Thursday, January 9, 2020

Where did my stitching mojo go?

Before I start the whining let me first say I hope you all have had a great beginning to our new century, year, whatever.   I had a lovely Christmas, a little stress filled, but that's normal and my New Year's eve was spent with all the grandchildren, large and small, and they all left by 9:30 and I was asleep way before the ball dropped so I was well rested to start the new year.  One would think the stitching would come out, but they would be mistaken.  I've been in a serious no stitching zone since November and prior to this weekend had really not stitched.  I always bring it to work, just in case, but nothing.  Last Friday I arrived with my tote and with resolve to at least work on Peppermint Pals even if I just did one thread and then stopped.  As it turned out I actually stitched for a couple of hours.  Before the drought I had finished 1/2 of the design and as I got more of the snowman's torso done I got excited.  Friday night when I got home from work I pulled it out and completed it.  I even added beads, turkey work on the scarf and some satin stitch.  I could feel my stitching mojo coming back.  Not completely as I couldn't figure out what to stitch after going through several bags.  I finally decided to do one of my first loves of needlework, Shepherd's Bush.  So I pulled one of their kits (thought kit would be better since everything is in there and I wouldn't have to hunt for stuff, which has become harder since Vernon and John, who are putting heated flooring in my bathroom, as well as redesigning the room, put the furniture which use to be in my bathroom into my stitching room and I can't get to anything.  Which means putting Peppermint Pals together is almost impossible...but heated flooring in my bathroom is so worth it.  Anyway at work on Saturday I stitched about 1/4 of the kit and when I got home I also worked on it, so I think it won't be long before I'm back to my usual self and I'm excited.  Last Sunday, I already grabbed 4 new charts and at home, I also started pulling fibers for a new it won't be much longer before I'm stitching 24/7.  Can't wait!  This week, 1/16/2020,  Camp Wannastitch is in town so we are gearing up for them and Stasi Buhrman is here to cut fabric, Thank God!  Debbie Liming is also here,  she thinks to lend emotional support, but Sara has a job all lined up for her so she's in for a shock.   I'm basically just a seat filler at this point and there are times I don't do very well at that.  But as I keep telling Sara, "You get what you pay for."  Since no one hands me a pay check you really can't expect much from me.  I was hoping for mild weather again for the stitchers coming into town, but today it looks like 38 is going to be our high, but tomorrow it should go into the '40s and '50s on Sunday.  Here's hoping.  In the meantime, I wanted to show you the Peppermint Pals by Brenda Gervais, that I did finish.  Even though it's taken far to long to finish it, I loved the stitch, adored the piece and can't wait to get the finishing done.  
I stitched him on 28 ct. PTP Helix (a regular go-to for me for snowmen), using the listed threads but adding dimension with beads for berries on the snowman and in his snowman bucket.  I used turkey work on the ends of the scarf and black beads for his eyes and buttons.  I also did satin stitch for the hat and the boots just because.  Not sure why, didn't add anything frankly, but I wanted to.  Anyway, this is such a fun series.  There are 3 in this series so far, Boo was the pumpkin-headed girl which I did in October, Santa for Christmas which I haven't done yet and then this one.  Cute and fun.  Well, that's what I've done in the last month and a half, how about you?  Stasi Buhrman is here with show and tell and she's finished so many pieces in the same amount of time that I did this one that I'm embarrassed.  Got to get my mojo back big time.  I started the Erica Michael's snowman strawberry on Monday on 28 ct. over one and told Sara I was going to try and have it done by this weekend....that so hasn't happened and in fact, I didn't stitch on it at all for 2 straight days.  But I did get back to it last night and put a few stitches in.  Today I've pulled another chart and will be taking it to work with me (because I'm stitching over 2 on this one I thought it might be easier to stitch at work) so I do feel this is more normal for me having multiple projects going at one time.  Let's hope it helps get the juices flowing again.  Have a great weekend and if you are down here with the Camp Wannastitch group, stop on by we'd love to see what you are working on.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Well another beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Temperature is closing in on 60 today so people are out and about and we have visitors in town for New Year's Eve so we were really busy yesterday which I didn't expect.  I'm still recooperating from Christmas lack of sleep, etc., so I was thrilled when 4 p.m. hit and I was able to go home where I had plans to take a nap before hopefully getting back to my needlework which has just been sitting in my tote for almost a month.  I'm having serious withdrawal symptoms.  Anyway, as I'm putting the scooter away (that's how nice it is I'm still riding myscooter to work), Mary stopped me and said, Izi was hoping he could come down but if I wasn't up to it she'd tell him he can't.  Now you grandmothers know that when a grandchild wants to come we try to buck up no matter how tired and say, "Oh, I'd be thrilled to see him. Absolutely tell him to come down."  Sara who arrived before Izi to finish the Death by Chocolate cake that I started 4ays ago for Christmas Day (that's a whole other story), said "why didn't tell him you were tired."  Can't wait for her to become a grandmother.  Yes I know Vernon's daughter has 2 sons which Sara regards as her grandchildren, they aren't Michaels.  That's when she will know the grandmothers creed..."no matter what obstacles you are facing when grandchildren want to come to your house, everything waits until they go back home again."   Thankfully around 6 p.m Mary called Izi home for dinner so I was able to get a nap in.  But when I woke up I still didn't even pull my stitching out of the tote.  Oh well, today might just be the day.  I feel so guilty anyway because I didn't get a Christmas gift done for Sara.  