Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Home By the Sea is finished!

Home By The Sea by Designs by Pamela is finally finished!

Home By the Sea - Designs by Pamela
Stitched over 2 on 32 ct. with recommended threads

I started this back in June while on vacation with the family at the shore, and finished it up last week. It's my housewarming gift to myself and my husband for our first home. I knew as soon as I saw it at last year's Online Needlework Show that I had to stitch this piece - it's perfect for us. I did modify the original to include our family name (blurred for privacy) and the year we were married. The year I stitched it (and the year we bought the house) is stitched into the piece itself. I had debated stitching our house number somewhere on the house, but decided against it.

I plan to have my husband frame it similar to the model with the hooks in the frame so we can hang it by the laundry room door in the kitchen (we come in from the garage through the laundry room, so it's the perfect place for keys and such).

And this piece is extra special to me because my six year old niece helped me stitch a little on it while we were down the shore, and again this fall when we were all at my in-laws for a weekend. She can't do the stitching herself, and she had a hard time with the holes on such a high count fabric, but she did a good job pulling the needle and thread through once I got it in the correct hole for her. (Boy, does THAT slow the stitching down, but it's so worth it.) She asked me, "Aunt Jenn, are you EVER going to finish that?" but she's six. She has a short attention span. I can't wait to show her at Christmas that it's all finished up and just waiting to be framed!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I've been a bad, bad blogger

But I have been dealing with a very serious Facebook addiction. Very serious, indeed, folks. Probably going to need rehab. (It's amazing what 20 years out of high school can dredge up out of your memories. Even more from elementary school! People I haven't seen in 30 years!)

But I simply MUST thank Sharon for her wonderful, wonderful package of goodies. Sharon held a giveaway in honor of World Diabetes Day and I was lucky enough to be the winner. Check out the goodies that landed in my mailbox!

All in my favorite color blue!!!! Sharon included some very cute charts, awesome threads, and some gorgeous blue fabric from Polstitches that I can't wait to stitch something on (I've wanted to try this fabric for a while now).

So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Sharon!!!!! I am so thrilled with your gift! And for those of you that don't know Sharon, stop by and pay her a visit. She's always eager to meet new stitching bloggers, so be sure to leave your blog address so she can return the visit!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Six More Random Things About Me

Tammie tagged me to name six random things about myself. I've already done it, but I don't mind doing it again, so here goes:

1. I love magazines, but not the clutter. I am fairly diligent about cutting out and filing pictures, articles, recipes, etc., that I want and recycling the rest. However, once I file them, they rarely ever see the light of day again until I purge. Which isn't often. I also like mailing articles to people I think would be interested. I have done this for years, and yes, I know it's weird.

2. Even when it is stinkin hot outside, I have to sleep with at least a sheet on me.

3. I never pay full retail if I can help it. I am a champion bargain hunter and almost always have a coupon code and/or a rebate program. If you are interested in the ones I use, email me.

4. If I have ever acknowledged or celebrated your birthday in any meaningful way, I probably remember it. I remember birthdays of people I haven't spoken to in YEARS as well as pretty much everyone in my current circle.

5. I cannot, however, remember phone numbers. There are exactly 9 phone numbers I can recall off the top of my head: our home and cells, my ILs home and FIL's cell. I can also recall my childhood home number, my grandparents (who have been deceased for ~25 years), my aunt, and my best friend's father's home number. I do not know my DH's work #, the numbers of any of my closest friends or family members. I only know their speed dial location on my cellphone.

6. For luck on my wedding day, I had a silver sixpence taped onto my shoe (I wore sandals) and a tiny horseshoe charm on my ankle bracelet. Our wedding colors, blue and silver, and our theme, stars, were selected because we're just that devoted to our Dallas Cowboys. (DH's uncle, a longtime Redskins fan, made a face when he figured this out.)
Friday, December 5, 2008

Fair and Square Christmas Round with Claire G.

My partner for the Christmas 2008 Round of the Fair and Square exchange was Claire, and she sent me the CUTEST little snowman that's going to become an ornament for our tree. Just look at how adorable he is!
Claire also included a beautiful Christmas card she crafted herself. It's quite stunning in person, and it's officially the first Christmas card I received this year.

Now, let me show you what I stitched up for Claire. In our initial emails, she mentioned her tradition of making gingerbread houses, which gave me a few ideas. But her faith and her church were very important to her, and I thought that would be something meaningful on which to focus. Claire said they they have a severe lack of homemade ornaments for their tree, so I wanted to make sure whatever I stitched could be turned into an ornament.

I chose to stitch Winter Church by Primavera Designs (a freebie you can find here). I thought it tied in nicely with Claire's preferences, and it also reminded me of going to church on Christmas eve for Midnight Mass. (Even though DH and I aren't particularly religious, I still find Christmas Eve services to be a gratifying experience)

I did french knots for the snow instead of the stitches, and used a silver metallic thread for the Christmas star. It is indeed a full star. (I perhaps did not photograph it as well as I could have. But trust me, it's all there.) And you can't really tell from the picture, but I had a little irridescent blending thread in with the white for the french knots.

I made a few other color changes as well, but I figured why not, since the piece is charted for Anchor Tapestry Wool Colors. Did you know there's just no good conversion to DMC from Anchor Tapestry Wool? So basically, I looked at the picture and came up with my own conversions, and I think it turned out quite nice. Even without the border, which I removed to fit within the F&S requirements. (The border would have made it far too big anyway.)

For my signature square (in which I have cleverly blocked out my full last name for privacy), I used a candle piece from my PC Stitch program.

Friday Feast #5

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet for Your Brain

Appetizer: Briefly describe your living room.

Our formal living room is really just waiting to be turned into a library. The carpet is beige, the walls are faux painted tan and blue (it was like that when we moved in. I'd never do such a thing) and the furniture is blue. There's a big window in the front, and the room is open to the dining room on one side and the staircase on the other. Eventually, the one complete wall will be lined wall to wall, floor to ceiling with bookshelves, the furniture will be replaced and the walls painted, maybe some shade of grey.

The family room, which is where we do most of our living, is painted yellow with a red accent wall. I hate the wall color. There's a fireplace on one end, hardwood floors, two south facing windows, and the room is open to the eat-in kitchen. Our newest furniture, a huge couch and loveseat upholstered in a brown chenile, is in there, as are our two fish tanks. This will probably be the first room we paint since we spend the most time in it.

Soup: List 3 things you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2008.

1. Get a new job
2. Start Paradigm Lost
3. Replace my car (probably not going to happen)

Salad: When you're online, what do you spend the most time reading/playing/doing? Suggest a site for us to visit.

Mostly I am on Google Reader, catching up on blogs. I also read email, the NY Times and the Dallas Cowboys website. There are a TON of links to stitching sites on my blog.

I believe all stitchers should visit and try to contribute to the Stitcher's Report Card. If your LNS is not listed, please contact the board administrator and ask her to add it. It's a great help for stitchers visiting your area to know where these shops are located. It's also nice to know which shops to avoid, or at least be wary of.

Main Course: What would the title of your autobiography be?

I don't really know. I don't think about these things. Once, for a journalism class, we had to write our own obituary. It was a very weird and disturbing experience.

Dessert: What time do you usually go to bed?

Sometime around 11. If it's an interesting news night, we might stay up for part of the news, but usually we're in bed by 11.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Economic Stimulus Package

aka Enablement.

In case you haven't heard, Anita is having a Needle sale. I placed an order yesterday with her yesterday, and can't wait to get it. The prices are excellent, and I stocked up on the bulk packages of petite needles, so I should be good to go for a while.

She's also got Carrie's Creations Threads for $1 a skein (I treated myself to a few) and several other overdyes as well. Definitely worth checking out, and did I mention she's offering free shipping for US orders over $65? And even if you don't manage to spend the full $65, her shipping prices are INCREDIBLY reasonable.


