Monday, December 29, 2008

Book of Ink Circles part 14 finis

Yesterday I caught up with Book of Ink Circles part 14. I also re-stitched part 12 with the darker blue. I think it looks a hundred times better than when I used the lighter blue. I also found the "flow" of the knot so that looks better also. Yeah! The worst part is I lost two whole days of stitching because I would not let myself do anything else but this so I did nothing for two days. :-) Oh well, at least I can move on now.

Next up - I need to finish the Papillion Creations 2008 Mystery before I move onto anything else. I still have the last three parts to complete. Hopefully I will be finished with that today or tomorrow so I can move to the next project on my list. Maybe Cirque des Cercles for a couple of days? I need/want to finish up some of my WIPs in the new year. I'm planning on starting Houses of Hawk Run Hollow as my New Year Day's start. The goal is a house a month for all of 2009. This year's Mystery will be Grand Marquior from Isabelle Haccourt-Vautier. She will be putting out a part every other month for all of 2009. I just need to purchase the 36 count linen as I have no 36 count in my stash. I need to fix that as I would like to do more on 36 count. I can just change my Silkweaver's FOTM to reflect this. Currently I have them only sending me 32 count linens in basic colors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

St. Reatham finis!

St. Reatham by Long Dog Samplers
36 count Silkweavers Golden Promises
Vikki Clayton Silk in Mermaid Blue 2327

I did it! It's finished! I started St. Reatham, on April 26, 2007. I was going to work on it every Thursday as a rotation piece but I quickly found that I'm not much of a planned rotation person. So I worked on it every so often for a week or so at a time. Of course I made a huge push over the past month and a half so I could get it done by the end of the year. I'm really bummed that Silkweavers doesn't seem to have it's showcase contest this year. This is a piece that I think could have a chance in the large category. Maybe they will do it again next year.

I was thinking about what was next on the way home from work tonight and truly I have no idea. But I need to pull it from my stash for sure. I have a couple of biggies that I can start on tomorrow if I wanted. I think it needs to be one of those for sure.

finished a couple things up

I finished up two of three projects yesterday. I made Joy into an ornament. I found pre-rouched ribbon at Michaels. How cool is that?

And second, I managed to finish off Keepsake Box into a box. :-)
This morning on my way into work I finished off the final motif on St. Reatham. I could be done by the time I get home from work tonight but I forgot to put the bunny chart into my bag. How dumb was that? So I finish it tonight. Yeah!

Today is my last day at work until January 5th. Boy do I ever need the break. Between being sick the last week and just having way to much going on, I'm looking so forward to not thinking about it a bit the next two weeks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

my pugs aren't spoiled

Yesterday I prepared the pugs stockings for Christmas Eve. They are not too spoiled are they? The stockings are full of toys and treats.

Aoife and Clancy protest, "No Mom, we are NOT spoiled. Just well loved".

It's really cold here in Northern Illinois - currently -6. And with a brutal wind chill. It should warm up by Tuesday when the snow starts again. We will have a white Christmas for sure. I've been working on St. Reatham and if I stitch all day today, I should finish it. But I have a ton of other things I need to take care of today so my stitching time will be limited to tonight. But I'll have to complete in the next couple of days for sure. :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008


I stitched up Joy from Lizzie*Kate yesterday. Very cute I think. I used the same floss that I pulled out for Wednesday ornament and I like how it turned out. I used Dark Tan from Silkweavers as the linen. Tomorrow I'm going to put them into ornament form and hopefully finish my Keepsake Box also. I also worked on St. Reatham, finishing page 8 and then it was back up to finish off pages 3 and 4. I'll be stitching that last bunny before I know it.

It snowed around 5 inches so far in Gurnee. But more is still expected today, tomorrow and Sunday with another storm lurking out west. Welcome to winter.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Tree

Last night I decided to break up St. Reatham with a little gift stitching. I stitched Christmas Tree from Scandinavian Stitches. It is from the 2007 Christmas Just Cross Stitch magazine. I did mine with various variegated floss on Silkweavers 28 count Heritage.

