Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What the hell am I doing?

Well, you may have already figured out that this Queen of Procrastination isn't stitching.  I've been finding all sorts of excuses.  I decided on Lucy, and don't want to cut my linen!!  So in case that is actually the problem, I'm picking something quick and small TONIGHT.  TONIGHT.  Come hell or hot flash.  Which technically feel about the same.  I need to have something in hand and continue the momentum I've gained.  I guess this is my "two steps back".  So with no stitching pics to show, I have a few others.  This is where Stacy is living now since she is a little too big for a bowl.  I know how she feels.  The color in these photos is horrible - still don't know if it's the camera or the computer monitor. 




But she may end up in this position.

























I've been busy with filling pots and planting a very small garden in a bunch of sopping wet clay clumps.  But we managed to get my new door hung that Mark made.  Haven't found a handle I like yet, but no one ever goes to this door anyway.  I thought I would stain it the same color as the house (I'm a boring monotone) but Mark liked it this way.  We need to replace the siding this year which means either paint or fresh stain, so it will stay this way until that happens.

I think Mark was right.  OMG did I really say that?  He doesn't read this so he'll never know. 








I went to my local semi-annual  show that features some primitive hand mades and a few antiques and snatched a few items.  These little apples were only $2, and the bird was $3.50!  I also got another wooden bowl so I guess it's time to finish the bowl rack that I made several years ago.


 Bud just showed up.  Bud is the name we give to all the momma coons that show up during the day looking for food.  This year, we have 3 "buds" and they all start coming in early afternoon, take the food back to the kids (or maybe stash it for themselves), and come back for more.  Once the babes are older, they bring them out for a day or two to eat (usually outdated bread from our local outlet) and we never see them again during the day.  If they show signs of distemper (losing their balance, no fear, falling over) we reluctantly stop their misery before it spreads.  It's a horrible highly contagious critter disease that breaks my heart to witness. 
That's about it.  I have a few more pots to plant and then I plan on browsing sites for much needed mojo nourishment.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day

I have photos of WWII vets saluting the flag in their old uniforms, the rifle with helmet in empty boots, flag draped caskets saluted by fellow soldiers, and I don't know which are copyrighted and don't want to infringe on that.  This photo has been emailed to me many times, so I will use this.  All of them are equally heart wrenching, and the military deserve our thoughts and prayers this weekend, and every day.

I haven't been stitching for a number of reasons, and I hope to be up to it this weekend.  I did the finishing on a little sampler that I stitched in 1991.  About time wasn't it? 


This was almost white - not sure if it was Lugana or Jobelan, but I stained the crap out of it with my coffee, and now I love it!  I almost tossed it because of the bright colors and light background, which isn't my style.  Glad that I didn't.  And I should note - if you use your steam iron to steam 'n smash, make sure you have a scrap of muslin/fabric on top if it's coffee stained.  The coffee will get on the iron and have to be scrubbed off. 




I also found a little Peacock pillow from Ewe & Eye that I'd forgot about.  I have a lot of Santas to be finished into ornaments, but I didn't work on those.    No staining on this one except to the fabric back.
 I did get my geraniums in pots, and thought I would show you how I pot.  Probably nothing new to you, but I don't have much else to show!  I go to the nursery and purchase the cheap large black pots they use for shrubs since they aren't seen in the crocks and baskets.  Putting packing peanuts (re-used every year)  in the bottom of the pot, saves using a lot of potting soil  (I use Pro-Mix), and keeps it from getting too heavy. 

I just throw the peanuts in, or some times bag them in plastic bags.  Cover with landscape fabric or newspaper, put a tray in to hold a little water (or not), and add your soil.   Use them year after year and just add fresh dirt when needed, and new plants.





I re-use aluminum pie pans and cut the sides down low so it doesn't hold too much water.  Doesn't matter if you put it under or on top of the lining.  Once it's filled, I trim the top off and it can be used year after year.  I put small 4" pots upside down in the bottom of the crocks to lift the pot to the right height.


