In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

On this last day of 2015, I managed to stitch the last bit of Merry Cox's Young Lady's Workbox.

I am now waiting for midnight (or the latest moment in which I can keep my eyes open) for the Ceremonial Dumping of the Ort Jar.

It's very full this year.

I've done a lot of stitching, but have very few finishes for 2015. I think it's because I've worked on a lot of smalls, which to me are not finished until they're made into something.  And I have fallen down on the finish-finishing.

As the last week of the year has drawn to a close, I've heard from friends about their stitching to-do lists. I've read blogs whose authors have written about projects to finish and to start. I stand in admiration.

For my part, I've decided to forego lists. I'm not doing resolutions, either. The minute I make a list or a resolution, something comes along to distract me and the list or resolution gets tossed in the trash.

What I've decided to do this year is to make a list of hopes.

  • I hope to fall back into the seventeenth century and work on band samplers, casket toys, mirrors, boxes, even possibly my first casket.
  • I hope to continue working on smalls and their finishing.
  • I hope to stitch every single day, even if it means I take the laptop to another room so I'm not distracted by Pinterest--which can really suck time majorly.
  • I hope to continue to blog, if not daily, at least every other day. Yes, I know we bloggers are a dying breed, but I love to read other people's blogs and I like to putter around with mine.
  • I hope to take advantage of workshops and online classes.
  • I hope to have more time to hang out with friends, stitching and otherwise.
  • And I hope that the weather improves enough so I can walk for my mental and physical health again.

So Happy New Year's Eve to all!  See you on the other side!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nunning Around

Today I worked the Nun stitch border around the tray part of the workbox.  I thought it was going to just fly. It didn't, but it's done now.

I need to stitch in some basting lines that will be used to shape this into a tray, then I can move on to the needle page.

My original intention was to stitch all day, but we undecorated the Christmas tree instead. It didn't take as long to take the ornaments off and pack them away as it took to adorn the tree, but the clean-up afterwards . . . live trees eventually start to shed needles (the reason we decided it was a very good idea to remove the fire hazard) and, while this one didn't shed as much as some we've had, there was major vacuuming to be done.

And no matter how meticulous, there will be needles which have hidden themselves, only to reveal their presence at some future date. We used to joke that we'd get the very last needle about the time the plastic grass from the kids' Easter baskets would start appearing. We no longer have Easter basket grass, but we still have persistent fir tree needles.

An artificial tree is starting to look better all the time . . .

Monday, December 28, 2015

Daffy Duck

I woke up in the middle of the night trying to remember Daffy Duck's name.

I could remember Donald Duck, Scrooge MacDuck, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie (although I burned out a few brains cells trying to remember how to spell the trio's names correctly--and I'm going to google them after I post this to find out for sure).  I had the whole Disney pantheon--but couldn't get the Warner Bros duck's name. It finally came to me before I turned on the light and came downstairs to google him.

I think I'm losing it.

Maybe it's the weird weather. For the first time in my personal history, we ran the AC in December. And we live in the Northern Hemisphere.  I am sitting in my living room in a short-sleeved tee, and have had to wear summer nighties so I can sleep comfortably at night.

Maybe it's the difference in this year's end-of-year staycation. I plan all year to take the week after Christmas off. Most of the holiday insanity has ended by then, and I can sit and enjoy the decorations, plan meals around the holiday feast left-overs, and stitch until my fingers cramp.

Not this year. What with Mother's increasingly difficult personality--which I understand, she's frustrated and angry and taking it out on people--and dealing with various unexpected domestic difficulties, relaxation has yet to happen. It does not appear that it will happen this year.

In addition, we are getting delivery of our new appliances this afternoon, which means we had to move two bookcases that usually line the hall that leads to the kitchen where the washer and dryer live, so that there would be room to bring them in. This means that all the books had to be unloaded and the bookcases moved. I have a path through the living room just wide enough to negotiate, and my kitchen table is loaded down with even more books, knick knacks, and DVDs. I used to think I wanted a home library. At the moment, I'm not so sure.

I have been stitching, though.

I have four pairs of birds to stitch, then work Nun's stitch all the way around, and this pieces will be complete.

I thought that would finish off the pieces so I could . . . maybe . . . work on finish-finishing this coming week-end. I decided to look over the finishing directions this morning, only to discover I still have another little bit to stitch.

Since I can't do anything else until we get the house back into some semblance of order, I'm going to stitch.

