In Stitches

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Behind the Mask!

First off let me say - "Happy Fat Tuesday!" It looks like New Orleans is having quite the party! I hope everyone out there has a great day! :D

In my last post I mentioned how I had added a new counter to my blog and encouraged all lurkers to drop their masks and leave a comment where they had not done so before. LOL Well I was quite surprised that a few of you mentioned that you would like to also add a counter and find out who has been secretly visiting. ;)

When I thought to add a counter I realized that it wasn't enough for me (info junkie) to see "how many" people stopped by, but I wanted to know where they came from. I do some web work so I knew it was possible to make this happen. So after some looking I found this link: Active Meter that is an all around *free* web stats site. It not only tells me how many people visit, but where they come from. The first time I went to see who my visitors were I was quite surprised at not only how many people come by but all the different places they came from as well. It was refreshing to know that not all the visitors were spammers. ;) And I realized that a lot of people do look, but never comment. Sadly I am also guilty of doing this, looking but not leaving comments. For my own self I am going to endeavor to not just be a lurker and I encourage you all to do the same. It's amazing how just the simplest of comments can make someone's day (I know from my own experience). And with the fast pace that we live it seems we don't get the kudos we need. You know the old adage "the more you give, the more you receive", well corny it may be, but it's also true.

So thanks to all of you who leave comments and thanks to all of you who just stop by and silently visit. I'm glad to know that so many people enjoy the wacky things I have to say. ;)

Happy Stitching!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Curiouser and...

Well not "Curiouser"... LOL You shall see what I mean by that a bit later. ;)

First an update on the "flood". :D The maintenance men came by and were quite nice about the whole thing. They realized that some damage had been done to the ceiling so they came back Friday and scraped off the acoustic material (affectionately known to us as "popcorn ceiling") and repaired the ceiling and then re-sprayed popcorn on it. You'd never know that it was damaged. Hurrah! I just hope that whatever they were up to on the second floor never repeats. Cuz it was icky. :) And yes Jesse was our hero until she had her next "hairball incident". But we won't discuss that. ;)

I worked on Alice this weekend, I finally made it through most of the small bits (for now) and got to the section "Curiouser and Curiouser", except I only got the first "Curiouser" done. (giggle) At this point I figure I am about half way through the project. It's going fast, but it's hard to say how long it will be till the finish line. You just never know when some difficult bit will pop up. :) If you notice in the bottom left you can now see Alice's eye. I love the effect of this so subtle...everything just flows together. :D The best part is that I really enjoy working on it and it just never gets old.

I did some shopping this weekend and I went through the sale bins at my LNS. Found some fun patterns and got these bags of Eterna stranded silks. They were half off their normal price of .66 cents (US), so I got them for .33 cents a skein. It ended up being a total 60 skeins (5 bags of 12) and for that price I thought it was a huge bargain. I haven't stitched with silks yet, but I hear they are so nice to use. I thought that I could substitute these in some future projects for a fun look. It's nice to be able to try something different for not a lot of money. :D

In other news... I added a counter to my blog, mostly out of curiousity. It is fun to see just how many people are actually looking at my blog. It's amazing how many people come by but never comment. I find that comments are very encouraging and make posting so much more fun, so if you have a blog that you read but rarely comment on, I challenge you to stop and leave a little note. It will mean so much to the blog owner. :D

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"'Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!'"

"Is it Tuesday already?" She asked. "Why yes it is!" She answered herself back. "What's gone and happened to Monday?" She inquired. "It's faded away, like the stars in the morning sky." She replied sadly, a little tear in one eye.

Alright, I confess to reading too much of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It's amazing how quickly they can effect one's brain patterns. ;) LOL

Yesterday was Presidents Day and though I didn't "officially" have it off I took it as vacation. It was a nice relaxing day...I watched Elizabethtown and didn't get much stitching done. Poor Greg has caught my cold and is now quite sick. I'm better but still with a bit lingering on. It's a particularly nasty cold.