I plan on posting my Rootin' Tootin' Bean Salad tomorrow on the other blog.   I'm not a bean girl, but this salad is SO good and great to take as a side dish.   Or....eat it all yourself and avoid public appearances.  It's red bell pepper, onion, celery, canned lima, garbanzo, navy, black-eyed peas, and black beans, with a sweet sour dressing that's very easy to make.   It's got crunch with the moosh.  That's it.  I'm in need of a fried donut.  I froze a dozen on a cookie sheet, then wrapped individually, and they are coming out SO good when they hit that hot hot pan.
 
Hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.
Remember and honor those who serve and those who have fallen. 
See you next week!!!

 ADDED - Click here for the Bean Salad - it's really good!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stash-itis

Hello everyone.   I've been working on the computer for the last two days.  Wireless router, printer installation, scanner, and file transfers kept me busy.  If I knew what I was doing, or would have kept notes and setup DVD's from the first time, it would have gone smoother and quicker this second time around.  This afternoon I sat on my swing (no rain!) and looked through the charts for my next project.  I'm pleased and a little surprised at my increase in enthusiasm.  It's not what it was years ago, but I also don't expect it to be.  But hey - any increase is a step in the right direction.  Isn't it strange how the desire to grow the stash pile doesn't wane?  Even when I wasn't stitching, I was still looking, and still buying.  After going through what I have I realized that the pile is no where near what it used to be.  I gave away, burned, and EBay'd a lot.  I have boxes of Shepherd's Bush and Prairie Schooler from my friend that I will Ebay, and some other nice charts that don't interest me.  Anxiety set in for a moment thinking I am low on inventory!!  I purchased Sheepish Designs Sarah Pope and SL's Bliss & Hinkley yesterday online.  The two SL's I will do - they're small - but I will never stitch Pope.  So why did I buy it?  It was cheap and I wanted it years ago.  But really, why am I (we!) still looking and wanting charts that we may never get to?  Stitchitis?  Not for me - I know I won't ever stitch them. The thought of it becoming unavailable at some point and the mad scramble to find it?  Maybe.  For me I think it's just having it in hand, the possibility of creating it, studying the chart.  Whatever.  I have a wimpy stash.  So here we go with possibles...but first I want to show you two new finds. 

 This new basket is almost 30" x 14" and perfect for all my dried fruits.  As usual, I get all excited, bring it home, and don't want it anymore.  I'm such an indecisive goof. 
Next is a heavy wool blanket from the antique shop.  I have no use for it, but couldn't pass up the wool for making pillow/pincushion backs, or maybe trying wool applique/penny rug designs.  Not sure if I'm sorry I bought this yet.


Now let's get to possible choices.....
Scarlet Letter - Sally Fiske - on 30 count 20" x 21 1/2"
Cross, rice, eyelet, chain, buttonhole stitches
Homespun Elegance - Lucy Redd - 30 count 19 34/" x 18 1/4"
Cross, rice, eyelet, straight stitches
Scarlet Letter - Ideal Landscape - 30 count 24" x 10 3/4"
French knot, cross, eyelet, satin, stem, back, queen stitches


Scarlet Letter - Margaret Logan - 30 count 31 1/2" x 27 1/2"'
She's a big girl.
Cross stitches only
And finally - the one that has been on my mind for a while...
Scarlet Letter - Catharine Metcalf - 30 count 23 1/2" x 31"
Cross, petit point, counted satin, backstitch, bullion knots
WHAT????
WHAT???????
I just finished a small project that I ended up stitching twice with all the errors!  What the hell am I thinking?  Any of these monsters would be a real drain on my patience and could shoot my forward progress into reverse, set it on fire (my personal favorite), and out the window.
WHAT???
Big deal.  So I start one and decide it's too much and put it aside.   If I got through this last one without a match, I'm pretty sure that burning thing is over.  Picking the one with the least amount of specialty stitches would be the smart move.  The smarter move would be picking one of the medium sized R&R Reproduction charts.  But you know, I really do have a wimpy chart stash.  There aren't many that I like anymore.  I'll find something small again, and think about these.  Man, I hate to cut into a yard of linen and all these girls are big.  It really bothers me!  I've even gone as far as ordering linen in the cut size just to avoid cutting my yardage.  Like I said, goof.  I have the weekend to think about it, decide, and then change my mind.  But don't you think I should spend the weekend online looking for some new charts to fill in the monster to peanut gap?   Did I hear you shout a resounding YES????  Oh wait, that was me.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finally! Completed sewing bag..