And take a deep breath. Or two.

And try not to think about why in the world I would wonder about Daffy Duck's name.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day

Mother and The Saint came for a slightly belated Christmas celebration today.  It was a nice visit, although too short for The Saint and me--we were having fun relating tales of Christmas Past. However, Mother now gets a little antsy if she is away from her apartment at the retirement center (someone might do something that she doesn't know about if she's not there to observe) so they left earlier than we had hoped.

So our Christmas festivities have officially come to an end.

However, I gave myself a gift yesterday and today. I sat myself down and stitched. For several hours. And it felt good.

I'm back to Merry Cox's workbox and plan to finish the stitching on it before I move on to anything else.

I was going to start a bunch of new projects with the Winter Solstice, but I couldn't find a couple of things I wanted to work on in the mess that is my stash room. This is a situation that will be rectified in the new year. I need to inventory my stuff, and organize it, and decide what I'd like to keep and what needs to go to other homes.  Then I looked around at the things from the Autumn basket and I want to continue working on some of them.

So, I've decided to continue with last year's plan:  work on what I want to work on, when I want to work on it. 

That seems doable.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve

We were allowed to come home early from work today, which is the best thing that has happened in the last four or five days.

We have been beset by a series of domestic disasters. Everyone is (thus far) uninjured and relatively healthy, but let's just say that Dearly Beloved is getting four new tires for Christmas. I am getting a washing machine. Neither gift was planned prior to the last forty-eight hours.

And it's raining again.

And I can't see out of my new glasses.

Have I stitched? not much . . . this is it for the last five days:

I finally stitched in the flowers and leaves for the basket, and it was not without a struggle. If there was a way to miss a thread, I found it. I think I probably stitched enough stitches to do all the flowers three times over.

Now the plan is to scurry around and do the final dusting and de-cluttering for our Christmas get-together--which will happen on Boxing Day this year--so that I can bask in the light of the Christmas tree and breathe for the next couple of days. And possibly stitch.

And not think about tires and washing machines . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Starry, Starry Night

I finally managed to stitch this year's Stitch for a Cause project.

I should have managed to get it stitched in a few hours--basically an evening--but there have been distractions.

They were:

The shopping

We still have a few gift cards to pick up, but the other shopping has been accomplished. Why is it so difficult to find a long-sleeved, not flannel, nightgown for an 88-year-old lady? It also can't be nylon because that can get hot, but it can be a knit. And it shouldn't be something a floozy would wear.

I'm keeping the receipt in case the nightgown found is not to specifications.

The social life

There have been Christmas/holiday parties this week. Actually, three of them were scheduled on the same evening. And, of course, the one that was a command performance was the one I had the least interest in attending.

I went anyway. Command performance.

The tree

It's still a work in progress.  It has lights and at least 200 ornaments--and I am not overstating that number, Dearly Beloved has counted--but this tree turned out to be much larger and thicker than it appeared to be on the lot.

What happens is that either Dearly Beloved or I will find ourselves gazing at the tree when a spot that needs more ornamentifying appears. This means that I must heave myself out of the wing chair, totter to the corner of the couch where the last big box of ornaments is sitting, rummage around in it for something of the appropriate size and weight, and then totter over to the tree to hang the ornament. If the spot is higher than I can reach, Dearly Beloved must heave himself out of his spot on the couch and hang the ornament. Then we flop back down in our respective seats and gaze at the tree some more.

The bead incident

Starry, Starry night has a few beads sewn on--you may not be able to see from the photo, but they adorn the corners.

The beads came in a tube with a little stopper. When I got to the point where I needed to sew on the beads, I had to wrestle the stopper off the tube so I could put the beads in a beading tray.

When the stopper finally popped out, so did half the beads in the tube.

Technical terms were used.

The beads were (mostly) corralled, but in attempting to shake a few more into the beading tray, the tube squished and more beads erupted.

And the stopper rolled off the table and hid itself somewhere on the floor or in the basket by my chair or, who knows, possibly in the Christmas tree stand. Nothing would surprise me.

More technical terms were used.

I managed to sew the beads on without piercing myself with the beading needle (there was a Christmas miracle for sure) but spent the rest of my evening looking for an empty bead container for the rest of the beads.

Anyway, tonight the last stitch was stitched and I just have to find the fabric I thought of using for the background and put it together.