She has scissors. Pretty scissors. I know. I'm just sayin....

Fair and Square Exchange from Cyndi H.

I know, I know. I should have posted sooner, but we were away for the holidays. What can you do? You'll all be pleased to know that there will be actual stitching content on this blog. WOO HOO!!!

First up, my Fair & Square exchange from Cyndi. Check out this completely adorable Leprechaun she stitched up for me. (In case you were wondering, St. Patrick's Day is my second favorite holiday, right after Christmas.)

Isn't he just the cutest thing? I just love him. And Cyndi included a simply gorgeous handmade card with him. Thank you so much, Cyndi!
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Because I can't show you any of my stitching...

I borrowed this from Anna and CinDC

1. Political show - Countdown with Keith Olberman. I like Hardball too. (It seems I'm getting slightly less conservative in my old age)

2. Picnic food - DH's smoked brisket

3. Mixed drink – gin and grapefruit juice

4. U.S. President – George Washington (all because of Barry Bostwick)

5. Kind of student to teach – ones that listen

6. Hobby you do or wish you still did - I stitch, I take pictures, and I travel

7. Sports commentator – Bob Costas, and sometimes Cris Collinsworth. Troy Aikman, when he's NOT with Joe Buck. Least favorite? Tony Kornheiser, who has singlehandly ruined MNF, a feat I didn't think possible after Dennis Miller and Rush Limbaugh.

8. Sport to watch on TV – Dallas Cowboys football. Okay, football in general. I am a junkie

9. Animal to have as a pet - cat, dog, fish, pony

10. Halloween costume you have worn – I haven't worn a costume since childhood. I don't like Halloween

11. Kind of dessert - anything involving chocolate and raspberries

12. Comic strip - Baby Blues

13. Style or make of footwear - Reebok. I'd like to be the girl with cute shoes, but let's face it. They don't make cute shoes in size 10.

14. Ice cream flavor - Cotton Candy with Poprocks, marshmallows and sprinkles. Yes, I am a child when it comes to ice cream

15. College or university president – What? Seriously?

16. Internet news source – NYTimes.com

17. Vacation spot - Maine

18. Wine – Pinot Noir, or wines with clever names and/or animals on the bottle (except for Yellowtail). My current favorite is Pinot Evil, featuring the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak no Evil monkeys on the label. Funny AND tasty. Or perhaps Goats do Roam, a South African wine. I'm also a big fan of Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir. As wine and food go together, yes, I can go on all day about this.

19. Way to waste time instead of working – I have many

20. Student excuse for late work – Somehow I am getting the impression that this meme is teacher-centric.

21. Reality show – Survivor. And here's something I can't believe I am going to admit publically. We've watched the Making of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, followed by My Big Redneck Wedding. And for a real trainwreck, Bridezillas. Even if these girls are playing it up for the cameras, they still all need to be slapped.

22. Jewelry on a man – A watch. DH is not big on jewelry - he wears his watch, wedding ring and engagement band. That's it.

23. Pizza topping – bacon, pineapple and hot peppers (banana peppers)

24. Children's movie - The Princess Bride. Although I don't think it's really a children's movie.

25. Celebrity you wish would retire - Jessica Simpson. I hate her.

The Hard Way... back up for grabs

If you're interested in reading the advance copy of my friend Julie's book, The Hard Way, it's back up for grabs again. Stop over and visit Linda, who will be drawing a winner on Friday (tomorrow). And while you're there, be sure to check out Linda's photos of her holiday decorations. She's got some gorgeous vintage pieces on display!

If you want to know more about the book or pick up your own copy, it's available at Amazon.com or most any other book buying source you use. The book even has its own blog - The Hard Way.
Monday, November 17, 2008

Fair & Square Round #10

I know I haven't been posting stitching pictures lately, but everything I'm working on has been secret stitching for F&S exchanges and PIFs. However, Cyndi just posted that she received the squares I sent her for Round #10, so here they are.

Celtic Knot by American Whimsy (out of business)
Stitched over 2 on 32 ct. Antique White with Crescent Colours Thread
in Carribean Waters and Fancy Green Nancy

Cyndi had a Michael Vickery design on her wish list and I thought this would be a nice design for her. I also sent along a skein of my own handdyed thead, this one in Red Maple.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Six Random Things

I have been tagged by the lovely Meari to share six random things about myself, according to the rules.

The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

So, here are six random things about myself:

1. I collect short story anthologies - in particular, the "Best American Short Story" editions put out on a yearly basis, each featuring a guest editor. I just picked up the 2008 edition edited by Salman Rushdie.

2. In 1989, I participated in the inaugural parade for the first President Bush with my high school marching band.

3. Tom Petty is my favorite singer. I've seen him in concert over a dozen times. I own most, if not all of his albums (I'm missing a live album or two)

4. In second grade, my class hatched baby chickens and ducks in an incubator. I've loved baby animals ever since.

5. I still love the Little House on the Prairie books. I can take or leave the television series.

6. I don't usually eat the bottom bun of a hamburger, and I dip my fries in mayonnaise.

I have tagged:

1. Rachel (Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?)
2. Rachel (Willing Hands)
3. Rachel (What Looks Like Crazy)
4. Laura (Maude & Mozart)
5. Julie (Julie's Stitching Journal)
6. Sue Fitz (Fitz's Stitching)
Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Feast #3... um # 175? Okay, #4.

As I was reading the questions for Friday's Feast #3, I thought they sounded very familiar. As it turns out, they were recycled into Friday's Feast #175, which I've already answered. So it's on to Feast #4.

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet for Your Brain

Appetizer: What kind of car do you drive? If you could make an even trade for any other car, what would you want to drive?

I currently drive a Toyota that is soon to be replaced by a Nissan Altima. Originally, I wanted the Xterra, but we just can't justify it with the price of gas. Maybe someday.

Soup: Take your phone number and add each number together separately (example: 8+6+7+5+3+0+9=38) - what's the total?

This is a dumb question, but I'll answer it. 40. Which includes area code. Because that's how we dial.

Salad: When were you last outside, and what were you doing?

I went out to get the mail last night.

Main Course: What is your favorite restaurant, and what do you usually order there?

I don't think I really have a favorite restaurant. I definitely don't have one here, since we just moved here a little while ago, though DH and I are big fans of breakfasts and have tried out a few in the area. For breakfasts, I like combination plates because I am usually in the mood for French Toast or pancakes, but I know that I will be hungry again a little while after eating, so I like something with eggs as well. Scrambled, if you please. With bacon. Oh, speaking of breakfast, I do have a favorite breakfast place, which I know I've mentioned before, on the coast of Maine at Pemaquid Point. Naturally, I order the blueberry pancakes.

We try to avoid chain restaurants, especially when we travel. I like to go on Chowhound.com ahead of time and look for recommendations. I've never been steered wrong there yet.

When it comes to Chinese food, I generally never stray far from the General Tso's chicken (which I know isn't real chinese food), and I love spicy tuna rolls and Philadelphia rolls when it comes to sushi. Yeah, I can pretty much talk about food all day.

Dessert: Name 3 things in which you occasionally indulge.
  • Chocolate desserts - chocolate cheesecake, brownies, etc. Especially with raspberry sauce.
  • Day long movie marathons, usually with one of my closest friends who loves the same movies and we know all the lines.
  • Spa manicures. Most of the time I do my own, but there's something satisfying about having someone else do it for you.
Thursday, November 6, 2008

I'm dying over here!

First, many thanks to Rachel for her AWESOME floss dying tutorial. Because of Rachel, I not only didn't throw out the Rit Dye I had already invested in, but I picked up a few awesome techniques, including steaming the floss. Worked like a charm.

And now I am sure you are all very curious as to how I turned out such lovely flosses. Behold, based on Rachel's methods, I present to you my adventures in floss dying. (You will definitely want to read both mine and Rachel's, as I am sure I will leave stuff out. Important stuff.)