I'm back.  I fixed my computer by myself!  I went to the manufacturer's website, looked up my problem, and followed their solution.  I printed all the important steps to take in case I crash again, including the hard reset (never heard of it).  Very easy to do, but I had already decided on a full recovery.  Using F8 for safe mode and F11 for the restore was all I needed.  It was pretty simple to go into System Backup and Recovery (never knew I had it) and take it back to the original state.  Removes all viruses and problems, but it takes a long while to run as does restoring your personal files.   I followed the backup instructions and regained my address book, favorites, pictures, everything!  There's still some tweaking to do on layouts and such but I don't have to drop some dimes for a repair/replace.  

The lovely Stacy bag is finished....thank God!!! 

What a fiasco I had with this small project from start to finish.  I should have known - something was trying to tell me to stay away by hiding her from me for so long!  But it's over.  The machine sewing was ripped and redone several times, in keeping with the theme of this project.  This is the inside..

I added the little red felt heart for needles but haven't stitched it in yet.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.
I changed the color of the dog to our Labs' colors.  Ive been so tempted recently to cuddle with a fat little furball.  I donate to all our animal charities here, but stay away from the fairs.  Too risky.  It would be like taking a tour of our local chocolate factory - from which a load is brought home.
  Another day or two working on this machine and I will decide what to start next.  There is a BIG sampler that's been on my mind but I doubt if I will start it now.  Probably back to the pear or something small again.  But the next time I am determined to stitch a design and it disappears, you won't find me looking very hard! 
We had three days of sunshine - a break in the continuous rain - and now have a little variety - rain, torrential rain, steady rain, and light rain.  So dark and dreary all the time and it's been that way since winter.  Hopefully, if they're right, we have a break coming on Friday, and then back to rain through next week.  We had a lot of work done last summer with new plantings and I'm afraid the trees will not make it in this swamp of clay.  But once again, there are so many others in much worse condition, the terrible flooding in the farmlands, the devastation from the recent tornadoes, and I'm still thinking about the people of Japan.    Right now we have more warnings and it is so dark and scary.  Better shut down and shut up.  Stay safe everyone.


Monday, May 16, 2011

The crash of 2011

Hello everyone.  I visited a blog Friday night and all hell broke loose!  My laptop, which was mailed back to HP within months because it failed, and then lost its battery after only 9 months, threw a hissy fit and died that night.  I'm deciding what to do - repair or replace - and using my dinosaur until then.  This one is preventing me from opening most of your blogs, and when it does it takes forever!  The monitor is so different in color than the dead one.  My blog looks a soft beige but the dinosaur's view looks caramel.  Caramello bars.  OMG.  I made a caramel cream pie once and then threw the recipe away to prevent future piggishness.   Spellcheck didn't flag that so it must be a real word.  I finished Stacy but can't load any photos.  True to form, even the last stitches had to be ripped and re-stitched!  The 18 in 1820 ended up four stitches lower than the 20 and it was obvious.  I counted over from the berry instead of the vase, so obviously the stupid berry is off too!  Thank goodness it's over, but now the computer is causing me grief.  Hopefully I will find a fixer (Staples is too pricey), reinstall myself (fun to do but I will lose everything I didn't back up), or throw it out the window since it wouldn't burn well (put your money on this option).   I can see from my reader that there are a lot of new posts so I'm going to have a lot of catching up to do.  Hope to show you my Stacy bag soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Almost done!

Hello everyone.   I guess Blogger had a few hiccups lately!  I was unable to leave comments on several blogs and for a while, I was taking it personally.   But then I realized I couldn't even log into my own so I settled down and had a piece of chocolate.  Chocolate, I may add, that I purchased specifically to include as a little treat with my giveaways.  You are SOL.  


