Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A little stitching progress and the drink that turned into a meal

I made a little stitching progress yesterday. I've been having fun working on the wooden key fob and will show my progress tomorrow (I forgot to take a picture). I was going to keep this for myself but I think I will give it to Mom for Mother's Day. A couple of days ago I was at Barnes and Noble (where I picked up all the magazines). They had a pretty hummingbird tote for sale which I picked up for her.
I plan on stitching her a card and giving her a gift card to the book store where she can take this tote and fill it up with books. I'm about half way finished with the fob, so hopefully I will pick out a card chart and get her a card stitched up before May 12th. 

I'm also very surprised at how quickly Monkey Wrench is stitching up using my OSADS methodology. I am a little worried though that I am going to run out of thread. I am fairly confident that I am going to run out of WDW Teal Frost. So what's a stitcher to do but to buy more and since I'm already buying one thing, I should probably buy more. I haven't decided whether to make the drive to the nearest LNS or to shop online. I am leaning towards online but that is mainly because I have almost convinced myself that I want to start the SamSarah Perpetual Calendar. I know that the year is half way over but I have spent most of that time trying to talk myself out of another big project. I definitely need to decide soon. I am a little worried that the dye lot might be a little off but in the famous words of Doris Day "Que sera, sera". 

The other day I found some very cute Americana fabric that I am going to use to finish up the Liberty Star that I stitched using my HoHoS methodology. Now to be honest I am famous (or maybe infamous) for finishing a project yet not really finishing it. I have a bag full of stuff that I completed but never actually framed or ornie-d up or did something with it. I really need to figure out a way to motivate myself to finish this last step. I guess I could start with taking pictures of all my un-finished finishes and putting them up here. I could then challenge myself to finish one a month. Hmmmm do I feel another acronym in the making? 

Finally, I will leave you with a picture of this awesome drink I had at Chomps in Gainesville. It is called The Mafia. It is a bloody Mary that included a skewer with Italian sausage, prosciutto ham, and cheese as well as the traditional olives, and pearl onions. The blood Mary mix was awesome. I am horrible with names but the bartender was fantastic. I have to admit that after drinking/eating this I was only able to finish a small part of the meal and took the rest home. They had a bunch of different varieties, if I am brave enough to do this again, I will definitely pick something much smaller for my meal. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Busy weekend not as much stitching but some dyeing

I had a very busy weekend but wasn't able to do near as much stitching as I would like. Most of my weekend involved gardening. I have lived in north central Florida for a long time and I never knew that each year local nurseries get together and have a native plant sale. Well, by chance I saw an add for this earlier this week when I took Mom to her doctors. We decided to go and it was fun. The event is in Gainesville, FL at the Morningside Nature Center. Mom had a blast. I had to keep reminding her that we were driving her Fusion and that the plant numbers were adding up. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours and drove away with over 50 plants. The plants were in the trunk and in the backseat. 

Needless to say this meant that I was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday planting. It took me over four hours to get all of her plants in (okay I bought about a dozen of them). I was exhausted at the end. I should have taken some pictures, to show you some before and after shots.  As far as I'm concerned, we should consider this done. Apparently there is another Master Gardener sale in May that Mom wants to go to, so I don't think she thinks we are done. 

All of this meant that I didn't get a lot of stitching done. I did manage my one strands on the Monkey Wrench and will update that photo page. I need to re-look at how I have that page set up because it is becoming cumbersome. I also worked on holiday stitching. I finished the Liberty Star on Thursday but was still going to have enough time in the week to work on another 4th of July theme. The one I decided to do is from Trail Creek Farm and is called Love My Land. 

The pattern calls for red fabric. I don't normally concern myself with fabric colors and basically stitch on the fabric that I think it will look best on. In this case, it needs to be stitched on red. I, for some reason, do not have any red fabric. I decided to try and hand dye the fabric. First, I took a piece of 16 count Aida and tea dyed it. I began this on Friday morning. I let it sit in its tea bath all day. This is the result of the tea bath:

After that I decided to use cherry Kool-Aid for the red dye. You might wander why in the world would I chose that. Well, I found it in the cupboard recently. My grandkids will not drink it so it just laid there. Have you ever mixed up Kool-Aid and then got your finger dyed a different color because of it? Well, with that in mind, I mixed up 3 bags in about 1 quart of water and let the fabric sit in the Kool-Aid over night and most of the day on Saturday. This is what it looked like right out of the Kool-Aid bath:

I took it outside and used the hose spayer to mist out the remaining Kool-Aid. Yes it was very, very cherry smelling. I then let it set out in the Florida sun to dry for several hours. This is what it looked like after sun bathing:

I always knew that I would not be able to get this to be a dark or even bright red which is why I started with a tea bath. I was hoping that at the end of the endeavor it would have more of the look of a piece of red fabric that had been washed many, many times and had lost most of its color. Since the pattern incorporates a flag, I decided to go with an old Americana look. This meant that I would need to change the pattern colors up. The pattern calls for Silk-n-Colors although it charts for DMC and Anchor also. I decided to go with over dyed cotton and picked WDW Chamomile for the flower stems, WDW White Wash for the white background, GA Sampler Threads Midnight for the blue and GA Simply Shaker Weathered Barn for the red. I was only able to get the "L" stitched and I think I'm going to like this when it is done. This picture washed out the color a bit but I am stitching on the bottom half of the fabric where the color is darker. 

