Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick Reminder!

I could say you only have a few more hours to register for my Giveaway, but honestly, I doubt I'll make it to midnight to close the post to new comments, so you have until I wake up tomorrow morning!

I hope every had as blessed a Christmas as I did.  I couldn't ask for anything more - family and friends and good health.  Well, mostly good health.  All of us were suffering from various aches and pains, some have new, bionic joints, and I was fighting my allergies that flared up with the 2 extra dogs in the house.
Mom, myself and Mary Lou headed to mass
on Christmas Eve, a tradition for the girls.

The weather was absolutely beautiful - we ate Christmas breakfast out on the back patio!  Bright, beautiful sunny days, usually in the low 70s.  I was actually hoping for some overcast skies since part of my allergy attack was another eye episode, and the bright sunlight makes it difficult to go outside when that happens.
Mary Lou, Jim, Mom, Grandma and Dad sitting down to
Christmas breakfast on the patio.
Annie having more fun with the wrapping paper than her toys.

Stitching wise I've slowly but surely been working away on the 12 Days of Christmas by Prairie Schooler.  Days 1 through 8 are done, and I'm on Day 9.  Here's a picture collage of Days 1 through 7.

I don't think I've ever stitched as many ornaments as this year.  Many thanks to Becky for hosting the Christmas Ornament Challenge this year.  It was some great motivation for me to not only stitch, but actually finish ornaments.

Tomorrow starts the great Halloween Rules SAL with Myra, Cucki, Ranae and myself.  Throughout January I'll be working on that, and my BBD Anniversaries of the Heart to fit in with the Theme-a-licious SAL.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Squeezing out a finish

Despite the illness (yes, mom did get me sick) and the holiday madness, I managed to squeeze out a finish and cross an item off my massive list of WIPs.  Well, I actually had to add it on first, since I seem to have omitted the "current" projects bag from that list.
Shakespeare's Peddler Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler
stitched on PTP 40 count Legacy linen
with charted flosses (overdyed cotton)
I was pretty much committed to getting this finished this year once I stitched that date in.  Usually I do the date as the very last thing, as a just in case precaution, but for some reason I did it about halfway this time.  As you can see, I re-charted and took poor Jenny's name out, and put my own in with the current date.

Since Jenny's Christmas sampler is finished, I'm going to throw it into the Giveaway too.  Still plenty of time to sign up, assuming anyone is still reading blogs between gorging themselves on holiday sweets, battling crowds everywhere, and anything else holiday related.

I have another finish-finish to show off, and credit for this one really goes to Mom.  I stitched this piece back in 2008, and never did anything with it.  No clue why, because I really love all the specialty stitches in it.  Mom made it up into a small wall-hanging and its going to Grandma as a Christmas present this year.  Grandma is a total pink kind of lady, so that's why we went over-the-top pink with the finishing.
Ewe & Eye & Friends Rose House, stitched on
36 ct linen with HDF silk

I hope everyone is having fun and staying sane with the holiday season.  Our friends we spend Christmas with every year just arrived today.  Mary Lou and Jim had quite the ordeal getting here.  Yesterday they started the drive from their winter home in Arizona; Jim lost his wallet at Costco when they stopped for gas, but didn't notice it until they were halfway here.  They turned around to go back home to cancel credit cards and such, but on the off chance someone turned it it, they stopped back at Costco.  Luckily, a very kind and  honest Costco employee found the wallet, and turned it in.  Jim recovered everything, and didn't have to go through the hassle of cancelling credit cards and figuring out how to replace a Virginia drivers license from 3000 miles away 2 days before Christmas.

The population of the house is now 4 retired adults, 1 adult unemployed daughter, 2 golden retrievers and Princess Annie.  Absolute madness, but I love it.  Jim and ML are family to me and Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if they weren't here.  I've known them for 25 years, when all of us were living in England.  The golden retrievers have changed through the years, but there's always been at least one.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Squint really hard...

and you might be able to tell what these pictures are of.  Over the last few months I've been trying to used my DSL camera more.  Really that means learn how to use it.  Last night I found out the importance of having a tripod for night photos.

