Sunday, April 13, 2014

If I Waited Until I Had Time....


SPRING

If I waited until I actually had time to sit and write a post, well you would miss that Spring has finally sprung here in Iowa.  We've actually had our first few days in a row with temps above 70 degrees which has done wonders to bring the Spring bulb plants alive with color.   Unfortunately, a cold front moved through last night and we've had thunderstorms and rain non-stop with cooler temps (only in the 40's today) and some parts of the state will even have the rain turn to snow later tonight.   Yikes!  The rain has been great for the lawn, however, as it has turned from brown to a beautiful green.  Now if only we could get some leaves on the trees.

CONTEST

Isabella (Primitive Hare) decided to do a 2014 Contest and I decided to take advantage of the purchase of this lovely little design at a very reasonable cost.  You must stitch it up, finish in some fashion and send her a picture of your completed piece to be entered in the Contest.  It is worth the effort as she is offering quite nice prizes to the winner.  Good Luck to all!

I decided to change one color (changed the blue to a red) and stitched it up on a piece of OOPS 25 count overydyed fabric I had in my stash.  I had originally planned on making a pillow of this piece but when I changed fabric and thread colors from Isabella's design something completely different came to mind.  I pictured a needle book that had a place for pins and needles as well as a pocket with a flap for my scissors.  I took my finished cross stitch piece with me to the quilt store and found fabrics that matched perfectly.  It took me a few days to actually get up the nerve to start cutting fabrics and constructing my needle book.  

I will be the first to admit it is not perfect and I had a couple of hiccups along the way - like sewing my flaps into the side seams.  Overall I am pleased with the results.  I ended up being able to make the pocket actually 2 pockets.  I put scissors in the smaller one and the larger one is the perfect size my my 3" stitch starter.  I did get to use the piece of overdyed lace in my stash as the overdyed ric rac I had intended on using was not a match.  The coolest thing about this piece - I ran out of brown thread when I was 2/3 of the way completed and did not have another spool - or so I thought.  I spotted my Great Aunt Martha's sewing machine which I inherited and decided to go and check the drawers.  I was so delighted to find a spool of brown thread and I think it is pretty cool to have used the thread that my Great Aunt Martha used in my piece.

I think I will stitch this piece a second time using the called for colors and construct another needle book.  I know what I would do different next time and know it will look much more polished.  I will take pictures and post a tutorial on how to construct when I do my second one.  

FABRIC BOX


This is the fabric box that my Aunt Nanc gifted me with the kit.  I've had the fabric cut out since mid-March but again finding the nerve to actually start constructing took a bit of time for me.  Luckily when she gifted me the kit she also wanted to set up a Skype chat to show me little "tips" to make it easier.  I can't tell you how helpful it was as she had the box in various stages of construction and was able to really show me how it all went together.  I plucked up my courage this past Monday and got started.  It really was very easy to put together and am already thinking about how I can apply the principle of construction to make in a square to finish some of my cross stitch pieces.


SEWING


I've also started putting together the pillow for my friend, Allison, who had a few t-shirt logos and fabric leftover from a t-shirt quilt that she had made.  There is another t-shirt logo large enough in navy blue that will become the back of the pillow.

I also made another quilt as you go table runner for my sister-in-law for her birthday.  Alas, it still has not been delivered but don't think she reads the blog so it shouldn't ruin the surprise.

WIP


 As mentioned previously, I was making pretty good progress on the Birds of a Feather Mystery Sampler by With Thy Needle and Thread....or at least I was until I opened my big mouth and said how  much progress I was making.  That very evening I ended up ripping out the entire upper right corner of the piece as I was 2 threads (1 stitch) off.  I thought about just leaving it but then I would be trying to make adjustments for the remainder of the design and ripping out seemed the lesser of 2 evils.  The picture on the left gives a better representation of the fabric color while the photo on the right shows you how much work has been completed.  

