Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm a winner!

Melissa at Words and Blooms had a giveaway recently, and I was lucky enough to win! Last night, after my niece and I had dinner, she helped me open the package from Melissa, and look at the lovely charts inside! My niece has already requested that I help her stitch the Brightneedle chart. It's the Covered Bridge Sampler. For myself, I'm looking forward to stitching everything! (I also received The Workbasket's Pithies 3, and The Sampler Girl's New Amsterdam 1624 sampler.) Thank you Melissa for having such a lovely giveaway!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Niece

My niece earned straight A's this past school year, and as a reward, I promised to take her to the "meat buffet." (Churrascaria or Brazilian steakhouse) Today we picked up a new dress for her to wear. Then tonight I did her makeup as well, so she really looks like a grown up. After dinner we went to a local shopping area and got ice cream and wandered around the park like setting. Then off to Barnes and Noble to get a drawing kit for her.
This is her "I got straight A's smile."This is her uncle, my DH. He had to bend over to get into the photo, but I don't think it'll be long before they're looking eye to eye.
Wow, we look like part of a normal family.
Ah, that's more like the Uncle Danny I know.
Serena, I hope that you had a great time. I had a lot of fun with you tonight, and I'm so lucky to have a wonderful niece like you.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I've been seeing lots of lovely hexies popping everywhere, and to be honest, I really wanted to get in on the trend. When I found Texas Freckles's site, with all its great video tutorials, and hexie templates, I knew it was a sign. So, I've been making 2" hexies, using my 5" charm square stash. I hoping to have enough to make a small lap blanket. (My goal is 300 hexies.) I'm pretty new to using a sharp needle and paper piecing, but I'm not beating myself up over anything, and I'm really really enjoying sewing these little guys up.
On the cross stitch front, my BBD Anniversaries of the Heart is moving very slowly. It's a lot of fun to stitch, but I'm still using a Q-snap, and with a 1/2 yard of fabric to contend with, it just is a bit of a mess. So, I've been working on Serena's scarf, and making hexies instead!
The cable guys were out today, and I worked on the hexies while they sorted out the wireless Internet. I think they thought I was pretty weird, but I was having too much fun to care! :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ball Game....

Last night, DH and I went to a baseball game at our local farm team the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Although the game itself was pretty slow, we had a good time. We were there with two other couples, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

Apparently QuikTrip Park is only 3 years old. It's quite a nice park, and all the seats were shaded, so that was great! The temp was 100 yesterday, and we would have melted without the shade and a nice breeze.
Moments later, unlucky number 4 got pegged in the rear by the pitcher. (The AirHogs are in black, the El Paso Diablos are in red.) One of the guys we were sitting in front of yelled "Don't rub it" as the batter trotted to 1st base. I asked DH about this, and his opinion was it's ok to rub the area where you've been hit, but you can't cry. Which then elisted "So, if you get hit in the face with a baseball while you're taking photos, you can rub it, but don't cry." So, I put the camera down for a little while. (Good thing to, because a couple of foul balls came close to us.)

After a few innings I felt safe enough to start taking photos again, but only for right handed batters. Those south paws were hitting them right to us!

All in all the game was really quite slow. When we left, at the top of the 8th inning, the score was 3-1 with the AirHogs winning. It was a fun night though, getting to catch up with everyone, and I really loved the family atmosphere at the park. DH and I fully intend to start going to more of these minor league games, as we had just as much as the majors, but for 1/4 of the price. (The pretzels were just as good as well.)


Look what was in my mail yesterday! Anna from Stitch Bitch had a giveaway for her Summer of Love, and I was the lucky winner! If you click on the picture, you'll be able to see the cute card she sent along, just perfect for the summer, and the pretty charts. I've got plans for these patterns. Thank you Anna!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Queen Elizabeth Thread Keep

This is just a quick snap of my Elizabeth thread keep. (From Plum Street Samplers.) I took this last night, and then ended up finishing stitching the crowns, and getting furthur along in filling in the black for the background. I had hoped to get the body of the dress finished tonight, but I was reminded that DH and I are going with his (and my old) boss and my replacement to a baseball game tonight. So, I'll probably take my knitting instead.

