Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ta da !!

Here are the ornaments I finished the other day. The needle roll on the left is from the 2005 JCS issue (Jeanette Douglas) which I had to do after enjoying the peace roll from 2004 issue. The rest I think I posted in their unfinished form before, they are all from the ornament round robin I just finished (all in 2004 JCS ornament issue). I did Joy (Erica Micheals) as a pillow, and the santa (designer?) as a pillow too but with a fabric border (practicing my quilting techniques), Candy Cane cat ( Chessie and me) I did a twisted cord for the first time ever! and it came out pretty good if I do say so myself. the Bird house (Brittercup designs) just a flat ornie with a purchased cord. I was thinking of making gifts of these but then I decided that I love them all to much, it is just unfortunate that there wasn't an ugly one in the bunch...maybe next year. the other 2 ornies from the exhange were the Peace needle roll (see photo here) and I am STILL working on the Peace ornament from M designs . I am definately signing up for the same exchange next year...can't wait.

Stiching Bloggers question of the week: Do you always sign your projects? If not, why? If so, do you use your first name, initials or what? I always put my initials and the year, I often find my self wondering what year I did something and on most of my older stuff does not say...that bugs me. Also on the really nice samplers and classic pieces I think the future may want to know. For example the only counted cross stitch my Grandma did, Is signed and dated on the paper behind the frame that will fade...I wish it was on the front as she did on many of her needle work pieces. If you notice though I did not put my initials on the ornaments (except santa) Don't ask me why....

Monday, November 28, 2005

Doing much better, thank you

Ahhh I feel better, After my huge vent, I decided to take some of the $$ I was saving for a new laptop (my old Gateway 98 has to go) and dog training, and use it for christmas. It's not alot but it got me happy(er). I guess the saving will wait till January HA!

So Thanksgiving breakdown:
Thursday: we were invited to Ian's friends house in Raleigh Durham, and he got a Boston Market turkey and fixings. I thought I would help heat the turkey...when I asked him if he had a baster and he replied "only if some one left it here" I knew I would have to take over. A bunch of his friends (10 altogether) came over and all played Xbox while I heated and preped everything. I didn't mind at all, but I would of liked a "do you need some help?" or a "thank you". Oh well. I am very grateful that no one ate my pumpkin pie till I tried a piece...It seems some one completely missed adding the sugar, hmmm. I have never trashed a whole pie before. I hope this means all my christmas cookies will be perfect.

Friday: Ian and I went to the Craftmans Classic Fair. If you live in the NC, SC, or VA, I highly recommend you look to see if it is by you and go. We had a great time. I got a few gifts for a few folks.

Saturday: Ian decided to take the day off. I pulled out all the xmas decor and Ian put lights up outside. We put that plastic stuff over the drafty windows to hopefully help with the winter bills . I also finished painting some gifts for a few unnamed people

Sunday: I finished decorating the house, and even did the mantle for the first time. I finished 4 christmas ornaments and just need cording for the 5th. Maybe I shall post pictures soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Quilting bug? Its all Doodlehead's fault.

Well not really, she just really does some nice quilts and was talking about how she was self taught, and I thought (again) I should be able to do it too.

Warning: story ahead>> You see YEARS ago I had all these tee-shirts and other stuff from being in the marching band in high school and college and I thought I could turn them into a patchwork quilt, after numerous false starts I have all the stuff and no quilt to show for it. After not getting very far I thought well maybe I should do a quilt ot two before I attempt this thing that has (apparently) never been done before. I bought too much fabric with out knowing how to pick fabric for a quilt. I did 1 (count them) one block before giving up. I disliked using the templates and it took me all day to do the one block...then I decided I did not like the color of the background (dull grey). Needless to say I have not touched the stuff in about 5 years. Wandering around Joann's I saw the block of the month kits and now am thinking I can do that....the colors are already picked the pieces cut and all I do is sew..I can handle that right? see the one I may start Here (Rhythm and Blues)

What am I DOING? I need to finish this stupid thesis and graduate! Truth is I am running away from my responsibilities and crafting and reading give me an excuse. (how do you like that analysis mom?) I don't want to go to school anymore, I just want to stitch. I am also running away from the fact that once AGAIN we have NO money for christmas, and I can't give the way my heart wants too, and AGAIN it hurts so much that it drowns the christmas spirit in me and I hate that. I hate having to enter the cyclic logic of ...Do I want to decorate a might put me in the christmas mood....but it will cost $ I could of spent on it will just depress maybe decorating a tree will cheer me up...etc. everything for christmas needs $ travel/ gifts/cards/decor. I just want for ONCE a Christmas where $ is not the sole decision maker in EVERYthing we do ...there... that is what I really want for Christmas. Is Santa listening? Heck no he only listens to the children. Adults? shoot you're on your *&#$@&* own.

