Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dead Cameras

Why do digital cameras die just when you need them most?  I'll be taking mine into the shop tomorrow to find out whether this is just an issue of a rechargeable battery no longer holding its charge or something far more deadly.

I have three recent finishes I wish to photograph as well as a few more pieces I want to photograph for a Gallery Post of samplers.  And, of course, a few WIP photos to take: the M Designs Name Tree Sean and The Jacobean Elegance afghan.

It seems like forever since I put a photo on the blog though it is really only a little over a month.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Assessing April Goals, Setting May Goals

I have been having all sorts of issues these past five or six weeks.

The office workload has nearly tripled as we come to the sacrament "season", prep for registration for 2015-16, prepare budgets, take inventory and do all the things that make April and May so very crazy.

Added to that, I have had all sorts of issues with my eyes.  Starting tomorrow, I embark on a series of laser surgeries to repair blood vessels and remove cataracts.  None of this is life threatening or even life altering [except in a good way] but it has diverted my focus from stitching and stitching related activities.  I am way behind on giveaways, blogging and actual stitching.

In fact, all I managed to complete recently are

* Workbasket's Quaker Bat
* The Town Square series' Sandie's Sweet  Shop

I started Prairie Schooler's Year Round for April but still have a few hours worth of stitching to do before completing it.

I don't anticipate getting back into my routines fully much before June.  I expect May will be as hectic as April has been, if not more so.

So, my goal for May is to take things as they come, seeking to carve out a little time for stitching here and there.  My usual elaborate plans and rotations just won't be workable this coming month.  However, I do expect that once all my eye surgeries are done, I'll enjoy such an improvement that I'll be back to my old speed.  At present, I am a s...l...o...w stitcher, running at tortoise like speed.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Giveaway

This giveaway will be a bit different than the previous ones.  The postage costs are mounting up so I am going to start bundling my excess charts into groups that would appeal to a single winner.  In the long run, it will be less expensive to mail 6 charts in one envelope than 6 envelopes containing one chart each.

The first giveaway under the new system will be for Heartstrings fans:

The Sugarplum Season [a tall narrow Christmas sampler]
The Bittersweet Season [a tall narrow Halloween sampler]
The Wreath Santa [2005]
The Santa Factory [April]
The Candy Cane Santa
The Feathered Friends Santa

The last four charts are ornaments, either complimentary charts from shops or tear outs from the older JCS Christmas issues.  You can find photos of my versions by clicking on the Gallery posts for Christmas ornaments, Santas and Halloween in the labels archive.  I thoroughly enjoyed stitching these charts because they had lots of interesting details ... definitely not your generic ho-hum stuff.

If you wish to enter, please leave a comment.  If clicking on your name will not bring me to a profile with your e-mail address, please include your e-mail address in the comment.  I have had issues with contacting winners in the past, all for lack of an e-mail address.

I also ask that the winner agrees to PIF these charts.  An unenforceable request, but a request nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Assessing March Goals and Setting April Goals

MARCH GOALS: Even though I have occasionally broken my own pattern, rotation stitching is working for me.

Monday & Tuesday : Jacobean Elegance Afghan   Six and a half out of 20 blocks completed.
Wednesday: Prairie Schooler Year Round: March  [DONE], Sean's Name Tree ornament from M Designs  the "e"s are stitched   and Sandi's Sweet Shop in The Town Square series [Kitted up but not started].  
Thursday:   Workbasket's Quaker Bat and Quaker Squirrel.  Quaker Bat is done.
Friday: Sewing Finishes: 8 ornaments.
Saturday & Sunday: get out of the stitching chair and do a wide variety of things: walk, exercise, antique, reorganize, put the garden to bed for the winter, feed and observe the backyard birds, read, visit friends and relatives, try a new restaurant, experiment with the recipes I have been downloading, host a high tea ... whatever.    Not much going on, just rain, rain and more rain.

APRIL GOALS:  I'll be continuing much the same rotation.
Monday & Tuesday: Jacobean Elegance Afghan
Wednesday: Prairie Schooler Year Round: April, Sean's Name Tree ornament from M Designs and Sandi's Sweet Shop in The Town Square series.
Thursday:   Workbasket's  Quaker Squirrel.
Friday: Sewing Finishes
Saturday & Sunday: get out of the stitching chair and do a wide variety of things: walk, exercise, antique, reorganize, put the garden to bed for the winter, feed and observe the backyard birds, read, visit friends and relatives, try a new restaurant, experiment with the recipes I have been downloading, host a high tea ... whatever.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stitching Limerick Contest Winner and Other Stuff

There were many clever entries this year.  The clear winner, in both quantity and quality, is Calamity Jr.  She'll be receiving her gc by e-mail as soon as I have a chance to put together my floss order,

The winner of the Workbasket Rabbit and Turtle chart never contacted me with a mailing address, so it's going back into the giveaway pile.

I am still sorting through my charts, separating the stitched from the yet to be stitched.  I have culled quite a number of charts to add to the giveaway pile.  Stay tuned for a really big giveaway later this month.