Monday, June 21, 2010

WIP/To Starts

I realized that it had been a while since I showed you what I'm working on. So, here you go! :)

This is Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart. Since my family doesn't know I blog (heehee) I can tell you that this is for my Aunt Paula. She's my father's sister, and the one who really taught me to adore over dyed cotton and linen fabric. (That's right Daniel, blame HER for the fact that my hobby cost as much yours, and that at the end ofthe day I can't drive mine to the store. It's all Paula's fault, hahahaha.) (I should mention here that Daniel always mentions Paula's parting advice to him when she moved away "Don't always let Claudia get her way" whenever he says no to something, so I have to mention when the Great Paula isn't perfect.) I've enlisted my grandmother's help to figure out all sorts of names, initials and dates for the personalization. At this moment, my only plan is to make sure that her immediate family members are represented on their birth months. (Ie, my father was born in November, so I'll use his information for that month.) I'm stitching the whole thing on a 1/2 yard of 30ct Irish Cream by R&R Reproductions. My LNS didn't have enough of the Old Town Blend, so I dragged DH along with me, since he's my color expert. The color in the photo above is pretty true to the actual color of my piece. DH has promised to make me a scroll frame big enough for this piece. (Which is good, because my scroll frame is promised to another project.)

This is Ink Circles' Fleur de Lis pattern. I'm stitching it with the recommended Carrie's Threads. DH and I got married in New Orleans last October, so I'm hoping to have this done in time to be on our Christmas tree. I was a lot further along, but then realized I had miscounted, and spent an evening unpicking about half of the purple. This is being stitched on a piece of 32ct Cream linen from Charles Craft. (I have a TON of that particular linen, so it's my go to for all small projects.)

I'm also working on Plum Street Sampler's The Queen's Sampler. I'm using the Elizabeth motif, and will have it finished into a thread keep. However, I had been stitching it over one on 32 ct Cream linen (yep, Charles Craft, you're so smart to have guessed it), but I realized that I was going to lose a LOT of detail in her dress. So, I scrapped it, and started over on the same linen, but over 2. I don't have a photo of this today though. I'm using Belle Soie silks in Icing, Butterscotch, Carrot Cake, Poison Apple, Black Crow (or Old Crow, I can't remember) and Beanstalk. I Love love love Belle Soie.

This is to be put under the needle sooner rather than later as well. It's By the Bay's 13th Colony Bay. I'm going to stitch them on 3 different pieces of linen, but then use some decorative stitches to rejoin the linens before framing it all as one.

And for my knitting.... This is Serena's scarf. It's for my niece, and it's 100% garter stitch. Now that I've learned continental style knitting, It's just FLYING along. I'm using Noro's Aya yarn. I think the photo below shows better the colors. I just love it, and I hope she will too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Own Paradise

This is where I wish I was right now. This is the pond on my mother's farm. It's the farm where she and her brothers grew up, and where I tried really hard not to be a city girl. It's in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, in a tiny town where people know who I am, even though I've never lived there. It's a place where people remember my grandparents. A place where the air feels like air to me, not dusty and dry, but not soupy either. It's hot as sin in the summer, and just as sticky, but it makes me feel alive. It's the one place on earth that I don't mind hanging out outdoors. My mother has offered to let me live there with my husband if we would act as caretakers to the land. I can't even bring myself to tell my husband this. He cannot (will not) leave his family, who are all here in Texas. I love him more than this little piece of heaven, so I will stay here with him. But somedays, I miss it enough that I think my heart is bleeding. Today is one of those days. I miss it so much I feel like I can't catch my breath.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Serial Starting Jennifer's Giveaway

Jennifer from Confessions of a Serial Starter is having a giveaway in honor of her first blogging anniversary! Let's all wish her good luck on her second year!

You can find her blog here.

Bestest Husband EVAH!

I have, in my opinion, the best husband ever. I suppose I really should say that I have the best husband for me. I'm sure that your husbands/significant others, are really lovely people as well. :) But, since it's my blog, I'm just going to say that mine's the bestest.

I'm going through husband withdrawls. You see, we work for the same corporation, and used to work in the same office. However, since I work in payroll, we knew that was always going to be temporary. I've now been transferred to another location, and I can't ogle my husband all day long anymore. I have to content myself with photos instead.

