Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm DANCIN'!!!!!!!

Medieval Town Mandala is FINISHED!!! I put on the last bead at 10:57 pm last night (12/22/10). I think I've been working on this for about four years. Guestimate I spent 350-400 hours stitching this one. Those towns are some pretty dense stitching. Fabric is 32ct belfast linen in Oyster by Country Stitch. As usual, I converted the NPI's to Eterna minitwist silk for all of the solid shades. Otherwise stitched as designed.

MTM finished 122210 full view
MTM finished 122210 corner
MTM finished 122210 middle
MTM finished 122210 town

I am so unbelievably HAPPY!!!! Now on to NSTR!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What to do, what to do?

As I near completion of two BAP happy dances, my thoughts have inevitably turned to which projects should be my next focus and stitching/crafting goals for next year. I do view year-long goals as somewhat-changeable entities, recognizing that shit happens and sometimes you just want to change your mind. My 2010 goals and their related progress evidenced this quite well:

2010 Stitching Goals
Finish Hanging Gardens of Semiramis - Completed 5/28/10
Start Nativity Story Table Runner and stitch on it every month with the goal of finishing by year end - Stitched on it every month except May
Finish Medieval Town Mandala - On track to finish by Christmas!
Stitch Dragon Dreams' Fantasy Wedding Blessing for my cousin - nope! Decided not to do this
Start one project from my Stitching Bucket List - decided to postpone this until I finish NSTR.
Stitch three ornaments Changing this to three "smalls" - completed one in May - others in process!
Stitch as much from stash as possible If I buy it, then it is part of my stash
Attend Quilt Festival in Houston - Mission accomplished!
Attend bi-monthly Moonlight Stitching 4 of 6 sessions attended Jan. and July. All the other months I had conflicts.

When MTM and NSTR are completed, I will have 8 WIPs remaining. I'd really love to have that number to 5 or less by the end of 2011. But then, there are new things I really want to stitch (that age old dilemma). And, of course, there is the unknown entity of how much client work I will have in 2011, because I finally figured out how to get over my guilt feelings for crafting during the weekday daytime. Yada, yada, yada...

So take a look at the box to the right, and you will see my thoughts for 2011. DH really, really, really wants me to finish Egypt Garden (remember this is a gift for him and take 2 for me as the first one was victim to...well, that occurrence I refuse to remember). I'm going to try to make Egypt my focus. Elizabethan Sweete Bag just has 1 over 1 bugs remaining. I just need to get on it and finish the darn thing already. I don't have a plan for bag-ification, but "I'll think about that tomorrow". I have several ornaments in various stages of completion (lumped them together as one WIP) none of which need much effort (except to overcome inertia) to complete. I've finished 3 of the 16 blocks for Celtic Quilt with a 4th block well underway. I WANT to make progress on this. My other WIPs are languishing. They need some love. Some haven't been touched in the last two years!!! And then, of course, are the new things I want to do. I am listing a few of the big things, but I think there is room in my plan for some smaller projects, too. We shall see. Look for an update to the Stitching Bucket list coming soon.

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post, but if you really want to see my WIPs, click the link to the album in the upper right of this
blog. That's the best I can do today. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Thing of Beauty...

...Is a Joy Forever

flower frog filled

My very happy-making scissors frog filled with my collection of scissors. :D It holds my entire collection and still has THREE slots empty! However, it definitely appears that I suffer from a lack of scissor fobs. Will need to remedy that. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the display which sits on the table next to my stitching chair in my office.

And, there has been progress on Medieval Town since my last blog post.

Medieval Town Mandala as of 120710

It's now about 90% complete. If stitching time happens according to plan, I expect to finish before Christmas. Then I plan to pick up Nativity Story Table Runner and finish it, hopefully by the first of the year. I'd like to start a new rotation with existing WIPs and some new ornament/small starts for 2011. But I'm not ready to think about that just yet.

Remember my last post about taking time off? Well, literally the day after that post, I got a HUGE new client (divorce financial planning) unexpectedly. I think I've worked more in the past three weeks than I have in the past three months! I'm still hoping to be able to take off the week between Christmas and New Year's. But we've got some deadlines looming, so that may not happen. We'll see how efficient I can be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

I think I've written before that I like to make deals with myself. It's one of the ways I trick myself into productivity rather than just looking at my never-ending to-do list and thinking of procrastination techniques. I'm very good at that last bit. I can even rationalize my behavior quite well. But, I digress. The deal. I've got a boat load of professional tasks needing to be accomplished by the end of the calendar year - annual portfolio reviews, continuing education courses, regulatory filings, etc. All are time consuming, but are required. I need to buckle down and "just do it". So, the deal I'm making with myself is to work as hard as I can to accomplish all of these activities, and then I can take the rest of the calendar year free of professional responsibilities and use that time to stitch/craft! Doesn't that sound like good motivation? I think so. I've already made some progress as of yesterday. If I keep working steadily, I might get to take most of December off. Which means I could really do some crafting damage before the end of the year.

