Saturday, December 27, 2008

My 1st cube pinkeep

You must be thinking, No, it can't be true, she just finished like three things This MONTH!

I know!!! I'm wondering just exactly what is in that Jamaican coffee???

I got the one-nighter fever last night and dug this The Trilogy cutie called "Cardiology" out of my PIG* pile. All the stitching was completed, that's right, COMPLETED, in one evening. I'm pretty sure my new nickname should be Robo-stitcher. The finish work did not require any sewing (yeah!), just syrofoam, quilt batting, ribbons and straight pins. Many thanks to Hannah's wonderful online tuturial! I love the technique. I'm sure I'll be using it again!

This little cube is for a neice who's first language was sign language. Although she was born hearing, both parents are deaf. I'll be stitching another one just like it for her little sister. They are my XSDNs, extra special darling nieces (stolen from my husband's side of the family). I actually have 5 XSDNs, two in NC and three in TX. Next up on the stitching gift schedule is a Sekas dragonfly checkerboard for my favorite little cowgirls in Texas. Who knows, maybe I'll just stitch that up tonight! (how's that for optimism?)
*PIG=project in a grocery sack


Now for the hard part. To frame or not to frame? I'm thinking box top. Patience is NOT one of my vitures (if you haven't figured that out already), so I'll have to fight the urge to rush this up to the framers, in order to allow myself the time to find a custom box maker. I say custom because wouldn't you know, the design is 5 and a little x 5 and a little more. Not 5x5, or even 5.25 x 5.25. Oh well. It's good to have so many stitching friends, for many reasons, but in this case, one of my BSFFs has already given me a lead on one such woodworker. I'll give a call next week and see what we can work out.
Must. Wait. Do. Not. Frame. Yet. Where's my hypnotist when I need him?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Momma's lil' baby loves shortenin'

A true and simple pleasure it is to bake a batch (or two) of scratch cookies on Christmas night, in a quieted house, for a contented family (and canine). Paula Deen's Snickerdoodles may not be as good as "shortening bread", but they are a delightful way to end your Christmas day or anyday. Soooooo good they make me wonder why I ever go to all the trouble of chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, raisins, zest, etc. As a matter of fact, the sound of my oven timer reminds me I need to go and make sure the second batch turned out as well as the first...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

All through the house...

My Christmas Spirit has finally shown up.
Sharing a bit of it with you...and hoping you all enjoy a beautiful holiday with the people who mean the most to you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wounded Warrier

Okay, I promise I'll never put socks on the dog again and laugh with side-splitting gusto and she attempts to walk around the living room. My new found sympathy does not stem from some enlightened sense of what is right and wrong in the world, but from trying to stitch with a bandaged finger today! Wow, what a PITA! I couldn't feel the canvas, thread OR needle. How's that for a trifecta? And right in the middle of such a great "hell with everything else, I'm close to finishing this baby" roll. So, now sportsfans, I'm afraid it will be Christmas evening before I get the chance to cuddle back up to my new favorite WIP because I can actually hear the fat man rounding the corner now and I've yet to make the first list or consider what to feed the "fam" next week.
Wonder which of my unsuspecting WIPs will be next...? AAAhhhhha ha ha hhaa hhhaaaaa
Until then, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Friday, December 12, 2008

the upside?

I guess if there is an upside to being away from home AND not able to sleep, it's being able to turn on the light and stitch for a few pre-dawn hours. Here's last night's progress on the 4 way bargello.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

new WIP

Look at me, getting cocky. I guess I must think that just because I've finished one UFO/extended WIP (the wine bag) this year, I might as well knock out another. I kinda feel like Rocky Balboa, or whoever sang "Mama said knock you out!" I'm ON A ROLLLLLL sportsfans and actually ignoring all those pesky holiday responsibilities with ease. Who says therapy is a waste of money? Of course, when one is out of town, one feels like there is no tomorrow and is capable of stitching for two, three hours straight. Sadly, there is a tomorrow and I'll be packing tomorrow night in order to fly home Friday. Then, I'm sure my little bubble "O'fantasy" will be burst by the many prickly holiday responsibilities awaiting me. But, for now, I leave you with my latest UFO/WIP status report (Marion Scoular, 4 way bargello, peacock design):