As mentioned, here are the fabrics and threads I am using on this design.  The fabric ended up being a 36 count fabric but I have absolutely no idea the color (other than it has a bluish color to it).  I wish I had more information on it but I am stumped on this one.  The appearance and texture of it make me think it is Edinborough by Zweigart.  I usually keep the tag with it but it seems to have disappeared.

As mentioned, I did change the majority of the thread colors which was necessitated by my choice of fabric color.

Called for Color                                                           Lorrie's Color
Weeks Light Khaki                                                       DMC 739
Weeks Straw                                                                 DMC 738
Weeks Dove                                                                  Weeks Dove
Weeks Confederate Gray                                              DMC 3023
Weeks Guacamole                                                         DMC 734
Weeks Cappuccino                                                        Weeks Cappuccino
Weeks Sage                                                                   DMC 612
Weeks Caper                                                                 DMC 3781
Weeks Bark                                                                   DMC 3031
Weeks Brick                                                                  DMC 3858
Weeks Kentucky Bluegrass                                           Weeks Kentucky Bluegrass
Weeks Kudzu                                                                DMC 640
Weeks Cinnabar                                                            DMC 3064
Weeks Indian Summer                                                  DMC 3857
Weeks Olive                                                                  Weeks Olive

BOOKS

Last Friday was my monthly book club meeting and we discussed Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon.  I didn't even come close to finishing this book before the meeting but I was not alone.  It is some 700+ pages long and is more academic reading.  In fact I think the only one who actually finished the book was the discussion leader.  It was nice of her to admit that it took awhile for her as well.  Surprisingly it was a pretty good discussion as the book is broken down into several different topics and everyone had chosen different topics to read.  I can only imagine how long we would have talked if we each had read the entire book.

I also recently finished reading The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston.  I enjoyed the book and unknowingly had put another one of her books on my wish list to read so anticipate reading something from this author again soon.  

I've also read a couple of the J D Robb mystery books.  I really do enjoy a good mystery.

I am currently reading 4 books right now.  I'm still working on 2 from book club which are Far from the Tree and The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen as well as The End of Night by Paul Bogard and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

MOVIES

Hubby and I've had a couple of date nights since last post.  We saw the movie Divergent and I felt they did a pretty good job of putting book to screen.  We also saw Capt. America:  The Winter Soldier.  I can't help it I just love those Marvel movies.

BAKING

Received the Amish Friendship Bread starter from my friend Launa and today was baking day.  I'm thinking a slice of this will be my dessert for tonight.







Saturday, March 22, 2014

Where Did My Afternoon Go!

I had plans to get this post done hours ago but my time this afternoon has just zoomed away.  Thankfully it is going to be a night of leftovers for supper so I have a few minutes to post a quick update.

I realized it had been awhile since my last post as I've picked up two completed pieces from the framer.  Funny how you have good intentions and then the next thing you know a couple of weeks have gone by.

I thought we were going to make it through the entire Winter season this year without my son getting sick but alas it was not to be.  He has been home off and on over the past 2 weeks nursing a cold/cough.  I think the worst symptom has actually been the cough.  It really seems to get going at bedtime and then we miss hours of sleep trying to get him settled.  


This is Hip Hop Easter by Nathalie (TheBlueAttic).  I stitched it to be a small design as I had in mind using a large width frame to showcase it.  The frame I chose has various shades of the same thread colors I used and it turned out just as I had envisioned.  Imagine that!  The finished size including the frame is 8 1/2" wide x 9" high.    This was a start to finish stitch in one afternoon.


I also completed La Pensee' Positive by Les Marottes de Nathalie.  I actually thought this design would take me much longer to stitch than it did.  I usually take a photo after each session I stitch on a project to see it evolve and so I have a visual of progress made and was surprised to realize it only took 9 stitching sessions to complete.  I did try several different frames for this piece but the frame I used on Sampler aux Bouquets where I used the same fabric and many of the same threads was still the one that showcased it best.  I did change several of the called for colors so I could use the same threads but kept the colors charted for the words.  I also chose to completely stitch the tablecloth rather than just outlining it.  The finished size including the frame is 7 1/2" wide by 14" high.