First things first. Invest in some floss dying equipment because most dye companies and websites will tell you that your equipment will no longer be food safe. Which means don't grab a bunch of bowls out of the cabinet for dying, then eat your cereal out of them the next morning. I don't know if a spin through the dishwasher will render them non-lethal, so why take chances? I hit up the kitchen section of my local dollar store and purchased the following:

a plastic mixing bowl with a pour spout (spout not necessary - any mixing bowl will do)
glass custard dishes / ramekins
disposable cookie sheets
ice cube tray
plastic measuring spoons

You will also need a large piece of plastic to protect your work surface. I used a disposable plastic painters drop cloth from the local home store. (as a side note, these are far too slippery to be used as an actual drop cloth when painting). Latex gloves are also helpful - you can usually find them at a beauty supply shop, or near the pharmacy counter at the big box discount store.

I used an old ice cube tray (we have several we no longer need) for mixing colors, and several glass pipettes (eye droppers) with rubber bulbs. You can get the ice cube trays at the dollar store, and I've seen plastic pipettes in the craft stores. You may also want to try a scientific supply house if you have access to one. And of course, you will need floss, dish detergent (I used Dawn), white vinegar, plastic wrap, plain white paper towels, boiling water and various and assorted dyes. (And you can use a regular food-safe pot or tea pot to produce the boiling water as it will not be coming in contact with the dyes.)

A Note on Dyes: Rachel speaks out against using KoolAid, and I agree with her assessment. Use dyes intended for fabrics. Now, you can either use Rit Dye or specially formulated cold water dyes for tie-dying. These are fairly easy to find at craft stores or online, and there are several good resources detailing the techniques for these types of dyes. (Check here as well). There are plenty of websites that tell you NOT to use Rit dye, but I had already invested in several colors and chose to go that route. Overall, I am satisfied with the outcome and would use it again. However, at some point I will probably experiment with cold water dyes as well, just for fun.

My personal recommendation is to purchase the Rit Dyes in their liquid form. Yes, they're more expensive, but they're pre-mixed and FAR less messy / hard to mix than the powdered dyes. If you have the choice between the liquid and the powder dye, go for the liquid, especially when it comes to the darker colors, like black and navy blue. In fact, I would strongly recommend against purchasing the black powder as it is flat out a total pain in the ass to mix properly.

You don't need a LOT of different colors, as you can make almost anything from red, yellow and blue (or cyan, fuschia and yellow). Start with the basics and work your way up from there. Experiment. I purchased Scarlet Red, Rose Pink, Dark Green, Dark Brown and Royal Blue in liquid, and Black, Yellow, Kelly Green, Teal, Pearl Grey, and Navy Blue in powder. I also purchased a box of Rit Color Remover. (More on that in another post). I would never, never, never purchase the dark colors in powder form again. Never. Check out the Rit Dye Website for available colors and ideas. They have some pretty good recipes on their site.

You also don't need to mix up a LOT of dye, especially if you're not dying a lot of floss. Mix up more of the basic colors like red, blue and yellow, but go easier on the other colors, especially black. A little goes a long way, and quite frankly, you're never going to accomplish a deep, dark black on your own. Go for DMC 310 and use the black dye more as a tint than an actual dye color. Also, black is super hard to mix and tends towards little red spots (grains of undisolved dye) that will wreck your work. Did I mention I highly recommend using the premixed liquids?

Are you still with me? Now comes the fun part. First, set up your work area:

I used our kitchen island, which was covered completely by the disposable painter's cloth. You can see how I have the glass dishes set up on the disposable cookie sheet, and the floss laid out according to color.

Really, the sorting was just for show, as was the notebook you cannot see in this photo. My original intention was to have my scientist husband apply his excellent and exceedingly thorough work habits to this process, and as you might have guessed, it didn't work out that way. I had grand plans of carefully measuring the dye, recording said measurments, and creating recipes from which to successfully generate consistent batches of floss. Yeah, not so much. The word "recipe" should have been a dead giveway, since I can never seem to follow them. This makes DH completely insane. He likes consistency and measurment (which makes him a fabulous baker, but cautious cook) and I like throwing things together willy nilly. After about 10 minutes of my random mixing and refusal to actually measure anything precisely, he gave up and went in the other room to watch football, leaving me to my wild ways.

Back to the process. First, I mixed up the dyes. I recommend / insist / demand that you mix any powdered dyes away from your dying area, as powdered dyes are teeny tiny little particles that can get EVERYWHERE. Some sites recommend using a mask when working with powdered dyes, but I'm just not that paranoid, and I'm working on a very small scale. I cut off a tiny corner of the Rit Powder packet and sprinkled some into a small, clean mustard jar (which is now part of my dying kit). I added hot water, a splash of vinegar, and a drop of dish soap and shook it for all I was worth (with the lid on, of course). And shook it some more. Then shook it again. Then I poured it into a glass dish in the dying area and added the boiling water. No, I didn't really measure any of this, and yes, I am well aware this is making some of you very nervous.

I repeated the mixing and shaking process with the rest of the powdered dyes, carefully folding over each packet, clipping with a paper clip and sealing in a ziploc snack bag for storage. As for the liquid dyes, I shook the bottle vigorously, then added the dye to a glass bowl with hot water, a splash of vinegar and a drop or two of dish soap. Supposedly the dishsoap opens up the fibers and makes them more receptive to the dye. I don't know if that's true, but it worked for me.

I prepped the floss by removing the labels and throwing caution into the wind. If I'm not going to measure correctly, why bother keeping track of what color floss I was dying? Most of it was one of the following colors: Blanc, B5200, 3865 and Ecru. I also went through my skein stash and pulled out some extra tans, greys, and pastels, just for experiement's sake. I highly recommend this as I got a fantastic autumn-y color by dipping tan floss into red dye.

As you can see here, I suspended the floss on a chopstick and dipped it in a vat of warm, slightly soapy water. Several websites recommended using Sythrapol for cleansing the floss ahead of time to remove dirt and oils that may impede the dye from penetrating. You can get Sythrapol in the craft store with the dying stuff, but it's expensive, and several well respected sites said dish detergent was just as good. And cheaper. And it works. So there you have it.

For the first batch of floss, I used a wire tie to hold skeins together, but ditched that idea for the second batch, chosing to just be a little more careful. The floss stayed together slightly better with the wire ties, but the ties ended up being tedious to remove. I'm all about making things less tedious. The floss rested on the chopstick, in the water, until I was ready to use it, at which point I squeezed it out and laid them out on a paper towel, like so.

I then went to town dripping dye on the strands using the pipettes. Sometimes I mixed up colors in the ice cube tray, sometimes I use a clean dropper to add a little water from the floss vat to the colors in the mixing tray to dilute them. Really, I just had fun with it and experimented. Sadly, I do not have a picture of a batch of dyed, pre-steamed floss, as I was working with nifty purple gloves and was afraid to get dye on the camera (or drop it into a bowl of water). Or it could be that I was so caught up in playing around that I forgot to take pictures.

I would suggest keeping batches of like colors together. The first time I dyed, I went a little nuts with expeimenting and ended up running a few colors together unintentionally. The second time, I worked in color families (shades of red, shades of blue, etc.) and it worked out much better, especially when it comes to wrapping them in plastic. Your floss should be thoroughly saturated with color, but not dripping wet. Dripping leads to bleeding onto other flosses (not as noticeable when you're working with one set of colors at a time). If necessary, pat out the excess watery dye with a paper towel. The white paper towel is also handy for testing out dye colors before you drip it on the floss.

Then do your jelly roll o'floss as Rachel describes, rolling the floss up in plastic wrap, one floss skein at a time. Be sure to roll it in the plastic enough times to separate it from the next floss (that pesky color bleeding again). The chopsticks come in handy here to maneuver the floss and get it into place without dirtying your gloves too much. Always be aware of where you are putting your hands and what you are touching, since it's incredibly easy to transfer dye unintentionally.