Dad and I left the el-sicko mom at home and drove down to the harbor to watch the parade of boats.  Lots of fun, but chilly, and I was ticked I didn't think to bring a tripod.  Dad's head wasn't steady enough.  Here's my extremely blurry picture of downtown San Diego.

And I'll only torture you with one photo of decorated boats.  Just imagine almost 100 different sized boats of all types (sailboats, party barges, trawler, dingy's, huge cabin cruisers) all decorated, and some with music, slowly parading past us.  Oh, and there was one kayaker at the very front.  He got the loudest cheers from the crowds on the shore, at least in the section where I started the cheer!

I got brave today and did some finishing on a few things I stitched last year.  No clue why, but I was totally petrified of doing the finishing for the BBD stockings.  I didn't follow the instructions in the book.  Instead, I chose to machine stitch them and make them as semi-functioning tiny stockings.

BBD December stockings, stitched
on 36 ct linen with assorted silks

I know these are from the December monthly stocking books BBD did, but of course that's the one month I didn't bring with me so I don't know the specific names of each one.  Guess I'm not stitching them again anytime soon either.

I'm totally amazed at how many people actually read my blog, just by number of comments left for the giveaway and the new followers I picked up.  It works both ways actually, I found some new blogs as well! Still plenty of time to enter, just leave a comment on the Giveaway post and make sure you're a follower!

I'm slowly falling behind in my blog reading, so I find I'm leaving comments on post 2 or 3 days ago, and then later see there's a newer post.  I'm slowly reaching the point where I'm just going to have to skim blogs and forgo the commenting just to catch up.  Hopefully that doesn't happen.

Off to make dinner, since Mom seemed to come down with the crud on Friday and its still hanging around.  Dad seems to take the position that if there's an able-bodied female in the house, then he doesn't need to take any part in fixing meals.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I mentioned a while ago I needed to have a giveaway, since I found some duplicate patterns in my stash.  In the spirit of the season, and following the tradition of generosity of other blogging stitchers, I'd like to host a giveaway instead of trying to sell them.  I think there might be a chart or 2 missing from this pile, Jenny Bean's Halloween Sampler should be there too.

There will be more than 1 winner, number yet to be determined based on the number of entries.  I might also include some other treasures (OMG, I haven't shown you the button stash I found!).

I'm not doing anything fancy like multiple entries for jumping through hoops, mainly because I want to keep it simple for myself.  Just be a follower and leave a comment in this post.  I'll do the drawing on New Year's Day, to give everyone that's started their holiday vacations and travel a chance to enter. If you get one of the holiday charts, sorry, no chance of getting it done this year, think of it as a project for 2012!  If you have a favorite chart in that pile, or don't care for one, put that in your comment and I'll try to work around it.  No sense in someone getting a chart they don't like.  Be honest, you won't be hurting my feelings.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


My middle name is Wyora, and a lot of times I "sign" my samplers with that name, or at least initial.  My EverQuest character's name is Wyora.  But where did the name come from?  Its pretty unusual.  Despite a lot of Google searches, and looking in various name origin books, I can't find any information about it, either what it means or the country of origin.  All I know is that it was my paternal grandmother's name.  Unfortunately she died when my father was about 4 years old.

Isn't she beautiful?  We really don't know a lot about her.  He she is with my dad, we're guessing when he was about 2 years old.  She looks like she was a very smart dresser.

And a family photo.  My grandfather was a very handsome man in his early years.  As he aged, he became what you would describe as distinguished looking.

And while this last photo isn't of Wyora, its very appropriate to the season.  Its my dad with Santa in 1945.  He looks a tiny bit scared of Santa, but I'll give him a break, he was only 2.

