Sunday, November 29, 2009

My November Random Mystery Giveaway Winner is...

List Randomizer

There were 2 items in your list from November 23rd.
Here they are in random order:

1. Carol R
Congratulations Carol!  If you'll send me your snail mail address, I'll pop your surprise in the mail this week!
My final give-away winner will be announced (on the random secret lucky day) in December.  Remember all commentors from November and December will go in the magic hat for the tartan Ginghers and scissors cube. 

When I read your comments, they feel like warm sunshine on my face and I wish you all the BEST of LUCK in my final give-away of the year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Autumn progress

I was fretting over the 'something's missing' element in this Most Excellent Autumn/Blackwork piece.  Then out of the blue, it came to me.  I realized while it had almost ALL of my favorite elements (fall colours, blackwork, silks, acorns, Rhodes, rice and queen stitches),  it had no hand-dyed (or overdyed) threads.   I KNOW!!!  What took me so long to figure that out?!?  Well, I hopped over to the LNS quicker than you could say 'coffee break' and picked up some Thread Gatherer "Autumn Honey" silk.  Can you see where I worked it in?

by Indigo Rose
various Splendor silks and Thread Gatherer "Autumn Honey"

If I double up on the caramel brulee triple lattes, I just might be doing the happy dance before the week is out!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Giving Thanks for Traditions...

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, today I'm giving thanks for Traditions.  The turkey is on order, grocery list complete, table is set, Christmas cards secured, and I'm counting the hours till the house swells with family and I'm tuning in the MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE!

The Virgo in me springs to life with the careful planning and structured activities of the holidays.  As a working person, in order for me to preserve what precious little sanity I have left (don't laugh) AND enjoy the holidays, all preparations/festivities from November through Jan 1 must be scheduled with military like precision. 

Holidays are to be enjoyed, right?  Therefore, One.Must.Plan.

Designing menus, scheduling the grocery shopping (as you all know, if you need crushed pineapple or canned whole cranberries, you better know where to go and when), selecting gifts, decorating the house and updating the Christmas card list are all "fun for me" holiday activities.  However, one of my favorite memories of the holidays is from the early years of my life as a new step-mom.

When my youngest stepson was little, we did lots of crafts together.  When I cross stitched, he cross stitched. When I decorated cakes, he decorated cakes.  We really had lots of fun together and came to know each other better through crafting. 

One year, around the holidays, we thought it would be fun to make candles together so for some reason or another, the day after Thanksgiving became our "candle making day".  We used old Tupperware parfait glasses as molds to make tree-shaped green wax candles, then whipped white wax which we randomly applied to the green candles making them look like they were snow laden.  If we hadn't eaten all the silver non-pareils (who remembers those?!) by the time we got around to making the candles, we'd stick some of those into the white wax before it set, you know, to spiff them up a smidge.  Then, when our little forest of candles were cool, we'd carefully store them until Christmas Eve evening when we would light the family room with nothing but those candles and the Christmas tree.  The glow was so beautiful!

Even though our post-Thanksgiving candle making sessions have long gone by the wayside, I'll never forget the fun we had making them and beauty they gave us on Christmas Eve.

What fun, crafty, maybe atypical, holiday traditions do you and your family enjoy?

I plan to pop back in with a stitching update between now and Thursday, but if I get crazy and don't, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with love, comfort, family and tradition!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Giving Thanks for Indian Summer...

Good Great weather has given us ideal building conditions this past week.  Rain coming soon, but no complaints.  We could use a little rain with some many dead leaves floating around.  As you can see, the garage concrete floor has been poured and the deck off the workshop has been built.  I took a quick spin through the Dave Cave this afternoon and was very impressed. 

I think it's going to be exactly what hubby has been wanting.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Giving Thanks for Starry Nights

Warning:  If you're not in the "turning lemons into lemonade" kind of mood, just move on. 

I've read about it everywhere so it's no revelation to anyone that the shorter days we are experiencing here in the upper hemisphere are downright depressing.  However, the long nights do have one magnificent thing to offer.  Nooooooooo, not THAT!  I'm talking about starry starry nights. 

While I was outside Thursday night (on a work-night mind you), around half past midnight (wait, it gets better), chasing down my evil, run-away, skunk scented d.o.g. (yes, you read right), I lifted my head star-ward (so God could hear me better), and after saying a particularly "special" and long prayer, I opened my eyes and almost couldn't believe what I was seeing.  The sky was lit up like a gold digger on New Years Eve at a Boca Raton retirement home. 

Constellations like Orion, Cassiopeia, the Big and Little Dipper have never failed to captivate me with their unaltering perfection. 