And hopefully, there will still be a place on the tree where it can fit.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

beginning to feel a little like Christmas

We are finally getting the tree decorated--I do not remember when we have ever been so late in this particular activity, but it may have just a little to do with the fact that the temps are in the 70's and it doesn't feel like the Winter Solstice is coming or that Christmas is right behind.

This is the very first thing that goes on our tree every year:

I stitched her years ago, mostly in metallic threads, not long after the Big Kid was born but before Baby Girl arrived. The angel has graced our tree for over thirty years now.

I realized something when Baby Girl was about six, skipping around the house in her red Christmas jumper with her hair in pigtails.

The angel's face looked a lot like Baby Girl's.

As we referred to Baby Girl as The Holy Terror in those days, it would have been nice if she had been more angelic. Luckily she grew out of that stage and has been a delight ever since.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Let it snow!

Actually, we had temps in the 60's today in the sunny South, but I'm stitching snowflakes tonight.

This is the snowflake ornament I started last night and it's just what the doctor ordered for this stressful extremely busy time of the year. There are only two motifs repeated all the way along each of the two bands, and it's easy to memorize them so I can just sit and stitch and let my mind wander.

I just hope it wanders back so I can get the next pile of things on the to-do list done.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ornamentation Not

I went digging into the fabric stash last night because I knew, just knew, that I had put all my holiday and Christmas fabrics in a very specific place. I knew this with no doubt in my simple little mind.

Apparently my simple little mind then decided somewhere else was a better place and moved it and didn't bother to remember where.

However, I did find a couple of things that I may be able to use:

For some reason, they're reading orange-ish in the photo; they're actually both truly red.

So I was set to do some finishing tonight--at least that was the plan last night.

I have been promising Dearly Beloved that I would make lasagna this week. I was thinking in terms of this week-end, but he took the meat and sauce out of the freezer to thaw overnight in the frig, so when I got home, there it was, all ready to be assembled.

Which meant that I constructed a pan of lasagna tonight instead of stir frying chicken and snow peas and some other stuff--which would have taken far less time--and by the time that was done and in the oven and I had talked to Baby Girl and Mother on the phone and done a couple of things around the house, I had lost all motivation to cut and sew.

So I dug out another Christmas ornament to work on. This is another Jackie du Plessis kit, one I bought in the boutique last year and have had aging in the stash since.  It is easy to stitch and blissfully repetitive and about what my simple little mind can handle at the moment.

So I am going to stitch a few more snowflakes and go to bed early and hopefully either deck the Christmas tree or make ornaments to do so tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Oh, Tannenbaum

And this made my decision for me.  We went out and dragged a Christmas tree home, which appears to be tilting in this picture but actually isn't--at least, I don't think it is.

After wrestling with the tree stand, Dearly Beloved is not inclined to wrestle with the lights tonight, so I am just breathing in the aroma and getting things together to start putting the Christmas ornaments I've been stitching together.

Yes, I've made up my mind as to what I will be working on for the next few days. I am twisting cording and cutting comic book boards and deciding what fabric to put on the backs of the things I've stitched. I thought I had put all my Christmas fabrics in a very specific place, but I looked there . . . and it isn't there.

The search and destroy mission is now underway.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What to do . . . what to do . . .

We had to leave Williamsburg today. We had to. We both have to work tomorrow, and go back to being responsible adults, and take up our regular lives again.


The only good part of the trip home was the detour to take Baby Girl out for a belated birthday lunch, and to deliver her birthday present to her. The rest of it was just grim.

To distract myself, I thought about the classes I had taken and what I wanted to do when I got home.

I've started some of the bits of A Moment in Time, and I stitched half a thread into the needlecase from Joanne Harvey that was the early bird class this year--and I realized I hadn't shown that yet:

While it isn't much, it is most definitely a start.

And, like all brand new projects, I'm very excited and motivated and want to jump right in.

Then we walked into the house and the basket of current projects and the basket of things to be assembled and engineered and tasseled and corded were both jumping up and down and waving at me. I felt guilty, falling in love with something new when the faithful projects had been waiting patiently for my return.

So do I abandon the old and flee with the new?  Do I regretfully push away the new and return to the old? Or do I try to balance both?

(Cue rising organ music.) Tune in tomorrow to see what decision I made (because, quite frankly, I'm too tired tonight to lift a needle, much less figure out how to use it!)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Haul

Yes, I did go to the boutique.

Three charts from Gentle Pursuits, a box with smalls from Hillside Samplings, and a Christmas ornament chart from Blackberry Lane.