While digging through some of the junk treasure in my mom's house, I found this.  Its a spool of lace from Wyora's wedding dress.  Absolutely gorgeous!  Its about 2 inches wide, and a beautiful ecru color.  There's a lot of it there.  I haven't fully unwound the spool, but I'm guessing at least 5 yards, if not closer to 10.  I want to find a way to use it on a piece of cross stitch, maybe a band sampler.

For about a year I've been having my dad do some genealogy research.  He found some great resources when I was living up in Utah and both he and my mom were up there helping me  get through my ankle surgeries.  Ogden actually has the second largest genealogy library in the world, second only to the one in Salt Lake City.  Despite that, there are still a lot of gaps in my family history, starting with my grandparents and getting even worse the further back you try to go.

What drop this interest in family history?  Why the BBD Anniversary of the Heart series of course.  I've been leaving out all the personal details until I can get a better idea of what I have to work with.  This project is one of my priorities to finish in 2012.  Its been neglected for too long, and I'm not sure I can use the excuse of not knowing the genealogy information for too much longer.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Princess Annie

Princess Annie decided to mark the new quilt on my bed as hers.  Normally she's up on the pillows so she can look out the window.  That brown fuzzy blanket is supposed to be "Annie Spot."  She understands the words, but likes to flaunt her disobedience.  I wonder if she's been taking lessons from Master Stewey.

6 Fat Men got a bit more stitched, but is now packed up until I can get some more white floss.  I'm stitching with a single strand over 2 on 36 count linen, and I'm estimating this project will need 3 skeins of whatever white you choose.  I obviously didn't think about that when I kitted it, since I only got one skein of Crescent Colors Eggshell.  The Bush is sending me more (along with the January Word Play!).

For years I've been wanting to stitch Prairie Schoolers 12 Days of Christmas (the small version) as a set of ornaments.  Finally I just did it.  Days 1 and 2 are done, and now I'm wondering if my fabric piece is big enough.  I'm going to make it big enough, it just means I'm not going to have much of a margin on some of them for finishing.  Oh well, I'll deal with it, I usually find a way.

I finally got honest with myself the other day and made "The List."  This would be a list of all my WIPs, at least all the ones I have here in San Diego.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, just over 50.  Yeah, some of you gasping in shock, but I've told you before, I have absolutely no restraint when it comes to starting something.  Attention span of a gnat.  You'll find "The List" over on my 2012 WIPocalypse page. Now you know why I signed up for that SAL.  Oh, and part of the reason why my list wasn't as long as I thought it shoold be was because of the "Kitted" list.  That was over 40 and I have a feeling a few of those might make their way onto the WIP list.  Measi said we could have new starts!

I added a linky list over on my left sidebar for the L*K Halloween SAL.  I'm really looking forward to the group motivation to get this done.  Honestly, I'm getting a bit tired of stitching ornaments and cutesy stuff, and Ann Smith is calling out to me.  Maybe I can find a way to squeeze some of her in before New Year's and the official kick-off.

Tuesday night I cooked dinner, and while the food turned out well, the best part was after dinner.  I did some braised lamb shanks.

We let Annie bring out some of her instincts and gnaw on the bone.  Very closely supervised of course.  I really doubt she has the jaw strength to break one of the bones, be we didn't want to take any chances.  She's a pampered house pet, not a wild dob, and not used to dealing with sharp bones.

After a bit she got to play with the bone herself.

Spoiled little pooch, we tried to feed her something else at the same time, which she'd normally gobble up;  this time she spit it out and went back to her bone.  We paid for spoiling her with the rich food by cleaning up vomit the next day.  She wasn't seriously sick, so I bet she thinks it was worth it, and I do as well, just for the amusement factor.  It was a blast watching her get so excited over those bones.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Year's SAL

Remember this?

Lizzie Kate's Halloween Rules!

Myra wants to stitch it as well.  She sent me a great email asking if I'd want to do a SAL with her.  I'm doing mine as a banner, she's doing hers as ornaments for her Halloween Tree (if I hadn't started already, I'd be so tempted to swap to that idea).

