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January Stitching Goals

  • Posted on December 31, 2005 at 11:59 pm

I only have two hard deadlines to meet this month, so the first two items are the most important:

  • Complete and send back model
  • Finish and send SBEBB Garden Exchange piece
  • Complete stitching on SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange piece
  • Work on Victoria Sampler – Heirloom Memories Sampler
  • Work on Dimensions – Bonsai and Buddha
  • Start Twisted Oaks Designs – Hearts & Flowers Hardanger Collection

December Stitching Goals in Review

  • Posted on December 31, 2005 at 11:59 pm

This month was a hectic one, so let’s see how I did with my lofty goals:

  • Complete and send back model – NOT done
  • Complete this month’s JCS SAL ornament – NOT done
  • Complete Chatelaine Tiny Rose Mandala Garden – NOT done
  • 🙂 Complete 2nd Baby’s First Christmas ornament – DONE!
  • 🙂 Complete SBEBB Garden Exchange piece – DONE!
  • Finish, photograph and submit all 3 Silkweaver’s Stitcher’s Showcase entries – NOT done
  • 🙂 Finish (ornamentify) both Baby’s First Christmas ornaments – DONE!
  • 🙂 Finish (ornamentify) all remaining Christmas ornaments – DONE!
  • 🙂 Finish Christmas Hearts as a bellpull – DONE!
  • 🙂 Kit and start (?) Valentine’s Exchange piece – DONE!

So, I didn’t do as well as I have in previous months, but I had to insert a dose of reality into the mix somewhere in order to retain my sanity over the holidays. The first things to go were the artificially imposed deadlines, including this month’s JCS SAL ornament (I’m not eligible for the big prize anyway because I didn’t finish an earlier month’s ornament in time) and the Silkweaver contest entries. Next year will always yield another chance to enter.

More Secret Progress and Happy New Year!

  • Posted on December 31, 2005 at 9:13 pm

Gosh, it’s exciting to be getting all of this work done, but it’s really boring to not be able to share with you! I completed stitching on the section of the model that I was hoping to do this morning and cut out the final section. I also finished the second Valentine’s Exchange gift. It was a successful experiment in several ways for me, as I tried to expand my finishing techniques by going with my gut instead of following instructions. I’m quite pleased with the results and hope that the recipient will be, too! Now, all I need are the appropriate goodies to put in and it’s ready to go out, more than a month ahead of schedule.

I need to brush up on how to do another finishing technique in order to finish my Garden Exchange gift, so that I can get it ready to go out, as well. My informal SAL for January (Hearts & Flowers Collection from Twisted Oaks Designs) is kitted up, on the scroll frame and ready to go.

I’m not up to date with blogs right now, but it’s going to have to wait because I have another headache. I’m going to stop stitching for the night, stop playing on the computer and concentrate on my husband and getting rid of my headache. 🙂

To all of my lovely, wonderful friends out there, have a very happy new year! I wish you a healthy, productive and incredible 2006! 😀 Hugs to all!

Making Good Stitching Progress!

  • Posted on December 30, 2005 at 11:10 pm

I’m really pleased with how much stitching I’ve been able to accomplish in the past two days, even if it doesn’t feel as if I have spent that much time stitching. Yesterday, I completed the stitching on my gift for the SBEBB Garden Exchange. I just have to personalize it and finish it. I know exactly how I want to finish it, so it’s just a matter of taking the time to do so. I also completed the stitching on the first of my gifts for the SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange. It just has to be sewn together, so if I can find the time, I might even be able to do it before the year ends tomorrow. 😉 I then started on the second gift for the SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange and made good progress.

This morning, I woke up late, came downstairs and focused on my current model stitching project for several hours. I made good progress on the piece and need just to put two more hours into it tomorrow morning to finish a major section and be able to send an update scan to the designer. At this rate, I feel confident that I can finish before the mid-January deadline, as I think the remaining section will take about 5 hours to complete. I am very happy about this, as my inability to focus on hardanger due to my headaches over the past few weeks kept me from being able to work on this project, so I was a bit stressed about completing it on time.