I have one more to do and I was just going to stitch this one twice but after looking through the 2007 issue again, I decided to do a different one. I'm going to stitch the Lizze*Kate Joy ornament with the same fibers.

And I still had time leftover to work on St. Reatham and I put page 7 to bed! I should be able to complete page 8 by the time I go to bed tonight. :-)

Those of us in Northern Illinois are under a winter weather watch tonight and tomorrow. Right now the forecast is for 12" inches of snow. I'm so ready for winter to be over already and it doesn't officially start until Sunday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the final motif (and a bunny)

I can't believe I started the final motif last night - excluding the little bunny on the bottom left. Of course, I saved the biggest one for last. That was not the best planning in the world. :-) This one takes up the entire empty space. I'd love to have this complete by Sunday evening because I still have a bit of Christmas stitching to do. But we'll see how well I do. I am getting a little bored so the smart thing to do might be to do my Christmas gifts and then get back to this to have it complete by the 31st.

Monday, December 15, 2008

a ton of progress

After whining last week that I didn't think I'd get this piece done this before the end of the year, I got a ton stitched in. I can really feel the end is near. I'm fully done with four pages now with the corners of the last four to go (where the two big motifs I have left join up). I had a ton of trouble with the four carnation like flowers at the four corners of the motif that I did. The top left one had several charting errors so I had to use one of the others as a guide and then there were a couple of discrepancies with the remaining three. I just had to make them all match so it took a while to decide on how to do that but I'm happy with the ultimate end.

I did paint my box for my Keepsake Box but that was about it. I'm home sick today and I hope to get a little more done. To sick to work but not sick enough to craft.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keepsake Box Finis

Keepsake Box - Blackbird Designs
32 Count Picture This Plus linen - Fresco
Various overdyed cotton floss

I finished up Keepsake Box on the train last night. Super quick stitch, I think I might make another for my sister for her Christmas gift. Same colors even as I have plenty left of each skein. :-) Tonight I'll paint the box and pick out the fabric for the lining.

I'm back to St. Reatham. I didn't get much done this morning because I fell asleep and last night I didn't stitch at all. Instead, I ripped out the block I didn't like from my BoINK. After that, I wasn't in the mood for anything else. Pulling out previously stitched work always does that to me. What a buzz kill frogging is. It was my biggest hope that I would finish this piece by the end of the year but I think it's time to face facts. I have a ton to finish off and I don't think there is any way I can get it all finished. But I'll leave the year 2008 as that will end up being the year that I worked on it the longest. So it all works out. ;-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Just one flower left and I'm finished with the stitching. Now I wish that I would have taken the time to paint the box over the weekend because I could put everything together tonight if I didn't have to wait for the paint to dry. But it takes at least a day to make sure the box to nice and dry so I can sand it to age it. So this weekend for sure for the finishing.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

just a little progress

As you can see, I didn't get very far on my Loose Feathers. I was fairly certain that I would be able to complete this while at the agility trial but there were so many friends there, we ended up chatting and watching the other dogs the entire time. I barely sat in my chair at all. :-) And by the time I got home, I was tired and didn't want to stitch. But I'm back at it and I should have this completed sometime over the weekend. I'm happy with the colors I picked out and I love the linen. It's Fresco by Picture this Plus. It will be very pretty on the box I'm going to put it on.

As for the agility trial, we had no success. I'm starting to stress way to much and Clancy can feel it so now he is a basket case. We are going to take an AKC break for several months and just do some low key agility trials that don't matter to me so we can get our confidence back. So it's off to NADAC and CPE for a while. They have different rules and since I don't care about our results and we can just play, we will both remember how to have fun at trials. And the good thing about this is, Molly can come along and play also. She did pretty good at NADAC trials in the past mostly because the lack of pressure on her. I might even enter Aoife in a few runs to get her feet wet.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Edgar is a star :-)

Or as I say to Clancy after a perfect agility run - You Rock Dude!