Lest you think I'd post without a pic to share, here is the latest on Medieval Town Mandala. I finished the last town, FINALLY!!!! Go me! Looks like I'm in good shape to finish by the end of the year. :D

Medieval Town Mandala as of 111610

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quilt Festival Stash Report

Might as well call it what it is. lol. And so, it begins. There were saved stash monies. There were saved birthday monies (from June even!). There was much retail therapy in which to indulge. And, I even came home with money in my pocket. OK, so my enabling friends (I'm looking at you, Melissa, Annette, and Amanda!) have seen to it that I've spent some of that since I came home. But as of this writing, I still have money in my pocket! Let us forget that I don't actually quilt. Completely beside the point. I do, however, do many other crafty things with small needles (though Annette is trying to teach me to make crochet button trim with an actual crochet hook and everything) and fabric. And, I confess to have been toying with the idea of making a quilt-like project for some time (my enabling friends are most definitely to blame). So all of that led to all of this:

houston stash 1

These are wool felt applique. You can't see me, but I'm smiling. Cause the colors are *my* colors (autumn palette). The kits make the table runner and table topper from the pattern on the right. It's acorns and oak leaves. Click here for a bigger picture. They were sold out of the Gourdy's Gang kit. But that's OK, because I ordered it from the shop today . I told Annette the shop had one left, so I think I'm directly and indirectly responsible for the shop making their rent for the month. Just doin' my bit for the economy. Gotta keep those small businesses in business!

houston stash 2

Lots of fun in this pic. Fun trims, including some Halloween themed; a wool felt cupcake pincushion kit; a quilted bat ornament; various lampwork beads; old keys to use for embellishments; buttons for button trim; and a cool cabochon to make into a needle minder. And, why yes, those are skull beads in the center. You will probably be seeing those again at some point in the not terribly distant future.

houston stash 3

Y'all know I can't go anywhere without buying scissors. It's an addiction. BUT, these scissors each have a unique purpose (no, really, I mean it. You can stop laughing). The solid black pair Melissa swears are the bestest applique scissors in the world. Bonus, they are great for metallic fibers. So, I needed them. Cause I do work with metallics, and I plan to do some applique, eventually. The other two pair are from Bohin. I don't have any Bohin scissors. The larger pair is the perfect size for cutting smaller pieces of fabric. At least that's what Annette says. I bought her story and the scissors. The embroidery scissors? See (above) the fact that I didn't own any Bohin embroidery scissors. Really, that's a problem that needed remedied. And the needles just jumped in the bag for the ride.

The scissor purchases led to a later discussion about the scissor frogs that Melissa and Annette have (converted use flower frogs). I've had scissor frog envy for quite some time but have never found a suitable contraption locally. Annette to the rescue with some Bay of Evil links that led me to some Etsy links that led me to this:

flower frog 1

You know what is so completely awesome about this? Not only does the frog (the clear part) have 16 holes for scissors, but there are another 13 loops around the outside I can use to also display scissors. I'm so excited if I were I puppy I'd've pee'd the carpet. The Etsy seller, bless her heart, shipped it today. Definitely stalking the postie. Of course, now I have an Etsy account. Danger, Will Robinson!!!

houston stash 4

There was actually one cross stitch booth, The Silver Needle. The Halloween chart needed to come home with me. Yes, I'm participating in the Halloween giveaway next year. Hence there were some Halloween fabric purchases as well as some dupioni silk. And, isn't that key fabric awesome? I'm going to age it.

houston stash 5

Evidence that I actually do plan to make a quilt. Yeah, I know I don't need another hobby. It's a small quilt, really, I promise. Aren't those fabrics festive and fun? The book actually has five different variations of the same basic quilt. Some of the others would make great graduation gifts for nieces and nephews (beginning with 2012, there are one or two graduating each year for the next 5 or 6 years). Perfect size for a college dorm room throw. See, I was practical. And the holiday quilt will be a good practice/warm up version.

houston stash 6

Finally, some additional fabric purchase to finish a variety of completed (and future) stitching projects. The black is hand dyed kohl wool felt for a couple of planned projects.

That's it for the stash report. I may be back tomorrow with a report on the whole Festival.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More New Stuff & Sundry Ramblings

I'm so creative with post titles. Really, it takes too much energy.

I had another happy yesterday. MONTHS ago I ordered new bedding - a quilt and matching shams from L.L.Bean. I fell in love with them and decided after 10 years of the same comforter, I was entitled to new. But, apparently I was not the only one to feel this way. Despite ordering within days of receiving the catalog, it was back ordered, and then back ordered again. You know, to the point they send you that postcard asking if you want to cancel. I decided to let it ride and see what happened. Well, here's what happened:
new bedding 2

It's overcast and raining here, so not the best photo (always have an excuse, don't I? HA!). The throw pillows and dust ruffle are not new. One of the ways I rationalized the new purchase was that I could use some of what I have, thus minimizing the cash outlay. I'm super happy with it, and it was a really nice surprise when I got home last night to see that it had finally arrived. The matelasse bed cover at the foot is old, too. I may put it on the bed underneath the new quilt so the new quilt shows better. We only use the matelasse in the winter time.

Watched the election results last night. I have some mixed feelings here. I should state up front that I tend to the liberal side on social issues, but I'm definitely a fiscal conservative (no surprise to those who know me well). So, neither major party really represents me. Thus, I'm never quite satisfied. The only victory I'm claiming after last night is that I (personally) will not have to put up with Nancy Pelosi in the news regularly. I'll leave it at that so as not to promote any flaming.

So here's where the mixed feelings come in. Why is the media claiming such a victory for the Republican Party? They've managed to gain control of one half of one third of the federal government. As a CPA, I'm pretty good at math, and I calculate that's control of one sixth of the government. Exactly what do they think that's gonna get them? Yes, they can be a big stumbling block for Obama. But I don't see that gives the Republicans the ability to ram through any important legislation.

I started to post some of my thoughts about political issues but thought better of it. Not the purpose of this blog. And, I don't want to encourage vitriol.

