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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Busy Day


Every Saturday morning I sit down and pay the bills received during the week. I try to get done before it is time to go to pilates. In pilates class today there were only four of us. It was really nice and the teacher took requests to work on certain areas of the body. We had a nice back stretch. I feel loose and stretched out after that class. Today was the opening day for the Farmer's Market. It is always fun to see what they have. The cupcake lady was there but she only had 2 cupcakes left, Blackberry Merlot. Sounds yummy. I bought her last two. I was hoping she had four so we could have them for dessert tonight. I guess I will make strawberry shortcake instead. I still have some cleaning to do. The annual "wash down everything on the back porch" needs doing as well as the "spiffy up the bathroom". Then it is on to cooking stuff.
I got some more circles done on the cover of Glastonbury Garden. Nine more to go on the first pass. Two more passes after that. I got the outside border of the inside top (confused?) done. It doesn't look like much yet.
DH is out planting flowers. It is that time of year. Summer is so much nicer than winter.
A

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday




How did it get to be Friday again? Last Friday we were on our way to Baltimore. I have to clean today as people are coming over tomorrow. I'm throwing out rugs that are so worn out. The kitchen floor needs washing. It is good to have people over, just to make myself get some jobs done. I've been to exercise and Goodwill. I bought three new rugs and a Barnes & Noble gift certificate for Halona. So I feel like I have accomplished a lot already today.
I finished the practice piece and actually got started on Glastonbury Garden. I know it is going to take a long time and be tedious but I made good progress yesterday. I started the outside cover and the inside cover. The fun parts will be the flower pockets. There are 36 circles on the front cover. Then 36 more in a different color. The directions are so bad. I'd like to rewrite them and make them readable and clear and easy to follow. Which makes me think maybe someday I would like to get some cross stitch design software. I know the best charts are by Drawn Thread and are done using Photoshop but that is a really hard program to use. It would be fun just to mark up the directions, rewrite them and send the designer a copy. Maybe that would be mean. I don't want to be mean. Nevermind.
It is a nice day outside. The goodies I ordered are on their way. Life is good.
A

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On to Other Things



I ordered a couple of things online. When I was at Celebrations, I saw two sisters with these double clips. One end clipped to the table and one end held the chart with a gooseneck in between. I looked and asked and couldn't find the clip until yesterday. I found it on Amazon. Then I also saw at Celebrations a twisted cord maker that looked like it was easy to use and you don't need three people to do it. This was also on Amazon. So in a weak moment, I caved. I ordered them. I will use both of them a lot. It's worth it, it really is.
I made the little flower page from purple wool and it turned out very nicely. So now I can check off Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll as done/done. Yeah! Two out of three classes are now finished. Next up is Glastonbury Garden. I love the design. The beginning practice piece is now stitched and I am deciding how to put it together. This designer is in love with the nun stitch. I am not. I want to give this piece sides and a nice finished edge. We'll see how it all comes together.
I tried making "Knock You Naked Brownies" last night. But when I opened a can of evaporated milk, it was bad. I was really surprised as it wasn't out of date. So I just used milk. I like my brownie recipe better. We are having people over on the weekend so I ought to do a bit of cleaning. Cleaning cuts into my stitching time. Dang.
A

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Isn't Your Grandma's Sewing Roll






I finished - almost-the Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll. Finishing take so much time. I had hoped to start on something else but didn't get to it yesterday. After getting interrupted it takes like an hour to get back into concentrating on what you were working on before getting interrupted. I could just put in the needle page that came with the kit but I was thinking of the Just Nan 20 Flowers that has the cutest needle page shaped like a flower. So I want to craft a needle page like that one out of purple wool and a button or two. I'm not sure I put the roll together exactly right as there is supposed to be a place on the inside that you can tuck the extra lining into. I don't think I did that part correctly. I need to put rubber bands around the closed roll to help it get used to bending the right way. I thought maybe a button should be on the outside to tie the ribbon around but I think the designer just meant for the ribbon to wrap around it and tie into a bow. The ends are very pretty.
I have eight of the sixteen flowers stitched down on the penny rug. I should get back to that and finish that off as well. That is a good project to do while watching TV.
I got hotel reservations for the Blue Ribbon Sewing Box. Now all I need is a rental car. I wish I didn't have to get one. But I know it will make everything easier and I won't have to worry about trying to get a ride.
Time to get stitching.
A