After working for a couple of hours on the model, we ate, got ready to go out and went to Babies ‘R Us for some serious one-stop shopping. We are getting together with friends on New Year’s Day and exchanging gifts. One couple has had their first child since the last time we saw them, so we had to purchase the equivalent of baby shower (they didn’t have one) gifts for them. We also bought Hanukkah gifts for the baby girl. (They will finally get the Cute As a Button pillow that I finished after the girl’s birth in October.) We still had a birthday gift for the daughter of another couple because we were unable to make it to her party in June. So, she will get it for Hanukkah. 🙂 Finally, the third couple is due to have their first child in February (this is the couple for whom I’m stitching the afghan) and are having a baby shower on January 14th, so we had to buy a shower gift, plus a Christmas gift for the unborn child. I’m so glad that Babies ‘R Us has a complimentary gift wrap table! You have to wrap them yourselves, but at least I don’t have to wrestle with having enough paper at home to cover these huge gifts!

After wrestling most of the gifts into their respective wrappings (we didn’t wrap the two baby gates, for obvious reasons; I’m not that patient or that anal, folks!), we loaded up the truck and headed down the road to Chi-Chi’s for dinner. Ever since I decided to go out, I was thinking of going there for Mexican and I really had my heart set on it. How disappointed was I to get there and find no cars in their parking lot and the building mostly dark? I didn’t bother to hop out to read whatever papers were on the door, but if they are closed on a non-holiday, then I’m assuming they’ve gone out of business. 🙁 So, after a little bit of discussion and some turning around, we decided to go to Don Pablo’s for dinner. I still smell like Mexican! I left so full and even had some leftovers to bring back. It wasn’t Chi-Chi’s, but it was still pretty good! And the fried ice cream hit the spot. 😀

Once we came home, I played with my new printer for a little while (my Epson photo printer died a few months ago and I finally ordered a new Canon Pixma photo printer this week; it arrived this morning – YAY!). So, now I can print photos again and finally get back to scrapbooking! The gals that I scrapbook with will be so pleased.

After that, it was too late for me to work on the model again because I didn’t want to risk making any mistakes, so instead I finished stitching my second SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange gift and started to work on the finishing. And then I was distracted by writing this blog entry. So, I’ll get back to what I was doing and do the finish work on either the first or second of the Valentine’s Exchange gifts. If I’m lucky, I can talk Terry into going to bed soon so I can get some rest and be refreshed for more model stitching in the morning.

2005 Stitching Accomplishments

  • Posted on December 29, 2005 at 2:52 pm

I guess I’m not good with peer pressure. Everyone is doing it, so now I will too. 😉 Here is my list(s) of stitching completions and finishes (finish-finish) for the year:

    Stitching Completions:

  1. Pansy Ornament
  2. Christmas Rose Ornament
  3. Maltese Cross Ornament
  4. Peace Ornament
  5. Teenie Graduation Announcement
  6. In a Stable Ornament
  7. Friends Count Bookmark
  8. Wildflower Hearts
  9. Never Too Big Ornament
  10. Christmas Jewels Ornament
  11. Nordic Needle Hardanger Freebie
  12. Cindy Valentine Box Top
  13. My Band Sampler
  14. Fairy Violets
  15. Noel Birdhouse Ornament
  16. Pincushion Heart
  17. Santa’s Trimmings Ornament
  18. Hardanger Scissors Fob #1
  19. Penguin Hugs Ornament
  20. Hardanger Scissors Fob #2
  21. Close At Heart
  22. Cardinal Snowflake Ornament
  23. Teeny Tiny Friendship Bag #1
  24. Teeny Tiny Friendship Bag #2
  25. Alicia’s Banner
  26. Bunny Quilt Square
  27. Rocking Horse Quilt Square
  28. Sapphire Star Ornament
  29. Merry Christmas Bellpull
  30. Cute as a Button
  31. Russian Inspired Ornament
  32. Christmas Poinsettias Ornament
  33. Love Heart Ornament
  34. Love… Was Born at Christmas Ornament
  35. Christmas Hearts Bellpull
  36. Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament #1
  37. Christmas Heart Ornament
  38. Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament #2
  39. SBEBB Garden Exchange Gift
  40. SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange Gift #1
  41. SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange Gift #2
    SOLAK Squares:

  1. Here Be Dragons
  2. Celtic Knot #1
  3. Celtic Knot #2
  4. Christmyth Dragon
  5. Dragon Love
  6. Small But Mighty
    Model Stitching (Published):

  1. Midnight Arabesque (Cindy Valentine Designs)
  2. The Trilogy – Bundle of Joy (for The Silver Needle)
  3. Lizzie*Kate – April Stamp Flip-It (for The Silver Needle)
  4. Jamie Lynn Ornament (Twisted Oaks Designs)
  5. Loretta Renee Ornament (Twisted Oaks Designs)
  6. Nita Marie Ornament (Twisted Oaks Designs)

  1. Maltese Cross Ornament
  2. Peace Ornament
  3. Teenie Graduation Announcement (framed)
  4. Friends Count Bookmark
  5. Nordic Needle Hardanger Freebie (finished as a coaster)
  6. My Band Sampler (finished as my contribution to the Friendship Tapestry)
  7. Close At Heart (finished as a needleroll)
  8. Pincushion Heart (finished as a pincushion… heart)
  9. Teeny Tiny Friendship Bag #1 (finished as a tiny drawstring bag)
  10. Teeny Tiny Friendship Bag #2 (finished as a tiny drawstring bag)
  11. Alicia’s Banner (finished as a bellpull)
  12. Hardanger Scissors Fobs #1 and #2 (finished as a tuffet)
  13. Cute as a Button (finished as a flanged pillow)
  14. Russian Inspired Ornament
  15. Heirloom Heart (finished as a heart-shaped ornament)
  16. Christmas Hearts Bellpull
  17. Never Too Big Ornament
  18. Noel Birdhouse Ornament
  19. Christmas Poinsettias Ornament
  20. Christmas Jewels Ornament
  21. Penguin Hugs Ornament
  22. Sapphire Star Ornament
  23. Christmas Hearts Ornament
  24. Christmas Rose Ornament
  25. In a Stable Ornament
  26. Love… Was Born at Christmas Ornament
  27. Pansy Ornament
  28. Cardinal Snowflake Ornament
  29. Love Heart Ornament
  30. Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament #1
  31. Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament #2
  32. Santa’s Trimmings Ornament
  33. Merry Christmas Bellpull
  34. Victorian Christmas Tree (finished as a potted, stuffed tree)
  35. Fairy Violets (finished as a boxtop)
  36. SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange Gift #1
  37. SBEBB Valentine’s Exchange Gift #2

Wow, guess I did far better than I had imagined. 😀 Now, if I can have at least one large finish in the list in 2006, I’ll be ecstatic!

SBQ – December 28, 2005

  • Posted on December 28, 2005 at 11:05 pm

This week’s SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is:

How do you balance your stitching time with your other obligations such as work, household chores, etc.?

Not very well. That’s pretty much my answer, in a nutshell. I haven’t had much time for stitching this month, between the holidays and the headaches (dreaded “h” words!), so I can’t speak to this one. Usually, though, I stitch while watching TV at night, plus on the weekends. But, I do try to balance out the weekend stitching with laundry and other such work around the house. And I make sure I eat first. 😉

Caution: Knitting Novice Ahead!

  • Posted on December 26, 2005 at 10:37 pm

Well, that’s it. I’ve learned how to knit (again). My mom originally showed me how to knit as a child (years after I had learned cross stitch) and I remember knitting a pair of slippers for myself out of a nice variegated yarn. So, while my dad and sister were finishing up the dishes after Christmas dinner last night, Mom pulled out two pairs of needles, a skein of yarn to play with and set to reteaching me how to knit. I can now cast on, do knit, purl, stockinette and ribbed stitches (okay, the latter two are just rows made from combinations of the only two stitches in this game – knit and purl) and I can successfully bind off and weave my ends into the finished piece. After some practice with larger needles last night (she even gave me a nice, slick pair of 10 1/2 needles, so I’m up to 5 different pairs already! :twisted:), I fussed about getting the proper tension, so she told me that I wouldn’t be able to get the proper tension with the sportweight yarn we were practicing with using a pair of 10 1/2 needles. She told me I should try size 6 instead.

