Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New

My resolution list is never long.  In fact, it normally consists of one single thing.  Can you guess what it is?  Lose weight?  Nope (although it should be a perennial resolution).  Exercise more?  Nah (again, should be, but...).  Stitch more?  O don't I wish.

My annual resolution is to......................drumroll please..............

And I don't mean the "lick and a prayer" kind of clean.  I mean the "empty everything out and take the drawers out, scrub shelves, etc." kind of clean.  (out with the old, in with the new.) 

I know, I know.  Folks are always confusing me with Paris Hilton because of the glamorous life we both lead.  And our shoe collections.

This year though, I'm adding a few new resolutions to the list:

  • Finish redecorating guest bedroom #1 (photos coming soon) before Halloween (out with the old, in with the new)
  • Finalize planning for the 2010 Italy trip (ASAP)
  • Lose weight before Italy trip (ASAP)
  • Practice Italian lessons daily
  • Stitch three pieces for guest bedroom (Ironwork of New Orleans, Assisi bird doorknob ornament, reproduction blackwork)
  • Plan ahead in order to enjoy two major EGA meetings (WV in June and CA in September)
All in all, 2010 will be a very exciting and busy year for hubby and me.  Hence the Halloween deadline on the redecorating.  I've learned from years past that no matter what it is, if it's not done by Halloween, it probably isn't getting done until the new year. 

No matter where you are tonight, I hope you are warm and happy.  I wish each and every one of you a very safe, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a Flurry of Finishing and the Santa Saga

I've had the glue gun out again kids!  Got by with just 2nd degree burns this year.....Yay me! 

First up, my only new ornament for the tree this year:

Christmas House
freebie from Giulia Punti Antichi

I love that my EGA chapter strongly believes in offering educational yet manageable monthly programs.  This ornament was our December program.  I was very glad to be able to hang it on the tree this year.  My goal, every year, is to make a new Christmas ornament for the tree.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it don't.  No biggie, but, I really was happy to get this one 'finish-finished' before the sands run out on 2009.


Last year, a dear friend gifted me this very cute stocking.  She left it unfinished so I could talk to it and find out what it wanted to be (she knows me so well).  You see, she wasn't born with the crazy gene that allows people, like myself, to talk to inanimate objects. I was late 2008, this cutie came to live with me.  It told me straight away that it didn't want to be an ornament, but it wasn't sure what it wanted to be.  So, respecting it's wishes, I just laced it onto some cardboard, for safe-keeping and propped it up against a small vase so it could be enjoyed in the stitching room. That was over a year ago.  

THEN, the other day, out of the blue, while I was sitting in my stitching room waiting for the laundry to do itself, the little stocking said, "Hey, you remember that awesome easel tutorial you saw over here?  That's what I want to be!"  So, with that information, I found just the right backing fabric (IMHO) and let the glue fly!

The only adaption I made was using stiff felt in place of cardboard for the back portion.  I simply applied glue to a strip of stiff felt, bent the felt in two places, covered with the strip with fabric, glued the seam in place, and tucked the excess on both ends in between the front layers. 

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  

I love it very much and think of my stitching friend everytime I look at it.

Lastly, here is where we left off with the Santa "drawing board":

And, where he stands now (by the way, it takes 8 BIG Hos, ~ahem~  to do Santa):

I still need to chart something for the backside and attach the back panel to the Ho band.  It may be a bit too much for such a small ornament, but I have made a red and white "peppermint twist" tassel to attach to the bottom of this cutie.  I really can't wait to put the last stitch in this one!  It's been a challenge.

Finally, I want to share with you the "pre-oven" glamour shot of the best darn pumpkin dessert ev-vah:

OMG.  That's all I'm sayin'.  If you plan on having any more pumpkin anything between now and next October, I highly recommend giving this recipe a spin.  (click on "pumpkin dessert" above for recipe). 

Better hurry and make this one before Jan 1st, while
the calories are still "half off"!  ;-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rejoice, Rejoice!

For unto us is born this day in the city of David,
a Saviour who is Christ the Lord!

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes , lying in a manger.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Out

Friday, December 18, 2009

Momma's little helper

my work here is done. 

As we hunker down for a blast from the North Pole tonight, I had a little help in the kitchen.  On the menu for the weekend is beef stroganoff, chicken marsala, Italian sausage calzones and perhaps a hearty little beef stew. 

With Christmas less than a week away, many things will keep me from blogging, but I am wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday filled with love and joy and warmth and peace, wherever you may be.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Reason...

freebie design found here
by Giulia Manfredini of Giulia Punti Antichi
"Chicca's Christmas House"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas exchange

My EGA chapter had it's annual Christmas party and exchange today and a good time was had by all!  The lunch was Italian style and I'm pretty sure it will be weeks before I need to eat again.  Mama Mia, it was good!

