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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Playing hookey

Tomorrow, I am taking the day off from work. After the week I've had, I decided that before I have a stroke, I'd better back off of life for a day. Cause after this, there will be NO rest for the wicked at work. A revolving door of audits and more audits.

What am I going to do with my free day, you ask? But of course, YOU know the answer! STITCH!! STITCH!!! MORE STITCH!!! STITCH UNTIL MY EYES BLEED! And I can't wait. I don't know what I am going to work on yet. Maybe John Foster. Maybe something NEW.

Because of the week I've had, I did retail therapy at Stitchery Row. This cute little LNS is right down the block from work. So, during lunch yesterday, I went there to *liberate* some stash. I came away with a Lizzie*Kate piece called A Friend For All Seasons, I am such a sucker for *cute*, Blackbird Designs, Sunflower Charms, Little House Needleworks, Colonial Homes and the best thing of all, Hillside Samplings, Folk Art Needleroll. The handpainted box is gorgeous. Then I got home and I had a parcel from Elegant Stitch...hee-hee, the Drawn Thread patterns came to live with me, as well as, the new Essy & Friends monthly piece.
STASH HEAVEN!!!! Retail Therapy ROCKS. Thank goodness payday is tomorrow. LOL!!!

So, the day is to be sunny and warm and I will be able to take some photos and post them here and in my PictureTrail account.

I think we all should play hookey on a Friday once in awhile. It's good for the soul.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sleepless in New York

Ok, I think this is becoming a habit. It's 1AM in NY and here I am, dear bloggers, surfing the 'net and conversing with you. It's another hot cocoa, sleepless night. How many more of these can I do without keeling over from exhaustion?

For all of those with inquiring minds that want to know, the audit went OK. Not spectacular and we didn't fail. Came out with 2 nonconformances for document management and one opportunity for capital expenditure..ha ha, right. It was a so-so event...at some points it was rather nerve wracking but at other times it was low key. I got through it. Woo. Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement and inquiries as to how it went. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU!!!

Stitching-wise, tonight I continued to work on Prairie Year. I am almost caught up with the SAL. For some reason, I do not like the February motif, so I am having difficulty working on it. I ripped and re-stitched March's border and finished off the little white flowers. March is done. And I began April early. I have 1/2 the border stitched and the rabbit's head and tail done.

Also, I was stash diving tonight. Have I told you how much I LOVE my stash? Honestly, there isn't many things that I have in my 800+ patterns that I wouldn't love to stitch. I just love pawing through the binders and thinking about where this piece would look the best or what fabric that piece would be suited for...gosh, I am easy...just give me fabric, fiber and pattern and I am a happy, happy camper! but then again, I know YOU feel the same way.

And I went blog hopping tonight. I saw Karen's lovely Open Heart dedicated to her Mom. It brought a tear to my eyes. I know how you feel, dear friend. Spring is coming to Maine and Patti's been crafting up a storm! You go, Girlfriend! Everyone else is stitching like crazy too and producing such beautiful needlework. You all are so inspiring. Your accomplishments encourage me!

I am planning on a mini-vacation at the end of the week. The husband is going out of town for a couple of days, so it will be just me and the critters. There is so much that needs to be done around here, I may paint my bathroom or get really ambitious and clean out my basement.

The home makeover has ground to a halt. There has been no activity for 3 weeks, we are waiting on windows, steps and a new kitchen counter. Everything is back ordered or late. The windows were never ordered, my little Hungarian contractor said that the lumber yard where he place the order thought that we just wanted an estimate. The countertop order was misplaced at the manufacturer and the steps are back ordered. I am getting antsy about all of this, I want something done!

Oh well, thanks for sharing my sleepless night. My hot chocolate is gone and I am going to try to go to sleep.

I hope that everyone is having a great time with all their projects and may the frogs stay away from your stitching!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mr.Sandman bring me a dream...where are YOU?

It's 2:00AM in NY. I have to be up at 5:15 and I haven't slept a wink since I went to bed at 11:00PM. The mind will not shut up! I have a big audit tomorrow at work and all I am doing is thinking about it and what could go wrong. Why does this happen? I've obsessed about it all weekend. I can't change any of it and it's not like I haven't participated in one of these events. So, why am I fretting over it? Is it because my manager is somewhat less than happy with how it was put together? Is it because even though I am not *hosting* it, I am responsible for the planning and the outcome? Whatever. I am living for Monday around 6 PM cause then it will be OVER.

Stitching...hmmm...once again, I can not count. I worked on Prairie Year all weekend. I wanted to finish up February and March so I am caught up with the SAL. I made good progress on February, all the hearts are in place, and I have one and 1/2 of them completed. I thought that I would be able to finish March but I overcounted the border by 10 threads. So I picked it out which took a LONG time since this piece is stitched over 1. Tonight, all that's left is the little flowers...about 20 stitches. I couldn't finish it though as I thought I should go to bed. HA!
I should have mounted the piece on scroll rods too cause even though I am stitching it in a hoop, I am not liking how some of the stitches look. The tension isn't terrific. If I get ambitious, I'll mess with that later this week.

