Friday, August 23, 2013

The Year To Finish The Unfinished!

Unlike many of you who consider their stitching year to run from January 1 to December 31 my stitching year runs from the last Saturday of July to the last Friday of July before that Saturday.  I know this seems a bit odd to you but it really makes sense.  My stitching year revolves largely around what I will be entering in the Iowa State Fair competition each summer.  As items have to be dropped off the last Saturday of July for competition, my last day to finish anything is the last Friday of July before that Saturday.  I actually start looking for inspiration for Christmas gifts and Fair entries during the Fair.  I check out blogs, look at newsletters, go through my stash and WIP during the month of August.  This year I'm taking the advice of my friend, Laura who volunteers at Fabrics and Threads during the Fair and have printed out the list of all classes I can enter projects.  She recommends as I finish an item Fair worthy that I mark it off that list so that the next thing I stitch I will pick something that will fit another class.  Smart idea as sometimes I end up with 2 or 3 items done but unfortunately they all fit the same class and you can only enter 1 item per class.  I am pleased embarrassed surprised to say that for the first time ever I picked up a piece from the framer during the Fair that is an entry for next year's Fair.  It was a fluke really as it was a design the shop owner knew I would love - which I did - and stitched it up quickly.  She found the perfect molding to make a frame in her back room and it turned out so FABULOUS that it has to be an entry for next year!  I'm moving right along on my 2nd finish for the 2014 Fair as I write.

As you noticed from the post title, it appears this year is going to be a year to finish the unfinished.  This is a picture of the baby afghan I started for my dear friend, Margo's first grandchild.  We lived in the same gated community while stationed in the Air Force in WA and her little girl has grown into a lovely young woman who is going to be a mom for the first time.  I started crocheting this back in the winter or spring (so long ago I can't remember) but set myself a goal to finish it before we left for vacation and get it mailed to Canada before August ran out.  I hunkered down yesterday and crocheted the last skein and a half of yarn and finished it just shortly after 10:00 pm last night.  As we do not know the baby's gender I chose a baby yarn in white with specks of blue, pink, yellow and green throughout.  I chose a ripple pattern and the finished size is 41" x 48".  I like to make my afghans big enough to wrap a baby in during the winter and so when they grow into toddlers they can still use the afghan as do many of my midwest crocheting friends. 

I'm currently working on another unfinished project (my 2nd 2014 Fair project) that I'm looking forward to transferring to my finish pile.  I started this one years ago (2008) and kept running into it this past year while looking for other things.  It was just begging to be finished so have been working on it the past couple of weeks.  This is Live, Laugh, Love by LaDDa.  I've changed all 3 thread colors.  It was charted for Gloriana Silk or DMC but I opted for overdyed threads.  For GS Charcoal I'm using CC Blackbird; for GS Slate Green I'm using CC Camouflage; for GS Red Clay I'm using GA Weathered Barn.  I'm still trying to decide if I'm stitching it on a piece of Lakeside Linen (I'm pretty sure it is) and if it is I'm thinking it is 32 count.  The more I stitch it the more I like it.  I think the alphabet used really adds to the design's overall look.

I've also pulled out a piece I started more year's ago that I care to remember.  I started it on a piece of fabric that I'm pretty sure is Cashel and I HATE STITCHING ON CASHEL.  I'm sure that is why I've not made any progress on it.  Keith and I took a little trip to Stitch n Frame last Saturday afternoon and I've chosen an entirely new fabric to stitch it on.  I'm hoping to put the first stitches into it sometime this weekend to see if I think this fabric will work.  A totally different fabric which will give it an entirely different look than what the designer did.  I know the floss toss looks great on the fabric so am keeping my fingers crossed that it will look as good stitched.

On the reading front I'm still plugging my way through Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson.  In the meantime I picked up Shattered by Karen Robards and have to say it was a pretty good mystery for me as I did not guess who did the crime.  I usually do once all the characters are introduced so this makes 2 in my lifetime that I have not figured out once the cast of characters was introduced.  I read the thing in 3 days time.  I realized book club for the 2013-2014 year starts next month so am starting Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal which is our September discussion.  I've decided I will take October's selection with me on vacation which is The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock (think Downtown Abby).  I think it sounds like the perfect thing for evenings at the hotel after a long day of walking.

Tonight is date night a night early.  Bill and I are going to see Two Guns tonight which has been on our to see list for awhile.  Last date night (last Friday) was spent at the Fair.  We ended up sitting down at the Bill Riley stage and watched a free show with a hypnotist.  Funny - I'm talking serious belly laughs for an entire hour.  I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard for that long.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Evening Fundraiser!

This past week my friend, Mary coordinated a fundraising event for 5K for 5Charities at the Social Canvas.  This event received a portion of our fee that gets divided amongst 5 local charities.  It was SO MUCH FUN!  You should have heard the ladies rocking out to Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name!  

Upon arrival the instructor and I decided we knew each other but for the life of us neither one could figure out from where.  We had a good laugh when about 3/4 of the way through the event she figured out that she used to the work at the coffee shop I frequent.