Now you will steam the floss. This is something else I neglected to take a picture of, but basically, I used an old pot with a lid and a roasting rack set on top. The flosses went on the rack, the lid went over the floss, and rested on the rack as well, and I steamed the bejesus out of those flosses. Rachel recommended 10 minutes, but once again, my experimental nature prevailed and I let them steam in batches for at least 20-30 minutes. Could be slightly more, could be slightly less, who knows? I don't keep track of these things. I flipped them over occasionally until I thought they were good and steamed, then took them off and let them rest in the kitchen sink until they cooled.

Once the packets are cool, carefully unwrap and start rinsing each skein of floss until the water runs clear. Be careful not to rinse over the other flosses. I rinsed in hot water, then a little cooler, and was surprised that I didn't get a whole lot of run off, except from the reds. The reds were a little harder to rinse, and I used a little more dish soap with them to make sure I was getting all the dye out.

This is what they looked like, steamed, cooled and rinsed. They're still wet, which is why the colors look brighter than they actually turned out, but I still think they came out great. I then draped them over a drying rack, carefully spaced out so there would be no accidental bleeding (I rinsed until clear, but you never know.) And this is what they look like on the drying rack in my dining room. (Don't get too upset - they're all dry, which is why they're touching. Also, I didn't move the drying rack into the carpeted dining room until the flosses were dry. I did not want anything dripping on the carpet. Not that there was a whole lot of dripping because I squeezed them pretty dry, but better safe than spotty carpeted)

There you have it. My adventures in floss dying. If you're thinking about trying it, go for it. I had fun doing it, and will start collecting floss on sale all over again so I can do another batch. Or perhaps invest in a cone of DMC (which is over 2000 yards) and dye even MORE floss. I do caution that this can be VERY messy and has lots of disaster potential, especially if there are children or nosy pets around. I used gloves, or tried to, mostly, and still ended up with some dye in my nail beds. (Lots of scrubbing, some lemon juice and later, some peroxide, helped tremendously)

It will cost you some money to get started for the equiment (less than $10 at the dollar store), the floss and the dyes. I mostly used coupons on the dyes and picked up floss on sale, but definitely check out your grocery store for the dye - mine sells it cheaper than the craft stores. And expect to devote a couple hours to this process, especially if you're dying a lot of floss. You can even make it a party where everyone bring a bottle of dye and the flosses they want to do. Be creative, have fun, and experiment! You're not being graded on this!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Okay, maybe not a chicken dinner, but there are flosses to be had, my fellow stitchers. And a bit of news. Since the election went so well yesterday, I was inspired to revisit the skeins of floss I have yet to twist up and put away (yes, they are still on the drying rack in the dining room. I'll get to it, I swear) and pick a few more to give away.

And the flosses go to:

American Girl - Wendy (Wendy Home at Work)

Candy Corn - Jennifer (Running with Scissors)

Sweet Pea - Kathryn (Threads of Desire)

Rainbow Sherbet - Cathey (Pumpkin Patch & Co.)

And the Bonus Flosses -

Election Day and Rock the Vote (similar to American Girl, not as much white): Laura (Maude and Mozart) and Courtney (Santa Stitches)

More Candy Corn (as fun as this was to make and as cool as it turned out, I am just not that into Halloween) - Barbara (Mainely Stitching) and Angela (A Bit of This and a Bit of That)

Ladies, please email me at sweetpeastitches @ yahoo.com with your mailing addresses and I will try to have these out to you by the end of the week.

Thank you to everyone who entered and left such wonderful, encouraging comments. I have been mulling over the idea of selling some of the threads, either on Etsy or as custom dyed threads. If anyone is interested in the threads and would like to purchase some, please feel free to email me and let me know. Perhaps we could work something out. I can't guarantee I can exactly replicate the colors, but I can come pretty close, and if you were looking for several skeins of the same color, I'd could dye the entire set at once.

And if you didn't win this time, don't despair. I had a blast dying the threads, and this most likely won't be my last giveaway. Stay tuned to this station for more details. :-)

Thanks also to the lovely folks at Random.org for their ListRandomizer.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Sisterhood moves to Canada

Lucky Claire is the next recipient of the Sisterhood of the Traveling pattern, so be sure to check out her blog. And be ready to enter when it's time for her to move on again.

Welcome to the Sisterhood, Claire. Can't wait to see what you do with her.

Close ups of the floss colors

I thought you might like to see close ups of the floss colors I am giving away. I took these outside this afternoon so I could take advantage of the gorgeous weather we had today, not to mention the sun!

American Girl

Rainbow Sherbet

Sweet Pea

Candy Corn

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blogoversary Giveaway

In honor of my first Blogoversary, I wanted to do a little giveaway. And I thought, what better to give away than something I made myself? I've been itching to try dying my own floss, picking up supplies along with way as they've been on sale. I finally amassed a bag full of floss and the necessary dyes, and went to town. (Yes, there will be a post on this.) To my surprise and delight, it came out VERY well.

I have four flosses up for grabs, each an entire skein of DMC cotton floss, dyed by me.

From L-R: American Girl (red, white and blue), Sweet Pea (pink and purple), Rainbow Sherbet (pink, yellow, orange and green), Candy Corn (yellow, orange and white)

To win one of these flosses, leave a comment on THIS post and let me know which one you'd like. I'll choose one winner by random drawing for each color. And if you like more than one, let me know, and I'll enter your name in all the drawings, but you'll still only win one floss. Deadline for entering is Tuesday, November 4th. I'll pick a winner on Wednesday morning.

As you can see, I was also messing around with creating floss cards / tags for each floss, trying out different fonts and such. (I collect fonts. I love to play with them) DH thought perhaps I could make a small business out of this, and maybe I will at some point, but for now, it's just for fun.

Also, you should note that NONE of these flosses should be considered colorfast. I rinsed them very well until the water ran absolutely clear, then rinsed them again. However, I can't guarantee they won't bleed - no overdyed floss is guaranteed, and I wouldn't suggest stitching anything with them that needs to be washed.

I'd like to send a special thanks to Rachel for posting her methods, as I (mostly) followed them. Thanks, Rachel!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sunday with Stitchers

Probably I should have posted this earlier, but I've been trying to catch up with a few things around here. This past Sunday, I spent a lovely afternoon at the home of Anna and The Dude. I was the first to arrive, so I had them to myself for a little while, which was nice. Then Jenna and her DH arrived, followed by Lee and Rachel. It was pretty funny to introduce yourself by name, only to be met with a polite, but slightly confused smile and an "Ohhhhkay" as the person you were introducing yourself to struggled to make sense of it. But mention your blog name and it was all, "Oh hey! Yeah! It's YOU!!" and big smiles. Hilarious.

BTW, the Dude does not stitch, but mention chess and he lights up. I suggested bringing my DH next time, who does indeed stitch, but also plays chess and laments that fact that he rarely has anyone with whom to play. The word playdate was met with a slight scowl by The Dude, but seemed to quickly disappate at the prospect of having a chess partner. He thought that perhaps he and Jenna's DH should come up with something "manly" to do, but in the end, they were more interested in hanging out with the girls.

I take responsibility for the political discussion, having remarked that it was a nice break from the near constant MSNBC on our television. Not that I don't enjoy it, but sometimes, you do need a break from it. And it was also my first Sunday with little to no football, as Sunday night football had a bye week, though I did get a call almost as soon as I got in the car to come home that our Cowboys had indeed beaten the Tampa Bay Bucs. WOO HOO!!! Almost a sweet as Penn State taking down Ohio State and remaining undefeated. (For those of you that don't know, DH is a 3rd generation Penn Stater and we are huge PSU fans in our house.)

