Friday, July 31, 2009

loving it

I can't believe how much I'm enjoying working on The Herb Gatherer. I've loved Shepherd's Bush for decades but for whatever reason, I never purchase any. Maybe because I've got about 6 or so charts in my stash. I always love everyone else's finishes and I have mentally said 100 times I need to do that chart/kit/whatever. And somehow I never do. I'm glad I picked this one up. I'm going to update my wish list/trade list and maybe someone will want to trade me for some. :-)

Clancy and I have an agility trial this weekend but Saturday only. It's an outdoor trial I went to last year where I had a good weekend (but no weaves of course). I'm hoping to get our last FAST leg for the Novice FAST title (NF). Then on Sunday and Monday I'm attending a two day agility seminar with totally different instructions from our last seminar. I will bring Aoife and Clancy. Tuesday is a straight vacation day. But I have so much to get caught up outside in the backyard, I'm sure I'll wish by the end of the day I went to work! :-)

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

more than a blob :-)

The Herb Gatherer is looking more like something now instead of just a dark blue blob or as Sharon said yesterday a pinto bean! :-) I just love this piece and I can't believe it was designed almost 20 years ago. Now I know I'm going to want to pick up the others also. Maybe I'll be able to find the charts used on eBay - I can certainly supply my own floss, beads and linen. I'll have to set up a search.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My new start

It doesn't look like much yet but I have a feeling this piece is going to go fast. I'm not sure yet if I'll finish The Herb Gatherer all in one go. The new Loose Feathers is going to show up at my house next week or so and I really liked the sneak preview that Alma provided a couple of weeks ago. I'll play this one by ear.

Here are the videos of me and Clancy from the weekend. The first one is Saturday - our Jumpers With Weaves and our Standard runs. Both were non-qualifying finishes but I see our improvement from last fall. But of course still no weaves.

Clancy - Saturday

And here is Sunday, Jumpers with Weaves, FAST (a 2nd place finish) and Standard.

Clancy - Sunday

Thanks so much for all your nice comments! From both Clancy and me. :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Berry Time finis

It's Berry Time - design by Blackbird Designs
36 count Purely Primitive from Silkweavers
Old Red Barn floss from Gentle Arts

I finished up that last Quaker star on the way home yesterday and even managed to start and finish the pincushion from the last loose feathers. It was charted for only one initial but there was not enough room for the letter M inside the open area of the design so I did both my itintials over one. As much as I love, love, love BBD, it bugs me to no end that more often than not, not enough room is allowed for the larger initials on designs. I wish they would just take a little more time either to allow the room for every initial or design initials that actually fit in the spaces allowed.

Now I just need the wooden stand and I'll be ready to finish this one totally. I have one on order from Drema but I thought they were going to be ready in June. I'll have to give her a call and find out.

As for my new start I put into my bag my oldest piece of stash. Unfortunately I could not start on it this morning. When I went into my stitching bag this morning, I didn't notice that when I put the hoop in my bag the thumb screw had come off so I had no hoop. Now because of past experiences of not having things I need once I get on the train, I have in my laptop bag extra glasses and extra needles and even most of the time a spare stitching kit. But I don't have a spare thumb screw. :-) And I just can't stitch in hand. I tried for a little while this morning but it's just not the way I like to stitch and my hand cramps up within 10 or so minutes of trying.

And just what did I put into my bag you ask? The Herb Gatherer from Shepherd's Bush. It's almost twenty years old! I'll start it tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a great weekend :-)

I only have one Quaker Star to stitch in and I'm finished with It's Berry Time. And not a second too soon as I'm sick and tired of working on it! :-) I need to work on something with some color changes. I have no idea what that is yet, but I need to get thinking since I'm going to start on it in the morning! Maybe I need to go through some stuff that I've had around for a while. I love to take from the stash pile.

