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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! (Almost...)

Well, it's New Year's Eve. Good-bye 2007, hello 2008.

I can't say I will miss you '07. It's been a hell of a ride, one of the strangest, interesting and frustrating years of my life. For a lot of '07, I felt that I treaded water. At least I wasn't drowning but there were times when I thought I was going down for the 3rd time. There was a lot of good in '07 too, the Cadet found a sweetheart, I am still gainfully employed and I still love my job despite it's trials and hard knocks. I love my house (even in the state that it's in), I LOVE my husband and son and my critters. I have my health and even though we aren't rolling in the dough, we have enough, and that's plenty.

I also want to thank all of you who've put up with my whining, crying, gurgling and insufferable attempts at being funny when I write here. I don't always hit the mark.

Mainly, I just want to thank you for hanging in there with me. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Thanks for the connection made by needle and thread. Stitchers and crafters have great hearts, unbounded generosity and kindness. I am so blessed by each and every one of you. In '07, this blog has saved my sanity more than once and I want you to know that I treasure each and every one of you, dear friends.

So as we shut the door on '07 and open up wide to the possibilities and opportunities of 2008, my deepest desire for each of us is to be abundantly blessed, surrounded by family and friends, to never be without the passions (be it books, needlework, paint, horses, dogs, kitties...) that make us feel alive and to always remember that we are loved. May God Bless each and every one of you and may He give you the desires of your heart.

Happy 2008!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Wip Loss Challenge and Ebay

Hello again!
I've gone through my WIPs and these are the one's that I want to complete in 2008. This isn't the complete list either, just the one's I really want to work on and complete in this lifetime. Most are big and there's only 2 or 3 that are small. Most of them are 25-50% completed. I love them all, they just got sidelined because I gave into the temptation of starting yet any other sampler. Did I tell you I have no willpower? LOL!!!

Here's the list:

M. Pollard - Scarlet Letter
A Quaker sampler that got stuffed in the WIP pile because I just get bored stitching in black.

Their Song - Blackbird Designs
Frustrated with it cause I made an error and I had to find it which resulted in ripping out a lot of stitching. But I'm over it. Promise.

March Hare - Blackbird Designs
I began this over one on 32 ct Lambswool evenweave. I didn't have all the colors so I started substituting them with DMC and GAST. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a list of the substitutions and I (silly me) re-filed all my threads. May be the kiss of death for this cute design unless I can figure out what I was stitching with when I started it.

Peace - BOAF
This is a quirky house sampler and I have to be in the mood to work on it because the colors are very different than what I am used to stitching with and the fabric is a dirty grey color. I like it though but I just need to be in the mood.

Time and Seasons - Moira Blackburn
This sampler has risen up to the top of the WIP pile this Christmas. I've stitched a lot on it (although it doesn't look like I have). I think that I stopped stitching on it cause I am not sure about the silks. They are Vicky Clayton and I can't decide if I like them or not. The colors are great, I just don't like the feel of the silk.

Pins and Needles - Mary Garry's Sewing Cabin
This little pinkeep is from an issue of JCS that I paid an exorbitant amount of money for on EBay. (I was insane at the time.) I like it a lot and when I finish it I plan on making it into a mattress style pin cushion. Wish me luck, I have a finishing phobia.

Maria Short - Moira Blackburn
I started this sampler because I needed to fill a void when I completed my beloved John Foster. I saw the sampler on Cross Stitch Samplers and Such blog and it really was love at first sight. The sampler took my breath away. So I ordered it immediately from Criss Cross Row, promptly started it and then got bored. Am I fickle or what?!!

Autumn Leaves - The Prairie Schooler
I started this cute sampler over one on 32ct Lambswool evenweave with Patti from Stitching In Lobster Land and Cathy from It Will Be Funny Tomorrow. I think Cathy finished hers and I bet Patti did too. Mine is 50% done and I seem to pick it up to work on in late August. I love the sampler and I will finish it. It seems to be a fall project.