We're going to start on New Year's Day.  Anyone else want to join in?  This is a total no-pressure, finish as quick as you can SAL, since I have the attention span of a gnat, if you haven't already learned.  My goal is to just get it done before Halloween 2012.  I'm sure Myra will get hers done before me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life is not always warm and sunny

No, this isn't a doom and gloom woe is me post.  Just proof that Southern California is not always sun, blue skies and palm trees.  I should watch what I write on my blog and leave as comments.  Its been raining pretty much the whole day, sometimes just a drizzle, and sometimes a downpour with thunder and lightning.  Not quite the same view as I posted last time, but I was trying to stay dry under the overhang of the patio roof.  The ocean and islands are just to the left in photo.

What you're seeing is a lot of jade plant.  The backyard is right up against a canyon, with nothing behind us, until you get down to the freeways below.  Perfect wildfire land (and coyote heaven, there's a pack or 2 back there).  When my parents first move here about 15 years ago, my dad was trimming back a jade plant and just chucked the cut branches back into the canyon.  Imagine his surprise when they actually took root and started to grow.  Now you're asking why would he want jade back there?  Jade holds water, and doesn't really dry out, meaning it doesn't burn very well.  After 15 years of cultivating jade on that back hillside, they now have a very effective "green" firebreak.  The fire crew that comes out to cut the real firebreak every year or so loves it, and makes a point of keeping their ugly scar of naked earth well below where my dad has planted the jade.  Plus, the jade helps with erosion, establishing a root system on the very steep hillside.

Over the last couple of days I've had a few ornament finishes.  Fa La La was one of the new small kits Shepherd's Bush had at their Christmas open house, and I started stitching it right away up in Utah.  Very fast and easy stitch!  I switched out a couple of the colors, since purple and pink don't scream Christmas to me.  I really can't claim the "finish" finish on this, since mom did 95% of it.  What started out as being a lesson on  piping for me, turned into a refresher for her, and she made the mistake of saying quilting would be cute on the back.  Watch what you say mom, I'll take you up on that offer.  So, my small piping lesson...
turned into this.....
Shepher'ds Bush Fa La La, stitched with kitted
supplies, except swapping a couple of colors
At least I made the piping myself, got the pieces ready, and did the stuffing and hand-sewing shut.

Nest up was Primitive Snowman by Ewe, Eye and Friends.  I love the patterns these guys make, and have stitched a few of them (we won't talk about how many more I have in my chart stash that still need stitched). They're usually cute, on the small side, and have specialty stitches in them.  At the time I was actually stitching on this, I wasn't really in the mood to mess around, I just wanted it done!  Part of the chart got cut out (the year) and I think I forgot to go back and add in a satin stitch diamond on one spot.  Oh, and confetti stitches got left off.  But I hate confetti stitches, so they'd have been left off anyway.  It got the rusty wire and bells treatment, since I couldn't figure out what to do as a hanger.  Really I forgot to sew some ribbon in when I was at the machine - both times.  Yep, the first time it got sewed up, I had my backing fabric on backwards and didn't even notice until I was turning it.  That will teach me to try sewing something while I'm playing a computer game and sneaking over to the sewing machine on down time.
Ewe, Eye and Friends Primitive Snowman, stitched on 40 ct scrap
with HDF silk floss, pattern adjusted
I hope everyone is taking time to breathe during the holiday season.  It can be so much fun, but in the hustle and bustle sometimes the stress can build up.  Just remember, the sky won't fall if you don't get every single decoration up, or every single holiday yummy baked.  Your family will still love you, and to me that's always what the season has been about, coming together and enjoying it as a family.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Final catch-up

First part of this post is long overdue.  I won a giveaway on Mel's blog a few weeks ago, and gave her my new address down in San Diego to send the surprise to.  It was a great welcome to see the brown envelope waiting in the pile of mail when I first arrived.  She sent me some great things.  First off was a really interesting chart by Raise the Roof I'd never seen before.  There was also one of the really cute Victoria's Sampler cottage series.  I stitched a few of these years and years ago, so it was nice to receive another chart in the series.  She included some 25 count fabric (perfect for those ornaments I've been wanting to do over 1) and some cotton flosses, and a beautiful card.  Mel, thank you so much for the wonderful surprise.  I know I sent you an e-mail right away, but you've patiently been waiting over a week for me to post a pic on my blog.

