Friday, September 29, 2006

A pumpkin finish

I finished Light Your Way from the Trix or Treat booklet last night. I'm really happy with how it looks. I used 32 count Sand Dune using Caron Waterlilies Black Forest - one over two. I plan on framing it using a black frame - I think that will look nice. I finished up super early in the evening so I started Black Cat also from Trix or Treat (using the recommended fibers on my own hand-dyed fabric). I'm toying with the idea of doing Trix or Treat (the blackbird in hat design) next instead of a Drawn Thread piece to make a pillow. It would be so cute using a fall plaid fabric. I love these little pieces! Talk about quick - it makes me want to start my Christmas ornaments.
Yesterday I ordered an ornament finishing book by Judy O'Dell (thanks for the recommendation Karen!) which was on sale from stitching Bits and Bobs. I can't wait to receive it. I really want my ornament gifts this year to look nice and that should help me out a lot. I have finished a couple of small pieces but I really haven't been happy with the ultimate product in the end. You can really tell I've just be winging it.

No major plans for the weekend - I have a wedding tonight (why did I ever reply yes??) and tomorrow I have a pug picnic to attend. It's the annual fundraising event for Northern Illinois Pug Rescue called Pug Jam 2006 so it's a really good cause. But it's supposed to rain and not make it out of the low 60's. That's too bad, it will really cut down the attendees because the entire event is outside.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

With a gleam in his eye

I'm almost finished with Light Your Way. I worked on it last night while getting caught up on all the TV I've recorded over the last couple of days. Naturally my thoughts go to what I plan on next. I want to do another Trix or Treat design but I think I need a change from straight cross stitch. And that means Winter or Spring Arbor or my last flower folio from Shepherd's Bush - Amaranth. All three are just filled with other stuff and that's what I need right now. Of course a super quick Trix or Treat would be fun because I plan on using some of my own hand-dyed linen. We'll see what happens. I should be ready to start on something new tonight.

Tomorrow is Friday and I'm planning on working from home again. It could get addicting. I love rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting down and working. The pugs love it too. Here is a photo of the two of them enjoying the sun while they watched me work. How is that for office buddies.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Small Village Happy Dance

I finished Block 11 last night! HooWoo! HD, HD. :-) I did drive to a new (for me) cross stitch store in Crystal Lake Illinois called Welcome Stitchery to purchase the last bit of black silk I had run out of the day before. It was the nicest shop I have ever been into. Of course I've only been in two other cross stitch stores, but this one was huge. They had so much stuff! Charts, frames, fibers, accessories, you name it. I picked up BBD Autumn Silhouette and the recommended fabric for it. They had several other discontinued Loose Feathers but I could only afford one of them this week. And I really wanted Autumn Silhouette the most so that was the first one I had to pick up. Now to find Sunflower House. I also picked up the 2006 Christmas ornament issue from Just Cross Stitch. I found many in that issue I would like to stitch. I'll be doing several as Christmas presents for my family so I need to start looking for fabrics and fiber for those.

Progress on Light Your Way - I don't feel into this piece at all and it's a miracle that I've completed as much as I have. If it weren't for the fact that I'm trapped on a train three hours a day, I wouldn't be working on this at all. Maybe now that I've started the words it will go quicker. And last but least in any way, I received mail yesterday. KarenV from the UK recently completed a piece called Quaker Meetinghouse from Midsummer Nights Designs. I really admired it and put it on my wish list right away - the colors are divine and I love the Quaker design. In a very thoughtful gesture, Karen sent me the chart (RAKs as Karen calls them :-)). Thank you so much Karen! I can't wait to get to it. Everyday you hear/read about the horrible things that happen because of the internet. I wish more people could hear about the really nice things that also happen.

