Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nothing to show

I have nothing to show today - I didn't get much done on Alpha Birds and today is St. Reatham Thursday and for the first time in two or three weeks I remembered to toss it into my bag. :-)

Tomorrow is the start of a four day weekend for me as it's Labor Day on Monday. The company I work for tosses in an extra day tomorrow. Yeah! Four days off. No major plans but the weather will be spectacular - in the low 80's all four days with no rain in sight. Over the weekend I would like to finish Alpha Bird and get in a couple of days on SR. And maybe work on a quilt or two as I currently have four in progress and one more cut out. And a couple I need to machine quilt.

I'm testing out a new title for my blog as part of my blog renewal plan. I never liked what I was calling it and on the day I put it together more than a year ago I was in a hurry and didn't give it much thought. I'm still waiting for my new Adobe software to arrive and I can't wait for it to come so I can start fiddling with the overall look of things. I have many ideas. :-)

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

cool new tool

I received an email from DMC Corp this morning talking about a new tool they have online. It turns your digital photos into cross stitch charts. While I'm not a huge fan this sort of lifelike stitching designs, there might be a point when I would want to incorporate one of my pugs into a design. I already have ideas of using digital photo software that can turn photos into other things using special effects. I'd love a cartoon-like picture of my pugs. I then could use this site to turn it into a chart. :-) Pretty cool huh?

This is a picture of the cross stitch I generated from one of my favorite photos of Miss Molly. It uses 33 different DMC colors - you can select from three different levels of thread amounts - this picture is the highest level. There is a fee of course but you can preview your chart/photo before spending the money. Prices start at 6.00 EU and $7.50 US Dollar.

Here is the link to the Amelie Paris site. And a link to the DMC-USA site which has some other details.

No progress photo today of Alpha Birds - I forgot my camera! But in any case I didn't have much to show - I napped on the train home last night and barely put in a stitch last night.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

zipping along

The first two rows are all stitched up on Alpha Birds and today I'll start on the largest of the three rows. It's the band with all the birds. I really need to start to think hard on what I want to do with the fourth row of each of the three charts. Since this series of three was designed to be stitched separate, the fourth band on each design is a personalization row. Name, date etc.

I can't decide on whether to leave two off, only personalizing the last row of the third piece or leave them all on stitching something different in each of the three. Right now I'm leaning toward stitching in all three and maybe having a three part saying or maybe something like wrought by me, my name and then the date on the last row. Or maybe even include the town I'm from.

Any ideas? :-) I'm pretty sure I want to stitch the bands in. But what to say?

Monday, August 27, 2007

not much crafting done

Between the agility trial and nice weather I didn't get much done over the weekend. On Sunday I finished off My Quaker House from Blackbird Designs into a bellpull. My mom's birthday is this week and this is her present. I had planned on quilting a bit on Sunday but after I sat down at my table and pulled out some stuff I really didn't feel like it so I put it all away.

Instead I started on a new piece - Alpha Birds from Sheepish Designs. There are three separate designs to the series (Alpha Menagerie and Alpha Sheep) and I'm doing all three on the same piece of 32 count linen. I pulled out a half yard cut piece of Wichelt Latte linen that I picked up at Hobby Lobby for $5.00. I had planned on using a custom cut from Silkweavers but I thought I would save the money. It's working ok I think. I'm not sure if I will stitch all three pieces at this time. I might just do the first chart and then move onto something else. It all depends on my mood. :-)

I have several dahlias in my flower garden. Above is just one. It's a dinner plate variety and it really is the size of a dinner plate. It's just gorgeous so I thought I'd share.

Since I mentioned that I had an agility with Molly over the weekend I thought I should report the results. It was disappointing - Molly ran around the ring during all four runs. Dogs do this when they are anxious and nervous. I had a chat with my agility teacher just last week about her and we both decided it would be best if she didn't perform well in the next two trials that I would stop running her. In the year that we've been doing trials, this is her usual behavior. Since I have another dog who is ready to break out, I really don't have any reason to work with her to break this behavior. She does agility to please me rather than because she loves it. So we all think it's best to end it. I will continue to bring her to trials to keep Clancy and me company but she will not continue in classes after the current session and no more trials at this time. I'll take the money I'll be saving and put it into Clancy. I'll be able to take him to class more and do twice as many trials. I'm a little sad but at the end of the day I just want happy dogs and this will make her happy. :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Barnyard Quartet finis

Barnyard Quartet Wool Whimsy - Heart In Hand
32 count Belfast - Summer Khaki
Recommended floss, wool and buttons

I finished up the Barnyard Quartet series today. These four designs were in individual kit form. Each kit contained a small piece of linen, floss, wool and buttons. They were meant to be four separate pieces but I put them together on one piece of linen. I like how they turned out. The chicken is missing a button - yesterday when I got to work I was missing one. It broke off on the train and I didn't notice. So I have ordered two more so they match. Hopefully they will come in the mail next week.