When I got home today from the trial, there was a package from Edgar waiting for me. He went way beyond anything I would have expected - actually I didn't expect Edge to do anything, as the organizer of this exchange, he already has done more than enough. But he sent me Paradigm Lost from Long Dog Samplers from my wish list for my birthday. :-) His kindness is so welcome and I don't have quite the words to adequately express how touched I am. In the big picture, it is a small thing not to have received anything from the birthday exchange but one that did kind of hit in the gut. The generosity of some people however, more than makes up for it.

Thanks so much Edgar and Jill! The warm feelings you have generated in me, will last for a long time.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

I was RAK'd today! The lovely Jill from Minnesota read my blog on Monday where I mentioned that I never received a birthday gift from my partner on the SBBC. BAMB! Jill goes into action, emails Edgar and when I got home today from Milwaukee there was a huge package waiting for me. As I wasn't expecting anything I was quite curious but wasted no time in opening the package. I was blown away. Jill stitched the cutest scissor fob with a birthday cupcake and a birthday charm on it. She also enclosed some of her wonderful floss drops (they say happy birthday) and a stitch counter (again, from her own hands), a pair of super pretty scissors, a huge box of floss and a cute flag for my deck!!!

Jill I just don't know what to say. I'm very overwhelmed by your kindness and I can't thank you enough. :-) You truly made my day, week, month.... :-)

Clancy and I were at an agility trial today and one of the best of the year. But alas, he had the same kind of runs we have been having for months now. Great runs but he is popping out of the weave poles. Actually he has made an improvement over the past several months, he is at least making his entries but is only completing a portion of the entire set of 12. And he seems to have a favorite place to exit early, around the fifth or sixth pole. It's usually stress that makes a dog do this and we are working very hard at keeping his level down.

I did have time to start the new Loose Feathers. This is going to be a quick one. I'm using floss from my stash and I love the colors I have picked out. In fact, it looks really close to the model. :-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book of Ink Circles - Part 13 finis

I finished up Part 13 of the Ink Circles Mystery, Book of Ink Circles. Love it!
I have also made the decision to rip out all of Part 12 and start over. I'm going to use the dark blue where the light blue is and make the dark blue the green and keep the orange. I think that way the knot will show up better and match the rest of the piece better. I need to do this before the next four sections are out or I'll never do it. Maybe over Christmas break as I have a week off from work.

Have you seen the latest Ink Circle? It's called Cirque des Carreaux and I love it. It's the companion to Cirque des Cercles and Cirque des Triangles. This might be my favorite of the three. There are a ton of other Ink Circles I still want to do - I'll never get to them all!

Clancy and I will be in Milwaukee Wisconsin for the next four days at a great agility trial called Hounds for the Holidays. It's always a blast and I know a ton of people who will be there also. Our goal is to work like a team. I can't get much more modest than that. :-) I'm tossing the new Loose Feathers into my bag and I hope to at least start it. I have so much I want to stitch right now and just not enough hours in the day. :-)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Loose Feathers Mystery Part 4 finis

Here is my Loose Feather Mystery with part four added. As I said yesterday, it was super quick to complete. I can't wait for the next (and last) installment to come out. This is going to be so pretty when it's all complete.

Close up of part 4.

I took this photo of my Clancy at the trial last weekend. He always looks so serious. :-)

Monday, December 01, 2008

long time no blog

It sure has been a busy few days! I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with my parents on Thursday. I cooked a beef tenderloin on the grill. Nummy! :-)

Clancy and I spent the last three days at an agility trial in Northern Indiana. I'm not sure if I will do that trial again because of how long it took to drive back and forth each day. At least an hour and forty minutes down and back. That's a bit too long for us. Clancy was very erratic all three days and we didn't have any qualifying scores. I'm really struggling with finding the balance of what he needs before we run. Some dogs like to be wound up and some like to be quiet. I'm starting to think that Clancy is a quiet type of dog. He did much better when we just sat on the side of the ring with me petting him before our runs than when I hyped him up with treats and such. I'm calling it Zen Puppy. :-) We have a four day trial in Milwaukee starting on Thursday and I'll continue with the calming actions before our runs and see what happens.