My sampler sewing bag, which has been a real test of my newly found patience, continued to aggravate the heck out of me and I am so proud of myself that I stuck with it.   I never thought that one stitch....maybe two....in a design as open as this, would create such a problem!   So after redoing the pear 3 times, don't ask me how, but there was still an error of a missing stitch in width which should have made the pattern move to the left.  I lined up the re-stitched pear to the alphabet as shown on the chart and adjusted the vines on the left.  So after stitching the second pear and the vines, I found that the alphabet "T" didn't fit.  I had to move it over because it was in the flower.  After adjusting the remaining letters, I checked again and found that the left 3X pear was still short in width.  But why it's still to the right and also one stitch higher - don't know - don't care.  The vase will be stitched wherever the hell I put it.  So there.  And it will be done!  Using the persimmon linen for the bag as suggested and planned, is looking less likely the more I complete.  Then I remembered I have some wool fabric for a blazer that may work but it was a little too ????? so I stained it, and here it is.  Once again, it looks much better than the colors in the photo.

 It smelled like burnt coffee so I had to decide which of these to spray. 

I love this stuff.  I use it on towels to freshen the bath and upholstery throughout the house and it did kill the coffee smell. 
I think the worst is over and the vase should be free of errors since nothing needs to line up with it.  Can't wait to start sewing the bag together.   

On another note, my Orioles are gone and I don't know why.  But I heard that familiar squeaking sound so I got out the feeder and there she was.  Hummers are back.  I found a system that works for me to keep ants off which is a real problem here. 

I use a thick line of E6000 glue to attach a spray paint can lid to a plastic plate after drawing the placement.  Then I glue the bottom of the feeder to the top of the lid and let it all set for at least a day.  I cut a few holes in the edge of the plate for rain water to run out, but the syrup dripping out lands on the plate, not the ground, and I've not had any ants since.

I've had to re-glue the other feeder but even when I clean them every few weeks with full strength Clorox, the glue still holds.  The Clorox takes all that black stuff away that develops. 

So that's it.  Next post will be the finish!  I want to thank all of you for reading, visiting my blog, leaving comments, sending emails, and helping me with your suggestions.  I'm new to the Blogasphere and still learning etiquette, if there is any.  I used to visit all the queens of thread blogs and never leave comments, feeling a little like an outsider.  Then I thought if I commented too often, I would be a pest.  I was wrong.  If bloggers didn't want to share, they wouldn't have a blog.  One of the queens helped me realize this and I want to thank her for that.  So unless the hot flash juice is dripping on to the keyboard and I'm concerned about electrocution, I'll be bugging more of you. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Biblical Wreath

Hello everyone.  Many years ago I purchased two prints of the Biblical Wreath, framed one for my sister, and misplaced mine.  I found it.  Unfortunately, my toy Singer was not with it.  Anyway, this is one of the softest, most beautiful prints, and everyone that enters my sister's home comments on it and asks where to buy one.   It lists the  Biblical reference for each plant in the wreath.  They were the last two available and since then, we've had no luck locating the wreath, in fact, our local shops have never heard of it. 
The website is HERE and another photo of its full size  is HERE.   The entire print is 18" x 24" and here are a few close ups..

It's shipped in a mailing tube for $20 and you can frame it any way you'd like.  Now that I've found the site, my sister will be giving these as gifts I'm sure.  There is also a framed full color canvas available which is so beautiful, but I like the sepia toned print.   Certainly not a sampler or anything stitching related, but I think it is interesting and thought you may too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Third time is no charm

Hope everyone had a beautiful Mom's day.  We've had sunshine for a few days now with warmer temperatures and it's such a treat!  But this project is NOT.  I love it, I have done it no harm, and I'm setting it aside till this evening.  I ended up having to rip out the whole pear.  First, the top half only, then restitched, then removed the bottom half, restitched, then ripped out the entire pear and started over.  I would have let it go except for the fact that it was four stitches to the right of the design. ????  The basket and other pear would never have lined up.  I knew where I missed one in the stem, but it should have brought the pear to the left.  I went over this chart time and again, couldn't find it.    Since it was so far off, I had no choice, and I surprised myself once again by not tossing it.    In the process, I realized a lot of my counting errors were stitching errors.  The top part of the stitch was over two, but the bottoms, were over three.  The row beneath, I would just follow the upper stitches and unknowingly continue the error.   So instead of making good progress this weekend, I instead have a real neck problem!  Here's where I am now, with the two darners I found at the antique store..
I was trying to decide if I should order the matka as recommended for finishing this pocket, or use some of my LWAC (linen without a chart).  So here's Scarlet Letter's ????.  It was purchased over 20 years ago and it's hand dyed..... persimmon?

