Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Feast #181

Appetizer: Who was the last person you hugged?
My husband

Soup: Share a beauty or grooming trick or tip with us.
I have a MILLION of these!! Mixing a little baking soda in with your regular facial cleanser turns it into a gentle exfoliator / scrub. Also, a little baking soda mixed with your regular shampoo strips out gunk from hairspray and styling products. (Here's a weird little fact about me - I LOVE tips and tricks. I collect them and am a font of all kinds of interesting information on how to do stuff)

Salad:What does the color yellow make you think of?
Depends on what shade of yellow. I usually think of yellow squash or crayons

Main Course: If you were to make your living as a photographer, what subject would your pictures revolve around?
Lighthouses, beaches and nature in general. Maybe some candids. I don't really like posed pictures - I prefer when people aren't paying attention when I am holding a camera

Dessert: What was the longest book you ever read?
I've read several that were over 700 or 800 pages long. I think one of the Harry Potters was that long and I've read them all. And I have an english degree, so I am sure I've read some really LONG books.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SBQ: Stitching Weaknesses

2/26/08: What is your cross stitch weakness? (i.e., What do you have to have when you see it, even if you are supposed to be on the Wagon?) (Submitted by Rachel)

Like Kathryn, I cannot resist a sale. Well, I can, but it's extremely difficult and usually involves physical restraint. But you take 10, 20, 30% off, and I am salivating at the thought. I also have a hard time resisting things that have personal meaning to me, or something that connects with an inside joke, such as the Sue Hillis Chart, "Love You More". I'm pretty picky about what I like personally, though I have a weakness for Celtic designs or lighthouses. I comfort myself with putting it on my wishlist, which is ALMOST as good as buying it, but not quite. And if it's something I think I won't be able to get later or is a limited edition, I usually end up buying it.

But by far my biggest weakness is colored flosses, mostly because they're relatively inexpensive and I can buy a couple without breaking the bank. I just cannot resist pretty colors, especially shades of blue (my favorite color). Sometimes I have no idea what I'm going to stitch with them, I just know I need to have them.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Look what I got!!!

My stitching buddy Kim sent this to me - it arrived yesterday:

Isn't it cool? It's a little hard to see (it's really very cloudy out and the light isn't good) but it's a LIGHTHOUSE!!! (Kim knows that I am lighthouse obsessed) It's absolutely adorable - I love it! She SAYS it's all my fault for leading her down the path of temptation by sending her this website: Knitting Patterns Central. Hee hee! I always tell her I am an enabler. She never listens. LOL

And speaking of my enabling, I also pointed her in the direction of a going out of business sale at Lena Rose, where many of you took advantage of a $22 grab bag and ended up with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff. One of the goodies Kim sent my way was a cute little Mill Hill stocking. I've never done a Mill Hill kit before, so it should be a LOT of fun. Thanks, Kim!!

I also made some progress on my Carriage House Sampling's "Acorns and Threads".

I was starting to feel a little all over the place working on a whole bunch of different ornaments, so I thought I'd shift focus onto one singular piece and work on that for a while. There are 2 designs included in the chart, so this is the smaller of the two. I'm stitching over 2 on 36 ct. Creme Brulee (I think) with GAST Dark Chocolate and either Chamomile or Apple Cider. So far, it's just the Dark Chocolate.

I like this pattern - I like the repetitive stitching. It's very soothing. I might be crying when I hit the back stitching part, but I do it a little at a time so it's not so overwhelming at the end.

In other news, one of my best friends, Julie, just found out that she got a great review in Publisher's Weekly of her first book, The Hard Way. I can't even tell you how EXCITED I am for her - she's worked for a long time on this, and I am so, so, so proud of her. And yes, you CAN pre-order it in advance of the May 27, 2008, publication date. In fact, if you do order it, let me know and I can hook you up with an autograph from the author herself. How cool is that?

And finally, I got an email yesterday from a my childhood friend, Becky. She and her husband are expecting their first child this September and I am so thrilled for them. Becky and I have been friends for a very long time - we grew up across the street from each other. She and her husband (and the rest of her family) are just over the moon excited about the new baby. And lucky girl that she is, she's been feeling pretty good for her first trimester, so fingers crossed for a healthy, problem free pregnancy and delivery!