One of the first things I did when I got to San Diego was finish my iStitch Mystery SAL.  I still have no clue what I'm going to finish this as, since its really too big to be considered a "small," not really large enough I want to frame it, and I'm not sure I want a purple pillow.  Oh well, something will come along.  This was truly an enjoyable stitch and a very well run SAL.  Thank you Carol!

Some progress has been made on Lizzie Kate's 6 Fat Men, and actually more since I took this picture.  For now I'm not stitching the wording or any of the confetti stitches.  I have an idea floating around in my head with the song Winter Wonderland.

Here and there I've been working on some ornaments, and have another finish to show.  Not 100% sure since I can claim this one totally by myself, since I suckered my mom into doing the machine sewing herself "as a lesson on how to use her sewing machine."  Actually, make that a lesson on how to use one of the 3 machines she has (and I've actually used this one before).  It looks cute now, but this was one of those "never ever again" things.  Trying to turn a long and skinny piece, with curves, lined with interfacing, right side out was NOT fun.  It may not look like it, its stitched on 40 ct linen so was pretty tiny once sewed up.  Its an older Hands to Work design, which I don't remember the name of, but it was a chart with 3 different stockings on it.
Stitched on 40 ct linen with HDF silk
in Old Maid of the Forest and Examplar Crushed Berries
Now its time for me to admit a guilty secret.  I started Jenny Bean's Christmas sampler while I was still up in Ogden.  I just couldn't resist everyone else's beautiful pictures, and I had the perfect piece of linen for it, and the colors were just calling out to me.  Rarely do I stitch something in exactly what the designer calls for, but this is one piece I didn't make a single substitution on.  Not a huge amount done, and I  probably won't get it finished for this year, but that's fine.  It will definitely be done for next year.

Shakespeare's Peddler Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler stitched on
40 ct PTP Legacy linen with the called for threads
We had a fairly clear day on Thursday, so I thought I'd make everyone that's shivering in snow a little jealous.  This is the view from my parent's back patio.  The islands are actually part of Mexico, and I can't remember their names.  Totally unedited photo, and no, that wasn't some super-duper zoom lens either.  Don't worry, its actually supposed to rain on Monday and Tuesday, so I do have to suffer some bad weather.  And it does seem strange going through all the holiday motions with it being in the 60s outside.  Dare I say it?  I might actually miss snow.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pictures part 2

This isn't going to be totally stitching related.

First off, what my house looked like the 3 days before Thanksgiving.
 The living room

 My office

My bedrooom

The 3rd floor loft storage/craft area

I treated the packers well, just like mom taught me, and they treated me well.  They were told up front no cash tips, but were provided muffins for breakfast, I made a coffee run across the street as soon as they arrived each morning, and I treated them to lunch every day.  Oh, and leftover drinks and plenty of bottled water to help themselves to.  After going through 16 moves, I have it down pretty well on how to make sure those packers are happy and they pack my stuff well.

While they were packing, they let me sit in my chair downstairs, watching TV, catching up on DVR shows, and stitch.  What exactly did I stitch on?  Why the December Word Play of course!  I've actually stitched a tiny bit into November, and have my center basting line in, but its really not worth a picture at this point.

With My Needle and Thread December Word Play
stitched on 40 ct coffee-dyed Flax linen
Thanksgiving was a day to finally take a deep breath and relax a bit.  Relax I did, it started with a sleeping pill Wednesday night, and not one of those wimpy Ambiens either.  I spent the day totally in my jammies (lounge clothes I won't leave the house in) and a lot of it online gaming with some of my computer friends.  Dinner was a scrumptious seafood stuffed portabella mushroom, and some steamed veggies.  Totally yummy, and not turkey.  Call me un-American, but I really don't like turkey, and usually cook something else for Thanksgiving.  Prime rib is a popular option.

