Saturday, January 30, 2010

No Happy Dance for Me...

I finished this cross-stitch piece last weekend. It's called Joyful Summer and was designed by Country Cottage Needleworks and is stitched on 28 ct. Barest Blue Jobelin using the threads called for in the design. The picture makes it seem much darker than it is in real life - I never claimed to be the photographer in the family...
I left a couple of motifs off, as it felt finished when I got to this point. And who am I to argue with a stitched piece?

I planned to post my happy dance online - because that's what nearly everyone online calls a finish - a happy dance. However, I realized I didn't have the motivation to take the picture, photoshop it, and then post about it. In fact, as the day progressed, the more depressed I became. I found I had no motivation to do anything - quilting or cross-stitch. I ended up spending the evening eating popcorn and watching sappy love story movies.

By the next day, I found I could start work on the Dragon piece for DH (more on this later). After all, that was the whole reason I finished Joyful Summer - so I could start the Dragon guilt-free.

Apparently, instead of the happy dance I was expecting for finishing a very cute piece - I needed to go through a period of mourning for finishing a very cute piece. Let's say it all together this time - she's crazy.

Oh well, it's on my design wall waiting for me to have an inspired idea about framing. And meanwhile - on to the Dragon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scrounging Around Goodwill

I love reading Kim's blog Threadheads Unite! She has such a sense of humor and I love reading about her Thrifty Thursdays. She always has such interesting finds!

Well, not that I plan to make this a weekly thing, but I got bitten by the Goodwill bug this past week, as well. I found a few very good things, too! My first finds I didn't get pictures of, but I found a really neat retro phone for my Mom's new apartment. She needs one that isn't cordless so it will still work if the power goes out, and this one fits the bill. It's a desk-top model, looks like those old chunky rotary phones with the receiver on top. It's black and I think it's great! If she doesn't like it, I do believe I'll just keep it for myself! hehe.

I also found a really neat wooden quilt hanger that will work great for mini quilts. It's got a 3-D bow made out of wood - very cool. Once I get it on the wall, I'll take a picture for you all.

I actually talked DH into checking out a couple of Goodwill's in the big city with me and I found these 2 treasures.

They are both counted cross-stitch - on linen - and for only $0.49 each!!! They aren't exactly my style, but I felt so sorry for them, I snatched them up without a second thought. I hate to think something I labored over would end up on a shelf in Goodwill with a sticker of $0.49 on it. I plan to open these up and see how well they are framed (no tape, please!) and fix if necessary. I want to find more appropriate frames for them, too.

A few other things made it home with me, but nothing very note-worthy. However, DH and I had a very enjoyable evening scrounging around the shelves to find treasures. Definitely something to try if you have nothing better to do with an evening :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quilting Update

Have you ever noticed that the closer you get to finishing something, the less you work on it? Maybe it's just me. I don't know. I do know that when I get close to finishing something, it sits and sits in my sewing room and stares balefully at me from across the way, wondering why I'm ignoring it. And you know what? I don't really know the answer to that. I think it has something to do with the fact that I enjoy the process of the work, more than the finished product. And if I finish something I love, then that means I can't enjoy the process on that particular project anymore. I know, crazy-talk.

Well, anyway, my green star quilt has been sitting with this much quilting to be done on it for over a month now. Yes, I know Christmas was fit in that month, but still, this is what, 10 minutes of work? Yeah, it should be done now - I could probably finish this bit faster than I can write this blog entry. But am I finishing it? Nope. And the really crazy part - the quilt still needs the borders quilted! So it won't even technically be finished when I finish this bit! Yeah, I know you can all say it - crazy. Oh well, I'm enjoying the ride :)

I have been spending quite a bit of time surfing the web for new free BOM patterns that are being posted now. I've found 3 that I'm gah-gah over. Beyond the Cherry Trees by Sentimental Stitches, Christmas Row by Row by Fat Cat Patterns (she does awesome BOM's!) and Simple Thymes by Angie's Bits 'n Pieces. I even started to pull fabrics for the Simple Thymes piece - but I need to go shopping for background fabrics - I don't have anything suitable on my shelves. Hmm, I should probably hunt through my unwashed fabrics first - I've got about 3 big tubs of that....

I have been spending a fair amount of time on a quilt I started about 2 years ago on my trip to Phoenix. This is the first wreath block, without the circles attached.

It's from the pattern Winter Dance by Piece 'O Cake Designs. I love their patterns, and own most of them. I was feeling like I needed to start a green and red quilt after Christmas settled down and realized I had one already started! So, I dug it out of the WIP pile and worked on it some more. Not much done yet - I'm only on the second wreath block now, but I never claimed to be a fast sewer ;)

Yes, the Circle Quilt is seeing some work time. This is a shot I took of Felix overseeing my work on tracing the sewing line on the circles. See, I decided that instead of using the Perfect Circle technique that Karen Kay Buckley made famous, I'd just needle-turn them like all the other applique I do. Of course, I haven't gotten any of these circles sewn on yet, but they're ready when I get to that point!