Monday, February 25, 2008

This weekend's stitching and finishing

I did a whole bunch (for me, anyway) of stitching and finishing this weekend on some ornaments. I may have bitten off more than I can chew in the way of Bride's Tree Ornaments, seeing as how I am trying to make 3 sets, one of which needs to be completed by an August 1st wedding date. Another of the sets is for myself, so I don't have any problems backburnering that one for a little bit to make progress on the others. (And the house I picked for January is much more complicated than I originally thought.)

I did finish two house pieces into ornaments. The one on the left is for my best friend and her husband (name intentionally blurred). It's a free chart from Maryse, which I modified to include their name instead of the month. I also added the year. I originally had this set up as a padded ornament with cording, but the stitching wasn't centered, and I got so frustrated I took the ornament apart. The ornament I glued together. With hot glue. Which I will probably never do again. I ended up turning it into a little pillow ornament which is cute, but a little disappointing to me because it wasn't what I originally wanted. However, it's stitched over 1 on 25 ct. linen and I won't be stitching it again any time soon. I think it turned out okay.

The one on the right is a freebie from Chartmakers, House on a Hill. I backed the ornament with a brown calico-like fabric which turned out nice with the black cording. (Again I modified the design to change the year and the initials to those of the couple.) I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

I also finished an ornament for myself - a Princess ornament! This was a freebie by Lorraine Niesy I found on Cyberstitchers. I'm making three of these in different colors - one for me, one for my niece and one for my cousin. All three of us are "Princesses" (Nevermind that the 5 year old is probably the only one who should be called princess. LOL) I did mine in my favorite colors of blue and silver, added a little silver crown and some star sequins. I stitched it together with a beaded edging during the Oscars, and yes, it took me almost the whole ceremony to stitch it. This was my first time whip stitching with beads, and guess what? It's harder than it looks!!! (I hope it gets easier with practice!). One down, two to go!!

In the Category of Finished but Unfinished, the single nominee (at least the only one I can show for now) is Christmas Hearts by Just Nan. Yep, another freebie pattern. I'm trying to stitch as many ornaments as I can from the hundreds of freebies I've collected - with keeps stash buying to a minimum and accounts for all those hours of freebie hunting and organizing.

And another pattern I modified. I wasn't thrilled with the pinkish purple called for in the pattern, especially since I wanted to use red DMC Rayon thread for the hearts, so I substituted 2 shades of golden yellow DMC floss. I also used WDW Hunter and Holly for the green, and generic gold seed beads for the beading part (I modified placement of the beads.) I am IN LOVE with the Rhodes heart, and am looking forward to stitching more of them. I also found that 2 strands of the rayon made the satin stitch hearts a little fuller and much nicer. This was SUCH a fun stitch and I absolutely love the way it turned out. I'm going to finish it by framing it in a mini wooden hoop and turning it into an ornament for one of the Bride's Tree sets, but I'll definitely stitch this one again for us, probably with a slightly different color combination. (And yes, the thought of stitching it in shades of blue and silver crossed my mind!)
Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Feast #180

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet for Your Brain

Appetizer: Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone? If so, what did you do and who was your victim?
When we were kids, we used to think it was pretty funny to wrap the toilet seat in plastic wrap and switch salt for sugar (and vice versa) on April Fool's Day. (As an adult, I can see how that's really not that funny.)

Soup: What do your salt and pepper shakers look like?

Well, there are the ones on my table which are pretty boring, cut glass with silver metal tops. Don't get too excited - they're from the dollar store. I also have OXO pepper and salt grinders in the kitchen. (I don't even know why I have a regular pepper shaker because I prefer fresh ground pepper.) I am seriously considering getting a regular pepper grinder because this one has a habit of coming open when I am grinding and more than once has spread a wave of peppercorns over my food.


I would probably like some fanicer crystal ones - like these that I am madly in love with - to go with my china some day, but that's a ways off. Why yes, they ARE lighthouses (by Lenox)


Salad: Where is the next place you plan to visit (on vacation or business)?
Good question. Outside of my local tri-state area (which we tend to explore on weekends), the next place I will probably go will be our hometown at the end of March for Easter, followed by Long Island for the Lighthouse Challenge in May.

