Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Resolutions Stitchy Style!

Well, I hope everyone had a Blessed Christmas. I know I did. It was wonderful to have Brian and Sherrie home and enjoying the holiday. The only one missing was Chris but we had a nice long chat with him and Annette Christmas evening. It capped off a lovely day.

As the new year approaches, I've been doing a lot of soul searching about the size of my stash, both in cross stitch and knitting. I've decided I really need to reduce it. I'll never live long enough to do everything. My tastes have changed over the years and there's no point in storing stuff just for the sake of storing it. So I got started by cannabilzing my magazine collection. So far I've reduced 3 file cabinet drawers to a pile of patterns about 6 inches high. I've got one more drawer to go. My knitting magazines are harder to do. They often don't have the pattern anywhere near the picture. Those magazines are going straight into the sell pile. After I finish the magazines, I'll get to work on the cross stitch patterns. I have 3 file cabinet drawers full of them. I may even go through my fabrics and see what I can get rid of there. I have just way too much stuff.

So my resolutions are as follows:

No new stash - use what I have if at all possible.

Begin 10-25-50 plan - start small with 10 projects (can't get too carried away now, can I?)

Finish 2 UFO's before starting a new project (this is the hard one for me. I love starting new projects)

Organize my craft room (already started on this one)

Start my card system to locate items in stash.

The last 2 items are some I've been thinking about since last May. I figure it's time I stop thinking and start doing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit!

Well, it appears that the Christmas spirit is finally showing its face around our house. Dave & Brian went to Flagstaff on Thursday to pick up Sherrie. Brian and I had gotten the tree together on Wednesday night (amidst a rather disasterous dinner-more on that later!). The lights went on Thursday afternoon and it was finally decorated on Friday morning. As you can see in the picture, Squeak thinks she is Guardian of the Tree. She's made herself quite a little bed with the tree skirt. So far no ornaments have been knocked off or broken (Rosie took care of that on Wednesday). Squeak loves to hide under there and ambush the dogs as they pass by. The lovely ornament seen in the 2nd picture is one I received from Tracy aka tajinaz36. It was such a lovely surprise. Thanks again, Tracy for thinking of me at the blessed time of the year.
Let's talk about Wednesday. My son called me at work and asked why I would lock the dogs in Sherrie's room. They must have been fussing over a rawhide bone and pushed the door shut by themselves. Well, they totally destroyed a full box of Kleenex, one of Bounce fabric softener and one of Sherrie's devotional books. It looked like a small snowstorm had hit in there. Brian, bless his heart, had it all cleaned up by the time I got home. Sherrie did have a new kitty ornament I had gotten her at Thanksgiving on her dresser and somehow it ended up on the bed with a leg pulled off. At dinner I decided to cook my chicken in the new convection oven. I didn't realize it would take longer than the jetstream oven I normally use. When we cut it open, it was only half cooked. So back into the jet stream it went. It kinda killed both Brian's and my appetite but we did manage to get a decent meal out of it. When we were cleaning up, I heard Brian shout in the kitchen for Rosie to drop it. She had stood up at the counter and grabbed the carcess and was dragging it across the kitchen floor. Well, she dropped it. I had to spend the next half hour on my knees cleaning up the mess. I was never so glad to see a day end as that one. Oh, in case you're wondering, Dave was able to repair the ornament and it hangs proudly on the tree.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

CDC Framed!

Well, here it is. My first finished item in over 3 years. It's quite a relief to be able to say I finished something. As you can see, I kept the framing very simple. Just a plain dark green frame. I would have liked the framed to be wider but apparently the wider frame in that color has been discontinued. And It does have glass on it. I have a swamp cooler (another name for an evap cooler) that we use for most of of cooling needs (saves on air conditioning in all but July and August). It puts out a very fine white dust that sticks to everything. So I use glass to protect my work. I was really impressed with how straight the framer was able to stretch it. Having done some stretching myself, I know how difficult it can be. Anyway it's done and I'm pretty happy with it. I'll be taking it to work to display it for a while. Then home it comes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Time Passes