I did manage to finish part four of the Loose Feathers mystery today on the way into work but I forgot my camera so I'll take a photo and add it when I can. I think this was the fastest section so far to stitch as most of it was letters and we all know how fast those can go. And that was all the stitching I managed for the entire long weekend. By the time I got home from the trial each day, I was just plain tired.

I'm very disappointed. My birthday was a month ago and I never received anything from my partner with the Stitching Bloggers Birthday Club. I had over a year to look forward to it and this has been a terrible let down. She posted on that blog the day after my birthday that something would arrive and maybe at some point something will but I'm not really holding out much hope at this point. At least my partner received her birthday gift on time last May and she seemed to like it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

an exchange received

Anna from Poland reported yesterday that she received her HoE Christmas ornament. I stitched her an ornament from the 2007 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue. I used 40 count Lakeside Linen's Vintage Maple Sugar with DMC and WDW floss. I finished it as a pinkeep. I tossed in a few holiday treats also. :-) I'm so glad you like it Anna! I had fun stitching it for you.

Small finis - part 12 of BoINK

Yesterday I finished up Part 12 of Book of Ink Circles. This is my least of all the parts so far. I just don't think it match enough with the other sections and my two blues that comprise most of this part are just too close together so you can't see the flow to the knots. Well that is if I had been able to find the flow to the knot. This was a tough one to make work from many levels. The next release is December 2nd and then were will be four more parts to go after that. I wish Tracy would give us a holiday gift of all the remaining sections so I can get this over and done with. I'm ready for it to end.
This is where I left off on St. Reatham. I'm hoping to re-start by the weekend. I still want to complete the BBD LS mystery (I started part four on the train this morning but since I did so little I did not take a photo) and the Papillion Creations Mystery. I'm way behind on that one and I'm expecting any day to get the next release so I'll be two behind instead of one if I don't get my act together.

Aoife is well on the road to recovery. I figured it would be Sunday before she was feeling back to her old self and I was correct. She woke up yesterday her usual spunky pug for the first time since her surgery and I'm having to hold her back so she doesn't rip out any stitches. I have a three day agility trial in Merriville Indiana starting on Friday and at some point I have to find time to get her to the vet and have her stitches removed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

just two more dogs

I decided to continue down the bottom of the piece and my goal is to finish the last two dogs by the time I go to bed tonight. They really take a long time and when I work on them I never see much progress. Then I'm going to put the piece up for a week or so. In the meantime, I'll work on my three mysteries, BoINK, Papillion Creations and Blackbird Designs as well as stitch the current Loose Feather. That should take a week or so then back to St. Reatham. I really want to finish this piece this year. I am saving the bunny in the lower left hand corner for last. Two years ago, when I was searching for a BAP to do, that little bunny is what put me over the edge to stitch this piece. I just think it's the cutest little thing, outrunning all those dogs. :-)

On Wednesdays I received my Hooked on Exchanging Christmas Ornament from Hazel in the UK. She sent me an ornament from this year's Just Cross Stitch Christmas issue. I love it and it was one of the ones on my list to stitch for me. She did an absolutely wonderful finishing job. And she sent along some goodies too! Thanks so much Hazel! I love it.

Aoife is getting around a little better at three days post op. The pain killers the vet sent me home with are really helping I'm sure and they are also helping keeping her quiet. And that is a huge help. By Monday I'm sure she'll be almost back to her old self.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

and the last beastie is done

I finished up the last beastie Monday on the way home from work as predicted. But rather than stopping in the direction I was going and moving back up to the biggest motif of the piece, I decided to continue down to the corner of the piece. No special reason other than it was the piece of chart that I had with me. So I'll finish up the dogs on the bottom and then evaluate what to do next. My new Loose Feathers chart should arrive today and I think I want to stop St. Reatham for a couple of days and work the two charts on the pattern (the trinket box and part 4 of the mystery). I'm not going to do my box in the silk that is called for but convert mine to Weeks and Crescent Colours - I'm sure it will look just as nice for more than half the price.
What do you do when your puppy is feeling under the weather? Why you take pictures of course! I picked up Aoife at 9:00am this morning and she sure does look pitiful. I didn't know they were going to cone her so I didn't have a better alternative on hand. But I took care of that and a soft sided cone will arrive tomorrow. The power of overnight shipping.