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and we're going to definitely have to do it again. It's always awkward the first time you meet up with people you only know over the internet, and a big thanks to Anna for being brave and opening up her very cute house to virtual strangers. And for putting on a super yummy spread, which included some to die for pumpkin bread with a cream cheese spread. I could have eaten a plateful of that, but I tried to be polite.

And on a final note, you absolutely must check out the adorable pillow Rachel made for Anna. I must say that the picture does it no justice as it's just gorgeous in person. Not to mention super coordinated with the gift bag, Anna's outfit and apparently her bedroom as well. As for the other pictures, yes, they were taken. No, you're not going to see them. Anna refuses to be photographed for the internet without sunglasses, and I just refuse to be photographed in general, so Rachel, the only one that brought her camera, promised not to post them publically.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Today is my 1 year Blogoversary! Stay tuned for a give-away!
Monday, October 27, 2008

Sisterhood is Moving on!

CJ is ready to send the Traveling Pattern to the next Sister. Visit her blog for a chance to enter her drawing and become the next member of the Sisterhood.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

8th Annual New Jersey Light House Challenge

Navesink Twin Lights, Highlands, NJ

DH and I will be doing the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge again. We started doing it the first year we were married, and this is the 5th consecutive year this weekend. According to the challenge site:

The New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge® is a not-for-profit event presented by The New Jersey Lighthouse Society, Inc. for the purpose of raising public awareness of lighthouses in general and New Jersey’s lighthouses, specifically. It is a rain or shine, two-day event held during the 3rd weekend in October when 11 land-based lighthouses are open for visitation and climbing. During this weekend, the public is invited to visit any or all of the sites along the Challenge route.

We always have a great time doing it, and last year, we invited DH's parents to go along with us. They were unsure at first, but ended up having a wonderful time, especially my FIL. They loved all the history and lighthouse information, but since the weather was so spectacular, they enjoyed the scenery as well.

If you're within driving distance to the New Jersey area, I would definitely recommend participating in the challenge. There's no participation fees, no sign ups and no requirements. You don't even have to visit all of the sites on the challenge. Many people visit just a few sites, but the nicest thing about the Challenge weekend is that the lights are open and there are guides and plenty of information, and you have opportunities to learn and explore that aren't always available the rest of the year.

East Point Lighthouse, Maurice River Township, NJ

We've also done challenges in Long Island and Maryland, both of which we missed this year, unfortunately. Last year was our third Triple Crown, meaning we did all three challenges (few people complete all three). This year, we had to pass because of moving and other events going on, but I'd like to get back to doing all three next year. Maybe even add a few more, as other lighthouse societies are taking an interest in challenges and planning their own. If you are interested in the Challenges, check out the various Lighthouse Societies

I'd love to be able to do the Lights Across the Border one, and I'm always looking for a good excuse to head back to Maine, so that may be in our plans at some point.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Changed my Mind

Based on the advice from comments in the previous post, and my quickly losing interest in the gridding process, I've decided NOT to grid the fabric for Paradigm Lost.

After 10 minutes of gridding, I started thinking, "This is ridiculous. I've never gridded before, these are all separate motifs and I should be able to stitch this without a grid." Then I thought, "This isn't like one of those HAED pieces with multiple color changes and edge to edge stitching." And then I thought, "If I have to grid out this HUGE piece of fabric, I may stop stitching forever, and possibly throw myself under a bus." So I stopped gridding, pulled out the single piece of thread I started with, and we're all happier for it.

I had been hesitant about using the red thread all along anyway, as I've seen several complaints about stitchers having a hard time getting rid of the red fibers left behind whenever they've frogged out that thread.

But DH did take the chart to work this morning to photocopy it. IMO, those Long Dog patterns are expensive, and I don't see any point in ruining the original when I can just as easily stitch from a photo copy. Even though I use plastic sleeves for my charts, I have a tendency to fold them up here and there to focus on the section I am working on. Which means I am usually working off a copy if the original is a large chart or printed on cardstock.

I would also like to add that I am grateful for all the advice I've gotten, especially Vonna and Tracy J, both of whom not only commented, but replied to my emails with great advice as well.
Monday, October 13, 2008

I've been tagged!

Dianne of Dianne Rambling On fame tagged me to share six random things about myself, following the rules below:

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write six random things/unspectacular quirks about yourself.
  • Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
  • Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.
I've done a couple of these before, so I will try to come up with different things.

1. My toenails are almost always painted, usually some shade of red. And I almost never take off the six silver toe rings I wear (three on each foot).

2. I tend to stock up on things - I have an extremely well stocked pantry and linen closet (soaps, shampoo, etc.) I was well know in grad school for having the best stocked tea / coffee cabinet. I don't know why I do this, as I have never "gone without."

3. I love grocery shopping and grocery stores. I even like going to grocery stores when we travel, especially if it is not a familiar chain.

4. I have a small collection of red headed Barbie dolls.

5. At night, when I can't fall asleep, I plan out my dream house and visualize it room by room, detail by detail.

6. I rarely measure when I cook, and I have a very hard time following a recipe, even if I'm making it for the first time. I almost always change it, add something, etc. Great for cooking, not so much for baking. I also have a hard time telling someone else how long it takes to make something. I seem to have an internal timer that tells me when things are done.

And now I tag the following ladies:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Question about BAPs and Q-Snaps

DH and I have finally decided to get started on Long Dog's Paradigm Lost. We're stitching with DMC 823 (a dark navy blue) over 2 on 28 ct. Antique White. The piece of fabric we're using is 36x40 (which gives us a 5-6 inch border on each side of the piece).

I've already been advised to grid out the project using a contrasting thread, so I picked up a skein of DMC 666 to do the gridding with. Since it's one strand, I assume one skein should be enough to grid out the fabric (I've never gridded before either). The woman at my LNS assures me I should have no problems at all pulling the grid threads out once we're done with it. And we purchased a whole pile of the DMC 823 a while back so I know it's all come from the same dye lot and we should have plenty to get through the project. When I bought it, the stitchers at my old LNS said they used about 23 skeins for the project, but we bought 30 just to be safe.

This is by far the largest project we've ever taken on, and there's no way it's going to fit on our usual scroll frames. I have a very hard time stitching in hand - my hand cramps up and it's very uncomfortable for me, so we've decided to try Q-Snaps for this project. I've never used Q-Snaps before, so any advice on using them would be most welcome, as would advice on stitching a project this large. Do the Q-Snaps stretch out the fabric or the stitching? What's the best way to deal with the excess fabric not being stitched on? Is there a better way to stitch a project this large?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Go AWAY, frogs!!!

Seriously. Just because I am stitching predominatly green doesn't mean I need the frogs around to "help" me. I have stitched, unstitched, restitched, tore out and stitched this border on this piece and I am so over it. What piece, you say? Well, I can't tell you that. What I can say is that the first of my PIF recipents will be getting her package soon. I've been picking up little goodies here and there, and as soon as I get this piece stitched and finished, the PIF will be on its way. I've also started working on the second PIF, as I have been thoroughly scouring my recipients' blogs for ideas.

For US Shoppers, AC Moore has a 55% off coupon in their flyer this week, but you can also print it from their website. My AC Moore doesn't have too big of a selection of stitching stuff, but I did notice they're carrying the Crop-a-dile that everyone has been snapping up lately. (Go to their Store Locator for coupons).

Joann's is also advertising fat quarters for .99 this Columbus Day weekend as well.
Friday, October 3, 2008

The Return of Friday's Feast

It seems that the Chef is on hiatus on the Friday's Feast website, but there's no reason I can't recycle the old questions and start from the beginning. I tried that once before and answered the first question, and now it's time to move through the rest of the list. And maybe the Chef will come back with new questions.

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: Where do you plan to go on vacation this year, or where would you want to go?
It's a little late for vacation this year. The holidays are coming up and we do a lot of traveling back and forth to our hometown, although I don't know if that counts as a vacation. We are going to NJ for a weekend, if that counts. For a real vacation though, I'd have to say Maine. I'm pretty much always going to say Maine.