Saturday, December 6, 2008

fun with Italian tassels

I ask, have you ever seen such Chunky-Funky tassels? I had the pleasure of learning these from a very sweet young Italian lady named Anna Maria at the National EGA seminar in Louisville several months ago. Although Anna Maria was just learning English, and very nervous, she was charming teacher. Meeting her was one of the highlights of my week in Louisville. The all ecru tassel is the "classic" tassel she made, with an "Amor" Deruta bead and kitchen string! Being the lover of color that I am, I picked a Watercolour that matched my Deruta bead and let 'r rip. If you are looking for an unusal, unique and beautiful Christmas gift for your BHTBFSFF*, check out Giulia Manfredini of Giulia Punti Antichi for a great selection of Deruta stitching accessories.
* Best Hard To Buy For Stitching Friend Forever
Footnote: if you make the time to share a bottle of wine with your BHTBFSFF, save the cork - it makes an excellent scissors tip protector!

Christmas Exchange finish

I should know better by now than to rush myself. I thought this little sweet bag would be just the thing for my stitching Winter Wonderland Christmas party exchange, but having to rush to finish it (again with the electrified sewing machine), didn't do it any favors. Hopefully, the receiver won't notice the crooked seams and strange construction techniques. Me thinks filling it with a ton of white chocolate truffles will be just the right distraction from the less than perfect finish work! The fabric in the background is also the lining and backside of bag.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

oldie but goodie

This old Better Homes and Gardens pattern for a box lid is truly one of my favorite finishes (but aren't they all). The plums and pear, holly and gourd seem to go together so well, just as if the fine folks at BHG planned it that way. I think it was stitched around 1998 or '99 (last century anyway!) when I was a dyed in the wool cross stitch puritan. I remember feeling so renegade when I stitched the long straight stitches (pine needles?). Can they do that?, I pondered. What happens if one gets snagged? I just don't know about these long straight stitches, I puzzled. Then, the "what the hell" took over and, voila, a terrific end product. Sometimes, as much as it pains me to say so, it's better to just do what you're told. Then on the other hand, some French knots would have been nice.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The "Fam"

Everybody now - into the LAZYBOY! Nothing says lovin' like post-Thanksgiving feast cuddle-up in the blue chair. Mommy's girl or Daddy's girl? You decide.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I love a parade!

As much as I love Christmas, I can honestly say Thanksgiving might just run a dead heat. As I wake slowly (without an alarm clock) and to daylight, I can't wait to jump out of bed, turn on the peacock channel (bing bing bing), put on the tea, grab the 12 pounds of newspaper and cuddle up on the sofa. And yes, as the 9:00 hour creeps closer, I get more and more excited for the parade to start! I loved Willard Scott and now Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Meredith and before her Katie, the Rockettes, the balloons, bands, cheerleaders, the stars, the half frozen half naked smiley faced people just oozing with pride and happiness. Am I the only half baked sentimental that gets teary eyed when it all starts? And again when Santa comes rolling through?

What a wonderful reminder that no matter the state of things, the world is still spinning, we'll all eat turkey and watch football, and that some things will never change.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Much better

LOVE how these tasseled cords turned out. Glad I made myself make the switch. Now it's really Really REALLY ready to go to it's new home. Bye bye black bag, have you any wine? I'll never tell.

Tick tock tick tock

Today is Sunday, Nov 23, which means there are 7 days left in November. In December, there are 23 days til Christmas Eve, which is the beginning of the celebrations in my family. SO! The OFFICIAL 30 day countdown to Christmas is on kiddies!

Get out your Christmas cards, update those mailing lists, round up the gift wrap, make your lists and check them twice. The Fat Man in the red suit is warming up the reindeer as we speak!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A finish!

What vacation can be deemed a success without a finish to show for it? I admit to adding the bells and whistles after returning home, but I'm happy to have this little darling in the bag, Christmas gift bag that is, for my best motorcycle riding tattoo sporting Aunt* (BMRTSA). Yeah, she's the fun Aunt (think Weekend Road Warrior, not Hell's Angels) and this little design was just perfect for her because the design actual matches her tattoo!
I know, what are the odds???!!!!
As sentimental stories and tattoos seem to go together like motorcyles and well, tattoos, hers is in my opinion very special. She was born with three brothers, one of which died when he was only 20, on her birthday. She and her brothers are the four leaves of the shamrock. Her first grandson, in the summer between high school and college was killed in a auto accident, at age 18, and buried on her birthday. The five spots on her ladybug represent her five grandchildren and her ladybug sits atop a shamrock, combining two of the "luckiest" symbols we recognize. I added the red tassel to heap one more measure of luck (Chinese) on our little ornament. I know she'll love it and give it a prize place amoung her other good luck charms.
All Barbara Ana Designs are just too cute for their shoes. Be sure to check her out for the cutest biscornu patterns you've ever seen.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jamaican beauty

Wish I knew what to call this beauty other than Stunning.

