Monday, March 14, 2011

A wonderful giveaway gift received

I participated in Terri's recent "100th post Giveaway".  This fabulousness is what she sent:


Would you believe I was one of the RUNNERS UP?????  Can you imagine what the big winner received???

I absolutely love everything Terri sent!  Since I've been remiss in posting, I've already had a chance to stitch up "Wrought By Me" by Ewe & Eye & Friends that was included in the package:

Wrought By Me
Ewe & Eye & Friends
36 ct Sand Edinburgh linen
HDF and NPI silks from stash, one over two
This was a super quick and enjoyable stitch.  I just love how it turned out.

That's it for today. 

Diane

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two off of the POSSIBIL(I)TIES lists and a quick and easy recipe

I managed to knock out two finish-finishes this week! 

First, I framed "Golden Poppies" from the March/April 1986 issue of Cross Stitch & County Crafts.  Yes, I started it way back then.  It sat in a box for over 20 years about half-stitched until I retrieved it last year.  It had been put away without the threads or the chart.  I found the chart when I was flipping through my old magazines looking for something else.  I pulled the threads from my aging stash and finished the stitching.  I have no idea why I packed it away because there weren't any counting errors, I've always loved the subject, and I had all the threads.  It's a mystery.

Golden Poppies
Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine, M/A 1986
Sttiched on 14 ct fiddlers weave aida
Recommended DMC threads
Backstitching and initial omitted (personal preference)
Ribba frame from Ikea

My second finished-finish was the "Christmas Joy" ornament by Angel Stitchin' from the 2003 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue.  This was stitched in 2009 and I had already laced the front of the ornament and glued up the back before it went into the pile.  I guess the glue needed over a year to dry???  I gathered the parts and whipped it together in no time.  It took longer for the glue to dry (really, this time) than for anything else.  Too bad it's going to have to be packed away until the holidays. :o)

Christmas Joy
Angel Stitchin'
Published in 2003 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue
Stitched on 32 ct. Cafe Mocha linen
Unknown overdyed threads from stash

Backing fabric from stash
Edged with feather-edged burgundy ribbon by Offray
Bow and hanger in same color 6 mm single-sided satin ribbon

I'm making slow but steady progress on my current WIP, a Dimensions Wire Whimsy kit called Christmas Birdhouse.  This has been a UFO for I don't know how long.  The copyright is 1994, so somewhere around then must be when I started it.  I know full well why this was a UFO.  It's on 14 ct plastic canvas, which I hate, and it's stitched using 3 strands, which I also hate.  So it was double-whammied, as either one of those would have been enough for me to lose interest.  I'll be sooooooooooo glad when this one is done and dusted.  I've only got a little more cross-stitching to go, then it will be back-stitch, a few French knots, and assembly.

I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to get in a rut and cook the same dishes over and over (and over and over) again for my family.  Sometimes, though, I crave something different.  Yesterday was one of those days.  As a break from some form of chicken or another, I had pulled a pound of smoked sausage out of the freezer yesterday morning for last night's dinner.  I had no idea how I was going to serve it.  On my way home from work I started thinking about it and got an overwhelming craving for zucchini with tomatoes and peppers.  I thought the combination would go well with the sausage, and boy was it ever good!  (Sorry, I didn't think to take a picture.)  Here's what I came up with:

Sausage and Stewed Vegetables

1 14.5 oz. can Hunt's stewed tomatoes
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper, cut in 1/2" - 3/4" pieces
1/2 pound frozen zucchini slices
1 pound beef smoked sausage, angle-cut into 1/4" slices

Simmer tomatoes, onion, pepper, and zucchini in a covered skillet until the onions and peppers are tender.  Add just a little water, only if the liquid has cooked off.*  Add sausage, cover, and heat thoroughly.   Serve with your favorite side dish.  Serves 3-4 

*The sausage added a lot of moisture, so a little water will go a long way.

This will probably be my last update for a while.  We have a trip coming up the last week of the month and there's a lot of prep and packing  to be done beforehand.