Would like to stitch from the 2006 Christmas Ornament issue:
Pear Time - Little House Needleworks
Christmas Joy - Angel Stitchin
Christmas Welcome - Homespun Elegance Ltd.
Winter's Eve - Country Cottage Needleworks
A Christmas Wish - Blue Ribbon Designs
Sampler Noel - Fancy Work
Quaker Pinkeep and Scissors Fob - With My Needle
Emblem of Friendship Needle Case - Cherished Stitches
Britty Christmas Puppy - Brittercup Designs
Christmas Cardinal - La-D-Da
Quaker Reindeer - The Workbasket
Facing the 25th - Mosey 'N Me

Quite the list! LOL!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Out of black

I decided to finish block 11 last night while watching TV so I made one last push. And I ran out of black! I only need one more strand. I was so disgruntled that I didn't finish up the last of what I had left. Maybe 30 minutes or so or work. So I can either call a mailorder place and have it by the weekend or drive to the closest cross stitch store which is 30 miles from home. Since I'm working from home today, I will take a long lunch and drive and pick it up. :-) So hopefully I'll be finished today. Oh, darn I have agility tonight. Maybe not after all... It's always something. I have no progress to report on Light Your Way as I fell asleep on the train on the way home yesterday and I didn't take the train this morning. I'm such a slacker.... LOL!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A village weekend

I decided to work on block 11 of the Village over the weekend instead of Marquoir to get caught up - the end of the month is closing in fast and I'm way off my goals. I must have worked nine or so hours on it and I'm still not finished with it. Looking at it, I think I have at least five or six hours to go. Right now I'm not even sure if I'm enjoying the process. I'm wondering if I'm a big project person. :-( I seem to get bored easy and I'm asking myself if I can be in this project for the long hall? Maybe once I start on a couple of less stitched blocks I will feel different. I sure hope so.

Here is my progress on Light Your Way. It's coming along nicely and I should be finished this week. Not sure what I'll work on next. Maybe Winter Arbor. Drawn Thread pieces always interest me because of all the different stitches.
I had an odd weekend - I mostly wandered around the house on Saturday, bored out of my mind. And yet I could not sit down and do something productive. So I watched TV on and off the entire day. What a waste! I could have been stitching or I could have started a new quilt. Bummer.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I almost hate to say it...

Yeah! It's Friday! :-) What a long week. I'm so glad it's over. The boss is gone for two weeks and a ton of pressure is off me.

Here is a better photo of my finished Garden of Life. I can't wait to get this one framed. A dark frame I think since the threads are so light.

I frogged out everything I did yesterday on Light Your Way. I really didn't like the two over two - too heavy for my taste so I figured why experiment on a big piece when I can mess around with one of the small pieces from Trix or Treat? So out it came. Here is my progress. I wish I could make the colors of the thread show up better in the photo. They are really nice and very Halloweeny looking. Maybe I'll try outside tomorrow afternoon.

While I was watching Battlestar Galactica last night I did some more on Block 11 of the Village. I'm making ok progress but I need to get my butt into gear if I plan on finishing this block by next Saturday. The school house is finished, now I need to do everything else! This is another heavy stitched block. I can't wait to get to one of the ones that are lighter in stitching.

No big plans this weekend. It's supposed to rain most of it so I'm sure I'll just sit around and stitch on my Marquior (my weekend piece) or maybe quilt. I've got a quilt sitting on my table that is crying out for me to start. The fabric is washed and ready for me to start to cut.

I finished season 2.5 of Battlestar Galactica last night and hated the ending! It was just so horrible and I'm going to check out some bulletin boards today so see what other people thought.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Garden of Life finish

I finished up Garden of Life from Blackbird Designs this morning on the train into work. I did it on 32 count cream Irish linen with the recommended threads. I really like how it turned out. The soft colors are wonderful. I'll post a better picture tomorrow after it has been pressed tonight.

I started on Light Your Way from Trix or Treat also from Blackbird Designs. I'm doing it on 32 count Sand Dune using Caron Waterlilies silk in Black Forest - it's really a pretty color thread, purples and dark brown fading into a light black. I'm experimenting with the thread coverage. I recently finished a piece using this brand of thread using one over two on 32 count and was very happy with the look. I find that I like to see the crosses defined. So for this one, I'm using two over two on 32 count so I can see the difference - just in case I like that look better. I only have one word done so it's to soon to tell but I'm already leaning toward the one over two.

