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Monday, February 8, 2016

Blessed by books

 "Thine is the Trick and the Treat" came out of my WIP basket for this week. I enjoy it for relaxed stitching. Just the one color, and the chart is pretty simple to read. I have been slow working on this one, I think it has been in my WIP basket two or three years now. But I enjoy it and am in no particular hurry to have it done with. 

Here is my "blessing of books" I picked up this week. I am already 75% done with "Bellman & Black". It is interesting so far, not quite a fantasy novel, but there are fantastical parts of the story. This is my first time reading this author and I will be looking for her first book "The 13th Tale". 

Next on my bookshelf is "Austenland". A friend recommended the movie based off this book, and I loved it! The movie is so funny and just light, and so far the book (yes I always read a few books at once...hmmm just like my cross stitching) has been as good as the movie! The main character is a Jane Austen fan, and books a vacation to a resort that gives you the full "Pride and Prejudice" experience complete with your own Mr. Darcy. Honestly I have never read any Jane Austen books, but I still really really liked this story.

I also picked up "The Alchemist" which is apparently another classic that I have missed. It is a fairly short book, less than 200 pages so it should be a quick read. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, so I am hoping not to be disappointed. 

And the only non-fiction book of the bunch, "Who, What, Where, When". I love books of useless information, and so far I have found this an interesting read. There is another author Mary Roach, who wrote "Stiff", "Gulp" and "Bonk" which are all books that talk about the little details of death, food and sex. Anyway, I enjoy her books and they give me the feeling I have learned something and actually read something other than just pulp fiction. 

So that is my week, books and easy stitching. This weekend we are going to try and get our garden ready to grow. Here in Arizona our gardening season starts early, it is supposed to be in the 80's already by this weekend!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Apparently they thought I wouldn't notice

Here is my chart for Autumn in the Village, do you see the edges of my chart? I always make a working copy to highlight (and enlarge --my eyes aren't what they used to be). Well, someone in my household of three kids and three dogs spilled something all over my chart. Instead of telling me, or spreading out the pages to dry, they quietly tucked my chart back into my sewing basket and this is how I found it. Luckily the original chart is still usable, just all of my working pages that I high lighted are water damaged beyond use. Oh the perils of living with children and pets!
Here's my progress on Autumn Village. I worked mostly on the tree in the middle this week and the grocery store (the yellow/green building. Soon will come all the back-stitching, YUCK! but I know it will make it really pop once it's done. 

This Prairie Schooler went off to the framers last week, and I get it back this Friday. I am excited to hang it up for spring. It has sat in my finished box all year. I wanted to go with the frame on the right until they told me it wasn't actually a frame but a spacer for underneath, So the green/blue on the left it was. As my husband pointed out we have yellow walls in our kitchen/dining area so the wood frame really wouldn't have stood out against them anyways.

And our latest foster Kenzie went back to the Humane Society. She was recovering from the loss of her front leg, and was such a cutie pie! I really loved having her (i'd keep all of them if I could). In her place we are now fostering a shepherd puppy that is missing about half his hair. He is going to be such a handsome dog once it grows back, but for now he just looks awkward. I'd post a photo of him but puppies just don't hold still long enough!

Calvin also turned 2 last month! For his birthday we go him a basketball hoop, and guess what he wanted to play with? The box of course! So here is our sweet baby standing in his birthday box. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A tiny bit of stash enhancement

Finally my exchange piece arrived that I stitched for Rosa, so I can show photos. This was for the Christmas exchange on the Hooked on Exchanging blog, and it had to be a Prairie Schooler design. I loved the fox riding on the sled. Though I think if I stitched it again I would use more of a reddish or orange-brown for their fur. I love PS Santas, and I most likely will stitch this again for my own tree. 

And here is my early Valentine to myself. Just Another Button Co. "Lovebird" chart, a fat little cardinal perched upon a spool of thread. Also Hands on Design from the Year in Chalk series "February". I have stitched six other months of this series so far. And I forgot to post my favorite Christmas present from my sweetest husband, a pair of Gingher scissors, "Emily" a pretty pink design that are just perfect for spring.

 Last but not least, I am trying something new with my stitching a little bit of Thread Magic. Though I do have a question for my blogging friends. I tore it out of the packaging too fast to actually read the directions (totally not like me at all is it?) So if you stitch with this how do you coat the thread with it? Do you poke your needle all the way through the wax (cause I would think this would make the needle slippery) but there are holes on the side of the lid that kind of look like that is what your supposed to do. Or do you just swipe the thread along the outside of the little wax ball, cause that doesn't seem to coat all of the thread? Any comments are appreciated, also if you use it if you have noticed a difference in your finished pieces, like does the waxy coating make any difference in colors (they say it won't but i'm pretty risk averse when it comes to my stitching).

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Making up for lack of talent or skill with sheer enthusiasm!