I used my panoramic mode to get the entire inside of the facility.
When you arrive you don an apron, fill up your cardboard pallet with the paints and select a work station already set up with your canvas and brushes.  You mix your colors on the paper covering the table throughout the evening.  You get to know your neighbor as there is not much space between stations. 

Here I am creating the first layer of my "masterpiece".

What I love about this class is even though we are painting the same piece - not one of them looks the same.  Belinda's is on the left, mine is in the middle and Mary's is on the right.

Second layer on and again our trees looking nothing alike.  Belinda left, mine center, Mary right.

Finished pieces and again nothing alike.  Belinda left, mine middle, Mary right.

If you take a good look at mine, there is one circle with a heart in it, as Keith already had claimed this for his before I left the house.  I also think there is a huge monster hovering in the background as it appears there are eyes staring out at you midway down the painting.

Here we all our on stage together for our class photo.  Belinda left, Mary middle, me right.

Here is Keith admiring his new art acquisition.  I feel very loved and appreciated!

A Walk Through The Iowa State Fair!

I will keep commentary to a minimum on this post and let the pictures speak for themselves.  The weather was in the low to mid 80's everyday this year for the Fair which was a real treat as we are normally 100 degrees with 90+ humidity.  

First place wall of needlework in the Fabric and Threads exhibit. 
Wall of cross stitch entries.
My son enjoying the Fair on his birthday.

Tons of quilts.  This is just one end wall an a turn around the corner.
My favorite quilt of the entire Fair is the one in the middle with rabbits. 

Butter cow.

Butter Abraham Lincoln.

Veteran's Day waiting for the parade to start.

Inside the Agriculture Building.  The butter cow is on the left.

Congratulations to friends, Kristi and Tim for 1st and 2nd with their concord grapes.
Tomato judging.
More vegetable judging.

Bill and Keith heading out for their ride on the sky glider.  Based on their smiles they had one terrific ride.

The Super Bull (over 3,000 pounds) and the Big Boar (over 1,000 pounds)

I didn't realize Comet spent his off-time hitting the Fairs.  The kids eyes got real big when seeing Santa's reindeer.

I loved the animals this year.

Here we have the riblet wrapped in bacon, Floppy (some of you may remember him from the Floppy Show a local show from when we were kids), the wooden lady was sporting a crocheted hat and necklace this year, a sampling of the 100 pound concrete ribbons decorated by professionals and individuals (100 placed around the fairgrounds), a delicious cherry sno cone that tasted just like I remember from when I was a kid.

A sampling of 4H Exhibits. 

The beautiful garden located in the middle of the fairgrounds by the Agriculture Building.

Pioneer Hall.  Sits up on the hill on the East end of the fairgrounds. 

The city skyline from the sky glider coming down from Pioneer Hall. See the crane looking things past the trees - they are actually rides on the West end of the fairgrounds.  Big scary rides!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Fabric!

Received a call yesterday afternoon from my local quilt shop informing me that the new line of Blackbird fabric by Moda had arrived and they would have it out by late afternoon.  Well, this morning after Keith and I made our usual trek to Rich's for our vanilla chai teas we made a quick trip over to the quilt shop to pick up yardage of our favorites.  Yes, make no mistake Keith definitely had an opinion on what I should get and letting me know I should make something for him as well.  I do love the beautiful brown and blue combinations of this line.  In particular the dark brown small check my display is sitting on as well as the blue brown stripe and dark blue small check in the mix.  Keith definitely has his eye on those 3 fabrics.  It is so nice the men in my house take such an active interest in my hobbies.

I put a few more stitches in Live, Laugh, Love but put it away when everything I had stitched had to be taken out.  After two very long days - or short nights (kind of depends if you want the glass half full meaning lots of fun stuff going on or the glass half empty meaning no time for sleep) my eyes were a bit too tired to stitch with any degree of accuracy.  Still I did end with progress on the piece.
My Aunt Marg on her recent travels stopped at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland (lucky her) and bought me this adorable ornament.  You would think she knows me from the looks of this ornament.  So fitting for me as there isn't a craft I won't/haven't tried which would definitely put me in the class of Craft Crazy.  Thanks again Aunt Marg - I LOVE IT!

It has been awhile since I've given you an update on my movie viewing and book reading so will just touch on it a bit.  

Last night we had a family movie night and watched Mud.  Not a particularly fast moving movie and was glad we didn't pay the money to see it in theater but liked it well enough not to turn it off before it was done.  
Last weekend we saw Wolverine.  I had not seen any of the previous Wolverine movies but don't think you need to.  Again not the best movie I'd ever seen but again not the worst.  My opinion it was just okay.

In books I finished Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon.  It was a strange one to be sure.  I also finished Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley.  I did like this one.  I have just started Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson which is about the big hurricane in Galvaston.  I usually love Erik Larson books so hoping this is a really good one.

Don't forget to check my cooking blog as I've added a new recipe - BLTA Salad.  YUMMY!