Main Course: What kind of lotion or cream do you use to keep your hands from getting too dry?
I LOVE Bath and Bodyworks Vanilla Bean Noel, especially the body cream. I put some on every night to keep my hands from drying up. I'm also a big fan of their body butter, but I don't know if they make it any more. In a pinch, I use Neutrogena Hand cream - the super concentrated stuff.

Dessert: Make up a dessert, tell us its ingredients, and give it a name.
Well, there would have to be chocolate - probably dark or bittersweet - involved, preferably in the form of a dense, fudgy flourless cake, raspberries (fresh AND raspberry sauce), and whipped cream (fresh, if you please). Hmmmm.... this sounds remarkably like the Valentine's Day Cake my DH made for me one year. It was hands down the best dessert I have ever had.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SBQ Time

2/13/08: Do you have any projects that you have scrapped and started over? What made you start over from scratch? (Submitted by Loretta)

I have one that I scrapped, but I don't intend on finishing it or starting it over. It's The Wedding Sampler by Design Connection. I started it and then lost touch with the person it was for. It's now unfinished and I'd be willing to pass along the chart and whatever I have done on it. Other than that, there's nothing that I've started over.


And now for some oldies but goodies...

4/19/07: Are you on “The Wagon?” If so, how long have you been on and how “serious” are you about it? If not, have you considered it? (Submitted by Danielle)

I'm pretty good (I think) about my stash, so I don't force myself to be "on the wagon". It's not all over the place, but I am just about at capacity for my storage space. I limit myself to 2 underbed storage boxes for the bulk of my stitching stash, plus a few binders and my floss. Sure, I have a TON of stuff on my wishlist, and I will occasionally treat myself to a few new fibers (every single time I go in the LNS) but I think I'm fairly under control. I do work pretty hard at avoiding temptation by staying off a lot of websites for "stuff" like fabrics and fibers. I think that's my real danger area because I love looking at different colors and I think, "Oh I can definitely use this for SOMETHING!" instead of "What will I do with / Where will I put / who will I give this to?" I can get in a lot more trouble if I don't have a specific idea in mind.


4/5/07: How do you decide which stitching blogs are worth repeat and/or regular viewings? Are there certain things you look for in particular? Are there things you wish there were more of? Less of? Is your blog a good example of what you like to read? (Submitted by Heather)

I subscribe to a LOT of blogs, so how picky can I be, really? LOL I started out subscribing to every cross stitching blog I could find, not realizing how many of them there are. As I've read and gotten more familiar with them, I've added and subtracted from my list so that most of what I read is of interest to me. My favorites are those that have plenty of stitching content, especially of things that are similar to my tastes. I've also developed relationships with fellow bloggers by interacting with them, so their blogs are always of interest to me. Also, I give a blog at least 5-6 readings before I decide to cut it from my list - sometimes a blogger has an off day or whatever, and I like to give them a fair chance. I've discovered many new designs and designers by looking at things that are different from my usual tastes.

I love tutorials and how-tos, so I appreciate when stitchers take the time to show how they've done something. I also appreciate it when a stitcher lists the designer and the flosses they've used (not so much the fabrics). I've made many additions to my wish list because of pretty things on other blogs.

I think my blog is a pretty good example of blogs I like to read. I try to keep the stitching content high (and posts interesting), provide useful links to cross stitching resources, and inject a little of my own personality into the blog. I don't think anyone wants to read endless posts of "Hi, I stitched this. Here are pictures." I like to know a little bit about the stitcher, what made them choose the pattern, what they plan on doing with it, etc.

And I hope I don't offend anyone, but I could do with fewer blinkies and mish-mash pages. One of the reasons I've more or less abandoned message boards (and LOVE using a reader) is that I don't have to look at all kinds of crazy signatures with blinkies and glitter text and such.
Monday, February 18, 2008

This is going to the TOP of my Wish list...

Yesterday, DH and I took a ride down to Cape May, NJ, for an antiques show. Well, the show turned out to be rather small, and we blew through it in under 30 minutes. The weather was cloudy, but on the warm side (warmer than some of our previous off season trips to the Jersey shore!), so we walked around Cape May for a while. If you've never been there, it's a very cute, Victorian-styled sea side town on the southern tip of New Jersey.