Mary doesn't stitch and really doesn't seem to care if she gets no stitching,, although she loved the Shepherd's Bush stockings, but I have a few things that I think she might like, but Sara likes everything and I have about 5 projects already stitched just not finished.  That's my resolution for the new year, Sara gets a stitched and finished needlework gift for every occasion.  Now let's just see if I'm able to keep that up.  Let's see, first occasion Valentine's Day.  I have just the perfect piece and I've already finished one piece os it and I don't even think it will be that difficult.  But starting January 1st, I also have to start working on the challenge piece again because this year is the show up with it completed or be prepared to pay $25.00, and you know I can't have that.  But I've seen such wonderful projects I want to stitch from a variety of designers but I have to get my mojo back.  I've seen pictures from several people regarding Christmas so I think most of you had a festive time and we were no different.  We always gather as a family at my apartment simply because I don't want to leave on Christmas Day.  This year we had all grown kids return for the day (Michael, Liz (Michaels girlfriend), Jake (the young man who moved in with Sara and Vernon in high school who has since moved in October closer to his work)and Christopher, Brian's son, come to celebrate with us so that's always a good thing.  In all there were 12 of us.  For me there is a lot of memo's about food, etc., menues, shopping, etc.  I also made a schedule when food  needed to be started, which day prior to the day as well as oven temps, and time.  Yes I was organized to a T, which is why I was so shocked when it all went to hell in a handbasket.  I started Monday making the Cheesecake and Hershey Chocolate Pie as well as the vegetable cheesecake appetizer (which I had last year and Jake loved it so much he requested it again this year.)  I had the candied sweet potatoes, sweet pickled peaches and pickled beets readyon Monday...Yes, I was going to make it (which should have been my clue that it wasn't going to happen.)  My surprise for dessert was going to be a dessert called "Death by Chocolate."  Many of you probably ate at the Trellis in Williamsburg and it was a headlining dessert there and lucily they did a cookbnook which I purchased.  I've done the cake before and it was a hit, but a whole lot of work, but with 42 oz. of chocolate in it how could you not have it.  So can be made in one day if you want to start at about 1 a.m., but even they suggest you do the layers over a 3 day period.  Knowing meringue has to be made early on and during dry weather I made my chocolate meringue on Monday and it was beautiful when it came out of the over.  The rest, chocolate mousse, Mocha chocolate mousse, brownie and ganuche I figured were the easy parts.  The appetisers I was leaving until the last minute, after all the vegetable cheesecake was already done.  The others were a Brie in puff pastry, baked onion dip, and little pizza's for the kids.  Tuesday turned out to be my waterloo.  I just couldn't get my S*#$ together, so while I got the house picked up that was about it.  So Christmas morning my hit the floor and they never stopped moving and I was getting things done, but by the time Sara arrived in the afternoon to help I was a wreck, so she took the wheel and she decided the Death by Chocolate wasn't going to happen, nor were any of the other appetizers.  So she decided we would stick with the Turkey, stuffing, gravy,  candied sweet potatoes, Green bean casserole, roasted asparagus (I had planned on Hollandaise sauce- she said screw that), my cinnamon dinner rolls (which Solomon loves) so I made those, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and then the items I had already finished.   I got over what didn't get done, like the Death by Chocolate, but decided that would become part of our do-over dinner on the 26th.  (Family tradition is that we gather on the 26th and eat as much of the left overs as possible.)  I always think it would be nice if I make some new stuff for that dinner, so I just satisfied myself that I would bake the brie, make the baked onion dip and the cake for it.  Sara again arrived at my house in the afternoon to find me in the kitchen covered in chocolate, and furiously making mousse.  I had the turkey done (I ordered a turkey and a turkey brest for Christmas and got 2 turkeys instead) the rest of the things hadn't left the refrigerator yet and I was working on the cake.  So Sara put an apron on and she said what's left.  So she worked on the mocha mousse and the gaunauche and then I read the sentance that just put a dagger through my heart, why the hell didn't I remember this from 30 years ago.....cake has to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours but preferably 12.  I was discusted and said the hell with it, let's just work on the appetizers and forget this.  But she said no we're going to finish the next layers and then we will assemble it and we'll have it on Saturday.  I said, I hade no intention of doing a do-over on the do-over but she said she'd come over after work on Friday help finish assembling and then each family could take some.  And she said the hell with the appetizers.  The only thing I insisted on finishing was the Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets which I was in the process of finishing.  It had been marinating all day.  My Izi doesn't eat very much but he loves the nuggets and chick fil a.   I had the dry mix already together so it was a matter of draining the nuggets, covering them with the dry mix and frying them.  Vernon arrived and Sara put him in charge of that.  So even though we had caos in the kitchen, and Jake and Christopher didn't show up the rest were here and dinner was wonderful.  Izi said the nuggets didn't taste exactly like chick fil a but he thought they were very good.  Apparently others were curious because Sara, Vernon, Michael and Mary said they tried them and thought they were good.  So Izi at what the others didn't so I considered it a success but am going to try another receipe next time.    After work on Friday Sara shows up to finish the Death by Chocolate which at this point I was truly over and didn't give a damn if it ever got done.  I'm thrilled to say it got done and today I brought turkey sandwiches, chips and Death by Chocolate to work for everyone.