I was thinking as we drove home from NAU today how quickly times passes. It seems like only yesterday that Sherrie was entering Kindergarten. Then there was high school and now she's a sophomore in college. She has grown into a strong, confident and beautiful young lady. She is not only our only daughter but also our youngest child. I know I shouldn't admit this but she is kinda special in my mind. Don't get me wrong. I love my boys as much as I do her. But there's a bond there that isn't with my sons. I love them all the same but differently. It's going to take a very special young man to catch her eye. She has just one major fault though. She doesn't like ANY kind of needlework. I should say she doesn't like doing any needlework. She has absconded with all the cat pictures and pillows I've done. I've only managed to keep one from her. I've tried knitting, cross stitch and sewing. Her friend tried to get her to crochet. She wouldn't have any of it. She loves music though. She is right now a choral music education major and thinking of adding a vocal performance major as well. She loves the idea of teaching on a high school level. She had 2 very fine choral teachers in high school and I think she wants to inspire young people as they inspired her. We had a wonderful visit at Thanksgiving and am looking forward to her longer Christmas break. Can you tell I miss her already?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cirque Des Triangles - Part 1

Well, I've managed to start CDT this week at work. I've decided to stitch it on 22ct Christmas Green Hardanger fabric. I don't know what it is anymore with me and green. It's not even one of my favorite colors. But for some reason, I'm drawn to it for these patterns. I'm using a multicolored thread from Weeks Dye Works called Calypso. It's bright and cheerful and I really like it with the fabric. I'll probably post pictures later this week when I have a little more done. One thing I know I'll be using a lot of is Thread Heaven. The WDW thread really wants to knot on me. I'll be stitching along and all of a sudden there's a slip knot on the front of the work.

I took CDC to be framed on Friday. I'm trying a new (to me) framer. He's been in the area for years and Merry from work finally convinced me to take CDC to him. What amazed me was the price. Less than $45.00 total to frame it. I didn't have any mats put on it but I was still shocked at the price. When he told me I asked him if that included the labor. Yep, it was bottom line. Depending on how I like the finished product, I may have found a new framer.

I hope everyone out there has a blessed Thanksgiving. The Lord has given me so many blessings and I'm thankful for them every day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Dance With Me!!

I'm done, I'm done, I'm really done! I was happy dancing all over the family room last night. Well, let's just say I was happy hobbling around the family room. I've finished Cirque des Circles yesterday afternoon. I knew there was a good side to breaking my toes. It forced me to actually sit and stitch instead of finding all kinds of excuses not to. This is my first finish in almost 3 years. It feels so good to be stitching regularly again. For a while there, I doubted if I would get back to stitching again. I just needed something to inspire me to get working again. I'm really pleased too with the way this turned out. I really like the combination of thread and fabric. We even had a call from a LNS (not in our area) asking what we had used to stitch this. Apparently one of their customers was in our store visiting and wanted to do hers with the same colors. I wouldn't mind stitching this one again with a different combo but I've already started on Cirque des Triangles. I'll post that combo later this week when I have a little more done on it.
My toes seem to be healing fine. I can tell though when I've been on my feet too long. They get kinda sore. Hopefully I get to stop wearing the boot on the 20th. I feel like Igor in the monster movies and my son has called me Frankenstein a few times. Kids! Gotta love them!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Frustration = Stitching

Well, I spent most of last week running from the Dr. to the xray place then to an othropedist only to be told the same thing that the urgent care Dr. told me. We'll just tape your toes and fit you into a walking boot for 3 weeks then see how you're doing. Here's where it get frustrating. I took the prescription into the place to get my walking boot. The good news is that my insurance will pay for it 100%. The bad news is that I need a preauthorization before I can pick it up. Now, nobody plans to break their toes. So my question is how can you get a preauthorization for something that was an accident?

It takes 3-8 business days to get the necessary paperwork done. It's 3 days if it's marked urgent. So course the orthopedic place did not mark it as such. So they asked me if I thought I needed the boot real soon. I told them I was walking around on 2 fractured toes, what did they think?!! Needless to say I was so frustrated I was in tears on the way home. Then I remembered that a friend from work had worn one several months ago. I called and the end result is that I'm borrowing hers until mine gets approved. At least now I don't feel like I'm a prisoner, not being able to go anywhere.

