Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September Wrap-Up and some comment replies (edited)

(the following post was edited after I realized I had apparently been sleep-typing when I originally wrote it.  Sorry ladies.  I'll try harder next time!)

Good evening friends!  I'm in such a great mood since my horrible work situation has resolved itself. didn't actually resolve itself, but now that it's O.V.E.R., my creative juices have been in overdrive.  I'm telling you this so I will be extra mindful to enjoy every minute of the office between now and the next major change.

Does that happen to you?  If your creative power is suppressed for any length of time, does it come back with a vengence?  Mine has.  Yay!

For starters, let's talk about a couple of comments from recent posts.  In all honesty, I almost wet myself when I read Giulia's comment about my her set.  Seriously?!  Giulia, as in the G in GPA, took the time to compliment my work of her design?  Shut. Up.  Okay, so maybe I'm a little star-stuck. Sue me.

I triple-love reading comments from everyone!  It probably is true of all bloggers, but knowing someone has taken time out of their day to share a little friendship/sunshine with me is just like unwrapping a wonderful, warm, fuzzy gift, that is the perfect fit.  :-)  Thank you all for dropping me a line!  Please come again soon.

Moving Along -

Anonymous W (maybe Wendy in VA?) wanted to know more about my tassels.  Here's the secret: 

A good ol' (unused) toothbrush makes all the difference in the world!  You can see from the fuzz that mine is about ready for retirement.  After you make your tassel, you brush, brush, brush the skirt until all the strands are separated.  It is time consuming, but close your eyes and try to pretent that you are 10 again and Barbie has been driving that convertible without a hat and desperately needs all the tangles brushed out of her golden tresses. Then you are going to trim, trim, trim, until the bottom is nice and even.  I like to use a pair of long skinny scissors for the majority of the trimming. (don't know what they are called but they remind me of hair dressers sheers).  Then, when you are getting really close to having it the way you want it, grab your best embroidery scissors and make sure every thread is trimmed.  No matter how well you trim the tassel skirt the first time around, you are going to want to brush and trim your tassel a few times before calling it 'done'.  They will look fuller if you start by brushing the inner most strands first.

I've learned that for my taste, some of my older tassels were simply too skimpy so now I make sure I use enough thread for my tassels to be nice and plump, like me!

I like to make my tassels with the cording coming from the center of the top knot instead of coming out of either side, but I have made them about every whichy way.  These "flop-over" black tassels were fun and easy.  Just lay a skien of floss across a closure, like a tassel, remove paper wrappers and wrap the neck.  Easy peasy.

And as Forrest would say, "that's all I know about that".

Jeanine in Canada writes the Italian Needlework blog.  She is probably, at least partially, to blame for the sad shape of my checkbook lately.  Ms. Jeanine also attended National seminar earlier this month and I was a delighted to meet her in person.  Jeanine asked me to share where my newly acquired Italian stuff will live.   I brought home several pieces of woven linens and a few painted beads.  Until I have a little more time to photograph the other things, I'll show you the largest piece now.

Multi-color table runner:

My newest arrival is the small multi-color table scarf situated between the two lady chairs in the "Drawing Room".

I'd love to tell you more, but I keep falling asleep.  Logging off friends.  More later!

Sunset, 9/29/2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Christmas Stitching

Happy September 25th!  I'm overjoyed to be sharing my progress on my GPA Christmas sewing set with you today (please click on pic):

design by: Giulia Punti Antichi
cross stitch in Belle Soie silk: Cranberry and Collard Greens
tassels and cords in various shades of olive and burgundy DMC and Anchor cotton floss
thread board by Bloom Woodworks

That's the scissors case on the left, the thread keeper in the center and scissors fob on the right.  Since taking this photo, I've added the rouched ribbon to the center of the thread board for holding a thimble, made and attached the tassel to the scissors case and have only a small bit of construction left to do on the slipper itself.