Clancy had a great agility trial this weekend. We earned two second place finishes in FAST! Yeah boy-dog! And he was great in Standard and Jumpers with Weaves but just like last weekend, he is nailing his weave pole entry but popping out before he completes the set of 12 poles. I was ready to ring his little neck by our last run on Sunday. :-) And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Once again I had friends watch us and video tape us and I am not doing anything to make him pop out. So it's all on him. So now I have to work on that. That is the frustration of agility. When you fix one thing - in this case our weave entries had been giving me fits for a year so we worked and worked them until we got it right, then something else crops up - now it's popping out of the weaves before he completes them. I'm thinking it's been an issue all along but since he never made a good entry I never noticed that he was having issues understanding that the obstacle requires him to complete each and every pole in front of him. And we need to work our contacts more also. He missed two this weekend - neither mistake cost us a ribbon but if he had done his weaves it might have. As last week, I'll post videos on Wednesday. But in the meantime, here is the little champ himself after our run on Saturday. Do you just love the smile on his face? He knows when the bling belongs to him. :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

another agility weekend

I sure would like to finish this off over the weekend - I'll pop it It's Berry Time into my agility bag and bring it along to the trial. I stitched a bit last weekend and maybe I'll have to time get some done again this weekend.

As today's blog title states, Clancy, Aoife (just watching still) and I will spend most of our weekend at an agility trial an hour southwest of where I live. It's a nicely run trial and a ton of my friends will be there. It's so much fun to hang with the peeps! Will this be the weekend we get another open Q? I hope so!

Have a great weekend. :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

HoHRH Block #10 finis

I finished up block #10 last night. Just what is the little critter? I thought it maybe was a monkey but what would a monkey be doing in Hawk Run Hollow? Maybe a squirrel with a ratty tail? :-) I'm going to start on August's block #9 (the block to the left) as time permits. It's great to be caught up.

Here is the entire piece as it currently stands.

And now for something completely different - a bracelet! I used to do a lot of beading a couple of years back and have a pretty nice collection of jewelry that I never wear. I joined a beading of the month club and this is part of the first month I received. I'm still working on the necklace that matches and hopefully I'll be done with that by next week. And maybe I'll even put them on. ;-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

more video! :-)

Would I love to have this piece done by the weekend. But I don't think I can manage. Napping on the train is calling me. :-)

Here is a link to two more videos as well as a complete video of the run I posted on Monday.

Clancy's agility runs

I am most proud of the first one but after looking at it a couple of times, I realize that Clancy should have made his tunnel entry because he was right in front of it and we should have had a qualifying run. Bummer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I finished up the house last night. I should be done with this block by the weekend even though I won't have time to stitch tonight. Yeah! I got caught up. :-)

I always like it when I get to the margins of a piece. Here is It's Berry Time and I'm on the outer edge. This basket is the largest of the three. I wish I had noticed when I started - when I mentally section off a project, I always like to complete the largest part first then the rest of the piece seems likes it's flying.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words on my weight loss after watching the video! :-) I have to tell you I have videos going back to the start of my agility career but not only will I most likely never show them, I even changed YouTube accounts so my current videos are all of the "new" me so no one can see the early ones. :-) I never knew I was so vain! LOL! A month or so ago, I looked at one of me and Clancy from a year ago and I swear I didn't know who that person was with my dog. It was like looking at a stranger. I ended up loosing around 65-70 pounds when it was all said and done. I'll never know for sure since I didn't weight myself when I first started. Again, thanks so much! You all made my day. :-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

A great weekend

Clancy and I had a great agility weekend! No ribbons but he showed so much improvement from his trials of last year I have great hopes for the future. More details and the first of what I hope are many videos below. But first stitching updates. :-)

I'm half way along with It's Berry Time and I'd love to have this piece finished this week. Not sure what I'll start on next - but I do have a ton to pick from. Something with some color I think.
House #10 of HoHRH is moving right along. I should finish up the house tonight and move on the cow and monkey and then it's done. This house has been one of the most boring to stitch so far and I'll be glad when it's over. I'm not sure which block to start on next but that big empty hole to the left of this one is going to drive me crazy so I bet I put in #9 before going back up to #7. :-)

Here is Aoife and Clancy at the trial. Aoife comes to everything that has to do with agility so she can get used to the noise and being in her crate/pen all day. She does very well and this weekend I even took her out and played on the practice jumps.