This is obviously our cake cutting. This is the photo I have taped to my computer monitor for when I need a quick "Daniel fix."
This is Daniel explaining something to my grandmother. He gets that goofy look when he's trying to explain something complicated, such as engine parts, or why on earth he lets me buy more stitching stuff. (Grandma is VERY sympathetic to my collecting, she's got fabric enough to start her own shop.)

Ah, seriously, HOW CUTE IS HE???? I Know, super cute. :) I'm sure when I took that he was plotting something, I just can't remember what.
He gets upset, but I always tell him he's easy on the eyes. ;)

I get this look a lot. It's the look I get just before he decides to end a discussion with a totally outrageous comment. For example, when I'm complaining that we need another cat, he'll get fed up and tell me "If you get another cat, then I want a manatee for a pet. So, when I get my manatee, you can have your cat." (I'm obviously not sharing my bathtub with a manatee, so no kitten for me.)
Why the sudden outpouring of love towards my husband? Well, this weekend for once, we didn't have any plans other than getting his hair cut. So first he took me to Riscky's barbecue, where I've wanted to go for a LONG time. Then we took a really pretty drive down to Granbury and walked around their square. There was a Model A car show going on as well, so we checked out some really neat cars. Of course, I forgot to bring my camera, so no photos. :( As we walked around Granbury Square he let me drag him through a kitchen gadget store, a quilt shop, and a yarn store. (And he didn't whine, and even offered up thoughtful, reasoned opinions!) Then I remembered that there was a needlework store in Cleburne. I have NO sense of geography, and just figured they were super close together. (More like an hour apart.) But, without complaining, he drove me to Cleburne to Fancy Stitches. OMG, It's the best, but I'll write about that in a minute, we're still discussing my good fortune in husbands. While we were there, he found the Anniversaries of the Heart charts that I've been wanting to stitch up, and even noticed that they had the new Cross Stitch & Needlework and Just Cross Stitch magazines. AND, then he bought them for me!! I know he's been saving up for a new transmission for his Road Runner, and normally he lets me buy my own stitching supplies with my extra funds, so for him to get them for me, with no prompting, well, I'm a lucky girl! :) So, I just had to share.
I love my Dad, but over the years, when Mom asks him an opinion on her knitting colors, or something akin, he just tells her that it looks great. It's sweet, but I know it must be frustrating. Sometimes I imagine she really wants to hear if he thinks if the reds really match. Daniel is always very kind in his opinions, but he actually has them. He's my go to guy when it comes to whether one blue will look better or not. He has really great ideas, and a good eye for color. But, he's ALWAYS super encouraging. What can I say, he's the best! :)
As an aside, Fancy Stitches is akin to Mecca for cross stitchers who like needlepoint. They carry LOTS of both, and aren't snobby about ANY of it! Their thread collection is out of this world. They have a great selection of hand painted needlepoint canvases, canvaswork charts, and cross stitch charts. I don't know if they carry linen or evenweave, I didn't get that far into it, but I felt like I had died and gone to heaven when I saw their fiber selection. Between my regular LNS, Stitch Niche, and Fancy Stitches, I'll be able to buy just about everything locally. I really prefer to shop locally, and although Cleburne is probably an hour away from my home, it's a heck of a lot more local than a lot of places. I can't wait to go back. On the 26th, I'm having a day with my niece to celebrate her straight A's, so I'm thinking of dragging her there with me! :)
Oh, and watch this space, because I'm going to have a giveaway in the next few days, I just have to photograph what I'm giving away! :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Swap from Valerie

Yesterday I got a WONDERFUL package from Val in the Netherlands. She and I were in the Color Swap 7 on, and she was given my name. (It was a secret swap.) She chose some lovely things in purple for me, and I can't wait to use everything!
We were to include something handmade, and Valerie made me a WONDERFUL headband. (I know the picture is terrible, and I'm sorry. My camera is being weird, so I was stuck with my camera phone.) She also sent some fun roving in a grey and purple stripe, and some really pretty lace weight purple yarn. The box was full of purple goodies, a bag that folds into a tiny pouch, a little bag that will be perfect for holding scissors, a new loofah, two really pretty placemats, chocolates, licorice, lavender incense, a set of circular needles, a seam ripper (which I REALLY needed), sesame candies, the waffle cookies that are so Dutch (and so yummy), and a really pretty card she made for me!