Meanwhile, I am off to Houston to the Quilt Festival tomorrow! Get to play with Missy Ann, Annette, Amanda, and Annette's mom Pat! And, I get to meet an new partner in crime, Marie. Much happiness, crafty goodness, stash wagon burning, evil plotting, and general girls' trip troublemaking will occur. Watch for a report next week. But, it won't be a full report. Some things that happen in Houston will need to stay in Houston. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Shopping Excursion

OK, so I lost 40 pounds (and have successfully kept it off for two months thankyouverymuch). Clothes shopping should now be a happy occasion, yes? Well, not so much. See, nothing fits. Or rather, very few things fit. Specifically, pants. After weeks and weeks of trying on countless pairs of jeans and pants, I managed to find two pairs of jeans. The happy part is that I like them a lot. However two pairs of jeans and an ancient pair of yoga pants will not see me through the winter.

So, today I set out with a mission. I. WOULD. FIND. PANTS. THAT. FIT. Don't mess with a woman on a mission. She will be successful! And...I was! I scored four pairs of pants. Go, me! The store websites won't let me swipe the images, so I'll have to link. Sorry.

These from Banana Republic in new trench. Need hemmed, but I love them! Yay for on sale (marked down another 10% in the store).

From Talbots:
These in a brown color not on the website:
These are the most incredible feeling pants ever. I think I could live in them. Which is a good thing because they cost a fortune. More than I normally spend, but hey, I was on a mission! Bought the dark green color http://
And finally, I found black dress slacks on the sale rack that don't seem to be on the website.

I had to post because this is such a victory for me. I was on a mission and didn't get derailed! Only the Banana Republic pants need hemmed, so the others are ready to wear. I have pants!!!!!! Celebrate with me!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm a Winner!

OK, probably NOT the post title you are expecting given my absence from blogland the past couple of months. Nonetheless, I am indeed a winner. Of multiple things, even. It's been a good month. :D

In the early part of October, I won the door prize from my LNS's Market Day. It's a "Pamper Me" basket:
pamper me basket
I was really surprised, because I never win anything. Apparently, Lady Luck decided I should be a liar.

On the 19th of October, I won Annette's 19th Day of Halloween Giveaway. SO MUCH FUN!
Day 19 Winnings
Annette's very talented daughter made the bookmark! Isn't it awesome? And, the equally talented Annette stitched and finished the spooky house mattress pincushion, which now takes place of pride in my collection! I love seeing what Annette and Missy Ann put together each day of the giveaway.

I thought my lucky streak had ended because I quick bought a lottery ticket and didn't win. Boo Hiss! But, I was proven wrong by Madam Luck yet again this week. Holly messaged me to say I'd won the fall scissor fob giveaway on her blog! Yipee!!!! You'll have to admire it on her blog for now, as she's just now mailing it to me. Which means, I get to stalk the postie again! lol.

So there you have it, I'm a winner. Just in case you were wondering.

Other things I've been up to: well, mostly high school volleyball and cheerleading with the girls. Volleyball ended last weekend as Diva's team lost in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Not to worry volleyball fans. Club volleyball tryouts begin THIS weekend. And the fun continues. Friday night is the last regular season football game. But then there are playoff games and basketball season begins before Thanksgiving (Perfectionist Child cheers for football and basketball games). When we are not on the go to a game of some sort somewhere, it seems that my house is a revolving door of teenage girl athletes. Most of whom have taken to calling me "Mom" regardless of biology. The grocery store loves me almost as much as the girls love to be fed. I like to think the girls would love me even if the groceries ran out. Let's not think about that too hard.

There has been very sporadic stitching. If you visit the Chatelaine BB, you know about the WIP-kill Contest I am running there (if you don't and you are a stitcher, check it out). My entry for the contest is Medieval Town Mandala. My progress as of 10/15/2010:
Medieval Town Mandala as of 10/15/2010
As usual, I can't take a decent photo of my stitching to save my life. One day....

I also worked on Nativity Story Table Runner a bit. I'm about 75% done with this and have finished the entire length across the bottom, which is the most stitching intensive portion.
Nativity Story Table Runner as of 10/15/2010

And finally, I went shopping. If you poke around Missy Ann's blog, you will find her scissor crypt instructions. I'm making one. Actually, I'm making several, and a large tool-keeper crypt, too. I needed a few more supplies for my first boxification attempt (which WILL happen before the end of the year). And, I had so much fun making cosmetic bags for the volleyball team senior night (oops, need to share that photo eventually), that I decided I needed to make one to hold my GPS (pronounced gee-pus in this household). The photographic evidence:
Supply stash shopping
A close up of the larger crypt and the bats I found that must live nearby:
big crypt close up
In the photo of the whole, you can also see some crochet trim and buttons. Annette is going to teach me how to make button trim while we're in Houston next week! WOOT!!!!

I'm sure I'm forgetting to tell you something, but I'm all tapped out for today. That's all I Have to Say......

Friday, October 8, 2010


Not for those sensitive to f-bombs. But, oh so very much THIS!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Goals? What are those?

OK well, I've been partially derailed this month. Most of you know DH was injured in a bicycle accident on the 22nd. Since then, there has been little accomplished in this household that didn't revolve around him. While certainly he didn't do this on purpose and cannot change the fact that he has needed a great deal of help to do everyday things as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, he has still been...well, I'll be kind...a typical male patient. Let's just say that my going on Diva's volleyball trip to Memphis has a lot to do with DH still being alive. I do want to know how I can do every load of laundry in the house on Thursday, be away for two days, and come home to EIGHT loads of laundry that needed to be done before going to bed on Sunday. I recognize one load was Diva's volleyball clothes, but STILL.

So, you get a partial goal vacation this month. To summarize: I did some stuff. Didn't get to other stuff. Completely punted a few stuffs. My life is so exciting.