And this is just as old - SL's hand dyed saffron...


The saffron is darker than this photo and looks great, but I think I would prefer something in browns. Too soon to tell - need more of the design completed, especially the reds.  The persimmon is almost exactly the 918 but I don't know if it will be too strong.  None of my pictures show true colors and I have to play with them to get them close which neither of these are, so I bought a new camera.  A little Canon something or other that's still in the box.  The salesman told me it is the best for close ups, but I also want to zoom in on the Orioles and other bright birds in my yard.  The way the pears were going, I didn't think it was a good idea to break out a new camera and try to understand the instructions when I couldn't even count a few x's correctly.  I came across the amber linen when I pulled SL's out and I really don't like it, as I've already said several times.  When I don't like something, it's like I have to beat it to death, just can't let it go.  I don't like amber linen.   It just happened that I steamed and smashed this little pillow from my SIL yesterday, and wished I knew the linen color since I like it.  I checked my stash - it's amber.  I guess doing a 180  has become a habit.
 NEVER would have thought it could look this good when stitched!  So I guess you can't judge a linen by its color, until you see it in a finished piece.  Matches the little bear I stitched many years ago, and will never do again.  Isn't he sweet?  Look at that face!

I'm going to take 3 Advil now and when they kick in, go outside and plant my new tree.  In my yard, with 2 types of clay soil, I either dig a hole and it fills up with water, or I need a spud bar and pick to get through the dirt.  This area, spud bar and pick.  I usually do chores that aggravate my neck when it's already aggravated.  Why suffer twice?  Hope you're all having sunshine!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm getting the MO in my MOJO

Hello people.  I'm a little more excited on this project than I was on the last, and quite a bit more than the two prior.  Does that mean I've got MO and am closing in on MOJO??  I think so, but believe me I'm making SO many errors.  I've never had this much trouble with counting threads - don't know if  I'm rusty - or because it's not my usual 28/30.  It's only 32, but my goodness!  I can't tell you how many times I redid a circle in the border.  The other errors on the stems I redid only if I caught them early.  I had to rip all the flower designs because the symbols (to me) were so close that I didn't notice one was an H and one was an X.  Obviously, I'm still not paying enough attention to the chart. 
Then I started the pear and found out I'm off on that too.  How did I end up with a wider pear?  The right side edge is where it cuts off to page 2, but it's only one-two stitches.  Well, that's what I'm off but I counted!!  Honest I did.  So whatever....I have a wide pear.  Matches my.....              So here's my progress....
I wasted time thinking the color 829 for the leaves and stems was not enough green for me, so I played around until I found a substitute..
 

But after all that, I starting seeing that once stitched, it showed differently.  Glad I wasted all that time once again.   Surprisingly, I didn't even think about throwing this out the window (the path my tree rocket took at Christmas during a nasty light string incident), deliberately scorching it under a hot iron (a sewing project too ugly to describe), or setting it on fire (my personal favorite).  I'm enjoying it!!!   Even with the frustration of the errors.  I might even finish this weekend!  
The sun is out - two days now.   The sargeant crab trees we planted last fall made it through winter and will be blooming in a day or two. 
I now have two sets of Baltimore Orioles, and a sad note.  These little eggs had their mother robin ripped right off the nest by a hawk. 
And to all you loving and caring moms out there, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day.    To the others I've seen in the office or in public mistreating and talking trash to their babes, I hope one day to meet you in a dark alley. 

