Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Birthday to me! :-) And Happy Halloween!

I'm very pleased with how the colors are looking on my Hunt Sampler. It's going pretty fast now that I don't have to think about what to put where. I'm not getting much done as I would like however, because I'm struggling to stay awake on the train. It always happens this time of year when it's still dark in the morning and next week after daylight savings ends, it will be dark both ways. I'll get used to it in a few weeks and start to get more done.

Today is my birthday! That sure was a fast year. And like last year, I still have no idea on what I want to do when I grow up. :-) I just know it doesn't include a four hour daily commute to downtown Chicago. But for now, it is what it is so I don't complain much. And I get so much stitching done it almost makes up for some if it. As for goals, I think I'd like to start running long distances again. I'm sure there is another marathon in me. :-)

No big birthday plans until the weekend - I have a hot date planned. :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rip, rip, rip!

I ripped out the Needle Necessities Woodland Fantasy floss and tried the Gentle Art Forest Glade I had on hand. I'm much happier with the results. The copper color is Crescent Colours Brandied Pears. For the four small motifs in the centers of the copper color I'm planning on using Needle Necessities Dromedary - a very pretty gold/tan combo. I'm planning on using the Woodland Fantasy for the alphabet as I pulled the other three flosses using it as a guide - I'm hoping everything will tie together nicely. Kathy make a comment on my blog yesterday and said she knows someone who started using Needle Necessities Serengeti as the base fiber (it's tan, copper and dark brown). It's funny Kathy, that is the color I started with! :-) Then I fell in love with Woodland Fantasy and I put the Serengeti aside.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn Song finis

Autumn Song by Blackbird Designs
28 Count Natural Linen
Recommended fibers

I finished up Autumn Song by Blackbird Designs yesterday afternoon. I had to substitute out one leaf color because I ran short of Terra Cotta. Not because the pattern was incorrect but because I started with a short skein. Bummer. I was kinda surprised I finished this because on Friday I didn't think I'd be done with it by the end of the weekend. I was glad to be able to move onto something new. I haven't done the needle cushion yet nor have I done the alphabet that is used on the rim of the box. I don't really need a pin cushion right now and I'm not sure that I like the look of the alphabet where it's placed on the box. So I'm holding off on both right now.

I had time in the evening to put a little work into Toccata II. I'm half way with this piece and I really want to get it done so I can put the stand away. It's always in my way.

On Saturday I drove out to my LNS to pick out fiber for my Celtic Band Sampler by Homespun Samplar. I converted it from the charted DMC to the variegated colors you see below. I'm going to stitch it on Silkweavers 32 count Heritage. I love how it looks and I can't wait to get started on it.

For my train ride this week I started on the Hunt Sampler by Homespun Samplar. I picked out my own colors rather than go with the charted Gentle Arts Bretheran Blue and I went with a fall theme. I'm stitching it on Silkweavers French Vanilla Swirl. Right now I can't say I'm happy with the stripy look of what I've stitched so far. And it's kinda a duh moment. I picked out a Needle Necessities floss of copper, tan and green and them I'm surprised it looks stripy? Well duh! I'm not sure if I can live with it or if I should pull it out and go with the green. It's a variegated green and darker green floss. I could use the copper, tan and green for the borders maybe. I hate not knowing what to do.

On Saturday Aoife went to her first puppy pre-school class. The teacher settled on a four week course. It was a lot of fun and Aoife and her sister Seven were the two bravest pups there. Of course. :-) She had a blast and slept in her crate all the way to the LNS and then all the way home.

On Sunday I took the whole gang to a Howloween party! LOL! They even sat for a group photo for me. Clancy is a cowboy, Molly is wearing her Halloween party dress and Aoife had on a cute t-shirt that said trick or treat. After the party the slept the afternoon away.

