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.