Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vay-cay wrap-up (photo heavy)


Well friends, our week in sunny Las Vegas is rapidly coming to a close but hubby and I have had a marvelous time.  The weather has been fabulous (for me).  Most everyone else seems to be freezing to death but high 60s and low 70s feels like Paradise to me...

The hotel is amazing.  I highly recommend staying at the Venetian / Palazzo if you are planning a trip to Sin City anytime soon.  Although they do not have an "All you can eat buffet" here, the food is very reasonably priced and prepared to perfection. 

Exhibit A:

salmon piccata    (so good, I ordered it twice!)
at Grand Lux Cafe, Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas

hubby's breakfast sandwich  -  YUM!
at Grand Lux Cafe, Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas

real gelato!

The interior design and decor is like nothing I've seen outside of the Papal apartments at the Vatican.  I mean, just imagine the Ritzy-est of the Titzy-est and you'll be in the right zip code.  Gold plate that and you'll be in the right ball park.  Throw in more Italian marble, mosaics and hand painted murals and you'll have the right pew.  Then sprinkle with fairy dust.  It's dazzling. 

Exhibit B:

just a random hallway from the main entrance to the casino area

the rotunda

ceiling of the main entrance area
(sorry for the blurry shot - I was trying not to gawk)

Grand Canal and gondola rides - on the 2nd floor  - hear that?  2nd floor..
and this canal, it goes for a long, long way...

your view onto "St Mark's Square" as you top the escalator from lower level
this area connects the two hotel properties (Venetian and Palazzo)
encircled with bistros and boutiques

Oh, did I mention the shopping?  Yeah - they got some stuff...

the "Principessa"

for him, for Carnivale

for her, for Carnivale

Faberge style eggs and boxes

Etc., etc., etc., etc.

They do this all while being very welcoming (no matter what you happen to be wearing).  The staff is always busy cleaning everything.  The guest services people are here to make your stay the best experience it can possibly be.  They seem to delight in pleasing you..  Seriously...  It just sparkles and shines and smells like uber-rich Italians.


In addition, the health club (Canyon Ranch) is like nothing I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of health clubs.  This one takes the cake.  Forget that the equipment is plentiful, and so state-of-the-art that it will be years before I ever see another treadmill like the one I've fallen in love with.  Forget that they have Smoothie Happy Hour from 7-9am.  Forget that they have 3 very nice restaurants, in the health club, that serve fresh, organic, "affordable yet artistic" health food all day everyday.  Forget that they have several friendly exercise physiologists just walking around, looking to talk to you and advise you about anything you want to ask about, for free...without appointment.  Several boutiques full of cute workout gear.   Shoe store...  Salon...  Forget all that. 

I want to talk about the hallway you walk down to get to the 'big gym'.  This hallway is long and windy.  It is broken up into several brightly painted corridors lit with these ethereal light towers and simply decorated with amazing art here and there.  The colors are so vivid and the lights are so ethereal, it has captivated me.

lime green hallway

 turquoise corridor with peacock feathers photo

magenta corridor with black and white triptych 

white corridor with waterfall photo

art in lime green corridor

There are more color segments, but I was trying to not be kicked out.. If you can't tell, I'm in love with this hallway.

I told hubby that this hallway was surely exactly like what my "tunnel of light" to heaven will be.  I wish I knew if the colors corresponded to 'chakras' or whatever..  I don't know about that stuff, but this hallway rates 5 stars in my book of Cool Stuff.

Okay - enough about the hotel.  We also took in some great exhibits and shows, like:

Needless to say, the week has flown by and we'll be home quicker than I can lose $20 at the roulette table.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week and are looking forward to Thanksgiving next week.  I know I am!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

November??? Really???


Good Saturday Morning to you Friends!

Despite my best intentions, I have been neglecting this here lil blog o'mine but not for no good reason.  It's FALL, which means I've been out stomping thru the woods taking a few foliage pics, spending copious amounts of time decorating and re-organizing everything that isn't nailed down, and more general futzing around than any one person should be allowed to futz.. 

  dining table in her fall colours

Even though I'm closing in on finishing this teacup coaster, it has taken a back seat to other projects lately:

Royal Hunting Stewart tartan plaid teacup coaster

I've even done a bit of sewing on the electrified sewing machine (insert prayer of mercy here)..