 5.+ 2.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Finally, the end of the series....12/02/2019

Year of Celebration-December is done.  While the stitching was completed last night, I did the finishing this morning.  So today I celebrate as I have finished the 12 part series, a first for me, and the final sample for the shop for 2019, or is it?   Well, at least in my mind I can concentrate on Christmas.  December was stitched on 38 ct. PTP Doubloon.   I did substitute on this one.  I used the Liberty as charted and Envy as charted but I changed the lettering to Onyx and the gold to Whiskey both by Weeks Dye Works.  The bells I attached in place of the stitched bells (you know I have to have dimension of some kind on almost every project.  Then the package was also changed to one color and the ribbon is a 1/16" white ribbon as is the bow.  I think the rest was done as charted.  Then I finished it using Christmas plaid scrapbook paper with a red ribbon hanger, and #321 DMC pearl cotton cording.  Thank you Cathy for such a fun series.  While finishing always challenges me, when I work on a series it gets easier and easier as I progress through another attempt at finishing a stitched piece, so by the time the 12th month was done the finishing was a breeze...or almost a breeze.  But as with the Apothecary Series-9th one, the 12th one on Year of Celebration became a challenge to stitch.  I made several mistakes on each, or I didn't like a color after stitching it so decided to take it out and replace it, so they both took longer than they should.  But I was determined in both cases to get them done and I'm so glad I did.