And this little piggie ran home...

Ahoy maties! Much to my amazement, after a week of cruising the Carribean, I was able to squeeze my overstuffed self out of the cabin doors and find my way home, without having to buy myself two airline tickets for "overages".
I'll try to be brief, to avoid boring anyone, but here are some highlights of my cruise:

  • Untouched tropical beauty of Jamaica
  • Uninterrupted stitching time
  • Unbelieveable sunrises/sunsets
  • Never ending gourmet dining
  • Perfect weather for 6 glorious days
  • Red Stripe Light
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (oh yea, it really is $38/lb. good)

Some of the lowlights:

  • 3000 random yawho's sharing my ship
  • abject poverty just beyond the tourist borders ashore
  • 20 hours of rough seas and all that comes (and goes) with that

All in all, a good time was had by all. SIL and BIL celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in style, over lobster and filet mignon. Hubby and I enjoyed some much needed R&R. I would like to go back some day and spend a little more time exploring the natural beauty of Jamaica, the Caymans and Cozumel, but according to my travel compass, ITALY is next!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ta Daaaa!!!!

Happy dance happy dance. A wiggle and a shake. Words words something something. Look what I can make!

I said I was a stitcher; not Maya Angelou.

Between the noisy hubby and restless dog last night, I got up between 3 and 4, or as Coni would say "O'dark hundred", and decided the best thing for my boiling blood pressure was to stitch a little. (If mama ain't sleeping, mama ain't happy!) I didn't stop stitching til 7 this morning! That is the most uninterrupted quiet time I've had since, well, since I can remember (but I am a little fuzzy tonight, considering the zero sleep factor).

I will probably switch out the ribbon with some tasseled cord before gifting this baby, but I could not resist getting it's pretty little face out there tonight. Turned out nicely, huh? The wine bottle fits perfectly inside. I do hope the receiver will like it as much as I do. Fingers crossed.

My WIP list is now updated and I feel like Paris Hilton with a new pair of shoes! My hope is to be able to mark a couple more WIPs off that list when I returned from vacation. (that's spelled W.I.P. not w.h.i.p, Paris, don't get excited).

Now I wonder where I hid that Finishing with Flair GCC from myself...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Going Going Gone

And the countdown clock is tickin'. 8 days til setting sail and between now and then, let's see, there is one wedding, one chapter annual meeting, 5 days of work, one mid week ga-la (aka shin-dig), a haircut and pedicure for good measure. Somewhere in there I desperately need to carve out some time to buy a couple pairs of hose, maybe a new dress and some beach bum fun clothes, sorry slacks, blouses, trouser socks and loafers, you're staying home. I'll send you a postcard.
And, oh yeah, we'll have a NEW PRESIDENT come Wednesday! That will be very interesting. Let's all VOTE and HOPE/PRAY for the BEST. It's good to be American and participate in our government, but in 8 days I'll be enjoying the sunny hospitality (and fruity drinks) of our neighbors to the South. Not sure about internet service on the ship, so I might be off the grid for awhile. So far, three stitching projects, the passport, bathing suit, pool sandals, and camera are in the "Ready" pile. If you see a story in the news about "Crazy Stitching Lady Streaks Carribean", don't worry, it's just me, out of clean clothes. Just send bail money. Bon voyage!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love Thursday

I'm taking a second this morning to give a little shout out to my BEBFF*, Michelle Fabio. Michelle has a fabulous blog "Bleeding Espresso" and promotes Love Thursdays with lovely heart photos of all kinds. She's sharing a photo of mine this week.

Check out Michelle at

Share the Love!

