Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Page Finished!!!! and some news

That's right I have finished page 4 of BAP-T

Page 4 finished,!!!! :)

Adds a little more perspective of how much I have to do :(

I keep hoping that it will starting moving a little faster. I think it might the top of this has a lot of color changes because of the small windows and the shading. Of course, as soon as the color changing slows down I will probably whine about the lack of color changing :) Some of you might be wondering what is up with the needles and floss off to the side. Well, I had seen a pretty cool idea for organizing floss while stitching which basically involved printing a table with floss symbol and color and then putting that table into a sheet protector. While it works great, I have noticed that unless you are very careful, the threads will pop out of their respective holes. When this happens, I put them aside on this little butterfly magnifier and just wait until I go to my chart, see that the thread is missing and the match up the color. Yes, this is a very imperfect system, but right now I can't think of something that works better. I have a Pako needle organizer, but never use it. I found that more often than not, it was just a bit too cumbersome for me. When working on big projects like this, I like having needles already threaded. It just seems easier to me. If anyone has any good suggestions on how the organize their needles and thread when working on big projects, please share them.

I also worked on my Easter pic and finished a Halloween pic

Lizzie Kate - Easter Bonnet

Primitive Needle - Wicked (freebie)
For Wicked, I really changed up the colors. It called for Crescent Colors Belle Soie which I had none of. So I substituted with overdyed cotton. Here are my substitutions:

Called for                                     Used
Belle Soie Attic Tea                      Crescent Colors Whatley Woodlands
Belle Soie Noir                             Gentle Arts Witches Brew (this was a limited edition)
Belle Soie Teddy Bear                  Gentle Arts Acorn
Belle Soie Lasagne                        Cresent Colors Lobster Claw

All in all, I am happy with the results and I think it will become a pillow when it is finally finished.

Right now I am working on another Halloween freebie from Primitive Needle - By the Light of the Moon. I'm trying to clear up some of my stash and unearthed these freebies from Lisa Roswell of Primitive Needle. As many of you already know, she was tragically lost to us 2 years ago when she was swept away in a river flooding. I have really been enjoying stitching her work and plan on looking through my stash and finding more of her designs.

Okay, here is the news - although I don't have that many followers, I am going to be brave and say that I will do a give away as soon as I reach ten followers. I promise that this give away will include at minimum a chart, fabric, needle, and floss. After looking at my ridiculous supply of stash, I think it is only fitting that I share the wealth or as my mother, who does not have a stitching heart, would say "Get rid of that crap". More details to follow, as I look through my treasures to decide what would be appropriate.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Friday! Some more promoting of needlework

Today will be just a quick post of pictures. Last week I went on and on about promoting needlework. Well I didn't want it to end up being just and empty boast. So here are some pictures of needlework I have found:

The first several are from Duduá's  blog - Duduá is a shop in Barcelona Spain that has workshops that cover a variety of textiles 

This is a stitched music synthesizer

watch the video to the end and you will see how it works

Several different techniques

Stitched by Miss Cross Stitch

More stuff from Miss Cross Stitch from Germany

Roses on street bench in Berlin

Same bench in the winter

Pac Man in Milano

This is not needlework but I have to ask, "How come when young men in the US where their pants too low, they don't look like this?"

Happy Friday and I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Symptoms of a stroke and a wee bit of drama

I've been very busy this past week and yes I *gasp* because I have done little to no stitching. Last Tuesday, when I came home, I found Mom laying on the floor. Fortunately, she had not broken anything but she wasn't making any sense. She didn't have all of the stroke markers and for those of you who don't know, they are a little different for women. Just a quick segue to give some good information from the National Stroke Association

Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg -- especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Women may report unique stroke symptoms:
  • sudden face and limb pain
  • sudden hiccups
  • sudden nausea
  • sudden general weakness
  • sudden chest pain
  • sudden shortness of breath
  • sudden palpitations

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:

F—FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A—ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T—TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

NOTE THE TIME WHEN ANY SYMPTOMS FIRST APPEAR. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

When I gave Mom the FAST test she failed 2 out of 3. I called 911 and told them I thought my mother had had a stroke and that she also seemed to be severely dehydrated. 