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On a Roll



Here is a picture of the happy couple who are now in St. Lucia honeymooning. Then there is the Kringle Keeper that I finished on the trip.
Things are back to normal. I am done stitching Grandma's Garden Stitching Roll. I am trying to follow the directions for putting it together. The directions need some clarifying. One place I am told to iron the batting to the linen but later it shows that the batting should be ironed to the lining. Then there needs to be clarification as to which is the top and which is the bottom. The directions say to cut one inch from the bottom of the top batting. Is the point the top or is the bottom the top as is implied in the pictures? It is all a little confusing. I found some purple silk dupioni for the lining. Unfortunately the batting and Peltex also smell like smoke. Ugh. It will be very pretty when it is all finished though. I am happy with the changes I made.
Our lilacs are in full bloom. I love the smell of lilacs and can't help but think of my grandmother as it was her favorite perfume. The trees all have their leaves now and it is nice to finally get to some good weather. In three weeks I go to Columbus Georgia for the Blue Ribbon Sewing Box. Cool.
A

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home in One Piece



We made it back from the wedding. We decided Maryland is not our favorite place. Especially at rush hour. The wedding was very nice and our nephew is very happy. It was good to see certain people again.
10 Things that I learned:
1. Children grow up.
2. My mother likes to try to make me feel old.
3. Foreign contingent has cameras growing out of their hands - all the time - even at breakfast in the hotel. They missed trying to take pictures up my nose, but took pictures of everything else. Live your life instead of just taking pictures of it.
4. Someone will always say "you all look alike". I was expecting that one.
5. Young people like to drink amazing amounts of beer.
6. I don't want to live in a big city.
7. Couples should elope and save a heck of a lot of money.
8. I am unlucky - I was a random pat down at the airport.
9. Concentrating on a sudoku can make you almost miss the flight home.
10. There is no place like home. There is no place like home...

Last Monday Halona and I did printing on fabric. I had some old carved wooden stamps that I bought in Boston at least 10 years ago. I think they are Indian and used for stamping fabric. I had never used them so I thought Halona and I would try them out. It was fun and the stamping turned out pretty well. I made them into bookmarks. We are just going to play a board game today. Then next week will be the last week for mentoring.
I finished the Kringle Keeper. I'll show a picture of it tomorrow. Today I'll show a picture of our new pantry shelves. Exciting!
A


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Getting Ready



We are finishing up the pantry. DH cut one of the shelves too short so he has to go get another. It looks really nice now. I didn't work on the penny rug yesterday. I concentrated on getting the main part of Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll done. I found flowers to replace the verse and initials. I like how it turned out although it was a lot more trouble. Now I am replacing the flower motif on the ends with a wreath of flowers. So after I get the ends stitched, I can put it together. I am going to line it with silk dupioni instead of the calico in the kit. It will look way fancier.
I have to get ready to leave for Maryland tomorrow morning. Pack, curl hair, decide what to wear, etc. I colored my hair last night and the brew must have been especially strong as my hair is lighter than usual. At least it doesn't look gray and no mouse brown roots.
I am getting the itch to start something new. What I have in mind is Glastonbury Garden or Strawberry Thief (Jackie duPlessis). I have some simple things to take with me on my trip: Little House Needleworks' Fresh from the Garden, and Kathy Schmitz's Kringle Keepers.
I'm trying to get up my courage to face crazy relatives.
A

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday




Work is continuing on several fronts. DH has the pantry painted and is planning to put up the shelves today. Yea! we can get the foodstuff off the back porch. DH's car in in for an oil change today and then we are all done with car junk. The penny rug is going well and I have a couple more flowers done. I am trying to get ahead as I won't be stitching on it for a couple of days since we are leaving for Maryland on Friday morning. I finally got all the Algerian Eye stitches done on Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll. ARGH. There is writing in two of the rectangles that is slanted at a 45 degree angle. That is too much of a slant. So I was thinking about what I could do instead. I could alter the words. I could find other flowers to replace the words. I got a neat book while I was at Celebrations from Scandinavian Stitches. I really like the little motifs by Christiane Dahlbeck. I got one of her books last year and one this year. This year's book has some flowers that would be a perfect addition to Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll. They seem to be the right size and scale. I think one of the designs from the book would be very pretty for the ends of the roll. Here is a photo of Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll next to the original fabric from the kit.
It is a beautiful day here.
A