                                       Year of Celebration-December-Hands on Design

Sunday, December 1, 2019

It's back to work for me...........

Hopefully, everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends and great things to eat.  I know I did.  I had 2 Thanksgiving dinners, first with Sara's family on Thursday (Mary and her family were in Baltimore with Brian's family), and then we repeated the dinner on Saturday with Mary and her family.  So needless to say, I've been stuffed all weekend.  And of course, Friday marked my return to the working world.  It was beautiful weather here in O.C., sunny skies and temperatures in the high to mid-'40s.  So plenty of visitors in town and we got a share of those in the shop.  Saturday we got a visit from our Stacy Stinson who stopped by to pick up a couple of models she lets us use every year and then picks them up to display at her house for Christmas and then brings them back after Christmas.  Thanks, Stacy, we appreciate it.  She was also picking up supplies for some new pieces, and I got a sneak peek.  So that was exciting as I love to see what people have done, are doing, or thinking about doing.  She picked up a sled at Hobby Lobby last year that is going to be so cute with a Heart in Hand Santa on it.  Got me thinking I've got to get a sled as well.  A great display piece.  She came at a good time as I needed a bit of inspiration.  Because I spent 2 days cooking for Thanksgiving and then the exhaustion from 2 days of cooking, I barely touched my stitching.  But now I think it's the piece I'm working on that is causing the delay.  It's my final Year of Celebration piece-December, which should have been an easy 2-day stitch and it's still not done 5 days after first starting it.  I didn't have one of the colors so I substituted, which I do a lot with no problem, but when I got in the shop on Friday I pulled the missing color, liked it better than the color I used, so of course, I ripped out the old color and put in the new.  That's sort of how this piece is going.  It's really frustrating because it should be in the shop today, but it's not done.  However, because it's raining Sara told me to stay home so today is the day I'm going to finish the stitching and finishing so I can take it with me tomorrow when I go to work.  Then I can move forward with something new.  The one problem I've dealt with all weekend was my cell phone died, and I do mean died Friday morning.  I've had issues with the battery for some months, but as long as it was plugged in it was fine, so I just made sure it was always plugged in.  I was due for an upgrade 2 years ago and didn't do it, so I knew it was on borrowed time so I figured I'd get one the next time I was in Salisbury.  I didn't make it to Salisbury in time.  This had me panicking starting Friday over my lack of phone since I don't have a landline. And to be honest, while I hate phones generally, I use mine to keep notes, to let me know the time, weather, etc., to say nothing of communication with family and friends, so losing the use of it was distracting.  Plus it disconnected me from the girls...which I panic over.  In fact, Mary came down and checked to see if the phone was backed up in the cloud and I ordered a new phone while she was here and it will be delivered on one more day and I'm back to being connected...Thank God!  I'll be thankful for that.  Anyway, aside from my phone issue, we had a great weekend in the shop.  I did my usual work on the website between customers and in adding product to the web site I was able to snatch a couple of charts without Sara realizing I was doing it...yea!!!  Always fun to add stash to an already exploding at home stash.  I know no bounds when it comes to that.  So I feel good about my working, as I didn't just sit there like a lump.  I would take my stitching out each day and it would just sit there until I put it back in the tote to take it home each day.  It was also good to get back in the stores, even though they have moved everything around so I can't find a thing which makes me feel and look uninformed but I'm starting to get use to that feeling already.  Thankfully I'm usually in Sea Trader so that makes it easier on me.  My opening line after Hello, is "I normally don't work in this shop so you'll have to excuse me if I have to go find an answer to your question."  Fair warning is always a good thing.  Well, I'm going to get back to my stitching and hopefully have a finish to show you tomorrow.  Have a great night and I hope you have managed to put your needle into action.  Talk to you tomorrow with a finished project...fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Santa's Tree Farm finally finished