We stopped in at Stitch by Stitch, which was very nice. I had wanted to stop in when we were there before, but we never managed to be there when the shop was open. Luckily, it was open yesterday. HOLY COW do they have a lot of stuff in there!! I didn't know where to look first! (BTW, the picture on their website is deceptive - it's not nearly as big as it looks.) It was a little hard to maneuver around the spinning racks of charts, and some of the spinning racks are blocking the stuff that's hanging on the walls. Fortunately, the owner was there and she has a very good grasp on her inventory. She was able to find a chart we were looking for right away, but the size of the store just isn't conducive to easy browsing.

She does, however, have an IMPRESSIVE collection of fibers, fabrics and beads, plus all kinds of neat tools. If the shop were just a little bigger with a little more room, I probably could have spent a lot more time (and money!) in there, but I guess with beach town real estate being so pricey, she has to fit as much as she can into a limited space.

While poking around, I came across an M Designs Tree of Cape May. I didn't purchase that one (we did come home with a different nautical chart, of course!), but it did prompt me to check out the M Designs website. Did you know you could get a PERSONALIZED M Designs tree with either a first name or a last name? I think they're the neatest designs, and I'm definitely going to have to order one with our last name on it - seeing as how it will work for us, my ILs and my BIL and SIL for a Christmas ornament. :-D First names are $12, last names are $24 (unless your last name is a common first name, and then it's $12), plus there's a 2-8 week turn around time.

I am so going to have to order one of these for Christmas next year. As you might have guessed, I really like to stitch very personal pieces - whether it's the theme or adding a name or whatever. I think it adds so much to a piece when it's so personal.
Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tag... You're it!

Charlene tagged me on her blog, Needle in Hand, to post 7 things about myself that people may not know, following the rules below. So I'll start with my seven weird or random facts, and then tag my fellow bloggers.

1. I love rocks. I love to collect them, and I have a favorite rock on my desk. I also have several small jars of interesting pebbles, larger jars filled with pebbles that I use for bookends, and a small jar of polished minerals and semi-precious stones that I keep on my desk to help me focus.

2. I don’t particularly care for vegetables, though I do like broccoli and eggplant. I prefer vegetables to be very browned (grilled, roasted, etc.) I won’t eat asparagus, or anything asparagus has touched. I do not eat iceberg lettuce or the ribs of romaine lettuce.

3. I fall asleep in the passenger seat of the car. As a consequence, I really have no concept of how long it takes to get somewhere or how far away things are.

4. I don’t like Halloween. Neither does my husband, so we make it a point to go out to dinner that night. (Mostly I don’t like children coming to my door demanding things).

5. I love rearranging furniture and organizing things. I will come to your house and do it for free

6. I think physical comedy like Jackass is hysterical. But I don’t think the Three Stooges are funny.

7. I have over a thousand books in my house, most of them in pristine condition. I am obsessive about the condition of my books and rarely lend them out.

And now, the rules....


THE RULES:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Since I just tagged a few people for Making My Day, I'm going to pick 7 different people that I haven't tagged before. And now the 7 bloggers I'm tagging:

Chiloe
Laurel
Monique
Patty
Courtney
Linda
Janaina

(If you've already done this, you don't have to do it again, but let me know if you do do it so I can come and see!)

How to Organize your Printed Freebies... and other charts

Based on some of the comments on my last organizational post, I started thinking about how to organize printed freebies, and it occurred to me that a method I used for planning our wedding would work just as well for printed freebies.

Instead of being buried by an avalanche of wedding magazines and spending lots of time flipping through endless advertisements to find what I wanted, I started tearing out what I liked and filing it in a binder. (What was left over of the magazine I passed on or recycled). By using page protectors, tab dividers and a sturdy 3 ring binder, I was able to eliminate a lot of clutter and keep all my useful things in one place.

