Sunday, June 27, 2010

Share-A-Stitch report

I'm freshly home from another wonderful Share-A-Stitch, a regional meeting of the Embroiderers' Guild of America.  My home state sponsored this years meeting and I must say, the short commute was refreshing!  Sister stitchers came from as far away as Texas and Massachusetts to participate in the meeting.   We were especially delighted to have our National President in attendance and to be able to have the National tapestry on display during the four day pow-wow.  Please visit click on "National tapestry" (above) to read more about this amazing work of art.

click to enlarge photo

I'm very proud of both of the chapters I belong to for working so hard to help the meeting run smoothly and be a success.  I enjoyed volunteering in several areas such as the registration desk, bag check, the bookstore:

and the boutique:

The bookstore (provided by Ruth Kerns Books) and boutique are two of my favorite things about EGA meetings.   Helping set up these areas is like being a kid in a candy store handed the keys to the candy store.  I exercised a good measure of self control but didn't do too shabby either:

Two books, one pattern, several linen packs, two needle cases and some silk.  Not bad, not bad at all.

My real splurge was this shaker sewing basket from the Friday night event we fondly call "Merchandise Night":

I could not resist the combination of the bird's eye maple and rich walnut again this year.  I resisted it last year, but I lost the battle this year.  :-)

All the goodies aside, the true purpose of these gatherings is needlework education.  I can not say enough good things about the class offerings, faculty and selection committee.  The variety of techniques, expertise levels, and overall 'do-ability' of all the classes was carefully thought out.  Once again, I enjoyed three days of Studio Time with Marion Scoular. 

What a joy.

We also were treated to a lecture on Thursday evening by Mr. Doug Kreinik of Kreinik threads.  What a wealth of information he is!  It was fascinating (and entertaining) listening to the history and evolution of his family business.  And, the models he brought for show and tell, oh MY!  Be on the look out for the new holographic thread.  They are dazzling!

Before calling it a weekend, we enjoyed a delicious banquet on Saturday evening complete with a dessert table to die for.  I must have been too busy eating to take a pic of the offerings.  You'll just have to trust me on that.  Sorry.

And to top it all off, I finished all the stitching on my Christmas exchange project.  Now, I only need to add the beads and finish-finish it. 

What more can a girl ask for? 

If anything you've read here has peaked your interest in EGA membership, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hop, Skip and Jump

Yesterday, we hopped from Father's Day to Wedding Anniversary and First Day of Summer. 

thank you sweetheart, they are gorgeous!

Today we are skipping into Share-A-Stitch. And right after SAS, we are jumping straight on top of Sis and Hubby birthdays.  

It's hard to believe that SAS is HERE!  We've been talking about it and planning for it for over a year now and before we knew it, WHAM-O, it's here.  I can't wait to see all my stitching sisters from "down South".  Safe travels ladies!

While I'm trying to soak up and enjoy every moment of this celebratory season, I'm so scatter brained right now I'm pretty sure I passed myself coming, or was I going?  No matter.  Two 'pirin' tablets and I'll be fine.  I am enjoying all the activity, especially the visiting family.  It's been too long since their last visit. 

Tops on my "What I'm not looking forward to List":  laundry and packing tonight.

I'll be back next week (hopefully) with some SAS photos to share.

Have a great week friends!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

Today, I celebrate my Dad. 

Picking out just the right Father's Day card has always been tricky for him because he actually reads them and will roll his eyes at me if it's too 'sticky sweet'.  He is an incredible man who has taught me so much, but most of what he has taught me, he'll never know.  I've never, never, not even a minute, questioned whether he loved me or doubted that he would lay down his life for me or my sister, but he didn't utter the words "I love you" until I was about to go off to college.  He tells me now every time I talk to him.  He's a stoic, strong, old-school, master-sargent kind of man.  Growing up in his house, we weren't molly-coddled.  There was no whining or begging or hissy fits allowed.  If we did venture out on a limb and let's say for example, decide crying would help convince him to change the channel from Hee-Haw to ANYTHING else, he'd just laugh and tell us to dry up the water works.  Of course, these were the days of the single tv household.  And, we were under no illusions about who ruled the program selection.  That was also before remote controls, so yes, we also had to remain in the room regardless of what he was watching just in case he needed us to change the channel.  Those were the days, weren't they?

