Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Pickup At The Framers!

Today Bill had a rare Saturday off so we enjoyed a trip to our favorite coffee shop (Rich's Brew) for vanilla chai teas and then it was off to Stitch n Frame to pick up my completed Country Cottage Needleworks Be Thankful.  The picture does not do it justice and will try for better pictures when it is not so cloudy.  I couldn't be happier with it.  I love that Vicki still takes the time to pin the piece on the foam core so it is absolutely straight and perfectly mounted - no lacing that can loosen over time.  Every piece I've ever had framed here stands the test of time and is as tight and perfect as the day I brought it home.
With the 4th of July fast approaching I've started my decorating for the holiday.  I took a couple of patriotic pieces I found at different locations and put them together to create one decorative piece to welcome you to our home.
I recently purchased this pattern from Spirit of "76 Designs and am looking forward to using some of my patriotic stash on it.  Unfortunately, it will not be ready for this 4th of July.  

My BFF and I went to our 35th high school reunion last night.  I have to say considering our graduating class numbered 574 I was a bit surprised by the small turnout especially when you consider most of those in attendance had a spouse in tow.  My BFF did see several people she knew from high school but I only saw one.  He was someone I went to school with from 2nd grade through graduation and lived down the street from me growing up.  It was nice to catch up and hear what the others parents and siblings were up to.  I have to say I didn't expect to see anyone I knew.

Well, time to get ready for date night!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Forgot to Share!

I don't know how I managed to forget to share the arrival of my new little needle safe so here it is.  It is identical in size and color of a much larger box I already own that has a tray you pull out.  The bottom of it is magnetized to hold your needles in place and the top has an opening that is 1 3/4" x 3 3/4" to put a stitched piece of needlework.  The overall size of this box is 2 1/2" x 5".  It did come with a pattern to stitch.  I'm thinking I will find some other design to stitch but am not 100% sure of anything yet.

I think I also forgot to share we are taking a family vacation this year.  We are headed to Washington D.C. to take in all the sights there.  We have a tour scheduled for the U.S. Capitol and are planning to see many monuments and museums.  If there are any must sees, please share.

Thanks for all the anniversary wishes as well as support in my new fitness endeavor.  You will all be happy to know that my muscles NEVER did seize up and render me unable to move.  I'll admit to being rather surprised.  I did wake up with a couple of muscles quietly protesting this morning but was still able to go and do a treadmill workout.

Date night Saturday!  Yippee!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Won't Do That Again!

 Such a beautiful sky out this morning while waiting for Keith's bus I couldn't resist getting my camera out to take a few photos.   Beautiful blue sky, sun shining, moon was out and a few wispy clouds floating by.

Now on to my "I won't do that again".  Did you ever decide to do something and when you decided to do it knew it was a bad idea?  Well I did that this morning.  As mentioned before, I joined the Y to get myself back into a good fitness routine.  I headed out this morning with a plan to do some time on the treadmill and then move on to a toning class using weights.  Well I don't know where exactly my plans went astray but after doing my time on the treadmill astray they went.   I ended up taking 3 back to back classes - for a total of 2 1/2 more hours after the treadmill. What was I thinking you exclaim!  The only thing I can say is that they were 3 classes I had some interest in and saw on the schedule posted they were all in the same room back to back and decided what the heck.    I will be perfectly honest that about 1/2 way through the 3rd class I knew it was a mistake.  Muscles were beginning to quiver in my arms with the 12 pound bar this instructor had me using (I've never done over 8 pounds in my life).  I was beginning to feel a bit weak all around and thought about just stopping and walking out.  Would have been the smart thing to do but oh no I told myself I needed to see it through to the end.  Mmmmm wonder if it was self-inflicted punishment for letting myself get out shape.  In the end I survived and managed to run all my errands afterwards to boot.  I was pleased that the first stop I made my muscles had not seized and I was still able to get out of the Jeep and walk - maybe I wasn't so out of shape after all.   Conclusion:  I've decided I'm not a Zumba girl as I'm never been able to learn those dance routines quickly and if you can't do that - well with them changing monthly I'd always be a few steps behind.  I did enjoy the Body Core Sculpting class as well as the Body Toning class with weights so this will become a part of my regular routine.  As for the rest of the classes I have an interest in, I will try them one at a time.  Lesson for me - cardio on the treadmill and bike with NO MORE THAN 1 CLASS A DAY! 
 I've managed a bit of stitching the last couple of nights and am looking forward to picking up Red Riding Hood by Primitive Hare again tonight.
I will end today with wishing the love of my life Happy Anniversary on number 32.  It hasn't always been an easy journey but it has been a worthwhile one.  Here we are on our wedding day with our friends.  We look so young in this picture.  As it happens, this couple got married and are still together to this day as well.  Remarkable!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Little Of This And A Bit Of That