Best to all,
Diane

Friday, January 7, 2011

A finish and my list of POSSIBIL(I)TIES

Last night I put the final stitches into Little House Needleworks' Snow White just before midnight and added it to the pile.  Please ignore the errors.  My inability to read/follow a chart is well documented.  :)  I love how it turned out, though, even with the boo-boos and on aida.  I gave away the vast majority of the aida I had in my stash* when I started stitching on linen, but there were a few pieces I just couldn't part with.  I love the color of this one.  I do plan to press it before I frame it...

Snow White
Little House Needleworks
DMC Blanc on Charles Craft Classic Reserve 14 ct. Aspen aida

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On to my POSSIBIL(I)TIES.  The list below will be kept updated on the POSSIBIL(I)TIES page of this blog, and I've started a blog where I and anyone else who also has POSSIBIL(I)TIES can cheer each other on to turn all those POSSIBIL(I)TIES into finished-finishes!  Spread the word!

I'm not totally convinced I've found everything (picture me trying not to think about what might be hiding the boxes in the garage), but the current count is at 90.  Wish me luck! 

Ornaments:
  1. Home is Best - Primitive Bettys 
  2. Be My Valentine Quaker Style - Aury 
  3. House on a Hill - Chartmakers 
  4. Be My Love - Passione Ricamo
  5. Pinkeep d'octobre - Maryse
  6. Snowy Pines - Little House Needleworks
  7. Joy - Little House Needleworks
  8. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (1 of 9)
  9. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (2 of 9)
  10. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (3 of 9)
  11. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (4 of 9)
  12. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (5 of 9)
  13. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (6 of 9)
  14. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (7 of 9)
  15. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (8 of 9)
  16. Cool Christmas - Fresh Threads (9 of 9)
  17. Gifts - Melissa Dunajski w/beads
  18. Gifts - Melissa Dunajski w/beads (Blue)
  19. Retro Christmas Tree - Sharon Pope
  20. Winter's Eve - Prairie Schooler
  21. My Favorite Time - Lizzie*Kate
  22. Winter Houses - Industrioushead
  23. O Holy Night - The Needle's Notion 
  24. Ho! Ho! Ho! - 2006 Cross Stitch calendar
  25. Madonna and Child - Stitch 'N Hang chart
  26. Silent Night - Heidi
  27. Sleigh Rides - Heidi
  28. Christmas Ornament 2004 - Blackbird Designs
  29. Christmas Ornament 2004 (modified) - Blackbird Designs
  30. 2003 JCS Joy Ornament - Angel Stitchin'
  31. Herald Angels - Prairie Schooler
  32. In a Stable - Shepherd's Bush
  33. Rejoice (natural) - 4 My Boys
  34. Rejoice (white) - 4 My Boys
  35. All is Calm - SamSarah
  36. Christmas SAL - Tiziana
  37. Beginner Whitework - Teresa Wentzler
  38. Intermediate Whitework - Teresa Wentzler
  39. Joy - Lizzie*Kate
  40. Needleworker's Pocket - With My Needle
Stockings:
  1. Joi's stocking - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts
  2. Charlton's stocking - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts
To Be Framed:
  1. Home of a Needleworker (Too!) - Little House Needleworks
  2. Blackberry Jam - Sweetheart Tree
  3. The Counting House - Little House Needleworks
  4. The Golden Poppy - Cross Stitch and Country Crafts 
  5. Imperial Dragon
  6. Joy Sampler - Lizzie*Kate
  7. Signs of Winter - Bent Creek
  8. Be Calm - Shepherd's Bush
  9. Redbird Sampler - Bent Creek
  10. Snowflakes - Little House Needleworks
  11. Housework Makes You Ugly - Sisters and Best Friends
  12. Housework Never Killed Anyone - Lizzie*Kate
  13. Red Bird Fraktur - Knotted Tree NeedleArt
  14. Withering Tulips - Carriage House Samplings
  15. Happy Birthday - Blackbird Designs
  16. Acorn Hill - Little House Needleworks
  17. Father's Day Sampler (reframe)
  18. Super Dad Sampler
  19. Spring Blessings - Sandra Cozzolino
  20. Presbyterian Cross (needlepoint mom stitched for dad) (reframe) 
  21. Bless This House (Goodwill rescue) (reframe)
  22. Sailboats (Goodwill rescue) (reframe)
  23. Snow White - Little House Needleworks
Other or Undecided Finishing:
  1. Moons (quilt) -5 squares stitched for a planned baby quilt before and right after my daughter was born... in 1988
  2. Country Kitchen Shelf (pillow)
  3. Alphabet pincube
  4. Clean Your Room - Sister's and Best Friends (door hanger)
  5. Beeskep Alphabet (tin topper - outside done, inside gave me grief so I set it aside)
  6. Glove Whimsy - Wire Whimsy (hanging decoration)
  7. Fair and Square exchange squares from Georgie
  8. Fair and Square exchange squares from Lisa V.
  9. Fair and Square exchange squares from Sonda
  10. Fair and Square exchange squares from Kendra
  11. Fair and Square exchange squares from Jill
  12. Fair and Square exchange squares from Mairi
  13. Halloween Cat
  14. Seasonal Angels - Carla Acosta
  15. Floral "B"
  16. Home is Where You Hang Your Heart (pillow - just needs to be stuffed and sewn shut)
  17. Cat on a Rug stitched by mom
  18. Teddy Bear in Tub
  19. Angel on printed aida
  20. Carousel Zebra
  21. Flip Flops Rock - Sandra Cozzolino
  22. Happy Valentine's Day freebie - Sandra Cozzolino
  23. Art Deco face on red aida
I've got my work cut out for me, don't you think?