Well, this certainly took a lot longer than necessary.  I should have stitched it on 40 ct. like the other series of Brendas that were shown on the top of the same paper mache box, but of course, I just had to wing it.  Never wing it....a lot more work and mistakes go into winging it.  In trying to get the same elements in this piece I moved elements around a little and I forgot about the snowflakes.  Fortunately, I think it's alright,  I did stitch extra deer and left off one large snowflake, but the important thing's finished.  I stitched it on 36 ct. PTP linen, and used the recommended threads.  And, of course, attached it to the approx. 3" x 5" paper mache box.  I painted the box black first and then covered it with the Christmas plaid scrapbook paper, after which I glued the stitched piece to the top and box finished.  

 Now on to cooking for Thanksgiving.  We do Thanksgiving at Sara's house and Christmas at my house, but I like to pitch in with the cooking for Thanksgiving just to lighten Sara's load.   Therefore my mission for the next 3 days is grocery shopping and cooking.  Today I start with the cookies, since I have those ingredients.  Not much stitching will be going on here for the next 4 days...UGH!  On the plus side, there will be food.  Not sure I'll get back to blog again before Thanksgiving so I want to wish everyone a really wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with friends, family, food and a little stitching should you be able to fit it in.  If you are traveling, be careful so that you reach your destination safely.  If you come to Ocean City, I hope we will see you in Salty Yarns.  We will be here each day, Friday thru Monday from 10-4 p.m.

Thursday, November 21, 2019 doesn't fit!

WTH...I've been thinking Santa's Tree Farm wouldn't fit on the paper mache box, but kept putting the box lid on top and it seemed like it might until tonight.  I got the Santa done and everything to the right of him, and I can see that the 2 trees to the left as well as the 2 reindeer won't fit.  Crap!  After damning myself for not paying attention to my inner voice, I checked to see what I could do to still use the piece.  I first thought I'd just purchase a bigger oval box, but after the panic eased I realized I could still use the same box, just by adding the reindeer into the already completed right side where there are spaces large enough to do it and I could even add a small tree I think.  First I'm going with that plan and if that doesn't work I can always put it in a tray or purchase a larger oval box.  I hate it when a plan doesn't come together.   On the brighter side, Sara stopped by yesterday afternoon to bring her shopping from the Attic as well as her Merry Cox class pieces and charts so I could drool over it.  (She spent last week in Arizona and attending 3 classes at the Attic.)   And included with that was a gift for me....

I love her.  I can't wait to dress a few thoughts running around my head, especially after seeing Jackie DuPlessis' peddler doll.  She was a real distraction for me last night as I tackled Santa's Tree Farm, but today I'm calmer and ready to get back to the work at hand.  But Thank You, Sara, for thinking of me and especially bringing me the Merry Cox doll.  But after Christmas, I might just get on this.  Meanwhile, Sara had to purchase a small piece of luggage in Arizona because she didn't have enough room in her suitcase for all the stash she purchased and her class stash.  She is going to be really busy trying to get all her purchases fact I'll bet some of it never sees the light of day again, but she was thrilled and she purchased some lovely sampler patterns from The Attic that will be treasured if she can get to them.  If she can't she's got more stash to look at and enjoy.   And she was inspired by Jean from The Attic to purchase and start stitching on the higher count linens, so she brought back several of those..on my, 46 and above....I can't see it let alone stitch it.  Oh, how I wish I had access to those back in the day.  Anyway, I'd say Sara's week in Arizona was a trip that will live on in her memory bank as one of the best week's she's ever had.  But I'm glad to have her home.  I really don't sleep well when my children aren't at home each night.  Although last night everyone was at home and I woke myself up from a dead sleep as my heart was pounding and racing so much it sounded like someone was hammering.  When I got up and did some deep breathing to calm my heart down and get it back into a normal rhythum, I realized the hammering I heard was my heart, so of course, I was up for the rest of the night thinking about that.  Like I have time for that.  I have stitching which needs to get done.  So I'm going to get back to it....hope you are finding time to get some stitching done as well.  Have a great weekend.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I'm officially done trying to find the pedestal frame for now....