While it was nearly impossible for him to compliment us directly, all his co-workers and friends knew about our every accomplishment.  Regardless of the fact that he could not express his feelings, I felt his love and pride in me and that was really enough.  As I grew taller, stonger and smarter, he leaned on me as much as I leaned on him.  After he left the mines, he became a master machinist but only had a sixth grade education, at best.  So I taught him about the important of Pi and he helped me build the best Science Fair projects you've ever seen.  I read and interpreted more operational guides for highly specialized machinery than I care to remember. 

We forged a strong bond and loved and respected each other for all our strengths and weakness combined.  Did he hold my hand and let me cry when a boy broke my heart?  No.  Did he tell me it was ok if I made bad grades, it was only important that I tried my best?  No.  Was he at every basketball game, track meet and volleyball tournament?  No.  Did he bail me out of trouble?  No.  Did he teach me exactly what I needed to know about the real world, discipline, integrity, consequences, endurance, real love, perseverance, dedication, how to have fun and how whiny little pouty girls who didn't strive for excellence would never achieve their goals or be happy?  Yes, a million times over.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Thank you Dad.  I love you!

Hallmark doesn't make that card yet.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Practically a finish..

Can't really call this a finish, yet, but it is as good as done.  Just a few more red stitches in the upper right and it will be ready for the edge binding (simple whipped edge to prevent fraying).  While this motif would make a gorgeous biscornu, or ornament, or needlebook, I'm going to shock all my friends and family and actually do what what suggested: it will soon be a mini-notebook cover. 

My cardstock is already folded, cut and ready to fill the stitched cover.  As a kid, I can't tell you the hours I spent and the enjoyment I found folding, fitting and personalizing my text book covers.  Yes, I was strange even then.  This little education project was not only fun to stitch but it also brought back found memories of book covers long forgotten.  Thank you Liz!  The "World Tour" you've taken the members of TANA on has been just wonderful!  I hate to see it come to an end.

Thanks to all for your kind words about the table hubby built for my sunroom.  I've been thoroughly enjoying the room and birdwatching (between the hours of 6:30 and 6:45 am).  This week, at the feeder:

Red bellied Woodpecker

Sorry for the blurry photo - he was in a hurry to leave and I was in a hurry to snap a shot of him.  Actually, I was hoping to video him.  About 5 seconds earlier, he was standing on the railing, stretching his ginormous tongue (YES, TONGUE!) into the holes of the hummingbird feeder.  I don't think I'd ever thought about birds having tongues, let alone birds being able to stick out their tongues, until I witnessed this spectacle.  And folks, when I say huge, I'm telling you, this bird must be kin to Gene Simmons.  So, in order to keep the woodpecker from drinking all the hummingbird syrup, I found a recipe just for him.  If you enjoy feeding the birds too, you might want to try this "Heat Resistant" powerbar bird food recipe.  It probably took me 5-7 minutes to make, including the time to gather ingredients.

1 cup solid Crisco or lard
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chucky)
2 cups Quick Oats (not instant)
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup white flour
possible extras: raisins, chopped peanuts, sunflower seeds

Melt the first two ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until completely melted.  Mix all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.  Add liquid mixture to mixing bowl.  Stir well.  If necessary, add another 1/2 cup of flour to achieve fairly dry consistency.  Once combined, press mixture into small, empty margarine tubs (only 1/2 or 1/3 full) or mini-loaf pans.  Cover with foil and freeze.  When ready to use, slice to fit your suet feeder, or simply set a small amount out in an open area for the birds to enjoy. 

Remember:  Never draw birds to areas where cats are capable of ambushing them.  It's just not nice. 

Lastly, hubby and I are gearing up for a big week.  I'll celebrate Father's Day on Saturday with my Dad.  Two of hubby's three boys are coming in for a visit and one is bringing his new lady friend to meet us!  We are very excited about this development.  I'll be the first to admit, I'm past ready for a female addition (or two) to the clan.  And, on Monday, hubby and I celebrate another wedding anniversary.  Then!  next Wednesday-Sunday, I'm off to participate in EGA's Tennessee Valley Region, Share-A-Stitch.  Rounding out the month are the two cherries on the June cake: sis and hubby birthdays.  Any gift suggestions?  I'm reaching.

While all this activity is fun and exciting, it can also be a bit exhausting.  I'm looking forward to all of it and will do my best to savor every moment. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 11, 2010

One less mess

Hubby surprised me tonight with the sun room table he made for me.  It is the First Official product of the man-cave.

I'm super happy with it.  He made it exactly the right height, width and length!  If it had been an inch bigger, in any direction, it would not have fit in the space between the windows and sectional.  We were both holding our breath as we maneuvered it into position. 