First things first - gather up all the stuff you want to file. You can do this with printed freebies, charts you haven't stitched yet, charts you've stitched, whatever. This method will work for all printed charts. Round it all up and go through what you've got. This is a good time to weed out what you no longer want or need and duplicates. Set those things aside to give away or sell, then start categorizing what's left in a way that makes sense to you. Do you want to sort by designer / publisher (Just Nan, Bent Creek, Little House Needleworks, etc.) or by theme (Christmas, Quaker, animals, baby, etc.) One set of labels will not work for everyone, so choose a system that works for you - you'll be more apt to follow it.

Once you've got things sorted out and categorized, you'll need supplies - at least 1 large 3-ringbinder, page protector sheets and tabbed dividers.  How many binders, sheets and dividers you'll need depends on how many printed patterns you want to sort.  I recommend getting a sturdy binder - any color or ring size will do - use your own judgement.

You may also want to use smaller binders and use one per designer. It's up to you and your storage space. However, you may want a binder with covers large enough to completely cover the page protectors and dividers when the binder is closed as it will help keep things neater. (I recommend taking a sample page protector with you when you go binder shopping).

I prefer top load page protectors as the charts and pages are less likely to fall out and are easier to access than side load page protectors. Check a warehouse club like Sams or Costco - they're usually cheaper there.

I also use extra wide tab dividers so I can still see the tabs once I put the sheets in between - remember that page protectors are wider than a regular sheet of paper, so regular tab dividers are going to be too small and the tabs won't stick out.

Put your printed freebies into the sleeves, making sure they're labeled appropriately with designer, website, etc., then file them according to catagories in the correct binders. You can also do this with your regular charts as well.

I usually use page protectors to keep my charts clean while I am stitching, and when I'm done, I file stitched charts in binders. Sometimes I stitch from an original chart, sometimes it's from a working copy (especially if the original chart is on cardstock or a stiffer paper). If my page protector is in bad shape by the time I am done, I file using a fresh protector.

I put any documentation in the page protector along with the chart - color cover sheets (I sometimes make notes on mine as to when and where I bought it, what I paid, when I stitched it, etc.). If I am filing a kit, I put in any left over threads that came with it (unless it's a threadpack like LHN, then those threads go into my regular stash.)
Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Feast #179

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: Name one thing that is unique about you.
I collect kangaroos (not live ones) and deck prisms.

Soup: Fill in the blank: My favorite _________ is __________ but I like _________ too.
My favorite dessert is anything chocolate with raspberry sauce but I like lemon meringue pie too.

Salad: What type of wood do you have for your home’s furnishings?
I prefer darker, finer grained woods like walnut and cherry. I do not care for oak.

Main Course: Who do you talk to most often on the phone?
My husband

Dessert: What level of responsibility do you have in your job?
I'm kind of a big deal. :-D

Thursday, February 14, 2008

How to Organize your Freebies

Many of us collect freebies online. Unfortunately, it's hard to know what you've got if you're just looking at file names. Sure, if you have a couple dozen files, you can probably guess but I had no idea what I had collected. And without some kind of inventory, I just kept collecting hundreds of files and never stitched what I had.

I decided to create that visual inventory, and this is how I did it. I used Microsoft Picture Manager (usually included with Office) and Windows Explorer. (Note that I work on a PC - Mac users may have to modify). These instructions assume that you have or can get the software, and know how to use it.

1. Corral all your freebies from your hard drive. Discs too, if you have them. Get them all into one folder using Windows Explorer. You need to round up everything you've got so you can see what you're working with - and delete duplicates. Don't start deleting yet, though. You want to make sure you don't have 2 different files with the same name. (Rename files temporarily if you have to).

2. Start sorting. Create subfolders for categories as needed, but try not to make them too specific - the more folders you have, the harder it is to sort, file and manage. The categories I use are these: Alphabets, Altoid Covers, Angels, Baby, Biscornu, Blackwork, Bookmarks, Borders & Corners, Cards, Celtic, Dollhouse, Family, Flowers, Foods Gifts, Hearts of America, Holidays, Ideas, Miscellaneous, Months, Motifs, Needlework Tools, Pattern Scans (More on that later), Samplers, Scenic, Seasonal, Sports, Wedding and Zodiac. You can change them to suit your freebie collection, but that is what worked best for me. You can also sort by designer or website, but I would think that would make things more complicated if you're looking for a certain theme.

