My First Columbus Day Weekend

Believe it or not I haven’t had a Columbus Day off from work since I was 16 years old and  got my first job.

For the past 15 years I worked for a company that had very few paid holidays. That changed when I was let go from my last position and found my current one. At FGX International they like their holidays. I will even have Good Friday off. I am blown away by the holiday and paid time off package I still can’t believe it when I think about what I put up with for 15 years.

I made sure that I spent my first Columbus Day weekend thoroughly enjoying myself. First up was a much needed haircut. Well, more like a much needed trim. My hair is pretty damaged from a flat iron I had gotten for free as a sample from my last job. I thought it worked great – my hair was straight – until it started breaking apart in my hands. I lost chunks of hair from different areas around my head and they are finally starting to fill back in, to my great relief. Kudos to my amazing hair stylist Magan who made me look normal this whole time through her crafty cutting.

After my cut I went to pick up my sister to spend the day. We ended up at On the Border for some Mexican and at Jo Ann Fabrics for some new fabric. I love to make bags and picked up some cool fabric to make my niece a craft bag for Christmas. My sister got some awesome, wild greens and blues to make an Irish Chain quilt.

We then headed to see Ben Affleck (yum) in his new movie Gone Girl but the 2:30 showing was sold out. No big deal, right? Just go to the next show, right? But that would have put it well past 6pm when the movie let out and I needed to be home by 6 to give Sparrow her insulin shot.

Responsibility.

Luckily, my sister understood and I offered an alternate idea – we could get our nails done. The girly idea sat just fine with my sister so we headed to a local nail salon. I was very impressed with the price, the cleanliness, the workmanship and the polite service. I brought my own polish – OPI’s Muir, Muir On the Wall – a brown-plum color perfect for fall. I also got acrylic nails because my fingernails were bitten to shit and it wasn’t worth paying for a manicure on them.

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Sunday I was inspired to start Nora Corbett’s The Letter M for a gift for my Grandmother for Christmas. I did not have all of the Crescent Colors and beads for the design (and I wasn’t that crazy about the colors for my Gramma) so I changed the colors. I used some minty Crescent Color greens for the dress and the 552/553/554 DMC purple colorway for the letter M – perfect Gramma colors. I had matching beads and the same colors and Kreinik for the wings.

Here is the original design:

The letter m

And here is the start of my conversion on Silver Mist fabric by Silkweaver:

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I roasted a beef roast in the oven which made an amazing gravy (after the addition of butter and flour), mashed potatoes and green beans. A perfectly homey fall meal.

Today was a supremely lazy day. I designed a chart for Sparrow’s insulin shots, feedings and glucose readings. She has adapted to her new litter box quite well (thankfully). It is the Tidy Cats Breeze system where the urine doesn’t clump in the litter but free flows down into a separate pan.

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I cross stitched, caught up on some tv shows and watched the Boston Bruins hockey game on tv. I’m a huge hockey fan for those who aren’t in the know. It’s been over 20 years and I still love it.

So ends the tale of my very first working Columbus Day holiday. Tomorrow starts a four day week at work and is capped off by the FGX International night at the Providence Bruins the minor league affiliate of the Boston Bruins. It ought to be a good week.

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Cross Stitch Update – The WIP’s

persephonePersephone Mirabilia

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Mother Moon Joan Elliott

1150329_10200392487364062_1269010048_n1093876_10200392384401488_314608686_oHolly – Nora Corbett

Fall 2014 015Queen of Freedom – Mirabilia

Fall 2014 012Letter L – Nora Corbett

Fall 2014 008 Who’s Got the Button – Country Cottage Designs

Fall 2014 010

Fall 2014 007 Santa’s Magic – Mirabilia Fall 2014 002

Mother

Stitched and Ditched

Circle of Friends – Mirabilia 28ct Ametrine Opalescent Lugana by Silkweaver. Started May 2010.

Japanese Maiden – The Gold Collection by Dimensions. Started January 2005.

Enchanting Geisha – The Gold Collection by Dimensions – She is currently out for the UFO RR on Yuku. You can see her progress here. These two will be truly stunning in matching frames on my wall. I really can’t wait! I didn’t post a picture because my wonderful RR stitchers have been doing all the work so they should be recognized! Started September 2010.

Mother Moon – Joan Elliott 32 ct. Opalescent Ocean Belfast Linen – This baby needs over a dozen spools of Kreinik. I may not be able to afford to finish her this year! lol Started August 2010.

Marilyn Monroe – Vervaco My birthday start for March 2008

Live, Learn, Love – Lizzie Kate 28ct. Lavendar Sparkle Opalescent Cashel linen. Started June 2010

Something Wicked La D Da 32 ct. French White linen – Started September 2010

Roberta’s Cats biscornu – 14ct cream Aida using Threadworx colors. Started May 2010.