I'm still knitting away on my afghan using the washable wool yarn.  I don't get as much time in on this project as I like stitching so much more.  However,  I'm about to move onto a new color so progress is happening.
I have picked up the Mystery Sampler by With Thy Needle again.  I started this over a year ago but detest working with colored patterns so put it down never to see the light of day again for a VERY VERY long time.  It came to mind again as this was about the time I put it away last year and decided to have a go at it again.  I'm pleased to say I'm dealing with the colored pattern better this year - mostly because I'm cutting it in small sections to work from.  I know I still hear the gasps of horror.  I just figured I paid for it I can do what I want to it.  I've made significantly more progress than the picture shows but I've just not had time to snap another photo.  The fabric is much more blue than this picture shows and will try to get a more accurate read of the blue in the next photo.  I believe it is a 30 count Quaker Cloth but I won't commit to that just yet.  I changed most of the colors as well so they would be more compatible with the fabric color.  I promise next post I will give better details of fabric and threads used.

I did manage to attend my Compass Club book group a week ago although I did not finish the book.  Many of the longtime members were in attendance so it was fun to catch up with everyone.  Next month's selection is Far From the Tree and is 700 pages long - gulp!  Other members are already talking about just reading the sections that they feel pertain more to their circumstances rather than the entire book.  

I also attended the Compass Club needlework group this past Tuesday.  It was my first time attending this group as it meets in the afternoon and I don't have much time to participate as I've my son's bus to meet.  I did manage a very relaxing and enjoyable hour with the ladies and am thinking I might just work this into my schedule as it only meets 1x per month.

I don't know if anyone else saw the Lizzie Kate Contest for suggestions for favorite quote for her to design next.  I did enter the contest but did not get my quote picked for voting.  However, it has inspired me to pick up my graph paper and pencil to create a design for my favorite quote.  It is not one I anticipate any designer will do anytime soon so I figure I am going to have to design this one myself.  I will now be on the hunt for a good alphabet and some motifs to put on it and maybe a border.  I'm thinking I want it to have the feel of the Positive Quote I finished (you know Victorian Lady, maybe flowers, teapot/cups).

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

   A woman is like a tea bag - you never now how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Almost to the End!

I'm pretty excited that I'm closing in on the finish of this La Pensee' Positive piece.  I thought it would take so much longer to stitch based on the stitch count but am flying right through it.  I've set myself a goal to have it done by the time I am to go to the framer and pick up the piece I left last Tuesday for framing.  Could be an unrealistic goal as I bet I get a call on Tuesday to pick it up.  Unless, of course, I find a couple hours of stitching time today.  On the 25 count over 1 it is 9" long at this point and am expecting another 2.5 to 3" more added to the length by the time I am done.   The width is a tiny 3.5".    I do absolutely love how it is evolving.   I did have to change another color - the sheep!  The color called for was just too light on this fabric and you could not see them at all and yes I stitched an entire sheep just to be sure.  Thankfully I came up with just the right color on my third attempt.  Not like those darn houses on Beauty in Simplicity that it took 8+ attempts to find just the right color.  I actually spent more time taking out stitches on that piece than putting them in - all my fault due to my fabric choice.

This is a new design I'm getting ready to start by Nathalie (TheBlueAttic).  It is in the category of a quote/saying.  I also purchased Farm Fresh Eggs and When This You See Remember Me.  I really like Nathalie's designs as they have such detail and charm in a small design.  It is so nice to be able to stitch a piece in a day or 2 amongst all those larger projects.


For all you lovers of the Big Bang Theory this was my acquisition on date night last night.  My new Jeep does not have a hard drive to download my CD's like my previous Jeep so have had to put my music on a flash drive that you plug in to play over the radio.  Hubby thought it would make my music flash drive easy to spot by getting a Sheldon figure.  He is so right!  This method will actually be easier for altering my playlist ongoing.
I've been reading on several blogs about so many stitchers stitching from their stashes during 2014.  This was actually something I listed as a goal on my blog in 2013.  I wish I would have thought to start a Stitching from Stash Group back then.  It would have been nice to have the support of like minded stitchers.  I did really well stitching from my stash in 2013 and have been continuing on with this goal in 2014.  It seems easier this year than last year.  I think that is largely due to the fact that none of the new designs has really "called" to me to be stitched.  

