Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy Friday and Serial Killers

Happy, Happy Friday Everyone!

Well I still feel fairly cruddy. I am trying to convince myself that this cough is getting better but it still seems determined to linger on. I didn't get a lot of stitching done last night. I just felt yucky and only managed a bit, and part of that bit had to be ripped out.

Look at how much I had done. 

Oh wait, that part is wrong, it must be ripped out.

Oh no, Mr. Bill, even more was wrong, all must be ripped out. 

At that point, I decided to just give up stitching and watch Hannibal on NBC. The show is very loosely based on Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham characters. In fact, both Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter more closely resemble their book portrayals than they do their movie portrayals, especially as Lecter was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins. Now don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Anthony Hopkins portrayal, but many people often forget that the first Harris book, Red Dragon, was originally adopted in the movie Manhunter. I remember watching that movie in the theater and thinking, wait a minute I think I read this book but it was called something else. My brother was furious because I made him wait until the credits ended, so I could see if I was right about it being a book first. I actually think this original movie version might have done a better job at portraying Will Graham, as the later Red Dragon movie seem to focus more on the other characters, but to be be fair I haven't seen Manhunter in several years and would have to watch them back to back to give a better comparison. Regardless, the TV version Hannibal, is a complete spin off with the only nod to the movies/books being character names and personalities. Will Graham is still able to get into the mind of killers (creepily so) and Lecter is still a man-eating (literally) killer. If you haven't had a chance to see it, I would highly recommend it. But first be prepared to set your preconceived movie/book notions to the side. With that in mind I will leave you with two clips. First the epitome of serial killers, Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter

and second, the trailer from Hannibal the TV series. 

Finally, my new favorite TV show quote from Hannibal, in cross stitch, from the wonderful talent of Pixy Stitches where you can get a discount of 22.22% by entering the code TWOEY.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Laid low by sickness

I have recently been laid low by sickness. It started off as just an aggravating cough, that than progressed into a blinding migraine and then for added giggles I was violently sick to my stomach for almost seven hours straight. I'm not sure that any of these are related to each other and am sure that they are more probably just a weird coincidence. The cough still lingers but thankfully the others have not returned.

I have only been able to get a little stitching and reading done which is disappointing to me because I was looking forward to a long weekend of catch up. But as the saying goes "the best laid plans of mice and men...".

My most exciting thing is that last week I purchased a Nook HD+. Let me tell you I love this thing. I knew I wanted to get a tablet/reader but wasn't sure which one, so I have been researching the heck out of them. For awhile I was swaying between an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab but then out of nowhere Barnes and Noble decided to add Google Play to their Nook. This was the clincher for me. The price tag of the Nook HD+ was very comfortable (especially since I had a store credit) and the reviews were very favorable. I must say that I am loving it. The only caveat is that the lauded battery life is not as true as claimed, but I was prepared for this because the reviews warned that the extended battery life was based on only using the Nook as a reader. I guess if you were on a very long plain trip, this might come in handy. I haven't downloaded any movies yet but my son did let me piggyback on his HuluPlus account. The video quality is very nice. Barnes and Noble also has read-to-me books which appealed to me for my grandchildren.

On the stitching front, I had a horrible tragedy. My Ink Circle's Monkey Wrench met with a horrible death. On one of the days when I was sick, I left my stitching bag out. Apparently this was a signal to Bella the Baleful who decided that it must be punished. She tore into that bag like it was rice paper. So many small things destroyed, the hand made bag and 11 inch q-snap also destroyed, and finally my Monkey Wrench destroyed. At the time, I didn't have the heart to catalog all of the destruction with pictures, but I did save the Monkey Wrench and later took a picture.

Most of the destruction is on the far right side but the destruction of the fabric is so complete that I can't repair it. At some later time, I might turn some of the elements into ornaments. I will eventually redo this piece because I really liked the look of it but for now I just don't have the heart to pick it back up.

So my new OSADS piece will be Diane Arthur's Bethlehem. I began this piece a couple of years ago and it will be stitched on 40 count using Gentle Art's Espresso Bean. If I remember my dimensions right, the finished piece will be about 1 1/2 inches by about 10 inches If stitched in recommended dimensions it is 3 in. by 20 in.. For such a tiny piece, I have found that it is stitching up relatively quickly.

