Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh Well, Here Goes..............

The update for Annemarie's SAL. The much shortened version of Carriage House Samplings "Primitive Stocking". So primitive in fact it was obviously stitched before the invention of the yardstick, the ruler or the measuring tape. As you can see it is very tightly squeezed to the selvage edge at the top of the fabric. I have narrowed down my choices of cuff fabrics to the four pictured. I am leaning heavily towards the mustard gold with the olive green "eyeball"-looking things on it. I suppose I could just end off the stocking without a cuff but I really like the very long look of this stocking series. My mother has "Quaker Stocking" that I made last year and I would love to display them together.
Finished up the duck and ducklings this morning. I love how these designs look on (18 count) black. Now I must head off to JoAnn Fabrics tomorrow in the hopes that they still have a forsythia wreath leftover after the Easter sale.

A short post today, but I can't sign off without a pet snap. Our newest friend, Morris, yesterday posing so serenely on a stump in my flowerbed. Doesn't his beautiful orange color set off nicely against the plants?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Bit Disappointed

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this. I suppose if I can't be honest here, then where else? I restrained myself from titling this "So Disappointed", but I feel a bit down none-the-less. I didn't win a darn thing in Leena's Stitched Mail Art Contest. I'm not angry or jealous, but just plain sad. I had never entered a stitching contest before so I don't know why I expected to win anything. You know, I actually dreamed about winning and what I would buy with the prize money! How vain and greedy is that!? I'm really not that sort of person and I don't know what's come over me. The work of the winners is superb. Very fine stitching of many varieties and such beautiful design and finish presentations. There is not an ounce of bitterness in that regard. I should have realized I didn't stand a chance against such delicate work. I am just a plain old "x-maker".....nothing on tiny counts of linen or "over-one".
So with that bit of emotional cleansing out of the way I will show you what my entry was.

My SAL piece with Annemarie has become a point of disappointment also. Once again in my quest to be frugal the fabric is too small. I am too ashamed to even post a photo here, but you will have to deal with it tomorrow when I update for the Thursday SAL posting. I will have to make some sort of calico "cuff" along the top to feebly disguise the fact that the top two rows of letters and a star are missing. Luckily, the quilt I am working on is of the same color scheme, so I have plenty of scraps that will nicely coordinate with the stocking.

Worked a bit more on my French Sampler. Just the very boring borders to finish up now. This piece doesn't see much action. I usually take it on my annual Summer trip to visit my parents. Since I didn't go this August it has sat in the WIP cabinet for quite a while. A little more done of the duck and ducklings square of Prairie Schooler's "Welcome Spring", but not enough to merit a photo.

Last Sunday(26th) was the Perennial Exchange Party of my friend Sharee's sister-in-law, Annette. She has a beautiful home with equally beautiful landscaping and gardens. Her Rembrandt Tulips were gorgeous! There were 26 ladies there and each of us brought a selection of plants from our own gardens to trade with the other party-goers. Here's mine and Sharee's table. There was also a marvelous tent with all sorts of goodies and snacks. Annette's very cute little dog enjoyed the party and all the attention he got.

"Mystery Cat" has been with us for nearly two weeks now so it is only fitting that he gets a name. Introducing Morris. He is so friendly with all the other animals, including Bud the dog and is tremendously comfortable living here, as you can see.

Some lovely new threads from Anita's Little Stitches. I just can't get enough of these Threadworx and Valdani threads.Speaking of new are some new neighbors. Actually they are a new collection of what Joe calls "recreational farm animals" that our neighbors bought a few weeks ago. They had two horses to begin with, although we never see them riding them or even so much as petting them. Now they have four little goats, a mule and an odd breed of cow with long curly fur and turned-in horns. Don't know these neighbors at all. Most of the new "yuppy-housing" changes hands every three years or so and we never even know the names of the people who move in and out. Their animals are very nice though. I try to go up to the fence and pet the horses as often as possible and also offer them up some apples. The goats are still a bit shy and the mule...well the mule sets off the "Mule Alarm" most mornings around 4am. That loud, almost honking sound that they make. If I didn't love animals so much...............

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If It's Thursday.........

It must be Annemarie's Carriage House Samplings Stocking SAL! I must admit I did not take a stitch on this from last Thursday. Then last night I played catch-up in order to have some progress to post. It is a lovely day outside, but I must admit I am not feeling it much. I am subbing for another teacher tonight at the gym. Now, don't get me wrong, I love to help out co-workers, but I always regret it the moment I say "yes" to subbing. Another night at the gym until 9pm with unfamiliar kids in a very "recreational" atmosphere. I try to focus on the extra stash-buying money I will be making.
It was also a "Vet Day". Sammy, our FIV positive cat, has some sort of coughy-sneezy thing going on. Since his immune system is not up to par I am always doubly concerned. The Vet gave him some antibiotics and a shot for his itchy fur problem and all is well for now. I do have the twice a day struggle to give him his medicine. Even though it is supposedly flavored like chicken Sammy is none too cooperative when it comes to swallowing medication. Infact, he is still a bit leery of me and this was the only snap I could get of he runs from me about an hour ago after we got home from the Vet!

