sarah Belle Nantucket Basket to work on tonight. It is small and pretty easy. I love Lori Birmingham! Her work is so pretty and feminine. Plus she is an absolutely lovely person. I had the pleasure of taking a class at CATS and just thought she was a joy.

I am trying to stay off 123stitch tonight. LOL Today for some reason, people were posting finishes of the Shepard's Bush patterns. Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful. I love the colors and style. I have a few in my "collection." (I am afraid though that if I stitch them that I can not possibly frame them without the fabulous Jill Rensel mats!) The patterns are so lovely and really affordable. Plus they do look lovely finished as pillows. I just love their work!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Looking Forward to the Weekend!

Well, it has been a wild week! I am really happy that the weekend is here. I am thinking about starting a new project and stitching away. I have a test and a paper due, but it should leave me some time to stitch.

I am trying to decide what I want to stitch next. I still have the J to finish, but I am off a stitch and I can not seem to find where I went astray. Grrr. So I figure I will put it away for a while and come back to it. In the meantime, I am considering what to do next. For some reason Prairie Schooler's Farmers Alphabet is calling out to me. I think I like the fact that it is done in squares and with DMC. I have plenty of DMC on hand so I should not have to make any new investments in new supplies.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Whoohoo! I Got To Stitch

It has been a very busy week! I learned on Friday evening that I was got hired for a really incredible job. I don't think I slept at all this past weekend, I was so very excited. I started today and just love the organization. I am working at my old job as well for my two weeks notice, so it is a busy time as I close out the old job and learn the new one, In addition, I am trying to stay on track with my two classes...All in all, I just feel fortunate. Fortunate to have a great job, fortunate to be healthy, fortunate that I can go to school, fortunate for my family, my dog, a place to live, food in my stomach...

I put my book learnin' to the side tonight and treated myself to a little stitching time. Well, first I treated myself to a little playing with my sweet little dog time. She loves to chase, be chased and play hide and seek. So we played while my hubby picked up a special treat from the tacqueria for us. Then I stitched upon my J. It looks really good.

I am back at my new job again tomorrow. I am so happy to be doing accounting again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Well, At Least I Got To Sit In My Craftroom...

I did not get to stitch or craft today and I am not happy. I had a 13 chapter exam for one of my online community college classes that I had to get done tonight or I would start getting behind. These chapters were on Contract Law and were so hard and so full of detail. I have been trying to understand it for about two weeks. It took about 2 1/2 hours to take the test because I am a worrywart and have to check myself 3 times. Argh. So now I have another few chapters to read in preparation for the next assignment in that class. Plus I want to get a head start on the assignments for my other classes. Sadly, all of this cuts into my stitchy time...

The one thing that makes me happy though is that I get to do all of this stuff in my craft room/office. This is most likely my favorite room in the house. I am not even sure what my favorite element in the room is. It is so cozy and has a beautiful view of the hills around us. To make matters even sweeter, my little Liesie has been dozing away on the ottoman while I sit in the lounge chair that accompanies it. It makes my heart happy to see her there, all curled up, over my book.

I am going to try to take some quiet time to stitch tomorrow. I really feel the need to do something creative!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Busy, busy...

Wow! The last two days have flown by. I had all of these plans to work on my Chrismons and my "J." Life just got heaped on. Last night was chorus so it was a late night. We were out a little early so my first thought was, "Awesome! I have a few extra minutes to stitch. By the time I got home it was still after 10 and I was ready to hit the hay!

Today was very busy. I had a meeting at church regarding the upcoming holidays. I need to get a piece written on the symbolism of the Chrismons that I made. I think this is a very cool project because it will help members of our congregation understand some of the pieces.

I also had to go to the class meeting for my 8 week online course tonight. I am looking forward to this class, but there is really a lot of homework and projects. I really love school. I know that online courses are not for everyone, but I really like them. I just have to make sure I keep tabs on my calendar and stay organized. I also like the online course because I am a visual learner, so I am able to keep myself on track.

I am really inspired now that the angels are framed. I have several other items in a box that are finished but unframed. Now I am thinking that I can start making sure that these pieces have a new life outside of the box. When I think of how long I denied myself looking at those beautiful angels, I just get sad. The angels are bringing me so much joy, and there are so many other pieces that could be doing the same. What a crime. So now it is my goal to clean out that box before the end of the year.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Found A WIP To Work On

I found a WIP that I started earlier this year. It is an M Designs Letter J (our last initial.) I became intrigued several years ago by a posting by Lynn on 123stitch where she had stitched her and her husband's initials and vertically framed them all together with seperate cutouts in a mat. It was stunning. It is one of those design ideas that has stayed with me.