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two Down



One more flower stitched on the penny rug. I like how this one turned out.
Grandma's Garden Sewing Roll is coming along fine but slowly. Algerian Eye stitches over two threads are tedious. Nine of them make one flower. It seems to take forever.
Lots of business to take care of today. My car is in getting an oil change. We went to Penney's to get a new suitcase. I got a nice shade of blue. There are just too many black bags on the luggage carousel to know which is which. We checked out Home Depot and Lowe's for the hardware that will go in the pantry. We chose tight mesh wire shelves. DH is going to paint today. I don't think it will take too long. Maybe he can get the shelves up tomorrow if all goes as planned. Knock on wood.
A

Monday, May 9, 2011

One Down




I worked on the penny rug and Grandma's Sewing Roll yesterday. I got lots done on the rug. It is starting to take shape. All but a brown center to the Black-eyed Susan is ironed on and I am starting to stitch around each shape. I have finished one flower and I have 15 more to go. I figure if I aim to do one a day, I can finish this puppy in two weeks or so. I don't have the Valdani pearl cotton it calls for so I am using some Valdani varigated floss as well as other stuff I have laying (lying?) around my sewing room.
I am happy with the Grandma's Sewing Roll so far. I was worried that using white linen was not the best choice but it looks okay. I also thought maybe specialty stitches were used just to make this more difficult. But I have to say, I like the effect.
The redo of the pantry is well underway. Our electricity went out for an hour yesterday. So DH decided to start taking everything out of the pantry. He then took out the shelves. I think he is wanting me to scrub down the walls so he can paint today. But I am busy with the bathrooms right now. I think it will look much better and cleaner when it is done. It is a good way to finally clean it out. Wish I had a cleaning lady.
A

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday



My DH gave me some chocolate covered strawberries for Mother's Day. They are so good. They don't last long so we have to eat them up soon. The strawberries are as big as a fist. Huge.
I am working on a penny rug. I haven't made one before but after spending a lot of money on the book and the fabric kit, I had to give it a try. It is not hard at all. I was quite clever however. I scanned the pattern and printed it out on cardstock. Then I cut out a stencil for tracing where the shapes go on my background. I had to get some Heat n'Bond (Steam a Seam 2, same thing). I found a remnant for 72 cents at Joann's. I have the black mat part cut out, the leaves cut out, the flowers drawn on the Heat n'Bond. the stems drawn on the black. Once I get everything ironed on, the only thing I have to do is the handwork: buttonhole stitch around all the pieces and stem stitching of the stems.
I also worked on my second class from Celebrations, Grandma's Sewing Roll. I threw the original fabric away and used some white 30 count that I had. I also changed the edging stitch to my favorite stitch, long armed cross. We'll see how it turns out.
The electricity was blinking on and off for a while this morning. DH was afraid he would miss the Man U-Chelsea game but luckily he is watching it. DH says we are redoing the pantry this week. He emptied it out and it might actually happen. We will see how much gets done before we go to Maryland on Friday.
A

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Way Home




Last Sunday Celebrations was over and I was on my way home. The drive to the airport was a breeze. I couldn't believe it was so quick. There is a Shell station right outside the airport entrance for an easy refill. I thought maybe my suitcase was a little heavy but had to wait until check-in to see if there was a problem. Well, there was a problem. 57 pounds. What to do? I unzipped my bag and took out my Keepsake Quilting bag of goodies, took out my coat and put it on, took out a book and then began to zip up my bag and that's when disaster struck. The zipper on my suitcase BROKE! What to do?! I asked the check-in lady if she had some tape, hoping for something like duct tape. All she had was some not very strong inch-wide tape that had the words "checked baggage" on it. Well, she went around the bag three times. We weighed the bag again and it was 50 pounds exactly. I had to hope and pray that bag made it without loosing any of my stuff. I worried all the way home. While walking to my gate I saw the girl from Shakespeare's Peddler. She was flying on the same plane I was and we talked until it was time to board. She was very interesting. I asked her what her favorite count to stitch on was and she said 40. Then she told me that when you design an ornament for Just Cross Stitch's Ornament Issue you don't get any money - only a free copy of the magazine! What a rip-off. That is their best selling issue. She showed me a homespun sheet from the 1850's that she bought. It was great to talk to her. When I finally got back home, we landed at the new terminal. It is very nice with lots of art. I had my fingers crossed that my bag made it in one piece. I would hate to lose any of my treasures. I got lucky! The bag arrived, tape in tact. We threw that suitcase away when I got home. I have to get a new one as we have a trip this coming week.
I have been having a blast stitching new stuff this week. I finished one of the Jackie du Plessis's kits and the ruby slipper. So much stuff to make and so little time.
A