You might be asking what could have happened to cause dehydration. Well, in the elderly and children, it doesn't take much. On Sunday, Mom was feeling great, so decided to work in her garden in the early morning. Even with me strongly recommending that she come inside, my 79 year old mother ignored me and went about "having fun" (her words). When she finally came inside, she ached all over and was exhausted, although still insisting that it was worth it. By Monday, she was ridiculously exhausted and had slept most of the day away with only a wee bit of eating and drinking. She was not awake when I left the house on Tuesday, but I thought maybe it was best to let her sleep. When I came home Tuesday evening, she was beyond sick. 

After a fair bit of frustration and a wee bit of drama, the final diagnosis was severe dehydration, a urinary tract infection and possibly a small stroke. As time wore on in the hospital, it was also discovered that she had a severe B12 imbalance and secondary infection (pneumonia). So more antibiotics and B12 infusions. During this time, mom was delirious and hallucinating and I spent the majority of my days at the hospital because she could not be left alone. It took so long for her to show any improvement, that I wasn't sure that she would. Finally on Sunday, she began to show major signs of improvement and two days ago (Tuesday), I was able to bring her home. For at least a week, she will have home health care and my brother will be staying with her. 

I'm going to segue again, and say this, if you have family members in the hospital, it is important to remember that you are their advocate. Don't just blindly agree with the doctors. Yes, doctors know their stuff, but they don't know your family member. If I hadn't stubbornly insisted that Mom still didn't seem right, after treating the dehydration and UTI, they would have just given up and said this is an old lady who has had a stroke. I kept insisting that, yes, she might have had a stroke, but that I wanted someone else too look at her because she still didn't seem right. It is important that you act as your loved ones advocate and speak on their behalf, if you think that something isn't right, speak up.

Well enough preaching on my part. Needless to say, that during all of this time, I got very little stitching done. Usually stitching calms me, but it became too distracting to start stitching and then have to put it down quickly to help mom. Eventually, by Saturday night, I was able to work a little bit on a Just Another Button Company Stitch Every Day pattern, Lucky Dog. It's stitched on a 30 count R&R and the pattern has quite a bit of block stitching, so it made for easy stitching. But even with all of that, I didn't get a lot done. 

Now that things are marginally back to normal, I am hoping that I can get back to stitching. I worked a little bit on BAP-T (no I didn't take a pic). I am almost finished with the fourth page, I have about 600 stitches to do. Yes, I am resolved that the likelihood of this miraculously being finished in time, is not likely, but I am also resolved to finish the durn thing. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Promoting Needlework

Loretta over at Stitching the Night Away had an interesting topic on her blog. One of her guest bloggers, Karen from Camp Cross Stitch was commenting that a Hobby Lobby had opened up in her area. She was disappointed to find out that it was dominated by home decor and had just a small section of needlework, although the sewing fabric area looked promising. This began a conversation on why big box stores focus on home decor and other crafts with only a passing nod at needlework. 

My feelings on the matter are that if you look at what is going on in blogs across the internet, you will see a lot of DIY and home decor related blogs which also seem to be fairly heavily promoted. I say kudos to these bloggers. But this begs the question, why are needlework related blogs not as heavily promoted? I realize that it only makes sense that the blogs are visited primarily by people who are interested in the art. But really if you look at how many needlework blogs are out there, there is a bunch of us enjoying this art form and rightfully so, because it is awesome. 

I think what part of the problem in the US is, is that people still think of needlework as "the stuff my old granny did" or "well, yes it is pretty but that seems to be an awful lot of work" type stuff. Yes, we do still have "stuff" that is granny inspiring and we do have "stuff" that we all know takes forever to finish, but we also have some really fun "stuff" out there. 

As people who love this art form, I think it is important that we promote it. Yes, we should always stitch what we love, but I think every once in a while we need to just promote stuff that is funky and inspiring. Maybe if more people see that needlework is not just about putting a picture in a frame, we can get more people interested in the art and then maybe, just maybe, the big box stores will have to sit up and take notice. 