Thank you for letting me vent, If you made it this far I have some good news, I did turn in my results to my advisor on monday and I plan on turning in my discussion by christmas. yippee.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Maybe I should take a break


I am down to the last letter on the Peace Ornament By M designs...and I realize I am off somewhere by 2 squares. ugh, I hate over one. So I flung that aside after an evening of swearing, and then decided to start La-D-Da's Peaceful Ways for my sister (she picked it out at CATS) I thought it would be easy but nooooo, due to color changes and sizing differences....I had to start it twice and frog once too. The phrase that started going thru my head was a movie quote from Big Trouble in Little China...."My mind and my spirit are going north and south"
So needless to say I put the whole stitching thing aside, and shall return later....maybe after Thanksgiving. I need to get my mojo working again.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the afterlife

So yesterday at midnight Ian and I went to see HP:GOF (Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire). I was so excited about this one for several reasons. It is my favorite of all 6 books (so far), and the original actors (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) are still in it (after rumors of replacement ...Not that I would blame them, I just feel they have really encompassed there roles very very well.) The previews looked awesome, and indeed I was not disappointed. The huge book was translated into the script of the movie in a way that cut out the fat and showed the main storyline with out making it feel like you were missing anything from the book. The humor was well balanced with the darkness, the adolescent teenage agst was shown but not dwelled upon, and the acting has only gotten better...Even the actors who had much smaller roles here than in the previous 3 movies. The only confusion or jarring moments were that Filch (I think it was him) was younger. and Dumbledore seemed overreactive sometimes and much more animated that before...moving like a man 20 years younger than he was in the past 3 films.

On the message board I hang out at there are those who were surprised and upset at how the movie/storyline has become dark and that there is a (gasp!) death in this movie. (I guess they didn't read the book). These parents are so worried about their children seeing death... (If I were them I would be more worried about Lord he would of kept me up at nights as a child...but then again so did the Grinch...yes that Grinch). Hello this is a modern day fairy tale, you know, like the old ones where witches and wolves eat children and death is permanent...not a Disney honey coated version.
Death is not something to be afraid of, it is the opposite of birth. Why do we celebrate one and not the other ...I think people confuse birth and death with good and evil....true they are opposites but not synonyms. Birth is where we enter this life stage on earth and death is when we leave, like 2 doors in a room, I am betting there is another room we go into. And I honestly believe there are a few (very few) who can see that next room. I just read a book called The Eagle and the Rose by Rosemary Altea. She is a medium and it is her story about discovering this gift. I personally don't have this gift, but as John Edward says (the medium not the senator) we can all see the subtle signs from the others who have crossed to the next life stage. I know in my heart that my grandmother has shown me her presence at least twice, and I think that the original owner of our house checks up on us now and again. No there isn't any banging or flying books....these are peaceful signs..... smells, ideas, objects, etc. The Jehovah Witnesses come around every week trying to sell me religion, and in their Book of Knowledge I found out that they belive in no least not till Armageddon. When you are dead, you are dead....and until God creates peace on earth (then you get to come back), you are really dust to dust. This really feels completely wrong to me.

Oh look at me going on about controversial stuff that should be on another blog...sorry...I'll try to get back into cross stitching, I have been working on Peace tree ornament this week, and not much else....

Stitching Bloggers question of the week:
How do you feel about staying totally true to a pattern? Do you feel that you have to rip out stitches to fix a mistake or do you feel it's acceptable to incorporate a mistake into the design?

I think one only has to go to my last post to see my last huge mistake. Often a small mistake, a stitch or two I will incorporate into the design. and in saying that I don't think I have ever done a "perfect" project. I feel however that these little changes wether on purpose or not are part of the artists liberty when stitching. (at least that is what i tell myself so I don't panic)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stitching crisis.....and sore muscles

Thursday I found my mistake on 10 lords a leaping and tore out his jacket, redid it found another mistake...tore out the boots redid it. It seemed like I was fighting it all the way. So I guess it was friday that I finally finished 10 lords a leaping, backstitching and all. I was really look forward to only haveing two squares left to do.... I pull it out of the hoop and realize.....I STITCHED IT ON THE WRONG SQUARE. It was in the square for #11. I swear I almost tore the damn thing apart. No wonder it was giving me hell. That evening (after achieving appropriate amounts of sympathy from my husband) I was able to breathe and tear out the entire thing (the only salvageable part was 1/2 the border) while watching Alias on DVD. I love watching all my shows thru can follow the complicated storylines without commercials or a week of distractions between them. Oh and by the way the pattern is 12 Days of Christmas by Alma Lynne it is oop now.