I feel completely spoiled rotten! DH and I delved into the waffle cookies immediately, and I spent the evening looking at lace shawl patterns for the yarn she sent!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BBD Exchange

I just found out there's going to be Round 5 of the Blackbird Designs Exchange. I, of course, have now signed up, and \ am eagerly awaiting the assignment of partners. Deadline to join is June 12th, and the mailing deadline is August 12th. The pieces are to be finished, so I'd REALLY better get cracking so I can get it all done. :)

If you want to join in, check it out here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Stitching Bloggers Question

Lee at Lake Stitcher has posted her next monthly question. This month, it's all about Dads! It's also a two-parter.

Tell us something that you have stitched or plan to stitch for any father in your life. Why did you choose this particular piece of stitching? Tell us the story behind it.

The VERY first thing I ever stitched was a bookmark for my father's birthday. I was 13 and living in Libreville, Gabon. (In Africa.) I was there over the summer, and all my playmates had gone home to the US, France or South Africa for the summer. The wife of my dad's boss was a really nice lady, who missed having her own girls around (they were in college) so, she took me under her wing that summer. She would pick me up a couple of days a week, we'd go and have a ladies' lunch, and then would go back to her home for an afternoon of needlework. She loved to cross stitch, and she set me up with needle, Aida fabric, and a book of alphabets. I decided to stitch a simple bookmark that said "SUPER DAD" in big bold block letters. Once I was finished, Mrs. Abrahamson took me to the local market, and we found a fabric that matched the blue DMC thread I used. My father was thrilled, and for years it was his ONLY bookmark. He always used it. Then, one trip to London, he forgot his book in the hotel where he was staying, and lost the bookmark. When my mother told me, I stitched up a new one for my Dad, which he is still using today.

My father is a man of simple tastes, and he doesn't ever really use the things that my mother and I make for him. He has a box full of his treasures, and that's where the things we make end up. It really just warms me up when I think of him using my bookmark.

Often times we identify our love of needlework and our skills with our mothers and grandmothers or other women. It's understandable because they were often our first teachers or role models. Now, let's think about our stitching life as it relates to our dads. Is there anything about our approach to stitching that we can recognize as traits of our fathers? For instance does your dad (or any other important man in your life) have an approach to one of his interests that you can observe and think, "Hey... if I substitute the word needlework for fly fishing we'd be pretty darn similar!" So tell us about it.

Well, this one is a little tougher for me. My father has only one hobby, gardening. He enjoys fishing, but for him, that has more to do with going out and staring at the water. Drives me nuts! LOL I haven't lived with my father full time since I was 14. For more than half of my life, I've lived away from my parents. First it was boarding school, then college, then just being grown. Now, when I go home to visit, my days are spent with my mother, and my nights are for my father. (They are still together, they just have WILDLY different interests, and my father still works, whereas my mother is a homemaker mainly.) I would say that my project planning comes from my dad. He stares at a spot in his garden, and sort of chews over it in his mind. Then, he comes up with something that he just knows will be perfect in that spot, maybe a stand of bamboo? Then, he goes to his favorite nursery and stands around staring at the bamboo, but his eyes keep being drawn to a lovely lantana plant. He's trying to make a decision about which bamboo to choose, but he just can't rip his eyes off of the lantana. In fact, the more he looks at it, the more he realizes that his whole plan is off! He must have that lantana for the right corner, so he'll have to rip up EVERYTHING and start again! He then comes home with a truck bed full of lantana and roses and other hardy flowers, and starts digging up the back yard, for the 5th time since he's been living in the US again.
Me, that's my approach to choosing colors for a piece. I just KNOW that I want to stitch that Quaker medallion in a ruby red. A yummy, bright ruby red. But, when I toddle down to my LNS, I see this gorgeous peacock blue. It's so deep and shimmery, and then I realize that I don't want to stitch this in reds and browns, I want blues and purples! So, I buy up everything, and go home to frog.