Friday, May 6, 2011

Last Day of Celebration






Saturday was the last day of Celebrations. Last time to shop. Last time to go to the Stitching Room. I drove my BFF to the airport in the morning. I had to be back by noon for my last and best class, Glastonbury Garden. I saw this project last year and have been waiting a whole year to take this class. This designer's charts and instructions leave something to be desired, namely clarity. (Or in layman's terms, they suck) But I love the finished project so I will persevere. Some of the stitching is going to be very tedious, an endless number of circles on 35 count with one strand of silk. Counting correctly is very important to have the pattern turn out right. The designer gave us a little pincushion project using the same design so we can practice and work out the design before we tackle the portfolio. I changed the pin cushion a bit. It was really helpful to do this little project first. The thread colors all look very much the same. I love the little heart in the corner. I am so happy to have this kit.
The banquet Saturday night was very fun. It was an Italian buffet. Not a lot of people took any of the eggplant. The rest was great and the dessert was a chocolate Tiramisu that was scrumptious. Then we played "Minute to Win It" to get prizes for our table. Of course, Captain Lu was elected head of table and spun the wheel. Our game was "Mad Dog". We were given a ruler with tic tac boxes taped to either end. They tore off the tops of the tic tac boxes and we put the rulers in our mouths, we couldn't use our hands. Then we had to shake the ruler between our teeth (like a mad dog) until the tic tac boxes were empty. I don't know if I cheated or not, but I bent over so gravity could help me. I won! I was the first one to empty my tic tac boxes. I didn't mind looking silly. It was great fun. One table had an orange banana race. They had a string around their waist with a banana on the end and they had to push an orange with the banana across a finish line. Hilarious. All the raffle winners were announced and the auction winners also. What great fun I had at Celebrations this year. I head back home tomorrow with lots of stuff.
A

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hog Heaven




On Friday, I got up at 4 a.m. to watch the wedding. I dozed off after I found out that the actual wedding didn't start until 6. I knew there would be endless reruns but I wanted to see it live as I did Princess Diana's wedding many years ago. I loved the simplicity of the wedding and thought it was well done.
Last Friday was hog heaven. Finally the "mall" area opened. There were 22 vendors. There were stores, designers and specialty displays. Some were ones I hadn't seen before. One was mostly quilting stuff. I didn't have any classes on Friday so I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted. I had in mind some fabric and threads I needed. As I was going into the mall area, Angela said go to Jackie du Plessis's booth. Wow, that was a treasure trove. Jackie had many of her class kits - for sale! She also had some neat supplies. Skirtex is very hard to find and she had it. She also had rolls of little squares of silk fabric for finishing and lining. I brought what I wanted to the counter. But there was a big problem, her credit card thing didn't work without internet access. So it was only cash or check. DH said to leave the checkbook home and I did. So that left only cash. Uh-oh. I was able to get what I wanted with the cash I had. But then I got to thinking about some of the other kits. I went back to her booth on Saturday morning and worked out a deal consisting of part cash and an I.O.U. until I got home and could send her a check. She was kind (and trusting) to do that. I got great stuff in the mall area and I could have bought a lot more than I did.
My room was the last one to be cleaned and I didn't want to go back there, so I went to the Stitching Room on the fourth floor. It was pleasant to sit up there, listen to other people's conversations and stitch. My BFF and her friends and I went to eat dinner at Panera. It was fun and a nice change from the hotel restaurant. We missed a turn on the way back and were almost late for the Round Robins. But it was all fine, the event started a bit late. The big surprise was there were five (instead of 4) kits each hour. Yippee, more stuff! All the teachers kits were nice and things I would like to make. No duds. I have two of them done already (see photos above). Boy, was I tired that night after getting up so early but I love a royal wedding.
A

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Last Thursday






Here is some of my stash from Keepsake Quilting and Fry's Measure Mill. I had my first Celebrations class last Thursday. It was Ruby Slipper with Louise Henderson. She is a very sweet lady. I was surprized that only 3 people were in the class. Most classes listed a minimum of 10 but they didn't stick to that. I later learned that the attendance was 175 this year at Celebrations as opposed to 300 last year. The Ruby Slipper was difficult to work because we were working on deep red fabric with deep red threads and the thread was two strands silk and two strands blending filament. Luckily there isn't that much stitching to it. I love having kits that have all the stuff you need all in one envelope - you don't have to go looking for stuff, go to the store or have to substitute, etc. Anyway, it was fun and I am about half done.