new draft dodger for sun room

But if I am 100% honest, I'll tell you that the past few months have been spent trying to recover from losing Carmen.  Hubby and I have both busied ourselves with 'tasks' so as not to have to sit still for too long.  It's been a productive time, but I can't say that either of us were actually doing any 'healing' until this little thing just started showing up at our house about a month ago:

Her real family lives not far from here and keep coming to pick her up, but she keeps coming back.  She really likes Hubby, whom she calls "Bob".  His name isn't Bob, but her name isn't Kitty Sox either.. so I guess everyone is even... Even though Sox and her real family are moving out of state today, she was a sweetie girl to have around for a month and I do believe she has opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a 'cat person'..  (and as I utter the words, I can hear all my dog friends gasping)..
Hubby and I are off on a short vay-cay today (to sunny Las Vegas Nevada) but I'll pop back in whenever possible to check on all of you.  Thanks again for all the sweet emails, cards and messages about Carmen.  It's been a tough few months, but I think we are about to come out of it. 
Have a great weekend friends,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Like sands through the hourglass


Hello Friends! 

Long time, no blog.  I can't believe it's almost been a month since my last post, but you know how it goes.. Because there are so many fall activities that I deeply enjoy and look forward to each year, I stay pretty busy and I haven't mastered blogging on the go yet, so, yes, I've been a neglectful mother to my little corner of the web, but I will try to do better this month.

First, I have a bit more progress to share on the tartan plaid coaster (last seen as a circle - now on it's way to being an octagon). 

I won't even get into the amount of time I have spent ripping out and re-stitching this sucker.  Nope.  Not going to go there because, I want to like this puppy when it is finished.  I am praying for amnesia..  Let it suffice to say that this will be my last "irregular" tartan - ever!  I do however hope to play with the technique sometime in the future (distant future...)  :-)

After really giving the finishing technique a lot of thought, I decided that it would be much easier to work the edge if it had straights, not curves, so I converted it from being circular in shape to being octagonal.  Well, as you can see, I'm still in the middle of converting.  All of the horizontal rows are finished and about half of the verticals are in.  Since the rows get shorter as you approach the perimeter, I feel like I'm closing it on it, but then it seems that every time I say that, two weeks go by and it looks exactly the same as it did two weeks ago.  At any rate, I am finally pleased with the overall plan (size, shape, colors, finishing) so I suppose my OCD flair up should be subsiding any minute now.  :-)  We can only hope!

Last weekend, I spent three lovely stitch-filled days with my EGA friends at a nearby conference center for our annual fall retreat. 

turquoise and lime green quilt

As always, the weekend flew by in a flash and a good time was had by all. 

sweet little acorn fob on 40 ct. silk gauze

cross stitched pumpkin sampler

I get soooo A.D.D. when I see all the lovely things the ladies bring to work on.  I want to do all of it!!! 

## ## ##

Fall has really settled in here in my neck of the woods and I am loving every minute of it.  The birds are so fun to watch this time of year.  The house is bathed in her fall finery, and I've pulled out all my favorite autumnal recipes.  If I'm lucky, I'll get my first apple crisp of the season in the oven today.

Now, I'm off to errand-land. 

Have a great weekend friends!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tartan progress..


Two words describe my tartan plaid progress:  SLOW GOING

Stewart Hunting plaid needlepoint coaster
designed for Scottish teacup & saucer

If I hadn't convinced myself that the charting of the plaid was the ONLY hard part of this project, I probably would have approached the actually stitching more mindfully, BUT, me being me, whenever I've had two spare minutes, I grab the stretcher bars, glance at my notes, rip off some thread and start a new line of color.  It pains me to admit that on more than one occasion, okay two occasions, maybe three occasions, okay, actually four times I've discovered that I didn't follow my notes and had to take out several rows of stitches, each time.  So, I'd be much further along if I would simply force myself to slow down, relax, look at my notes/chart for more than 0.25 seconds before I start a new line of stitching.  I can be a real idi-o-TA, sometimes!  Mom would have said, no dear, just pig-headed.  :-)

It is an interesting plaid, if you ask me, because it is irregular (like someone else I know, like, really really well).  I've learned a lot about plaids since I started my research for this project (check out The Scottish Registry of Tartans if you too have ever had the desire to learn more about them), but I won't bore you with the "clan, set and pivot points" stuff..  I will tell you that when I tested my 7th grade algebra memory and figured the area of the circle in order to discover the number of stitches the coaster would contain upon completion, I about passed out. 