So instead of stitching the same thing twice in the same week, I then chose to just stitch the borders to all three of the last squares to make sure the placement and colors are chances from now on. I then took a break and went back to stitching on the Peace tree ornament that I had not finished from the exchange . I think I will finish it before going back to stitch the lord a leaping again.

In other news it is fall and that means waist high leaves. Let me give you some background here. Ian and I bought the house cause we love it and its yard with all the trees. but we bought it in the summer....not the fall. Our yard is caught in between the idea of a lawn and a forest. we have old (like 40-50 year old) oaks. and much of the ground is shaded and is just bare soil or weeds. The clincher is we cannot afford to 1) plant the whole yard with seed and maintain it with fertilizer/water/weed killer till it could maintain itself... nor 2) plant a boat load of trees to help it go forest in a short time, and to let it go native on its own would mean a horrid yard for years. also 3) I am not sure I would want more house is dark enough as it is and 4) I as a environmentalist can not cut down any trees that are not a danger to my house. Note that I am talking about both the front and back yard.

So as a consequence Ian and I have to rake and clear the yard of metric tons of leaves every fall. We are technically outside the city and do not get garbage services ...but our house has the city border sign right in front of it...and I checked last year...we are on the map of the leaf pick up route (which is also the garbage route). So last year we put them on the road and voila...they picked them up. Cool. So this year the pick up was later than usual due to the warm weather, and I checked the city web site and pick up was to begin on the 14th and go thru the 10th of December. Since we were toward the end of the route last year I wasn't worried and alot of the oak leaves are still green and on the trees here. but it was ankle deep in the backyard so I thought that I should at least start on the piles and Ian could do the front yard later. So Sunday I work my butt off from 9am-1pm and get the whole backyard done... well yesterday I decide at the last minute to take a day off from school since I had not seen Ian in about 7 days. We decide to finish the front yard and mow one last time. While we are raking....the leaf guys show!! on the first day!. They won't pick up again for a month but we finish raking anyway and start the new pile.
They must of felt bad cause later that afternoon while we were out they came back for the rest....we are thinking of leaving a cooler of beer under the next pile of leaves.......

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Progress on the Afghan

Originally uploaded by Stitching scientist.

Here is the newest picture 9 Ladies Dancing is done... her leg looks kinda fat but oh well. And I discovered late last night that I am off a row somewhere on the lord a leaping....I couldn't find the mistake, and decided to go to bed, so tonight will be a search and destroy (or fudge) mission. Thats all the news today (its early).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I can't think of a clever title

Stitching Bloggers Question of the Week: When comparing large projects versus small projects, which do you get more excited about finishing?

Ha ...what a question for me, I have never finished a BAP (Big Ass Project) the 2 I have I started in 97....I might finish this winter...Ha.
So needless to say I get excited about the ones that stitch up quickly...that are fun and have different stitches and several colors but not too much confetti stitching. Those are usually small to med in size.

I am currently fresh out of $$ so I have yet to finish the Nov flip it...I need a $1 to get the ribbon (life stinks when you don't have a $1 on hand). As for my afghan, I did finish 9 ladies dancing...and started 10 lords a leaping last night. Unfortunately as I look over my work I see sooooo many mistakes. It is almost as if you can see my progression as a stitcher over the past 9 years...that is probably as good a reason as any to finish a big project quickly. (I may even redo the calling x's are all messed up.... right over left...left over right accckk). To be totally truthful I hate the fabric I am working on ...I bought it at a craft store years ago and I now realize it was probably the cheapest afghan available, but since I have never seen anyone else's in person...I can't tell you if anyone could do any better.