If you don't know what a file is, open it and rename as necessary. Keep going, adding categories and subfolders until you have every single file categorized. Depending on how many freebies you have, this may take a while and you may get sick of looking at them. Take a break. Don't start throwing things in folders because you don't know what else to do with them.

3. Create your Visual Inventory. Every file should have a visual representation that can be viewed in a picture manager such as Microsoft Picture Manager. As you can see (I know the picture is a little blurry, but I made it small to save on space), there is a filing system on the left and a visual representation on the right. All of those pictures represent a file that contains a freebie, and I can quickly look over my inventory and see what I have without opening all those files.

Getting to this state is the not-so-fun part, which is why I would recommend working with a folder or two a day, going through it and organizing your files. Don't try to do this all at once, unless you have just a few dozen to look at. Work on it in small chunks, or you will run the risk of frustrating yourself and abandoning the project.

Freebies that are in GIF or JPEG format are easy. They will show up automatically in the Picture Manager.

PDF and PC Stitch files are a little harder and will require you to create jpeg or gif files to represent them. You can do this by opening the file and capturing a screen shot, which can then be cropped and resized in your graphics software. (With PC Stitch, I'd recommend using View --> View Pattern to view the file, then capturing a screenshot without the grid.)

Alternatively, you can use Google and Yahoo image searches to look for pictures of the stitched pieces online. I try to do this whenever I can because I like to look at stitched examples rather than screenshots. I save screenshots as GIFs and convert JPEGS I obtained from the web to GIFs because they take up less space. You don't need a super crisp, clear picture - you just want the gist of what the file is in the least amount of storage space.

Files should be renamed so that the PDF or PC Stitch pattern has the same name as the picture of the piece. That will keep them together as files when you sort them alphabetically and allow you to open the correct file that corresponds with the picture. For example, I have a file called blackwork snowflake.pdf, which does not display in the Picture Manager. The file blackwork snowflake.gif, however, does display, and when I want to stitch Blackwork Snowflake, I open the PDF file.

If you have a chart in jpeg format (chart.jpg), but find a picture online that you want to save, either save the picture as a GIF with the same title (chart.gif - the extensions prevent the new file from overwriting the old) or as chart_pic.jpg. The files will still stay together, but you'll maintain 2 separate files. I do not recommend converting actual charts in JPEG format to GIFS because the chart itself may become blurry and unreadable.

4. Properly credit your sources. This is something wasn't as conscious of until I started blogging, and I can't stress the importance enough. If you use someone else's work to make something, please respect their copyright and give them credit for the design. Designers work hard and provide complimentary charts out of their own generosity. If we as stitchers want them to keep supplying us with these goodies, the least we can do is recognize their efforts and generosity by giving them proper credit.

Anyway, once again, PDFs are the easiest as they usually include the name of their designer and other copyright info right in the PDF. JPEGs and GIFs can be modified in a graphics program to add credit information. Simply add the credit text to an unstitched part of the chart and save the pattern. For PC Stitch files, use Tools --> Pattern Properties to indicate the designer, the website, etc. If all else fails, create a text file with the same name as the graphics file and enter the credit information there.

Take the time to note the designer or the source when you save the pattern, and you'll save yourself a lot of aggravation later. Trust me, make a note - you will NOT remember it later.

5. Follow your system. Once you've done the work and sorted out what you had, take a few seconds when you get a new freebie and label it properly. Make sure you have the source and the designer's name and a visual representation for each freebie before you file it, and file it right in the folder it belongs in. If you label and file properly as you collect, you won't have a long and painful sorting process down the road and you'll have easy access to the files you already have.

Other Tips:
  • You can use pre-fixes for grouping charts together. For instance, I group Lizzie*Kates together by using LK_ in front of the file names. All files designated with the LK_ are grouped together, but still maintain their individual file names after the prefix.
  • Keep folders to a minimum. Don't make a new category for every file or you'll drive yourself nuts. Try to keep your categories broad enough to encompass as many designs as possible. For instance, you don't need to have Christmas Ornaments, Tree Skirts, Christmas Samplers, etc., when one "Christmas" folder will do.
  • Pattern Scans - I often borrow books from the library for pattern ideas, but it's hard for me to stitch out of a book. Usually I scan the patterns I am interested in and make a digital copy that I can either print out or transfer into PC stitch to create my own patterns or make modifications. Also, it helps me get the book back to the library faster so that other stitchers can use it as well. I note the designer and the book these patterns so I can credit them when I go back later.
Monday, February 11, 2008