Sarah Tatum - The Scarlet Letter
Another BIG Quaker sampler that I am stitching with Vicki Clayton silks. I am about 20% complete on this one. It got pushed aside because I really wanted to stitch it with AVAS but could not afford the silks at the time (and not today either!). I was dis-satified with it because the sampler wouldn't be true to the original colors. Finally, I told myself to GET OVER IT and yesterday, I stitched about an hour on it before putting it away. I am having trouble with the silks, they feel very slippery in my needle and I am constantly rethreading the needle cause the silk slips out of it frequently. It's frustrating!

True Virtue - JCS magazine
I fell in love with this sampler after seeing it on Sampler Lover's blog. I decided I wanted to stitch samplers with a house theme and this sampler just made my heart beat faster. I stitched the upper border then put it aside because it needs a bath. Chrissy the Wonderdog sneezed on it and she left a small spot (doggie booger, eww-www!) on it. Just need to get it in the Orvis and I'll be back in business.

Wow, there's not many small things on that list, is there?!!!!

So the next news is that I listed Mary Garry's Sewing Cabin's sampler, Remember Me, on Ebay this morning.

I need the money and even though I do not want to part with it or any of my samplers, I felt that I have to do it. (What are you waiting for, GO BID!!!!) We are up to our eyeballs in legal fees ($1600 worth) because of that weasel, Mr. Contractor, so some of my stash is got to go or I'm going to have to get a second job on the weekends to cover the costs of this fiasco. I'm testing the water on EBay with this sampler and if it sells, then other OOP goodies will be on the online auction site. I'll let you know.

Also, I am toying with listing some handmade goodies on ETSY. Do any of you have thoughts about it? I'd love to hear your thoughts....thanks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I know the day is almost over but I wanted to wish everyone who reads my thoughts a very Merry Christmas! I hope your day was filled with good food, laughter, love, family and friends.

I am very blessed by all who stop by and I want to thank all of you who visit.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

WIP-Loss Challenge

I've updated this post...changes are in bold, blue italic text.

Well, I've learned that if you write your goals down, you are more likely to keep them. So, I've decided to reduce my WIPs in 2008, resist new starts and resist impulse purchases. I am embarassed to say that I have 35 projects in various stages of completion, from a few stitches to almost done. Most of them are 25-50% complete. They are from various designers and run the gamut from whimsical seasonal pieces to samplers, small pieces to BAP's like Sarah Tatum. And I still love all of them so they aren't UFO's. Also, this isn't the 5-10-50 Challenge, I found that entirely too restrictive for me. This challenge has some wiggle room. I am not going to list all 35 to finish, I am only listing those that I absolutely want to finish first (and that number is about 10 or so). The other 25 will be rotated in when I finish the 10 or so, I will start the the second string and so on. Ten is the number I'm going for before allowing myself to start a project not in the exceptions.

I'll post the list of projects later, they are on my work computer...(Sh-hhh-hh, don't tell.)

Jeanne from Just String is also reducing her Wips...

Here are my rules (which I pinched from Jeanne cause her's made sense to me):

  • Have fun!
  • The "to be finished" list can be changed over the course of the challenge, depending on which projects are calling to me over time.
  • The term finished means the completion of stitching. It does not mean the completed item must be framed or otherwise made into a useful item.
  • While selling, giving away, or trashing unwanted UFOs may reduce the total pile, they don't count toward the total finished.
  • Exceptions are allowed, if declared up-front. My exception is to stitch Christmas ornaments throughout the year, participate in a couple exchanges in the Fall and the only new start that I really want to stitch is Mary Garry's, Remember Me, sampler. These pieces don't count for starting or finishing.
  • Gift stitching for a special occasion doesn't count. I don't often stitch for others but you never know what may possess me to give away (and I may be starting a wedding sampler for the Cadet and the lovely Jenna next year).

So them's the rules. Keep me honest, kids. And may God and his angels help me come February when the new releases arrive....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time and Seasons Update

This past week, I've been working on Moira Blackburn's, Time and Seasons Sampler. I am stitching it on 32ct Light Exemplar using Vicki Clayton silks. I really like how it's coming along and to be honest, I don't know why I haven't worked on it since July of 2006! Can you believe that I haven't touched this sampler for almost 18 months! For shame....