I'm not sure what I'm going to start next. I have around 10 things kitted up and I need to do some work on St. Reatham. But I've been in a new start mood lately. So I'll go though my stash and see what jumps out. :-)

Tomorrow is an agility trial with Molly. It's a three day trial but we are only doing tomorrow and Saturday. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

one down, two and a quarter to go

As I predicted yesterday, I finished up with the sheep Wool Whimsy last evening. It was super quick and the chicken is stitching up even faster. I'll be finished and start on the cow before I even get home from work tonight on the train. Since these are going so quickly, I will probably stitch all four before moving onto something else. I'm usually not a fan of the cutesy stuff but these four really appealed to me. So I'm calling them folk artsy rather than cutesy. ;-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Summer Arbor Finis and more!

Summer Arbor - The Drawn Thread
32 Count Antique Tan Wichelt Linen
using recommended NPI and Gloriana silk thread and beads

It was quite the finishing weekend! I finished stitching up Summer Arbor on Friday night. This completes the series of all four seasons. I love them all and I'm now on the search for the matching mats. On Saturday I participated on the Focus on Finishing Pin Keep class. I used my finish from last week, Joy of My Heart as the basis. It was a great class and even though I've done a pin keep in the past, I learned a few new things and this is definitely the best I've done so far. I'm still working on how/where I put my bow but the photo shows it on the side with some beads that came with the kit.

On Sunday, and I mean all day Sunday, I finished my dog bed! :-) Of course there wasn't much else to do as we got over four inches of rain on Saturday and Sunday!

Who knew that when I start this two years ago that I would take so long and I would spend so much money. But the results are worth it I think. And the pugs are very happy and that is all that counts. It's big but I wanted it to be large enough for three pugs to use it a once. I'm hoping there is a new pug puppy in my future. :-) It's two pieces, the zippered cover which is the quilted section and a down/feather insert. I quilted the sides and back also in a simple grid pattern and I made the zipper placket wide so I can flip the bed over so the pugs can use that side also without rubbing on the zipper. Now I just need to get my matching quilt quilted! :-)

Dog Bed - based on a quilt pattern from Miss Rosie's
Fabric - Chocolat from 3 Sisters by Moda
Machine Quilted using 100% wool batting
Stuffed with a feather/down pillow
After all that I did find time to start a new stitching project - the Wool Whimsy Barnard Quartet from Heart in Hand. The four in the series were sold as kits and packaged separately. I purchased them all at half price and I'm stitching them all on the same piece of linen. I started off with the sheep and I'll be finished with the first of four by the time I get home from work tonight. This will also be my train project for the week. I'm not sure if I will stitch all four right away, I might just do one or two and do something else and then pick it up again in a couple of weeks. This is from my "waiting in the wings" list. I'm really moving along with that. I'm moving along with it so well, soon I'll be able to start planning what I want to buy next.

Friday, August 17, 2007

almost finished

I'm almost finished with Summer Arbor from the Drawn Thread. I know, the plan was to grab St. Reatham for a couple of days but yesterday morning I was so tired from only five hours sleep I forgot to replace Summer Arbor with St. Reatham. And this morning I knew I only had a couple of hours worth of work left on SA so I decided to finish this one up before the weekend instead. I'll plan on doing some SR over the weekend along with making a pin keeper out of Joy of My Heart.

