Monday, August 31, 2009

Herb Gatherer finis

The Herb Gatherer - design by Shepherd's Bush
32 count cream Irish Linen
Recommended cotton floss

I finished up the oldest item in my stash on Saturday evening. The copyright on the design is 1990 and I know I bought it that year. So it only took me 19 years to get to her. :-) I love it! I'm so happy on how it turned out. And I don't really think it took me all that long. I've been buying and trading a ton more SB stash - I'll post a photo as soon as it all comes in.

I didn't remember to put Autumn Bouquet in my agility bag but on Sunday I found that I had put the supplies for the Strawberry Emory from a couple of Loose Feathers ago in my bag. So I worked on that on Sunday. I was about 2/3rds complete when I realized I was not going to have enough CC Wild Berries to complete it. And sure enough I ran out with only six or so lines to go. I'll order more tomorrow from Drema but it will never match. Oh well, I'm not going to restitch it so I'll just have to live with it.

I did have a little time to work on my current house from HoHRH last night but I won't be done with it by the end of the evening. I have the entire house to complete and I haven't even started it yet. I have Friday off work and with Monday being a holiday I should be able to get caught up nicely.

As for the rest of the weekend, Clancy was very uneven but he ended in a huge high note. I did pull him off the course for both of his Jumpers run do to a lack of weaves. I wanted to pull him off his Standard run on Saturday when he didn't do his weaves but the little bugger ran away from me in the direction of the next jump so we ended up finishing the course. Our highlight of the weekend was his Standard course on Sunday. We almost Q'd! And we received a score for the first time in months and months. I asked him to redo his weaves until he completed them and he did. But we had three tries and that was one try too many and we were scored two refusals and you can only have one refusal at the Open level. We had quite the party at the finished line and left the weekend on a super high note. My agility instructor saw our run and said we did great. :-) That is like getting a gold medal. Our next trial is on September 12th so I'm hoping a few more puzzle pieces fall into place.

I have decided to bring out Aoife at a one day Novice only trial on October 11th. I sent in her AKC registration form in today and her official AKC name is: Aoife Meadhbh MacKenna. Meadhbh is the Gaelic spelling of Maeve. :-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting ready for another busy weekend

Here is my progress on Autumn Bouquet. I'm moving right along. I'll pop it in my agility bag this weekend and hopefully get some more in. Last night I finished all the back stitching on the Herb Gatherer and even started on the beading. I'll be finished by the end of the weekend for sure and will have some nice photos of the finis finis on Monday. :-)

As mentioned above, this weekend is the second agility trial in the current series of six. Because for the most part I totally loose the weekend I have to take care of all the usual weekend stuff during the week. So on Wednesday and Thursday evening I did all the laundry. Tonight after work I will have to go to the grocery store and buy food for me and the pugs. I feed them a raw diet and every other week I have to prepare their breakfasts for two or three weeks and I am almost out. I also have to pack for tomorrow. Believe it or not, the stuff required for an agility trial is amazing. I imagine it's like traveling with kids. :-)

First I need a mat to cover our floor space at the trial facility. We will be at an indoor soccer field and the mat is required. Mine is five feet by eight feet. Then I have a crate for the two pugs - thank goodness they like to be together - so mine is on the large size and I can keep as many as three pugs in there. Cooler - that one is obvious - for my drinks, lunch and the pugs treats and water. Fan to cool the pugs in case it's warm at the trial site. Blankets to cover the crate so pugs sleep the day away. Big chair for me. Most agility folks buy one from Picnic Time. They are very comfy and have an attached table. My agility bag - this is where everything that I can possibly need for the weekend goes. Mine is the largest canvas tote bag that Land's End sells. And it's stuffed to the gills. Just to name a few items, video camera, still camera, tripod, notebooks and clipboard, more treats, more snacks, pens and pencils, extra socks and the list goes on and on. I think you get the drift. If it's an outdoor trial the list is even bigger. Canopy tent, sun shades and more clothes in the case the weather changes. My car is filled to the gills!