This is my project for my weekend, the pattern is "Venetian Windows" out of Easy Quilts magazine. The fabric is "In Bloom" by Quilting Treasures. I really wanted to showcase the poppy fabric and the beautiful blues/yellows/and reds in it. But the quilting pattern got the better of my limited skills. Apparently "Easy Quilts" was not quite easy enough for me! The first block took me several hours to put together and still came out an inch too small with none of the corners matching up. So that one will become a pillow or something else. I seem to be on track now after figuring out that an accurate one inch sashing with 1/4 inch seam was too much for my limited skills. I have been  quilting for maybe ten years now, and I love it! But a detail person I am not and cutting exact sizes and sewing exact seams is well....not exactly my strong suit. So I have had to add a 1/4 inch to all of the measurements and that seems to be working for me, i'm glad I bought plenty of fabric.

And still stitching along on Autumn Village. I think it is stitching up quite quickly. I am trying to work on one building at a time, from left to right. So the needlework shop, the barber shop, and most of the bakery in the center of the piece are all 90% done. Now for the grocery store and the red school on the far right and then all the confetti trees and EEK backstitching!

Hope your New Year is off to an awesome start! I have been a good girl so far with most of my goals. I've even been managing to fit a 2 mile run in each day, and it's been raining cats and dogs here all week!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I've been run over by a reindeer!

Does anyone else feel exhausted after the holidays? I feel like I have been run over by a reindeer! Christmas was wonderful at our house, I always love seeing the kids open their presents. This year the kids picked out presents for each other and their cousins. The girls were almost more excited to see how the cousins and their brother & sisters liked the presents they had picked for them. It's also really nice having the kids off school for two weeks and not having to rush off to school in the morning and worry about homework at night.

Above is my exchange received from Maria (all the way from Spain). It was a Prairie Schooler exchange from the HOE blog, out of PS #163 "Signs of Spring", I love it cause I can leave it out on display for a few more months with my spring decor. She also painted the Beatrix Potter inspired goose. It is a watercolor, and just amazing. She is so talented, I am always in awe of people who can stitch AND draw AND paint AND any other creative talent that's out there! My exchange that I stitched hasn't arrived yet so I can't show it off.

Here is what I am working on though, "Autumn in the Village", they have all four seasons and I think I may stitch the Christmas Village next. Lots of back-stitching, but I love the details and the colors.You know, I might actually finish something if I would just quit starting new projects (like this one!)

And last but not least a sweet little Christmas card (and super cute reindeer buttons) I received from Rachel of the Wandering Bunny blog.  Rachel if your reading this I couldn't find a way to email you directly, but THANK YOU for being so thoughtful! Rachel was my exchange partner for the Halloween exchange on the HOE group. I thought it was so nice of her to send me such an adorable card, and I can't wait to find just the right project to use the reindeer buttons for. I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday season, and is getting some much needed rest and relaxation afterwards!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I'm on the naughty list?!?

What do you mean i'm on the naughty list?!?

We tried to get some pictures today for our holiday cards. While my girls were angels as usual, it's impossible to convince a toddler to just hold still and look at the camera. So we've scheduled a portrait studio appointment for Tuesday cause there is only so many animal noises I can make...i'm just going to have to leave our holiday photos to a professional. I do love his expression in the above photo though, doesn't it just perfectly capture the surprise of being on the naughty list!  

And here is what's in my stitching basket for this month. I am debating whether "Winter Row" can be saved, I hand dyed the linen, but had put it away for a few years and now it has a brown spot above the lettering. I tried spot-treating it but then that washed out some of the color of the linen. I almost want to just throw it out and start over. 

And this is a Trilogy design, just a simple checkered snowman, really not much left to finish him up. 

I am kind of winging this one, the letters are from Lizzie Kate's "Winter Alphabet", but I just wanted to make a small ornament of it. Not sure if I am loving it yet, but I may as well finish it now.

And probably the closest one to being done, another Lizzie Kate. All I need to do on this one is add the buttons and stitch Mr. Cardinal's beak. Fingers crossed he finds his way onto my tree for this year and out of my WIP basket. 

Hope everyone is staying cozy and warm! I think the coldest it has gotten here so far is 37 degrees in the mornings, but still that is too cold for me! (I know i'm such a wimp about the cold! Good thing I live in Arizona)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Things done and undone....

In my ongoing effort to reduce the size of my WIP basket, I have started selecting a bunch of seasonal charts to try and finish each month. For November I did manage to finish Bent Creek's "Thankful Quaker", but put a pitiful number of stitches into "Uber Turkey". See the half finished feather on the right hand side? That was my progress, all of it. So Mr. Turkey will be put away for next November, and I am moving on to the "winter" section of my WIP basket. 

And this is the "done" part of my month, our foster dog Robin completed her convalescence in our home, and returned to the Humane Society to be adopted. Actually her recovery was pretty easy on our part, she had lost her hair due to malnutrition so we just had to feed her and give her lots of love. She did have a beautiful blonde coat, and a funny smile whenever she was happy or excited (you can see it in the photo above). I think she set the record for least amount of time actually spent back at the shelter, she was adopted within two hours of us dropping her off! Most of our foster dogs that we have returned have been adopted within a few days. It still makes me a bit sad when we have to give them back, but knowing we saved a life and that they can now find forever homes helps.