Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas was a little bittersweet this year.  For the first time in years we only had 1 golden retriever with us.  Jim and Mary Lou decided it was time for Cheyenne to go to a better place.  Holly and Annie decided to make up for the loss by being extra cute.
Annie just barely holding still long enough to snap a pic

Holly sitting nicely for her picture

We revived the tradition of going to the theater by attending the Christmas Pops concert at Copley Symphony Hall.  I had to illegally snap this picture.  I wish I'd been able to get a picture of the conductor's pants.  Wild!

Jim and Mary Lou at Copley Hall

Mom and Dad at dinner before the concert
We always play dominoes in the evening, Mom and Jim are the usual cheaters winners, I either win or lose spectacularly.

We always have a puzzle in works in the living room, a quiet escape from the madness in the family/kitchen area.  This year we blazed through the first puzzle in 24 hours so had to find a second one.  I always like the 1000 piece puzzles, but mom and Jim lobby for the easy 500 piece ones.

Sweets are always lined up on the dining room sideboard.  They change out daily.  As one kind disappears, something new shows up to tempt you.

Our tree before the presents were unwrapped.  Only a fraction of the ornaments we have made it 
on the tree this year.  My own tree is just a bit different - I have an extensive collection of Swarovski crystal snowflakes and sterling silver ornaments.

A typical low-key day.  Notice that Annie isn't picky about who's lap she's in.

Annie getting in the middle of unwrapping presents.

Mom makes out like a bandit each year.  Dad and I buy things for her, but she always has it in her mind we won't shop for her, so she buys for herself too.  Well, let me amend that.  I buy and wrap, Dad pays me back.  

After Christmas dinner my uncle and his daughter arrived.  It was sort of a surprise last minute thing.  Luckily his hellions sons were with the witch his ex-wife.  I need to find a picture of Delaney, I think I took it with mom's phone.  She's very special.  So special that I'll forgive her for leaving germs behind and we now have a house with 3 sick people, and I just spent the last 2 days bringing mom meals in bed.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recent Finishes

I'm proud to say I've had some finishes, somehow snuck in around exchange stitching.  The biggest is my 2012 BAP Challenge piece, Blackbird Designs Christmas Garden.

Mom, Dad and my initials are stitched in red.  The friends that always spend Christmas with us are done in gold.  Mary Lou and Jim are family to me.  Katrina was kind enough to share details with me about stitching the alphabet at the bottom instead of the charted Christmas Garden phrase.  The colors are still Christmasy, but this at least gives it the option of being displayed year-round.  I decided after taking the pictures I needed to add one more set of initials.  I'm going to put a green SB up in the top right empty spot for Shepherd's Bush.  This project was a gift from them to me last Christmas, and all of them signed the inside of my chart.  Lots of things I could say, but I'll just keep it simple and say they're all special to me.

All of my other finishes are small compared to this.  First up was the tote bag which was one of the projects from the retreat.  I it in Arizona while we were motorhome camping.  Perfect project for imperfect stitching conditions.  Each of the designers at the retreat supplied a motif (or 2).  The stitchers could pick and chose which motifs to put on their bags.

Shepherd's Bush 2012 Retreat welcome project

Next up is a piece designed by Nancy from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.  It was originally started for an exchange, but then I decided it was too Christmas-y, then I fell in love with it paired with the red velvet.

Victorian Motto Christmas Reindeer, stitched on 38 ct linen
with Hand Dyed Fibers silk in Garnet

Another project that was started for an exchange, but didn't make the final cut was this Homespun Elegance piece.  I decided there wasn't enough actual stitching and didn't want the recipient to feel like they got the short end of the stick.

Homespun Elegance Christmas Won't Be Christmas, stitched on
30 count R&R linen with various overdyed cottons
Next up is a Shepherd's Bush design from a few years ago.  I've had this mostly stitched for a while, it just needed the last few stitches put in and the finishing done.  Carol recently did a tutorial on hemstitching, so this was my first attempt.  I'll definitely be doing more hemstitching in my future.  Its a bit tedious and time consuming, but you get into a rhythm and it looks fabulous.  I'd love to finish a sampler with hemstitching.
Shepherd's Bush Merry pin cushion.

Last, but not least, a pair of Primitive Hare finishes.  The larger one was kitted up at the SB retreat and is stitched on 30 count linen, the smaller I changed to read Merry White Christmas, and is stitched on 40 count linen.

