Tuesday, January 31, 2006

End of January - Goals

The last day of January, already! It's amazing how quickly time has slipped by. The flu stole some of our precious time, so all goals were not met by any of us here.

Here's the run down of my stitching goals for January:

1. Finish Aragorn - didn't touch him
2. Bent Creek's May Snapper - finished!
3. Finish Dimension's Moonlit Play - this is going to be close - not sure if I'll make it tonight or not.
4. Start CC Kats By Kelly January - nope - no start
5. Start L&L 2002 Christmas Freebie - started and got her hair and some of her face done
6. 10 hours on L&L Celtic Spring - yes! And it was hard putting her down!!
7. French Mystery Parts 1-4 Yes! The 30 x 30 squares made it easy to keep up with this one.

I'm really hoping to have time to spend on Moonlit Play tonight - but don't know if I'll have enough time to complete it. I still have quite a bit of water to do, all the outlining and the french knot starts and other details. Here's how it stands right now:

Part 5 of the mystery sampler gets posted tomorrow. It's going to be a really big piece when it's finished, but those small squares make it so managable. Here's my first of my monthly postings: (Parts 1-4)

Monday nights are now devoted to a SAL with the TW board. It's just the motivation I needed to pull out Under The Evergreen. I put almost 2 hours in yesterday, and finally have enough of a change to be able to post a progress pic:

Now on to stitch some and decide what my goals are for next month.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Flu Came to Visit and Finally LEFT!

DD came home from camp with an upset stomachache and headache, and that should have been my first clue. Nah - I figured it was just from all the excitement and being up late and all that stuff that comes along with having a great time at camp. wrong

DD felt better after a good long rest, but DS came down with what appeared to be a stomache virus, then I got it, then DD came down with it severely. I felt so badly for her, especially when it seemed like things would calm down and then she'd be back up sick again. Sometimes it was every 15 minutes. Finally after more than 10 hours she got her first sign of peace and recovery. Everyone is still not 100%, but today has been the best day yet since all have been sick.

Not much stitching went on during the last week or so. I did manage to get a LK finish - nothing big, but something I wanted to make for DS for a while now. It's from the Dog Lover's pattern:

It is stitched on 16ct. Blue Heatherfield, and I'm not really impressed with how it turned out. I'm going to make it into a pillow something like what it pictured on the cover of the leaflet.

I'm also a bit further on "Moonlit Play". The sky is finished except for the French knot stars, and I'm now on the second dolphin's tail.

I was sitting and working on it this morning, when my light seemed to be terribly close to the fabric, so I pushed it back up, and this time it came down rather quickly, so I moved the light up again,and the arm broke off!!! DAMN!!! I NEED that light!!!

As you can see, it broke at the base where it swivels (it was one of those clamp on desk lights) so being plastic and holding a lot of weight, there's no easy way to fix it (if at all!). We'll just have to see what my ingenious husband can come up with tonight when he gets home. If he can make an outdoor boiler out of 2 oil tanks, he should be able to fix this one, wouldn't you think?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

10 Hours In and Don't Want to Quit!

I've put my 10 hours in on Celtic Spring, and it was really hard to pull off the frame!! I scanned her and hurried up and packed her away before she could insist on being worked on again. She's turning into a joy to stitch. Here she is at a total of 28 hours:

I now have the sky stitched at the top and down the right hand side of Moonlit Play and most of the moon as well. Scans won't show the dark blue on the black background, so my next scan will have to be lightened to show it. Besides that, not much else to report on the stitching front.

DD was dropped off at Camp last night. She dumped everything onto an open bed, then ran back down and jumped in the middle of the group of girls and looked like she was having a great time. DH and I just stood amazed as we both commented that we would have been wall flowers in that situation. DS is the same way as DD. They are both quite self confident and join in with no prodding. I hope she has as much fun as DS did when he went!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Not Much Stitching

Yesterday wasn't much of a day for stitching. I did get a little more done on they sky on Moonlit Play, but that's about it. Sadly - you really can't see any of the dark blue sky from the scan. It's above the dolphins and to the right of them.

And now about the house....

We went to see the house, and to say I was shocked was an understatement. Sadly the house has been basterdized for the hope of a good resale price. The kitchen, which was a grand kitchen at one time, is now apartment sized so that a 3/4 bath and laundry could be put in. Then there's a little "office" off the kitchen that isn't big enough for anything. It should have been where the bathroom was placed and the kitchen left alone. Here is this huge house with a 4 bedrooms - two that you could put an army in, and a kitchen that might fit 4 comfortably. And if you like to cook, forget it. There's no room to spread out and cook.

Upstairs is neat with a grand hall and open staircase, but they are redoing the bathroom over and putting a clawfoot tub in - but where the tub has been drawn out, I'm not sure if the door will close once it's in. The door has been removed, so we couldn't try it. Only one room has a closet (typical of old houses so that didn't bother us too much). I just don't know why the contractors did what they did. It really is a shame, because we'd really want to put it back to close the original way it was.

So now we think about it and see if it's really worth getting. sigh.... Another great old house ruined by chopping up rooms with no real planning. We've sure seen a lot of them in our house hunting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stitching, Stitching, Stitching!