As for the man himself, Clancy did really good. On Saturday we had three runs, Standard, Weaves and something called FAST which is a game that AKC started a couple of years ago. Our first run was FAST and I got overly ambitious with my plan. In FAST the handler sets the course rather than the judge so you can do the obstacles in any order. However to qualify you must complete a challenge set by the judge. The challenge on this course was one I knew Clancy would have trouble with so I figured I would just use the run as practice for the rest of the day. He was great but we ran out of time (there is a 35 second time limit).

His second run of the day was Jumpers with Weaves. Jumpers are courses with only jumps, weave poles and the occasional tunnel. This was Clancy's best run of the weekend and the only reason we didn't qualify was I pulled him off a tunnel too early. I hate it when I'm the reason we don't Q. I should know better at this point what he likes and what he doesn't like while we are on a course.

The video below is unfortunately of our worst run of the weekend (third on Saturday) but it will give people who read this blog a sense of what I'm talking about when I mention agility. This was Saturday's standard run. Standard is the course with all the equipment. When I took Clancy out on the course, he was very distracted. I don't know what spooked him but I never really had him with me during the run. In fact you can see me at the start line making him look at me. Usually he never takes his eyes from me. I knew things were not going to go well. The video is also short. My camera can only take 60 seconds of video and we ran longer than that. :-) He is slow and distracted during the entire run taking really wide turns and generally not paying any attention at all to me. A friend who was there much of the weekend took a video of our great jumpers run so I'll post that Wednesday or so when she gives me a copy. He never did complete his weave poles but he made his entry which was one of the many things we took time off to work on. So I do see much hope for us. :-) We have an indoor trial this coming weekend so maybe a few more things will line up for us.

On Sunday we had two runs, Jumpers and Standard. In a switch Jumpers was his worst run that day with him dropping a couple of bars (very unusual for him which results in an automatic NQ) but he did his weaves! His Standard run was great but he got a little distracted by an oddly placed cone on the course about half way through and I never did get his full attention back. He also made his weave pole entry here but popped out after several. He might have been tired from the weekend and the weave poles where spaced at the maximum 24 inches apart and he is used to 20/21 inch poles.

But I feel like this is the start of good things. :-) Yeah Clancy-boy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

almost the weekend!

I got a lot done last night. It was a total stitching night. Well is was after I put the pugs through their agility paces in the backyard. We train every night for at least 5 to 10 minutes per pug. Even Molly gets to take a turn. My teacher and I were chatting a few weeks ago on how good we both thought she could be so I'm trying to retrain her using some new skills I have picked up over the past year or so. She loves it and I would love to get a couple of titles on her. :-)

Wish Clancy and I luck for the agility trial this weekend! And you have a great weekend!

Jolene is having a really nice giveaway on her blog: Check it out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

not much to show

Any progress on It's Berry Time is progress but it's sure going slow right now. Right now I get so tired when I'm stitching on the train because I'd rather nap and at night I'm ready to go to bed around 8:00pm/8:30pm so I'm not getting as much done then as I'd like on my HoHRH. But I know this will pass at some point and I'll start to have more time. I forgot to take a picture of my house but it's not changed much from my last update. The house has a roof and that's about it. I fell asleep last night during Top Chef and did nothing on Tuesday because of agility classes with the pugs.

This weekend not much stitching will happen because Clancy and I are returning to AKC agility trials. It will be our first since I pulled him last December because of our poor performances over the previous six months. We've worked on our fundamentals and especially our weaves so I'm hoping to start having better results. It's an outdoor trial and one we did last year. I really liked it, it was small and the day went very quickly. Hopefully it will be the same as last year without the huge thunderstorm Saturday morning. Our first run that morning was in a downpour in the muddy field. Clancy didn't mind but I sure did. :-)

My agility coach has classes every Friday evening outside in the summer and she told us to come tomorrow night for a practice run before the trial. I think that is very nice of her and I hope we do well because it will help my confidence for the weekend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a third complete

I'm almost a third complete with It's Berry Time. I love a quick piece. :-)

I did finish up the roof of my new house but I forgot to take a photo. Tomorrow for sure.