Soup: What color is your bedroom? If you could redecorate it, what would you change?
Right now, it's yellow. It's a somewhat inoffensive yellow, so I can live with it, but it will get changed. The sitting room (attached to the bedroom) is maroon and yellow, and not as McDonald's as it sounds, but still not my taste. We'll probably paint the bedroom some shade of coffee and going with dark brown furniture. DH and I are big fans of using neutral colors on the wall and adding color with accessories you can change out.

Salad: Do you have a bumper sticker on your vehicle? If not, make one up!
I like reading them on other people's cars, but I do not want one on my own. Probably the last sticker sort of thing I had on my car was one of those clear ones with the name of my college that you see in the back windows of cars. DH wants one of those Darwin fish though.

Main Course: What's the worst pain you've ever been in?
Physically, I have a very low threshold of pain, so it's all bad to me, but probably the worst was right after my tonsil surgery. Thankfully, they give you the good stuff at the pharmacy, so it was bearable.

Dessert: Who is your favorite celebrity? What do they do that inspires you?
Russell Crowe is my favorite movie star celebrity, and really all he has to do is NOT be in a movie with Meg Ryan and that's enough for me. DH and I do watch a lot of football, and I have a great appreciation for players such as Jason Witten that are involved in programs to get kids to be more active.
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness

Dr. Susan Love was interviewed on the news tonight and I thought I would share since there are so many stitchers involved in breast cancer related causes and issues. This research initiative wants to recruit women of all ages, ethnicities, sizes, and shapes, and both women who have had breast cancer and women who have not.

From their Website: ArmyofWomen.org

The Love/Avon Army of Women offers a revolutionary new opportunity for YOU to partner with research scientists to move us beyond a cure.

Breast cancer has been around for decades, but it does not have to be our future. We can be the generation that eliminates breast cancer by identifying what causes this disease and stopping it before it starts. This is your chance to be part of the research that will end breast cancer. Sign up for your sister, mother, daughter, granddaughter, best friend, and the woman you met last week.
Help us eradicate breast cancer once and for all. Join the Army of Women today!
Monday, September 29, 2008

Fair and Square Received!

Michele emailed me on Saturday to let me know that she received my Round #9 squares and that she really liked them! (I'm so glad - I was a little nervous stitching for someone else, but now that I've seen how much fun the F&S is, I've signed up for 2 more rounds!)

This is what I sent Michele:

Manuela's Sunflower by Chatelaine Designs
Stitched over 2 on 32 ct. Bone evenweave with DMC and GAST threads
Signature Square from Bread Cloth leaflet

The original pattern called for a green border, but since Michele's favorite color is red, I had to change it. I was concerned it might look funny at first, but once it was all stitched up, I was really pleased with the color change. And the sunflowers on the signature square came from a bread cloth leaflet I had. All in all, I think the squares came out great, and I'm so glad Michele likes them!

I also sent Michele a matching scissor fob, complete with a sunflower charm. When I saw the little packet of garden charms, I knew the sunflower one would be perfect for her. I had these beads in my stash for a little while now - I was inspired by some pieces I had purchased as gifts for my 2 interns when they finished the program. I got them each a set of earrings and a matching illusion necklace, and I liked the pieces I bought so much, I ordered beads for myself. (Of course, I have yet to make any jewelry for me from them, but they sure did come in handy for this project!)

Other than that, DH and I had a busy weekend. His 96 year old grandmother was hospitalized on Friday with complications from spinal fractures and a blocked esophagus, and had a procedure done today. Needless to say she hasn't been in the best of moods and it's been tough on my MIL, so we drove home on Saturday morning to give her a little bit of a break. My BIL, SIL and the kids came in as well, so it definitely cheered Grandma up, and gave my MIL a much needed diversion. Grandma's procedure went well today, so we're hoping she will get a little better every day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My PIF Gift from Yuko

Yuko's blog was among the first I discovered when I started blogging, and I have admired her work (and her gorgeous pictures!) from the very beginning. When she offered up a PIF on her blog, I was absolutely thrilled to be selected as one of her recipients, and let me tell you, she DOES NOT disappoint!!!!

Just look at the lovely package she put together for me!!

Yuko included a postcard from where she lives, tea, fabrics, ribbon, buttons, a candle, the most adorable little spoon with a shamrock on top (and she didn't even know I am half Irish!), and most importantly, a gorgeous handstitched piece!!

Little Angel In The Clouds" by Heart In Hand
stitched on 32ct linen, by recommended DMC

You can't even believe how stunningly gorgeous and perfect her work is in person. Her pictures are lovely, but to see the piece up close is really amazing, and I am so honored to now own a piece of her stitching. Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear Yuko!!! I will treasure it always!!!!

Be sure to stop by her blog and check out the pictures she took - they're so much nicer than mine. Yuko has quite an artistic eye! Also, she's doing a second round of PIFs, with recipients to be chosen October 5th.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My very first Fair & Square Exchange

French Country Bunny by JBW Designs
Stitched by Michele with Sugar Maple Floss in Candy Floss
Fair & Square Exchange, Round #9

Isn't he adorable? Michele stitched this for me for my very first F&S Exchange and he arrived yesterday. I LOVE it - and I already know what I'll be doing with these squares. They'll be made into an ornament for my Bride's Tree collection that I am technically working on (but the project has fallen a bit by the wayside.) This fulfills the rabbit ornament, and it's even more special having been stitched by my new friend Michele.

Michele also included a cute little tin of mints featuring photos of the Seattle area. I've never visited the West Coast, but it's definitely on my list of places to see (do you know how many lighthouses are out there? LOTS!) and I hope to include Seattle in my journies some day. The mint tin will be perfect as a needle case once the mints are gone and a bit of sticky back magnetic sheet is installed. I think it will fit neatly into one of the mesh pockets in my traveling stitching bag.

I also finished up the stitching on Michele's squares, and photographed them this morning, so they'll be going out in the mail tomorrow. I am absolutely thrilled with them and I can't wait to share pictures, but of course, Michele gets to see them first.

As for me today, it's Sunday, and you know what that means. Football. Plus my beloved Dallas Cowboys are the Sunday Night game, so I'm excited about that. Can I tell you how absolutely annoyed and disappointed I was that they had to play on Monday night? I cannot STAND the crew that does the MNF broadcast on ESPN and I was happy to see we only had one Monday Night game this season. Tony Kornheiser annoys me in ways I can't even describe, and I'm not a big Jaws fan, although he's tolerable when Kornheiser is not around. Kornheiser is just awful - he's not funny, he knows very little about football and he NEVER SHUTS UP. Ugh. It's enough to make me insane. I even prefer John Madden to Kornheiser. It will be a happy day for football fans everywhere when they fire him from the MNF broadcast.
Friday, September 12, 2008

The Hard Way is on the move again...

From the US to the Netherlands, back to the US again. Where it will end up this time is anyone's guess, but if you're interested in reading it, pop on over to Teresa's blog and get signed up for her drawing!

And if by some crazy chance you're not acquainted with Teresa, have a look around and check out her blog. Teresa not only does lovely work, but her love and her devotion to her extended family, especially her mom and elderly uncle, is truly inspiring. Stop over and say hello - you won't be disappointed!
Thursday, September 11, 2008

Doing inventory

I've been sorting out my charts and trying to get them organized. I've also been trying to capture a little more information on my stitched pieces. Before I started blogging, I didn't really keep track of fabrics, fibers, finishing dates, etc., but I've been trying to be more dilligent about recording that stuff. When I stitch, I use plastic page protectors for my charts (or copies of charts), and when I'm done, I file everything in the sleeve and store stitched charts in binders (so I have more room for stash in my stash boxes!) I try to remember to note the modifications I've made, put a date (usually on the color insert for the chart), and in a couple of them, I've even put in the labeled bag the fabric came in.