I did manage to "finish" something while I was sick. Many years ago, I picked up an EGA project that was an Assisi inspired tin box cover for a regular Altoid tin and a mini tin. The regular tin is an oak leaf and the mini tin is an acorn. I made a few changes to threads, mainly because I couldn't find all of them and the fabrics don't match, again because it wasn't until I was halfway through the oak leaf that I realized I didn't have all the materials in the kit. Who knows what I did with them, I probably scavenged them for some other project. I put finish in quotes because I didn't actually finish them up to be toppers yet. I really do need to set aside a day just for finishing finishes. This project stitched up very easily and if finishing it is do not time consuming, I might make a few other in different color combos. The topper part of the project is finished in a traditional manner, but the inside of the tin is lined with the print fabric. I have never lined a tin and am anxious to see how it turns out. If it's not to hard I have at least a dozen Altoid tins hanging around that will become future projects.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just a little bit of stitching

This past weekend I took Jaci and Noah to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa and we had lots of fun as you can see from some of my favorite photos.

When the kids were on the carousel, I thought I was taking a great video, of course, I was using my phone/camera wrong and was not taking a great video. All in all, it was a great day and we had lots of fun. Unfortunately, the sun got the best of me and I suffered with a migraine for most of the next day. This meant that I didn't get a lot of stitching done, just a little bit of OSADS and HoHoS. I am in the process of updating those pages. I really need to get back to BAP-T because it's future as a finish for the end of this year is looking grim.

At the end of  last week, my son purchased a truck for himself, which means that we are no longer "car pooling". I am very glad for him but also very glad that I am no longer at the mercy of another person's schedule. This means that I now have my Tuesday Stitching with my gal pals back. For the past 6 months or so, it became incredibly hit or miss that I would be able to work out stitching with them. Now, barring any unforeseen mom emergencies, I have my Tuesday's back. This won't really help with BAP-T because I don't want to fool with taking it off the stand but it will definitely help with my wedding project. Wedding Wednesday did have a nice ring to it, I guess I could use something like Timely Tuesdays since there is an implied deadline, but I think I will just have to let naming this one go.

On the reading front, I am having lots of fun reading Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones and listening to The Wise Man's Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2 by Patrick Rothfuss on Audible. I used to have a subscription to Audible but cancelled it when Sean started "carpooling" with me. He used to whine about how rude it was that I would listen to a book rather than talk with him. I still have a few un-listened to books, but am definitely considering resubscribing, I had forgotten how nice it is it to listen to a book on the almost hour long drive to work.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Indisputable Proof and Happy Friday!!!

After posting that sweet Bella was possibly the destroy of fine art (okay cute art), I felt that it was only fair that I at least attempt to search out indisputable proof. I went to her favorite destruction toy playing area, the dining room, and hidden under the dining room table leg I found proof

I'm not sure where the rest of it, but I must admit that I am proud of myself and how sturdily I stitched this together. Look at how well my stitching held up under undue pressure! :) 

Sometimes, all you can do is smile and say such is life.

My plans for the weekend are a wee bit hectic. On Saturday, I plan on taking my grands, Jaci and Noah, to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL. I'm kind of excited about this because I just found out that that they have animatronic dinosaurs set up. Noah will be totally psyched about this, right now T-rex is his favorite thing. That evening, my son will drop off my youngest grandchild, Nicholas, so he and his wife can have a night out. I have firmly told them, that they will need to pick up their precious bundles no later than noon on Sunday. Just between you and me, I told them that I needed some solid alone time to catch up on my laundry (which is true) but mainly I want to be able to stitch because this is the International Hermit and Stitch Weekend and I want to get at least a little bit of stitching in ;). 

I'll leave you with a quick video of  DinoQuest2 at Lowry Park Zoo. I hope everyone has a great weekend. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wooden Fob Retraction

Yesterday I posted about how sad I was that the wooden fob which I stitched broke off after only a day or so. Well, this is in fact not the truth. The sad truth is that my sweet Bella

(isn't my grandson Nicholas a cutey)

chewed the fob off. Now I don't have definitive proof that she did this because I have not found the fob, hopefully it is not inside her tummy. But when looking over mom's key ring I found these

yes, I know this is circumstantial evidence but the evidence is damning enough that I must retract my statement that the wooden fob did not hold up under pressure. The upside to this is that I can now go to the Etsy store and purchase wooden fobs for future gifts. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Demise of the wooden fob