Friday, October 26, 2007

almost half way

Here is my progress on Autumn Song. As soon as I finish the leaf under the bird, I'll be half way done! I have a feeling I'll still be working on this next week. :-) Oh well. I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday to buy the box that goes with this piece. I forgot to write down the stock number so naturally I came home with the wrong box - it's too small! But I'll hang onto it, they are very useful and if I ever get involved in a swap, a box with a cross stitched lid would make a great contribution.

Aoife continues to surprise me. She follows Clancy around everywhere and she is becoming very good at learning from him. Just yesterday she learned how to jump on the agility table to do a sit. :-) She has gotten so bad (or good) at following Clancy around the yard that when I do agility training with Clancy I have to leave her in the house because she disrupts him so much. :-) Here is a photo of Aoife and Clancy chewing on bones. Monkey see monkey do!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

fall is here!

The temperatures are finally at the normal point for October. For me that means chilly! I needed my winter coat for the first time of the season on the way to work today. It's all downhill from here.

I'm making good progress with Autumn Song from BBD. This would make a really cute pillow but I don't think I need anymore fall pillows right now as I have already made three this year. I was hoping to have it finished by the weekend but I don't have a chance of that happening because I'll probably work from home tomorrow and Friday. Next week my schedule returns to normal so I'll get the usual amount of stitching time in. Good for my stitching, not so good for me. :-) I really want to get started with one of my two new charts. I'm leaning toward the Hunt Sampler but the Celtic piece is looking pretty good right now also.
Poor Aoife, no one wants to nap with her - here she is in the big bed all by herself. Clancy is doing fine with her but secretly Molly is hoping she will disappear!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Alpha Menagerie Finis

Alpha Menagerie from Sheepish Designs (part 2 of 3)
32 count Wichelt Latte Linen
Recommended NPI Silks

I finished up Alpha Menagerie yesterday despite having a nine week old puppy glued to my side all weekend. :-) This finishes part two of three. I'm loving the colors - they are such a change from the usual muted palate I go with. I'll start Alpha Sheep (part 3) in several weeks. I pulled a couple of things to work on this week. When I was going through my stash, I found I had forgotten about Quaker Study by CHS - I started it over two months ago I think. I'm about a quarter of the way done so I tossed it into my bag for the train rides this week. Since I also tossed in the new Loose Feather, Autumn Song by Blackbird Designs, I passed on stitching on Quaker Study (it's still leaving me cold - maybe I should just sell it). I don't have much done yet so I didn't take a photo - I will tomorrow for sure.

It was a beautiful weekend here in Northern Illinois - almost 80 degrees yesterday! So the pugs and I took care of some long neglected lawn work outside. Aoife had a blast playing outside with the gang. She was so tired at one point I had to put her inside just so she would take a nap. She is a very clever puppy and I pretty sure I'm just not saying that because I'm a proud mom. :-) She is learning all sorts of things just by watching the other pugs. Late last week, she was watching Clancy run in and out of the agility tunnel and she started to follow him and is now running through all the way. I've started to ask her to do it and she is quite motivated by the little cookie she rewarded with when she runs all the way through. On Saturday I took her and Clancy to play at the indoor dog park where I take my dogs for training. While I was there the woman who teaches puppy training stopped in and asked if we wanted to participant in the next puppy session that starts on the 27th. Of course I said yes so starting on Saturday Aoife will be going to school. Puppy training is pretty low key and I'm so happy that I'm getting such a jump on things with her. I didn't start Molly in formal training until she was four or five months old. I really don't know about Clancy since he was six months old when I adopted him. He didn't start any formal training until he was a year old.

Here is Aoife getting ready to run into the tunnel.

And here she is with Clancy just hanging out. You can see just how small she is in compared to the size of the tunnel. I think her going through it is a really brave thing.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

almost done with part 2

I've been able to get some work done on Alpha Menagerie. Aoife has been taking pretty good naps the last day or so now that she has settled down into a routine. As a result, I feel like I've actually made some progress. That's good for me! I need to start back on Toccata Two in the evenings and on weekends. I figure I'm almost half way finished and I'd like to get the stitching stand put away.