With that said, here are a few pictures from across the web of needlework in many wonderful and creative forms:

From CrossStitcher magazine

May 2013 issue

June 2013 issue

July 2013 issue

From Jacinta Lodge's site Stitchalicious

"Stitch" stitched on a painted tapestry canvas that was left unstitched

From Emily Peacock's site

From Mr. X Stitch's website:

Artist - AlisterNix

Artist - f. bearclaw
and it glows in the dark - yes it creepily does have 3 eyes

Artist - James Fox

Artist - Hagar Vardimon-van Heummen - this is stitched on paper

Artist - Tara Badcock

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Monday - some finishes - changing things up - the sun room and evil eBay

I must admit when I saw this on Facebook Sunday night, I could totally relate. I work at a college and right now it is so quiet that I sometimes get up and walk outside just to make sure that I am not the only person on  campus. This makes for really tough going. I keep saying that I am going to start stitching when it is really quiet and in fact one of my quasi-supervisors has encouraged it. So far, I haven't because it just doesn't seem right. So stitching during lunch only.

This weekend was very nice. It was Mom's birthday on Saturday and I treated her to a purse and dinner. Bella the terrible had gotten a hold of Mom's favorite purse and although she didn't demolish it, she definitely left her mark. I also got myself a purse. It wasn't my first choice, but Mom got so excited when she saw it and insisted that it was me, that I went ahead and switched out to this purse. Initially, I was going for a summer straw look but this is a very fun purse, so I think it will work.

I got a little stitching done. Mainly working on BAP-T, I didn't take any pics but I am almost finished with the fourth page. I must admit that I am completely disheartened by the ridiculously slow progress I am making. I was warned that these patterns take forever but I really never thought it would be this slow. Hopefully, I'll have a pic in a day or so with the fourth page done. 

I finished up my Marshmallow Bunnies, well at least the stitching. If you look really close you can see that yellow and purple bunny are a little more squat than their blue and purple compatriots. But I figure, it's just going to be finished up as a little pillow thing that will be thrown into a basket or a bowl; so really, what's the fuss. I friend of mine mentioned that I should probably sign and date my work. I am kind of haphazard about that but I guess she has a point. 

I really have a bunch of stuff that needs to be put together and amazingly enough I was able to not only finish one of the Christmas baubles I was working on, but to actually finish it. It's not perfect, but I think it's cute.

The changes I have been thinking about are how I do the HoHoS and the SOSADs. It is just not working for me to show daily progress. To be honest that is just exhausting. It's not that I don't have time, because as I mentioned in the beginning of the post I do. It's mainly just that it became more of a drudgery than a joy. I'm not sure why it was becoming like that, only that it was. So, I have decided to post weekly postings and maybe starts and finishes. Also, I've gotten totally discombobulated on what holiday I am stitching on. So, really, I need to get back to KISS. 

On a different note, eBay is evil. Okay, that was a little harsh, but I must place a moratorium on all things eBay. I have a few things in bid right now but once those bids are over, I need to be done. I looked at my bank account and was shocked at how much I spent. It is really easy to go crazy because it's just $10 here and maybe $20 there and the next thing you know, you're looking at your account and thinking WTF! I've decided to just leave the bids I have in at the price I have. No bid wars! Once they are done, which should be the end of the week, I am stopping for a bit. 

As I mentioned, last week, I have been revamping the sun room/Florida room. By this I meant that right now I am still cleaning and organizing. But as I was going through my stuff, I realized that I have a ridiculous amount of stuff. Instead of buying stuff from eBay, I should sell some of the stuff I have. I have charts that I will probably never use, threads that I know I will never use, and more fabric than I could ever hope to use. Knowing I have all of this stuff, I still buy more, that is the craziness that we call our stash obsessions. It is an illness, I definitely need help. I need to stop. I will stop. Well, I will stop as soon as I finish buying the stuff for the Sarah Chapple. I really want to do the Sarah Chapple in silks. But, stop I will and I will begin my stopping with no more eBay at least for awhile , only if it is something amazing, no really I can't be trusted to even just look and only purchasing things that I really want need.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Tour of Homes and a shamefaced me

So I was blog hopping the other day, when I came to Gina @ Shabby Creek Cottage and her wonderful