This is a picture of what it looked like in July 2006:

This is the progress I've made on it while on vacation this week. I've only stitched on it in the evenings for 2-4 hours at a time. Tonight, though, I won't get to stitch on anything and I do have to finish up a gift so it may be a few days until I get back to Time & Seasons.

I forgot how much I enjoyed stitching on it and I believe that the reason that I put it aside (besides hearing the siren call of many, many new starts) was the border. Honestly, straight borders just drive me to tears. It's like watching paint dry. But, one of the perks of the sampler is that I am using a color conversion that allows me to be a little creative in where I stitch certain colors. The conversion has multiple colors for the equivalent DMC colors so I get to pick and choose where I want to use them. The challenge is to place the colors in such a way that the sampler doesn't look like a mish mash of randomly placed colors. There has to be some cohesiveness.
This sampler is the first of my stitching resolution for 2008. Finish up the WIPs. Resist new starts. Resist purchasing new patterns.
I do have to say, the last few days I've been channeling my inner Martha Stewart and I've so enjoyed my time off from work. It's been a great few days off and I've accomplished a lot in the last couple of days. I wrapped all the Christmas gifts, made 2 batches of cookies, kept up with the laundry, cleaned the bathrooms (really, really cleaned the bathrooms) decorated the Christmas tree and picked up most of the bedroom. Each day, I've made a list of things that I've wanted or needed to get done and I've stuck pretty close to it. So yay me!
Hope you like my T&S and I hope everyone's holiday preparations are right on target!!! Talk with you soon!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas trivia

I found this Christmas meme on a few blogs and I thought I'd play along. Realize that you may not be interested in Christmas trivia about me...but grin and bear it!!!

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I usually wrap the things that can be wrapped and the odd sized items go into gift bags. For my friends, it's gift bags all the way...cause I'm lazy.

Real tree or artificial? We used to schlep out to the Christmas tree farm and hacksaw down a tree, drag it to the truck, get it home and pull it through the front door only to realize that the tree that looked reasonable in size in the field was actually 15 feet tall and was as wide as the living room. The height was ok since our living room has cathedral ceilings but the width...well...that's another story. Suffice it to say our Norman Rockwell experience seemed to end with a lot of muttering and angst. Now we have an artificial tree that looks real and goes up in a reasonable amount of time. And it's not gigantic. Except that I have enough ornaments to fill a 16 foot tall, 8 foot wide Christmas tree so the artificial one is stuffed with ornaments.

When do you put up the tree? Usually the 2nd weekend in December. Although we've been known not to put the tree up until AFTER Christmas.

When do you take the tree down? Right after Epiphany.

Do you like egg nog? Yes, it's like drinking pudding and I love that texture. Especially if it's ice cold. And no, I do not care about the calories.

Favorite gift received as a child? I loved paint by number art sets (especially of horses). I remember getting an artist grade watercolor set that I coveted for many years and in high school I received an oil painting set in one of those cool wooden boxes. If you gave me anything art related, I was in heaven. If I got anything horse related, I thought I DIED and went to heaven.

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. Actually, I have 2. One from Avon and one that my SIL made in ceramics. I love both of them.

Hardest person to buy for? My husband cause he tells me what he wants after Christmas. Fortunately, his birthday is 4 days later so he gets good b'day gifts.

Easiest person to buy for? The Cadet cause he gives me long lists of *wants and needs*.

Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? I mail them. I know that I am contributing to the earth's ecological nightmare and postage is expensive but I think of cards as little presents especially to the folks I don't get to see that often.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Gorilla slippers. And a down level version of an electronic gadget that I wanted. I didn't get these gifts on the same Christmas.

Favorite Christmas movie? "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is my all time favorite.

When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually after Thanksgiving, though I've given it some thought before then. I just wait for the sales.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, that would be rude.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies.

Clear lights or colored on the tree? The Cadet decreed colored lights so that's what we string on the tree.

Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night (and no matter how hard I try not to, I cry when we sing it on Christmas Eve during the candlelight service.)

Travel at Christmas or stay home? We always stay home. We don't find driving in the snow on I-86W any fun whatsoever.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yep! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. And Rudolph.