Teresa Wentzler’s Needle Guardian on 28ct opalescent light blue Cashel. This was the first project where I made no substitutions for specialty threads. I was so lucky that my LNS had the Dinky Dyes silk in stock! This was my birthday start for March 2010.

Blessed Be – Enchanting Lair 16ct. Green Apple opalescent Aida by Silkweaver using my own colorways in DMC, Kreinik and Blending Filament (argh!).

She’s been tossed aside due to Filament Frustration. I started it about a year and a half ago so that isn’t so bad. I’ll get her finished by this Halloween. *fingers crossed* Started June 2009.

Each Dawn a New Day from The Gold Collection by Dimensions – So close! Needs a lot of confetti and back stitching! This was one of the kits I started somewhere around 2002 or 2003. Your guess is as good as mine.

Live, Learn, Love kit – I have no idea when I started this one!

Girl on Swing from Britain’s No.1 Cross Stitcher on 28ct. Jamaica Sunset opalescent Lugana by Silkweaver using my own colorway in DMC, Glisten Gloss, Kreinik, Mill Hill beads, DMC Metallics. Started April 2009.

Dragon’s Lullaby by Dragon Dreams on 32ct. Castle Sky Opalescent Belfast linen by Silkweaver using some Kreinik and Mill Hill bead substitutions from my stash. I started this one in April 2010.

TUSAL – #1

Thanks to Daffycat for hosting the Totally Useless Stitch A Long! Here are my scraps from this past long weekend of stitching on Nora Corbett’s Holly.

 

And just for me quick and easy reference I have listed the New Moon dates for 2011 on my own blog!
January 4
February 3
March 4
April 3
May 3
June 1
July 1
July 30
August 29
September 27
October 26
November 25
December 24

Weekend Work

I did not have the traditional long Thanksgiving weekend since I work in purchasing for a retail corporation. We work when our stores need us and Black Friday is one of those days.

My weekend started on Saturday morning. I woke up early and started with some housecleaning. I dragged out some Christmas decorations out of storage. I couldn’t believe the amount of spider webs there were in my storage unit since the last time I was in there at the end of summer.

I have an irrational fear of getting spiders stuck in my extremely thick and curly hair. I know it’s silly but I jumped in the shower right after I was done getting the boxes.

I was relaxing on the couch having a very late breakfast while I browsed the Jo-Ann sale flyer. I knew that there was a 20% off entire purchase coupon in there and I needed some essentials.

I made a list (FINALLY!) of the remaining floss needed for Nora Corbett’s Holly.

I hoped that some of the Door Buster interfacing would be left too. 10 yards for $2.99 – That’s a great price! Some novelty fabric I needed was $2 off as well.

Jo-Ann’s had coupons for Saturday only as well. I tore them out and was reading them carefully to make sure I had the right ones. Yup, both said Saturday! The 20% off coupon also said good from 7am – Noon.

WHAT??!!???

omg – I frantically though what time is it? I checked the clock and saw it was 10:30!

SHIT!!!!!!!

I have never, ever gotten dressed so quickly to go shopping. I was out the door and backing my car out within 5 minutes of reading the coupon fine print!

Thankfully my Jo-Ann’s is only about 10 minutes away from me. No more than 15 even with traffic congestion.

I entered the store around 10:50 and went straight to the DMC racks. I grabbed my Holly supplies and some colors I thought might look good for my John and Abigail Adams ornament I designed.

I quickly went to fabrics; grabbed a number for the cutting table and then went off to get my bolts. There was plenty of interfacing left so I picked up 4 bolts. 40 yards of interfacing should hold me for a while, right?

Since I picked up my number first I didn’t have long to wait at the cutting table and soon had my cuts and was on my way to the check out after I picked up Buy One Get One Free sewing thread and stopped in the button aisle for Buy One Get One Free Buttons.

On my way out of sewing I stopped to drool over the scissors I want. I love black and white!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also saw some 90% off Halloween items and grabbed a few $10 pieces that were now $1! I made it to the check out by 11:20am and was only third in line!

I made it!!! I got my extra 20% off! Whoo-hoo!!!

I stopped for a coffee then a little grocery shopping. I was out of Coke Zero so it was a grocery emergency!!

The coffee and Coke seemed to energize me (I wonder why). I made room for and assembled my artificial tree. I like to wait until December but my 6 1/2 year old, 16 pound Maine coon mixed cat still thinks she’s a kitten and can sleep in the bottom boughs.

I put the tree up (undecorated) so she can get used to it and get any tree climbing out of her system. To my surprise she paid little attention to it. She went around the back of the tree and curled up UNDER the boughs not on top of them!