The dual wood tones are beautiful together.  He estimates it took him about 50 hours from start to finish!  I can see many hours of tea sipping, bird watching, feet propping, and cat napping in my future.  The hummingbird feeder is hanging just feet away.  And believe you me, I'd much rather be enjoying nature from air-conditioned comfort than sitting out in steamy, sauna-like conditions tonight.

The table's lower shelf (and the trailing ivy) enables me to hide a multitude of miscellaneous crapola underneath.  It's truly a great feeling to finally have this little room put back together.  The room has always been a great little nook of the house, but now it's neat, orderly and has a little 'secret garden' feel to it.

Hip Hip Horray, Hubby!

Now, whenever my finishing fairy gets around to making those Sekas pillows for me, it will be ALL done!

Happy Weekend Friends  :-D

Thursday, June 10, 2010

WIP Update

Helloooooo Stitch fans!  Even though I don't have much to show, I thought it was high time I posted a stitching update.

The section at the bottom is in it's 4th lifecycle.  First time around, I thought floche would be perfect.  Sadly, the more I stitched, the less perfect it became.  A little hairy, in fact.  Insert frogs.
Next, I was SURE silk would be just the ticket.  Single strand?  Nope, too thin.  Frogtown here I come, again. 

Two strands?  Nope, too thick.  Super-Frog. 

What about just plain ol' DMC?  Could it be too simple to be right?  Yep.  Not the look I was going for.   Whole lottafroggin' goin' on.

Geesh I tell ya.  Nobody can belabor a thread choice like I can.  Imagine if I was trying to pick a color!

Lucky Bamboo to the rescue:

You really can't see the difference here, but the straight row up the right is in Mandarin floss and I LOVE IT!  Really!  Now, just one more exhilarating round of 'rippit' and I'll be on my way.

Also on the stitchy front, I've selected my Christmas exchange project and have put the first stitches in it.  No pics until after the Christmas party though!

Lastly, at our last chapter meeting, the program was on Hmong textile art.  Being a huge fan of folk art, I was totally into it and can't wait to get the little needle book stitched up.   

This message has been brought to you by the finest beans on Earth:

Starbuck's calls this their Anniversary Blend.  I call it sublime.  It's also my last bag.  You see, they only sell this blend in the fall.  Before they run out, I buy as much as I can carry and it usually lasts me most of the year.  Now, it's all but gone.  :o(

I'll be counting the days until we can be together again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flight of the Hummingbird (video)

Welcome Back Friends!

Lavender Honey

You're just in time. Won't you join us?

We're justing hanging out, waiting on the wing'd ones.

Oh LOOK! There's one now!

(click arrow above to play video)

June Madness begins

June is the craziest month of the year for family events.  There is Father's Day, Wedding Anniversary, Sister Birthday, and Hubby Birthday.  We begin this weekend with Sister Birthday celebrations although her actual birthday isn't until much later this month.  We are celebrating early because I'll be attending Share-A-Stitch out of town around the time of her actual birthday.   

We'll be hosting out of town family visitors twice this month and I always look forward to that.  Truthfully, I love having a house full of family.  It's great fun planning special celebration menus, using the "good stuff", sharing happy times together and making new memories, even if I'm dog tired when everyone goes home.

It's always a fun month but so action packed!  It feels like a sprint and a marathon, rolled into one.  Fourth of July marks the slow down of the summer festivities around here and I know it will be here in two blinks.  I can hear the parade bands warming up now!

Enjoy your weekend friends!  Monday will be here all too soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy

And the gang's all here.  I finished the fifth part of the GPA sewing set on Memorial Day.  If you squint and use your imagination, you can see (clockwise from lower left) the scissors fob, the slipper top, the slipper bottom, the scissors case front and the little weird strip that goes down the center of the mini thread keeper, which fits into the slipper.

With a wave of my magic wand, said parts will become:

I would be more excited but........I started reading the finishing instructions earlier tonight.
Ay caramba!
I'm sure (wink wink) it will be MUCH easier than it sounds.
Dios Mio!
  (Somebody remind me to double up on the therapy.)

A couple of you have asked about the Garage Majal.  I'm happy to report that all constuction is complete, the fridge is cold, the tv is large, machinery is up and running and hubby is a happy man. 

Pretty much exactly like I said it would look:

And lastly, the shower is water-tight again. :-)

Like I said, Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Life is good.