This tour lasts for about a week and is spectacular. Now you might ask why I am shamefaced. Well, I am a horrible housekeeper. I am not saying that to be modest, I really am a horrible housekeeper. I will do anything else. The house I am living in is not really my house, it's my parents home. Several years ago, I sold my house and moved in with my parents when it became apparent that their failing health necessitated a little closer looking after. So for many years, I just didn't put any effort into the home because it was not mine. Now that my father has passed away, my mother has almost no interest in the home at all. This had led to a rapid decline. My shamefaced-ness comes from the fact that the house could be absolutely gorgeous if I would just put some effort into it. But there is always something, anything, else that I would rather do. Now I do have a bit of excuse. Okay, it's not a great excuse but it's not such a bad excuse either. As I mentioned, the house isn't mine and everything in it is old from the furniture to the flooring. Well recently, okay yesterday, my brother began ripping out the old, nasty carpet in preparation for laminate flooring to be installed. I think the rip out was a little precipitous because I do not have the funds yet for the new flooring, but I came home and he had already begun at my mother's request. A few months ago, I had repainted the living room, dining room, foyer, hallway and three of the four bedrooms. No, my bedroom was not one of the ones repainted. Why you might ask? Well I despise the furniture in that room. My mother bought it when I was thirteen. No it is not cute teenage girl furniture. It is 18th century dark wood Americana furniture that my mother liked. I have never liked the furniture. I cannot express how much I hate this furniture. The bad thing about the stuff is that it is too big to go into any other bedroom and it would break my mothers heart if she knew how badly I want to get rid of this stuff. The bedroom is not a small room it is about 10 x 12, so as far as bedrooms go not to bad a size. The bed and dresser take up 90% of the space. It is just awful. So, no it did not get painted, because I couldn't stand the aggravation of moving that big ass ugly furniture around while I tried to paint the room. 

But I have digressed. As I mentioned I was looking at the Tour of Homes and kept thinking "Man these homes are truly beautiful". So I have decided that I just need to embrace the idea that the house I live in is my home. Now anyone who has a mother knows that this does not mean that I can do anything I want. But I think I could try harder. With this said, I am going to begin making over one room at a time. 

I will start with the Florida room. This is the easiest for me to tackle because my mother doesn't really consider this her space. A couple of years ago, my sister was visiting and she made over part of into a playroom for my grandchildren. I still like this idea, but I think I want to make some more changes. The room is a mess right now, mainly because it has my craft supplies all other place. It also has a big desk that was brought in years ago for my father. I kind of don't want the desk anymore but know that I will not be able to get rid of it without upsetting my mother. So I'm thinking of doing a paint treatment. But before I do that I really need to handle the mess. I started working towards this a couple of weekends ago, but then used the excuse last weekend of not feeling well to abandon that job (remember I will use any excuse to get out of housekeeping). 

So this is My Design (stolen from Hannibal) which shall be accomplished over weekends:

  1. Finish organizing the craft supplies. Okay really, 10% is craft supplies, 10% is sewing supplies and the other 80% is cross stitch supplies. Yes, I have a problem. I really should just open up an Etsy or an eBay and redistribute my stash.  
  2. Do a test job on painting by repainting an old bamboo coffee table. I know some might gasp, not the beautiful bamboo. But this stuff has been around for at least 25 years. I say paint it, maybe I will like it again. If not, oh well, I didn't like it before either. 
  3. Paint the desk. This will be hard because my mother will not like the idea. She has a thing about wood being wood, but I'm hoping that since it's not really a good piece of furniture, she won't care. 
  4. Window treatments. Right now they are these bamboo things which are okay but kind of dreary. I'm thinking I might first try and paint them white. I mean how bad can it be. They can't look worse can they?
  5. The flooring is cement. I'm actually okay with that. Part of it was painted with chalkboard paint for the grandkids but they never really used it. I think I am going to just paint over it with a pretty cement paint of some future choosing and then maybe polyurethane over it. I have to go through my Pinterest because I am almost certain that I pinned a beautiful cement floor treatment DIY. 
  6. Part of the room has an antique single bed. I would kind of like to move it somewhere else, but the last time we moved it into the Florida room I realized that this antique bed truly can't take much more moving around and really there isn't another room that it would work well in. The bed is pretty and no I don't want to paint it. It kind of reminds me of Little House on the Prairie. My mother made a beautiful yo-yo quilt which is hidden away in some cupboard. I am going to find it and display it on this bed. I also have some yo-yos that have not been used and I might just try my hand at covering a standard pillow sham in the yo-yos to compliment it. 
Well, I think for a start that is not a bad list and if I get it all done. I will have made this first room beautiful. What room would I do next? It is tempting to say the living room, but I think it will be the dining room. The table and chairs in that room have been destroyed by people and pets. They scream out paint me, make me different. Again, while it is against mom's credo, the furniture is already a loss, so really what could it hurt. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Birthday's, DMV, and more than I thought