I took DD out Saturday to pick up some things that she needed for winter camp. When I go with DD, it's guaranteed to be a long day out because she LOVES to shop. That girl can spend hours trying on clothes and shoes. Why? I haven't a clue, but she loves to try on new things. Of course, bringing the things home are even better, but she doesn't have a problem with a limit. The other thing she loves to do is clip coupons and go through the flyer every week and match coupons to sales. This year, we will be keeping a running total of how much she acutally saves with coupons and rebates. We only allow it on the things we normally buy and use, which makes it more difficult, as we don't use a lot of prepared foods.

Well, after a nice long day, I came home exhaused, but with a happy kid. Sunday, I woke up with a real PIA ailment that ended up keeping me off my feet and the computer chair until yesterday. So, while I was down for the count, I got a lot of stitching done, and even some reading that I've wanted to do! I put in about 8 hours in Celtic Spring and I'm really pleased with the results. I have one dolphin done on Moonlit Play and am now working on the background, plus I have another square done on the French Mystery Sampler.

I would have had a better progress report, but ended up frogging the sky I had done on Moonlit Play. I used the wrong color because I read the number wrong. Dimensions uses 5 digit numbers, and there are two blues that are so close - just one digit off - so I stitched with the wrong color. Then for Celtic Spring, I tried 2 strands of the gold braid for the dress, and didn't like it, so I ripped that out as well, and went to one. That stuff is not the nicest stuff to rip, but it is really nice since it doesn't fray the way the Kreiniks do. My LNS says that she has conversions for Rainbow Gallery to Kreiniks, and has suggested that I switch. I'm really considering trying the conversions.

Tonight we go and look at another house. This one is special though, as it's one I've wanted ever since I was a kid. It is a farm right now, but the owner is subdividing it (sadly) and selling 5 acres with the house, and then the rest of the farm will be in 10 & 20 acres lots. This farm attatches to our family farm, but the way the house sits, there will be quite a few properties between this house and the family farm. It would be nice to get back to that area again, and the house used to be really something when I was a kid. So, we'll see if it still is a grand. If we do decide to buy it, it will push us to the frugal lifestyle again. Which means no more silly XS purchases. Actually, no more silly purchases, period. Ah well, I grew up and lived the frugal lifestyle almost all my life, so it certainly isn't going to hurt going back there.

Besides, I certainly won't be hurting in the XS department!! As you know, I jumped on the Stash Only Stitcher's Wagon for the year, and have cataloged my WIPS, UFO's and things that are ready to be stitched because they are either kits or have been kitted up. I'll bet I have at least 10 years of stuff to stitch (excluding the purchase of floss I may run out of). I went through things and found that I had 143 things ready to go!!! Can you believe it?! 143!!! And if I keep looking, I might even find more tucked away somewhere.

That, of course, doesn't count the patterns and magazines I have in stash and the miscellaneous cuts of fabric that I can use for them. Yup, I think 10 years worth easily. Now, that isn't to say that I would be stitching things that I LOVE at all times - but I would still have things to stitch. And if I spend lots of time online talking to other stitchers, that should really stretch my stitching because I'll be cutting down on my stitching time. :-)

Am I one of the few that are over the top with collecting stash or is there hope for me yet?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Torn Between 2 Loves

My new Knit Picks catalog came yesterday, and I have spent a considerable amount of time looking through it and planning new purchases. Will I really buy now? No - but I'm planning on purchasing things some day - and maybe sooner that I'll admit. Do I need more yarn? Ummmmm - well... no, but... I do have to make DS some socks. He sleeps with a pair on and he needs new bedsocks, since he's really worn them out. I can't fix them any more. The more I fix, the more they find new places to wear through. It's time to move on to a new pair. He likes the Plymouth Encore for the bedsocks because they are so easy to take care of - washer and dryer and they come out so nice and soft. Not sure how they would hold up for regular sock wear though - don't thing they'd do too well.

Update on how the Knit Picks Palette is holding up on DD's socks... I'm very, very pleased! They are showing no real signs of wear - no pilling or felting except for a slight hint of felting on the heel. They have been washed and worn quite a bit since DD got them for Halloween. They are currently her favorite pair of socks. She says they are nice and soft as well as pretty. :-) I can't believe that it cost about $3 (I may be a bit generous there!) to make that pair of socks for her!!!

So now I'm getting the itch to start a knitting again, but at the same time, I don't want to put aside my XS. I'm having too much fun working on things.

I got a shipment from Needlecraft Corner today. I needed to purchase some fabric, threads and beads to finish kitting up some of my stash. I'm looking forward to finally being able to just sit down and start Mirabilia's Blossom Harvest whenever I want. It took me a while to get her all kitted as there were a LOT of beads to buy. I picked up a pack here and there to make it feel like I wasn't spending a fortune on the beads. I'm finally getting the larger pieces kitted. I could never justify the expense before, because it was "cheaper" to buy a whole bunch of patterns for my stash instead of putting $60 or so in one piece. Didn't matter that the pattern had been in my stash waiting to be stitched. It mattered that I could buy a whole lot of things on sale for the price of kitting up the one pattern. Then the pattern diet came, and I finally could stand back and see what I was doing. Thanks to the gals on The Wagon I finally saw how nuts I have been.