Speaking of stitching from stash as soon as I finish La Pensee' Positive I will be picking up Red Riding Hood by ThePrimitiveHare.  I set it aside when I started all my stitching for Christmas gifts and think now is a great time to pick it up and finish it.  If I remember correctly, I think I'm halfway there.  It is a piece I would like to enter in competition in the 2014 Iowa State Fair so it is time to pick it up again.  

Book club for March is on Friday.  I'm afraid I am nowhere close to having the book finished - The Secrets of Mary Bowser.  I don't know what it is about the selections this year but I have only managed to read 2 of them all the way through.  I'm guessing they are just not the type of books I'm in the mood to read this year.  I remember one book it actually took me 3 attempts at over the course of 3 years before I could finally settle into it.  Books are like music for me in that I have to be in the mood for that genre.

Date night was an enjoyable evening out with hubby.  We had a nice supper at On the Border.  We had time for a little bit of window shopping at the mall before the movie started - Non-Stop.  It was an enjoyable movie for 2 reasons.  It moved along quickly and I didn't actually figure out who done it until it came out in the movie.  Harriet will attest that this is not something that happens often with me.  I usually know the who by the time the entire cast of characters is in play whether it be movie or book.

Well, off to help hubby put snowblower away for the season - so I expect one more blizzard before we really get into Spring!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Finish! An Awesome Frame! Update on SAL!

I have been quite a busy since last I posted - not all of it fun!  Hubby came home from work early on Thursday not feeling well.  Still not great on Friday so stayed home from work.  I thought he should go to the doctor based on symptoms but noooooooo!  He wasn't quite miserable enough yet.  Friday night the worst hit and we were up pretty much all night long.  Saturday morning I had my son and I ready to walk out the door by 8:00 AM for our traditional run to the coffee shop but tried one last time to get my husband to the doctor.  Hallelujah he was ready to go!  A trip to VA ER where they pumped in 2 liters of fluids (dehydrated by this time) and shots of anti nausea meds along with pills to take home and he was on the mend.

SEWING MACHINE RESEARCH

I have not yet had any additional time to explore what sewing machine I would like to get.  Thank you Teresa (AtWillowTreePond) for  your input on the Pfaff.  What a coincidence that I was looking at just that brand at my local quilt shop as that is what they carry.  I find it very appealing that they can do cleanings and repairs of them.  The Brother I bought a couple years ago has no local place for cleanings or repairs.  

FINISH

We spent the weekend in house as a snowstorm hit Saturday late afternoon.  It dropped about 3" so I shoveled us out on Sunday morning.  I did, however, decide to spend a relaxing afternoon on Sunday stitching up this fun little design by Nathalie (The Blue Attic) and watching an episode of the BBC Sherlock Holmes (Episode 1, First Season).

This design is Hip Hop Easter and I used the called for DMC threads.  I stitched it up on a 25 count piece of Mushroom Lugana 1 thread over 1 thread.  I will admit that 25 count 1 over 1 is my favorite way to stitch.  The finished size is 2 1/2" x 3".

AWESOME FRAME

You may have realized that I like to put a holiday themed displays on my buffet and coffee table.  When I decided to stitch this, I knew it would be perfect as part of the "holiday Easter" display I will be putting on my buffet this year.  I knew I wanted to show off this dainty little piece with a large chunky frame to give it presence.  This is a "snippet" of the frame I have chosen.  The colors in the frame are a perfect match to the browns in the stitched piece.  I get to pick up the finished piece next week and can't wait to see it and share a photo of it with you.