I have no major plans again for the weekend - yeah! Next weekend I have an AKC agility trial with Molly so not much stitching will happen so I'll try to make up for it this weekend. Molly's agility trialing days are almost over. She has never performed well at any trial in the year we have been doing them and I can use the money I have been spending on her for more classes and entry fees for Clancy. So she only has two more trials to go. Next week and Pug Dog Nationals in Harrisburg PA on September 26th. Of course if she turns everything around I'll keep her in but I don't think that will happen. We will continue to play in the backyard of course and I'll take her with Clancy and me to trials, but I won't be spending anymore money on her. I very disappointed - while I knew Molly and I would never set the agility world on fire, I was hoping for at least an AKC Novice title. At least there is Clancy! :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Rain rain go away

Here is my progress on Summer Arbor - so far it's my least favorite of the four Arbors. This center section is so boring with it's mostly green trees. There is a bit more color in the bottom and top sections. Let's hope it helps. And maybe once I get the red beads on the center tree that will help a bit also.

Tonight I have organized a work event to Ravinia Park, an open air concert venue to see Hootie and the Blowfish. And it's thunderstorming outside right now! There is a 60% chance of rain and thunderstorms tonight. Cross your fingers for me and hope that I get the 40% chance of sunshine that I need. :-)

Tomorrow is St. Reatham Thursday. I totally forgot about it last week because I was so close to finishing up Beneath the Sunlit Sky. To make up for it, I think I'll work on it tomorrow AND Friday. :-) I'd like to finish the alphabet across the top and get a start on finishing up the dog border.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Joy of my Heart Finis

Joy of my Heart - Lori Birmingham
28 count white evenweave linen
Recommended fibers

I finished up Joy of My Heart last evening. I'm planning on using it for the pinkeep lesson being posted this coming weekend on Focus on Finishing. I thinks it's perfect for it. I love finishing things that have been laying around for months and months. I purchased this piece from Hobby Lobby over a year ago when they first started to sell off their cross stitch section. I think I picked it up for less than $5.00. I also love a good deal. :-)

The weekend was mostly about having company on Saturday night. My friend Peggy came over with her husband and six pugs! Oh, what a good time we had. My two slept all day yesterday. :-)

This morning on the train I started stitching Summer Arbor from the Drawn Thread. This will complete the four seasons for me. This one has been in my stash also for over a year. I'll be finished by the end of the week. Not sure what I'll work on next but I have a feeling it will also be one that has been laying around for a while. I still have nine fully kitted projects ready to go. The plan is to do a couple more before I move onto something really new. Of course the exception will be the new Loose Feathers from BBD. Their fall pieces are always particularly pretty.

Kathy posted a comment about what a quick stitcher I am. I really don't think I'm really much quicker than the average stitcher. What I do have is time. I have a 90 minute train ride to work twice a day. So before I do any stitching at all in the evening or on the weekends, I have a solid 15 hours in a week. And I do usually stitch every evening a couple of hours while I watch tv. And that adds up to almost 30 hours a week. That's a ton of time. :-)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Beneath the Sunlit Sky Finis

Beneath the Sunlit Sky - Blackbird Designs
Silkweavers 32 count Rock Quarry linen
Recommended fibers

I finished up with Beneath the Sunlit Sky last night - I'm very happy with how it turned out on the linen I picked out. I want to buy more Rock Quarry since I think it would go with many projects - I'd like to find mono-color design to stitch. I'm happy I frogged the house, the dark pink does show up much nicer. Click on the photo for a close up if you like.

No major plans for me this weekend, just dinner with friends on Saturday and a lot of quality stitching time. :-) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the missing house

As you can see from today's progress photo, my obsession with my house has been solved! LOL! I received a very thoughtful comment yesterday from Teejay and after reading it, I realized she was spot on. As much as I was thinking about it, I knew I wanted to fix it but didn't want to frog it. So last night the last thing I did before I went to bed while I watched Top Chief was to frog it out. The lighter pink did look ok but I think it will look better with the darker pink. And I would always wonder what it would look like correct. :-) Tomorrow you all can be the judge because I'll post the finish photo. I only have a couple of hours worth of work left. Tomorrow I'll start on the Lori Birmingham piece for my pin keep lesson.

Last month KarenV from the UK posted about a really cool idea - and she had a great finish to show off. A zippered bag. I have not been able to get this out of my head no matter how hard I tried. And then it came to me. I have something that I can make into a bag like this! My Celtic Birds! It's not as big as maybe I would like but I think it will be perfect for such a use. And since Karen so kindly provided the links for the instructions, what is stopping me now? I'm hoping to give it a go this weekend.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

much progress

I'm making quick work of Beneath the Sunlit sky. I still haven't decided yet if I'm going to rip out the pink house. Last night I thought yes but today I'm thinking no. :-) And at this point, I'm not sure what will put me over the edge either way.