Life Playlist - a Musical post

Inspired by Patty's post on music, found here, I'd like to share a survey I came across a while back, one that made me think about music in a new way. I also badgered all my friends and my husband into making their playlists. Some resisted at first, but they too found it to be a cool experience. (and now I have some nifty playlists for my iPod). I also really loved seeing what they came up with - they confirmed some things I already knew, but I learned some new and surprising things about them as well.

To get you started, I've provided the list I did for my own life playlist. I know technically you're only supposed to pick 1 song, and believe me, that's harder than you might think. I forced myself to limit it to two songs for this list, but for my own personal playlists, I have as many as 15-20 songs for some of the categories. (I can't help it - I'm obsessed with music and lists).

I'd also like to note that the song lyrics don't necessarily need to reflect the situation. If you have any song that evokes memories of a particular situation on the list, go ahead and use it, even if the lyrics don't seem to fit it. And if you do decide to do the Life Playlist, let me know so I can come see it. I'm always on the lookout for a new playlist.

Opening credits: Porch - Pearl Jam or Rebels - Tom Petty

Waking up: Real Wild Child - Iggy Pop or Here it Goes Again - OK Go

Average day: All My Life - Foo Fighters

First date: When It's Love - Van Halen

Falling in love: Everyday (Acoustic) - Dave Matthews Band or King's Highway (acoustic) - Tom Petty

Love scene: Crazy Love - Bob Dylan and Van Morrison or Gimme Some Lovin - G. Love & Special Sauce

Fight scene: Break Stuff - Limp Bizkit or If You Want Blood - AC/DC

Breaking up: Hands to Heaven - Breathe

Getting back together: Into the Mystic - Van Morrison

Secret love: Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? - U2

Life's okay: Beautiful Day - U2

Mental breakdown: Breakdown - Tom Petty

Driving: Motorcycle Driver - Joe Satriani or I-76 - G. Love & Special Sauce

Learning a lesson: Nobody Told Me - John Lennon

Deep thought: All These Things I Have Done - The Killers

Flashback: Mother's Little Helper - Rolling Stones

Partying: I See You Baby (Shakin that Ass) - Groove Armada

Happy dance: Baby I'm a Star - Prince

Regretting: The Secret is to Know When to Stop - Tom Cochrane

Long night alone: Warning Sign - Coldplay

Death scene: Love You Till the End - The Pogues

Closing credits: I Won't Back Down - Tom Petty or Keep Me In Your Heart - Warren Zevon
Friday, February 8, 2008

Pemaquid Point

Design Connection - Pemaquid Point
Stitched over 2 on 28 ct. Pewter using recommended DMC threads

Pemaquid Point is in Maine, and is one of our favorite places. This pattern was based on a view of the light from either the rocks or the water - the lighthouse sits on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. This is the view you get driving up to it:

We love going here because there's an awesome little gift shop - the Sea Gull Shop - with a tiny attached restaurant that serves the best blueberry pancakes you've ever had. And the dining room is a screened in porch overlooking the ocean. You just can't ask for a better breakfast.

DH just finished this piece last night. I think he started it sometime over Christmas, and since he's not as scattered as I am when it comes to stitching, this was his only focus (which explains how he got it done so quickly!) We decided it would look nicer on the bluish colored fabric instead of the recommended white, and I think it turned out GREAT!
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Go ahead.... Make my day!

Sorry. I couldn't resist!!! I was just looking at my Google Reader, and to my surprise and delight, the lovely Mel (Stitches with Camels) awarded me a Make My Day Award, with the instruction to pass it on to 10 more bloggers who make MY day. Well, it was hard to pick just 10 seeing as how I subscribe to so many blogs, and each and every one of them has inspired, motivated, and generally entertained me at one point or another.