But what to start on next? I have the new loose feathers ready to go but I really don't feel like working on it right now. But it is on the smaller side and I bet a good week of train rides and I'd be finished. I just need to go purchase the box at Hobby Lobby. And just yesterday I received in the mail from Elegant Stitch two charts that I had ordered back in September, The Celtic Band Sampler and the Hunt Sampler both by Homespun Samplar. I'm going to do the Hunt Sampler in different shades of fall colors. This is an idea I borrowed from a fellow blogger, Mindi. Hers turned out so pretty. And I want to convert the Celtic Band Sampler into variegated floss from the original DMC. And of course I still have a couple of WIPS I need to get on with, most notably my Marquoir ABC and St. Reatham. How sad, I haven't worked on Marquoir since the spring and I dated it 2007! It's so pretty and I'm half way done with the piece - I found a photo just this morning of if and wondered what happened to that mojo.

Aoife continued to be a joy! But I have to admit, I had forgotten about a few puppy things. Like those teeth! Yikes! They are like needles. So we are working on her bite inhibition. With mixed results I might add. She still seems to think I arm she is personal chew toy. My other two pugs are still I'm sure, secretly hoping she will just go away. :-) Molly and I are coming up on four years together early next month. And because both my pugs are so good with their toys, I still have her first ones which are now four years old. And as you can imagine, over the past four years, their collection has just continued to grow in size. Now Aoife has discovered the joys of the toy box. By the end of every evening, it looks like my floor is breeding toys. Here is Aoife and Clancy last night. It's hard to pick her out! She is having a blast here and as I write this is sitting on lap sound asleep. :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Settling in

Aoife is settling in well. Clancy has learned to play a little more gently and the two of them have not slowed down since. Molly just watches. :-) I'm not making much progress on Alpha Menagerie. The only time I can work on it is when the puppy is asleep. If she sees me working on it she makes a beeline for me and wants to play with whatever I have in my hand be it a chart, thread or linen. :-) And I'm happy to play with her instead, her puppyness will be so brief I want to enjoy it. I hope to be finished with the third band by the end of the weekend - I'm almost halfway finished with it now.

Clancy and Aoife take a nap.

And the little princess herself. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's a girl! :-)

Yesterday I picked out the little girl (Beanie) from the pug litter. I have named her Aoife (pronounced E-fa). It's a Gaelic name to match my other Irish pug names. :-) It was down between Beanie and Southpaw as they were the two pugs of the five that were more interested in playing with me rather than the other pugs. After watching the final two interact with me, each other and the other three pugs, it was apparent that Southpaw was the dominate puppy of the bunch and the most aggressive puppy in a litter doesn't always make the best agility dog because agility is a team effort and sometimes they tend to be headstrong. So Beanie was the pug for me. And to tell the truth, I am very glad that this is the case. She is a sweetie! She is outgoing, brave and very clever and I know everyone will get tired of looking at photos of her.
Clancy and Molly are doing well with the change in our household. Clancy wants to play but he's still a little rough but he's getting used to being gentle. But it's not like Aoife really cares. She has been chasing him around the house and the yard since we got home yesterday afternoon. She is already climbing up and down the doggie stairs to get to the couch and get back down when she wants to play with Clancy.
As you can imagine, there was not a lot of stitching going on. I'm working on the third row of Alpha Menagerie. I fell asleep on the ride into the office this morning. While Aoife is a little angel, the first couple of nights away from mom and her litter mates is hard on a baby and she was restless and needed comfort from me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday! :-)

I haven't made much progress on Alpha Menagerie. The last couple of evenings I've been busy doing other things and I've been working from home the last couple of days so no train rides for stitching. Hopefully I'll get some stitching in tomorrow. I'd like to start making progress on the third band on this section.