What you really want: pictures of stuff. :-D

Earlier this month, I took two very amazing classes through my LNS with designer/teacher Susan Greening-Davis. Susan KNOWS STUFF. I learned tons about finishing and textiles. What I really like about her is that she shows you the technically "right" way to do things, explains the logic/reasoning, then tells you when it's really needed and when you can get away with cheating. She's all about the end result. I also like that her designs and kits are focused on finished items. Her stuff isn't available through LNSs, only through her trunk shows. Most are limited editions and include everything you need to finish the project. Here's what I bought:
Spooktacular Stitching:
spooktacular kit
Celebrations of needlework 15th Anniversary Spot Sampler:
celebration 15 anniv kit
Starry Night Hanging Ornament:
sgd ornament kit

The class projects were a stitching seat cushion with pockets for your stitching supplies (very handy for Moonlight Stitching at the LNS) and a discontinued Longaberger basket with doo-dads for holding supplies. There are not photos of the finished product, but here are pics of the kits and my progress:
seat cushion class
basket class

Really, the best part of the classes was just talking to Susan. Worth the cost of the classes. She's traveled all over and studied needlework and textiles. Font of knowledge. My dream is to take one of her needlework trips abroad. I think she's working on one to Ireland for 2011 or 2012.

Later this week, I will post updated pics of MTM and NSTR. Those are the only projects to see any stitching progress this month. I'm hoping September will be more productive!

I did buy boxification supplies to further my ambition to be Melissa. I bought The Book with the fabulous instructions, and had a silk dupioni sale, so I indulged a bit.
boxification supplies
Don't know when I'll actually make one, but my hope is to make at least one before the end of this year.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August Goals/ July Progress

That's right, time for goals again.

Stitching Goals for July

  1. Stitch two small projects while at the lake (Red Dragon Bookmark by Dracolair and Oh Christmas Tree by Charlotte's Web Needlework in the 2009 JCS Ornament Issue). Not really. Red Dragon is half finished. Didn't have as much stitching time at the lake as I expected.

  2. Complete the finishing for the slipper portion of Snow Queen's Slipper.Nope. I have all the supplies, but I seem to be suffering from finish-finishing anxiety.

  3. Stitch 10 hours on Nativity Story Table Runner. YEP and then some!

  4. Stitch 10 hours on Medieval Town Mandala (hoping that will finish the current town).YEP, see post below for photographic evidence.

  5. Make a master list of all the projects hiding in my closet that have been stitched but are in need of finishing and determine finishing requirements. Nope. Still living in denial. See #2 above.

  6. Attend Moonlight Stitching at the LNS on July 24. YES! Had an absolute blast!

Non-stitching Goals for July

  1. Stick to eating plan - lose 4 pounds (I said it would be a tough month)YES - officially lost 5.5 lbs for a total of 35 lost to date!

  2. Exercise at least 14 days, including 3 body pump classes.YEP - lost track of exact number but roughly 19 days and five body pump classes

  3. Order new sofa. Yes, current delivery date is 8/31, but I'm not holding my breath.

  4. Attend ADFP meeting for professional development. Meeting post-poned until August, but unfortunately, I will be unable to attend on the rescheduled date.

  5. Determine CPE requirements for the remainder of year and decide which classes to take. NOPE. Really need to do this.

  6. Update professional profile and begin to develop marketing plan.NOPE. Total fail.

Yeah, so July was only so-so. Eh. Whatever. In the words of one of my favorite heroines, Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day!" You can stop laughing at/with me.

So what will happen in August? With the start of Diva's volleyball season and Perfectionist Child's football cheering season, who knows! But, in my perfect dream world, here's what I hope will happen:

August Stitching Goals

  1. Finish current page on NSTR. Probably about 20 hours.
  2. Stitch one of the over-one bugs on Elizabethan Sweete Bag.
  3. Stitch 10 hours on MTM
  4. Finish THE SLIPPER (really, somebody hold a gun to my head and make me, PLEASE!)

August Non-stitching Goals

  1. Stick to eating plan -lose 5 pounds. Will be tough as I am getting closer to my goal which means slower progress.
  2. Exercise at least 22 days (see #1 above).
  3. Map out CPE requirements for the rest of the year.
  4. Update professional profile and begin to develop marketing plan.
  5. Figure out new daily/weekly routine now that kids are back to school.

Sorry the formatting for this post is not consistent. Blogger apparently does not like me today and will not let me make the formatting uniform.

So we'll see how it goes. In other life notes: I had Diva's entire volleyball team, varsity and JV (21 teenage girls) spend the night at our house last weekend. I lived and my house is still standing. Judging by the shrieks and giggles into the wee hours, I'm reasonably certain a good time was had by all. Everybody wins. :-D I did have to send DH out for a long bike ride the next morning as he was suffering from estrogen overload. Perfectionist Child had, and lived through her cheerleading initiation (involving much humiliation in front of the football team). I hated it for her, but she took it pretty good-naturedly. Today is/was PC's first day of high school. She was a nervous wreck this morning despite (or maybe because of) the cute boy who hugged her at book day yesterday telling her he hoped she'd hang out with him today. Diva was jealous. Diva still has the boyfriend and the boyfriend-drama. I'm gonna be shocked if he lasts through half of volleyball season. And that's really all I have to say about that!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

But I Have Pictures!