I really like several of the Trix or Treat designs. I have already purchased some linen and fibers (a mix of DMC and WDW) for Black Cat, Merry Gleam and Boo. I think I'd also like to stitch Merry Halloween but I'll see how the time goes. It's not like Halloween will never happen again! I like to think a couple of projects ahead so after Light Your Way I might do the last of the four Shepherd's Bush Flower Folios that I have - Amarath. It's the pink one. Then I'll be done with the four I purchased in 1990! I had no idea when I purchased these it would take me 16 years to get to them. :-) Or may I'll do another Drawn Thread Arbor - I'm all set up for Spring and Winter and both are super pretty.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

And a little more

Molly did great in agility last night. I have such high hopes for her. I was planning on starting my other pug, Clancy in October but I found out last night that my agility teacher is no longer offering discounts for students who have Multiple dogs. I was really counting on that discount. I'm not sure now if I can afford it. :-( Bummer.

I made more progress on Garden of Life. I can feel the end in sight! I did work on it a little before I went to agility class last night. I was watching the new Battlestar Galactica season 2.5 and the first episode was the last episode for the season 2.0 set. I love this show! It's on the SciFi channel and I don't get it because my cable company makes customers upgrade from basic to premium just for a few channels. The price difference is huge so I just live without SciFi and HDTV. It's too bad because those are my two favorite channels. But my point is, I didn't miss much stitching while watching that first episode of the set. Tonight of course I'm onto all new episodes and I don't want to miss a second of the action so probably no stitching. I'm at that point in a project where I just want to be done no matter what. And I probably only have four or so hours left in this one. I never take more than 7 to 10 or so days to complete a BBD and I've been working on this one since September 1st! Of course vacation did get in my way.... :-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just a little progress

I didn't feel much like stitching last night and since I had a foreign movie with sub-titles sitting on my coffee table, I figured it was a good night to watch it. Stitching and subtitles just don't mix! But I did finish a little more of Garden of Life. It's coming together nicely, only a few more days. I hope by Friday to have this finished. The colors are wonderful, nice and soft.

Tonight is agility with Molly so no stitching tonight either. I really need to get moving on block 11 of the Village or I won't meet my goal of one block per month. And it's time to order more NPI silk from Drema. I might not even have enough black to get me through this month.

I did take French Alphabet Sampler off my wish/to do list. Marquior will be enough for me at the present time. And the money I will save will pay for all the other charts on my list. I will put off ordering them however for the present time unless they come up for a really good price on eBay. I just don't know when I would get to them in the next year or so and they are all big ass projects.

I have decided to purchased the Just Cross Stitch ornament issue. I have several Christmas presents that I usually buy gifts for but I think I would like making ornaments for those people instead. Perhaps three or four. I realized a couple of months ago that I tossed out the first eight or so years of Just Cross Stitch magazine last summer. I didn't think I'd ever start to cross stitch again and since I had never even started one project from them I just tossed them out. I wonder what I threw away? :-(
I could just kick myself.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another start or am I crazy or what?

The first part of a sixteen part cross stitch called Marquoir ABC Bleu & Rouge was made available on Saturday. So of course I downloaded it as soon as I got out of bed and started on it later that day. It's another beautiful (free!) project offered by Carinne and Gigi, two of the designers of Quaker à 6 Mains (on my to do list of course). It will be divided into sixteen parts that will be offered over the course of the next 16 months. The design size will be 491 by 665 stitches! Yikes! Here is the link to Carrinne's blog and website with all the details: It's in French but not to hard to figure out and there is a link to a blog which has an English tranlation.

I'm doing mine in blue and red (I could not resist a blue and red piece) using one strand of Needle Necessities Floss Overdyed in 115 - Midnight Skies and 153 Razzle Dazzle Red on my very own hand-dyed linen! The linen started out as 32 count but it did shrink during the dying process - I think it's around a 34-35 count now. I'll measure it at some point to find out for sure. I'm stitching it one over two threads. I do wish the blue was a little more variegated on the light side but I think it will turn out ok. The red is perfect - just what I wanted.

