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:

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!