Primitive Hare freebie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Catching up on exchanges

I've done several exchanges the last few months, and have been absolutely rotten about posting pictures.  Please don't think my brevity of words means I'm not impressed or love everything I received, I'm just sneaking in this post between quarters of my Supply Chain simulation.

Animal Antics exchange, received from June.  She did a fantastic job stitching me some cute squirrels.

I sent some Plum Street hares to Lisa V.  Other goodies were sent as well.

For the Stitched With Love Halloween exchanged, I received a totally amazing witch's hat ornament from Sarah.  The linen she sent me was just perfect for some Christmas stitching and mom nabbed a piece of the quilting fabric right away for one of the projects she was working on.

I sent out 2 ornaments to April.

Terri (Dixie Sampler) also hosted a Haunted Halloween exchange, and I received an adorable L*K pin pillow and a fantastic tin topper from Parsley.  She finished the inside with some magnetic tape, so needles stick to the lid. Its also the perfect size to put the adorable scissors she sent me, covered with bats.

I chose to stitch a Notforgotten Farms piece for Jonette (no blog).

There was also a Christmas exchange hosted by Stitched with Love, but I'm not quite sure what the status of it is.  The blog over there is shut down but I haven't received word about being allowed to post pictures yet. No clue if my package arrived.  I had fun wrapping, so I'll leave you with a pic of wrapped items.  That's not giving anything away.

Yes, the cutting table also serves as the wrapping station up in the craft room (also known as the bonus room and the room where I have my computer set up).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The past 3 months in 30 seconds...


Mom and Dad headed up to Oregon for Dad's 50th high school reunion.  I joined them for the first leg of the journey (in the motorhome) and we stayed at Seal Beach for 4 days.  While there we....

Went to the Getty Center

Went to the Getty Villa (my personal favorite)

(you can sort of see the backside of mom 
through the glass - in the red shirt)

Went to the Queen Mary for dinner one evening

and Mom and I had afternoon tea another day

and we went to the Long Beach Aquarium

Annie and I then headed home for 3 weeks of bliss, I mean 3 weeks of uninterrupted studying.  Oh, I almost forgot (don't tell Shawn) but  a friend came out to see me from Chicago.  We did the Zoo, the Midway, a walking wine tasting tour of Temecula, Food Truck Friday dinner, and a quick tour of Balboa Park before he flew back to Chicago

The 'rents got home and 2 days later I headed up to Utah for the Shepherd's Bush Retreat.  The theme of the retreat was home for the holidays, and it really was home for me.  The ladies at the Bush were my family for the 4 years I lived in Ogden.  It felt great to be back with them, and Teri put me right to work.  Oh woe is me, what a hardship it was to have Paulette Stewart all to myself for half a day (extreme sarcasm there).  Poor Paulette had to put up with a borderline stalker fan picking her up from the airport and acting as chauffeur for the day.
Mindi and Paulette, picture "borrowed" from Plum Street Samplers

Mindi and Jill, with Midge and Gidge,
picture borrowed from Plum Street Samplers
Yes, if you look closely you can see I was wearing my budha pendant on the day I picked Paulette up and took her on a tour of the Temple grounds.  You can't visit SLC without stopping by, its beautiful.

From Utah I drove down to Arizona to meet my parents in Sedona.  For some reason I can't seem to find the gazillion pictures I took, except for the few on my phone.  Oh well, I guess they're on the camera memory card and didn't make it to Dropbox or Picasa.
"Eat more Beef" at one of the artist colonies in Sedona
Typical pose for Annie and Dad in the evening when motorhome camping.
I also got a chance to stop by The Attic to drop off some donations for their charity auction and drool over all the samplers on the walls.  I tried really hard to not look, my budget was already blown.

Early October I went to Las Vegas for my annual geek fest, otherwise known as the SOE Fan Faire.  Its really just a chance to see friends I only see once a year and to have some fun going out to dinner.  Not quite as much fun this year on an extremely limited budget, not to mention I haven't played my geek game (Everquest) in about 9 months.  But, it was good to see friends.

We went to the Mob Museum

Had a "Dark Dining" experience (that's Shawn with me)
No, those aren't bras on our heads, just fancy sleep masks.