BEBFF=Best Espresso Bleeding Friend Forever

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WIP update

I won't say it out loud, but with a little luck, I could finish this insanely overdue gift BEFORE the WEEKEND! I'm down to the scroll-y part at the very tippy bottom and I've decided to ax the monogram on the back side of the bag for no other reason than I want to be done with it, and sooner than later. It would be impossible to overstate how THRILLED I'll be to finish this little ditty and turn it over to the unpatiently awaiting recipient. One monkey, almost off my back! Yea!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flu Shot Blues

Dah nah nah nah da na

Sore joints, stuffy nose, achy head
tissues flying, nose crying, tears coming out of my eyes

Dah nah nana da na

shots don't lie, ain't sick but wantin' to die
head is splittin', room is spinnin', too sore to stitch!

I got the flu shot blues...
Dah nah nana da na
I got the flue shot blues

Everybody now, I got the flu shot blues...

Lyrics: JaLow
Produced by: Marlow

Saturday, October 18, 2008

angel ornament finish

Here's my first attempt at the pinkeep finish. Hoped the Watercolours cord would turn out a little better. Not my best effort, but overall, I think she'll do just fine.

Do you blame me?

How can you witness such a spectacular show and not love this time of year? Oh if I could I would turn the universe on slo-mo so I could soak up every moment of natural glory Fall brings to my doorstep. Wherever you are reading this, I hope you are bathed in the beautiful handiwork of nature as well.

Monday, October 13, 2008

bygone stitchers

As I've grown more interested in the needlewomen of bygone eras, it occurred to me that although I've been stitching for nearly 30 years, I probably am woefully ill-prepared and under-skilled by what I imagine their standards would have been hundreds of years ago. What if one of these gentile ladies rang my doorbell on a lazy Sunday afternoon? What would they expect to find? For example, every properly trained needlewoman would have certainly had a show sampler; not the sampler she learned her numbers or letters on, but a sampler she would have hung in the parlor or entry hall, extolling her heritage and lineage. She would have displayed her faith with an Adam and Eve piece. She would have a complete set of stitching tools (measuring tape or rule, variety of needles, scissors, laying tool, thread winder, etc.) of high enough quality to warrant admiration of her colleagues. She probably did not have an endless bucket of fibers, shelves laden with patterns, and pallets of fabric. If only my knowledge of the needle was as deep and rich as my stash.

If small-ish samplers count, I have a good "old school" sampler to claim: Kingsland, The Learned Wife. I also have an Adam and Eve piece in progress however, the colors are so off that I need to frog most of it and re-do. Stitching set is also in progress. One day, little fish needle book, one day. As for the impossibly long To Do list and shameful stash? I'm working on it.

Me thinks I have miles to go before I sleep.

chugg-a chugg-a chugg-a chugg-a Woo Woo!

I'm starting to see a glimmer of what might be light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and I don't think it's a train this time! Not that I haven't enjoyed this little journey into Monochromania, but I'm more than ready to get back into my lovely bag of rainbow colors. And there is that small matter of a Finishing GCC I need to see to. Perhaps I'll stop pretending and email Marion tomorrow for an extention. But wait, if you haven't fixed a due date, do you need an extension? :-D

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beautiful beautiful

It's the most beautiful passing over you'll ever see, Fall. Each season should be celebrated for it's own merits, but somehow Fall is labeled as the transition season, a comma between summer and winter. Well, with views like these out my front window, it would be just fine with me if Fall decided to linger a while.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

realignment of stitching priorities

Okay-the checkbook is balanced for the first time in six weeks, the luggage is empty and stored away, and the other mundane details of life seem to be falling back into place which can only mean one thing, time to get that needle back in my hand! I feel like I've been on a furlough with all the running around I've been doing and frankly I'm missing the feel of my butt in my favorite stitching spot. HOWEVER, while I was gone, I had a delivery! Months ago, I broke down and ordered two nice "lady" chairs for my "drawing" room (aka spare basement room) and they are HERE! Now I just have to get into the habit of "retiring" to my stitching room after dinner and introducing the new cushions to the profile of my rear!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cute shoes!

From the Field Museum collection-
Everyone who knows me knows I have a shoe fetish, so it's no shocker that I spent the better part of an hour admiring the hu-mongo wall of shoes exhibit (Field Museum, Chicago). I apparently have a thing for fish too because I found myself especially drawn to and amused by the children's fish slippers (pic 3). The little Chinese boy who stood beside me at the museum informed me that the green stuff at the toe of the shoe was seaweed the fish was eating. Of course! What else would it be!? Precious.