I should get in some stitching at this trial, not many of my friends will be there during the weekend so I'll be hanging out with the pugs for the most part, stitching and listening to the latest Dark novel by Christine Feehan on my MP3. Cross your fingers that agility Clancy comes to the trial and not his evil twin, Weave Pole Popping Clancy. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

still not sure

I'm still not sure about the colors in this piece but it's too late now to change them! LOL! So I guess I need to get over it and press on. I've been hard pressed to stay awake on the train and I lost a battle a couple of times over the past five or so rides. But I'm in no hurry.

I saw this new chart from Cross-eyed Cricket on the Stitch Bitches blog earlier in the week. It's just calling to me. I love Halloween designs and this one is so whimsical I have to do it.
So I wander over to the Cross-Eyed Cricket website and see if I can't find some details and sure enough they kindly posted all the details. I see that it's charted for DMC/Anchor and get this - Thread Gatherer Silk N' Colors. Now I don't know about you but spending $7.00 a skein for silk floss is a bit rich for me so I figure I can convert it into cotton over-dyed so I go over to another website and look up the SNC colors. Yes, you have already guessed it, most of the nine skeins of SNC required for this piece are those very unique shades that just can't be duplicated in any existing cotton over-dyed. The beauty of SNC is not in question here, just the price. And looking at the piece it doesn't look like much of any of the skeins will be needed. Another strike against buying them. I remembered that I found a retailer on eBay that has amazing prices on many brands of floss so I emailed them and find out if they can sell me just what I need. Well they can and for only $40.00. That is a HUGE savings but still, do I want to spend $40.00 for tiny pieces of silk floss? I'm thinking no. But I'll pre-order the chart and get a good look at the color photo and make my final decision at that time. But I'm fairly certain I'll be doing mine with cotton. :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

my new start

Here is my start on Autumn Bouquet. I was able to start it on the way home yesterday after all. My friend Kelly from work read my blog yesterday and since she lives within walking distance of work, she went home at lunch and brought me back a needle. How about that for nice? :-) But now I do have a pack of needles in my computer bag and at my desk. :-) Not going to let that happen again. It will most likely be something else next time! LOL!

I'm stitching my AB on Lakeside Linens Vintage Autumn Gold, 32 count - I also decided to go with the four charted colors of GA floss but now that I've started I seem to recall some very lovely pieces that were stitched with only one color of floss. It's not too late for me to change my mind and I'm going to have to think on it really hard today because I wouldn't want to put anymore in if I'm just going to pull it all out.

I have updated my wish list on the left. If any one would like to trade something that I have for something on my wish list, please email me. I'm always happy to pass things along.

Thanks for all your nice comments yesterday about my Herb Gatherer and thanks for commiserating with me over Clancy. One of the comments was from a fellow pug owner stating how stubborn they can be and that is absolutely true. They are considered a non-biddable breed and Clancy is a perfect example of the meaning of non-biddable. :-) With many breeds their attitude is "what can I do for you now"? With pugs it's more often "what have you done for me lately"? LOL! I also had to stand back and make sure I'm not being too hard on him. And after a ton of pondering, I really don't think I am. Clancy knows his job 100% and I guessing the problem is he is not always willing to do what I want when I want it so he just goes with what is easiest for him. Fixing this attitude is all part of dog training and I just need to figure out how to get in his head better. But I sure wish sometimes he was a herding dog and not a pug. :-) I'll chat with our coach tonight and see if she has any insight. It just might be time to accept that this will always be an issue and once in a while we might succeed. And since I've chosen pugs as my breed of choice the sooner I get over it the better. It's that or switch to a different breed of dogs and I don't think I'm quite ready for that. A couple years down the road maybe but not yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

a title a finish and a new start

I finished up the stitching on the Herb Gatherer over the weekend and started on the back-stitched trees. These trees are going to take forever! I worked on them for at least six hours and swear I didn't even make a dent.

I was going to have a photo of my new start, Autumn Bouquet from Blackbird Designs to show off this morning. It's been in my stash for a couple of years now and I felt like working on something with a fall feel to it. Well I forgot to put needles into my bag. And my backup needles weren't in my computer bag. And to really make it worse, my backup, backup needles at work are not there. I must have used them at some point and forgot to put news ones in there place. So tomorrow I'll bring entire packs of needles for work and for my computer bag. So I have nothing to show. bummer - I hate losing an entire days worth of train rides.