Sunday will be all about the new puppy! I can't wait. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Puppy time!

Here is my progress on Alpha Menagerie. Almost finished with row one. I'm glad I started back on it. It will be great to have another project further along.

I was sent photos of the litter of pug puppies that I'm selecting my new pug from.


Beaner - this little girl (she is the runt) is only 3.3 lbs. and my current favorite just reading about their personalities and looking at their photos. I know I said I wanted a boy, but this little runt is really tugging at me. :-)
This is PJ, my first choice if I go with a boy after all. He is over 5 lbs already! A really big boy.
This is Nacho, the other really big boy of the group. This is Seven, she is named for a big white seven on her chest. She is 4 lbs. And lastly, Southpaw, named for his white toes. Such a cutie, he is on hold because his weight has been going up and down and the rescue wants to keep an eye on him for a while. But I love that white paw.

See how hard my job is? How do you pick just one? I'm really torn between Beaner and PJ. I've decided that if it's a girl, I'm thinking she will be Maeve and of course if it's a boy, Fionn.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Simple Harvest Finis

Simple Harvest from With Needle & Thread by Blackbird Designs
28 count Silkweavers Marine Blue Linen
Needle Necessities overdyed floss - Snoqualmie Falls

I finished Simpler Harvest into a standing piece yesterday. I'll give it to my sister next Monday on her birthday. Hopefully this will get her off my back for a while.

I really didn't do a lot of stitching over the weekend - I'm kinda bored with it all right now. I did manage to put some work into Toccata II yesterday. I'm about half way done with this piece. For the train ride this week I started back on Sheepish Designs Alpha series, working on Sheepish Menagerie. I figure I need to get some things in progress finished just in case I quit cross stitching for a while. That would be bad because the last time I stopped stitching for a while it was almost 20 years before I got back to it. No progress photo because all I did was one letter. Tomorrow for sure.
I did my new puppy shopping Saturday. Wow, did I spend the money. But I'm sure little Finn will appreciate it. :-) I stopped in at Joann Fabrics and found the cutest little black tree to hang my Halloween ornaments from. Now I need to stitch some more - the two did last year look a little lonely on the tree.
While I was trying to take photos of my finish yesterday, guess who jumped into the photo - Mr. Clancy. Such a ham!

Friday, October 05, 2007

no picture today

I finished up my alphabet (still can't remember the name of the piece) from BBD's book With Needle and Thread on the ride into work this morning. And I tried to take a nice picture. That Marine Blue is impossible to photograph indoors so I'll take a picture after I done the finishing work. I don't think it's so large that I can do a stand up with it. I'll finish it off like a pin keep but add a back piece and make it stand up. It should be pretty. I don't know what I'm going to start on next. I'm bored with everything I have in progress right now. And I'm not feeling very inspired by my stash. When I look at other blogs, I like what everyone else is doing right now a lot more than what I'm doing. Maybe it's time to work on some quilts to break things up. I'm sure shopping for new stuff would help a bit but funds are very tight now and I'm picking up my puppy next Saturday and I'll need a ton of new puppy stuff so that is where my spare money this week is going. I'll go shopping tomorrow for that. :-) I love new puppy shopping. I'm probably due to take a drive out to my LNS but it's an hour each way and I really don't need anything. I just want everything. :-)

Have a great weekend! It's going to be beautiful here in Northern Illinois both days and I hope you have the same where ever you are.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

progress on alphabet

Here is my progress on the Blackbird Designs piece I'm working on. You'll just have to take my work on how pretty the marine blue linen and thread is since I'm finding it impossible to take a good indoor photo of it. :-) Half way done. I'll finish up by the weekend and hopefully get it framed since my sister's birthday is the week after next.