Sadly, the wooden fob that I made for Mom for Mother's Day is no more. I was worried when I finished it that the wood might not hold up to rough handling. Apparently, sometime yesterday while Mom was out and about the little wooden piece where the ribbon had been thread  through broke away leaving only the ribbon. I have no idea where the fob is but Mom was sad when I informed her that it was not on her key chain. I was a little bummed also, mainly because I thought it was cute, quick gift. I had been thinking about ordering some of the wooden pieces off of Etsy to make more key chains because of how quick it was to stitch up but have decided against it. Having a run of just two days before breaking is not a good thing and at a little over two inches in diameter there a bit big for a necklace (at least that I would like). So sadly, my quick gift idea must now be abandoned, but on the up side it was a free kit from my CrossStitchers mag. I wish now that I had taken a pic of the sad forlorn ribbon, but since I didn't I will leave you with a pic of what once was.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TUSAL...posted a few days late

So there I was going through my pics and deciding how I wanted to update the blog tabs when I saw my TUSAL pic. Actually, I have several TUSAL pics. One with all of the orts in their pretty bowl

One of the pretty bowl empty

And finally, one with all of the orts placed in their new Original Gangster Brandy bottle

I  have a Patron bottle, a Jack Daniels, and now OG bottle filled with orts. The OG is really not all the way filled and will probably take at least 3 more bowl full of orts before it is truly full. 

Now here is the really sad part, I took the pics on the evening of May 9th after I had finished my days stitching. Why didn't I post it you might ask, well I just have been feeling a little overwhelmed and slightly stressed. I don't usually talk about it, mainly because after years of over reactions I have conditioned myself not to, but I have bipolar disorder. This is an interesting disorder, sometimes I feel like it is a descriptor of who I am as a person, but usually this is only when I am feeling particularly gray. Right now I am dealing with what is called rapid cycling. This means that I am cycling rapidly between mania and depression. I have been aware of the disorder since my mid-twenties, although I have probably had it since my teens. Seeing as how I am now 40-something, I have a bit of experience with it. Being aware of what is going on does help because at least I can try and temper some of my reactions. Of course, this also explains my recent euphoria with shopping on eBay. As with most people who are bipolar, the manias don't really bother me, in fact unless they completely cycle out of control, I enjoy the ride. They sometimes bother other people, but me not so much. Now the depressions, those suck. They make it harder for me to motivate to do what needs to be done and even sometime what I want to do, because we all know that needs and wants are not necessarily the same thing. Right now I am not taking any medications and this is something that I might regret. I have been off and on medications more times than I can count. The downside of medications are that they make me feel like I am thinking through a haze. Colors don't seem as bright and my thought processes feel way to slow. After describing the differences between meds and no meds to a psychiatrist, she replied that how I felt on meds is typically how the average person felt all the time. My immediate response was how do you stand it! Over the years, I have gotten better at dealing with the extremes, or maybe I have just gotten better at hiding them. Regardless, I am trying to stop being afraid of letting people know what it going on. I'm not ready to openly admit to anything face to face, but I have decided in this slightly anonymous forum that I shall take the first step to saying that I have a condition called bipolar disorder.

Wow...I just looked back on this post (reading for obvious typos and grammar mistakes) and realized that I totally bogarted my TUSAL post. I almost deleted everything not TUSAL related, but then thought what the heck, I'll just leave it....

Mom, Gardening, Stitching and Reading

I feel like I have been spending all my time lately in the garden. I know that this seems idyllic to most and don't get me wrong, I do like a pretty garden, but I am done. My mother on the other hand doesn't seem to ever be done. She is in fact planning another plant buying expedition for this Saturday. Well I guess all I can really do is smile and be thankful that I still have my mother here to aggravate me with all of her plant buying.

I guess I am an enabler because I bought her two miniature roses for Mother's Day. One was yellow and the other lavender. They are just tiny things but she has a real hand for making them grow. I also finished up the key fob for her and also stitched her up a Mother's Day card.

I'm not sure where the weird shadows came on the pics. I tried from a couple different angles but couldn't keep them from showing up, so I just went with the bad pic ;0) 

All of my carefully created tabs for HoHoS and OSADS are woefully out of date, but I do have the pics, so I just need to get them updated (this is on my list to-do today). My really good news is that I finished page 3 of BAP-T *wee-hee*

This picture is a little dark, but that is mainly because I didn't remember to take the pic until the wee hours of the morning and I didn't want to wake anybody up by turning on lights. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it is turning out. It is only through comparison with the original that you can see discrepancies. I keep reminding myself that this is a stitched replication and to stop sweating the details. I must admit that I am fairly sick of shades of grey, beige, and brown. I also must admit that I will probably not make my deadline. I think it was always overly optimistic but we are now heading into the middle of May and I have over 46 pages to do. At the beginning I was able to work at a pretty fast clip but over the past several weeks it has slowed down to a crawl. I am doing approximately the same amount of stitching, it's just that in some of the area the color changes were ridiculous. I have slightly changed my stitching style and am hopeful that I might be able to increase my stitching. I completed page 3 on Sunday night and when I was stitching on Monday, I was able to complete a little over 100 stitches in about 2 hours. There was a fair amount of color changes, so I am hopeful that maybe changes will increase the stitching speed. 