The upside to all of this is that the enforced rest caused me to stitch a lot more than usual and I've made great progress on CDC. You can see by the picture that I'm almost done. I plan on getting more done this afternoon. Maybe I can even hope to finish it this week. Dave is traveling again, so I stitch more in the evenings than I do when he's home. That's my silver lining in all of this.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Time Off!

Well, I'm going to be taking a few days of enforced rest. Seems I've fractured my foot kicking a brick! That's what happens when I take the dog out in the yard and end up gazing at the moon instead of watching where I'm walking in my bare feet. And of course it's not the kind of fracture that responds to being set; it just causes severe pain. So I'm going to take a couple of days off work and just rest it. Maybe I'll get lots of stitching done. That's the plan anyway. But the pain killer I was given is pretty strong so who knows what I'll end up stitching. Gabe may end up with wings on his feet! ;-) I did make a lot of progress on CDC yesterday. I'm working on the final row of circles on the bottom of the piece. I can see the end coming up. I'm really excited cause this will be my first finish in almost 2 years. I do believe my slump is just about over.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Connecting With Others

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting and stitching with Teejay. She is a lovely person and an exquisite stitcher. Her finished pieces are absolutely beautiful. And she's so organized! I wish I could be half as organized as she is. She plans her stitching out so well and everything has it's own special place. Most of my stitched pieces go unfinished into a box (albeit an acid-free box) in my closet. I think it's the process of stitching that I like so well. I do have plenty of finished pieces (mostly seasonal). If I like a piece, I stitch it. I don't think about where it goes. I don't often think about how it finish or frame it. Maybe enjoying the process is why I have so many UFO's. Now I don't believe one way is better than another. I believe you need to stitch the way that makes you happiest. Isn't that why there's 30 different flavors? ;-) Personally I like chocolate!

Anyway it was great to meet Teejay and I'm looking forward to stitching with her again!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Playing With Color

I've been asked to post some of my color combinations that I've been playing with. Here are the three that I came up with to stitch some of the Needlemania designs I have in my stash. The yellow fabric is 25 ct Lugana with Jelly Bean thread from the Thread Gatherer. The red fabric is 32 ct Belfast matched with Palooza Fiesta also from Thread Gatherers. The blue is a 32ct linen from Permin (don't remember the actual name of the color). It's thread is an Impressions from Caron Collections called Sapphire. The problem with working at a LNS is I keep finding new combinations every day. And I want them all! I did come up with the combination which I'm going to use on the new Ink Circles design, Cirque des Triangles. It's a kelly green 22 ct Hardanger fabric and the thread is Calypso from Weeks Dye Works. Sorry to say the Snow Princess and her polar bear will just have to wait a bit longer. As soon as I finish CDC, I'll strat the new Cirque. And who knows when I'll get back to Gabe. I'm seriously thinking of sending him off to Ghost Stitchers and letting them finish him. Would that be cheating? ;-)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Next Project

Well, I think I have figured out what my next big project is going to be. I would really like to do another one with an overdyed thread but think I will wait on that one. My next project will be Snow Princess by Heaven and Earth designs. I love polar bears and while I don't usually stitch fancy ladies, this one just really caught my eye. The bear is so majestic and there seems to be such a connection between the two. I've never done a design by Heaven and Earth but I do hear good things about their patterns. I have 3 other of their designs by Shim Shimmel but it appears they no longer chart (or sell for that matter) his paintings. That is such a shame because I really like his stuff. But now I really need to finish Gabe. He is currently residing on my floor frame and I promised him that I would not take him off there till I had finished with him. Maybe my new project will be just the incentive I need.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Work in Progress