UPDATE ON SAL

I have managed to put in a couple of hours over the past couple of days on La Pensee' Positive by Les Marottes de Nathalie.  A couple more small little motifs and I will be moving on to Part 4 of 5.  Hopefully I will have time to get to that point tonight (must go vote tonight so will see if time allows.).  I had thought to frame it in the same frame as Sampler Aux Bouquets but now I'm not so sure.  I'm thinking I will have to "try on" a few other frames before making that decision.  There just isn't as much of the "pinks" as in the other design.


FABRIC

Just received a yard of fabric I ordered recently.  As stated in previous posts, I'm really into the reds right now and just couldn't not pass this one up.  I'm thinking of making myself a set of things for myself out of it.  Yes, I said MYSELF!  Selfish of me isn't it.  I'm thinking a project bag, drawstring bag, needle case, scissor case.  

JEEP UPDATE

It has been quite the week trying to get the "clear bra" (protects paint from rock chips in most vulnerable places) onto my new Jeep.  I picked it up last Thursday from the dealer and it was not done correctly.  This was the second time we had tried to have it done to our specifications only to be disappointed again.  Yesterday we took it to the place where we had our other vehicles done and they could get it in right that moment.  Should have gone there in the first place but thought the dealer where we bought it would be more convenient - no so much.  I just picked it up this afternoon and it is finally done right!  Yea!  

It is funny as you just never know what kind of loaner car you are going to get.  I went from driving a Lincoln Navigator which I call the "BUS" last week to the little Mini Cooper which I call the "KIDDY CAR" this week.  My son never knows what kind of car he is going to be getting in anymore.  He refused to get into the "BUS" but couldn't get in the "KIDDY CAR" fast enough.  I actually wouldn't mind having the Mini Cooper for Summer driving.  I'll keep that in mind when I win the Lottery!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Afghan is on the Needles!

I did not get a chance to share last post that I have started knitting my afghan on the only set of circular needles I could find in my house.  I have an entire set that my mother bought for me years ago (I mean like 28 to 30 years ago) and do you think I could find them to start an afghan for myself?!  Absolutely not.  As stated before, it really is time to reorganize and destash all of my crafting supplies not just my cross stitch supplies.

I saw a pattern for an afghan knitted in all garter stitch using 7 skeins of yarn.  Of course, you could use a different color for each and every skein but I chose these 4 colors and will repeat them.  It is such a simple pattern as you just knit until you use up the entire skein and then move on to the next skein.  Easy peasy!  This is a machine washable wool (no dryer).  My colors are from L to R Biscuit, Brindle, Umber and Cocoa.  It really is the perfect project to work on while watching television as there is absolutely no counting. 

I did get to my local needlework shop yesterday long enough to pick up some 25 count fabric (along with an OOPS fabric) for Hip Hop Easter by Nathalie - The Blue Attic.    This will be such a quick stitch that I think I will start it this evening and see how far I can get in one night.

Moving right along with my SAL La Pensee' Positive by Les Marottes de Nathalie.  It is a free chart and quite lovely.  I put my 6" inch ruler along the side to give you some idea of the size on 25 count 1 over 1.  It looks so dainty and sweet that I can't wait to finish, frame and hang in my home.  Working my way through Part 3 right now.
I made a quick stop at my local quilt shop today to look at sewing machines.  I'm thinking it is about time to upgrade my sewing machine to something that can better handle my quilting.  I'm not yet anywhere close to the "decision of which machine to purchase" but am in the "get serious research" mode.  I did, however, walk out with these Springy Riley Blake fabrics along with these adorable cat faces (thinking Halloween project). 

It has been extremely cold here the past few days but I dress appropriately and don't even notice it.  Expecting snow over the next 4 days but totals only in the 4" to 5" range which over 4 days is easy shoveling - especially because I bought myself a new shovel Wednesday.  I know I know why don't I use the snow blower.  In all honesty my workouts have put me in tip top shape for shoveling snow and actually can shovel about as fast as I snow blow.  I then get an extra workout in.

Going to try a new recipe this weekend for a low carb enchilada bake.  I'll let you know how it turns out.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quick Update!