Happy 2011,

Diane

*I mailed a 13 pound box to a stitcher who stitches quilt squares for charities.  Thank the USPS gods for flat rate boxes!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 - The year of POSSIBIL(I)TIES

In 2010 I stitched 49 items and, to date, I have only "finish-finished" a grand total of 15 of them.  Two of those I completed on New Year's Day 2011.  I haven't even started counting all the un"finish-finished" stitched items I have that date back as far as the 1980s.  Let's call these "POSSIBIL(I)TIES":
Piles
Of
Stitched
Stuff
I’ve
Been
Ignoring
Longer
(IMHO)
Than
Is
Even
Sensible
This year I plan to tackle my POSSIBIL(I)TIES.  Over the next week or so I plan to take inventory of my POSSIBIL(I)TIES and list all the items I can find on my blog, in a post and probably on a new page.  As I "finish-finish" items, I'll either strike through them or change the color of the font.  By the end of the year, I would like to see all of the pre-2011-stitched ornaments displayed on my tree.  I would also like to see as many of the larger items either made into some item I can display in my home or put into suitable frames (within my budget and subject to my framing capabilities) and hanging on my walls.
Do you have your own POSSIBIL(I)TIES?  Would you care to join me in reducing them/it? :)
Happy 2011,
Diane

*** Edit - in starting my POSSIBIL(I)TIES list, I found that I had failed to list one of my finished-finishes for 2010.  So I have completed 16 of 49 (big whoop) and have 33 carry-overs from  2010 (in addition to the previous years' carry-overs, which I'll have to list from home). 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ornament Exchange with Melissa and Cool Christmas conversions

I'm finally back with the pictures of the ornament exchange I did with Melissa.  She sent me this adorable Snowman, which my lack of photography skills do not show to its best advantage.  I tried with and without flash, but this was the best I could do.  I really need to invest in a better camera and/or a tripod.  All pictures *should* be clickable for a closer view.