Sunday came and the holiday stitching switched to Christmas. I will put picture up on the HoHo page but just like with the OSADS page, it has become cumbersome and I need to rethink how to format that page. 

Throughout the weekend I did get a wee bit of stitching completed on my BAP-T, maybe about 200 stitches.On Sunday I didn't get a lot of stitching done, mainly because I was exhausted. I was able to force myself to stay awake to watch Game of Thrones and then I was done and in bed by 10:00pm. I'm hoping to get more work done on Toreador this week but have resigned myself to fact that this project is going to give me fits and starts. Parts of the chart are full of color changes and it takes forever and then other parts have sections where there are more consistent blocks of color which makes stitching go faster. 

Here's hoping for a productive week!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

UK Cross Stitch Magazines and a Rotation

I'm not sure what is going on with cross stitch magazines in the states, but they don't seem to be competing very well with the offering from the UK. I still occasionally pick up Just Cross Stitch and Stoney Creek, but unless you are in a brick and mortar store, it is increasingly difficult to find a Stoney Creek magazine. This months edition of Just Cross Stitch had several patterns that I liked, including some stitching notions that are very sweet. My local stitching store is almost 2 hours away, so I mainly purchase my stitching magazines at Barnes and Nobles because they consistently have a good selection. What I have found over the last couple of years is that the majority of the crafting magazines offered are coming from the UK. I thought at first it was just B&N but Books-A-Million does the same thing. I'm not sure why this is the case but there you have it.

I think what appeals to most of us is that the UK magazines almost always offer a "free gift" and many times these little kits are very nice. I confess that I often buy the magazine mainly for the kit. The other day was no exception. I purchase the lastest (to the states) edition of the British Cross Stitcher magazine for exactly that reason.

This edition has a very cute wooden fob kit that includes everything you need to make it into a keyring. I have been seeing a lot of these wooden die cuts on Etsy and have been intrigued. When I saw this kit, I just knew I had to try it. 

I was surprise by how easy it worked up. 

This has led me to reconsidering my stitching and I have added to more rotations to my stitching. One is Me Morning Stitching (dare I call them MeMoS). As I've mentioned, I get to work very early to "carpool" with my son, so I will use this extra hour to stitch on something I like, just because I like it. So far I am enjoying this a lot. 

I think this little kit is an example of where American magazines might be missing the boat. If you look at the UK magazines, they always have different ways you can stitch something up and I can see how their patterns would appeal to the younger stitcher. If you look at the above magazine, you will see that the cover page is a funky colored peacock which they then show you how to turn into an envelope pillow. For those who live in the UK, the magazines aren't too pricey, about £4, but in the states they are pricey, $11. So they are definitely a treat for myself when I buy them. 

I recently found that I can purchase a digital subscription from B&N for about $5 a month. Unfortunately, I found out that the charts would not show up on my Nook Simple Touch, although they do show up on the Nook app on my Samsung Galaxy S4. You also cannot get the charts to show up using a Nook PC app. So, for now, I cancelled that subscription until I bite the bullet and purchase a Nook HD. I do think Although I can still see myself purchasing them, if I like the "free gift". 

Oh yeah, I got so caught up in my magazine ramble, that I almost forgot to tell you about my other rotation. It will be Wedding Wednesday Stitching (WeWeS, I just can't help myself). I did a little test of this on Wednesday. I only worked on the project for about an hour and it worked out pretty well. First, I had to whip stitch the edges of the fabric and then I was able to do a little stitching. I thought I had snapped a pic but when I went back and looked, there was no pic to be found. I will try to get one up soon. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Friday!!!!

My goodness but I have had a busy end of the week. While my mom can still drive, my preference is that she not drive more than 15-20 minutes away from home by herself, as most of the stores that she goes to her are well within that distance. This is not to say that if she wanted to drive somewhere farther that she can't, it's mainly that I would rather she didn't as her health is not great and her hearing is even worse. With all of that said, mom had back-to-back doctor appointments on Wednesday and Thursday. The timing of them made it very impractical for me to go to work and then leave, as it is about a 45 minute drive one way from my work to mom's house. So, I took a the days off to take her to her appointments which are about 45 minutes from mom.