Edited to add - Just found out about a giveaway on Hamilton House blog.  Some of these giveaways are so loaded with goodies, I think mine will be wimpy!  Better amp it up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcome back Stacy

Hi everyone.   My Pears & Strawberries Sewing Bag is back!  I don't know if it has ever happened to you, but I looked in all my stitching boxes several times, for several days.  I found her in the box of silks and overdyed - not a lot in the box - easy to see since there are no layers of supplies - I even went through those silks for the Pears Two - SHE WASN'T THERE.  She couldn't have been.  How could you miss a chart in a bag amidst little skeins????  There is no one here except for hub, and he knows what happens if he touches my stuff so I know it wasn't him.  In fact, he doesn't even set foot in the tiny parlor where my charts and supplies reside.  The closest he comes is shutting the door of an upstairs bedroom, considered my craft room, when he can't take seeing the growing clutter. 



I decided to start the Nash since I removed all the stitching from Pears Two and counted those eye-crossing threads - it is 35/36 count.  My eyes seem to do this sideways dance for a second whenever I'm counting and it always happens right before I mark the thread.  I had planned on doing the Nash design before the Pear and before she disappears again, I opened and read the chart.  I didn't know this was inside...


Isn't that sweet?  What surprised me is the size of this project.  I thought this was going to be about 6" or so and it's much larger than that, over 9" wide for the design area, and I'm a little disappointed.   My perception must be way off or those little scissors aren't as little as I think they are.  Doesn't this look like a small bag in the photos?  Maybe she used 36 count originally which is why she states one strand of floss.  I am using the 32 count recommended which is one of the few pieces actually marked in my stash.  Although the linen count is correct, I'm not using one strand of floss as suggested.  I didn't like the coverage and one of the colors is too close to my linen to show up, so I redid all of that.  Between the Pear and this, I've done more removing than adding.  I've been making a lot of errors on the top border circles - can't seem to get that pattern memorized, but at least the errors are caught right away.  I can't wait to get to the fruit.  I found the chenille trim on EBay after searching the web for suppliers, which aren't many.  I didn't see it offered on the online shops so I'm not sure if it's the same, but how many chenille trims can there be??  I think it's one of those small items that you find when you actually visit,  which is why not having a shop is sad.  All I see are charts, linens, and thread, oh my!  I received the colors I ordered quickly, they are reasonable, and she was very nice so I'm happy.  Well, I was then.  So here's my progress...


I'm still going to give PearsTwo a try on the 35/36 with one strand, so I may be working on two projects at a time - a first for me.  I have quite a few CBU's (completed but unfinished) to sew into something including the little Blackbird design I recently finished.  I was thinking of doing a roll and offering it as a giveaway but it depends on how many flashes I have during finishing.  That's a huge factor in quality of workmanship, let alone a possible demise.  Haven't decided about Fanny - frame or not.  I saw a frame that made my skirt fly up on the Queen's webshots.  You know who I'm talking about -  SamplerFarmer!  Check out this frame on one of her latest entries.  Never saw a frame like that and my local doesn't have it.  She posted Jenny Bean, Mrs. Pearson, E. Traill, and Two Horses recently.  Hail Queen! 

 It's 9am right now and the rain is just pounding my house and this is how dark it is....We saw the sun two days in four weeks and the rain is relentless.  I need boots to walk this yard swamp just to feed my birds.  Oh wait - look what came to visit yesterday - bad picture I know - an Indigo Bunting!   He's in the top left.
I had the orange Baltimore Oriole, my red Cardinals, bright yellow Goldfinch, this bright blue Bunting, and my usual  Grosbeaks (my personal favorite).  Our black oil sunflower seed went from $16.99 for 50# to $26.99 in one shipment, and the next will be $29.99 we were told.  The Grosbeaks (the guy on the right) are tearing into suet cages so hopefully that won't be rising too.

I hope you all have been safe and not affected by the ravaging storms. We had the May 1985 F5 tornado pass right below our home, and take our best friend while he saved two children.  Pictures on the screens don't come close to experiencing in person the shock and disbelief of the devastation that can occur in a matter of minutes.  Hopefully, better weather is on the way.  After the long white winter, we're having a dark wet spring!  As long as our loved ones are safe, I guess the weather really doesn't matter.  Puts things in perspective doesn't it?