Monday  I worked in Salty Yarn...well working is an activity I did very little of and shopping for my personal stash is much more accurate.  Anyway, as I was grabbing as much as I could, without Sara's eyeball following me around and the constant nagging, "like you don't have enough already, or did you take it out of inventory, or worse, please don't take that as we only have a couple left in stock."  Yes, there was no one to monitor me and I shopped, stole, call it whatever you want but I did it all day, charts, fabric, fibers, yes I was drunk on stitching supplies.  One of the things I snagged was a round box for my Brenda Gervais, Holiday Hoopla-Christmas.

 I love these Hoopla's and yet have not used a hoop for framing yet.  These boxes come in three different colors, Antique White, Black, and a Pecan color.  They were originally for many of the Shepherd's Bush round designs from a few years ago.  I stitched about 6 of those...loved it and the finish was fast so these are "go-to's" for me when it's a 3" round piece.  I opted for the white because I was thinking snow, but seeing now I think I'm going to switch it out for either black or pecan or maybe not.  I'll try all three and see which is better, or perhaps I'll find the pedestal frame during the Great clean up of 2019.   I stitched this on 32 ct. Vintage Blue Whisper linen. I did use Mill Hill black beads for his eyes, buttons, and mouth.    It's the perfect color for snowmen even though it doesn't pop as much as I'd like in the picture,  it does look better in person.  Anyway, I'm pleased to have it finished and now it's ready to go to the shop.  I used the recommended threads, almost..I didn't have the Ruby Slipper so I substituted GA Schoolhouse Red.  But in my binge yesterday I picked up a skein, or two, of Ruby Slipper and it is very similar to the Schoolhouse Red.  So now I'm moving on and have been working on another Brenda Gervais, "Santa's Tree Farm."   I already know how I'm going to finish this (half the problem with finishing is not knowing what to do with a piece), so I should have rushed through this, but I didn't have a couple of the recommended floss colors so I dragged my feet.  I don't have a problem substituting fibers if I don't have the ones called for, but in this case, I was having an issue with the greens.   So yesterday in my burglary of Salty Yarns I got the correct greens so I'm  back in business.  I'm on my second go-round with this as I started stitching it over 1 on 36 ct thinking it would fit on the 3 x 5 papier mache box.  But I had trouble stitching one of the elements as I couldn't get it to look right so I re-examined the chart and discovered I should have been stitching over 2...darn it.  So I started it again and of course, it's going much faster so I should have it done by the weekend...yea!  It looks so much bigger than the box lid, but I keep measuring it and I think it's going to fit....I'm making sure it does cause I'm not starting over.  As I said earlier, with Sara gone I was called into work.    Meanwhile, Vickie was working Sea Trader and informed me about what a great weekend they had and they had several stitchers come from out of town.  I was shocked because the weather was not great and I had given some thought to closing.  Thank God I didn't.  Monday was cloudy at times but the temperature was in the high 40's, but we barely saw anyone, hence my shopping extravaganza.  While I would have loved to see stitchers, imagine being alone in a needlework store for 6 hours and being told you can grab as much as you want before going home.   Needlework is my drug of choice and I love to binge on it.  Yes, there are moments I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I look at some of what I grabbed days later, but at that moment I was flying high.   I was like a kid in a candy store.   I'm proud to say at the end of the day I did relinquish a couple of patterns and put them back (but only because I think I took them home once before.) So I'm stitching like crazy, cleaning not like crazy but trying to set goals each day and see progress being made.  Must get back to my stitching.  Have a great day and I hope you find time to stitch.