Last night, they all danced like diamonds on an inky blue velvet canvas. 

I think I shall try out the night photography setting on my camera tonight.

Footnote:  Gently used (stinky), house-broken, ten year old K9, FREE to a good home.  Act now and you'll also receive two scrub brushes, a case of pet shampoo, 80 lbs. of prescription dog food, a years supply of skin allergy medication and one doggie rain coat.  Don't delay!  This offer won't last long!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Giving Thanks for Freedom...

My gratitude, thoughts and prayers are with all the men and women of the Armed Forces today.   When I begin to consider all they have given me, it is hard to take in.   My father, husband and now youngest step-son have all worn a soldiers uniform. 

I thank them and all veterans today for my freedom.

Long may she wave.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Giving Thanks for Saturdays

Tis the season to be thankful and I am sooooo thankful for the gift that was today.  Hubby and I slept in then went out for brunch, and enjoyed the warm, sunny, breezy beautiful day.  I didn't step foot inside of a grocery store or a Wal-Mart.  I actually stitched a little this afternoon while I caught up some laundry.  

See.   Progress:

As you can see, I still haven't decided what to do about the yellow leaf in the middle of it's band.  What I think I'm going to do is stitch the rest of the rows in the colours I'm sure of, then go back and fill in with whatever colours make sense.  I do love this piece and can't wait to see that big leafy/acorn blackwork section all the way finished.  After that part is done, the rest will be a cinch. 

I also recently took the time to dress up one of the threadboards I brought back from EGA National:

It was "naked" when I bought it, so I added a little felt to one end, a little tomato pin cushion to the other, button-holed a 'strap' for the pointy end of the tiniest scissors you've ever seen, and whaaaa-laaaaa!  Now we're cooking with gas.

Speaking of cooking with gas, the contractors have made excellent use of the good weather lately. 

I think they should be right on track for a Thanksgiving ribbon cutting ceremony.

Until next time, here's hoping you're having a wonderful weekend. 

Give Thanks!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Calgon? Can you hear me calling?

Sweet baby Jesus, it's been a hellacious WEEK and it's only Wednesday!  Anyone working in the public service sector knows that the first of the month, with a full moon, 50 days to Christmas, with a weak economy is the perfect recipe for NIGHT-MARE.  THEN, just to push me over the edge, the postmaster calls this morning and says "MASS LOSS".  Well folks, next time I hear those two magic words in the same sentence, I'll march straight to my desk, pull out a leave slip, put my purse on my shoulder and head to the closest happy hour I can find.   I could go on, but I will spare you.  I only go down this road because it's my excuse for not having much of a stitching update for you.

However!  I do have a little someone special back from the framer:

As soon as I laid eyes on this frame, I thought it was perfect. 

"Expensive" warned the framer. 

Naturally.   I have a knack for that.

And here she is in her new digs:

Overlook the mess - please.

I would love to tell you I've been stitching away on my Autumn blackwork square OR my Christmas slipper sewing set, but alas, not much going on in that department.  My mind has just been too chaotic with work stuff to settle down at night and focus.  Pitiful excuse, I know.

There is however a lot going on outside:

And actually, this picture is two days old.  When I can get home before nightfall (stupid time change!), I'll grab a couple of new shots for you.  Lots of progress.  I wish I could say the same thing about either of my WIPs. 
Hubby is ecstatic!  Seriously.  I can't remember seeing him this excited in a LOOOOOoooooong time.  He's given up sleep and logged more hours at Lowe's and Home Depot lately than one would think healthy.  It's ok though because in a month, he'll be as happy as a hog in slop, in his workshop, with his man friends, drinking coffee, telling lies, and probably spitting and scratching, or whatever men do when they get together in their sanctuaries.

Lastly, in case you haven't heard already, Brightneedle has retired all it's designs and they are only designing teaching pieces now.  If you have any of their designs on your wish list, you might want to go ahead and grab them up while you can still get them.

That's all the news that's fit to print today friends.  Hopefully I'll have a great big fancy stitching update for you next time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What did you do with your extra hour?

Autumn is my favorite season and blackwork is one of my favorite needlework styles, so needless to say, I am totally loving this piece.  Stitching with a single strand of silk is such treat.  However, I'm pretty sure the yellow leaf in the middle of it's row is going to have to be frogged.  It's just a bit too, mmmm, yellow.  I've photoshopped two additional leaves (#1 and #7) to illustrate what the row will (sort of) look like finished.  I've only just begun the largest section, in the left hand corner.  It's going to be a lot of blackwork, which means FUN. FOR. ME! 

Stay tuned.  More to come....

Happy November friends!