Here is a close up of her plastic surgery. Widening her nostrils will really make a difference in her ability to get air quickly. And the stitches are such a pretty purple. :-) Everyone loved her at the clinic and I have to agree, she is a very special pug. :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Aoife is fine :-)

:-) Yeah, the doctor just called and Aoife is doing well and recovering nicely. The did the elongated soft palate surgery, removed the glands on either side of her palate and widened her nostrils. However, he did say he was not able to fix the problem entirely. I'm taking that to mean that she is still breathing loud. He said that she must have a structural issue that he can't see so he can't repair it. I'll get further details when I see the surgeon tomorrow.

They have visiting hours and owners are allowed to visit their pets twice a day for twenty minutes. It just about killed me to leave her this morning so I'm not sure if I'm going to visit her tonight or not. If her recovery goes well, I can pick her up tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

another beastie

I'm almost finished with the last beastie of the piece. :-) I know I got a ton done this weekend but I really wanted that last one complete before I went to bed Sunday night. Oh well, he will be completed by the time I get home from work tonight as I stitched on the train this morning and I only have part of a leg left. Then where do I go? I keep looking at the big hole on the top right that I created and I'm leaning toward starting that before I continue to move down the right corner. It's all one really big motif and will take most of the week to stitch I'm thinking. But if I finish it before I put this away for a little while, I'll have five out of the eight pages totally complete and that would be very cool.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

wee beastie finished

I got a ton stitched yesterday - wee beastie #3 is finished. :-) I'm going to stitch down the entire right side until I get to the corner and then I'll start to move in. After than I'll tackle one of the big motifs somewhere. There are several left.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wee beastie number three

I really enjoy working on St. Reatham. It's a mystery to me why I go so long between sessions. I have started work on the beastie in the upper right hand corner. That little curvy thing at the end of the flower is his tongue. :-) I'll have to take a small break from this over the weekend. I want to complete the latest Book of Ink Circles installment that came out yesterday. I really like the new block but I don't think it will pop as much as it has on other because my two blues are fairly close to each other. But who knows. Maybe it will be just fine.

I mailed my Hooked on Exchanging ornament for the exchange today! Yeah!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A whole weekend gone and this is all I have to show

I did everything this weekend but stitch on St. Reatham. :-) I guess that is just the way it turns out sometimes.

Last Thursday I purchased a treadmill. A really nice one, a True PS500. It's the most current discontinued model and I was able to get a floor model at a huge discount. It even has a built in LCD screen that is cable TV/DVD ready. Why I mention this? It's being delivered next Saturday and it's 35.5 inches wide by 82.5 inches long. This baby is huge. I had to make room for it. So I spent the bulk of the weekend clearing out, tossing out and reorganizing everything I own. I didn't want to tuck it out of the way too much because I don't want to forget it's there and I want it easy enough to get to so I have to walk past it to remind me what it is there for. So I spent the weekend looking at my stitching as I walked past with another load of stuff going to the trash or the Good Will box.

It's so nice to lighten the load and I gained a ton of shelf space from where I tossed old books and other crap. I don't mean to be such a pack rat, it just happens.