How pretty is this? It's not mine (DARN) but my friend Kelly's. I met Kelly at work many, many months ago when she spotted my stitching sitting on my desk at work. She stopped by to ask if she could see it as she is a stitcher herself. We've been sisters in stitching ever since. I'm pretty sure I enabled her to start this Long Dog piece, Beauty Spotte. Now she has enabled me because I want to buy the companion piece, Sonne Spotte. :-) What goes around comes around I guess!

I received several wonderful comments about the puppy photo I posted on Monday with a couple of comments about the little tiny puppy second from the right. You guessed it, she is the runt. At the time the puppies were born she was only 2 oz. compared with her siblings 4 oz. Poor baby! If I wasn't hoping to do agility with my new pup, I would sweep this little thing up in a heartbeat. But I'm concerned that the rigors of agility and training would be too much for her as she very sick several weeks ago and was rushed to the vet. But all is well now but I don't want to risk her health in any way. Isn't she a darling? This photo was from around 4 weeks ago and she is obviously triple in size now. I pick up my new baby on the 13th - I can't wait! I'll take lots of pictures of all the babies and share.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sampler of Stitches MNO / PQR

Sampler of Stitches - MNO / PQR - The Drawn Thread
Recommended 30 count linen
Recommended NPI Silks

I finished up PQR last night leaving the queen stitch quilt for last. I don't know why I think I hate that stitch because I always end up enjoying it. :-) Like all the others, these two charts worked up super quick and I love how they are all looking together. Only three more to go!

I started a small project from the Blackbird Designs book, With Needle and Thread. I'm using a really pretty Silkweavers 28 count called Marine Blue. I'm using the coolest Needle Necessities overdyed floss called Snoqualmie Falls - it's dark marine blue, dark green and dark mauve. Needle Necessities is sadly going out of business so a couple a weeks ago I picked up about 15 skeins of my favorite colors. Anyway, this will be a birthday gift for my sister. She as been really bugging me for about a year now to give her something. Personally I think that's very rude but she just keeps at it. So hopefully this will shut her up for a while. :-) I was going to make a mattress type pincushion out of it, but I think it will finish too big for that so I might end up putting it in a small frame. I'll have a photo tomorrow for sure when I have more than just a couple of letters complete. I should be finished by the end of the week for sure. I'm not sure what I want to start next/finish up. I'm not really enjoying working on Quaker Samplings from CHS but I really want it finished. So maybe I'll work on that for a couple of days and start the new Blackbird Designs Loose Feather. I'm already to go with that one.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sampler of Stitches MNO finis

I finished up with the Sampler of Stitches MNO yesterday afternoon. The two new patterns were waiting for me when I got home from Pug Dog Nationals on Thursday. I should finish up with PQR tonight. Super fast as always and as always, filled with mistakes and really bad diagrams. I actually gave up on one of the Q stitches and just did it my way. To bad about that because I love Drawn Thread patterns.
As mentioned above, I attended Pug Dog Nationals last week in Harrisburg PA. It was Molly's final trial and Clancy's first AKC trial. Molly went out the way she came in a year ago - running around the ring like a fool. :-) At least I wasn't expecting anything different from her. Clancy did really well for his first trial. Except for his weave poles, he did great. He finished two of the three runs and I was very pleased overall with how he did. His best run of the day was his Jumpers with Weaves course. Sometimes I can't believe how fast that little guy is. He was rocking that course. The only problem area was his weaves. I really thought he knew them better but it really showed me we need to practice much more on the entry. His next trial is in six weeks and we will put in a lot of practice before then.

And in other breaking news - it's a boy!

One of these five beautiful pug puppies is mine. I want a male and three of the pups are just that. And I even get first pick! By looking at the photo, my two favorites are the one on the far right and the big one in the middle. My local Pug rescue got a phone call on August 13th from a woman who wanted to surrender both parents and all the day old puppies to rescue. They are seven weeks old today and I should be able to take mine home in three weeks or so. To keep the Irish theme going, he'll be called Finn McCool. Molly Malone and Clancy O'Shea will no doubt be thrilled they are getting a baby brother. :-)