I sent Melissa Lizzie*Kate's "My Favorite Time" stitched one over 2 on 40 count Lakeside Linens Vintage Light Exemplar using the DMC conversion.  The only color change I made was for the single X at the top of the ornament.  I stitched it in the same brown as the branch because the gold blended into the linen.  It was finished as a simple pillow with a feather-edged ribbon hanger and embellished with buttons my kids picked from my stash.  I added a fringed patch with my initials and the year to the back and did a rough blanket stitch around the edge to finish it off. The postman must have really liked this one, because it took a week for it to go "priority" within the US.  I was seriously getting worried that I'd have to restitch it, especially since I sent Vonna's at the same time and hers arrived in two days and she lives one state farther east than Melissa.  Too bad it's not possible to email packages!

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who might be interested in the conversions I used a few posts back on Fresh Threads Studio's "Cool Christmas" from the JCS 2010 ornament preview issue, here are most of them.  I forgot to write down the blues I used for the last one.  I'm pretty sure these are accurate, I did keep changing my mind on some of the colors as I stitched, but I tried to write down the final colors. 
Symbol charted
DMC charted
Orange
Blue
Pink
Black/Red
Red/Black
Purple
n
310
310
310
310
304
647
310
3
702
970
322
351
413
844
3746
u
907
742
996
353
414
304
341
~
B5200
B5200
B5200
B5200
B5200
B5200
B5200
/
964
3824
3325
604
666
310
554
50/50 circle
3812
608
995
601
310
666
552
@
3820
3755
3820
3820
647
648
3820
o
3822
3325
3822
3822
648
762
3822

For the silver on all of them, I "made do" with a double strand of Talon American metallic sewing thread from my stash because I didn't have the Kreinik and I couldn't find my silver DMC.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have done the bulk of the stitching and restitching of the Cat's Whiskers "On Christmas Day" sampler.  I haven't decided whether I want to bead it or not, so I haven't stitched the small snowflakes (which I'm not entirely sold on either) yet.  It is in serious need of a press before I can show a picture of the progress/possible final product.  I stitch in hand and it's been rolled from all directions as I've stitched, so no matter what I try the ends curl in too much to get even a halfway decent shot.  Maybe I'll break out the iron and board over the next few nights and take a pic or two and get your opinions on whether to bead or call it done!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the great likelihood that I don't post here before the new week begins, I want to wish everyone the happiest of new years, and may 2011 bring you all the blessings you deserve!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Exchanges received

Melissa and I also participated in a personal Christmas ornament exchange.  My exchange to her arrived last Wednesday and hers to me arrived on Friday. 

It looks like I will have to post pictures at another time because Blogger is not playing nice right now and I also forgot my camera with the pictures of what Melissa sent to me.

To be continued...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fabulous exchange received!

I had the great fortune of being at the right place at the right time a few months ago when Vonna posted that she was looking to do a personal Christmas ornament exchange.  I didn't do any of my usual hemming and hawing and I dashed off an email telling her I'd be a willing participant if she still had an opening.  The ornament she stitched for me arrived yesterday and, boy, is it a beauty! 

Wanna see?  Ha ha!  Silly question!

JBW French Country Star
1/1 with Belle Soie Sister Scarlett on 32 ct

Even the back is gorgeous!

The ornament I stitched for Vonna arrived in her mailbox today.  Here's what I sent her.

LHN Joy
1/2 with called-for DMC on 40 ct Lakeside Linens Vintage Light Exemplar
Mill Hill beads in called-for color, petite-size


The back
Blogger is driving me crazy.  My pictures keep jumping around and the fonts keep changing.  I have to run to pick up my son from school, but I wanted to share before the day was over.

Happy holidays to all!

Monday, September 27, 2010

JCS Ornament Preview results - Quick post!

Sorry I'm late.  I got swamped at work on Friday and didn't get a chance to run the randomizer or post.  It's been busy today too, but I just caught a break and entered the names of everyone who said they wanted to be included in the list randomizer in the order that the comments were received, hit Randomize, and here are the results:

List Randomizer

There were 4 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Elaine
  2. Blu
  3. KarenV
  4. Sherry
Timestamp: 2010-09-27 18:08:36 UTC

Congratulations to Elaine and Blu!  Please email me your snail mail addresses.  My email address is in my profile.  I will also post a comment on each of your blogs, in case you don't wander back through here and see this.