So yesterday was my birthday and overall I would say for my 37th birthday it was very nice. Now there is an awful rumor going round that I have had a 37th birthday before (maybe even more than once). My response to this rumor mongering is "It's my birthday and I get to decide what happens on my birthday" :)

Part of my birthday was spent at the DMV because I was required to come in to have my license renewed. Apparently, new rules and regulations require that when you are renewing your license that you provide proof of American citizenship. All and all, I don't have a problem with this regulation and had originally intended to get this out of the way last week but when I got there, I found out that I did not have all of the required documentation. I had forgotten to bring in two documents (bills) showing my current address. I've gone green and when I asked if I could just show the documents on my smartphone was told "No." I almost had to laugh at the deadpan answer but instead just left and said I would be back. So, I arrived yesterday with all of my documentation, only to discover that my record of birth did not meet with the DMV's approval. Let me clarify here by saying that my father worked for NSA and my parents traveled a lot because of his job and because of said travel, I was born in Germany. The document I had was from the State Department verifying that I was born in a US military hospital, on a US military base, by two US citizens. Well, because the form number was not one recognized by the DMV, they very kindly gave me a piece of paper with phone numbers and addresses where I could obtain the correct document. I very nicely smiled back and said "No". They blinked at me and I explained that the document I had was an official document from the same agency they were asking me to contact and suggested that the contact someone who could help them understand.  I further explained that this was the same document I used to enter the US Navy and also the same document the Department of Defense used to issue me a top secret clearance. Well, after an hour and a half and many phone calls, the nice lady at the DMV proceeded to process my new Florida driver's license. I did understand that it was not their fault which actually made it fairly easy for me to keep a smile on my face but I also wanted to make sure that they understood that my initial response was not going to be "Okay, I will just leave and blindly follow your ridiculous bureaucratic answer".  I was happy to find out that I now have an actual gold star on my license that tells all and sundry that I am in compliance with the new identification procedures. I guess it's better than being tattooed with a QR code.

After having a celebratory birthday dinner, I didn't stitch a stitch. I did watch the new show on ABC, Mistresses. Alyssa Milano has always been a favorite of mine and while some people will criticize the shows content, I still felt it was an enjoyable hour and plan to watch it on a regular basis.

This past weekend I did get some stitching done and am making slow progress on my BAP-T. I also discovered that I messed up the rotation on the HoHoS, but no problem it's my rotation and when you get too caught up on idiosyncrasies like am I stitching the right piece at the right time, you begin to suck all of the enjoyment out of the process. My response to my dilemma was pretty much, oh shoot, that's right, oh well, I guess I'll just keep stitching on the Christmas stuff.

As I might have mentioned, I have been bitten by the eBay bug. Now this bug has bitten me in the past and I have to admit that it is a very dangerous bug. I am trying to wean myself off of it's effects but in the meantime wanted to share one of my auction wins with you all. I was looking at flower frogs on eBay. As some of you might know, many stitchers are using flower frogs as a way of holding embroidery scissors. Well I found this adorable flower frog  and just had to get it; and luckily, got it for a real bargain.

To be honest, I really got it mainly because it's just too cute but didn't think I would have enough scissors to do my idea justice. After collecting my scissors, I might have slightly under estimated my collection.

I have added a few non scissor related items in the form of my needle trolley and star detailer. In the center there is a small depression that if I used a thimble would be perfect. Since I use a thimble only rarely, I have placed my gold tweezers and an el cheapo needle threader. I actually have a few more scissors, but found that I preferred to have a few empty holes around the scissors and instruments I use most often.

I think I will end by sharing a finish. It it the French Country Dog from JBW Designs. It was stitched on a random piece of linen (I think 28 count) using Gentle Art Black Crow. As I was stitching I discovered the Black Crow thread was a mixture of black and navy and ended up being very pretty. I am also going to stitch the French Country Cat but have decided to try WDW Ladybug which is a red to dark red, not sure if I'm going to like it though. I haven't decided if I want to frame them or make pillows. Hopefully when I finish both it will be easier to decide.