Tonight I sat down with my size 6 needles, the same practice yarn and cast on and knit a few rows three different times until I was happy with the tension and regularity of all of the stitches. Then I went through a practice round of the exact pattern that I will be using for the scarf when I’m ready, bound off the piece, wove the ends in and… VOILA!

My First Knitting Sample

The tension is fairly regular, but there is a hole where I must have dropped a stitch without realizing it, so when I work on the scarf, I will need to be looking back more regularly at what I’ve already done to be able to pick up mistakes like that. The only thing that I haven’t learned is how to start a new ball of yarn, especially since the scarf calls for two. I asked my mom and since she was never really that into knitting (she prefers crochet), she wasn’t exactly sure, so I’ll have to see if at least one of the several sets of instructions that I have cover this part. If not, I’ll have to drop an email to Christine for a little bit of assistance. 🙂

Merry Christmas! (A Long, Rambling Post)

  • Posted on December 25, 2005 at 12:33 pm

To all of my beloved internet friends:

I have been so fortunate to come in contact with so many incredible people via my blog this year. I feel thrilled and privileged to know each and every one of you. Please know that you are forever in my heart and in my thoughts, especially during this holiday season.

I wish for each and every one of you to have a wonderful, beautiful Christmas day, surrounded by family and friends, rejoicing in one another’s company and glad for one brief period of time together, as you never know when it may be the last that you see of one another.

Having opened our gifts last night under our beautifully lit Christmas tree decorated solely with hand-made ornaments, those given as gifts and even ones that I made as a child, I was fortunate to receive many delightful gifts. However, the two that meant the most to me are the ones from my recently departed grandfather. For those of you who didn’t know him (and that would be just about everyone reading this blog), my grandpap was a very talented commercial artist who worked even during his retirement. He made me many wonderful things as I was growing up, including a wooden basket which sits behind me as I type this, painted and decorated with my and Terry’s names on it, in my favorite color, purple. He also made banners and posters for me when I excelled at various music competitions during my high school years. He took me in and always treated me as his very own granddaughter, even though he never met me until I was 14 years old and my mother was remarried to the man I now affectionately and proudly refer to as my dad. He and my grandmother have always been very involved in my life since the time they entered it and I took great pride in and motivation from my grandfather’s talents. He did everything from dressing windows in a department store many, many decades ago to painting go-carts at a local amusement spot to painting all of the signage (large and small, including the large one that still stands atop a tall post to mark my dad’s first hardware store) for my dad’s stores to painting murals on the hallway walls of the local shopping mall. He did it all, with great talent and panache.

I know this seems like an odd trip down memory lane; however, the point to all of this is that he had an immense studio in the basement of their home which my dad and uncle have been faced with the task of trying to clean out. I was nearly in tears last night when I saw two presents for me tagged as being from my grandfather. My dad picked out, packed up and wrapped a wonderful set of colored pencils, most of which were never even sharpened, plus a set of heavy weight cards and envelopes which were intended for use with watercolors, but I could even use with my rubber stamping. I will treasure them always and fondly remember my grandfather every time I use them.

I regret that I never took the opportunity to tell Pap how much he meant to me, but I hope that somehow he knows. And to make sure I never make that mistake again, I wrote Gram a note several weeks ago, letting her know exactly what I would want her and Pap to know about how important a part of my life they have been and how grateful I am to have and have had them in my life for over half of my existence now.

On a less macabre note, I received some wonderful Christmas gifts, including finishing off my collection of currently available paperbacks from the Monica Ferris needlecraft mysteries series, a Lorri Birmingham stumpwork scissors fob kit, three Shepherd’s Bush scissors fob kits complete with matching scissors, a Daylite uplight for working with dark fabrics and a portable, handheld Sudoko game player. I also received my special daughter gift from Dad. Each year, he hand picks a sweater for each of his daughters. I have not yet decided if I will wear this year’s sweater today or wear last year’s. He always picks such lovely, feminine pieces for me. Perhaps he sees something buried deep within me that I don’t see or acknowledge normally? Being a female in the male-dominated field of computer science tends to diminish one’s sense of self and femininity. 😉

For those of you who were wondering, the Fairy Violets box was a big hit, as everyone expected. I was also able to surprise Terry with many gifts this year. It’s a good thing he followed his instinct not to buy me any video games or we would have ended up with numerous duplicates. That’s always a good sign, right? 🙂 Though I made him promise to stop buying himself things much earlier in the year this coming year so that he can build a proper wishlist. This is the second year in a row where I totally had to make up things off of the top of my head to buy for him and it’s very exhausting work.