You see, everything is turning such a lovely green and all of my little plants are sprouting. The kittens, Roy and Carmella, spend most of the daylight hours outside. Although here they are lurking to pounce on the next innocent victim who goes up the stairs.Tomorrow it is supposed to get up to the 70sF and the 80sF over the weekend. Great timing! It has been so cold this week that the cats huddled near the wood-burning stove. This is Coal with Roy.When it got too warm there, they moved to the rocking chair.Not a lot of stitchy things to show today. My "uber-cheapness" has gotten the best of me with "A Mon Ami Pierre" freebie. I cut the fabric too small. I think I can only fit the top half of the sampler on it. I'm so mad at myself. Now I search eBay for large pieces of linen at a reasonable price. I think this piece, when finished (so-to-speak) will be displayed as a pseudo-antique "sampler remnant". Is there no end to the length I will go to cover up a mistake!? Pseudo what??????? Sounds like one of those million dollar art pieces that was created by a 3 year-old finger painting with Jello.

oooooooh Jello, now I'm hungry. Gotta go.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Can't Stop Stitching!

I'm just obsessed lately with stitching. Not that I have touched any of the WIPs waiting for me in the cabinet. I did work a bit on a not-so-old WIP...doesn't even really qualify as one yet because it has not made the fateful trip into the cabinet. It's still in the project bag. Prairie Schooler's "Welcome Spring". Here are the animals I have done so far. The partial one is the ducks. I am waiting for a very nice silk forsythia wreath to go on clearance sale at JoAnn Fabrics and that is where these animals will end up.
I'm still so into stitching "Mon Ami Pierre" freebie. I have used some of the themes before, but now it's going to be the whole thing! I think it's the Valdani Threads "Antique Violet" that attracts me to this piece. It is also a very loose, easy-to-see 28 count natural linen from my stash. As you can see by the edges I have a very bad habit. I think I get this from, of all people, my father. He is very frugal...OK, can I use the word cheap? He is bargain-hunter extraordinaire and never wastes a scrap of anything. From him I get the habit of starting my stitching very close to the edge of the fabric. Linen is more expensive then Aida after all. Why should I search up a larger piece, if I can shove a design onto a slightly smaller piece then recommended on the chart? Maybe it will end up with the "rustic" finishing technique of stitching the raw-edged piece to a plain piece of muslin and then framing it. Really, I've seen it in museum pieces; I'm not just making it up to save face.
Then, here it is, the work of all works (drum roll please), my very first SAL. Thanks to Annemarie and her low pressure, kinder, gentler approach I have decided to dive into this adventure. I dutifully post, on the correct day mind you, my work so far on Carriage House Samplings "Primitive Stocking".
A few pet snaps. The first is really not a pet, but when have I been one to turn away an animal. This is "mystery cat". He was sitting in one of my wicker chairs outside the kitchen window yesterday afternoon. He seemed very much at home. When I approached him I was very surprised to find that he didn't scare and run away, but came right up to me and rubbed his lovely orange fur all over my black pants. He is extremely friendly and followed me around for about an hour. He even tried to get into the house. He seems to get along with the other cats. Against my(or maybe it was Joe's) better judgement I gave him some food and he has spent the night in the cabinet on the porch with our other outside friend, Mocha. Everyone is right now frolicking in the yard in the sun. Yes, sun. The big golden ball in the sky that we haven't seen in nearly a week. It is also warm enough to open the windows and air out some of the testosterone build-up from Easter weekend. Joe's friends love to come here. One even spent two nights on the spare bed. But they leave such a trail of destruction and ewwwww, the smell. OK, OK I have a litter box so I should be pretty "stink-proof", but there is just something about wool socks and work boots and rainy weather that just puts such a funky smell into everything. Of course the gallons of beer and mountains of cigarettes didn't help either. So the whole place is getting a thorough cleaning. But this will take me away from stitching! It also took me away from my original train of thought....PETS!
Here is our Elliot. This photo I pulled up from the archives as it is one of my all-time favorites. Today Elliot has been with us ten years, which makes him somewhere around 11 years old. He is our "special kitty". He has a lame front leg from a bullet wound. We found him that way and the Vet said it was probably some cruel person with a b.b. gun. Somehow Elliot has survived this and a terrible fall about three years ago that has left him with a slightly tilted appearance. Otherwise he is one of our fastest and most agile cats. He also has the most plush fur. I am so glad you found us, Elliot!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Just In Time