The gift exchange theme this year was "containers".  You know how we love our stuff holders!  Here is the candy container I made out of an empty risotto rice container.  Considering it was risotto, I figured I get "bonus points" for it fitting right into our Italian theme.

How darn cute are those peppermint buttons in the corners? 
 For anyone interested, the design is from an old hardback Better Homes and Gardens Christmas book.  I used 18ct Aida, folded under a top and bottom seam allowance and just ironed it.  No need to stitch or fuse the edges since it is laced corset-style through eyelets on the backside.  The new owner can easily remove the band and replace it throughout the year.  Hope they like it! 

 I think I need to stitch another one to keep. 

Maybe next year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Random not so Mystery Give Away Winner is...

Big hugs to all commentors from November and December!  I shuffled all entrants off to the oracle and here are the results:

There were 37 items in your list.  Here they are in random order:

1. Vera
2. Sadie
3. Corinna

Congratulations Vera!  I know your Scottish heart will be a little warmer (if that is possible) with your tartan scissors cube close by.
Again, I've enjoyed these past few months of give-aways so much, I'm sure you will be seeing at least a few new give-aways in the New Year!
Be safe and warm dear friends!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

How many Ho's does it take to do Santa?

Sounds like the beginning to a very bad joke, huh? 

Well, actually, I kinda wish it was a joke.  Instead, it is a very real question that I've spent a good deal of time considering lately.  You see, I'm trying to figure how many "Ho Ho Hos" I would need to stitch on a band to go around this extremely cute little turkeyworked Santa in order to make a mattress style pin cushion ornament.    Wouldn't he be just adorable with a "Ho Ho Ho" band all the way around him?  Maybe a tassel at the bottom and a twisted cord hanger at the top?

Sounds simple enough, right? Measure the perimeter of your ornament, multiple by the count of your fabric, divide by 2 and there you go, right? One would think so.  BUT, just about then, I had a math flashback to 7th grade where we learned Pythagorean theorem or the rule of right angle triangles, you know, "A squared + B squared = C squared". 

Since the Jolly Ol' Elf was set up perfectly for a diamond shaped ornament, I said to myself, WAIT JUST A COTTON PICKIN MINUTE HERE.  I think I've seen this before on a Math Field Day test....from the tip of the ornament to the left most point is 1.5 inches, but that does not equate to 21 stitches on my 28 count fabric (1"=14, 1.5"=21).  NO SIREE BOB.  Let's see here, yep, looks like the math points to 16 stitches!  Okay, so 16 stitches per side, four sides, that makes 64 stitches.  So I need to chart a band, 64 stitches long, with Hos on the right and Hos on the left and an eyelet in the center for the twisted cord hanger.  Right?  Wrong.  I'm not stitching the Hos on the diagonal.  If I were stitching the Hos diagonally, that calculation would be right.  However, I'm stitching the Hos on the straight, so I need 6 inches of Hos altogether, which on 28 ct (over 2) amounts to 84 stitches or 42 to center for eyelet.  SO (shaking head).  How many Hos does it take to cover 40 or less stitches?  It depends on whether you're stitching big Hos or little Hos.  Big Hos can cover 8 to 10 stitches, while little Hos might just cover 7.  

The worst part about this whole thing is that as busy as the hubby and I have been lately, I haven't been able to sit down with pencil and paper and chart this out, so at night, instead of visions of sugarplums, you guessed it, I'm having visions of Hos!  What I know for sure is that I'll be lacing an 84 stitch-long band into a border of 64 backstitches around my Santa. 

How many Hos Santa will actually end up with is still a mystery, but the fewer, the better, (just ask Tiger).  Oh yes I did! 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

As good as done!

Awoke this morning to a coat of freshly fallen snow.  It was quiet beautiful.  But, like most Saturdays in December, I was rushing around and did not get to enjoy it for long.

Still sneaking in a stitch or two on my Autumn square whenever I can. I feel certain that I'll be putting the finishing stitches in this baby in the next 24 hours.  I CAN'T WAIT to get it to the framer!!!  She has some very interesting options already picked out for me to consider.

please click on pic for better view

Indigo Rose
with Splendor and Thread Gatherer silks on 32 ct. linen

And I'll leave you with a little Christmas cheer...

Hope you all are enjoying all the gifts of the season!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Slower than molasses in January

Both my Autumn square and the man-tastic workshop are inching closer to completion:

phone picture (again), better quality later...

As you can see, the offending yellow leaf has been frogged.  But, I swan, every time I go off the reservation and attempt to modify color schemes, projects take me twice as long as they normally should, which is forever and a day at my best rate!  Why must I fritz with perfectly good patterns?  Why?  Is it just me?  Do they make pills for this? 

Minor stiff neck has put an early end to my stitching tonight.  Bummer. 
Took two tablets and hoping for the best!  :o)