Clancy had a VERY uneven weekend at the agility trial and quite frankly I'm ready to pull him again. On Saturday he earned a first place in Novice FAST earning his Novice Fast title. So his new AKC name is Clancy O'Shay NA NAJ NF. That was the highlight of the weekend and I'm very pleased. Although the rest of what I have to say doesn't sound like I'm happy at all.

Now for the rest of the day on Saturday - he had the most amazing jumpers run but didn't do his weaves. :-( On his standard run he did his weaves beautifully but missed a contact so no Q. We also participated in an exhibition sport that didn't count for anything but bragging rights called Time To Beat - it will be a new AKC event starting in the new year. He did his weaves like a pro and we ended up in 5th place for the 12th inch dogs. :-) Against Excellent Level dogs. That was nice. On Sunday it was more of the same. A beautiful jumpers run no weaves. I decided I had enough so if he missed his weaves during his standard run I planned to pick him up ending the fun. Well he missed his weaves so I picked him up half way through the course showing him there are consequences to not completing his weaves. At this point I don't know what else to do. I did get a look from him - he's never not been able to complete his fun before so maybe something will click for him. No weaves, no play. If he wasn't perfect in class and at home I would not try this. But it's only at trials where he decides not to finish all 12 poles. He makes a perfect entry and just stops at some point before we are finished. I've watched the video and so have my friends and I am doing nothing to pull him out. It really is all on him. We have three weekends of trials in the next four weeks planned so I'll see if this has any impact on him. If I get more of the same, I won't sign him up for any more trials and I'll concentrate on Aoife for the time being.

I have some nice video of his runs and I'll post them to YouTube at some point today.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's the weekend!

And am I ever glad! :-)

This doesn't look a single thing like HoRHR. :-) Since I am so close to being finished with the stitching on the Herb Gatherer, I decided to work on this until it is done - should be this weekend I'm hoping. Then I'll get back to House #9 at night and do the beading and remaining back stitching on HR when time allows. I'm hoping Monday I'll have a new start. I'm thinking something with a fall feel to it.

I worked from home yesterday and then I went out to have dinner with friends. This is what I saw when I got back after dinner. George had managed to remove at least half of the contents of the toy box looking for the perfect toy. By the time I left for dinner, Aoife and George had removed some but they must have had a blast while I was gone. :-) That's George in the photo - still hunting for just the right thing.
Clancy and I have an agility trial this weekend. I'm hoping it's a good one. :-) Wish us luck for a no dropped bars weekend! LOL!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

rounding the top

I had to pull out a bit on the left side this morning. I was putting in some of the tree and saw that I had made a mistake. Thank goodness I spotted it when I did because if I had not, the top would have not met in the correct place. And there wasn't much to pull so it wasn't a tragedy. I will have to stitch the tree when I do the beading at home. I found today on the train that the movement along with some of the odd spacing will make it too hard to do so I'll have to do it at home. I'm getting bored with this piece and I most likely will start something new for the train next Monday - but I'll stick with it until then. Hopefully I'll get all of the cross stitching done by then and only have the trees and beading to complete.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

lots of animals

There is quite the little zoo on Block #9. And I still have several to go! I don't have an update for the Herb Gatherer as I fell asleep on the train yesterday and this morning and hardy put a stitch in. :-) I'm going to try to work on it at lunchtime today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lazy weekend

When I say I had a lazy weekend, what I mean is my butt didn't get off the couch for two days. :-) But that gave me a ton of time to stitch and work on a few other projects. :-)
I was feeling kind of bored with The Herb Gatherer Friday night so I started on my August house for Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. And worked on it for the rest of the weekend. And got a lot done! It really went fast. The rest should go pretty quickly if I keep at it at night. There are several animals and a tree in this block in addition to the house so what is left is pretty lightly stitched. So in one weekend, I'm back on track.