Last night (about 1:30 a.m.) I was woke up by the cat screeching and hopping about in front of the main bathroom. It freaked me out so I got up and turned on the light and there was water pouring from the bathroom ceiling, flooding the bathroom. Many towels and some frantic calls later, we found out that the tenants in the apartment above us had their toilet run over and the excess was draining down through the heater and air vents into *our* bathroom. It's a good thing I was woken up or we would've had a frightful mess. Now, because of the water the acoustic material that's on the ceiling is falling off and the maintenance people will have to come and replace it. I wonder if Jesse would be as good of an alarm during a fire? (Let us hope we never find out.) ;)

I made good progress on my project over the weekend, but slowed down on Sunday and Monday. This recent section is a lot of tiny bits of color so it's taking longer. I'm still happy with the overall appearance and really love all the purple in this. :D

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Still not sure about the beads and many thanks to Jenna for the clarification on matting versus spacers. I hadn't even heard of these plastic spacers before, so thanks Jenna for the insight! I did find some Kreinik threads that match the beads. I will probably just go with the thread so that I don't have to worry about making the frame work with spacers or mats, because the frame really isn't deep enough to accommodate these options. :D

Thanks again for all the comments and helpful hints! Hope y'all have a great rest of the week!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Commenting on Comments

Before I answer this week's SBQ, I want to say thanks for all the nice comments on "What is Home". :D Jenna asked if this frame was made by Greg's dad, sadly no it wasn't. But I did get it on sale! ;)

On Alice, thanks for all the great comments and suggestions. I LOVE suggestions. :D Jenna and Coral, thanks for the suggestion on mat boards to keep from squashing the beads and threads. If I can I will definately use a mat board for this, not sure if there will be room based on the size of the project. So I will wait on beads till I am sure. And thanks to all of you who commented on the purple. Once I got used to the idea that the pattern was *meant* to have the "A" purple I realized that it would be silly to change the color. The purple coordinates with all the other colors in the pattern and now that I am seeing more of it I am liking it. :D It did however make me re-evaluate how I will finish the frame I have for this. But I'm not giving that info away for now. ;)

Comment on your comments (giving and receiving): Do you love comments or hate them? Do you check them every day, never check them, or find them helpful? And finally, are you convinced no one is reading your blog if you don’t get any?

Obviously I LOVE comments! I can't imagine not loving them, unless they are negative. Fortunately I haven't gotten any negative ones and hope not too. :D I check them all the time, I am constantly going back to see if I have new comments and I do find the suggestions that people offer VERY helpful. I wouldn't ask opinions if I didn't want them. So I greatly appreciate it when y'all stop by and leave helpful hints. As above I was worried about crushing the beads and hadn't even thought about the fact that a simple mat would solve the problem. :D That's what I love about stitching blogging, it's a great way to get lots of great tips and hints that I wouldn't find otherwise (at least not without a lot of trouble).

Am I convinced no one is reading my blog if I don't get comments, well I guess I hadn't thought about it. Before I came to blogger I didn't get many comments. I blogged because I liked too share with my good friend and that was my motivation. Getting more comments is definately a bonus and I'm sure a lot more people probably stop by than comment, but I'm sure there are at least 1 or 2 people who consistently read my blog and never comment. ;) So I won't be stopping any time soon. :D

Thanks to all of you who stop by and all of you who comment! I really, truly appreciate each and every nice thing you have to say and it gives me a great deal of inspiration! Happy stitching!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Off with Her Head!

That's how I feel this week! I got a nasty head cold last Friday and it's been hanging on ever since. Today I finally feel a bit better, but the weather is NASTY out there. Freezing rain and snow over the top, woo hoo! Not looking forward to the weekend when the high is going to be 13F...EEK. ;)

Okay! Here is the framed "What is Home". It turned out great, a couple of snafus, but nothing major. Apparently the frame is made out of super human stuff, as Greg had a heck of a time getting a hanger attached to it. We got lucky and found this anti glare plastic that we used instead of glass. It would bring a wall down with glass in it. ;)

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I think the rose turned out great, I like the solid color in the middle, which gives a bit more definition to the flower. You can see a larger version here by clicking the smaller framed version.