One of the things I like BEST about the stitching community is even though everyone is spread out all over the world and we all come from different cultures and backgrounds, we've forged a connection through our needlework. Sometimes it spills over into our real lives, and we find ourselves with a community of generous, kind, thoughtful souls that can be tapped into at any time for a lift, a smile, advice, or inspiration. To each and every one of you, I say thank you!

But rules are rules, and I try to play by them. (Most of the time!) So these are the 10 that came immediately to mind...


  1. Kim - K: The Real Life Adventures

  2. Barbara - Mainely Stitching

  3. Cathey - Pumpkin Patch & Co.

  4. Kathryn - Threads of Desire

  5. Lee - Lake Stitcher

  6. Janet - 37 (stitches) in a Row

  7. Dianne - Dianne Rambling On...

  8. Monique - Inside Number Twenty

  9. Kim - Kim's Northwoods Discoveries

  10. Tina - Stitching in Texas

If I've tagged you, and you'd like to spread the love, feel free to pick 10 blogs YOU read to give the award to. And if I haven't tagged you and you feel like doing something nice for someone, you can tag 10 blogs of your own. Sometimes, as you're plodding along in blogland, wondering if anyone is even reading the words you write, you end up getting a little surprise like this and it really makes YOUR day. It's nice to know that people are actually reading what I write.

SBQ: Other Crafts

Are there other crafts that you have tried and abandoned? Why do you like stitching better? (Submitted by Kathryn)

I've always been interested in crafts and needlework from a very young age. My mother and grandmother sewed, so I was brought up around fabrics, threads, buttons, etc. I was also very involved in Girl Scouts, so there was always some kind of craft being done at meetings and camp. As a result, I got to try different things and experiement.

One of my favorite things is working with clay or modeling compound. I'm nowhere near artist level with it, but I still enjoy working with the material and shaping different things. I don't do it as much any more, but I could probably really get into making clay polymer things like beads. (I don't have the time, space or disposable income to invest though!)

I do a little scrapbooking but not in the traditional sense. I can't get into all the embelishments and fancy cutting, stickers, etc. I also don't understand doing elaborate layouts and putting one picture on a page. Rather, I use colorful 12x12 background papers and I cut and arrange photos in interesting arrangements on the page. I also use postcards, bookmarks, ticket stubs, etc. from our travels. It's more like a memory book than a scrapbook. I only work on these books occasionally - I have to work on our living room floor and it's a hassle to drag everything out.

I've tried knitting and crocheting and I don't know if I have the patience for either. My mother tried to teach me to knit, but she's not a good teacher and I quickly got frustrated with it. My grandmother in law crochets, and my husband can crochet a little (she taught him and his brother when they were very young to keep them quiet and occupied!) I have the desire to knit, and especially crochet, pretty things, but I don't know if I have the patience to learn it. Also, I am afraid I will like it too much and want to spend my resources on that!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New Ornament

I'm working on some ornaments for the SALs I belong to, and I finished up this one over the weekend:

House on a Hill by Chartmakers
Compliments of The Silver Needle
stitched over 2 on 28 ct. Pewter with DMC threads

This is for my husband's cousin, who is getting married this August. I changed the original K & B initials to J and C for the bride and groom, and changed the date to 2008.

I've been working on some other things, but decided I wanted to do some finishing before I post pictures.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Feast #178

From Friday's Feast: A Buffet For Your Brain

Appetizer: What is your favorite kind of cereal?
Wheat Chex reminds me of Saturday morning with my grandparents, so that's always a nice memory, but my current favorite is Special K Fruit and Yogurt.

Soup: When was the last time you purchased something for your home, what was it, and in which room did it go?
Last major purchase was probably the quilt we bought for our bed last summer.

Salad: What is the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen?
There was one a long time ago - I don't remember what it was for, but it was kids asking for unhealthy things for breakfast. "Orange juice, orange soda. What's the difference?" still makes me laugh. My current favorites include the Peyton Manning mini van commercial ("You're feelin me. You love it.") and the Microsoft Sync ("Door open") commercial. Also, most ESPN Sports Center commercials crack me up. Yes, I watch a lot of sports programming.

Main Course: Make up a name for a company by using a spice and an animal (example: Cinnamon Monkey).
Garlic Kangaroo

Dessert: Fill in the blank: I haven’t ______ since ______.
I haven't stayed up all night since grad school