Monday, May 31, 2010

Caught! Red handed

Or, red throated, as the case may be...

And in a blink, he was back in the woods.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Morning Vista

from this morning's dog walk

As if the sun coming through the trees weren't enough, the scent of honeysuckle was intoxicating.  It reminded me of a really expensive perfume that can captivate you without overwhelming you. 

All this set to the enchanting morning songs of the birds of the woods.

I love the beauty of my simple surroundings.

Speaking of beauty, I filled the hummingbird feeder yesterday and this morning, while I was potting plants in the planter below the feeder, the most spectacular ruby-throated hummingbird came for a drink.  It was about a foot away from me.  I've seen many a hummingbird, but the coloration on this one was amazing.  It looked like it had been dipped in technocolor paints.  If I'm really patient and really lucky, I might be able to capture a snap of this little guy some Saturday morning when I can stake out the feeder.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Big Plans?  Not for me.  Just the usual plus a little extra.  The D.O.G. must get the B.A.T.H. today.  Oh what fun.  I wish I could begin to explain the ordeal in words colorful enough to paint an accurate picture, but I'm not that smart.  You'd just have to see it.  Needless to say, from the moment I start the bath water to the moment she's freed from the evil torture chamber that we call "the tub", it's an adventure we like to call the Big "B".  Or maybe that's just what I overheard her calling me after her last bath. 

Oh well.  What's a few extra chiropractor appointments?  Right?

I sincerely hope (and plan) to have the stitching finished on the GPA Christmas slipper set this weekend.  It is very close and I think a couple more hours will do it.  A small happy dance will be in order, but I'll save the full tilt 'get my groove on' happy dance for when the set looks like a slipper.  Going to swing in to Jo-Ann's today to see if they have any fabric that will match the Crescent Colors Belle Soie Cranberry and Collard Greens I stitched it with.

Other than that, all I can think about is the oil in the Gulf.  I can't stand the thoughts of what this disaster is doing to our planet, wildlife, eco-system and people of the Gulf region.  At this point, I'm praying for a miracle.  I'm heart sick over the whole thing.  Why no disaster plan?  Why so long? Why? Why?  Make it stop.  Please Lord, make it stop.

And on that depressing note, I bid you a fond three day weekend.  Let's all take a moment to remember the men and women who fought and continue to fight for freedom.  

Freedom is not Free.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Christmas Stitching

The 25th totally snuck up on me today.  But this evening, as I was busily and blissfully stitching away on PART 5, the FINAL part of my Christmas slipper set, it dawned on me -
- and I began humming "It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas.." 

Although there is only a tiny bit of actual stitching left to do, there is a METRIC TON of finishing to do before these parts will become the set.  I'm excited to start shopping for just the right fabrics for the slipper sole and lining.  I'm nervous to begin the construction.  I'm always one hand and three fingers short when it comes to finishing.

It's been a real motivator to have a friend working on this piece at the same time.  It also helps that said friend is a Fabulous Finisher.  While some people still call her by her first name, she also answers to Yoda.  (Now do you see the method to my madness?)  I love it when a plan comes together!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back from the Framer!

My Big Toe Designs

I am not the distressed frame kinda girl, but I L.O.V.E. this frame with this piece.  It must remind me of an ol' garden gate or something.  Regardless, this finish makes me smile.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My how time flies!

So here it is, nearly the end of May.  Hard to believe that June is right around the corner.  This year has really flown by.  The older I get, the more I say it and believe it.  I can already predict that this isn't going to be my most productive stitching year.  Obligations have been many and free time scarce.  With Share-A-Stitch (EGA Regional meeting) barely a month away, I'm getting excited again for another stitching get-away.  Although working in the bookstore will be like having a working vacation, I look forward to having Studio Time with Marion Scoular again.  If you enjoy stitching classes and have never had Marion for a teacher, you must try to do so before she retires.  She is an expert in so many counted thread techniques and simply a joy to be around! 

My intentions for the remainder of the year are to finish my GPA Christmas set, the black and white Promise Piece, all the favors for the chapter Christmas party and a Christmas exchange item.  If I can accomplish those four things, I'll feel good.  If I can squeeze in a couple of other pretties along the way, I'll feel GREAT!  My chapter has another show next year so I do need to crank a few things out worthy of putting on public exhibit.  I have no idea what those things might be though.  One thing's for sure, at my rate, I better get a move on!

Speaking of feeling great, I've recently made myself a couple of promises regarding my dietary choices and so far, I've lost 10 pounds.  I won't say I feel a great deal better than I did before, but it does feel great to see the scales move in the right direction.  Maybe I'll feel great after the next ten?  or the ten after that?  We'll see.  I do love eating healthfully.  It just takes time and planning. 

Hope you are enjoying a superb weekend wherever you are and find time to stitch!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Retreat Report (pictures added)

Nothing like a little three day stitching retreat to reset your compass. 