This year is a Stash Only year for me. Only things I really need are going to be purchased, nothing else. I sat down and entered things in on my PDA and was shocked - actually astonished would be a better description - at what I had. Things I forgot about, things I put aside to do and didn't because once it's out of sight, it was out of mind. I sat and put things aside - thinking, "ooooooh! I was going to stitch that" or "Man! I really loved this one, so why didn't I do it?" The Stash Only stitching should help me out this year. It will help - It will help - It will help!!!

Update on WIP:

DS bought me a lovely little kit from Dimensions Creative Accents line called Moonlit Play, and when I saw it was a kit, even though I liked it, I really am not a kit person. I HATE sorting flosses - I mean, the names of the flosses don't help me out when it comes to having 12 different yellows, tans and whites to seperate - especially when they are one shade apart! YUCK!!! However, this kit was a real surprise. Dimensions actually had a picture of each floss on the floss card and that made it so much easier. I only had problems with one color where the floss was so hard to tell apart. I did it in daylight and had to put it against a bunch of different color backgrounds to finally find which floss was which. WOW! That wasn't fun, but that has been my only real gripe. The piece is stitched on 14ct. black aida, and I've found that when I put my tap light under the fabric, the holes are so big that there's just too much light, so I've put a white cloth on my lap instead. It works a lot better for me.

And the newest member......

I also saw that my friend Carleen had put up her Lanarte "Romantic Picnic" up for adoption. I have always wanted to do this piece, but decided that I would wait until I had knocked some of my WIPs out before buying the pattern. Well, I ignored her posting for a long time, and finally I couldn't ignore it any longer. I promised to give it a loving home and add it to my rotation. Yes, I'm now the proud new owner of Carleen's "Romantic Picnic". I have it on my list to add a coniserable amount to, but I'm hoping to get it finished this year. I'm really drawn to the pieces that don't have much backstitching to them. I just love watching something come to life with just the color changes, instead of the backstitching defining things. So, I'm really drawn to this piece, because there's hardly any BS'ing in the whole things. Just how I like it!! :-) With all that said, I'm now going to introduce you to the newest member of our family..... Romantic Picnic. Isn't it gorgeous?!! Thank so much, Carleen!!!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A New Year - time for new starts, finishes, and looking ahead....

I just doesn't seem possible that we have started a new year. The last year went by so fast - even the kids commented about how quickly time has flown.

The holiday was so full this year - going from family to family - finally finishing up on the 2nd. It was definately time to take a breath and sit down and relax. I love seeing family and friends, but putting it all in a week or two doesn't do it for me. I go on overload, and it seems like by the time New Year's gets here, everyone seems short and grumpy (so I know it's not just me! LOL)

During the last few nights of December, I put a lot of effort in trying to get L&L's Angel Sampler finished, and on the 29th of December I put my last stitches in. And here is my last finish for the year:

I made a list of plans for this year - things to accomplish, work on and start, and here's what I came up with for my stitching list:

To Finish:

Diane Arthurs - Happy Everything
Wizzers - Birdhouse
Pam Kellogg - Cinnamon Bear
Sweetheart Tree - Spring Has Sprung
Pat Rogers - Heart Sampler
Pam Kellogg - Winterlude
Stefani Martin - Covered Bridge Spring
Heart's Delight - Noah's Ark
Crossed Wing Collection - Hummingbird Garden
Teresa Wentzler - Stretch
House Mouse - Apple Seeds
Dimensions - Moonlit Play
French Mystery -52ème rue (52 parts - one a week) Started 1-4-06

Things To Add A Considerable Amount To:

Paula Vaughn - May
Teresa Wentzler - UTE
Mariquoir Mystery Sampler
Curtis Boehringer - Needlewoman Murder Mystery
Kustom Krafts - Fire & Ice
Kustom Krafts - 4 Horses of Appocolypse
Just Nan - Last Stitches
Just Nan - First Stitches
CS&CC - Woodland Stocking
Dimensions - A Bird for All Season
Lanarte - Romantic Picnic

New Starts:

Bent Creek Snappers (all 12) with border (started 1-3-06)
House Mouse - Mother's Work
L&L 2002 freebie
Rex ltd - Johnny Depp
Kats By Kelly - Monthly Kats

My list is probably much more ambitious than I am, but it's still a goal :-) I still have some socks and knitting to accomplish during the year. I have a big order from all members for new socks (and I had to pull teeth to get them to try the first pair of wool socks I made!) so that will definately cut into my stitching time.

I finished the first square to the 52ème rue French Mystery Sampler. I'm stitching it on 14ct. Lilac colored Fiddler's cloth type aida using DMC 550. Total stitch count is 250 x 250 but getting a 30 x 30 square to stitch every week certainly makes it much more attainable. I had it finished in one evening - so my Wednesdays will be put aside for stitching on the Mystery.

The mystery is supposed to center around the weather and the seasons, so I'm really looking forward to it. I love anything seasonal! I'm now anxiously awaiting the next piece.....