Of course, I could also say that I'm like my father's father. Actually, I'm nothing like either of my grandfathers. They were products of their generation, and while always loving towards me, not exactly close and cuddly. They are men to be respected and obeyed. I never ever feared my grandfathers, but I have always been closer to my grandmothers. (My father's parents are both still with us, while neither of my mother's parents are.) All that said, I've tried to be a good granddaughter and live up to the high standards they set (and met) for themselves. My father's father is a perfectionist. I am not, but I understand the impulse in my needlework, as he does with his watercolors. When we are doing work we like, we both show it off to everyone who stands still long enough. However, if we're not pleased with the work, we redo it, over and over and over until it's right. While we're in a redo phase, we don't show our work to anyone. If we miss a mistake, and realize it later, we're horrified.

One note, I was always happier when I was hanging out with my grandmothers, or my mom. I enjoyed their hobbies so much more. I have always been proud of the women I have been fortunate enough to be related to. I have picked up their traits over the years, and I hope to be a credit to them. That said, when I consciously tried to emulate my relatives, it was the men that I chose to imitate. I have a really weird walk because I tried to walk like my dad. My love for Afghan food comes straight from my paternal grandfather. And, just like my maternal grandfather, if I'm going to drive a tractor, it's going to be a John Deere.

I have been blessed with my family. We're all completely insane, and don't even get along all the time, but I have never questioned that I am loved. I see in my husband's family that love is not always guaranteed. I can honestly say that if I had a choice in family, I would choose mine, even with the crazy aunts, estranged in-law's and that bootlegger cousin we don't really talk about. (We're pretty sure it was the revenuer's fault and Jimmy Stewart did play him in a movie...)

Friday, June 4, 2010

June Goals

I meant to mention this in my last post, but I got sidetracked with the whole, dying of a cold thing.

I'm still coughing like I have the plague by the way, which is nice because my co-workers are still avoiding me in the same manner. I've been quite productive. With work that is, I feel like I haven't done ANYTHING crafty. Although, that's not quite true, I've just started a bunch of stuff, I haven't really finished anything yet.

Finish stitching 1 Baby Gift
Work on This is the Day
Finish BBD's Easter Parade (not too much to go)
Sort out fabric for and start working on 3th Colony Bay

Work on Serena's scarf
Work on my scarf

Lofty goals, I know. I just don't want This is the Day to become a UFO, so I want to be sure that I stitch some on it. The babies are due sooner rather than later, so I really need to get cracking on that!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


First off, I'm dying. Well, I feel like I am. I have the flu, or allergies, or something. It's settled in my chest, and as long as I'm not breathing, I'm not coughing. I think my co-workers are beginning to notice. No one is stopping by my office today. That said, my current illness is totally worth it. I went to Houston for the long weekend and took "Total Immersion Continental Knitting" at Knitting in the Loop. Rose was our teacher, and seven of us spent from 10a-3p last Saturday turning our English method knitting into Continental stitching. If you don't currently stitch Continental, I tell you it's worth learning just for when you're ribbing. Since you hold the thread in your left hand, you don't have to keep swinging it over each time you switch from knit to purl. I'm telling you, that alone is worth the price of admission.

Our teacher, Rose is a sweet woman, but I have to say, we all had a little dislike in our hearts when we were learning how to purl. But, once we got over that, discovered ribbing, and learned to hold one color of yarn in each hand for stranding, we were all converts.

I did a little stash enhancement as well. (Of course!) I picked up 4 skeins of Debbie Bliss Amalfi yarn. Each skein is a different color, but all have the same saturation. (I chose brown, green, blue and pink.) I intend to knit a scarf. At the moment, I'm working on a garter stitch scarf for my niece in yummy Noro. It's going a LOT faster with the Continental stitch.

I do feel bad for my father who has NO interest in knitting what so ever. Mom and I did spend most of Saturday night and Sunday trying to explain to him why we were so giddy. He didn't care. :)

Well, it's time to crawl under my desk again. The icepick in the eyeball feeling is back, and I'll probably murder the next person with a problem, so it's best that I hide.