By the way, Felix thinks I'm doing a bang-up job - hehe.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Cross Stitch Piece

Something else I received for Christmas this year were gift certificates to a cross-stitch store I love to shop at. They are in the same town as my DH's family, so I try to coordinate visits with them so I can fit in a shopping trip, too. So, I had some money to spend and I knew exactly what I wanted to get with it.

You see, DH spotted this lovely piece a while ago, and asked if I would stitch it for him. Since he doesn't ask for this very often, I try to accomodate him when I can. Plus, it helped that I liked the piece, too :) However, I needed a piece of fabric large enough to stitch it - 28" X 39" to be exact! It also calls for something like 25 skeins of black (who would have thunk that, with all the green in the picture) - and I prefer Anchor black over DMC. So, with those 2 items, I figured I was pretty close to my gift certificate amount.

I put in my order and spoke with a very lovely woman named Linda. She was very patient with me and we got everything worked out. I then told her that if there was anything left on the gift certificates after shipping costs were included, to just throw something in the bag and surprise me. Well, apparently that threw her for a loop, because when I called to thank her for this:

A very lovely stitch picker (which I don't have any of yet!), I was told that she labored over what to put in as my surprise. I think she did a fantastic job of choosing! I absolutely love this store and will recommend it to everyone I know that stitches. It's House of Stitches in LaPorte, IN.

So, I spent some time going through my floss drawer pulling the threads for my new project. Could you believe that of all the floss you see below, I was still missing 37 different colors? Yeah, I know, crazy.

Now, my next decision will be to grid the fabric or not. This is a large piece and I don't want to spend a lot of time frogging mistakes, but I'm not a big fan of gridding, either. Hmm...decisions, decisions...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Christmas Catchup

I know, I know, it's been forever since my last post. I can't even blame it on the new computer, as it's been running fantastically for a while now. I guess I'll have to blame my over-all sense of laziness over the holiday. I feel like I've been doing only what must be done and letting the rest go - which includes housework. I can't tell you how many times DH has pulled through and done those dishes for me. He's definitely a keeper.

Speaking of keeping DH, check out what he did for me for part of my Christmas present this year:

For those of you that might not know what this is at first glance, it's a quilt hanger that he made for me with his own 2 hands! I have a similar, smaller one that I bought from a quilt bee friend a couple of years ago hanging in our bedroom, and he decided to make a larger version for the huge empty wall in our dining room. I think it's great!

Here you can see it with a few of my Jim Shore pieces on the shelf on top, and my third quilt top I made about 10 years ago and it's still waiting to be quilted hanging off the hanger.

I think it's looks great! Thanks honey :)

He also got me a bell jar to add to my collection - I've filled it with buttons and a few of the pincushions I've made over the years.

There were a few other gifts - a couple of DVDs and a huge frying pan I've been wanting for a while. It was a good Christmas in that regard :)

We had everyone over for dinner on New Year's Day - as that was the only time my brother could get here from North Carolina. That was a noisy day! I am really not used to having 13 people in the house - 4 of which are children. But, no mishaps and it was a really special day.

Unfortunately, Boots, the kitty I introduced you to last, got sick just before Christmas. She stopped eating on Friday night and stopped drinking water on Sunday. Monday morning I asked my DSis to bring her to the vet's office for me (an adventure in itself). The vet did some bloodwork and started pumping fluids into her. They kept her overnight and started her on antibiotics. We picked her up the next day with a diagnosis of very early stages of kidney disease. It seems odd that she would stop eating with that diagnosis, but whatever. We've had her on soft food since then (boy, feeding time is becoming a dance with the other animals), and she seems to be doing much better. However, we are still paying that vet week we'll finally have it paid off - whew!

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention the craft show DH and I went to this Christmas! Our town puts together a craft show the first Saturday of December and we've never been to it. We've heard about it over the 8 years we've lived here, but never ventured out to it. Boy, what a mistake! They take over the local middle school (2 blocks from our house) and set up tables in the gym and all the hallways. We got there at 9:30 when they opened and spent 2 hours in there and I don't think we hit every table! And we weren't browsing slowly, either - DH can get impatient in crowded places, so I was doing my best to skim the tables quickly. We did get lucky, though.

I found 2 Jim Shore pieces for my collection - each under $10.00! We found a couple of stuffed animals for DNephew (which he loved!), gifts for DH's family and the best thing - a hand-turned pen made of deer antler! My brother absolutely loved it! It was right up his alley :)

Overall, a very successful holiday season was survived here. Always a relief in my book :)