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments about the ornaments and mystery sampler and commiseration about my tremendous blunder.  The restitch is coming along.  I haven't have quite as much stitch time as usual because my son started back to school and the Homework Wars have resumed.  I think I'm on track to be ready for part three, though, when it's released at the end of the week.  Would you believe that I had to re-restich about 3/4 of the green inner border because I was out by one thread in each direction?  Believe it.  AAAARRRRGGGG!!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Further proof of my inability to follow a chart

Late last month I started working on the Cat's Whiskers mystery sampler that began in the August 2010 issue of The Gift of Stitching.  I started with the center section, first the verse and then its outline.  Then I started stitching the snowflakes.  Here's a picture I took a night or two in:

  
I only stitched a few of the snowflakes but I wasn't thrilled with  the placement as they were charted, so I decided not to stitch any more of them until the next installment was released a week or so later.  I wanted to see if there was a reason the partial large flakes on the sides weren't the same as the partial ones along the top.  (I won't be stitching the small ones until I do the beading at the end.)  So I moved on to the outer border and the words there.  Once the second installment came out, I stitched pretty much everything released to date, made some assumptions that the bottom will match the top and went to town with my stitching, saving the snowflakes and the center of the top right medallion for last.  This is where I am today:
 
Cat's Whiskers "On Christmas Day" mystery sampler
32 ct. Wichelt Permin Prairie Grain
(true color of the linen is somewhere between the first photo and this one, more green than grey or brown)
DMC in 3052 green, 3866 white, 3721 red, 221 dark red (for my initials) - 2 over 2

I love it!  Except for one small problem...  I miscounted when I started on the outer sections, and the entire outer section, including the bloody snowflakes, should have been one stitch to the right.  See?  No?  Here's a close up of the left side:




and the right:




See it now?  Yeah, I didn't either.  Until I was stitching the very last one of those blasted snowflakes that I decided had to be moved for my sanity's sake, and found that it didn't align to the inner section's corner the way that it should have.  I don't know how I missed it on the other side.  ????!!!!????  There are 7 stitches/14 threads between the green line and the center motif on the left side and only 5 stitches/10 threads on the right.  Trust me, I've recounted it about fiftyleven times since I discovered the screw up on Wednesday and, sadly, the elves didn't come in and fix it overnight, or the second night, or the night after that...  Do you think I could possibly leave it be?  We're talking me here, people.  Me, who had to move the stinking snowflakes down by a stitch.  Um, yeah.  Ain't gonna happen.  So what am I gonna do, you ask.  Based on the lack of love for the snowflakes (which you may have already noticed) I will be unpicking the entire red and green center section and CAREFULLY restitching it one stitch to the left.  I don't know what it is between me and those snowflakes, but I didn't enjoy stitching them the first time, or the second, and I refuse to do them a third!  Much as I hate the thought of restitching basically half of the sampler, I can't just let it go.  If I left it, it would bother me forever, so it's either redo it, trash it, or leave it as a UFO.  I like it too much for either of the last two options, so I'll be filling up my orts jar with curly threads this weekend...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cool Christmas and extra JCS ornament preview issues

If you've taken a gander at the 2010 Finishes list in my sidebar lately, you've probably noticed that I fell hard for Fresh Threads Studio's contribution to this year's Just Cross Stitch ornament preview issue, with a few twists.  I stitched all of mine on 36 ct. antique white Edinburgh linen, and so far I have not purchased the crystal stars.  I started out by stitching it in the colors charted.  When I showed it to my daughter, she promptly snatched it and said, "Thanks!" 



Which led me to stitch #2.



While stitching #2, I got to wondering what it would look like in shades of orange.



Then I thought it would look great in shades of other colors, too, like blue.



While I was stitching blues, my son requested black and red.  Here is the result:



After that, I got back to my thoughts of pinks




and purples.


Then I decided to twist the black and red to red and black.