Area of a circle = pi x radius squared, or 3.14159 x (63 x 63) = 12,469

Seriously!  12,469 stitches to fill a 7" circle on 18 count canvas.

To most of you, that may not be a big deal, but it kinda rocked me!  I then started thinking about the hours it would take for me to do 12,469 stitches, and what ELSE I might do with said hours versus making a silly coaster for a teacup.  Then, I shook it off, grabbed my canvas, glanced at my pattern and whipped out another row..

Here's hoping you are having a wonderful early Autumn (or early Spring) week, wherever you are!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the ranch..


And we're back!  It's hard for me to believe that it was a full week ago that we left for Colorado to spend some much needed down time with hubby's brother and SIL.  It went by in a flash!  I'm beginning to believe I need ten days or two weeks away from the office to really relax, but... those kinds of "extended" vacations are definitely not the norm for us.

Here's a quick (photo heavy) glimpse of our week:

River Watching
(where I sat and stitched for many wonderful hours):


This shot was taken from the covered swing where I enjoyed the majority of each day.  The days were long and warm but the breeze was constant and made it feel like heaven on Earth.

Arkansas River
I only worked on this one project (tartan plaid coaster) all week, but to be honest, although I had big plans to finish this while we were away, I (obviously) didn't power stitch at all. 

I took the camera on long walks most mornings and evenings, enjoyed some local sightseeing, antiquing, bird watching, feeding the neighbor's horses, and just plain ol' resting.

Hubby did a lot of this:

The highlight of hubby's week:

19" (maybe 20") brown trout

He wasn't the only one fishing though:

Holy Wing Span, Batman!
Does he look hungry, or is it just me? 

As you may already know, I'm a bird nerd.  I am fascinated by the diversity in the bird world.  And, I saw 9 new-to-me birds, and that was without even trying! 

I know, I know... how do I contain myself?  (New birds: a white-tailed kite, gilded flicker, mountain bluebird, western bluebird, black-billed magpie, red-breasted merganser, white-tailed ptarmigan, Anna's hummingbird, and a yellow bird that I've yet to identify). 

Great BIG thanks to for giving amateurs like me such an excellent, free on-line resource. 

The mountains were spectacular, from every angle:

lonely tree

dusty trail

To close out the week, we visited the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, which I'd never even heard of before, but was so glad to get the chance to see:

Last but not least: 
And, that's all folks... 
Hope you are having a great weekend, wherever you are..


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back from the Fair..


I'm not sure where this weekend went, but I can assure you that I'm not ready for it to be dinnertime on Sunday!  I'm pretty sure someone has robbed me of at least one full day of my weekend!!  Who can I see about that?  Anyone??

Quickly, let me share my Fair winners with you all.  Most of these projects, you've seen before, but maybe in a different form. 

Here are the 3rd Place Winners:

The categories I entered (in case you are thinking "WHY the HECK did those things ribbon?!?!?") were the less popular categories.  The Royal Wedding pillow was in the "Counted Cross Stitch Pillows" category; the Assisi Lion project bag was in the "Counted Cross Stitch, Any Article" category;  and the little box with the thistle lid was in the "Household article trimmed in cross stitch" category.

Here are the 1sts and 2nd:

The Bargello Easter egg box was in the "Needlepoint, any other article on canvas mesh category"; the red Quaker pin cube was in the "Counted Cross Stitch, one color" category; and the Flower Bed piece was in the "Counted Cross Stitch on linen, under 10"x12" category.
I entered a couple of other pieces in the very popular categories, like Christmas and Needlepoint, framed, but didn't win a dern thing.  
But, that's that and it's not going to slow me down any, that's for sure..
Speaking of slowing down, next Saturday, hubby and I are headed to Colorado for a week of down time.  I've got a couple of projects that are in desperate need of my undivided attention, so I don't believe I'll be taking the laptop.  But, I will be taking the camera.  Hope to share some vay-cay pics soon after we return..
Here's one last finish to share:
I got hooked on shoe bags when hubby and I used to golf regularly.  I just love them and had plenty, but it seems that I have either lost some or my sister has visited my suitcase closet!
(What say you, Jamie Michelle????)
Isn't the fabric gorgeous?  I've got several really pretty fabrics in the stash that are begging to become shoe bags....and, if I was a betting woman, I'd say they are already half-way there.   :-)
Here's hoping you had some stitching time and enjoyed your weekend, wherever you are!