I learned something very interesting about finishing from Carolyn Standing Webb at National.  Something I never expected to learn.  I learned that I can get paralyzed by the FEAR FACTOR.  I will allow projects to linger in purgatory (stitched but not finished) much longer than necessary because I'm afraid of screwing it up.  She had a very carefree, cavalier approach to her finishing and I was shocked.  She produces some of the most beautiful smalls and 3D pieces I've ever seen.  I imagined that she painstakingly slaved over the construction of her pieces with tweezers and a microscope, all while wearing white gloves.  WRONG!  CSW is an excellent finisher (and designer) and I'll do well to coming close to finishing things as beautifully as she does but I'll never again fret over, "but what if I ruin it"?  Well then, you'll either stitch another one or throw it in the garbage!  Thank you Carolyn for teaching me to Get over it and Get ON WITH IT.

I also (re)learned the importance of trial and error.  So many times I'll decide not to bring home that button or ribbon because I'm not sure it's the right size or color only to return home to find that it would have been fine.  Returning to the store days later to find the button or ribbon gone.   If I'd only bought the thing and then returned it later if it didn't work out.  I'm also guilty of staring at a display of thread for hours trying to decide which colors would be "perfect".  WHO CARES?  Just pick a starting point and jump in.  If you hate it, pick other colors and do another one!

The pile of thread I bought to find the right shades of burgundy and olive green was impressive!  If fact, Ken and Barbie are planning an expedition to summit it's peak next summer.

I didn't even bother writing down which greens and which reds ended up being used in my tassels and cords.  They are truly unique, one of a kind, never to be reproduced tassels.  Now, do I still fear that I'll regret that decision someday?  Like when the dog decides to chew a tassel off something?  Absolutely.  But, for now, I'm thrilled to be getting so close to completing the whole set.

Christmas will indeed come early if I can finish the slipper today.  I'm sure you'll hear a big WOO-HOO if I do!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Edgar's Giveaway and Moon Shots

By now, everyone may know about the famous Birthday Hobbitt give-away at Edgar's place, but just in case, do yourself a favor and click HERE to throw your name in the hat.  You'll be glad you did.  Don't forget to wish him a happy birthday!

In hopes of getting one half decent full moon photo last night, I stayed up way past my bedtime and took about 100 shots.  These two are okay for video, but in print, not so much:

September 23, 2010

I must read and learn more about my camera before the next full moon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week in Review

Wow, what a week!   I can't believe it was a week yesterday that I arrived back home from San Francisco.  My o my how time gets away from me.

Besides working all week, I attended chapter meeting on Monday night and was reminded that I had not posted my little airplane Assisi finish here. 

It's not much to write home about (is this all I could get stitched on a cross-country flight?  I must be out of shape!).  I thought it might make a cute soft ruler/floss tag or maybe even an envelope front for some mail art...  I stitched it with the new Florimell silk thread from Gloriana which I talked about in my last post.  I can not overstate how fantabuloso this thread is.  It goes for about $1/yard.  The color above is Autumn Arbor and is so much prettier in real life.  Below is Poinsettia and Old Gold.

o yes they are that gorgeous!  And you should feel them!

Wednesday was my 'official' birthday except I tend to celebrate all month long.  (Don't cha know about half the stuff I bought in San Francisco was 'for my birthday'!)  Hubby, sis and faa-ther were so generous and thoughtful.  Hubs sent flowers to work and had flowers at home, took me to my favorite local restaurant for dinner, gave me a new filter for my new camera (which was an 'early' birthday present from him last month), scored some of those wonderful Anniversary beans from Bucky's (aka Starbucks), brought home an honest-to-goodness birthday cake, and gave me one of the sweetest cards ever!  Sis and Dad put together an enormous gift box o'camera paraphernalia for me.  I can't wait to use the mono-pod, case, album,  

Really, I was totally spoiled this year.  :-D

And rounding out the week, my EGA chapter hosted its big fund raising event last night, the Basket BINGO! 

I baked peanut butter blossom cookies for the baked goods sale and MAN did they smell good.  I was rushing around and forgot to save any for home, so I couldn't tell you how they turned out..  But, since they sold out, I guess they tasted ok.  It felt good to be cooking in my kitchen again after being away from it for awhile.  I also had some help in the kitchen from Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley is my XSDN*, Hannah Faith's 3rd grade project currently.  She sent Flat Stanley to me from her school in Texas so he could have adventures with me here in WV and then return with his stories to TX.  He and I grabbed a venti early Saturday morning,

then dashed off to the grocery for cookie supplies,

retuned home to whip up a few batches,

and then headed to BINGO. 