I have a great start on Alice. It's going very fast, of course being home sick a day has helped, but it's really a fast stitch. I love the colors and the addition of the metallics is a nice touch. I'm leaving off stitching the Japan thread until the end, but have added some of the Kreinik magenta. I still need to get beads for this, I haven't sewn beads before, so am a bit leary of them.

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This has been a lot of fun to stitch! It does use white rayon for some of the flowers and though it is tricky to sew with it does add a different look to the project. This project calls for Whisper for the White Rabbit, to give it a "fluffy" appearance. I have used this thread before and honestly I don't like the overall finished look of it. Plus after all the hard work I did with it in another project I found that it ends up getting squashed behind the framing glass which detracts from the intended look. I am debating whether to use the rayon on the rabbit. It would definately make him stand out, but maybe it would be too "shiny". I have to say I am a bit disappointed by the purple "A" that is the backdrop. On the pattern picture it appears nearly black, but when you stitch it it is definately purple. The purple is pretty, but I was expecting black so it seems a bit odd to me. The best part though is experiencing all the elements and remembering their meaning from the book. :D

Hope everyone is having a great week! Happy Stitching!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Begin at the Beginning

and Go On Till You Come to the End: Then Stop. - Alice In Wonderland

Wow is it Friday already? I have had a busy week...I've been taking some classes for work and have been out of the office a lot. I even forgot to take my camera home with me and so I don't have my finished picture of "What Is Home". Ah well, on Monday then. I do have the last update picture, which I never got posted.

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I am glad to be done with this and will be happy to see it framed and on it's way. ;) It's a nice pattern, but just not to my tastes. I decided not to backstitch the rose, but instead filled in the middle with some darker stitches which I think accents it nicely. You should be able to see it in the next picture.

And now in case you are wondering why I am quoting Alice in Wonderland, my next project:

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This pattern is from Lynne Nicoletti I absolutely love her patterns, and she has some stunning ones. I stitched her Oak Island Pirate map last year and it was quite a difficult stitch. This one should be much simpler. I started last night and it's going fairly quickly already. I am using a pretty light lavender 14 ct aida that I purchased some time ago for this project. It is looking great so far! Funnily enough I thought that I had (at some point) purchased all the threads I needed for this project, NOPE. I'm missing about half. LOL So off I go for floss. The colors in this are so pretty and not at all what I had expected. For example I thought that the "A" was black, it's not, it's a very dark purple. So I'm excited to get on with this one. I have a very special frame for this that Greg designed and his dad made for me. :D You can see it in the gallery if you like, under current projects.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend! Happy stitching!

Monday, February 06, 2006

So How Was Your Weekend?

Mine was great! Got to see my nieces (5 and 4) did some shopping, washed some laundry. And spent yesterday afternoon watching Stephen King's "The Stand" on dvd. 6 hours, that's right 6 hours...maybe it was brain is fried I can't remember. LOL But hey, while sitting isn't so great for my gluteus maximus, it does help get a bunch of stitching done. I never realized how long backstitching can take. I finished the "r" in no time, but that green is what I spent the rest of the time on, between scenes of dead flu victims. Can I just say that this movie originally scared the bejeezus out of me (too many dead bodies) and this time around it was bad, but on a more personal level...can we say "Asian Flu". Nuff said. And hey it was great to reminisce, I lived in Salt Lake City when this movie was made. And massive chunks of it were filmed right down the street from where I worked. I remember seeing the movie trucks driving to work many a day. Anyhow, I hope to be done w/ the rest of the green over the "home" portion and then I will be finished. Thank goodness. This one is fast losing my interest. ;)

Friday, February 03, 2006

My Lil' Stitching Buddy

With the exception of your online stitching friends, do you have any other stitching buddies?

Why yes I do have a stitching buddy! And in my honest opinion he's the best stitching buddy a girl can have - my husband! LOL

I mean how great is it to know that when I go stash shopping he's right there adding his own stuff to the pile and not complaining one bit about the cost. ;)

Even better, he's a great stitcher. Very intuitive and detailed oriented. He has lots of great ideas and suggestions and he's not intimidated at all about sharing his hobby with other people. Yes, I'm biased, but it's hard not too be. ;D

In other news, despite Unadilla Bill's predictions, winter has returned. Not "Aaggghh Winter!" but "oh, right that's what it's like to be cold, Winter." I think that this will be around for a while, but the good news is that February is a SHORT month and the days are getting noticeably longer!