All and all, I think we had fun. Her appointments went well *yeah* and we went out to eat a couple of times. I also stopped off at a thrift shop and found some nice items. I am always starting and stopping collections, and right now I have decided to collect teapots, teacups, old sewing notions, and handwork. The shop I found is located by some storage units and the owners sell the stuff that is abandoned. I ended up spending $15 and I think I found some neat stuff.

First, I  found this adorable demitasse size teacup set. It has one small chip but as it is fairly old; the markings on the bottom say Occupied Japan, I didn't mind. Mom, who has been collecting china forever, says that it is difficult to find china from Occupied Japan. Okay, I will admit that my original intention was to make some pincushions using the teacups I found. In my internet travels, I found this great idea using a ball of wool yarn as the "filling". Because of the denseness and flexibility of the yarn, you really would not need to use glue to keep it. This appealed to me. Unfortunately, I forgot to save where I saw this, so I cannot give credit to the correct person for this wonderful idea. If and when I find, I will give credit.

As you can see, the inside of this teacup is just too pretty to cover up.

This of course meant that I had to keep looking *wink*. And I quickly found this set of two pretty white cups. They also had interesting markings on the bottom which said Kaiser W Germany. 

In the course of my wonderings, I also found this ashtray. It is trimmed in gold paint and the markings on the bottom say Bavaria Germany U.S. Zone. I have never seen china with this marking before and couldn't passi it up for .50. The more I look at it, the more I think I can create, what I am calling in my head, a pin tuffet.

The last thing I found was a crocheted angel/doll. I purchased it for two reasons, first, I think it is important to try and save decent handwork when we find it and the crochet work on this is nice. What I really wanted though was the doll frame. Basically the top of this doll was glued to the bottom of plastic champagne glass. I have a pattern in one of my magazines for a cross-stitched doll dress that required a china doll torso base. Well, I was never able to find one in any of my local stores and when I went online they were a little pricey for something I wasn't sure I would every finish. This little doll was .25. I figure that even if I never do the cross-stitched doll dress, I can still either just let it stay the way it is or deconstruct it and use the crochet work in a sampler or crazy quilt project.

On a side note, ignore the mess in the background. I am in the process or redoing (okay cleaning) my craft area. I will show you the enormity of this mess in a different posting, after I have cleaned it up. 
I did get some stitching done and updated the HoHoS and OSADS pages with those pictures. I worked on BAP-T but didn't take any pictures because right now it is slow going with multiple color changes.

I thought I would end this Friday posting sharing some of the clever things I found at Robins Designs on  Etsy, yes they are a little geeky but you almost never find this stuff in a regular shop:

Periodic Table of the Elements 
Schrodinger's Cat

Tardis 3-D Pattern 
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

Happy Friday everyone and consider stitching something for the nerd in your life (we all have at least one). 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just found a new designer and she also has an Etsy

I was on the Snowflower Diary's blog because she recently released her latest freebie. If you have never been to her blog, go check her out. Her blog is wonderful and her designs are lovely, cute, adorable, and just a little bit of everything. I kind of floated down her blog and she mentioned how the Primitive Hare had inspired her to try and create something a la Mr. Darcy and Colin Firth. Well, I jumped over to the Primitive Hare and oh my goodness her designs. Her blog led me to her Etsy and I immediately fell in her love with her designs.

I then got another thought. What if I combined reading and stitching. I could maybe pick up Pride and Prejudice and also stitched her design

or I could maybe read The Christmas Carol, a historical perspective on Henry VII and wives, Little Women, the poetry of Keats, or even a Grimm's tale just to name a few of her selections. This seems to be the perfect combination of stitching and reading.  I was so excited about her that I started looking around her site and found out that she can be found in a few US shops (she is from Italy) like ABC Stitch Therapy, Haberdashery, and Attic Needlework. I'll have to check my local shop and see if she has them and maybe scope out a few online places. She had a pretty decent collection at her Etsy available for immediate download. Now all I have to do is wait patiently until payday and pick up one or two or maybe three.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Angel's Ink and some stitching and a maybe reading list

I thought I would talk about this book I am reading, Angel's Ink: The Asylum Tales by Jocelynn Drake. When I first started the book, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. The main character is Gage, described as a rogue warlock. He is now "hiding in plain sight" and owns a tattoo parlor called, Asylum. He has a troll, Bronx, and an elf, Trixie, who work with him. The premise is that he left the "Towers" because basically witches and warlocks are mainly corrupt. If uses any major magic his guardian will swoop in and kill him (although mainly he has just been giving him WTF type lectures). He is able to "stir potions" into tattoo ink which give them slight magical properties because this is something that all of the good tattoo artists are able to do and is not considered magic. A girl enters his shop and asks him to tattoo angel wings on her back. He feels bad for her because she is dying and "stirs" something extra into the ink. This is where the action begins to pick up. I began this book because of  reviews from Goodreads comparing it favorably to Butcher, Harrison and the like. I haven't completely committed that this will be a good series, I'm only about half way into it, but it is definitely hopeful. Sometimes, the writer bogs things down a bit and sometimes, you feel like he is introducing too much to soon. I have a feeling that this book is really just setting up all of the characters for a better book to come, but it is definitely interesting enough to keep reading.