Maturity has come. What a good kitty! She just calmly watched as I arranged the tips of my Norwegian Blue Spruce. Maybe an odd choice for most people’s artificial tree but I wanted a tree that reminded me of Northern European Yule festivities. This is the reason why I enjoy holly and mistletoe items as well. Their usage in Winter festivities traces back to Druid, Celtic and Viking eras.

See how the branches aren’t bright, perfect evergreen? I love that!

The bird in the nest decoration is a nod to my Polish heritage where it was believed that birds in a Christmas tree brought joy, good luck and happiness.

Angel – the symbol of purity, peace and love – is represented by my tree topper. Yes, it’s a Barbie but I have yet to find a topper I enjoy more.  I like the non-traditional colors of her gown because I don’t hold to the traditional dictates of Christmas.

I’m not sure anyone else has every taken a Barbie off its stand and said “Hmm, I could just put the branch between her legs just like the stand.”

Yeah, only I would think that.

I found this little Snowflake Fairy from the Boyds Collection. She reminds me of the Russian Snow Maiden Myth…

On Sunday I packed up the rest of my Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decor and finished unpacking my Winter/Christmas things.

The remainder of the day was devoted to work on my Round Robin piece – Angel of Spring.

I have finally found some kind of a groove on this project. I have done the square-shaped section below the straight line of the skirt. I hope to have it filled in and maybe do another 2 inches before she goes in the mail next Monday.

I have also been working on the back design for my stitching group’s ornament exchange on Saturday. I will share the picture after we swap!

All in all a pretty good weekend worth of work.

Stash Dash

I picked up Circle of Friends by Mirabilia when it was first released but I truly hated the suggested fabric for it. The brown tone was much too dark for my tastes.

The design is quite large (146w x 238h) and the piece of fabric needed would be expensive due to the size of the stitching and the space required for framing.

I had a rather large piece of 28ct Lugana that was given to me. The color was a peachy yellow pinky color. I know it was a Silkweaver fabric so it was probably Sparkling Sundown Reflections. It was a pretty fabric and my floss toss looked nice on the fabric so I decided to go for it.

What a mistake!

The goddess on the far left matches the fabric too closely. There is no definition between the fabric and the flesh tone. All in all, the color was too light for the project. There was no “pop” of the colors.  I guess those design artists really do know what they are doing. 🙂

I put the project aside for a few months. I had NO desire to work on it. The joy of seeing each stitch come to life on the fabric was ruined. The fabric made the design look cheap – 1980’s chic pastels. I knew I could not continue the project on that fabric BUT I still did not like the artist’s original fabric!!

Picky, aren’t I?

I decided I had only one option. I had to go to my favorite cross stitch shop ABC Stitch Therapy in New Hampshire. I made a weekend of it since I had use of my company’s condo in the White Mountains. During that first weekend in May I was blessed with lovely weather for my three hour drive. There was no traffic and no problems. It was a true treat!!

Once I got to the shop I went straight to the fabric executing floss tosses on various fabrics. After a half dozen options I settled on a length of 28ct Lugana dyed by Silkweaver called Ametrine.

I felt the goddesses would look divine on this! It has a rich brown and gold overall tone (so hard to tell on a digital photo) with purples and blues. Gorgeous! And it really does look like an actually piece of ametrine!

Happy with my new piece of fabric I had to resign myself to the fact that I would have to redo all the stitches I had previously done. It was worth it! What was the point in finishing a piece I could no longer stand. Putting the stitches in the new fabric felt wonderful! I have done a little more work on this since the photo but I have put aside my stitching until I finished my home decor revamp!

The colors really do pop on the fabric and there are some wonderful bursts of blue and purple that will be viewable when framed.

I am happy I made the decision to start over. I figured since I was already at the stitchy shop and had used a tank of gas to get there I should really shop around. I really had to twist my own arm to browse the store!

I just had to pick up Something Wicked by La D Da to whip up for this Halloween.

I also decided I had waited long enough to buy Holly from the Pixie Couture Collection by Nora Corbett. I already had the perfect creamy Belfast opalescent linen but I made sure to pick up the beads and Kreniks there too.

This little Lizzie Kate sweetie was sentimental enough to get me to spend $6 for such a tiny pattern. I grabbed the DMC for this one too since I knew I didn’t have those color in my bobbin boxes.

Another piece of hand dyed fabric from New Zealand made my stash dash complete and I can’t wait to do another one someday soon!!!

2009 Finishes – Cross Stitch

I began cross stitching nine years ago. I had tried the craft back in 1996 but found it too difficult and my ambition to learn how to stitch quickly evaporated.  In 2001 I flew to China for the first time and was desperate to find something to keep myself occupied during an 18+ hour flight. I had never flown further than the length of the East Coast before so I was terrified at the thought of flying “all the way” to China.