Well, time for me to go. I’m fighting a nasty headache from doing FAR too many things yesterday, but the good news is that the turkey is nearly ready to go into the oven, as is the lamb, I have the entire cooking process mapped out as to what time which things needs to happen (this is for Terry’s benefit since he’ll do most of the cooking; I’ve spent the past two days baking and cleaning, so I get a little bit of a break), the table is already set, with swan napkins folded by Terry last night, and in about 5 hours, we’ll be sitting down to a dinner of turkey, lamb, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, stuffing balls, dinner rolls, cranberry jelly and a selection of pickles and olives.

In the meantime, my mom has promised to teach me to knit while she’s here, so sometime today I will be starting my scarf! Woohoo!

Again, Merry Christmas to you, everyone! I hope you have/had a fabulous day and are stuffed with food and happinesss. I know that I will be! And to my friends who are Jewish, I will try to post a special Happy Hanukkah message to you tomorrow as you begin the festival of lights. Shalom! Love and hugs to all!

A Stitcher’s Christmas Eve

  • Posted on December 24, 2005 at 12:01 am

Posted originally to the Wagon BB, I pulled this down to post on just such a special occasion.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas to all of my friends!

Twas the night before Christmas, and, oh, I was weary.
My stitching unfinished, my eyes getting bleary.
The stockings weren’t finished, the chimney was bare.
And I knew that morning soon would be there.

My children and husband were tucked in their beds,
But visions of backstiches ran through my head.
I’d stitched ornaments and presents and gifts by the ton,
And now, I was finally, almost, almost done.

As I poised my needle for one more backstitch,
I heard something outside that made my hand twitch.
I jumped up from my stitching, and flew to the door,
Pressed my eye to the peephole, tip-toe off the floor.

My stitching forgotten, I peered into the night.
When suddenly, I got a terrible fright.
On my porch appeared Santa, holding his sack.
He knocked softly, and I took a giant step back.

I unlocked the deadbolt, and let Santa in,
He entered and gave a mischievous grin.
“Hope you don’t mind if I come in the door?”
“Coming down the chimney can be quite a chore.”

He said “You’re up late. Still working I see.”
“Do you know how tired you’re going to be?”
“I know, Santa,” I said, with a sigh,
“But I’m still backstitching the stars in the sky,”

“And the fields on that stocking look blobby you know,
I need to backstitch the drifts in the snow.
I’ve been stitching and stitching and stitching, no rest.
I just tried to finish stitching too much, I guess.”

“I know what you mean,” he said with a smile.
“This is my busiest time of the year, by a mile.”
He stooped down by the tree, and he opened his sack,
And began to pull presents out of his pack.

“I’ve got some things here I think you might like,
An oak stitching frame, and a brand new Ott-Light.
A bundle of floss, and a great big mat cutter,”
I smiled and felt my heart go a-flutter.

He put down gifts for us all, then he waved his right hand.
“Go to bed,” he said, glancing at my floor stand.
He gave me a wink, and stepped out the door.
I just stood there a moment, glued to the floor.

After he’d left, I turned back to my chair,
Picked up the stockings, and started to stare.
The backstitching was done! The stars lit the sky!
And on my son’s stocking angels sung on high.

I ran to thank Santa for this final gift,
And watched as his sleigh started to lift.
I heard him exclaim as he pulled out of sight,
“Merry stitching to all, and to all a good night!”