I am always look for new authors to read but have noticed that I have begun to narrow my reading down almost exclusively to urban fantasy, fantasy and alternate realities. I am now trying to decide between two different options that halt this horrible trend into being a one genre reader. My first option is to commit to reading the classics. I have joined a nice group in Goodreads, Classics Without All the Class. I was supposed to read a Brave New World, I even got the book, but have yet to read the first page. The next book in their rotation is Anna Karenina. I think part of my problem is that I read both of these books many years ago and so I can't quite get interested. The second option involves Free Friday Books from Nook. These are free books that come out every Friday from Nook and run all over the place in genres. I'm kind of leaning toward the second option because it seems fun and in fact that is where I got the book that I am currently reading.

So, I"m going to think about this for a bit, or at least until I finish Angel's Ink, before I decide.

I did get some stitching done and stitched on OSADS, HoHoS, and BAP-T and put some pics on the OSADS and HoHoS pages. I did some of my stitching during lunch and the other part of my stitching waiting for Sean to finish his night class, BAP-T only got a little bit of stitching done in the evening, as it is on my standing frame at home.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Online Needlework Show is open

I just wanted to put a quick shout out that the Online Needlework Show is open.  This is always a fun event that showcases different designers. We get a chance to see what different designers in the industry are doing and also many opportunities to win door prizes:)

IHSW Weekend

This was my very first IHSW weekend and the fact that it was rainy made it even easier to stitch. I did a little planning for this weekend and began Saturday morning with starting up a pot of beef vegetable soup. It turned out yummy. On Friday night, I stopped off at a local vegetable stand and picked up broccoli, green beans, little round zucchinis, tiny red potatoes, tiny sweet potatoes, ridiculously large carrots, and a tiny head of red cabbage. I had leftover corn and pot roast from earlier in the week, added some beef broth, a pack of onion soup mix, 2 cups of water and the rest of the red wine that was in the fridge. Several hours later and it was yummy for my tummy.

Before I start on my IHSW stitching, I want to share a RAK from Friday. The plan Friday evening was to pick mom up, take her to the veggie stand and then out to dinner.  I knew I also needed to get gas but didn't realize how desperately. As I am driving, I purposely pass a gas station because the owner's are horrible price gougers. I am positive that I have enough gas to make it one more mile.  All of sudden, the car begins to slow down and stops. Luckily, I was able to pull out of the 60+mph traffic. As I was leaving my almost 80 year old mother in the car, a very nice lady, Jenny, pulls over from the other direction. She had seen me pull over and turned around to make sure everything was okay. She drove me back to the gas station that I had passed, agreeing that yes, they are horrible price gougers. After paying $18 for a 5 gallon gas can (the only one in the store), I then filled it up. Thank goodness for Jenny, can you imagine having to haul several gallons of gas down the road. After taking me back to my car, Jenny waited while I gassed up. Well, I was having just the most horrible time figuring out this gas can. It had some weird funnel that had to be pushed in to work. It was ridiculous. Well, Jenny helped me figure it out and we finally got some gas in the tank. She then followed me to the gas station I had originally intended to stop at to make sure that I got there with no problems. Jenny was wonderful. Moments like give a reaffirmation that there are still really nice people. 

On Friday night I got some SOSADS work done and I've posted those pics on the SOSADS page. I did work on BAP-T but not on Friday night. I got home late after taking mom to dinner and just did some SOSADS. Here are the pics of BAP-T, I was hoping to get an entire row done, but didn't quite manage it.

Before I started stitching

Saturday night

Sunday night

I also did some HoHoS and posted pics to that page. On Saturday, I completed a blue bunny, a la Marshmallow Bunnies,  for Easter. It is a DMC freebie and will eventually have a yellow and a pink bunny. Sunday went into a different holiday week, which is 4th of July. I am working on another freebie from Erica Michaels "Liberty Star". This pattern is a freebie from Rainbow Gallery and originally called for all kinds of fun fibers. Well, I didn't have any of the fun fibers in my stash, so I am using WDW threads instead.