Angel on the tree top or a star? Actually we have a gold star thingie that's lighted. Another of the Cadet's mandates.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We always let the Cadet open one present on Christmas Eve, usually something small or funny. The rest are opened on Christmas morning.

Most annoying thing about this time of year? The commercials on TV. The feeling that you have to buy, buy, buy to have a Merry Christmas.

Favorite ornament theme or color? I have 2 favorite ornaments, a smiling Christmas tree from Hallmark and an ornament made with Mike's handprint from Nursery School. The Christmas tree always brings a smile to my face.

Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Turkey with all the yummy accompaniments.

What do you want for Christmas this year? A Canon Digital SLR camera.(But I got a Magellan GPS for the Explorer. I know this cause I peeked.)

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free, free, I've been set free!

Free for a glorious 2 weeks! What ever will I do with my time? LOL!!! Just about everything that I've put off since my last vacation! I have a list...cookies, laundry, mopping, cleaning out closets and of course, stitching!!!! STITCHING!!!!! Go figure, guilt free stitching!

Last night, I worked on Moira Blackburn's, Time and Seasons. I don't know why I set the project aside as it's coming along beautifully. I am only a little bit started, I have most of the upper alphabet stitched and a little of the left side border. I am using Vicki Clayton silks in a very muted antique colorway. If I can get the camera to cooperate and if the grey lightens up outside, maybe I'll treat you to a picture. I hope so anyway.

Today, I plan on finishing up laundry and cleaning the bathrooms,walk on my treadmill and straighten up. Finish my christmas cards and get an errand list together for tomorrow when I go out. I need to finish up some shopping and I am going to a department Christmas/good-bye luncheon. The Quality manager is leaving to go to a bigger opportunity and the department is getting together. I will miss Rich. He's not only a good manager but he's been a mentor and a great friend to me. I really am sad to see him leave. Sigh...

Well, the DH has decided to stay home and work from home today. Puts a small crimp in my over all plans but it will be nice to have the company. I have to get busy I hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas ornament exchange

I wanted all of you to see the teriffic Santa ornament that Carla (from Peru!) made me for the SBEBB Christmas Ornament exchange.

I love it so much! It will have a place of honor on my tree this year (when I get it put up...yes, we are a bit behind at Chez Bah Humbug....anyway, she sent me chocolates, some fabulous Christmas ribbons, a cute snowman pattern and a giant snowman paperclip. Of course, I pilfered this picture because my camera is fritzing's slowly dying. (Hello, Santa? I would love a Canon Digital...Santa?)

Here at Chez Bah Humbug, we are counting down the days until vacation (only 2 full working days to go) and I will be taking 2 glorious weeks off. I am hoping for a lot of stitching time. I want to work on The Stitcher's Wallet (I'd love to finish it before 2008 but I doubt that will happen cause I have too much left to stitch), True Virtue or Maria Short. I did plan on beginning Mary Garry's, Remember Me but now I am not so sure I'll begin anything new. I have way too many needles in fabric right now. And it can't be all fun and light over my vacation, I have to clean out a closet or 2 and re-organize my craft room cause I dismantled it during Thanksgiving when I started organizing it! I need to make a run to Staples and get some magazine holder thingies. I also have to finish painting a cookie plate for the Cadet to give to the lovely Jenna's Mom.

I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish stitching-wise next year. I think I am going to concentrate on finishing up a few of the things languishing around in various plastic bags. I've also pulled a bunch of patterns and put them in a special binder so that when I want to start something new, I'll have them in one place. And I am going to re-start My Home Town. And I also promised myself that I would stitch at least 6 ornaments next year cause I need some almost instant gratification. This year, I felt like I didn't finish anything so ornaments will give me that Happy Dance which I'll need while I plug along on all those big projects that I started in a fit of delusion. I really enjoyed the ornament that I stitched this year for the SBEBB ornament exchange and I sorta was sad to put it in the mail cause I wanted to keep it so bad!!! I stitched a Lizzie*Kate ornament from one of the Tiny Tidings series called Just Add Snow. It came out adorable! It was an easy stitch but it took awhile cause Lizzie*Kate's look deceptively quick.