He did a great job helping me play my cards, but sadly, no BINGOs for me all night!  I did however win a nice doorprize and The Sister won 4 times (2 prizes for herself and 2 for others from her workplace).  She was born under a lucky star.

After church today, I think I'll take Flat Stanley to the local no-kill animal shelter so he can pick out a Flat Spot.  I'm sure my XSDN won't mind if Stanley comes back to TX with a best friend! 

I promise to post a few shots of my stash experience from National next time.  Airline luggage weight limits rained on my bookstore parade, but I was pleased with the few books I did bring home. 

Until then friends, I hope you are stitching as much as your heart desires.


*XSDN = extra special darling niece

Sunday, September 12, 2010

National Seminar Report

What an amazing whirlwind trip to the enchanted City by the Bay I've enjoyed this past week!  Like most vacations, it was just too short and long overdue.  The weather was perfect and I mean perfect.  Such a refreshing change from the oppressive heat and humidity of the East.

The Seminar committee put on an amazing week of classes and activities which kept us all hopping.  I would have loved to have spent another week traipsing around the Bay, doing all the wonderful things there are to do, but alas, the week zoomed by and just as soon as I adjusted to the three hour time change, it was time to come home.  Hubby and I will definitely return to this region some day in order to take in all the city has to offer.    

My roommate/travel buddy/stitching sponsor and I rode a cable car down past Pier 39 to Ghirardelli Square on Sunday to take tea at the Crown and Crumpet.

The finger sandwiches, crumpets, scones and sweets really hit the spot. If you click on the link above, you'll see the actual table where we had our tea.   Such a charming little place.

Our hotel was well equipted to handle large conventions and could not have been more accommodating.  I loved the doormen in their top hats and coats.  So dapper!

My two classes were very different but good all the same.  I love Marsha P. Gomola.  She's a quirky little thing, but exceedingly patient, friendly, organized, professional and her love of teaching comes through in her classes.  Even though I didn't get very far with my Acorn Accessories stumpwork set (because somebody had the hairbrain idea to modify the charted acorn woodpecker to more resemble a downy woodpecker), I enjoyed every minute of her two day class.  I especially enjoyed meeting Anne, the creator of the fabulous Gloriana threads who was also a student in Marsha's class.  Anne has recently acquired the right from a famous French silk thread maker to apply her overdyes to their silk thread.  The combination is to die for!  Anne has an infectious enthusiasm and was a delight to be around.  She even asked me to suggest a name for a new blue.  Yes, I almost squealed.  Without much thought, I suggested Federal Blue.  Watch for it in a LNS near you.   And while she was showing me all of her newest color 'experiments' (seriously, I could have died on the spot!), I urged (okay, begged) her to create a signature Gloriana color, perhaps a delicious red.  I can't wait to get my hands on more of the Florimel silk she's just produced.  It's better than butter.

Merchandise Day on Wednesday was a lot smaller than I expected it to be, but the Italians came with their glorious woven linens, Assisi embroidery and Deruta beads.

So, I was happy! 

My dear friend and mentor Marion Scoular does not normally travel with a companion, so I volunteered to help with her table on Wednesday.  It pleases me to no end that she was so swamped that it took me and another helper working as fast as we could to keep up with all her customers.  Marion is beloved by needlewomen everywhere!  I will forever be grateful to EGA for giving me the opportunity to meet her and study needlework under her mentoring.

My Thursday-Friday Finishing Class was just what I needed to sit down and go through the many pages of finishing instructions for the GPA Christmas Sewing set.  I can't say that I learned anything from the class but it did renew my enthusiasm for finishing and bolster my confidence in my own finishing skills.  I WILL have the most precious Christmas sewing slipper set put together by the end of this month!   :-)

And, that is that.  A good time was had by all.  The flight home was just long enough for me to finish a small Assisi piece.  Some of the most amazing cloud formations welcomed us into Atlanta.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

This is what I found upon my dog walk this morning.  Looks official to me.  Fall is here.

This upcoming week will be a busy one with chapter meeting on Monday, birthday on Wednesday and big fundraising event on Saturday, but I can honestly say that I feel refreshed and renewed and ready! 

What a difference a week makes!

Have a great one friends, wherever you are.