I was all about the crocheting in 2000 but that was an awful lot of bulk to pack for China (and for a business trip there is no checking of luggage – you need it, you haul it). I had  to have something small to fiddle with in case the two paperbacks I brought along were boring!

I picked up a small cross stitch kit, a hoop and teensy scissors and somewhere over the Pacific Ocean I set to my task. I had already finished one of my paperback books (I’m a fast reader) and we weren’t even halfway to China.  I had to save the second book for the flight home!!

I read the instructions conscientiously and began my cross stitch journey. By the time the plane landed in Seoul, South Korea I had a small grouping of perfectly laid stitches. I worked on the projects (apples in a basket surrounded by a blue checkered border) for the rest of the trip and proudly presented it to my Mom as a gift.

She was intrigued and impressed and wanted to learn to stitch herself.  Over the past years we have slowly explored the stitchy joys available to us and I still love learning or finding some new treasure!

This year I made some major leaps in my stitching. I had never stitched on anything but Aida cloth and had only experience using 14ct, 16ct or 18ct. Aida.

 I tried my first project on Evenweave this Spring and managed to complete Terea Wentlzer’s Futurecast on 28ct. evenweave.

I enjoyed this pattern because it let you select you own colors (and provided guidance on how to do so!)

I used teals, greens and yellows with a pop of purple metallic for his crystal ball!

I promised myself that if I was able to complete the Evenweave project that I would tackle a Nora Corbett Fairy or Pixie design on linen. After much internal debate I decided to begin work on Nora’s Halloween Fairy from Cross Stitch and Needlework September 2008 magazine. Even though that is her official name I still like to call her Trick or Treat!

 She was stitched on 32ct. Belfast linen in Precious Metals by Silkweaver. This was my first time stitching on linen and it was a slight adjustment but I fell in love with the way my needle flew through the fabric with so little resistance.

It was also my first project that was extensively beaded and I found that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would (after the investment in some beading needles that is!)

I worked on Trick or Treat all through the summer and had her finished (but not framed) in time for Halloween. I was very proud of myself for this accomplishment since it was my first linen and beaded project!

I began Solaria Gallery’s freebie of Venetian Girl with Mask last November. I finished her in time for my niece’s 19th birthday in August. I framed her up in a chunky, black frame and left plenty of white 14ct. Aida around her to act as a built-in matte. “Purple Girl” was funky and fun – just like my niece. I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her.

 I love finding freebie patterns on-line and have built up quite a collection over the past year.

It is a nice (inexpensive) way to experiment with a particular designer. For example it was nice to find out that Solaria Gallery doesn’t rely on lots (if any) backstitching. So for those of you that hate backstitching go check them out!

I personally enjoy backstitching. I feel like I am seeing the hidden design come to life right before me.

The little accents and curves placed at just the right spots make my stitches jump right off the cloth. Call me crazy but I like it.

Sometime in the Spring I worked on Passione Ricamo’s Fairy Celebration II freebie on Saphhire Sky 28ct linen. I did her in Ecru DMC and found a frame in the exact same color (and it was on sale!) This was part of my birthday gift to my cousin.

Joan Elliot’s Fairy Alphabet helped me make a quickie bookmark with a touch of blending filament and beads for my sister’s birthday.

 My grandmother received my knock-off Brittercup Kitty for an Easter gift.

I didn’t have the pattern so I free handed it from a picture of the completed project.

Not perfect, but close enough for me!

 

 

 

Dragon Dream’s Tale of Wonder was such fun to do. I used my own color pallete for this one and my Dad made the solid oak frames for it and the pink castle.  

I made the castle pattern in PC Stitch using JC Penney’s Princess baby bedding as an inspiration since both pieces were for a nursery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did Stitchy Kitty’s Meow Spoken Here (another Freebie!) on 28ct. opalescent Lugana in Ocean by Silkweaver. It got whipped up during my SAL group’s weekend SAL in DEcember. stuck to the pattern except I used two peridot beads for the eyes instead of french knots in DMC 3371. Kitties need green eyes not brown ones! You gotta draw the line somewhere!

Another quickie scottish thistle bookmark on Oatmeal Aida for my grandmother’s birthday in June. What better bookmark for the trashy Scottish bodice-ripper novels I bought her than this?

My last finish of the year is also the last one in this post. A cute little penguin from the Cross Stitcher December 2008 issue’s alphabet. I modified the pattern so the penguin’s letter of the alphabet is not included. He got stitched on 28ct. opalescent Lugana in Karma Sparkle by Silkweaver. And I am definitely going to be reordering that color again. Very cute!

He is also my first machine finished ornament with my new sewing machine! My older niece Colleen is getting this with her Christmas presents this year. I hope she likes it as much as I do. Because I REALLY enjoyed having him on my tree for his photo opportunity! I think that is all of my finishes for the year! Now on to 2010!