I'll be working on the Herb Gatherer now only on the way back and forth to work - that is until I get to the beading portion of the project. That I'll have to do at home because it's way to hard to sew on beads on the train. But I should be done with this by the end of the month. Yeah! I received my new Loose Feathers in the mail on Friday and I'm missing most of the suggested fibers and with a couple I don't have good substitutions so this will have to wait for a while. But I went through my stash and of course have several fully kitted BBD that I can start if that is what my fancy will be when I'm done with Herb Gatherer.

Aoife says thanks for all the warm birthday wishes. She had a great day. :-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Aoife!

My little girl is two years old today! Here is Aoife in her first official photo taken a day or two after she was born. She is the tiny one second on the right. She was half the weight of the other puppies (2 ozs. at birth) and lagged behind for quite some time. When I got her she was eight weeks old and still on the small side. Compared to my other pugs, she is still small but well within average pug height.

I heard a story about her not to long ago. When Aoife was about a week or so old, she wasn't doing very well. She was having a hard time getting enough to eat because of her size - she just couldn't get where she needed to be at mealtime as her sister and brothers where double her size. At one point, the woman who was fostering the litter and Aoife's parents thought she would not make it through one more night. A call was put in to the powers that be and a decision was made not to take her to emergency but if she made it through the night, she could go in the next day. There are many hard choices to be made in rescue and the budget just couldn't handle a huge emergency vet bill for a week old puppy. Julie (who had already been bottle feeding her) took her to bed with her to keep her warm. Aoife curled in her neck and went to sleep. She is a little fighter my girl. In the morning she was stronger and made it to the vet. Nothing was wrong with her that vitamins and more food couldn't fix. Aoife's favorite place to sleep is still curled up around my neck. :-) I love all my pugs but Aoife is such a special girl.

Here is a photo of the new family taken the evening I returned home with her. And this morning, I woke her up to take the photo and she looks very unimpressed by the importance of the day. :-) For those of you who have recently asked, Aoife is a traditional Irish name. It's pronounced EE fa (or sometimes WEE fa). But I pronounce it EE fa. I'll have to check with Siobhan, her girls go to school with several Aoife's of the two legged variety. :-)

To celebrate the day, Aoife and I will go on a shopping trip and she can pick out a new toy and get a couple of special treats. :-) All my pugs love mommie and me days. :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

another corner

I turned the second corner last night. :-) This piece is just moving along. I have a mostly free weekend coming up and I'd like to get both sides totally finished and get a start on the backstitched trees in the background.

My new Loose Feathers is going to arrive tonight and I know from looking at the photos I've seen I'm going to want to start this one sooner than later. Maybe I'll be ready for a break soon.

Or maybe I'll just be done in less than a week or so with Herb Gatherer and it won't make a difference. ;-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

more jewelery

I continue to make great progress on The Herb Gatherer - my first corner complete! I've decided to stop fighting it and just work on what moves me. :-) Life is short right?

I finished up some jewelery last week. This is the first set from my bead of the month plan. I like how it turned out and I've even worn it already to work. :-)

And last night I took some time and made up this quick bracelet. It's cute and so fast and easy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

not much stitching going on

I didn't get as much in on The Herb Gatherer as my mind said I could on last Friday. :-) And I didn't pick up HoHRH at all as I thought I wanted to. I LOVE working on this piece and I can't remember the last time I had so much enthusiasm for stitching so I figured I just needed to go with it. It was hot and humid as predicted and I ended up shopping for huge stretches of time. And I put the blame squarely on my friend Peggy's shoulders.

I've been invited to attend Peggy's daughter's wedding in November which is being held in Jamaica and Peggy innocently mentioned on Friday that she wanted to get some summer stuff on clearance while there was still a good supply at the stores. I thought about it and I also wanted some nice stuff for vacation in my new size. So I ended up at the mall both Saturday and Sunday. And I did find some great sales. I found a dress for the wedding on super clearance from White House Black Market. Then I hit the Talbots outlet on Sunday and got a huge bag of clothes for $120. All in my new size of 2! I love to say that. :-)

Now I just need a sun dress or two and I'm all set for vacation. Any way, the point is, I didn't have as much time as I thought I would for stitching. I was too busy spending money. :-)

Friday, August 07, 2009

it's going to be a hot one

I've almost finished the lady in the Herb Gatherer. I'm just stitching up the lace edge on the bottom. I'll work on HoHRH for sure this weekend. :-) But I really wanted to finish her up before I started working on my next house in the evenings. I can't wait to add the bead details but since I'm working with a hoop I have to wait until I can put it on a scroll frame. I would just re-mount it now but I can't tote a scroll frame of this size comfortably on the train I have to wait and I'll plan on beading at home in the evenings later in the month.