I really need to start framing my finished pieces. I have a box just full of them. And I think I need to start doing smaller pieces that can be finished in other ways rather than just framing. I love the clever ways that other people are finishing their work. I'm also thinking that maybe I'll start joining in the various exchanges that are going around. At first I didn't think my stuff was good enough to give away but now I'm happy with how it looks. And it always looks like fun when I see what people are exchanging. And I love fun!

I've been cleaning up my blog in preparation for designing a new space. I purchased a couple of Adobe products and I'm hoping to make an original looking space. I spent a couple of hours yesterday working on my online photo album and getting all my projects posted and labeled. I'm still missing a couple of finished photos but I'll try to get to that this weekend. I'm also setting up my Weblog account. I have been visiting as time permits, all my favorite blogs but I have so many now it will be nice to know when they are updated. I visit many more than I have posted links to and I know I spend much to much time trying to see them all. :-) I figure it will also be easier for me to make comments if I free up some time.

I've also been visiting my favorite blogs and looking at what I like most about those sites and I've been making notes. Mostly I seem to like a clean looking space and mine is kinda cluttered. So I'm hoping to set up sub pages with photos and such. So watch this space for changes. :-)

Many thanks for the comments everyone has left me over the past couple of weeks - I don't acknowledge this enough but I really appreciate each and every one of them.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Loving it

Here is my progress on Beneath the Sunlit Sky - the more I work on this piece, the more I like it. :-) I was unsure when I got started but at almost half way finished, I'm finding it a quick fun stitch. I'm having a hard time getting a good photo of it because some of the colors are close to my linen but irl, the colors show up just fine. I found a huge mistake last night. I did the house in the wrong pink! It's supposed to be stitched in the darker of the two pinks and I used the lighter. At this point I'm not sure if I will take it out or not. In person it doesn't look bad at all and I might just be ready to move onto my next project when I finish up. So I'll see.

I went through my stash last night to pick out the next couple of things I want to do. I will for sure do something from my waiting in the wings list. I have several that have been there for over a year now and I want to get to them. The two oldest are the Joy of My Heart flat fold from Lori Birmingham and Summer Arbor from the The Drawn Thread. The flat fold will be perfect as the next finishing project for the Focus on Finishing pin keep class (August 18th and 19th) and will only take a couple of days to stitch. And I know from past experience that the Summer Arbor will only take a week of train rides to complete because that is all the other three took.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Delivering Spring finis

Delivering Spring - Homespun Elegance
32 Count Silkweavers Cocoa linen
Recommended Fibers

Here is my progress on Beneath the Sunlit Sky from BBD - I'm stitching it on Silkweavers Rock Quarry. I love the colors even though I'm not sure about the piece. Actually I'm wondering why I'm stitching it when I have so many projects that I really love. But I feel somehow compelled to do my auto delivery charts. :-)

I'll end today's post with a photo of Clancy. He followed me outside when I took my photo of Delivering Spring on Saturday. He is such a cutie and is very much a mama's boy. :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

St. Reatham update

Here is my progress on St. Reatham. I'm using Golden Promise by Silkweavers and Hand Dyed Fiber's Mermaid Blue 2327. This is a pretty bad photo of the true color of the fabric. I'll try to update it next week outside so it golden yellow color shows up. I love this piece. I might start to work on it a bit more than just Thursdays but of course, I'll see how my time turns out. I still have a ton of stuff on my to do list and for some reason, it's not getting any smaller. ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

almost done

I just have the grass to complete on my Delivering Spring and I'm all done. :-) But it's St. Reatham Thursday so I won't get back to it until tomorrow. And I'll be sure to post a picture of St. Reatham this week for sure. I haven't in the last two and I have made some progress. I love working on it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Not a whole lot finished

I haven't been stitching much over the past couple of days. But I am making some progress on Delivering Spring. I have to push a bit now because the graduation party starts at 3:00pm on Saturday. :-) I should be ok. I'll plan on stitching tonight at home.

Molly has to go to the vet today (it always seems to be Molly). Last night before I went to agility, Molly came in from outside with blood all over one of her back feet. She had an abscess break! I didn't even notice the bump. :-( Poor baby - I can tell it really hurts her. She'll need ten days of antibiotics and lots of TLC.