I had enough of the fat quarter left for one more, and I decided on darker blues with yummy DMC 995 as the main tree color. 


I love stitching ornaments.  They're so portable and they stitch up so quickly that it's almost instant gratification.  If I ever get my act together and make all the ones I've stitched into actual ornaments, there just might be enough to pretty well fill a small tree.  Or maybe the tree in Rockefeller Center.  The stack keeps growing...

Speaking of stacks, I suddenly find myself the proud owner of not one, not two, but three copies of the 2010 JCS Ornament Preview issue in which Cool Christmas is featured.  Since I only need one, I am putting the other two up for grabs.  If you haven't already acquired a copy, please leave a comment specifying that you would like to be added to the drawing, and I will leave it up to the fates randomizer on Friday September 24.  Entries will close at noon Pacific Daylight Savings Time.  (Open to all, domestic and international, and you do not have to be a follower to enter.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Me + Electronics = Bad Things

So, the new computer?  Yeah.  Not working. 

The Blackberry?  The hourglass spins every time I look at it, much less touch it.  No call log, no texts, spotty on the emails, can't get on the 'net.

The computers at work?  We were on dial up from Friday to sometime Monday afternoon, and it took two tries just to get it to start this morning.  The printer wouldn't work either, I had to unplug it to reset it.

The DVR?  While watching "live" TV, it pauses until about the time I get from the couch to the kitchen, then jumps ahead to "real time" as if I had just changed to that station, so no rewinding to see what I missed.  Or, if it does actually pause, it has no sound when I restart, so I have to turn the durn thing off and lose what I wanted to see.  No better on recorded shows.  Won't fast forward, spotty sound, and tiling.

I don't know if I have some magnetic field thing going on around me, or there are sun spots happening,  or what, but I'm getting really sick of this.

Maybe it's best that I can't find my camera at the moment...  Updates soon, I hope. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Has this ever happened to you?

Okay, so I started Joy Sampler by Lizzie*Kate a while back.  I had about half of the top border stitched when my ADD reared its ugly head and I moved on to something else.  I finally remembered it picked it up again yesterday and continued stitching the top border, then did a couple little areas with the same symbol on the chart - only it turns out it wasn't all the SAME symbol.  Some of it was the same symbol turned upside down.  GRRRR!!!  I didn't even pick up on it until I looked at the photo and noticed that the colors on the model didn't match what I'd already stitched.  My dyslexic little pea brain had only registered an open triangle on the chart, not its orientation.  So I have stitched the top border, one of the lights on the string, and the bow on the candy cane in WDW Sky instead of WDW Hunter.  And they're going to stay that way, and the bottom border will be stitched in Sky to match the top.

So here's the thing.  There are only 12 symbols on the whole design.  Do you mean to tell me that the designer couldn't have come up with 12 unique symbols to represent the colors?  C'mon!  She didn't use a filled in triangle, a heart, any numbers or letters (beyond the stylized LK), or any other typical keyboard symbols at all. And not an oval, circle, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, or other polygon except a solid square is to be found on the whole chart.  :(  Designers, take note: please use as many DISSIMILAR symbols as possible when you create your charts! I know I would appreciate it, and I don't think I'm alone in this.  Stitchers (and designers), please feel free to weigh in, whether you agree or disagree.  I'd love to hear your experiences and opinions.

On a side note, I already foresee a problem when I get to the Chestnut and Whiskey, because one is a forward slash and the other is a back slash.  *Sigh*

In other news, I hope to be able to update more.  I finally bit the bullet and bought MYSELF a laptop.  My son monopolizes the old one to play online games and has managed to break off one key, make others stick, and mess up all three USB ports.  It has been so frustrating to try to post from it, and I can't download pictures to it from my camera, so I just gave up.  I've been spending my lunch hours stitching, so no updates here except for the sidebar.  I'm sure there are probably things in the sidebar that are out of date, too, since I've only been changing the WIPs, UFOs, and Finishes.  I'm aiming for Sunday to bring things current, but I won't swear to it.  Thanks for hanging in there!