I am stitching this J, 1 over 1, on 28 count cashel linen. I made sure that I have enough for all three initials in advance. I am stitching it with Thread Gatherer Charcoal Silk floss that. I had everything I needed in my stash, so it was almost like stitching for free. LOL

I really like stitching these little initials. They are intricate, but the pattern is easy to read. This should go quickly. I am afraid that I will not really be able to stitch the other two intials until after the first of the year but that is okay.

I am still getting used to seeing my angels on my previously blank wall. I can see them down my hallway from my bedroom. There is something so comforting about seeing them there. I have always loved angels, and what inspired me to stitch L&L angels is that they look exactly like what I imagine angels look like. So I so enjoy seeing them. I can not pick out a favorite. I love all of them. I just can not believe that I get to look at them every single day now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

L & L Angels

After years and years sitting in a Sterilite container, one since about 1993, it was time for my L&L angels to be framed. I had had the Larson-Juhl frames that I bought at 50% off at Michaels about 7 years ago. I had bought the frames all alike, so they could be displayed together. Best laid plans and all of that, they just never got framed. DH has been bugging me about it since we started dating a little over 5 years ago.

I have been thinking about it for a few weeks, pretty much every time the frames would "jump" out of my semi stuffed closet. DH does pretty much all of the framing around here. Having been a carpenter, he gets out the measuring tape and squares it all up. This is in stark contrast to my "eyeballing it" method of framing, which can also be referred to as the "willy-nilly method." He will also actually measure on the wall when hanging the pictures, which always has me standing there hands on hips asking the ridiculous question, "How come we can't just eyeball it?" This leads to a fair amount of eyerolling, exasperated exhaling, throwing up of hands and ultimately, apologizing. But again, I digress.

My hubby, henceforth referred to as "Sir Bob, Knight in Shining Armor," got out the supplies and framed my angels. They are truly breathtaking. Each one is in a 16X20 frame so they are quite large. I can not believe it when I look up and see them. I feel a bit ashamed that they were tucked away for all of these years where we could not enjoy them. I see them now and they give me a sense of peace with their size and beauty.

I feel so fortunate and happy. They look wonderful and I am so looking forward to looking at them for many years to come.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wonderful Fall Day!

We woke up today to really cold temperatures. It was 38 degrees Farenheit. Brrrrrr. We have a standing date with our furgirl to go to the beach on Saturday mornings. Today was just too darn cold, so we lit a fire and waited for the day to warm up a bit. It was finally about 11 am before we could walk around the neighborhood. By then, it had become a beautiful day.

After our walk, we went and ran some errands. I do not know why I insist upon going to Costco on Saturday. I must be out of my mind. At the very least I should remember to stay away from the bottlenecks that occur around the food samples. There are days I swear that people roam the aisles of Costco for lunch. But I digress...

There is one thing that always comes to mind when the weather turns crisp: Sweet Potato Pie. Yum! Today was the day to make the first pie of the season. I love sweet potato pie. Traditional sweet potato pie has the orange peel and nutmeg as flavoring, not the cinnamon that many recipes call for. It is so comforting to eat. My hubby made his fabulous pie crust. We both remarked how we would both love to just take a spoon and eat the sweetened condensed milk as we tried to scrape every last bit out of the can. There really are not many things better than sweetened condensed milk, really.

It was such a nice day, very cozy at home. Hubby baked bread, we watched the race and Liesl napped amongst her various blankies. It was nice to have such a great day, for tomorrow I have a monster paper due for my class, when I would really rather stitch...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Craft Stores

We are pretty lucky here. We have not one, but two pretty good craft stores. We have a California based company called Beverly's, which has a nice selection of crafts, and an exceptional selection of fabric. They carry Michael Miller and Moda fabrics, which are my very favorites. In addition, we have a brand-spanking new Michaels. If I do not need fabric, I will usually drive the extra 10 minutes to the Michaels because they have a terrific overall craft selection and have better prices.

I had to go to Target today, which is in the same shopping center as Michaels. (I always seem to run out of all of my cleaning supplies all at once, hence the trip to Target.) I needed some feathers for an angel Chrismon that I am working on so I ran into Michaels. I am noticing that the bead section gets bigger and bigger. They are so beautiful, and seem to get nicer and nicer with each selection that is added. However, this also makes me sad...

I realize that crafts are cyclical and sadly, cross stitch is not at the top of the cycle. I have noticed that there is hardly anything left for cross stitcher. There is the obligatory selection of DMC and aida cloth, but no patterns, no Mill Hill beads, no nice linen, no pretty Gingher designer scissors. While I do not purchase many kits, I was disappointed to see that cross stitch kits never even made it to this store. It just seems like such a shame. I remember a day when even department stores like JC Penney and Mervyn's carried stitching kits and supplies. Every mall had a LNS.