I've also tried to keep track of these things on my blog as well, and I ran across a piece I did, but don't think I've featured here.

Happy Home by Blue Ribbon Designs
Stitched on 32 ct. Belfast Antique Ivory
with DMC and WDW threads

I stitched this for a long time friend of mine and her husband when they bought their first home. If you look at the original pattern, you'll see that I made some modifications to it. Instead of stitching the alphabet, I stitched in their name and the year they were married (established).

I've gone back and forth on that subject - is a family established when they buy their home or when they get married? I finally decided that it's the year they get married, and I find another way to commemorate the purchase of their first home. In this instance, I stitched the town and state, and the date they purchased the home under the house itself. I think it worked out well this way.

I also framed it myself using a frame from PictureFrames.com. If you haven't used them, I highly recommend them.
Thursday, September 4, 2008

For stitchers in the Greater Philadelphia Area

I just got this announcement in my email newsletter from The Strawberry Sampler...

WEDNESDAY, September 17th

Jacqueline Holdsworth, the lady who has brought us these incredible historical designs will be visiting us from England. This is a once in a lifetime experience. We don't know specifics .... as in time (day or evening). We WILL have a kit available for purchase that she will be demonstrating.
If you have plenty of your own supplies, and don't feel you need to purchase a kit...please contact us at
610-358-9145 OR 800-634-6106
or at our email at shop@strawberrysampler.com
for specifics. There will be NO CHARGE for attending this lecture and demonstration...only the kit cost. PLEASE...PLEASE don't put this off.

I know it's short notice...but you will be awed by Jacqueline's knowledge that she will share with us! Samplers have been a way of recording our history...and Jacqueline will not disappoint. You will feel a kinship to those women who used needle and thread so many years before us. She will bring with her over 500 images of Museum Pieces that we will view in a Power Point Presentation.

Look for more specifics to come as we get them...but call or email now to reserve your spot as spaces will be limited!

Bent Creek's I Do.... I'm DONE!

This is the piece that everyone voted on for the wedding we're going to on Friday. I'm SO pleased with how it came out, but I'm frustrated by the frame because I can't get the back in with the double mat and the mounting board. I'll have to have DH work on it a little. I guess that will teach me to buy pre-made frames that are really just meant for photos!

Bent Creek's "I Do"
stitched over 2 on 28 ct. Navy Bean linen with DMC, GAST and WDW Threads

I decided I liked the look of their names better than their initials, so I was glad their names were relatively short. I also went darker with the leaf and letter colors, and if I were to stitch it again, I might have chosen a brighter green color for the "I Do" instead of the blue, but I think it looks nice this way as well. It was definitely a fun and easy stitch, and I'd stitch it again if the occasion called for it. Since it goes together so quickly, it's a nice chart to keep on hand for future gifts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ta DAH!!!!!!

My Needle and My Floss, They Comfort Me
Waxing Moon Designs #119

Stitched on 28 ct. natural linen with DMC, GAST and WDW threads

I finished up the last few stitches this afternoon and got the camera out to take some pictures. Don't tell my MIL though - she's been bugging me since January to send her the pictures I took at Christmas and I still haven't gotten around to doing it. (To be fair, though, I detest sending out photos without fixing issues like red eye and such, and it takes a lot more time to do that than it does to take a stitching picture, which is why she hasn't gotten them yet.)

As you can see, I made some color changes to suit my own personal tastes. Since blue is my favorite color, naturally, I had to go with some variation on that. It took me a little bit to figure out which blue, since I was thinking about going with a dark blue and grey color scheme, till DH pointed out that the lettering wouldn't show up on her skirt if I used a darker blue for it, and if I changed the lettering to a lighter color to contrast with the skirt, it wouldn't show up as nice on the linen. DRAT!! What to do, what to do? Why, go with a lighter color scheme, of course!

Picking out the hair color was hard - I knew I wanted to do a dark auburn hair to match mine, and pale skin (which ended up not contrasting as much with the other lighter colors as I would have liked but it doesn't look as blended IRL). Now to get her framed up and hanging.

And now it is my duty to pass this pattern on to the next stitcher. I had 31 stitchers eager to join the Sisterhood, but alas, the pattern can only go to one stitcher at a time. And the winner is....

CJ from Tea and Stitches. CJ, I'll be leaving you a comment on your blog as well, but please email me at sweetpeastitches @ yahoo.com with your mailing address and I'll get it out to you ASAP. Ladies, you'll want to keep an eye on CJ's blog so when the pattern is up for grabs again, you can be ready.

History of the Sisterhood:

Harmien in the Netherlands (November 3, 2007, scroll down)
Sent it to Lili in France (June 15, 2007)
Who sent it to Barbara in Malaysia (June 25, 2007)
Who sent it to Tessa in Australia (July 16, 2007)
Who sent it to Lizzie in North Carolina, U.S. (February 26, 2008)
Who sent it to Barbara in the Netherlands (March 11, 2008)
Who sent it to Sarah (no blog) in Ohio, U.S. (April 11, 2008)
Who sent it to Anna in Pennsylvania, U.S. (June 2008)
Who sent it to Wendy in Ontario, Canada (July 4, 2008)
Who sent it to Sue in Michigan, U.S. (August 2, 2008)
Who sent it to Jennifer in Pennsylvania, U.S. (September 2, 2008)
Who sent it to CJ in Texas, U.S.

Labor Day Weekend

I had been planning on sneaking in a few last stitches on the Sisterhood pattern, but we had company over the weekend and it was almost non-stop action.

My ILs came down Saturday morning, and while DH and my FIL went to pick up the patio set we bought (there was no way we were getting it in either of our cars, but my FIL has an SUV), my MIL and I finished up the preparations for the party on Sunday. Then Saturday night, my BIL, SIL and the kids came down from NY and we had a pizza party. DH and I make homemade pizza on an almost weekly basis, so the family was treated to three different kinds of pizza and stromboli. I don't mean to brag, but my husband makes a KILLER stromboli. Pretty much everything was devoured, including the white bean dip I made to tide everyone over while the pizza was baking.

And if that wasn't enough, we celebrated our niece and nephew's birthdays with cake and presents on the patio. (No, they're actually not twins. He turned four 2 weeks ago, she'll be six in 2 weeks, so we always celebrate their birthdays on Labor Day Weekend).

Then Sunday, some of the extended family came down for a cookout. DH purchased a smoker this summer, so we invited everyone down for BBQ ribs and brisket.

Now, as much as we love Alton Brown, I have to give his rib recipe two big thumbs down when doing them on the smoker. They were fine when we used his rib rub recipe and did the ribs in the oven, but we used it the last time we did them on the smoker and it was too salty / spicy. (DH made it, so yes, everything was measured correctly, not like my throw it all in and see how it tastes approach). This time, we went simple. I followed the recipe for Apple City Baby Back Ribs and it was FANTASTIC!!! I highly, highly recommend this recipe. The only thing we skipped was the intermediate rub step (DH had them on the smoker before I could get to them), and with just a touch of salt, the ribs were outstanding. This is a KEEPER recipe.

The brisket turned out great as well, and there was plenty of BBQ food - beans, coleslaw, and corn casserole (like a cornbread with sour cream and cheese). Everyone had a great time, and loved the new house. This was the first time anyone other than my ILs had seen it, so we had fun giving the grand tours. After the extended family left, my ILs helped clean up, and I was on bath duty with the kids. Naturally, they had to check out the great big tub with the jets, and they had a blast in it. (There were bubbles everywhere!) My BIL and SIL wanted to get home that night, so they packed up the kids and left, and the ILs stayed for another night. Since it was all adults, there were a few bottles of wine involved and some funny stories out on the patio. The wine was great. The biting insects? Not so much!

All in all, we had a great time, and thus concludes my explanation as to why I am just getting around to posting my completed Sisterhood pattern..... and picking a winner!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pattern

As some of you know, there's a pattern by Waxing Moon Designs called "My Needle and My Floss, They Comfort Me" that has been making the rounds from one stitcher to the next.