In other news, Ian and I watched The Elegant Universe last night (a Nova program based on the book of the same name) We got it thru Netflix. It is a 4 part series made in 2003. I HIGHLY recommend it to any one who is curious about String Theory. It breaks it down very well for the average person. I even understand general relativity better now.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Longish post...eventful weekend

Green Man
Originally uploaded by Stitching scientist.
Ian and I went to the Carolina Renaissance Festival with two friends yesterday. I love going every year. It is a huge event that rund for 6-7 weekends in Oct and early Nov. I first went in 1997 when I was working at Thunderbird YMCA in Charlotte as an environmental educator. I went alone and I loved it. Later when we moved here to Greensboro, I dragged Ian along (2001) and he loved it too...being a big fan of good beef jerky helps. We been going every year, and enjoy the new acts and wares. I tend to spend too much when I go so this year I had it planned out ahead of time. I bought earrings to match a necklace I got last year, a head wreath/garland (which I debate about every year) and a "commemorative" pilsner glass (I get one every year...soon Ian will have to make a display for them). The nice thing about going every year is that you can be frugal and space out your purchases. I kinda like the habit of scoping out the things I might like to get next year, and since the vendors are often the same (a little turnover keeps things interesting) I have little fear that it wont be there next year. And if something is gone...well then I wasn't meant to have it (I am very fatalistic when it comes to non life sustaining purchases). One of these days I want to make a costume and go in full regalia.

In other news a friend from NY flew in with a airplane that needed some repairs (he is a pilot) and we were able to have dinner with him saturday night and last night. He is debating wether o not to move his family here to NC or to Austin, TX. We tried our best to get him to move here. But we shall see.

I finished my Nov flip it but need to go out and get some ribbon to finish it tonight. I found some fabric for the back on friday...but it isn't thanksgiving or leafy fabric like I had wanted. I hate that they snatch the seasonal things away right before you need them and put out the christmas stuff before you are ready. I wish I had a store twith there seasonal stuff up year round, so for example, I could get fourth of july stuff now... I bet Joann's has it in the back somewhere just hoarding it till next year. I plan on starting the last one Dec next then on to the afgan for a bit.

But while I was in Joann's I saw the cutest wall quilt, I once tried quilting but that is a story and a project for another time. These sets that they have are a block a month series with the fabric already cut ...I may try it some day just to get started...but at $10 a month right now I can't afford it....maybe in Jan.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This weeks SBQ

If you have stitched for a while, can you usually pick out the DMC colors you need from memory when you go to your LNS? (For example, you know that 610 is a brown.)

I know of the top of my head what color 814, 3371, 413, 702, 221, 3740, 3363 are...and many more (maroon red, dark brown, grey, green, dark red, purplish pink, and a light forest green) Most of these # that I know by heart are ones I use frequently, and the more I think about it the more I realize I know, (930-932, 311, 3753, 745,....). But what I have in stock is constantly shifting and is pulled for various WIPs. So when I start a new project I have to go to my 3 boxes of wound floss first....These I "inherited" and since I do not like bobbins I use these first (as I use them up I do not replace them). Then I go to my stitchbow binders to finish off the list. If there is a list of 30 colors I am usually only missing 2-5 colors. I then try to think if I have any of these in a project already pulled....but I have to be careful there and usually just go buy it.

So to make a long answer to a short question even longer, No I do not just buy floss randomly based on memory of what I think I need when I go shopping, I only buy what I am missing from my stash. Which by the way is usually the higher newer #'s that DMC keeps adding Like 3865....did I mention I looks like white? Just what color were they aiming for here really?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Log Cabin Freebie

Log Cabin Freebie
Originally uploaded by Stitching scientist.

Ta Da....I just finished this freebie for the stitching bloggers lottery (7 stitched items but only 1 winner) It is Cozy Cabin by Jeannette Douglas I stitched it on some random evenweave that was like 30/31 count and had a funky color...the fibers were white in one direction and tan in the other....made for a nice background. I finished it as a no sew cube thanks to Kim who I found thru Angelsan. The fabric is really cute with bears and canoes, it fit with the cabin theme. It was an easy stitch but I did not like the border. I know it is meant to be a log cabin quilt looking thing but the colors (especially the 3865- looks like white to me!) kind of breaks it up strangely. OKOK Ill post a closeup.

Close up
Originally uploaded by Stitching scientist.

See what I mean now?...the border took up as much time as the center and the assembly...while I am at it here is the fabrc too:

Back of cube
Originally uploaded by Stitching scientist.

I am currently plowing ahead on the november flip it...I should be done stitching it by the weekend, then I can buy some fabric and have it up before we get into double digits on the calendar. I have to get Starlight starbright framed. then I am back to my winter WIP's I expect to finish the Afgan this year (only 4 out of 12 days of christmas to go) and work on Santa of the Forest....they are starting to call to me.