So you need to forgive the lack of blogging this month. Seriously, I blinked and July happened. However, I have managed some stitching. Thus, there are pictures which are of greater interest to you than anything I might say, I'm sure! lol

First up: my July progress on Nativity Story Table Runner

Nativity Story Table Runner close up of July '10 stitching

And the full view of the 38.5 inches of stitching thus far:
Nativity Story Table Runner 072810 full view

Another big milestone was completing the south town on Medieval Town Mandala. Here's the south town (upside down):
Medieval Town Mandala south town 072810

And the obligatory full view:
Medieval Town Mandala as of 072810

Kind of excited that I only have one more town to stitch. I love this design, but the towns are SO stitching intensive. I'll be glad to get the last one behind me so I can finish the corner motifs.

I brought out an old friend this month, Elizabethan Sweete Bag. Haven't stitched on it in two years! Stitched the leaves this round. The only stitching remaining are the 8 over one bugs. Seriously wondering what I was thinking to plan to stitch over one on black linen.

Elizabethan Sweete Bag as of 072810

Needed something smaller and not on black to stitch on at Moonlight Stitching last weekend at the LNS. So I started block A2 (a Celtic heart motif) of Celtic Quilt. I actually got a fair amount completed despite all the visiting with stitching friends!

Celtic Quilt block A2 as of 072810

Amazingly, my photography doesn't completely suck this month. Moon must be out of phase.

I do need to say that Moonlight Stitching was LOTS of fun! Wendy, Dana, and Melissa were all there, along with several other stitchers with whom I've become acquainted the past several visits. We closed the place down! Not sure I'm gonna make the next one in September. Diva's volleyball team hosts a tournament that weekend. We'll see.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Progress/ July Goals

Yes, it's that time of the month again, Dear Readers. So how did I fare this month?

Stitching Goals for June:

  1. Finish "duckie" band on Egypt Garden Score! All done.
  2. Stitch 10 hours on Nativity Story Table Runner Another one bites the dust - see post below for photographic evidence.
  3. Start stitching Snow Queen's Slipper Started AND finished the stitching. Minimal progress on the finish-finishing, though.
  4. Post final sign-ups for the Chatelaine Smalls Exchange, assign partners, etc. DONE!
  5. Mail my own entry for the Chatelaine Exchange Mailed and received by my victim. :-)
  6. Take Hanging Gardens to the framer Sadly, no. Just didn't get there.
  7. Make hotel reservations for the Houston Quilt Festival YESYESYESYES!!! Hotel AND Airlines booked!! WOOOHOOO!

Non-stitching goals for June:

  1. Stick with eating plan - lose 6 pounds Great with eating plan. Just barely made weight goal - but I did make it.
  2. Exercise at least 16 days Made 19 days! Go, me!
  3. Do the Body Pump class every Thursday Yep. Even convinced Diva to go with me.
  4. Buy some shorts that fit Bought two pair then guilt set in.
  5. Bite the bullet and buy a new bathing suit (UGH!) Changed my mind after trying on what I have and deciding it would work for the 3 days I have to wear one.
  6. Buy some new summer shoes Fail. Didn't even get to the shoe store.
  7. Let go of guilt over spending money on items 4.-6. I am SO not good at this.

July will be really challenging. We are headed to Lake Oconee, GA tomorrow to meet up with DH's family for a reunion of sorts. I'll spare you all the reasons I'm not looking forward to the trip and just say this is absolutely NOT a vacation for me and is the source of much stress. The day after we get home, I have to babysit my grandmother so my mother and her fiance can get away for a few days. Gram is in the early stages of dementia and doesn't do well out of her habitat, so I will be spending nights there. Mom hasn't been away from Gram in almost 16 years, so I'm glad to do this for her. But, it does mean more days of little/no exercise for me. With both of these events, it will be July 12th before I am able to resume a "normal" schedule. I'm worried not just about failure to lose weight, but actually gaining weight as a result. Yes, I have been discussing it with my doctor. She's concerned, too. Mostly about the effect of stress hormones on my body. Just have to do the best I can and then deal with the aftermath.

On the other hand, stitching time should be in abundance. Or at least, that is my expectation. Let's see what I can accomplish.

Stitching Goals for July

  1. Stitch two small projects while at the lake (Red Dragon Bookmark by Dracolair and Oh Christmas Tree by Charlotte's Web Needlework in the 2009 JCS Ornament Issue).
  2. Complete the finishing for the slipper portion of Snow Queen's Slipper.
  3. Stitch 10 hours on Nativity Story Table Runner.
  4. Stitch 10 hours on Medieval Town Mandala (hoping that will finish the current town).
  5. Make a master list of all the projects hiding in my closet that have been stitched but are in need of finishing and determine finishing requirements.
  6. Attend Moonlight Stitching at the LNS on July 24.

Non-stitching Goals for July

  1. Stick to eating plan - lose 4 pounds (I said it would be a tough month)
  2. Exercise at least 14 days, including 3 body pump classes.
  3. Order new sofa.
  4. Attend ADFP meeting for professional development.
  5. Determine CPE requirements for the remainder of year and decide which classes to take.
  6. Update professional profile and begin to develop marketing plan.

As you might gather from the non-stitching goals, I am gearing up for a big marketing push for my financial planning/divorce financial planning practice. Now that both DDs are in high school and my volunteer days are minimal, it's time. There is also the realization that slammed me upside the head yesterday when Diva got her ACT scores (very good, BTW), that I have to pay for college in two years time. EEEEKKKK!!!! The need to generate some income has really hit home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stitching to share!

First, yes, I have been playing with the new blogger templates, which also means a new background. I'm not quite satisfied, so there will be more tinkering. But, I've reached my limit for today. :-) I can only play with technology for so long before I hit overload.