I did have S.E.X. this weekend too...I bought this from Wyndhamneedleworks. It's the Old Colonial Designs Needlework Garden. I bought the pattern AND the basket.



I orginally wanted to buy Emblems of Innocence by Cherished Stitches:


But, I came across the Olde Colonial Design piece and forgot about the Cherished Stitches piece..DUH!!! Oh well, another time.

Well, I drank all my hot cocoa and I feel a little drowsy so I will be off to bed. Maybe the Sandman will visit...I really hope so!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pending house sale

A lot has happened since I wrote last. On the stitching front, I've worked on 2 Quaker samplers the last couple of nights. One is from The Needleworker magazine Oct. '99. The other is my Quaker RR.

John Foster and I are taking a break from each other, maybe absence will make our hearts grow fonder.

There is a pending sale on my Dad's house, it came out of the blue over the weekend. Actually, there were 2 offers from the open house that was held on March 12th. The agent didn't think that there was any interest, so I put it out of my mind. On Tuesday, there were 2 prospective offers, one very low and one that had potential. After I countered both offers, the buyers with the low offer could not meet my counter. The other potential buyer came back with another counter and I re-countered their proposal. It's like a chess match...anyway, they took my second counter proposal so we are moving to closure. There will be house inspections and since this buyer is persuing an FHA loan there are government requirements too. Radon, pests, safety. I am not too concerned with some of the FHA inspections, except the one for the electrical system. FHA requires that there be circuit breakers and this house is powered electrically by 100 AMP fuses. Putting in a circuit box will cost almost $1000. I am hoping that this won't break my deal.

I do have mixed feelings about the sale, I knew that this day would come eventually. The house has been in my family for 50 years. My brother and I grew up there. And it's hard to part company. There is such finality in it for me, it's the last thing that closes the final chapter in my family's history. On Saturday after the phone call from the agent telling me we had a deal and the buyer accepted my counter, I broke down. It's so final. The house was the last possession of my Dad's and now I am turning it over to a stranger and the circle begins again. I know this sounds weird, but now my Dad's death is really REAL. My parents have passed on and all that's left are a few pieces of furniture and pictures of 2 souls that spent time here for 72 and 86 years. And yes, Ihave the memories of 2 people that sacrificed and worked hard to provide for my brother and me, who loved us unconditionally and with such a ferocity.

Sorry to be melodramatic but unless you've experienced this very thing, you may not understand.

On a happier note, my kitchen counters are coming on Thursday. The contractor and I have come to an agreement about the stairs leading to the kitchen from the new room. Tile work will commence as soon as I give the go ahead for the pattern.

Oh and Mike, can't forget this...he was inducted into the Arnold Airforce Society on Sunday. It's an honors society. I am so proud of him...here's a picture...don't you just love that haircut? It's so attractive...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hillside School of Needlework, a closer picture

Shameless plugging of my work...here's a closer picture of my finished beauty!



And one more...sorry for the flash, I should have moved a little to the side when I took these photos...Oh well, that's what happens when you are excited and in a hurry! But you understand, don't you? :-)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pretty Pictures

Hi!

Bet you all thought I fell off the blog wagon...
Today I finally got some pictures of some of my work.
Here they are!

My framed Hillside School of Needlework by Hillside Samplings. I LOVE the frame...sorry about the flash...



Sarah Tatum, progress as of 3/17/06. Sarah is stitched on 36ct Lakeside Linen in Vintage Light Exemplar. Stitched with Vicki Clayton silks.



A Prairie Year. I am stitching this as part of a SAL. It's OVER ONE!!! I am behind but not by much...



And last but not least....My heartbreaker...John Foster 1885 Sampler.
I haven't picked out the hive or the quaker motif yet. I am stitching around them...
I love the colors of this sampler. Stitched on 32ct Belfast Linen in Flax with DMC.



So those are my pretties...what do you think?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

He broke my heart

Right now, I am in love with John Foster. It's a reproduction by Historic Stitches. Danielle posted her progress and finished sampler on her blog and I immediately fell in love with it. I bought the pattern when it was released and put it into my *wanna stitch* pile but eventually it ended up in a binder behind closed doors, forgotten and lonely. Until I saw Danielle's work. Then John came out of the closet and into the light of day. It helped that he is stitched with DMC and I had 36 count flax linen in my stash. If not, he would have made it back into the stitching basket but because I had the requisite supplies, John seduced me, that naughty boy.