I think this project will replace the French Alphabet Sampler I have on my wish list. I don't have kids and I'm not even married so why do I need a personalized sampler about me with my information on it? And this decision will also save me over $200+ in chart, floss and linen costs not to mention framing costs. And I really like the way the Marquior is looking. I almost finished the first page! Part one came out in two pages. I think this will be my weekend project and I'll continue to work on Village of Hawk Run Hollow in the evenings.

Here is my progress on Garden of Life. I have to admit while I really like this piece it is kinda boring me a bit to stitch. So much counting to get the top portion completed. But I'm a finisher so I'll continue to work on it. Hopefully I'll be done with it this week so I can move onto another project.

The boss is in the office all week so I'll be busy. But then he is gone for two weeks and I'll be bored. I wish there was a middle ground.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A quiet weekend

Friday! Yeah! I'm really glad it's Friday. I need a couple of days to recover from vacation and the agility trial. I plan on doing nothing but laundry (still from vacation) and mowing the lawn. And stitching of course. :-)

Here is my progress on Garden of Life. I really like the soft colors on it. About half way done I think. I might work on it a bit over the weekend but plan for the most part of working on my Village Block 11.

Molly is still recovering from her agility debut - she has done nothing but nap since Wednesday evening! I did give us a couple of days off but tomorrow I plan on spending a little time working on jumps and weave poles. I think I'm going to start Clancy in October. He will love agility.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A good time was had by all

I had such a good time with Molly at our first agility trial yesterday! And she was a star, just not the kind I was hoping for. ;-) We had two runs, standard and jumps with weaves both in the Novice A 12" category. Our first run was the standard run. I put her in a sit at the start and before I could even move, she was off and running. And off-course before the third obstacle, the teeter. To celebrate her off-course, she did a victory lap. I managed to get her back to me and we completed the teeter and it was onto the shoot. She did ok there and ok onto the dog walk - she was really moving! I could not keep up with her. So she did another victory lap around the course. By this time the crowd was into her victory laps and all I could hear was laughing and clapping and hollering from the crowd. She was such a ham. I did manage to get her back on course for maybe one more jump but she was having such a good time running around we were done. It's called the zoomies in agility and was she ever zooming! LOL! I was laughing so hard it was hard to run with her. In the end we were whistled off the course because time had run out. 106.50 second of pure joy on Molly's part. We received the loudest applause of the day. I received a lot of really nice feedback from several people I respect in agility. They all said she would be a great agility dog and don't do anything to slow her down - just work on our control. Even the judge had a kind word afterwords.

At lunch time, Molly was stung by a bee near on her face (poor baby - she is fine today) so I had to give her a Benedril for the swelling. It was pretty much over for the day at that point. She gets very sleepy whenever I give her that kind of pill and when it was our turn for jumps with weaves she was napping in my arms. I gave it a go but she only completed a couple of jumps half-heartedly so I pulled her off. I don't ever want this not to be fun for her. I have some nice action shots from my friend Peggy who was there with her pug, also named Molly. Peggy's Molly did much better than mine - she almost Q'd in jumps with weaves! But she got off course with only two jumps to go and took off. Peggy could not get her back in time to complete the course. Next time for sure Peggy!

I also have a video from Peggy - I'll upload it after I get a copy. It should be a stitch!

At the end of it all, I'm hooked on agility and sure hope that Molly is enjoying it as much as I am. By the look on her face I think she is. :-) Our next trial is November 18th and 19th.

I managed to work on block 11 of the Village - first time in two weeks! I'm making good progress and I should hit my goal of completing block 11 in September.

Here is my progress with Garden of Life. Since I'm off my schedule, I did order a second Chamomile so I won't be doing any replacing with another color.

Karen V from England asked me if there was much color difference between the WDW Dolphin and the GA Aged Pewter. There is a little more blue in the Dolphin. But because there are two different stitches in the bird, I don't think it's necessary but buy both colors. Karen said she only has the Dolphin and I think it will look just fine with both areas using the same thread. The different textures will make the difference. Here is a close up photo of my bird using both colors.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm back!