The other thing I remembered was my son, Jason, and his fiancee, Jenny, are getting married this December. So, yes I have another December deadline. Jason is a huge fan of all things Irish and I promised him years ago that I would stitch the Irish Wedding Blessing for him. I am using a pattern from D J Dreams, Irish Wedding Blessing Sampler, which I purchased years ago from Patterns Online. I was hoping that I would have a green opalescent fabric in my stash, which I did, but it wasn't big enough. I did find a very nice 32 count which I am happy with. I had mom help me pick some overdyes, which I am hoping will look as good as I hope. Using overdyed fabric (wandering ivy - Zwiegart, I think from Silkweaver Fabrics)and overdyed thread (WDW - Emerald and Gentle Art - Grape Leave) might be a lot overdone. But I hope it will work out. I am going to add a celtic knot to the side because I want to be able to put their names on the sampler and the pattern does not allow for that. Here is a pic of the fabric and thread:

The pic doesn't due it justice as it is a much brighter green. 

I still need to sit down and play with the fabric to see what orientation I want it to lie in when I stitch. I want to make sure that I display the fabric to it's best effect. I guess I will have to add Wedding Wednesday to my line up to ensure that this thing gets stitched in time. I think it will be a quick stitch because the majority is backstitching. I almost forgot that the pattern calls for Japan thread which I do not have. I do have a very nice Sulky gold which I am going to see if it will work. If not, I will get the Japan thread.

All in all, I had a fun, cold, rainy, north central Florida weekend!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Science is cool...

I don't know if you can see it, but the magnet is pulling the needle toward it without letting it touch the fabric. Geeky yes, but it doesn't take away from the fact that science is cool.

Acronyms all over the place

As I stitch this weekend, I've begun obsessing yet again about how much time Torreador, here to its end to be known as BAP-T, is taking. So I'm kind of thinking of starting a sort of rotation (hmmm, ASOR *teehee*). My thoughts on this are I have so much stuff I want to stitch that although I still really want to do this stitching project for Alan, he and I have worked together for over 10 years, my fingers are itching to touch my other stitching projects.

So here is my thought process. I will continue stitching BAP-T every day. I will also continue doing my OSADS but will hopefully do less frogging (see Day 3). What I'm thinking of doing is creating Hour of Holiday Stitching (HoHoS), yeah I know you guys are getting sick of the acronyms, but really they make me *teehee* each time. In reality I won't be able to HoHoS every day but I'm going to try and HoHoS at least every weekend day and maybe a couple days of the week.

How do HoHoS work?, you might ask/

Well let me tell you. As with most of my plans I do try to KISS (keep it simple stupid - really, you knew that would be too easy for me to ignore). The plan goes something like this:
  1. Pick a holiday, any holiday, chart.
  2. Stitch it for an hour.
Wow! That seems almost too simple you might say.

Yes, and of course, so, I will have to shake it up just a little. I mean really there are a lot of holidays out there and I have a lot of  holiday "smalls" that are just begging to be stitched up, hopefully finished, and then set out in cuteness to be adored by all (okay maybe just me). 

So, how are you going to address this over KISSed idea?, you might ask.

Well, in hopes of not completely de-KISSing it, my plan is to kinda sort of create holiday weeks. 

Holiday weeks, hmm, that seems very de-KISSy-like, you might say. 

So here is my thought. I'll be honest and say that Christmas is my very favorite holiday, with Halloween a close second, Easter a distant third and then all the rest. So that I how am I going to "create" these holiday weeks. Simple ;)
  • First week of month - Christmas
  • Second week of month - Halloween
  • Third week of month - Easter
  • Fourth week of month - all the rest, 4th of July, St Patrick, Thanksgiving, etc.
Technically that means that since it is Saturday, I should stitch Easter, which since I have time, I will. Remember it is just an hour. Sunday I will stitch 4th of July. 

Here's hoping that I don't quickly abandon HoHoS...hmm...Ho Hos..wonderful delectable treats, I miss you. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Theme-a-licious 2013

I just joined Theme-a-licious 2013 over at Heather's site It's Geek to Me. It sounds like it will be fun and of course since April is Amazon April it fit right in with the BAP-T. Here is a picture of BAP-T where it stands now 2 pages into the 49 page chart:

I can't remember if  I've ever mentioned that I am stitching it on 28 count bone lugana  1 over 1, so if I haven't, now I have :)  As much as I complain it's actually stitching up pretty fast. I took me a couple of days to grid the entire piece, 370w x 500h, so I didn't officially put thread to fabric until March 22nd. So I guess that is a rate of about 1 page every 2 weeks. Each time I look at it the math is still telling me that I probably will not finish this by October. I have decided to squint my eyes at the math and remember that some of the pages are not filled with color changes as the first row of this pattern is. The first row is 7 pages and fairly repetitive in how the color changes. It's a very pretty effect, but definitely slows down the stitching.