And there has been stitching! Pics of my June rotation on Nativity Story Table Runner:
Nativity Story Table Runner as of 062610 full view
Close up of what I stitched this month (The Holy Family):
Nativity Story Table Runner as of 062610 close up

As always, my photographic skills are lacking. The second pic shows the fabric color more closely, but the floss is more accurate in the first pic. Oh well. I figure I'm past the halfway point with stitching on this. Really, the Holy Family is the most intense stitching. Definitely on track to finish by year end.

Picked up Medieval Town Mandala for a while. Started on the 6 o'clock town. Again, full shot and close up views:
Medieval Town Mandala 062610 close up

Medieval Town Mandala 062610 full view
Colors on the full view are really off. I couldn't fix it no matter how I played around. I really am lacking in the photo editing abilities. These towns take an eternity to stitch. Really, if I can push through the last two, the end would really be in sight. But I do seem to get bogged down by them. Will continue with MTM this week.

Oh, and I received my Chatelaine Smalls Exchange for 2010 from Val!
Chatelaine Smalls Exchange 2010 (front)
Chatelaine Smalls Exchange 2010 (back)

It's the pincushion from Nantucket Violets Basket finished as a biscornu. The fabric is Silkweavers Parkside opalescent belfast linen. Val did a wonderful job with the finishing! I really love it - particularly because it is from a Chatelaine Design I do not currently own. And the colors are so perfect for my office/hobby room which is painted a medium violet shade! The SNC is Vintage Violets, a color used in several Chatelaine Designs. I don't have a local source for SNC, so I am really happy to receive it! Thank you, again, Val!

No word from my recipient yet, but that's as expected. My exchange has a bit far to travel....

I have started the finishing for Snow Queen's Slipper. As soon as I get this posted, I plan to make a bit more progress on it, so maybe there will be photos soon-ish (don't hold your breath, though).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Walk Like an Egyptian...

Yeah, that's kinda lame, I know. But I was a teenager in the early 80's. That's my excuse.

I finished the duckie layer/border on Egypt Garden. I thought it was going to be a quick rotation to stitch. And, well, the stitching part was fairly quick. But, apparently, I completely forgot (or maybe blocked) how much beading is involved in this particular part, and how much fudging has to be done to fit those beads on 32ct fabric. More brain power than I anticipated. For those playing at home, this is my SECOND time to stitch Egypt following the Very Sad Demise (tm) of my first completed Egypt. Anyway, you are much more interested in photographic evidence, so here it is:

Egypt Garden 060910 full

And so you can see some of the sparklies:
Egypt Garden 060910 closeup

I do love beading. It's the fudging and planning for the fudging that wear me out. I think that's the last place on this project that fudging must occur. So it's all good.

And, what have I started now? Why Snow Queen's Slipper (by Carolina House), of course. I've gridded the fabric and started backstitching the outlines. Just have one more heart shape and the sole of the slipper to outline yet. Here's a pic:

Snow Queen's Slipper as of 060910

The linen is actually white. But it was laying on my dark brown table, and as it is a Permin linen (generally thought by me to be evil stuff) which means loose weave, the table color shows through. Fortunately, it seems the silk floss blooms nicely. My feelings about Permin linen have to do with how crappy my tension usually is on it and the stiffness of the fabric. Because of the loose weave, if the fabric wasn't stiff (i.e. if you wash out the sizing) it would be really limp and nearly impossible to stitch on. I know this for fact. But, as I stitch largely in-hand, the feel of the fabric matters to me. I just don't like really stiff fabric. And then there is the issue of my tension. The loose weave and my tension just generally don't get along well, so I typically do not like how my stitching looks on Permin linen. I once threw out a project that was two-thirds complete because I hated how it looked on the Permin linen so much. I knew I could never stand to look at it if I completed it, so why bother to finish. Anyway, I decided since this was the fabric that came with the project kit, I would give it a try. My thought being that the stiff linen might actually work to the advantage of the finishing of the slipper and accessories. So far, I don't want to throw it out the window, so we'll consider that an initial victory. More photos as progress happens.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Help me! My WIPs are screaming!

Yes, I know I said I wasn't going to think about what to work on beyond my stint on Egypt Garden and then Snow Queen's Slipper. But, my WIPs have other ideas. Lots of them. I'm hearing more voices in my head than usual.

Now that Hanging Gardens is finished, I am once again in single-digit WIP territory. I realize that the Slipper represents number 10, but as I think it's quick from the actual stitching perspective, I am not counting it. Don't you love my logic? I confess that finishing HG is a really, really good feeling. I do have one other project that is pretty close, in terms of hours, to being finished - Elizabethan Sweete Bag. Well, at least the front of the bag is nearly completed. I still haven't decided what, if anything I am going to stitch on the back of the bag. Even so, it's not that large a piece, and so probably represents the closest to another HD. So, ESB has been screaming.

Then there is Medieval Town Mandala. MTM is reminding me that I did make finishing her one of my goals for 2010. I have 2 of the 4 towns complete. It's not a hard stitch, just VERY time intensive. The towns are very densely stitched, which is partly why I get bored quickly when I pick this up. I love the design so very much. And, I know once the towns are completed, I can finish the corners in short order. I'm just having difficulty making myself pick this up again, but MTM is definitely making me feel some guilt.

Evening in the Park is saying, "Hey, you just need to finish me. I've been a WIP forever. You just need to get me done and gone." She's right. Honestly, I'm not as crazy about her as I once was, but she's still beautiful. I like working on her because I'm over the really intensive parts and moving on to the easier bits to stitch. I'm considering giving this one to my mom when finished. I do think mom will like her. So there is the double bonus of not only finishing a WIP but also finishing a gift that could be a Christmas gift.