Amazingly enough, I was the first to arrive on Friday around noon.  After quickly unpacking and setting up my stitching area, I anxiously awaited my friends arrival.  It was not long before everyone began to stream in.  It is so much fun greeting each one as they come through the doors.  You'd think we only see each other twice a year!  Each and every one is happy, really happy, to be there and happy that you are there too!  It's a wonderful feeling to hug and be hugged, with such love behind each hug.  We are all drunk on joy juice just to be there.

After a quick trip to the antique shop and grocery store for supplies, I stitched all afternoon and evening on my Christmas slipper set.  Turned in early, around 1:00ish.  Sleep like a log.

Antique finds:  Fenton hobnail glassware and tatted edge Irish linen napkin

Saturday - up and at it fairly early, eager to get back on my slipper set.  It was a gorgeous morning followed by a perfect-weather day so I had to take a couple of healthy walks around the conference center lake with the camera or I might have gotten a little more stitching accomplished. 

Finished Part 3 of 5 and decided it was a good time to start my black and white Promise Piece.  Much to my dismay, when I opened the tube of black fabric and unrolled it, SOMEBODY had already been into it and I didn't have enough fabric to begin my piece.  Don't cry for me Argentina.  I was only slightly disappointed since I was in the mood to move on to Part 4 of my set.  I did manage to stitch a sample Ironwork motif on the remnant just to see how the white floche floss would get along with the Monoco black.  I like!

A stroke of luck hit my "Not-a-Box" when the extraordinary Miss Anna pulled out a piece of green marblized fabric that might even be more perfect than the multi-colored marblized fabric I bought for it. 

We traded half my multi-colored piece for half her green piece.  Now, we have options people!  Danger Danger.

We stitched into the wee hours and I nearly finished Part 4. 

Parts 1-4

A late night thunderstorm made for fabulous sleeping conditions.  Lights out around 2:45.  Again, I slept like a rock.

Sunday - enjoyed a lazy morning.  Cleaned up, checked out, ate lunch and said our goodbyes while slipping in those last few stitches.  We parted company around 3 pm, already looking forward to October.

We've decided that the only thing we were missing was a 'cabana boy' to fetch our drinks and snacks from the kitchen, massage our hands and necks, do our ironing, adjust the theromstat, and do the back stitching.  Maybe next year.

I feel relaxed, recharged and ready for the work week more stitching. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, hubby kept busy all weekend on a "little" tile repair in our shower. 


Hope you all had an equally rewarding weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Define "Retreat"

  • To withdraw or remove oneself from the ordinary surroundings
  • To sleep or not to sleep, whenever and as late as necessary
  • To stitch, non-stop or not at all
  • To relax
  • To breathe
  • To be
Since I'm not off vacationing in far flung places as I had originally planned to be this month (don't ask),

I've cleared my schedule and am heading North just a couple of hours to a guild sponsored three day weekend retreat.  It is not a class oriented retreat, like so many I've drooled over online.  It is however precisely what I need right now - an honest to goodness R.E.T.R.E.A.T, with emphasis on the 'treat'.  Just a bunch of us girls, doing what we do best when we gather together.  Need I say more?  (click on Retreat in the left sidebar to read more about this wonderful weekend with my stitching friends)

So, since I've given myself such short notice, I need to make my stitching selections quick.

I won't take any of the Christmas favors I've been working on since I don't want to spoil any surprises. 

I do think I will take my promise piece to start.  It's a very pretty blackwork (kind-of) piece called "Ironwork of New Orleans 1". 

Instead of stitching black on white though, I think I will try white on black fabric and see how that strikes me.  Last time I stitched on black I had to check into the Betty Ford clinic for the Stitching Insane for a month!  We'll see how long I'm able to hang with this one before I switch it to black on white.

I MUST work on my GPA Christmas Stitching set a bit because I really really want to finish this by Christmas this year.  Plus, it's been at the top of my WIP list for a looooonnnnnng time.  It's down right depressing to never see any movement on my WIPs in Progress list. 

It's just the most darling little slipper when it's all said and done.  When I just pulled it out to have a look at where I left off, I imaged I had much more done than I actually have done.  If only dream stitching could be translated into real life!

It's my custom to work on a peacock at retreat on Saturday but I'm going to have to break with tradition this year.  These two pieces alone will give me hours of stitching pleasure and if I'm a good girl, I could actually bring the Christmas set home ready to be assembled!  Wouldn't that be exciting!

I think I'll take 'The Box That Is Not A Box' and my sunroom pillows to-be, just so I can talk about them. Maybe one of the ladies will have an idea or two for me. 

Until next time friends, here's hoping you are loving your current project and planning your next.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mothers Day Weekend

Checking in real quick to say hi.  Life has been tremendously busy and this week will be no different.  On the stitching front I'm working on favors for the chapter Christmas party.  I've had several various ideas but haven't hit gold yet.  The favor I'm working on right now might be The One.  It's just a little time consuming. 

Today, I'm off to buy paint and flowers.  I've got a tiny bit of touch up painting to do around the house and must replace the weeds in my flower boxes with something cheerful.  Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I'll spend most of it with my MIL.  Then I'll visit the cemetary and my Dad.

Obviously there won't be any time for stitching this weekend but maybe I can squeeze in a few hours during the upcoming week.

Have a great weekend friends!