I thought it was about time that I posted a picture of my work in progress, Cirque des Circles. I'm having more fun with this design than I've had in a long time. I'm stitching it on 25 count lugana over one with one strand of Northern Lights silk thread. The color of the fabric is Victorian Christmas Green and the color of the thread is Palomino. It's peach and white. I thought it would be more varigated with more shading but it's just peach and white. Sometimes it's frustrating to try and keep from having a striped effect but I guess that's part of the fun. I am pleased with the way it's turning out. It's also a design that I can see stitching more than once. I've already pulled several more color combinations for it at work. I just wish I could find more time to finish it. That seems to be a major theme in my life: not enough time. Then when I do stitch on it, I see Gabe staring at me and I feel guilty for not finishing him. Maybe I see what it would cost to have Ghost Stitchers finish it for me. It would be well worth it to pay to have someone else stitch him.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Finally Stitching

It has been an absolutely lovely week. My birthday (we won't say how many) was Thursday and I received among other things several nice-sized gift certificates from work. Now I have to decide if I want to get a new needlepoint canvas and the threads that go with them or some gorgeous linen and threads to stitch some of the Ink Circles or Needlemania designs I want to stitch. Decisions, decisions. Then on Friday, Dave & I went to Jerome for the day. It's a lovely old copper mine town that is now an artisan's colony. We spent the night and came home by way of Prescott and Wickenburg. Now I'm getting ready to get back to work on Cirque de Circle. I'm about 2/3 of the way through. This is the first cross stitch design I've ever wanted to immediately stitch again. There are so many beautiful color combinations of threads and fabrics. It's hard to choose just one.

But my nemesis is still staring at me quietly whispering "What about me? I want to be finished too." I've never had a project that I feel less inclined to finish that Gabe. But I've promised my friend he'd get it and by golly he will. When I don't know. But he will get it.

I've also been knitting on an afghan for my son's in-laws for Christmas. It's knit in squares and if I knit just 1 square a day I'll have it done in plenty of time for Christmas.

The best thing about all this is that I really feel like I'm getting back in the groove of stitching. I feel Like I'm coming to the end of a long drought. Oh, how I've missed not stitching. Anf how glad I am to have my old friend back again!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Well, who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Not only have a recently learned to needlepoint but I just got through learning how to post pictures to this blog. This is a picture of the needlepoint class I just finished taking at the shop. The original colors were red and green but I thought that was too much like Christmas. I used Watercolour in the color called Forest Fire. My first thought was to use orange as my primary color with green as the secondary one. But I couldn't find 3 oranges that looked good together. So I decided to go with the green as my primary color and the tan as my secondary one. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. It is more like autumn colors than I realized. I actually had a lot of fun with the class. There were 2 other students and it was interesting to see the colors everyone picked. It always amazes me to see the same design stitched in different ways and how it almost looks like a totally new design. That's the Cirque de Circles is. I love to go to the Ink Circles website and see how everyone has interperted the design. Now that I've finished the needlepoint class, maybe I can make more progress on CDC. That's the hope anyway.
Poor Gabe! He's still just sitting on my stand waiting for me to finish stitching him. I swear if I wasn't doing this for a friend, he'd be in the closet. I really dislike stitching on him. But I decided if I can work on a page at a time and just finish one page, maybe I can feel like I'm making some real progress on him.
I'm so ready for cooler weather. It feels like it will never be fall or winter here. I do know traffic is getting worse so our winter visitors are coming back in full force.
Well, I'm going to go watch a little Nascar and see if I can get some stitching on CDC done. It's working us really fast and I'd love to see it done.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Making Progress

Well, I spent quite a bit of time yesterday working on my needlepoint project for class. I was able to finish the basketweave section and start on the checkerbord one. I've almost got that finished. One more row and that part will be done. I probably won't be able to finish all I need to by class on Wednesday. I'll probably just block off what we'll be doing then and finish the rest later. I know, I know. You're probably thinking that it will end up in a pile of other WIP's. But I really like the colors and it's been a challenge learning some new stitches so I do plan on finishing it very soon after the class is over. Quite frankly, I'm tired of not finishing things. I have tons of stuff just waiting to be done and all I can think of is starting something new. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I read somewhere that the average stitcher has 14 unfinished projects. Well, I guess I'm way above average then! Can you make New Year's resolutions in September? I'd really like to finish some of these up. I can hear them in the closet yelling finish me, finish me. Maybe it's time to rescue some of them. But I must finish Gabe first.