Saturday was the day to stop by some of my favorite spots in Ogden.  It was also Shepherd's Bush holiday open house.  They had their fresh garland strung up outside the store, and then the table full of yummies in the entry area.

First thing you see when you enter the store proper is the fresh tree Teri picks our every year.  As the season progresses, more and more ornaments find their way onto it.

Skipping to the back room, Kari (in the white shirt with the Santa hat) had managed to get away from baby Oliver for a long enough to lead the project the shop was hosting.  They were some really cute and easy to make tags.  Never again will I buy pre-made or printed gift tags.  Much better to make your own.  And no, Kari wasn't really wearing that Santa hat, I just had some fun in Picnik

If you want to see more about the Open House, check out the Bush website, or their Facebook page.  They actually did a cute little video showcasing all 6 of their new projects release for Christmas.  Some are absolutely adorable, and others just aren't my taste.

Final stop was an afternoon meal at Two Bit Street Cafe.  This is one of my favorite places to eat in Ogden, and was right across the street from where I lived (and 1 block from The Bush).  Nothing fancy, and it probably falls in the dive category, but Penny's food is amazing.  One word of warning, if it gets busy, you could be in for a wait.  The kitchen is tiny, and there is usually only one person acting as a waiter.  If you're lucky, James will be in and perform some magic tricks.  He totally baffled my dad with a few of them.  Not much gets by Dad, and he knows how most of the "tricks" work, but James has some that he just didn't have a clue about.  We still have the totally twisted and mangled fork from one of them.

Ok, enough for now, hopefully Part 3 will be tomorrow, and should primarily catch you up on other things I've been stitching over the last couple of weeks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Catching up with Pictures, part 1

This is probably going to be totally out of chronological order, but pictures are pictures, and in my opinion a blog post without them is a boring post.  My goal here is lots of pictures and almost no chatter.

First off the framing Jill did for me that I mentioned in my last post.  I don't usually do punch needle, but I'm not sure why,  It goes so stinking fast and is easy.  I was really excited about this piece, first because of the curved top (which wasn't totally symmetrical and caused Jill a lot of extra work) and second because I love holly.
With My Needle & Thread Merry and Bright,
with kitted fibers
Photo courtesy of Jill Rensel
Second up was a piece which had been sitting on Jill's work bench for about 6 months, just waiting for the painting and then glass. I finally said to her just a couple of days before leaving, its not working for you, is it? She agreed, and we altered our original plan to somehow paint a pineapple (southern sign of welcome) on the inner liner, and just go with some stamped stars.  This is a gift for one of my cousins this year, since last year the other cousin received Christmas Rules last year.

Blackbird Designs And To All a Good Night,
stitched on 32 ct linen with assorted silk floss
Photo courtesy of Jill Rensel
Both of these were stitched early in the year, I just never got a picture of them since at the time of the finish, I had just had the bone fusion surgery on my ankle.  I'm using Jill's photos with her permission, since she was kind enough to take them before putting the conservation clear glass on.  Glass just totally screws up taking pictures of a stitched piece, but I insist on having it.

Now that I'm reunited with some of my crafting stash, I finished off a couple of ornaments.  I was making one as a gift, and my mom loved it so much I ended up finishing off the second one in a similar manner for her.  There were just a JBW design stitched over 1 on some 28 count fabric I had, and then put in those nifty frames from Hobby Lobby.
Front, JBW Joy, Love, Peace, stitched over 1
Back of JBW ornament
I thought I had more stitching pictures to post, but everything else on my camera is of the Shepherd's Bush holiday open house, Las Vegas, and an absolutely horrible picture of my iStitch SAL piece, finished.  Yep, I finished it before the deadline, and at least got the horrible pic off to Carol, but I'm obviously going to have to take a lot of pictures of stitched stuff tomorrow.