A new blog and a new site for stitching stash

I was reading the blogs of the people who have signed up for this weekends International Hermit Stitch Weekend (IHSW), click on my link to the left and check it out, and found Heather. She in turn led me to Pixie Stitches. It's a download site that is just great. I stopped at four patterns, but am already regretting it and planning my next foray. Her prices are ridiculously reasonable $3.50 a pattern.

The ones I picked are:

  •  With The Lemons -- this one is for Sean 
  •  Laura's Quote - this one is for me 
  •  Justice League - this one is for David 
  •  Arsenic and Old Lace - this one is also for me 

 I couldn't find one that immediately yelled out for Jason, but now I have a reason to go back. I can't wait to start stitching them because they are very fun and look like they are quick stitches.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

One Strand a Day Stitching

I have been stalking  reading other stitcher blogs and discovered a rotation method called "One Strand A Day" stitching. Some of the bloggers I should give credit to are Rebecca at Needle Niche and Marjo at A Southener..., there were a few others but many of them are no longer blogging.

How do you do it?

The premise is uber easy. You pick up your project and pull one strand of thread and then stitch until that thread is no more. I'm sure there are those out there that would go through and pick all of the symbols for that color but that screams confetti stitching to me and who among us really likes that?

How will I do it?

I am going to use monochrome style patterns and therefore it will be very easy for me to do this. Right now I am working on Monkey Wrench (Ink Circles) and although it is not truly a monochrome pattern, it is set up in large blocks of color. In my UFO collection storage area, I have Bethlehem by Imaginating. I put that one away a long time ago, because I decided to stitch it over 1 on 40 count. At the time, the idea sounded great and I think it will be lovely when finished. But the reality of all of those tiny stitches did beat me up and call me names. 

Why would I do it?

I've decided to try it for two reason, the Torreador truly is a BAP that has become all consuming. If I decide to stitch on something else, I worry that I will never finish the Torreador by its deadline. All of this obsessing is making me just a little resentful of the Torreador, so I'm hoping that if I commit to stitching just a little bit on a different project each day that I will be less resentful. Also, I have never like being bullied and I've been trying to think of a way to motivate myself to picking Bethlehem back up because I know it will be gorgeous when its finished as it will be about 1 1/2 inches by 10 inches. 

Last thought

In the next day or so, I will post some pictures of Monkey Wrench and maybe a new page showing its progression.  One Strand a Day Stitching seems very long so from this point on it shall be called (tum, ta, tummmmmm) OSADS. That acronym kinds of makes me giggle.  One might ask why the giggle, and I would answer mainly because the oh so truly sad part about this is that I have spent oh so much time thinking about it. Oh well such is the life of the stitching obsessed. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being a Mom and Scratch Offs

I have often told people that if I was being honest, I would admit that my children would probably have been better off if they had been raised by wolves. Now don't get me wrong, it isn't that I was a Mommy Dearest kind of mom, it is more a case of my being a Sybil kind of a mom. By this I mean that one minute I was the fun let's go to do something mom and the next minute I was why won't these children go find their real mother. And yes, I admit to actually telling my boys that they should go find their real mom because she misses them.

Now saying this you would think all of my boys would be off living their lives and grateful that they were out from under my precarious wing. Well, for the most part they do live their own 29, 28 and 26 year old lives. But they like most children still come to me for help. One of my boys right now has had just the worst year ever. It is definitely a case of stepping out of a pile of horse manure and into a pile of cow crap. So, as a way of trying to help him out, we have been car pooling to work. We both work at the same place, so this kind of works out. I'm not sure if you can call it carpooling though because we are using my truck and I don't have use of said truck except to go back and forth to work a couple of days a week. He uses the truck all of the other days. Right now my mom has not been driving as much as she used to because she is practically deaf and driving makes her nervous. So, she is generously allowing me to use her car on the days when my truck is  otherwise unavailable. Hopefully, God willing and the creek don't rise, the "carpooling" will come to a very grateful (at least on my part) end sometime in June.

Where this gets aggravating is that when we do carpool, I arrive at work an hour earlier than I need to and because my son takes classes, stay about 4 hours later than I need to. For the most part, I don't mind helping him out because as I said his situation is just ridiculous. I guess this also means that I'm not nearly as horrible a mom as I could be. Sometimes I use this extra time for stitching, but I'll be honest and admit that more often than not I end up reading. I always bring my stitching but don't stitch near as often as I should.