Vacation was wonderful - so great in fact, I wish I could fine a way to do it more. :-) I have a ton of stuff on my desk to do and I plan on taking off working tomorrow and Wednesday for events related to the Pug Dog Nationals. Tomorrow is a pug performance seminar with a widely recognized expert in dog agility, Susan Garrett and Wednesday is of course the agility trial. I didn't do a thing with Molly over vacation like I had planned. Of course I planned on doing many things on vacation that I never got to. I can't believe I thought I would sit around and stitch! I did a little but nothing like I'd planned for.

Here is my progress on Garden of Life. Not to bad - the two largest motifs are finished. Now it's all cake. I won't be able to work on it at all until Wednesday evening. So I'm looking at next week sometime for completion.

Please wish Molly and me good luck on our first agility trial. I can't believe it's finally here. Our first goal is fun, fun, fun! I just want Molly to get used to the whole idea of trials. And then we can focus on the meat of the trials. Actually being good! Our next trial after Wednesday is scheduled for November 18th and 19th. We will be really to really start then.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Last days

Life at the beach continues to be very nice. :-) And yes, that is an understatement of course! Days of good food, sunny beaches and kite flying are coming to the end. Tomorrow we pack up and start to make our way back home. It's been a really good break. Not much progress on my BBD project - my new goal is to be finished with the house before we leave. How far the mighty have fallen! LOL! One last photo of Molly sunning herself. She loves the sun.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Lazy days at the beach

All is well in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. The drive out was fairly uneventful. We did get a fair share of rain on Friday afternoon starting after lunchtime and keeping up until we stopped for the evening in West Virginia. But when we got up Saturday morning, the sun was shining and it was beautiful outside. We arrived in Duck, NC around 2:30pm. Our favorite first meal in OBX (Outer Banks) is a pulled pork sandwich at Pig Man Barbeque. But they were closed until 3:00pm. :-( So we drove up the road a bit to the check-in office for our rental for the week. This is where things got a bit mixed up. According the to office staff at the rental agency, Chris and Lisa’s rental insurance kicked in and they should have received a phone call before Friday telling us not to come. There had been several really bad storms the week before and on Thursday and Friday the remnants of the hurricane came through further flooding the area further. While the house they rented was fine, there was no way to drive to it. But since we had driven all the way from Northern Illinois, they did find us a last minute replacement. So we are staying in town for the first time in the town of Oceansands. Usually the house we rent is in the off-road portion of OBX. The house isn’t has nice was the one Chris picked out for this year – it’s a little smaller and there is no hot tub and some of the niceties we have come to expect like TV’s and VCRs in every room, but the beach access is superb. No more long hall over the sand dunes to get to the beach and more importantly, no cars or trucks on the beach. It’s so nice and quiet. There is a very nice boardwalk connecting the houses in this area to the beach. It’s flooded and many of the houses in the neighborhood have quite a bit of standing water. The forecast for Tuesday is more rain. We have all decided that being in town does have some advantages. Like being able to go across the street to the store at a moments notice. And we might stop and have a glass of wine at a wine bar down the street. We have wanted to stop in this particular restaurant since the first time we came out here. And now we have our chance.

Molly is quite have the time of her life and is not missing Clancy one bit. Poor guy. She even got to run off leash last night on the beach. She ran like I have never seen her run before. Today it’s a major effort for her to walk down the stairs she is so tired.

Not much progress on my stitching. I had been planning to sew on the ride down but the movement of the SUV that Lisa has made it very difficult. It’s been a really long time since I tried to sew in a car. I figured it would be just like the train. Nothing like it at all. But here is my progress on Garden of Life. I was hoping to finish a ton while here and I’m finding the lure of the beach much too strong. That this point I think it will be a miracle if I finish one piece! :-) I did manage to finish Violets from Shepherd’s Bush before I left Thursday night.

I had a good August in terms of finishes.