In between downpours I've been out with my camera trying to improve my skills.  The Tiger Lillies are in full bloom right now and the colors are so vibrant.

Bill was out golfing and Keith had the track and field events at Drake University to watch on t.v. on Sunday so I had some time to finish this little design into a pincushion.  I crocheted the border on it myself.  It was my first time crocheting my own border and I think it turned out pretty nice.  Can't wait to try it again with a different border.  This is a free design available from the Workbasket.  

I'm still working on Red Riding Hood by Primitive Hare.  It is progressing at a slower pace than I would like.  You see my evening stitching time is going to riding in the convertible with a stop at the Dairy Queen.  I'm going to have to find a lower fat/calorie choice to have or I'll be the size of an elephant by the end of the summer.

Those who know me won't be surprised my curiosity got the best of me.  I was reading a nutrition article on weight loss and did you know that there are 3, 500 calories in a pound?!  Who knew!  I certainly didn't.  Well, me being me I had to do some research to see what it would take to lose 3,500 calories.  Holy Cow you would have to walk 13 hours - yes I said 13 HOURS my friend to work off 3,500 calories.  We are not talking a casual stroll we are talking some serious put some effort into it walking.  It is no wonder weight loss is such a slow process.

Now you see why I'm thinking I need to find something a bit lower in calories than that small chocolate cone or I will most definitely be the size of an elephant by the end of summer.  I also decided to be more pro-active and today I signed up for a membership at my local YMCA.  I know myself and I get easily bored with the same old thing and am more motivated to workout with more intensity when I'm in a group setting and have all the necessary equipment available.  After some serious research over the past month I decided the Y had the best mix of structured (group classes) and free to do what you want (treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes & free weights).  There is even a computer program that is personalized and you can print out a workout routine to follow on each visit if you like.  I like that you don't have to sign up for classes you just go and participate.  Likewise you just hop on whatever is open in the gym area - no sign up.  Another bonus is that my membership is good for any Y in the state.  If there is a time that works better for me at another location, I just go.  I can workout for 30 minutes or combine a treadmill workout and then take a class or two.  I meet with the Wellness Coach tomorrow and get started on my journey to a healthier more slender me.  I'm really excited and can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Feels Like Summer Has Arrived!

It is starting to feel like summer here finally.  We have managed to string together several days of over 80 degree weather which I find truly heavenly!  I so enjoy sitting on the front porch with a good book listening to the water fountain located in the middle of the flower bed waiting for my son's bus to come home on a daily basis.  I'm usually out there for an hour and it is so relaxing and I get so much reading done.  

 I planted a couple of heirloom tomato plants this year (my favorite) and was so surprised to find several small tomatoes already on the vines.  Much earlier than I usually get them and am hopeful for a bumper crop this year.
 I did find a few minutes for a bit of stitching on this LHN project the other day.  I so love the color combinations I chose for this one.  It will look lovely framed and displayed in my house.
I'm also making quite rapid progress on Primitive Hare's Red Riding Hood when I do find time to stitch on it.  I'm looking forward to some quality time with this project tonight.  