On the reading front, I completed Angel's Ink and must say that I really enjoyed the book and will definitely keep with the series. Right now I am reading Darynda Jones Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet in preparation for her next book Fifth Grave Past The Light. If you have not read her books, you need to immediately start. I love them. I am particularly fond of books where the characters make me laugh out loud and Charley Davidson is that character. I have been trying to read/listen to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and have not been having great luck. I know it is a classic but I wasn't fond of it 20+ years ago and not so very much fond of it now. Why oh why can't I like these characters. I think this will be another classic book that I will bail on from my Goodreads groups. Maybe I'll have better luck with June's pick which is Solaris  by Lem Stanislaw. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Irish Wedding Blessing

I wasn't sure that I was going to like the gold heart,  but after I finished it I decided that I do like it.  I'm using Silkweaver Fabrics Wandering Ivy on 32 count and Weeks Dye Works Emerald and Gentle Arts Grape Leaf. This corner was done with WDW and Sulky threads Metallic Gold.  So far I'm really happy with how this is turning out.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Cross Stitch Video

I was looking around on YouTube at different cross stitch videos when I found this one from Sewing Adventure 

One of the things I found interesting is that the beginning and ending of the threads are done on the front of the work. Yes, that's right I said the front of the work. She is stitching on what looks like 14count (but could be 16) aida and except for a little darkening of color, you can't even tell that the stitches began and ended on the front of the design. I watched the video all the way through and and her technique for stitching seemed a little complex to me but that could probably have been because of her terminology where she used "points of contact". I don't think that I would change my stitching style to that but I am going to attempt her starting and ending from the beginning. I won't do it on my BAP-T (although that is what I am thinking about) but will initially try it on a smaller piece of stitching.  I'll post pictures of my attempts, so you can see how it turns out.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

You get what you pay for...

I have two Mighty Bright magnifying lights that I really like. The problem with them is that I have had them for 5+ years and despite the name they are no longer mighty bright. To give credit to the lamps, I love them, and they have lasted awhile and do a great job. I use them when I am stitching on dark fabric or on counts higher than 28. The reason I have two is that an LNS was going out of business and I bought a greatly discounted lamp. I ended up using both because I have my charts propped up on a table beside me and use one the magnifiers to enhance the chart so I just have to glance up at it.

As I was saying, they are no longer mighty bright. I decided that I needed to replace at least my stitching magnifying lamp. I started looking around and the prices ranged from about $60 to almost $300. Well, I was trying to decide between an $60 Mighty Bright and a $150 Pro Magnifier when I found a magnifying lamp for $25 from Habands. It had an 8 x 10 inch magnifier and 16 LED lights. I was psyched. When I went to purchase it, I lucked into free shipping. Yeah me!!!!

So, the lamp arrived yesterday. I excitedly unpacked and put the lamp together. It went together like a breeze. I turned it on and boy was it bright. I started stitching with it and after an hour finally admitted that it was not going to work. The magnifier is plastic. This means that there is a slight distortion which is very hard on the eyes when stitching. I sadly put the lamp away. I am now trying to decide if I am going to return it. It will cost $9 to return, which means that I will only get $15 back. But really, what am I going to do with this lamp that I can't use. I noticed when I went to the company site, that this lamp is now listing for $50. I promise you all that it will not work for stitchers. I tried to see if it would work for my mother, but she sits too low on the couch and I couldn't get the gooseneck to bend enough for it to work for her.

I am now back to my original predicament of whether to purchase the Mighty Bright or go with the Pro Magnifier. The reason that I am considering the double in cost Pro Magnifier is because it has 30" view area, 3-diopter glass lens, and 60 LED lights. It looks like a very, very nice magnifier. I'm just not certain that I want to spend $150 on a light that I know I will only stay bright for about 5 years.