I started stitching him last weekend. The plan was to put in the upper portion of the sampler and then work my way down the center of the sampler to the house so that I could stitch it as I stitched the other motifs. I realized that if I only had the house to stitch, I would get bored with it and John would become an ex-love.

I got the upper border stitched and I worked my way down the right and left sides about a quarter of the way. But my true desire was to stitch the BEE HIVE. What could go wrong, dear reader? Let me tell you,I am math challenged. I count to ten badly. There also is something wonky about the linen I am using. I find it difficult to stitch on, it feels scratchy in my hands and the threads vary from very thick to barely there. So I have a hard time counting on it. But that is no excuse, I can't count to ten.

Once I had the upper border stitched and the center marked I counted down to the top of the bee hive. Instead of stitching my first stitch in 16 threads down (8 blocks cause I count by 2's) I put the first stitch 7 blocks (14 threads) down from the border. I was so careful about making sure that it was centered correctly. I counted and recounted before I put in the first stitch. I stitched that entire bee hive in one evening. I was in stitcher's paradise. After each evening's work, I would congratulate myself on not messing up this sampler cause it's not symetrical and it's easy for me to be lulled into stitching mirror images of the motifs.

Then I proceeded to stitch more of the border, and the floral baskets on either side of the hive. I stitched the grey-green leaves on the side of the floral motifs first, realizing that the flowers are not symetrical. And I stitched the upper half of the quaker medalion under the hive. The last thing I wanted to stitch was the little bees buzzing around the sides of the hive. I couldn't figure out why I the little bees would not fly where they were charted. And that's when I realized that the hive and the quaker medallion was stitched 2 threads higher than they should be. The hive is stitched in the wrong location. My heart sank. I think I need an abacus, a calculator, someone's 10 fingers to learn to count to 10.

This is a ton of frogging and for all intent, I wasted 3 evenings stitching because even though the hive took me an evening, the medallion was stitched over 2 evenings.

Well, I decided to leave the hive alone for now because it really doesn't affect the placement of either floral baskets as I am using the border as a reference. Yes, the border is stitched correctly, I made sure of that. The Quaker motif has to be removed cause it does affect the placement of other motifs in the sampler. I'll probably pick it out as I stitch the other motifs around it.

My question is...

John, why did you break my heart so early in the game?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Still foggin' up the mirror!

Well, I am still here and I apologize for not keeping my blog up to date. I know that you have left comments about me not to worry about it but I feel like I am ignoring all of you...

Mike has been home for over a week now and it's been a wonderful time. The house is alive again and I am loving every minute we spend together with him and all his buddies. I have done my MoM-thing with them all, feed them, watered them and generally *mothered* them to death, much to their delight. Lasagna, cookies, breakfast out, cinnamon rolls, junk food and soda...it's been a party for these guys! It's pretty cool!

So my stitching is suffering a bit. But that's a good thing in a way cause next week when the house is quiet (DH is going to Raliegh NC for the week) I plan on spending a lot of time cozying up with my stitching.

I must tell Patti that I bought *Edges of Sadness* based on her review on her blog. It's quite interesting and I am enjoying the book a great deal. I grew up as a Catholic and remember the days of Vatican II and I relate to the *neighborhood priest*. I am not very far into the book yet but I plan to change that too in the coming week.

Construction is coming along nicely. The room is now wrapped in dry wall the subfloor is down and the construction guy is beginning to lay the cement board in preparation to lay the ceramic tile. I believe he should begin the tile work next week. We are hoping that the windows come in so they can remove the tyvek that they put over the window openings.

I have blog surfed too and I must tell all of you that your blogs are inspiring. I spend a lot of time just working through about 20 blogs and honestly, I want to stitch all the projects that you have started or finished. I love Karen's DT piece and Becky's blog always is an inspiration. Patti has given me the courage to go *over one* and I just LOVE stitching something and having it come out teeny-tiny. Danielle's Prairie Year has given me incentive to continue with mine, like her I marvel at the amount of red in the hearts for February (when will it end!). There have been a lot of blogs that have given me something to think about too, the weekly questions give me pause for thought.

So, once Mike goes back to school and life returns to what it's been for the last 6 months, I am hoping to be more faithful to blogging and sharing my work.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Quick Update

Just a quick update to let you know that I am alive and doing ok. We've been really busy this past week, Mike is home from school on Spring break so we've spent quite a lot of time with him and his friends. I love it when all his buddies come to the house and I can feed them all and make goodies that I normally wouldn't have in the house cause they are too much of a temptation!

I got to stitch some over the weekend. I will have some progress photos soon. I started John Foster 1885 sampler after I saw Danielle's finished work, I couldn't resist. I am stitching it in good ol' DMC on 36ct flax Belfast linen. And I worked on A Prairie Year. I am stitching both February and March.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lottery II exchange



Here is my Lottery II exchange piece for an exchange on Stitchers Bloggers Exchange BB.