Monday was a late day, so I decided that I was just not doing fast food type food. For those of you wondering, yes it is assumed that mom (me) will treat for dinner, although occasionally I am the treated.  The restaurant I wanted to go to was closed on Mondays, so we went to Ichiban Sushi, I had never been, usually I can't find anyone who will do Asian with me. We ordered a sweet and spicy roll to share and then Sean got chicken teriyaki and I got spicy ginger salmon. It was all delicious. Sean kept challenging me to put more wasabe on my roll, but wasabe doesn't really bother me, so he soon got bored. We each got a mixed drink but it wasn't until the end of the meal that I remembered that Sean ordered a second drink because he didn't like the first. He kept to Mom's rules though, that not drink goes un-drunk and finished it. I don't know what he was thinking, it was a martini, of course he was not going to like it. My drink came under martini's and in a martini glass but it was sake and plum wine...yummy. Although, it was a pricey meal, it still was very nice. I think that at least twice a month, I will treat myself and someone else to a very nice meal. Yes, money was spent but heck I think you should always seek out enjoyment because life will eventually bite you in the ass.

The other thing I decided to do was to purchase scratch-offs each payday. I figured I would have to go big or go home, relatively speaking, as go big for me is spending $20. I decided to purchase five $5 tickets (all the same). The first three scratch offs were a complete bust and I was bumming. The last one I won $30!!! I think I will save $10 to go into a scratch-off kitty for next payday and then spend the other $20 on more tickets. I know I am playing a suckers game but hey remember the seeking enjoyment thing I'm trying. If I win, I will put all of the money into a "get me something nice kitty". If I loose, I will definitely have to reconsider my game plan. To play it safe, I have decided to try and set it a mental limiter and only "re-invest" my winnings once in a payday.

I"m off to re-invest....

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Moments of Silence

Yesterday's tragedy during the Boston marathon has left me without adequate words. As a nation we are blessed that incidences like what occurred in Boston are rare and we are also blessed that we live in a nation where we are able to immediately cry out against the outrage of such senseless acts of violence.

All we can try to do during times like this is attempt to remember that there is still beauty in the world 

Monday, April 15, 2013

DIY Stitch Clip

This weekend was a bit of a tribulation. I had planned on spending part of Saturday in a dog training class with Bella my one year old English Mastiff. She is a sweetie but is very, very shy and somewhat stubborn. She walks pretty good on a lead but I am hopeful that a class will not only socialize her but help me teach her how to sit and stay. 

Friday night Sean called to say that he needed a babysitter for Saturday. Now mind you, I told him several weeks ago that I would not be available for the next several weeks. After whining incessantly, I caved. On Saturday morning, I woke up with my face swollen so badly that I could barely see out of my right eye. I have an abscessed tooth. Well, Saturday was just lovely as I watched my grandsons and battled my tooth. Actually, the boys were very good and once the antibiotics and Excedrin kicked in it, my face was tolerable. Noah and Nicholas had a pretty good day and surprise, surprise, Sean picked them exactly when he said he would.

Sunday I was feeling somewhat better and actually felt well enough to work on my DIY stitch clips. They were very easy to put together. Just a combination of suspender clips, very soft elastic, hot glue and velcro. I purchased a yard of pretty elastic (it came that way on a card) and so when divided by four each of the clips were cut to 9 inches. I could have sewn the elastic to the suspenders, but that seemed way harder than just hot glue-ing them. I could have made them so that each one would be the same but I liked how the colors contrasted depending on which side of the elastic you looked at, so decided to put them together to showcase that.

When I attached them to my stitching frame, I was very pleased with the tightness of the fabric. 

So far, they are working pretty good. I could probably fiddle with them so more to make them better, but for now they are working fine and holding the tension with no problem. 

As a reading update, I finished Demon Hunting in Dixie and Wolf with Benefits. Both were great. I'm not sure if I will read the second book in the Lexi George series but as always wait with baited breath on Shelly Laurenston/G. A. Aiken's next book. 

I had a collection of short stories on my Nook, Cast of Characters, that I started and while I don't think I will read it exclusively, so far the stories are good. I recently downloaded Angel's Ink: The Asylum Tales by Jocelyn Drake as a Friday Freebie from Nook and I think I will give it a try...and no, I still haven't started my classical reading attempt and Brave New World still sits patiently waiting......

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Love these highlighters

I was cruising the internet recently and discovered Jet Pens. It is a somewhat pricey but very cool online store that carries pens, scissors, tape and all sorts of gadgets. There are all kinds of things at this store that I liked but I kept hesitating because, as I said, they are pricey. When I couldn't find a similar product in any of the office supply stores locally, I finally caved and got these wonderful pastel highlighters

I ended up buying two packages ($8.25 each) and the cool silicone pouch. I was afraid that I would really like the highlighters and then with my luck the company would stop carrying them right when my highlighters needed to be replaced. So far, I love them! Like many of you, I highlight what I have stitched. How I do this is, I first mark the area I want to stitch in one color and then remark the area after it is stitched with a different color. What was challenging is that sometimes after you mark with that second color it is difficult to read your  chart because of the darker color (you know, during those dreaded frogging sessions). I took a couple of pictures, so you could see the difference. The darker page is where I used a standard highlighter the other page is where I used the Zebra Soft Color Double Sided Highlighters
You can in the bottom where I had marked what I was going to stitch in yellow, the other areas are where I had stitched and marked them in blue - creating a pastel green 