I will say that the quality of craft supplies has improved so greatly over the past twenty years. I am so impressed with the varied items and the professional look that the average person can achieve with what they can pick up at the local craft store. I love being able to work with a lot of different materials and have a varied interest in crafts. However, my first love is cross stitch and my worry is that eventually the limited selection will eventually become no selection. I realize that craft stores are also just trying to accomodate what their customers want right now. I also like the immediate gratification of quilting, making a bracelet, or making a card. But I really hope that cross stitch makes it back to the top of the cycle again, that good materials are readily available, and that this artform will not be lost forever.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday, Monday!

It is really amazing to me that it is October already. Today at work we were discussing Thanksgiving. It is right around the corner. Then on to Christmas...

I decided to put together a few more Chrismons while I am in between projects. I found some really great wood cut outs at Michaels, so they should be a good foundation for me to paint and decorate. They will not be as ornate as the others, but they will still be nice. Our tree in the church sanctuary is so large that it really makes for a lot of space to cover. I am really excited about seeing it with all of the ornaments on it. My pastor was telling someone about the Chrismons that I had already turned in and that "they are gorgeous." It made my day.

As a side note, for some reason everyone I spoke to was really sleepy today. I think we are all headed into our season of hibernation now that the rain has started and the weather is turning cooler. I was so tired today. Even the dog looked sleepy. I am looking for the rainy season to really go into full swing. It is absolutely cozy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blessing Of The Animals

Every year the churches in the area celebrate St. Francis of Asissi Day. We hold our services outdoors and everyone is welcome to bring their pets to receive a blessing. This was my first year with a pet, so first thing this morning, Liesl got her bath, and her hair brushed before we all went to church.

One by one, we are able to bring our pets to the front of the congregation, where they received a blessing. Liesie even received the sign of the cross on her sweet little head. We also received a box of animal crackers.

I think somehow the dogs all know they are present at God's house, because all of them were on their best behavior and sat quietly through the shortened service. There was even a treat table set up for them at Fellowship time. They had bowls of water and biscuits. It was a beautiful fall day, too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Had To Clean My Room

My craft room was a mess. A real mess. Yesterday's bead organization was a small part of an overall cleaning project. Things had been piled and piled to the point where I could not see the desktop. This is not a normal thing for me. I have an accounting mind so everything has a place to live. I could not believe it got to this point. Guilt got the best of me. You will note in the above before and after pictures that my little project started while in daylight. The finished project is at night.

As I went through my many projects, it appeared that my piles were a result of things that had one small thing to do on them, so they waited on my desk to be dealt with. I needed to organize those beads. I needed to put the hangers on my daughter and son in law's stockings. I had received patterns in the mail last week, so they needed to be filed, et cetera, et cetera...

I was able to take care of all of those items. Whoohoo! Everything is in it's place. I also want to point out in the pictures the desk that I love so much. It is a beautiful trestle dining table that my hubby made many years ago. It is the perfect sized workspace and it makes me happy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

All The Leaves Are Brown...

Wow! The first day of October. Can you even believe how fast this year has flown by?!

I got a bee in my bonnet today to organize my Mill Hill Beads. I had been storing them in one of my old plastic Darice floss boxes. They did not exactly fit in that old box because they have that little flap that is just a little too tall. So a few weeks ago, a smart person on 123stitch posted their storage solution. It was a box from Walmart with 24 "Tic Tac" type boxes with flip lids in it. Total price $4.97. Awesome! Plus I do not have to worry about those devilish little boxes springing open and my frenzied chasing of beads before the dog gets them.

So I proceeded today with re-organizing my full Darice box into the new box. They now all fit in this box, which is smaller than a cigar box. It was very eye opening. To my surprise, I had five open boxes of 557. Three open boxes of 81. Ummm, my bad. Needless to say, I kept buying the same beads with every new project. I am really glad that I had to consolidate everything. Hopefully this will keep me from re-buying the same stuff.

I have to share that I had something really awesome happen to me last night. I went to my choir rehearsal and sat next to my lovely friend Wendy, as usual. (Waving at Wendy!) Wendy shared with me several weeks ago that she used to cross stitch and now knits. So last night she placed in my hands two of the most stunning cross stitch kits. She said that she knew that she would not stitch them, so passed them to me. One kit was Theresa Wentzler's Father Winter and a Janylnn kit which was a creche with all of individually stitched figurines. Both are absolutely stunning. It was such a nice thing to do and I can not express how much I really appreciate it. I feel like a little child at Christmas. I have a couple of projects to do before Christmas for gifts, so I will be starting these right after Christmas. I want to start them right now. My goodness, they are so beautiful.