Nativity Story Table Runner will continue to get attention every month as it has been this year. So he's not so demanding at the moment. But, I am itching to spend a little time on him because he's a nice break from the complicated Chatelaine Designs.

Misty Morning Vineyard and English Garden Sampler are used to my benign neglect. They get a rotation once a year and are content with that for now. They know that once MTM and EP are finished, I have in my head the thought that I will have a "Year of the Peacock" theme. So, for now, they are actually encouraging me to finish my other WIPs. They want my full attention, eventually.

Pineapple Stitches is a great travel project. So it will probably go to the lake with me next month. It (not far enough along to have gender yet) knows that's what I have in mind, so it's only whimpering softly.

Celtic Quilt is flat out mad. They haven't seen any attention in more than a year. In years past, I used these beautiful squares as a travel project while waiting for Diva at volleyball practice/lessons. But now that she drives herself, I don't have so much need for this. Melissa G brought her Waterlilly Pond Quilt squares to show at the GTG. GORGEOUS! But, they made my CQ squares give me "the look". They are just flat out mad at me. I kinda feel like I should stitch one just to appease them. Forget that I have 3 squares finished and 13 to go. How sad am I?

Egypt Garden is, of course, happy right now as I am working on the duckie band. He knows he gets that band finished and then goes back into the closet for a while. It's all good. Actually, I'm making good progress and may have the ducks quacking merrily along by the weekend. We shall see.

So what do you all think? I should mention that my VERY LONG-TERM goal is to get back to 4 or 5 WIPs of various sizes/designers. Is that laughter I hear? I KNOW. OK, maybe it's more of a dream than an actual goal, but it wasn't all that long ago that I had 12 WIPs. I am making some progress. What do you think I should focus on next? I can use all the help I can get. Oh, click the link at the top left of the page to see my album of WIP pictures, if you want to see how far along they are at present.

June Goals

Thought I'd given up on goals? Ha ha ha! No, May was just the month that got away beginning with Nashville's Great Flood and then all of the girls' end of the school year stuff. So actual planning sort of got thrown out the window. But that's OK because I actually accomplished stuff. Sometimes I think it's easier to get stuff done when you are insanely busy. Murphy's law of time management, or some such. The more time you have, the more you waste.

So, now to think about June and what I want to accomplish this month.

Stitching Goals for June:
  1. Finish "duckie" band on Egypt Garden
  2. Stitch 10 hours on Nativity Story Table Runner
  3. Start stitching Snow Queen's Slipper
  4. Post final sign-ups for the Chatelaine Smalls Exchange, assign partners, etc.
  5. Mail my own entry for the Chatelaine Exchange
  6. Take Hanging Gardens to the framer
  7. Make hotel reservations for the Houston Quilt Festival

Non-stitching goals for June:

  1. Stick with eating plan - lose 6 pounds
  2. Exercise at least 16 days
  3. Do the Body Pump class every Thursday
  4. Buy some shorts that fit
  5. Bite the bullet and buy a new bathing suit (UGH!)
  6. Buy some new summer shoes
  7. Let go of guilt over spending money on items 4.-6.

All do-able goals. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Puttin' on my Dancin' Shoes!!

Yep! Hanging Gardens of Semiramis is FINISHED!!!! I punted all household responsibilities today just to finish the beading. Perfectly reasonable thing to do, right? I mean, I was thisclose to a happy dance. Can't let little things like laundry and shopping get in the way. Without further ado, the photo essay (as always, click for biggification):

Hanging Gardens of Semarimis finished 052810
Hanging Gardens 052810
Hanging Gardens 052810b
Hanging Gardens 052810a

The color of the fabric even comes close this time. I am SO excited to have this finished. I have no real idea how I want this framed yet. There is a really wonderful framer in town that Melissa has used to great success, so I might try that out. My LNS is great for basic framing, and they did a decent job on my Indian Summer Reflections, but I want this to be really spectacular. I did think about Jill Rensel, and may still consider her. I'm just nervous about sending her something that took a gazillion man hours to stitch for fear it would disappear.

So what's next? Well, tomorrow is a stitching GTG with Melissa, Dana, and Wendy (no blog, or she's holding out on me). I think I may do a stint on Egypt Garden whilst visiting with them. It will appease the DH, plus I'm up to the duckie band which is a fairly easy stitch. Then, I'm going to start on Snow Queen's Slipper which will be a stitch/finish-a-long with MissyAnn. Beyond that, I'm not planning. Many of my WIPs are vying for attention. We'll just see which one screams loudest!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yes, we have a graduate!

Last night was Perfectionist Child's 8th Grade Graduation Mass and Ceremony. Because I am a proud mom and this IS my blog, I am about to gush about my youngling. You have been warned.

First, the pictures. I happen to think she looked beautiful and oh-so-grown-up! Here is PC in her finery:

Rachel's 8th grade graduation

And then a photo of my two gals - because Diva can't stand being left out!

Rachel and Courtney

For the record, yes, Diva is wearing 4.5 inch heels. PC's are 4 inches, and PC is STILL taller than her older sister. Neither of them yet tops five feet tall, though PC has high hopes of reaching such a lofty height.

In Diva's words, PC "wrecked shop" on the academic awards presented following Mass. She was awarded the highest GPA in the following classes: science, social studies, English, Spanish, algebra I, and religion. And, the natural progression - she had the highest overall GPA in the class (for the combined three years of junior high as well as her eighth grade year). For her participation in the National Spanish Exam, she earned a bronze medal. She also took third place in the MathFacts competition. DH's favorite award is the one she received, along with one other classmate, for attending this school for the full 11 years (from prek-3 through 8th grade). DH calls it the "endurance award" and said it really should have been given to me. LOL! They also gave the Presidential Awards, which are given on a national basis (90% cumulative average in your classes, plus scoring in the 85 percentile or higher on the standardized tests). PC and about half of her classmates received that award which makes sense as the school is very academically challenging.