Then in the afternoon I had the Grandma's Sewing Roll class. The piece is way prettier in person than in the picture. I hadn't had this teacher before. She was a bit "scattered". Some parts were missing from some of the kits and she didn't hand out the ribbon until the class was done. One person left early and didn't even get any ribbon. The big problem with the class was the fabric smelled strongly of smoke. I think I will work this on a different piece of fabric. I don't really want the fabric to look like it came from the Civil War era anyway.

Thursday night was the Make-It Take-It. We made a fabric box, a zipper flower pin, a pin keep(?)from Louise Henderson, a large paper clip with a yoyo and a beaded little purse thingie from the Scattered teacher. It was fun. I have since tossed the zipper flower. I usually prefer the round robins that will be on Friday.

I am finding that I know some people at Celebrations from other stitching retreats. Paula from Legacy and Angela from Dying to Stitch. My BFF's friend Captain Lu knows just about everybody. On Thursday we were all excited because Friday the Vendor Mall opens. I am still drooling just thinking about it.
A

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Field Trips





On Wednesday we decided to go on field trips to Keepsake Quilting and Frye's Measure Mill. Keepsake Quilting was an hour and a half away and we drove there first. With my BFF and Map Quest directions we made it. It was very scenic but the route was a bit convoluted around Lake Winnipesaukee. What a great store! It had so much fabric. Wow. You could find any color you were looking for. The fabric was mainly cottons for quilts. I saw a beautiful small (baby?) quilt and bought the fabric and pattern to make it. I saw a penny rug with a circle of flowers so I bought the fabric ($50!) and book($28!) for that also. I bought yard cuts of fabric that were so pretty. I don't know what I am going to do with them but I couldn't pass them up. We asked a man sitting on the porch waiting for his wife to take our picture. We went to a nearby cafe and got a sandwich to eat sitting on the pavillion over looking the lake. It was a nice balmy day. We would have liked to stop at interesting stores along the way but we needed to get going to Frye's Measure Mill. It was a bit of a harrowing drive to Frye's. Signage is not New Hamshire's strong suit. We were in the boonies and it was a little scary at one point. But we made it. Frye's Measure Mill is charmingly decorated. The boxes are spectacular. The workmanship is wonderful. They are very pricey however. It was great to look around. Near the back of the store were some unfinished pieces and seconds. What a great deal they were! I got a recessed lid box that I could put needlework on and a small divided tray that were unfinished. My big splurge was a recipe box with a hand painted decoration around the lid. After I paid, I saw this little basket with a hand on it that was just precious (not creepy). The two main makers (father and son) of the boxes are both very ill and the mill is for sale. So I wanted to get what I could. I saw a box (not for sale) that the father had made with the shape of each of three grandchildren's hands on it that was wonderful. I just had to get the little hand box. We ran into a teacher at Celebrations and her fiance. They were an odd couple. We would find out later that many people from Celebrations made the trip out to Frye's. But we had the best selection since we came on Wednesday. I was a little nervous since I spent so much money before Celebrations even started. It was great to have a car and see Keepsake Quilting and Frye's Measure Mill. Loved it.
A

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Back


This is me and my BFF. I had a fabulous time at Celebrations. I got lots of stash and kits. It is good to be back home. I can't wait to get started on all my stitching.
The trip out was easy with no delays. We even got in early. Sure beats driving! I met up with my BFF in Detroit and we rented a car when we got to Manchester Airport. It is a very nice airport. The rental car guy should get a bonus for trying his hardest to add extra charges to our rental, but we resisted all manner of enticements. But the cost for two of us to drive the car was not worth it, so I became the driver. I had printed out directions (thank you map quest). It was only 16 miles to our hotel. We were pretty tired by the time we checked into the hotel. There were two sisters already stitching in the Lobby. They weren't taking any classes but were going to the dinner Saturday night as well as looking forward to shopping the vendors on Friday. Later in the week I heard someone ask "How does one get a seat to stitch in the lobby?" The answer is arrive early. I had the special for dinner, lobster roll. Alas, they didn't have any rootbeer so no rootbeer float. I had to make do with ice cream. Tomorrow: Field trips.