It's almost the weekend and it's finally going to be HOT! I've been waiting all year for summer and it's finally coming. Temps in the 90's by Sunday. And as far as I'm concerned the only thing you can do when it's that hot out is stitch. :-) I do have some lawn work to take care of but I should be able to do that in the morning or late afternoons. And the pugs and I have some agility work to do but again, early mornings and dusk is best for that when you have short nosed dogs. Pugs overhead easily and both of my agility pugs love it so much they will work themselves into a lather if I don't watch it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Houses? What Houses?

I have been working on the Herb Gatherer to the point of obsession. :-) I guess that's a good thing but I really need to get going on my August house on HoHRH. I don't want to get behind again with only five to go. So tonight or maybe tomorrow I'll work on that instead of this. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? LOL!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

almost a dress

I almost have a big chunk done of The Herb Gatherer. Drema hit my debit card with a large charge which means my wood stand for my pin cushion from the Loose Feather a couple of months ago. I'm ready to finish it and hopefully this weekend I'll do so. I have a totally free weekend. The first in a month!

Monday, August 03, 2009

a super weekend :-)

I haven't had much time to work on The Herb Gatherer since Friday but despite that, I'm please with my progress. She is so cute and I love working on her. Anna I owe you an email regarding The Toy Gatherer. I'm interested. And I need to update my wish list/trade list so it's not available to see right now because it's really out of date because of the big sell off I had several months ago.

Here is Clancy and his friend Beasley. B is a Bernese Mountain Dog and he jumps 24 inches. In contract, Clancy jumps 12 inches. But they are fast buddies.

Clancy and I had a one day trial on Saturday and he was excellent! No Qs but we had a couple of breakthroughs. Not only did he do his weaves from start to finish once but twice!!! That has never happened in the almost two years we have been trialing. We are on our way. We ended up not placing because he dropped a bar each time. Talk about close. And he was fast. We would have had first or second places for sure. Our next trial is in three weeks but I wish we had one sooner since we seem to be on a role with small but important improvements each week. We also did FAST (the event he place in last weekend). The bonus was very un-Clancy friendly and I knew we didn't have a chance but of course I gave it a go any way. Well the little bugger did it. :-) But I was the problem. I was so excited that he pulled it off because I was convinced he didn't have a chance that I stepped into the bonus box resulting in a fault. So I blew it. Lesson learned, I need to trust Clancy more. :-)

Yesterday and today I'm at an agility seminar that is being held in the area. For this one I didn't have much money when sign up time happened around three months ago so I audited the classes. That means I get to watch and hear the lectures but I don't get to work my dog. But I thought I would give it a try. And it really is an inexpensive way to see/hear world class handlers. Well it doesn't work for me. I hated every second of it. I want to go out and play! At the lunch break I was sitting with my friends and said how unhappy I was. Well one of my friends paid for one of her employees working place but the friends dog had to be pulled out because she went into season and was causing to much of a disruption with the other dogs. And she was in the young dog classes. Well I just happened to have Aoife with me and they let me take her place! And I didn't have to pay any more money! Yeah for us. So Aoife and I got to participate in the young dog session in the afternoon and will be able to play all day today also. :-) Sometimes things just work out. :-) She wasn't the rock star of the class but we received some good tips and I expect more of the same today. The experience of getting her into the ring is also very valuable. This is as close to trial conditions as I can find without signing her up for a trial. And she did great. Staying with me and keeping all her attention of me. And she ran her courses pretty well. She is very close to being able to do a real trial I think. But I want her to be 100% so I'm waiting until November/ December to bring her out.

Here she is herself. I have to apply for her AKC number and since she is a rescue I have to apply for a limited number and one of the steps of the process is I have to prove she is a pug. So here is her mugshot. She looks very serious. :-)