Monday, July 13, 2009

House #6 finis - half way!

I finished up House #6 from Houses of Hawk Run Hollow on Saturday. So far it's my favorite. I love the overstitching on the house. And filling in the background was a piece of cake. :-) I'm using the recommended NPI, one over two on the recommended Lakeside Linens.
Here it is in all it's half way finished glory!

Last night I made a start on my next block. Because I've gotten a late start on this month's block, I looked for the lightest stitched blocked that butted up against a finished one. It looked like #10 was the lightest because 25% of it was just lettering. And since I managed to get in all the letters, I'm already 25% finished. Talk about getting caught up. :-) I'll actually start on the house tonight.

Here is my progress on It's Berry Time. I worked from home on Friday so I haven't touched this since Thursday morning. But it's coming along and I'm still very happy with it.

Here is a picture of the girls, Molly on the left and Aoife on the right. They look so sweet in the photo and you would never know by looking at it that they both can be terrors and totally rule the house and keep the boys in their places. :-) As well they should. :-)

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I really like It's Berry Time. I'm using one strand over two so it's looking very delicate. I love it when it all comes together. :-)

I've had a couple of comments saying that I need to change to name of my blog to Four Cool Pugs now that George Murphy is staying. I had not thought of that. It was time for a new look in any case but I'm not sure if I'll change the name or not. :-) GM officially belongs to Mom and Dad so he really isn't mine. Of course when I'm around the house, he is with me and the other cool pugs but he doesn't sleep with me. Thank goodness! Four would be way too much. :-)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A new start

Since I could not proceed on my Petit Etui (not enough CC floss) I started on the new Loose Feathers, It's Berry Time. Such a cute design! I'm doing mine on 36 count Silkweavers Purely Primitive using Gentle Art Old Red Paint. I didn't have enough of the called for CC Wild Berries but I thought the Old Red Paint would look nice. And I think it does. :-)

I'm continuing to stitch in the background on House #6. My goal is to have it complete by the Monday. I love how the colors pop on the black background.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

wonderful vacation

Today is the last day of my vacation. I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK WORK! :-) I really need to win the lottery or find a rich man who is ok spending all his money on me. :-) I really and truly can do without work. Clancy, Aoife and I had a blast at Agility Summer Camp. Clancy is really maturing into an amazing agility dog and the sessions with the three instructors have done much to increase my confidence in him. As for Aoife, she didn't actually participate in any of the sessions, rather the two of us took the chance during the breaks for relationship building. By the end of the three days, she didn't want to be anywhere on the courses except next to me. That was an important concept for her to learn.

I did bring along the new Loose Feathers to Eau Claire but didn't even take it out of my bag - there was just no time. As for the past few days, I've taken what stitching time I had and worked on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow and I'm on the home stretch of House #6. I think this is my favorite house so far and that makes it so much nicer to work on the boring background. But I'm sure it will go quick. I took some time last night to pull the silk for the next house and I've decided to work on House #10. It looks like the lightest stitched block that is touching one of the blocks that I've completed. I'm already so far behind for the July house, I'd like to try to get caught up the rest of the month with the easier block. A nice goal I think. Here is where I left off on Petit Etui. Yes, I pulled everything I stitched in. When I looked at the silk colors in comparison with the Crescent Colours I much preferred the Crescent Colours to the Vikki Clayton conversion. So I'm starting over. I don't have the money right now for the floss I don't have so I'm putting this aside until I can purchase them. I'm very happy with my decision. Thanks to everyone who made a comment when I was deciding what to do. Everyone is totally correct - I need to love what I'm working on especially when it's an important piece to me.
I took a few photos of the gang over the weekend. We have decided to keep Murry and we are calling him George Murphy. :-) We could not stand to let him go and are very happy. I think he is too.

Here is George and Aoife. When I cook, I have to put a bed in the kitchen because they get so underfoot. :-) I was making cupcakes for a party and the folks and they were everywhere until I put the bed out.

It was Clancy's birthday on Saturday so he got the birthday bandana instead of a red, white and blue one. My little boy is now four! Time sure does fly.