Friday, November 07, 2008

update on Aoife

I still don't have any stitching to show since I'm working on two holiday exchange pieces. I should be done with those however today and then I'll move onto something I can share. :-)

On Thursday Aoife and I went to see the surgeon recommended by my vet. It just so happens that the surgeon is an expert at Elongated Soft Palate surgery. He did his surgical residency at the Univ. of Georgia who’s mascot is a bulldog. He told me he did an ESP surgery every day he was there as this is even more common in bulldogs than it is in pugs. Also while he was there, he participated in a trial for a new tool for doing ESP surgery and did his research paper on how much better it works than the older ways of cutting and stitching. And he is getting the tool next week! He says it cuts down on post op bleeding and swelling and it was his recommendation that we wait until the equipment is in his hands. So Aoife came home with me and I have scheduled her surgery for the 18th of November.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Beyond My Heart finis

Beyond My Heart - Blackbird Designs
32 count Silkweaver Antique Gold
Recommended fibers

I finished up Beyond My Heart yesterday. Pretty piece for sure. Much more subtle in colors than a lot of their recent pieces have been. I like it. :-)

I started on my ornament for the HoE exchange so I can't show you what I did on the train this morning. It's from last year's ornament edition of Just Cross Stitch. It was designed to be an over one on 40 count piece but I just suck at over one on 40 count so I'm doing mine over two on 40 count. I did give it a go this morning but after about 40 stitches I pulled it all out. It looked like crap and I'm glad I did. It was so much better looking over two. I'll be done with it by tomorrow I'm sure and then I have to start a Quaker ornament for the Quaker Lovers exchange. Then it's St. Reatham November. Mostly. :-) I'll toss a few other small things in the mix just to keep it interesting.

Monday, November 03, 2008

So close

I'm almost finished with Beyond My Heart. Maybe by tonight? That would be super. It will give me a finish for November plus give me tons of time to work on St. Reatham. I also have an ornament I need to finish up before the 15th for the HoE ornament exchange but that's just an afternoon to put it into ornament form. For the month I also want to stitch the Book of Ink Circles for November which is going to be released next Tuesday and get caught up with the Papillion Creations Mystery (I'm behind one month). Both of those are just a couple of hours. But I'm thinking the rest of the month will be all about SR!

I had a wonderful birthday on Friday! Thanks for the comments and lovely emails. I took some time out of the day to take Aoife to the vet to have a consultation. I think she has an elongated soft palate and my vet concurred. Her breathing is very labored after activity and her normal breathing is loud and she snores a lot. It turns out that the surgery and post-op care is much more complicated than I had understood and my vet referred me to a board certified surgeon. So on Thursday we have another appointment with him and if all goes well, she will have surgery later that day. She will have to stay overnight and no agility for at least two weeks. Poor baby. Please keep us in your thoughts on Thursday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Black Cat Sampler Finis

Black Cat Sampler by Brenda Gervais - With My Needle and Thread
28 count linen hand-dyed by myself
various over-dyed floss

I finished up Black Cat Sampler yesterday and even put it into pillow form! This is the only fall/Halloween piece I'm going to get done this year. :-( I got so caught up in my Quaker piece that I didn't even think to do anything else for most of October.

I have been making some progress on Beyond My Heart - I'm over half way pattern wise but I have the heavier stitching left to go. I'll most likely be done with this sometime next week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Halloween from the pugs

Yes, I do dress up my pugs for Halloween. :-) Yesterday we attended a Halloween party at the training center where we train for agility. A good time was had by all. And we won second prize for best group - I also had on a poodle skirt. The hours I spent on the costumes where well worth it I think. They looked so cute - Molly's photo even made the local newspaper today. :-)

Molly in her pink poodle skirt
Clancy in his letter jacket from PUG U.
And of course little Aoife in her blue poodle skirt.

I barely put a stitch in all weekend so I have nothing to show today. Maybe tomorrow or Wednesday I'll have a stitching update. I did start a small Halloween design because it felt right to be working on pumpkins. There is a small chance I'll be able to complete it by Friday but it's slow going since it's on black and I hate working on black. :-)

Friday is my birthday and no major plans for the day/weekend. Like the past few years, I'm taking the day off work so I can play. And a hot date with the SO at one of my favorite restaurants that evening. Nummy. :-) The pugs have another costume party to attend with our meetup group friends. That should also be fun. I love seeing pugs dressed up.