And most of all, one thing for sure, I am working from stash next year. I am going on an austerity cross stitch budget. I'm counting on all of you to keep reminding me that I said I would stitch from my stash especially around February when all the new charts are released. Right now, I am lusting after the latest Needleprint Quaker, Mary Peacock. And The Essemplaire has posted the Quaker sister piece, Lydia Trump, to Ann Trump. I'd love to have it but I can't justify another $100 kit especially when I have Maria Spence (another beautiful Quaker sampler), My Home Town and Houses of Hawk Run Hollow kitted up in silk.

I haven't picked up a needle for at least 2 weeks. The David had a big team project / presentation for school (did I tell you he's going for a Masters of Arts in Teaching?) that I got elected to put together. It's hard to layout a presentation board when working with engineers and computer geeks. The David trusts me implicitely for my arty-farty design skills (my BFA in design and a $1.50 will buy you a cup o' joe) but convincing the other players was a hard sell that didn't work so well. Communication was lacking and they were not impressed with my design or my design skills. In fact, one of the engineering geeks commented the he took a poster design class. I think it was his way of telling me that I didn't know anything about laying out a presentation board. So, the David politely told all of them they could do whatever they wanted with their sections of the board and guess what! It looks like something computer and engineering geeks put together except for the David's section which looks like someone with an arty-farty design backround put together. I am glad that's over because it took every evening for two weeks and the entire day on Sunday. I was tired of the board, tired of gluing things down and tired of knowing that no matter what I did, the computer/engineering geeks minus my DH would hate it.

We got a hugh snow storm today, we got about 10 inches. It snowed all day. The roads were yucky and I thanked God for my 4 wheel drive, gas guzzling SUV. I wasn't scared driving today until I had to go down the very last, steep hill before I went up the hill to the house. When I got home, David was unhappy, cranky and really crabby cause his tractor died. Which is really bad because a) the driveway is 35o feet long from the barn to the road and b) we are staring down an N'orEaster this weekend that has the potential of dumping a foot or two of snow over Saturday or Sunday. And then we will get wind (I know we will) and the snow will drift which will force us to park the car and the truck at the end of the driveway which forces us to walk through the drifts and that just makes us more cranky and hating Winter. it SPRING yet???? Anyone see any crocus? LOL!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tic-tock, Tic-tock, Where DOES the time go?

Wow, it's been a couple of weeks since I last made an entry! Did ya miss me? LOL!!!

Well, I HAVE been stitching, it's just I can't show you anything just yet. Sh-hh-hhhh, it's SECRET know, Santa stuff. I will tell you that they are the cutest little things and I created a wicked cool way to finish one thing by combining my love of stitching and painting. Once they get to where they are going, then I'll post pictures (that's IF the camera will cooperate).

So what's going on in my life, you ask? The usual crazy stuff.

Thanksgiving was great, just the David and the Cadet were at the table. We did nothing but eat and share each other's company. I stitched a little, started on the JCS sampler, True Virtue, and worked a bit on my Frosty Friend's exchange. The Cadet's best buddy, Charlie, came by on Friday, it was great to see him and he is doing so well studying opera at Catholic University.

Work is sorta busy but will be slowing down (and I only have 12 days left to work!).

The house stuff...well, Mr. Contractor has left the building, packed up his tent and has vanished. His storefront is empty and I know that his house is in foreclosure. Our guess is that he skipped town or better yet, the country because he has family in Hungary. So, it's basically over and we are left with the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Will someone tell me how it is possible that someone can steal over 60K and there is nothing that can be done? I know that if I walked out of WalMart with candy bar and got caught, I would go to tell does this work?!!

The Cadet and the lovely Jenna have hit a rough patch too...just suffice it to say that I think it's the distance thing and the Air Force thing and the end of the semester stress. The Cadet thinks that ALL women are a bit touched in the, darlin', some of us just play head games! Welcome to love.... Hopefully, all will work out but there are things that will have to be resolved before any permanent relationship evolves. He's willing to give it a go, we will have to wait and see if she's willing to go the distance too.

Anyway, I've been reading everyone's blog and keeping up with you all. I wish you all a great week and a lot of stitching time in between all the holiday preparations. So, I'll talk with you again soon!