A Christmas Meme

  • Posted on December 23, 2005 at 11:47 am

As seen on Christine’s blog:

  1. What is your favourite Christmas character?
  2. I see Christine’s Grinch and raise her the Grinch’s little dog! I love that poor little thing, with the antler strapped to its head, hanging off of his harness over the side of the mountain. Poor, faithful hound! I think that’s how I feel sometimes around Christmas. Like I’m hanging by my harness off the top of a mountain, thinking to myself “how did I get into this mess?” 😉

  3. What is your favourite Christmas movie?
  4. Either Holiday Inn or Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol. The former is a classic, with wonderful dancing and singing, and the latter just brings out the kid in me. I should buy it for next year, if it can be had. I just love some of the musical numbers, like “Winter Was Warm” sung in that lovely contralto voice and the thieves stealing the bedclothes off of Scrooge’s bed racously singing at the top of their lungs the chorus “La… la… la la-la la-la!” I just went out and added it to my Amazon shopping cart. 😆

  5. Is there a Christmas book you read every year or are there Christmas themed books you enjoy?
  6. No, not really. We don’t have children, so there is no traditional book to be read or anything. And I get so stressed by preparations that I don’t have the time to read anyway!

  7. What is the one thing on Christmas day that you can’t live without (basically it wouldn’t be Christmas without it)?
  8. I’m not sure about this one. I would say family, but Terry is my family, so as long as I had him, it would still be Christmas. I really do enjoy having a tree all decorated and lit up at night, with the presents laid out underneath. That signals Christmas for me, so I guess that’s my answer!

  9. What is your favourite Christmas memory?
  10. Um… okay. You have to realize that you’re talking to the person who doesn’t have a lot of childhood memories. So, at this point, I think this answer would be the look on my dad’s face when he opened his gift last Christmas. See below. 🙂

  11. What is the most thoughtful gift you have ever been given?
  12. Well, I like to think that all of my gifts are thoughtful! Whoops, missed the word “been” in that question, but I’ll continue on without it. I think the best gift that I’ve given to date was the table tennis set that I gave my dad last year. He was like a little kid again; he’s so funny. We even set it up downstairs in the basement and were chasing down errant balls from amongst the clutter and cobwebs. He and I have so much fun playing table tennis together! He and his cousin Ingrid (with whom he was pretty close) used to play together as kids, so I took it into my head last year to surprise him with a portable set. It was a smashing success (pun intended) and is always a nice bonding experience for us when we play.

  13. What is the one thing about Christmas you could live without?
  14. How about two? The commercialism and the stress. There’s too much emphasis on the gifting portion of Christmas and not enough emphasis on the precious time spent with friends and family. To me, that was what Christmas really is about – taking time out from our hectic lives to spend some quality time with our loved ones.

  15. Have you created any Christmas traditions with your own family and if so what is it?
  16. We haven’t really created any traditions yet, per se. Terry and I have followed the tradition that my parents started when I was little of having our own private Christmas the night before. Other than that, we seem to have developed an ad hoc tradition of me in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, baking tons of cookies with my dad helping. It’s nice because I get to spend some time with my dad, but not so nice because I spend all day on my feet!

  17. What is your favourite Christmas song?
  18. Wow, I really had to think about this one. I even dragged out my Time-Life CD sets to see which ones topped my list. It was a tough call, but I have to say the Hallelujah chorus from Messiah. There would be nothing like hearing that sung by a full chorus, with all parts fully represented, resonating in a huge cathedral somewhere. It would just blow my mind.

  19. What is the strangest gift you received or gave?
  20. I think the strangest gifts I’ve ever received (and absolutely LOVE to this day!) was in a Pollyanna several years ago at work. One of the gag gifts was an animated, stuffed reindeer that sings Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer when you press its paw. Once I got it, I fought to keep it, and now it is one of my favorite decorations! He was finally out of juice this year when I pulled him out, so I had to change the batteries and now he’s back to his wonderful, animated self again. I’m such a little kid at heart… 😀

  21. If you could spend one Christmas anywhere else in the world where would you choose?
  22. Seeing as London is one of my favorite destinations in the world, I would like to spend Christmas in London some day. I bet Harrod’s is an absolute treat around the holidays! Piccadilly Circus is probably all lit up. The nicer neighborhoods probably have their homes all decorated. It would be nice to see.

  23. What do you all do on Christmas Eve, anything special or fun?
  24. See previous post about baking cookies with my dad on Christmas Eve, but that’s not an all-inclusive family event, so I’m not sure that it counts. We’re going to play board games tomorrow night, if I get my way, so maybe that will become a new, fun tradition?

My Stick Family from