Bill took our Camaro to a car show and it won Best Late Model.  He was pleased by this and it was truly an honor as it was voted by the other entrants in the show.  Keith and I went over for about an hour and it was amazing how many cars were in attendance.  When we arrived, there were 177 cars and more were arriving all the time.

I couldn't resist taking this picture of Keith in front of a tow truck that looks just like the one in the Cars movie.  It was too cute for words!

On the reading front I finished the Stephen King 11/22/63 in record time.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and zipped right through it.  My friend's husband, however, started it and says it puts him to sleep.        I, however, could hardly wait to turn the next page to see what would happen next.

I'm still working on Dan Brown's Inferno.  It too is a page turner for me.  My only problem is finding time to read it - I know with an hour on the porch every afternoon I should be done but this one is on my Kindle and I don't take it out to the front porch.  I save my porch reading time for "real" books meaning hard back.  I've been using my reading time in the evenings (when there happens to be time) to work on my stitching projects.

My porch reading right now is A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy.  This one is a slower read for me this time but am enjoying it just not as much as some of her previous books.  It is not a page turner like the other two.  I'm closing in on finishing it and will have to select my next "porch" read probably by the end of the week.  Anybody have a book they just couldn't put down?

Well, time to go do some "porch" reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

And The Waiting Begins......

I don't think I've shared that I've been trying to find an easy solution for watermarking my photos before posting on my blog and Facebook.  I've noticed several other bloggers doing this and didn't realize how important it was until a business (which shall remain nameless) lifted a photograph off my husband's blog and is using to advertise one of his products.  Really!  

I picked one to try and while it seems to be getting the job done I'm truly not happy that I have to use it on my iPad and not my actual computer.  I would prefer to find a way to watermark using my desktop computer.  If anyone is using something that works on a desktop and is easy to use (with not an astronomical cost attached), I'd love to hear about it.

On to the latest in my life.  Thursday when I was pulling into the driveway I noticed the wasps were setting up shop in the peak of the house.  This is not something you like to see so very close to the 2 entrances to your home you use all the time.  It explains why I was getting buzzed so much sitting on the front porch in the afternoons.  Hubby has the situation well in hand now that I mentioned it to him and I am looking forward to its' immediate removal.

Now on to my "Fright on Friday"!  I had been out running errands all morning and arrived home about 11:30.  Just going about my business bringing in the groceries through the garage entrance and just as I'm putting them on the counter I hear a door hit the wall in front of the house.  Needless to say I turned right around and went right back out the door.  I had seen my neighbor sitting on her front porch as I pulled in so asked her to come over (in case police needing calling) while I grabbed the only thing I could find in the garage to protect myself (hubby's tire cleaning brush - not much but would hurt if cracked in the head with it) and went about checking my house.  I checked the entire house and I did indeed find the door to the front closet wide open and against the wall.  The only thing I can figure is when I came through the back door the suction from the winds outside caused a door not securely closed to fling open.  Nothing like a little scare to get the heart racing.

Now this is where the waiting begins.  Today I took my photos out to the Iowa State Fairgrounds to be left for judging.  Keith and I went to Rich's Brew first and with our vanilla chai's in tow we headed out to drop off photos.  This was Keith's first time going along with me.  It was an interesting experience with him along as he has to check out EVERYTHING and I do mean everything. 

We were at the end of a substantial winding line.  I wouldn't call it long as we were just inside the door.  You can also see from the stacks and stacks of box on the tables there were hundreds if not thousands of photos already dropped off.  The good thing is they've been doing this for years and have a very efficient system set up so were were out of there in about 30 minutes time.  I will receive a postcard sometime around July 20 informing me if any of my photos were selected for exhibiting.  I learned another piece of information about the judging from one of the staff today so again if I fail to exhibit I stilled learned something and have grown from the experience.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Photos Have Been Named - Thanks to Mary L.W. and Teresa S.