Anna (aka Stitch Bitch) plotted the journeys of this chart, and gathered up links to the pictures:

Harmien in the Netherlands (November 3, 2007, scroll down)
Sent it to Lili in France (June 15, 2007),
Who sent it to Barbara in Malaysia (June 25, 2007)
Who sent it to Tessa in Australia (July 16, 2007)
Who sent it to Lizzie in North Carolina, U.S. (February 26, 2008)
Who sent it to Barbara in the Netherlands (March 11, 2008)
Who sent it to Sarah (no blog) in Ohio, U.S. (April 11, 2008)
Who sent it to Anna in Pennsylvania, U.S. (June 2008)
Who sent it to Wendy in Ontario, Canada (July 4, 2008)
Who sent it to Sue in Michigan, U.S. (August 2, 2008)
Who sent it to Jennifer in Pennsylvania, U.S.

I've been stitching away on it the last couple nights, and it's coming along well. The hardest part for me was making the color changes, which you'll get to see as soon as I get off my lazy duff and take a photo to post. For now, suffice it to say that my DH was most helpful in the color selection, pointing out that you wouldn't be able to see the lettering if I went with my original plan to make the dress dark blue. Nice catch! So I went with another shade of blue and I think it will turn out great.

In the meantime, I'll be taking names for stitchers interested in joining the Sisterhood, and drawing a winner early next week, probably Monday or Tuesday (we're having company this weekend, so it won't be before then). The only requirement for receiving this chart is that you must pass on the original chart in a timely fashion to the next stitcher. I will send the chart anywhere in the world, so if you'd like to join the Sisterhood and can promise the chart will continue its journies, leave your name and a method of contacting you (blog, email) as a comment on THIS POST.

And it's not a requirement, but it would be nice to take Anna's archiving and add on as each stitcher joins the Sisterhood, and post the links in your own blog when you receive the chart.

BFF Award from Meari

Another award has come my way, this one courtesy of Meari. (If you haven't seen her blog, you must check it out. She's hilarious!)

Here are the rules:
1. Only five people allowed.
2. 4 of them have to be dedicated followers of your blog and 1 has to be new and live in another part of the world.
3. You have to link back to who gave you the award.

Today's nominees are:

Janaina - The Stitcher in the Green Bikini
Cathey - Pumpkin Patch & Co.
Teresa - Sew Many Thoughts
Wendy - Wendy ~ Home At Work
Von - On the Dry Side
Friday, August 22, 2008

SBQ: Fabric and Floss

8/21/2008: If you had to choose, would you rather spend money on overdyed floss or hand-dyed fabric? (Submitted by Dawn)

Good question. I have yet to stitch on hand dyed fabric as it has been too expensive for me. My former LNS only sold it in pre-cut packages and I could never seem to justify the expense of it. However, my new LNS custom cuts fabrics for projects and sells grab bags of the off cuts. One of my recent purchases contained a piece of the hand dyed fabric, so I will see if I like stitching on it.

For now, I'd prefer to spend the money on the floss, but only some of the flosses. If I can use a DMC alternative, I'm happy with that, and will tend to spend money on overdyeds that are more varigated. If you can't tell the difference between a $ .35 skein of DMC and a $2.25 skein of overdyed, I'd rather purchase the DMC. Although I do admit that sometimes I can be swayed by a cool name for an overdyed!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Award

Kim, Terry, and Patty all gave me this very cool award, and Dianne gave it back. Thanks, ladies!!!

The rules of the award are:

1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.

I have well over 200 blogs in my Google Reader, and if I didn't like them, I wouldn't read them. (Basically, I love ALL your blogs). I also try to leave comments on occasion so people know their blogs are being read. So whenever I pass on an award, I like to highlight blogs some of the blogs that I read, but definitely not all of them. I think people are more prone to click on a link within a post rather than for me to say, "Hey, check out my side bar."

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Go check out these seven blogs:
And a BONUS site every stitcher should be familiar with, The LNS Report Card. Take a moment to check it out and add some comments about stores you've had experience with, just to keep the list updated. It's nice to have a resource for checking out potential LNS and ONS, and if you don't see one you shop at listed, be sure to contact the moderator, Genie. She's usually quick to respond and will get shops added to the list as needed.

Answers to The Movie Quiz

1. Grosse Pointe Blank - Love this movie. Love the soundtrack (both volumes). I love this movie so much I can almost quote the entire thing. Sometimes those quotes randomly work themselves into my every day conversation. Once, a salesperson asked me what I did for a living. "Professional killer" almost slipped out. LOL

2. 10 Things I Hate About You - Another awesome soundtrack. Fantastic movie. Don't automatically dismiss it as a teen movie. It's quite clever.

3. Mystery, Alaska - Two words. Russell Crowe. I love Russell Crowe.

4. Pretty Woman - A classic.

5. Love, Actually - Fascinating story, wonderful editing.

6. Billy Madison - Another movie I can quote from beginning to end, and often do. Don't ask. It's a sickness. And inevitably, my answer to the question "What's today?" is "October?"

7. A Beautiful Mind - Another Russell Crowe, but it's still an incredible movie. Even once you know what the plot twist is, it still manages to make you believe.

8. How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days - Saw this in the theater and laughed so hard I almost hyperventilated. Bought it on DVD the day it came out

9. Empire Records - Another rockin soundtrack, and highly quotable movie. "Veeeee-to!" has been uttered on more than one occasion.

10. The Princess Bride - So much fun to watch

11. Center Stage - Sasha Radetsky. If you don't know who he is, you should. Another movie I saw in the theater and bought the day it came out.

12. Playing By Heart - Gillian Anderson, Sean Connery, Jon Stewart, Jay Mohr, Anthony Edwards, Gena Rowlands and more. Incredible cast, extremely watchable, and how can any Sean Connery movie be bad?

13. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - I've loved this movie since jr. high. It's also one of DH's favorite movies. But we're irreverant like that....

14. Sex and the City Movie - Saw it in the theater, but only after reading spoilers to make sure Carrie and Big ended up together.

15. The Wedding Date - Debra Messing and Dermott Mulroney. Hot, hot, hot.
Friday, August 15, 2008

A movie quiz

I spotted this fun little quiz on both Mindy and Dianne's blogs, so I played along with theirs and made up my own. If you know any of them, leave a quote in the comments.

The rules are as follows:
1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions.
5. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.

If you don't know what IMDB is, definitely check it out. It's one of my favorite sites!

And here come the quotes!

1. Where ya been these last ten years?
Yeah, where ya been, "Marv"?
Ya look great!
Thanks. I work at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Ya do not!
I do! I sell biscuits and gravy all over the southland.
You're so funny.
He's a funny guy.

2. Hello, Katarina. Make anyone cry today?
Sadly, no. But it's only 4:30.

3. A Zamboni? Wow, I'm getting wet just thinkin' about it.

4. Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.

5. I've come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person - because I hardly knows you - but sometimes things are so transparency, they don't need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England.

6. what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

7. So what's your story? You the poor kid that never got to go to Exeter or Andover?
Despite my privileged upbringing, I'm actually quite well-balanced. I have a chip on both shoulders.

8. If you are gonna name my... member, you have to name it something hyper masculine. Something like Spike, or Butch, or Krull the Warrior King!

9. Well "Sinead O'Rebellion." Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior.
God, that is so clever. I swear you get smarter the shorter your skirt gets.

10. Have fun stormin' da castle.
Think it'll work?
It would take a miracle.

11. I do ballet because it has nothing to do with the people. Give me tiaras and boys in tights any day.

12. Talking about love is like dancing about architecture

13. Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

14. Ever Thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours

15. Well thank you for including me in this timeless feminine ritual. Here's to the husbands who've won you, the losers who've lost you, and the lucky bastards who've yet to meet you.