The polenta is simmering, the lamb marinating and just enough time to sit and blog a bit before dinner is served. It's "Single-man's Holiday" at our house again. All of Joe's buddies who are divorced or otherwise unattached spend the day feasting at our house as most have no other place to go. Just in time this little Barbara Ana Design "Spring Biscornu" was finished yesterday.
Still need to stitch it up, but I'll consider it finished for now. Just in time for Thursday's deadline, I have picked out my Carriage House Samplings stocking for Annemarie's SAL. I've chosen "Primitive Stocking" on brutally coffee-dyed 28 count linen and my own stash selections of Valdani threads. I replaced the Weeks Dye Works "Charcoal" shown in this photo with regular DMC black. It was just a tad too close in shading to the olive green. Notice the magnifying glass? Yes, I am truly OLD!! That and the needle-threader have become my newest stitching companions.For some odd reason I felt the need to start yet another project. "Mon Amie Pierre" on an ancient piece of raw linen with a lovely Valdani floss called "Antique Violet". The alphabet was just calling out to me from my big binder of on-line freebies. I finished up to the letter "O" last night. With all the other WIPs hanging around here I hope this one doesn't fall by the wayside. I really love the color.
Lost another very promising gymnasts last week. The littlest girl in the center of the photo, Karenna, has left us for another gym. She has chosen Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, which is known world-wide for it's elite and international champions. Hopefully they will be able to take her further then we could. She is a lovely girl, but missed so many practices that it was hard for her to make the progress that her talent allowed.

My last stitching project of the weekend were some alterations on a prom dress. This is Jill's daughter's dress for her Junior Prom. Yes, Jill!! The former co-worker who made my coaching life such a mess over the past several years. She just called me out-of-the-blue and I couldn't turn her down. Work is work and hopefully she'll recommend me to other people.
On this Easter Sunday I think of the people in my grandmother's hometown of L'Aquila Italy. This is also the home of Veronica of the Quaker Inspired Blog. From what little Italian I can read (and the help of Alta Vista translator) it seems that she is OK and still on-line. If anyone knows of ways to help the people of this region please let me know. I send my good wishes to them and know God is watching over them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Last night I went to my first Rhythmic Gymnastics competition. It is very different from the Artistic Gymnastics that I coach. The reason for the long journey north to Columbus was to meet up with my very best friend Anna, her husband Brian and daughter Nadia. Nadia, a very gifted young ballerina with the Washington(DC) Ballet, has now become a Rhythmic gymnast. Both Anna and I were Artistic gymnasts when we were younger and Nadia is named after the "One and Only"....Nadia Comaneci. I haven't seen this lovely family in nearly 12 years. Have you ever had a friend that no matter what happens, no matter how long it has been seen you've seen eachother you can pick up almost exactly where you left off the conversation over a decade ago? That is how it is with Anna and I. We can still read eachother's minds, finishe eachother's sentences. It's as if time stopped somewhere around 1977. A very enjoyable weekend indeed. After several weeks of sad times it was very liberating to be able to leave the house for an extended period of time without a huge anxiety attack.

I am so looking forward to Easter. I have really taken a liking to this holiday. It is not such of a "big deal" holiday in the United States. Nothing like the hype Halloween has become, or the over-commercialized disaster of Christmas. Maybe that's why I like it so much. The fact that I have the preceding Friday off also is a big thrill. Again, I don't know why I'm so into this. Maybe it is because I can feel the real Springtime weather coming and with it all the hope and renewal that brings. As you can see, Elliot is looking forward to it too.

I made the little Easter treat bags for my Junior group of gymnasts. I gave them out last Thursday, as many of the girls said they would not be here this week. There's another thing I am looking forward to. A smaller group of gymnasts all week long means more time to chat with them and to discuss the finer points of certain skills and movements. The hard training is good sometimes, but I think a good chat helps them a lot too. And, as many of you poor unfortunates know, I can chat on and on about gymnastics.

A bit of stitching going on too. Work continues on the quilt, with the help of Coal and Roy.

Try not to notice the basket of laundry being ignored in the background. I am still stitching on Prairie Schooler's "Welcome Spring". Should have them all done soon. Here's a new set of Valdani floss from eBay. This is the "Muddy Monet" collection.

I close this post with two lovely pet snaps. Roy and Carmella under the flowering Quince bush. They just love being outside. The chase every fly, leaf, blade of grass, moth. It's so funny to watch. They make some valiant attempts at stalking birds, but they are not too subtle. I hope your weekend was as enjoyable as mine.