Well, we're off the the baseball game today. D'Backs vs. the Padres. Did I mention I really like baseball? There's something about being at a game, eating ballpark food and spending quality time with David that I really like.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Time Passes

Where did the summer go? Seems like only yesterday that my daughter was home from college and my son & his wife were here for a week. That was in May. And now here it is Labor Day Weekend. We took Sherrie back to Flagstaff Thursday a week ago. I've always loved Autumn: the colored leaves, football season, the anticipation of Thanksgiving. Now it seems like the older I get, the faster time moves. A common complaint, I'm sure.

With that in mind, I'd better get busy and work on my Christmas stitching. I really only have one thing that I definitely want to finish. I'm knitting an angora scarf for Sherrie and I'd like to get it done for Christmas. It does get pretty cold up where she is (Northern Arizona University) and I know she'll appreciate. The only problem with it is that angora sheds. I'v ehad lots of the stuff stick to my lips and get up my nose while knitting with it. If I have time (there's that word again), I might try knitting an afghan for my son and daughter-in-law. But if it doesn't happen, that's ok. It could be for Chris's birthday in January.

My needlepoint class is going well. This coming Wednesday is the last of the beginner's group. I'm quite pleased with the way mine is turning out. When it's all done, I should take a picture and post it. The colors are very Autumn-like. It's been interesting to see the colors the other ladies have chosen. They're all so different yet equally beautiful. I've learned alot in this class and hopefully will be able to take the intermediate class being offered in January.

I've made little progress on Gabe or CDC. Most of my free time has been spent doing the homework for the needlepoint class. Since I only have one more class, I hope to get back to stitching on both of them.

Well, I'm starving and lunch isn't quite ready, so maybe I'll go find something to tide me over. Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stitching Slump

I've been in a real stitching slump lately. Well, not actually just lately but for almost the past 3 years. When Mom died, Dad came to live with us. My free time for stitching was almost reduced to nothing. Oh, I was able to stitch a little in the mornings, but taking care of him and my family and working left me little time for my needlework. I thought when he passed away in Jan 2006, I'd get back to stitching but I've found it hard to get started again. My other problem is that I'm working on Gabriel of the Clouds for a friend and just can't seem to make progress on it. I vowed to not start anything new until it was done but even that hasn't helped. I am working on Cirque des Circles by Ink Spot designs and am making good progress on that but I feel guilty cause I'm not working on the other piece. So consequently I'm not really working on anything too hard.

I did start a needlepoint class last week at work. The lady teaching it is an old retired schoolteacher and, boy, does it show. It's her way or no way. Now I've been stitching since I was 7 and I've worked in the industry for over 12 years now. I do know I few things about needlepoint. But according to her, most of what I know is wrong. Oh well, I'll do it her way in class and my way all the other time. But she's a sweet lady who is a wonderful needlepointer so I could do a lot worse than learning from her. Now if I can just finish the homework!

Well, slump or no, duty calls. I think I'll go see how much I can get done on my angel, Gabe. Have a great day and try to stay cool!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I've been doing alot of thinking about doing a blog and finally decided to just bite the bullet and set one up. I've been in the cross stitch industry for 12 years now and have seen a a lot of changes. Some good, some not so good. So I hope this blog reflects my thoughts on the world of cross stitch and my love of the art. I do believe cross stitch is an art. You take a blank piece of fabric and use colored threads to create a design. Now in my case the design has been drawn by someone else but I've found that cross stitching satisfies the frustrated artist in me.

A little about myself. I live in Phoenix (hence the name of my blog) with an adoring husband (his words) and my oldest son. My daughter is home for the summer but will be returning to college in a couple of weeks. My middle child, also a son, lives in Minneapolis with his wife. No grandkids yet. I also have 2 dogs and the lovely kitty you see here is Squeak, my calico kitty. She also goes by the names of Brat, Demon or Monster depending on who's calling her. ;-)

I hope to be posting a few of my WIP's as well as some finished projects. I just need to figure out how to get the pictures from the camera to the computer.

A journey always starts with a first step. I hope you'll come with me on this walk through my world of cross stitch (with some knitting and a few other things thrown in).