Hope everybody has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

How Much Wood Would A...

Woodchuck Chuck, if a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood? ;D

Happy Ground Hog Day! Here is a little bit of info about the origins of Ground Hog Day.

When German settlers arrived in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day, which has an early origin in the pagan celebration of Imbolc. It came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Superstition held that if the weather was fair, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold. For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home. The day's weather continued to be important. If the sun came out February 2, halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather.

If the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of Winter. Germans watched a badger for the shadow. In Pennsylvania, the groundhog, upon waking from mid-Winter hibernation, was selected as the replacement. Pennsylvania's official celebration of Groundhog Day began on February 2nd, 1886 with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper's editor, Clymer Freas: "Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow." The groundhog was given the name "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary'' and his hometown thus called the "Weather Capital of the World.'' His debut performance: no shadow - early Spring. The legendary first trip to Gobbler's Knob was made the following year.

Sad to say that Phil in Pennsylvania did see his shadow, so traditionally this means 6 more weeks of Winter. BUT, here in Nebraska we have our own little rodent weather predictor. His name is Unadilla Bill. Bill isn't quite as lively as Phil, mainly cuz he's stuffed. LOL

This morning they had the "official ceremony" and Bill didn't see his shadow. Which for us Nebraskans means an early Spring and considering the weather we've had lately I'm not surprised.

If you want to see more about the whole "Ground Hog Day" tradition you can click this little guy and read up on all the ground hogs that are out there predicting the weather. ;)

Image hosting by Photobucket Now if you look through this list you will see that the U.S. isn't the only place that has a weather predicting ground hog. Canada, Nova Scotia and Germany also have their own.

So here's hoping for an early Spring and milder weather for everybody!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stitching techniques. It's always fun to find who does what! And thanks so much for all your comments on my project, it isn't always easy to see the "big picture" when your nose is stuck to the fabric. LOL

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Missing in Action

That's what the dvd "Lord of War" was when I returned it last night. I happily returned the dvd's I rented a day early. Later I get a call telling me that "Lord of War" didn't have the dvd in the case. Did I ever feel S-T-U-P-I-D. The guy just laughed and said "well it's not due till tomorrow." I am convinced that I am getting a case of early on-set senility....or as my dad calls it CRS - "Can't Remember S---". LOL This is the first time that I have done something like that, but I have horror stories from my mom. My favorite - one night she was cooking a meatloaf and went to check the oven and couldn't find the meatloaf. It was in the refrigerator, where she had put it thinking she was putting it in the oven....hard to cook a meatloaf in the fridge. I think I'm going to go buy some Gingko-Biloba. LOL, LOL

Over on Greg's blog, he mentioned that he stitches his patterns by color. In other words, he starts with one color stitches all the stitches that are in the pattern of that color and then moves to the next color in the list and repeats until he is finished. In a comment, LiliAsked "What about Kim? How does she organize her stitching then? I like to see how other stitchers do, I have found it very helpful more than once!"

My answer is that I personally find this odd and it's not the way I work. I work the pattern from the center out, so that it's centered on my fabric. I work sections fairly close together and switch colors as I complete each block of color in that section (obviously it depends on how big the project is). I find that if I try to count away and stitch all the color that inevitably I will miscount and make a mistake, even on small projects.

So what about all of you, do you stitch by color or what? Both Lili and I are curious! :D

I got some more of my project done, so here's another update. It's looking good so far and the letters are getting done quickly, but I'm not looking forward to the backstitching of the vines. Although I do think that the vines will really add a lot to the piece. I've never been a big backstitching fan. :)

Well it's Wednesday, half way through! Sadly I hear that winter is coming back, it's supposed to get cold and stay that way this weekend. I'm not surprised, it is February after all. But I saw on the news this morning that the cherry blossoms are out in Washington, DC already. Poor things are all confused. ;)