Monday, March 30, 2015

My Last March Malaise

In education circles, March is known to be a particularly nasty month.  Not only is it one of the longer months but it is a month without holidays or breaks, with the rare exception of a very early Easter and/or Passover break.  Add in the fact that it is usually ushered in by gloom and snow and ice and ushered out by gloom and rain and chill, well, it's a rather awful month here in the Northeast.  The children want nothing more than to break free of classrooms, confining winter clothes and the boredom of cabin fever.  The catechists and teachers are exhausted by their efforts to contain or redirect all the repressed energy of a roomful of children or, worse yet, adolescents.  Parents always seem more irascible in March, almost impossible to please.

I have survived my last long March in education.  Forgive me while I burst into a few bars of the Hallelujah Chorus.  Next March, I'll be enjoying the freedom of retirement, and probably missing the children desperately, but not the stress and angst.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A New Computer

My son has put together a new tower and has set things up "the best" way which means I have a bit of a learning curve to deal with before mastering navigating the new set-up.  Both my husband and I are "administrators" with our own separate files which are on a segmented or sectioned or segregated D drive.  I can't remember the terminology Dan used.  Why is it that, when the tech savvy generation makes things easier, the pre PC generation ends up spending months figuring out how to do things the easy, user friendly way?.  Why can't we just navigate the systems the way we always did?  Once upon a time everything was on the C drive but apparently that is only for operating systems now.  

So give me a few more days, weeks, possibly months to get back in the groove.  I have to figure out how to set up a My Pictures file in my area of the D drive so I can store photos and load them to my blog.

Dan explained it all to me last night when I cam home from a 13 hour work day too tired to do anything more than nod wisely as my son showed my husband and I how to "do this, then do this and do this" as though we were playing a demented turbo driven game of Simon Says.  He kept clicking the mouse as he demonstrated all the right moves.  I didn't have the energy to point out that as my husband was sitting next to Dan and I was sitting next to my husband, I was simply too far from the screen to even see the cursor, given the cataracts and near-sightedness that plague me.  I'll spend some time this weekend trying to figure everything out.  No doubt the air in my little corner of the world will change color as I curse a frustration driven blue streak.

Meanwhile, I am posting this from my office computer which, thankfully, is still navigable.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Computer Update

The home computer is indeed dead as a door nail.  We have ordered a complete new set of components for our tower and should have them in four to seven business days.  My son took the main drive home to see if he could retrieve any data but is not optimistic.  Happily, I do have most of my stitching photos on my blog and can recreate my files by working backwards from blog to photo albums in My Pictures.  I can ask my oldest son to resend all the grandchildren's photos to me but alas, other family photos and vacation photos are probably gone forever.  That'll teach me to back things up on flash drives.  Most of my husband's articles and research for the local historical society were also backed up, so we are good there.  We shall consider this a lesson learned and move on.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Posting from the Office Computer

 ... to let you know that our hard drive died on the home computer.  My husband was using the machine at the time so I'll be blaming him if we lost all our photographs of grandchildren, vacations, and [gasp] my stitching album.  We'll be evaluating the damage with our personal IT guy, my youngest son, over the weekend.  If he can get things up and running again, we'll take him to his favorite sushi restaurant.  If he can't, we'll still take him to the restaurant for trying because that's the kind of no-fault parenting that works best with adult children.  Really, the restaurant deal is just an opportunity to spend some quality time with this really amazing 30-something person that somehow came from our union.

If we need to buy a new computer, we will pay a professional to try and retrieve all the data on the toasted hard drive and transfer it to the new tower.  We will also use the opportunity to upgrade all our software and we will purchase some flash drives or portable hard drives to store information so this never happens again.

In the meantime, I am on hiatus.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Afghan Progress

Earlier this week, I devoted three stitching days to Lori Birmingham's Jacobean Elegance afghan: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  I confess I continued to stitch on the afghan again today  in an effort to finish the block I was working on.  The result is that I now have five blocks out of 20 stitched.  Clearly, I am going to have to pick up the pace to meet the Mother's Day deadline.  I'd have to finish two blocks a week and I just don't see that happening.  But I will do my best.  I'll be doing all my "at home" stitching on this piece, relegating the other two rotation pieces to travel projects for the time being.  I'll also make the afghan my weekend stitcher's choice project for the next little while.  Maybe that will help me build a little momentum.  I'll post a photo after the weekend.  With a little bit of luck, it will show two rows of four blocks completed.completed!

I will say this though, now that the temperatures have dropped below freezing again, the afghan is a very cozy stitch.  With most of this afghan draped over my lap and legs, I stay warm even with the home thermostat set to the cooler temps my husband enjoys.  Furthermore, I love the blues, greens and golds of this piece.  Then, too, the flower and bud motifs are just complex enough to keep me from getting bored by repetition.  But I have only stitched three flowers and two buds so far.  And considering that I will be stitching 10 buds and 10 flowers before I am done, avoiding boredom is something of a priority.  The original chart called for ten stitched blocks and ten blank blocks but that looked unfinished to me.  I am beginning to regret my decision to stitch every block but it is too late to turn back now.