And of course I found goodies from Jackie du Plessis, including the tray that goes with the Moment in Time class I took while I was here.

I now have to live to be 485.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Little bits

I made a ladybug and a macaron today in my afternoon class with Jackie.

One is a pin cushion, the other is a waxer. Both need additional fiddling before I'll be happy, but I could say I'm going home with two completed projects. It would be stretching it, but I could say it.

Tomorrow will be the last day. I look forward to this event all year, and it vanishes in seconds. I have one last day of each of my classes, one last morning to meander around the boutique, and one last chance to see people from around the country and the world whom I only see here.

It's enough to make a grown woman cry . . .

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lots to do, little done!

I am the very first to admit that I don't stitch much in stitching classes. Usually there is a lot of information to absorb and I have notes to take. Today was one of those days.

I'm taking two classes this year, and the morning class for these three days of the seminar is Elizabeth Gooch:

The center panel of this sampler is pretty much all reversible cross stitch, the outer two panels are free hand embroidery.

As we all know, I require the security of the wing chair to tackle reversible cross stitch.  I require the security of the wing chair and an adult beverage to tackle free hand embroidery--which is weird, because the first needlework I did was crewel. This project will happen after I get home, although, like the excellent directions of all Joanne Harvey' samplers, you just need basic literacy, two functioning brain cells, and the ability to thread a needle to stitch a remarkably accurate reproduction. She definitely has the most complete instructions of anyone.

Then this afternoon, I had Jackie du Plessis' Moment in Time:

We spent most of the afternoon going over the assembly directions for the pouch. I actually think that I am starting to speak finish-finishing, because I understood everything that we're supposed to do with this--and even more, the logic behind it! This is a miracle, pure and simple.

And I did get a needle threaded in this class:

Hey, it's a start!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The first day

Well, it's not quite over, but I've had my first day of classes at Annie's Needlework Seminar, which I still call Christmas in Williamsburg in my head.

And of course I didn't notice the reflection off the plastic when I took the picture--this is Joanne Harvey's Queen Stitch Needlecase. It was based on an antique calling card case. I suppose it could be used for business cards, but it's been sized up to work as a needlecase.

I love taking classes from Joanne, but she has pneumonia. Having suffered from that particular malady myself in the past, I know it takes awhile to recover, and her doctor forbade her to travel. Period. So we have a sub in the class.

After a quick run-through on the instructions, we spent most of the class watching a slide show of antique implements. There were some lovely pieces shown, and of course, made me want to finish-finish all the stuff in my finishing basket so I would have my own toys to play with.

I do love stitching toys . . .

And then there was a trip to the boutique . . .and that is a story for later. I need to think about getting ready for the banquet tonight, although I think my getting ready is going to consist of brushing my hair.

And maybe I'll  get a needle threaded tonight. I've been here for two days and have yet to take a stitch.

That's just weird.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Strawberries in December

We have arrived in Williamsburg. I have already acquired stash:

Barbara Jackson sends special things to Haus Tirol every year. Here we have this year's offering. I understand they sold out the first day and that Barbara is shipping more that will arrive tomorrow.

And here are two previous offerings that I felt I had to add to my stash as well.

Now that the important stuff is out of the way . . .We left early this morning in a pea soup fog, made very good time, had a chance to look at samplers at DeWitt Wallace (Dearly Beloved tolerated that part), and had dinner at Christiana Campbell's.  As I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and was not able to go back to sleep, I am about to fall facedown into the keyboard.  I think I'll fall facedown on the bed instead.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

All my bags are packed

and I'm ready to go--well, I will be as soon as I post this and pack up the laptop.

Dearly Beloved is busy packing the kitchen sink. You think I'm kidding, but the man doesn't travel light.  It would appear that we are heading to the South Pole for a winter in Antarctica and need to take enough supplies to get us through.

He is driving me slightly crazy.

And I can't stitch tonight because I have packed my stitching bag, including magnification, and I don't have anything I can see with cyborg eyes and my reading glasses alone--the perils of preferring high counts of linen.

However, last night I was able to finish the leaves--the many, many leaves--on the Merry Cox piece. The basket was stitched as well. I'm still trying to decide if I want to take it or not.

I think the decision was just made. We are now taking a box of books and DVDs so Dearly Beloved won't get bored while I'm in class.

I wonder where I'll be able to pack my boutique purchases to bring home . . .