Picked up my new ride this past Friday.  I just love it!  I was going to try and select the DMC color that closely matched the color but in the sun it looks coppery (due to metallic flecks) and in the shade it looks chocolate brown.  The gearshift is a new type that is spring loaded so it stays in the exact same spot all the time.  Even after several days it feels really strange to use.  Everything is controlled by a touch screen which takes some getting used to but I've figured it out for the most part.  I went online and downloaded a PDF of the entire owner's manual and started reading it which helps a lot.   


 Keith is absolutely in love with the fact that the back of each seat has a DVD player to watch.  I wish you all could have experienced seeing his absolute delight when we arrived at the car dealership to pick it up and he spotted it.  It was priceless!

He also enjoys that it has double sunroof so he can sit and watch the clouds in the sky while driving down the road.

Bill already put on my new vinyl cross stitch decal really making it my own!




I'm moving right along on the SAL by Nathalie called Le Pensee' Positive.  I am just about to finish Part 2 of 5.  I'm really happy that I pulled the thread colors I used in Sampler aux Bouquet as I really do like the darker pinks and blues.  I'm just not a pastel kind of gal.

 Lastly as I've run out of time for today I've pulled the colors for Hip Hop Easter by Nathalie of The Blue Attic.    I will be stopping in at my local needlework shop tomorrow for a visit so think I will be picking out my fabric for it at that time.

Oh, oh one more thing.  Have you all seen the new magazine (BLOCK)  to be published by the Missouri Star Quilt Co. on a bimonthly basis?!  I have subscribed already.  The price is very reasonable and I love their tutorials so thinking a magazine full of patterns from them will be absolute bliss!



Thursday, February 20, 2014

This and That!

Today seemed like a good day to stick close to home and get a few things caught up.  We have had beautiful Spring like weather the past couple of days but today we are expecting everything from a severe thunderstorm with hail which just arrived.
In a couple hours the snow is supposed to commence (including thunder snow) with winds creating blizzard conditions.  This should come as no surprise to anyone living in Iowa as we always get this crazy weather during the High School State wrestling (which is this week) and basketball tournaments.  They are already breaking into television programming with warnings.  I see many of the schools have decided to let out early (smart).

My new Jeep has arrived and we went out to have a look at it.  I love the new color and my son can't wait to get to watch the DVD player they now put in the back of the seat.  They are currently running the new vehicle inspections and adding my husband's "must have" list of accessories.  I will finally get to drive it off the lot on Saturday.  I can't wait!

I found a few minutes to stitch the other night but got involved in watching the movie Ender's Game so didn't accomplish much as I put it down.  I'm thinking I should start knitting my new afghan because it is something I can work on even when I am really involved in what I am watching on t.v.

I'm hoping to get a couple of hours of stitching time sometime today.  I ended up ripping out and changing the color for the flower stems.  It just wasn't the right color family to go with the leaves.  The leaves were a yellow green but the stems were a blue green.  Much happier with my color choice.   
I bought a couple of books recently to add to my collection.  In all honesty I like the A Schoolroom Alphabet much better than the Sonoran Borders.  It has patterns I would stitch along with the historical information.  The Sonoran Borders has patterns as well but they are just not my style.  The historical information is enjoyable to read.  Still I probably will do a giveaway or gift the Sonoran Borders.
I finished the book Allegiant (3rd book in trilogy) last night by Veronica Roth.  I really enjoyed this book as it told the story you got the background for in the first two books.  I am now going to start next month's book club selection which is Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen.  I also started another of our book club selections which is Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.  It is a pretty long book and is more technical than pleasure reading so know it will take me longer to get through.

I stopped at the grocery store this morning and bought the ingredients for a cake I haven't made in a very long time (probably 20 years).  This is a shame as it is the most decadent make you swoon cake I've ever eaten.  I picked this recipe up in a magazine somewhere back in the 80's and it was the most requested birthday cake where I worked at that time.  It is called moist n' creamy coconut cake.  I can't wait for that first bite!  I will put the recipe on my cooking blog once I have made the cake and have a picture to share.