After the awards were presented, PC gave the graduation speech. Again, remember this IS my blog. I have included the video of PC's speech for any who wish to listen. It runs a little over five minutes. I am so proud of her! She wrote it herself. She was INCREDIBLY nervous. But she did well and many people commented favorably afterward which made her feel good. She said what made her happiest is that people laughed when they were supposed to!

Afterward there was dinner and a DJ at a local club. The graduates had LOTS of fun. The class moms had this really cool t-shirt made that has on it where each graduate thinks they will be in five years. Quite interesting. LOL. For the record, PC said she will complete her nursing degree at Notre Dame and become an emergency room Nurse Practitioner. I believe her.

A funny from one of the moms - she said it has been many years since she'd closed down a party, kinda sad that it had to be her daughter's graduation party! LOL. Yeah, we stayed to the bitter end. It was PC's last hurrah with her buddies. She's going to a different high school than the vast majority of her classmates. Some she will probably never see again. Others are going to the same high school. Her very closest friend is going to another HS. They have vowed to stay close, and I think they will. They share a first name and have always said they have "twin telepathy". They don't even speak to each other in complete sentences. Very entertaining. These girls are really good together, and I think will always be close in spirit.

So, thus ends a chapter in the history of the Panther family. We have graduated and are now 100% high school focused. Kinda sad to end 11 years at this school, but I'm sure exciting "adventures" await!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Drive-by Post

Today is Perfectionist Child's 8th grade graduation. It's a big deal because she's been at this school for 11 years - since she was three!! And, she has been selected to give the graduation speech (yes, proud mom moment). Pictures and such will follow, hopefully tomorrow. I am hoping to get a decent video of her speech and figure out how to upload to flickr so I can share. That may be beyond my expertise, but we will see. Meanwhile, today is all about PC.

My other piece of news for the day is that I am officially in ALL of my skinny clothes! Weight loss is just a tad over 21 pounds by the unofficial scale. Clearly, I'm doing OK with the dinner meal thing. Mostly, I think the new gym is just really whipping my sorry butt into better shape.

On the stitching front, Hanging Gardens continues to hum along. I'm down to the specialty stitches in the three remaining corner ornaments and then on to beading. I *think* I will be dancin' by the weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I ate food and it didn't kill me

LOL. I finished my six full weeks on the liquid diet with my doctor. Lost 19 pounds officially. Go me. So, I now get to eat real food for dinner. I am quaking in my boots. I can eat either a lean protein (chicken, fish or turkey which can be grilled, broiled, or baked) and two vegetables, one of which must be a dark green veggie OR I can eat a bottomless spinach, mixed greens or romaine salad with fresh veggies and the lean protein on it. White carbs are to be completely avoided at this point. Sounds easy, right? Yeah well, when I asked "how much is a portion?" I got nothing but a smile from the doc. See, her theory is that when she's all done with me and turns me completely loose, I won't be weighing and measuring anything. So, she doesn't want me to start out doing that. Instead, I am supposed to alternate bites of everything and stop eating when I first begin to feel full - no matter how much is still on my plate. For someone raised in the "you better clean your plate because there are starving children in Africa" generation, this is no small thing. I did pretty well last night even though I went out to eat with the ladies from my old investment club. I ordered a small mixed greens salad, trout (broiled), and steamed asparagus. I brought home a little more than half of the trout and half of the asparagus, which with another veggie will make dinner for tonight, too.

Intellectually I know this is the right way for me to progress even though I have another 20-25 pounds to lose. But I am so afraid of reversing my good progress. I just want to be healthy and feel good about how I look again.

On a positive note, I started at a new to me gym this week since mine is still closed from the flooding. Getting back into weight training is kicking my butt. Which is a good thing. I went four days this week, which is good for me because I hurt so much. I'm considering doing a body pump class with a friend of mine next week. I'm a little intimidated by it though.

Interestingly, though I've lost 19 pounds and lots of inches everywhere, I still have not gone down a full clothing size yet. I started out in size 12's - admittedly snug size 12's. But I cannot yet get into all of my size 10's that I wore a few short years ago. I can wear some, but not all. Size 8's are still laughing at me tauntingly. Someone on one of my stitching boards posted about being able to lose two pounds and be in a smaller size while someone else she knew had to lose like 15 pounds to decrease clothing size. I guess this goes in the category of things that make you scratch your head. For me, the biggest size changing issue is my waist measurement. I lose weight there last. So, while I am wearing small and medium tops, my bottom can't quite keep up. Clearly, you don't lose weight evenly throughout your body. Weird, huh?

Well, those size 8's can laugh all they want. I'll be wearing them at some point in the not too distant future. My dream is to be comfortable in size 6's, but honestly, I could be content to be a size 8 for the rest of my natural life, provided my body fat percentage is in the healthy range. That's really the key. I want to be healthy again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hanging Gardens Progress

I am so motivated to finish this! Progress is happening. I am finishing the backstitching at the bottom center of the design. I have to do the little bit of greenery to the outside of each side of the arch still, as well as the repeat of the corner motif on the three corners I've not yet done. Then I'll add the beads and crystals and Voila! Here's the progress pics!

Hanging Gardens as of 051910

And the close up of where I'm working now.

Hanging Gardens as of 051910 close up

I can feel the HD anticipation building. :D No time estimates, but it is conceivable it will happen by the end of the month.