I want to thank Mary L.W. and Teresa S. for their contribution to the naming of my photos for the Iowa State Fair Competition.  Mary's Peaceful Reflection is just perfect for the covered bridge photo and Teresa's Night Shadows is perfect for the moon shot.  Here are my final decisions for titles - nothing like waiting to the last minute to make the decision (tomorrow is the day).
Peaceful Reflection

Night Shadows

Frozen in Time

Watchful Eye
As I said in my previous post if I selected one of your titles I would send a pillowcase made by me.  Since then I've decided that Mary L.W. and Teresa S. can pick from things I've made in the past and have included photos of what they get to chose from.  If you two ladies will email your selection, color/theme preference and an address, I will get my sewing machine humming and get your "thank you" sent.  I so appreciate the input and in the end changed the title for my Eagle as well.  I was inspired.
Needle book

Needle case

Everything bag, project bag, mug rug,  sewing supply kit, needle case.
Mug rug

Table topper

I also did some finish work this week for my friend, Allison.  She stitched up two Christmas ornaments by Belinda of Blue Ribbon Designs and needed the finish work done.  The fabric in the background is what I chose to back them.  I also whipped out 2 pillowcases for her and 2 for myself.  A pretty productive 2 hours and it felt good to finish some projects.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stitch Updates and Naming of Photos!

Now that I've gotten my road trip out of my system it is time to update you on other happenings.  Although last week was super busy I did manage a bit of stitching on my first ever perforated paper piece.  This is  Mill Hill Beads Winter Wonderland.  It is coming along quite nicely but can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to stitching some other color besides the light blue.  It actually blends into the perforated paper color.  I can't wait to get to the white and dark blue.  Unfortunately, the very light blue is next in line.
 In my current stitching rotation is Red Riding Hood by Primitive Hare.  I am stitching it on the called for linen in 40 count from her shop and am using all the called for colors except the red of the cape.  I was at the frame shop and saw a frame I wanted to use for this piece so brought the molding home and found the perfect red to go with it.  There is a feeling in Isabella's designs that I find irresistible.  In fact this very day I ordered her newest design called Guardian Mermaid.  I have a bathroom decorated with things from the sea and think it will be a wonderful addition.

As if I don't have enough to do, I also started LHN - Little Peepers.  I stopped in at my LNS and Vicki said she had something she knew I was going to want.  Took one look at it and had to purchase it.  It is going to be a super quick stitch.  I changed a few of the colors to ones more to my liking as well as more complimentary to my OOPS overdyed fabric I wanted to stitch it on.  I love those one of a kind fabrics.

I also spent some time yesterday getting to know my Go Baby fabric cutter a bit better.  I ended up using it to cut out remainder 1/2 yard cuts of my Blackbird Madeira for Moda fabrics into tumbler shapes.  I plan on making a table runner for myself.  As you can see from the photo, I'm going to end up with more than one table runner.  At a friend's request for 2 pillow cases and some cross stitch to be made into ornaments I also cut out everything for her request as well as 2 pillow cases for myself.  I really enjoy making pillow cases.

Again this year I am going to enter photographs in the Iowa State Fair.  This is still a bit out of my comfort zone as I'm such an amateur photographer still but every once in awhile I get a photo I consider somewhat of a surprise.  Again am not expecting any of my photos to get picked for exhibit (there are thousands entered and they only exhibit a few hundred) but I think it is better to try and fail as that is where you learn and grow.  I did take the staff's recommendation from last year and am entering the maximum number of entries (4) as she is right it does increase my chances.  They are to be turned in this Saturday so still have a few days to come up with my 3-4 word titles.  Here are my photos for entry - I'm pretty satisfied with 3 of the titles but not sure about the moon title.  Your ideas are welcome for any of the photos and if I use your title I'll send you one of my homemade pillow cases (or something else I sew if you have something in mind).
Easter Lake Park


Keeping Watch

Frozen in Time
Well, time to go as my guys will be arriving home soon!  Happy Stitching!