I have been stitching away and finished one of my HoHoS. I am now working on a Halloween piece that I changed from silk to overdyed cotton. I have also completed Mom's key fob and am steadily working on her  Mother's Day card. I did have to buy more thread for the Monkey Wrench. I ran out of Teal Frost. The new  thread seems a little darker to me. What I have decided to do is blend one strand of the old thread with one strand of the new. I don't have enough to complete the last Teal Frost element, but I think I will have enough to at least stitch the stitches closest to the edges where the other Teal Frost elements are. From the naked eye you can't really see a huge difference, but I still would rather have the areas where the two colors meet as close to identical as possible.

What else have I been doing? I'm so glad you asked. I have been going ebay crazy. I really need to stop. Theresa from Shakespeare's Peddler is my enabler. I have decided after this latest round of bids has ended, that I will not bid for a bit. It's almost like a gambling addiction.

This weekend I had my grandchildren with me. My youngest grandson is a year old and in love with my one year old English Mastiff puppy. She adores him and he adores her. When we are outside, he likes to "walk Bella".

Friday, May 3, 2013

When it rains a lot

The storms of the west have finally arrived in Florida where it is raining, and raining, and raining. I know that the 50+ new plants in the garden are happy but I am worried that the roof might not be as happy. Mom's roof needs to be replaced but this is definitely a financial project that is still in the works. Hopefully, I will get a little good luck and will be able to get the project underway before the roof comes down. 

On the stitching front, I have been busy but the BAP-T is definitely slowing down. I am even more worried that this project will not be finished by its deadline. The other quicker projects are just humming along. I think maybe because I am showing such progress with the smaller projects, it just makes the BAP-T seem even slower than, hopefully, it is. I am way behind in putting up pictures on the Monkey Wrench and Holiday pages but I have been taking them. I just need to get a little extra free time to actually post them up. 

Recently I have been adding to my stash (and yes, a complete indulgence) by purchasing from both etsy and ebay. I found some very nice vintage flour sacks that I plan to use as finishing materials on ebay. I have also gotten caught up in bidding wars over at Shakespeare's Peddler ebay site. I've been trying to be good and bow out gracefully before I get too bidding crazy. Over at etsy, I have picked up patterns from some of the vendors I spoke about previously as well as some wonderful baker's twine. You would think that it would be easy for me to find baker's twine, but I have had almost no luck, except for some ugly stuff at Michael's. The colors were very pretty and I thought reasonably priced. 

Well, I am off to pick up my new glasses. My English Mastiff puppy has successfully crushed two pairs. Ironically, I had insurance on one of the pairs but had forgotten about it. Of course, when I went in to get a copy of my prescription, I was told that the insurance on the glasses had lapsed by a week. Oh well, such is the story of my life. 

I shall leave you with a picture of what I hope to eventually see this weekend.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sarah Chapple 1831 - Shakespeare's Peddler

I have decided that I want to stitch Theresa from Shakespeare's Peddler's Sarah Chapple 1831 sampler

It is a reproduction sampler and I just love the colors in it. I am going to go about this decision backwards. Usually, I rush out and purchase the chart and then find my way around to stitching. I'm going to try something different with this project. I am first going to purchase the threads, then the material and finally the chart. This sampler calls for a lot of silk and as we all know silk is beautiful but pricey. I really want to do this chart, so I am going to periodically purchase the silks, then I will purchase the linen and finally the pattern. My hope is that once I have all of my supplies, it will be very easy to motivate myself into stitching the sampler. 

Here is the list of silks; where the number is listed more than once means multiple skeins, as you can see one of the silks is already marked off because I purchased it this morning :) 

Silks Needed:

Au ver a Soie 2212        Au ver a Soie 3724    Au ver a Soie 3745 3745    Au ver a Soie 4525 4525 4525

Needlepoint Silk (NPS) 333       NPS 336      NPS 505 505 505    NPS 976

Gloriana Elizabethan Green   Elizabethan Green 

Gloriana Holly Berry

Gloriana Spanish Moss   Spanish Moss

Gloriana Vanilla          

Silk n Color (The Thread Gatherer) Linsey Woolsey  Linsey Woolsey

Linen Needed:

40 count 18th Century Rook by R&R

Chart Needed:

Sarah Chapple 1831 by Shakespeare's Peddler 

As I purchase stuff, I will update this post by marking out the purchased item. Hopefully, this endeavor actually ends with me stitching this sampler, instead of adding it to my increasing stock of want to dos.