Meet Sue

This is Sue. She is the most complete T Rex ever unearthed, from South Dakota, of all places. She lives in the Field Museum in Chicago along with the man-hunting lions from Tsavo Africa (The Ghost and the Darkness movie) and a bunch of other cool stuff. Half a day really wasn't long enough to see everything, so plan the better part of a day when you go. Everything from the Tibetian exhibit, to the collection of wild animals, to the Egyptian exhibit, to the shoes from around the world was spectacular! Loved me some Chinese embroidered slippers! And, did I mention, the BEST museum gift shop I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Tack on an extra 45 minutes just for shopping and bring the plastic!

Tina for President!

Oh my Goodness! Tina Turner is a goddess. I have never in my life seen ANYONE rock a stadium harder than Tina rocked United Center in Chicago Friday night. What a show, what a Queen. She is undoubtedly the Queen of Rock and Roll. At 69 years old, I think she deserves a medal for just trying, but let me tell you folks, she did a lot more than try. This woman is a professional rocker! She's got my vote for whatever she wants to run for! Mother Nature has met her match.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chapter gifts

Urgent - send up a prayer for this sorry stitcher, I'm using the "electrified" sewing machine and we all know what that means; someone's going to lose an eye or finger. Because of the physical deformity that prevents me from making the noise "no", I am sewing these little beauties up for chapter gifts. Credit goes to our VP of Membership for the hand stitching. I think everyone will really love these little needlebooks! Visit Sharon over at for more terrific and totally free charts. Thanks Sharon!

My random act of kindness

It's one of the great pleasures in life to surprise a friend with an especially thoughtful, handmade, unique gift. I'm sad to say I don't make the time to do it more often, but this month (make that last month), I made this tiny pendant for my mentor, teacher and friend, Marion Scoular. I hope those little bullion picots on top hang in there. Just learned those in Vima's class in Louisville. Added my freshly designed signature on the rear of the pendant. What fun!

Angels 3

One angel, two angels, three angels, DONE! I do love stitching Christmas tree ornaments, but would love more hanging them on My tree instead of donating them to the chapter. But, we do what we do...

They are a little different than most Christmas angel ornaments, but I love them! A little trim around the third, and they will fly away to their new home.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

quick check in

It's been a week since I've returned home but it feels more like 15 minutes, and tomorrow is the beginning of a new week. Short week for me, as I'll be going to Chicago on Friday to see Tina Turner in concert! Sister and aunt are coming along for the fun. I think I've covered the essentials this weekend like visiting the Dad, laundering the unmentionables, feeding the husband a couple of "honest to goodness" meals, and making a showing at church. I think they were about to plan a memorial service in my honor. Figured the husband had had enough and finally buried me in the backyard!

I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me when I got home last week. My new Italian friend Giulia Manfredini of Giulia Punti Antichi, gifted me with her Christmas sewing set pattern. I couldn't believe such a nice gesture from someone I've never met, so far away! Little did she know that I've been longing to stitch one of these little slippers and now I have no excuse! She can expect a little surprise from me in her mailbox sometime in the future. Thanks so much Giulia!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's good to be home

I know work will be crazy for a week or so since I've been off for so long, so I wanted to take a minute to say, Wow it's good to be home. I'll probably be ready to take off again for "St. Somewhere" round about Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Favorite!

You all know how I just love peacocks? Well, I was able to get up close and personal to a few this weekend at the Philly Zoo. They were incredible!

On the road again

It's been a whirlwind two, make that three, weeks and BOY am I looking forward to coming home Friday! This past weekend, hubby came here to help me celebrate my birthday. We stayed busy with sightseeing and touring. Just in case you've never been to Philadelphia, let me give you a quick idea of the things to do here. In a little over 48 hours, hubby and I went to the Philly Zoo, Franklin Science Museum, the Philly Masonic Temple, the National Constitutional Center, the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, ferried across the Delaware river to visit the Aquarium in Camden NJ, and we ate our faces off at the best restaurants you've ever wanted to visit.

I haven't gotten much stitching done, but I should have one more angel for the Angel Tree done by the time I get home. YEAH!

Monday, September 8, 2008

in Philly

Caught my 6:00 am flight (yeah!) and arrived here in Philly before 9:30 am. I just love this city! I hope I can squeeze some fun into my two weeks of training here. The weather is perfect and we have the weekend free for whatever we're up for. Hoping hubby can join me for the weekend (and my birthday).

How about a big round of applause for William Penn perched so fittingly atop City Hall.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Water lillies

In our water garden. Could there be a more beautiful flower?