Somewhere in all that I did some stitching, a few exchanges, a few finishes, and ripped out half the backyard to prep it for artificial turf.  Pictures on all that next post, if anyone still reads this blog.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Super Ninja-Quick post

September has been a crazy month for me, and its not over yet.  It started out with a trip up to the LA area, to meet up with a group of Southern California stitchers.  It was my first time meeting them, and it was a very enjoyable day of stitching and chatting.

I combined that trip with a short RV-camping trip with my parents.  They were on their way up to Oregon for my dad's 50th high school reunion, but they started out by staying for a few nights at Seal Beach.  While we were there, we visited the Getty Center, the Getty Villa in Malibu, the Queen Mary, and the Aquarium of the Pacific.  I then got to drive back down to San Diego where Princess Annie and I got the house too ourselves for a few days.

A friend came out from Chicago to stay for a long weekend and of course I jam-packed the time with fun things to do.  A tour of the Midway, a wine-tasting walking tour in Temecula, an evening of dining at the La Mesa food truck gathering, and of course a trip to the zoo.

Another few days alone, then the parents get back from their trip and I immediately leave for a drive up to Ogden and Park City, UT.  Yep, the Shepherd's Bush Retreat.  I've been looking forward to this for ages, and had budgeted my pennies for it.

Anyway, I'm slowly getting the hundreds of pictures I've taken the last few weeks organized, and needed to post about an exchange I participated in earlier this summer.  It was my first exchange with Stitched With Love Exchanges, and I really enjoyed it.

I received a lovely pillow from Loretta, who obviously paid very close attention to my profile sent out with the exchange information.  She stitched my a Blackbird Designs pattern (one of my favorite designers) in red (my favorite color).  Lots of other goodies were included, and I can't wait to try the Carrie's Creation's silk she put in the package.

I stitched Summer Splendor by LHN for Cherise, since that was one of her favorite designers, but I brightened up the colors a bit since one of her dislikes was "dull" colors.  I finished it into a small stitchers tray, and also included a coordinating crushed walnut pin cushion and fob, using motifs from the design.

LHN Summer Splendor, stitched on 36 ct linen with assorted overdyed floss;
 finished as a stitchers tray with coordinating accessories

Hopefully soon I'll get some pictures posted from the various outings, or at least uploaded to a public album.  The jaguar babies at the zoo are so adorable, and one of them was being very adventurous while we were there.

Somewhere in all this madness I've been doing stitching for an Animal Antics exchange, 2 Halloween exchanges, and working on the 3 packages for my blogoversary winners.  Oh, and of course school too.  I'll probably spend all of October posting pics and catching up from what I did in September.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Niky's Mystery

Earlier this summer Niky hosted a mystery project.  I was a bit late in getting started on it (as usual delaying my start until I had all 3 parts), and then even later getting the finishing done.  Errr, let me rephrase that, getting mom to help with do the finishing for me.  Honestly, she was really just supposed to show me how to do the piecing for the front, but then it sort of escalated.  I think we made this project a bit harder than it needed to be.

Lined, with pockets.  Handle attached with vintage mother of pearl buttons.  A small touch of jute trim across the back from Victorian Motto.  I knew exactly how I wanted to finish this before I even started stitching it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

USS Midway

I'll just say up front this isn't a stitching post, and no stitching pictures.  Most of my stitching the last month and a half has been for exchanges or for the giveaway I just had.  Hopefully in a few weeks there should be a flood of stitching pictures.

San Diego is a Navy town, but strangely enough, my father was never stationed here in his 27 years of service.  One of the attractions downtown is the USS Midway Museum.  I got the chance a couple of weeks ago to be a last minute fill-in for a neighbor that wasn't feeling well, and attended a Steel Beach Party with the neighbor's husband and my parents.  I've never been on the Midway before (in fact I've never been on any carrier before), and unfortunately the museum portion was closed during the event, but it was still a lot of fun.  Dad never had a tour on the Midway, but he had been on it before during missions in Vietnam.

One of the neatest things about the Midway is my dad's plane is on deck.  No, not just the same type of plane, but his actual plane he flew.

Dad with his A-3 baby
Dad and Bob, the neighbor, talking guy stuff
There was a live band to greet us, and we also received leis as we walked into the cookout area

As you can see by the crowd, it was quite a popular event, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous for us.

As the sun went down, the lights on the ship came on and the city was absolutely gorgeous.

Hawaiian and Tahitian dancers for our entertainment

The Midway staff promises this will become an annual event for the museum members, and I've already put in my request with dad for a ticket to next year's Steel Beach party.