This shows the contrast between traditional highlighters and these softer color highlighters

As a I side note, this is the first time that I have stitched with my chart on my stitching surface. I usually have it on a table off to my side. I think I like it this way, but I'm still not sure. This weekend I am also trying to create some DYI stitch clips. You can see from progress pictures that the fabric is a little floppy on the edges. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am cheap but I am definitely too thrifty to drop down $25 for stitch clips. I purchased my materials the other day, I found this really soft, very pretty elastic, for about $11. I will post pics on Monday and you will see if my DIY was a success or a total failure.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Update on Torreador and a cool serial book

I have an update on my Hallucinogenic Torreador from Cross Stitch Collectibles, and a better picture (it's a wonder what remembering to use a flash can do)

I do have a thread that kind of looped over but you can see from the post before that I have gotten quite a bit done, in fact I am almost finished with page 2. Here is a picture of the full design which gives a more depressing reality check of how much needs to be done

Now you can see how I have just managed to get one very small corner of the design completed, but I persevere on and hope that I can meet my October 2013 deadline. The very shiny threads you see are how I grid for these BAPs. When I first started gridding, I used nylon thread but didn't like it. I then moved onto to the Easy Count Guideline stuff. This works great for 14 count Aida and possibly other Aida but if you are using evenweave or linen it is just too bulky. I was looking through my stash when I realized that I had a bunch of Sulky metallic and holographic threads. So far its working great. The big test will be pulling it from under a heavy stitch block. The only other BAP I've used it on had areas where the fabric showed through and it pulled through the heavier stitching relatively easily with no breaking. I think to be safe that after I finish this second page, I will snip the thread and see how it pulls out. If it pulls out easy, I will test it on a bigger area. I definitely don't want to find out after I finish the entire thing that the thread breaks, I would hate to have to try and pick it out because as you can see the shiny threads do peak through. 

On a totally different front, I want to talk about Clean Sweep. This is an online serial book that is being offered and written by Ilona Andrews (a husband/wife team). If you like alternate reality/fantasy fiction you will love this book. The plot line is interesting and the characters are engaging. Go to this link and check out the book http://demo.ilona-andrews.com/category/clean-sweep/ .

Happy weekend!!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

TUSAL or Totally Useless Stitch Along

I guess I have been TUSALing for years now. I have been saving my bits of thread for years and then depositing them in containers scattered throughout my house. I have glasses

I love the colors in this one (wish I could have gotten it to turn)

but I like to collect bottles and thought hey why don't I put my ORTS in them

when I am working on projects my ORTs go into a container my son gave me for Christmas that sits by my stitching chair (ignore the mess)

Most people I know throw their Orts away but I couldn't bear to once I found out how pretty they were in different containers. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's Been Forever....

Well, it's been forever (years in fact) since I created and then abandoned this blog. I am going to reattempt this and see what happens. I'll start with catching up my life.

My personal life has been a complete mess. My father passed away two years ago and my mother has had her ups and downs. During this time, I have been attempting to complete my master's degree but every time I start doing well, something would happen with one or both of my parents. I am so far in debt trying to do this that now I feel that I have to complete it. Right now I am taking a break, because again I had a parent issue that interfered with my ability to be successful. I'm hoping to start back in a couple of months. Also, I now have three grand children (all from the same son), one girl (soon to be 6), a boy (soon to be 3) and another boy (just turned 1). There is always drama going on with one or another of my sons (remember I have 3, who are supposed to be all grown). My oldest will be getting married in December 2014 while the other 2 are both still married. My job is still what it is but hopefully if I can get a little luck will be something different soon.

Now on to what I am doing reading and stitching-wise. I still read all of my favorite authors and just finished Patricia Briggs Ever After (The Hollows, #11)  and Kim Harrison's latest installments...loved them both. I'm also trying to go back to the classics and read Brave New World but haven't actually started it yet. Right now I am reading an alternate reality, fantasy book  Demon Hunting in Dixie (Demon Hunting, #1). The main thing that I like about it is that it makes me smile.

Stitching-wise I am working on a couple of projects. Finishing up Ink Circles Monkey Wrench, HAED Fragile Storykeep, Stoney Creek O Holy Night and starting up a huge project for a retirement gift. It is Cross Stitch Collectibles - Hallucinogenic Torreador. On April 3rd, I took pictures (albeit bad ones) that showed how far I had gotten 2 weeks into the process.

I have pretty much abandoned everything else trying to  keep progress up on this BAP (it has 49 pages and needs to be finished by Oct no later than Nov). Here's hoping that I do what I say and keep up with this......