Monday, June 30, 2008

Assessing June Goals

As the religious education program year drew to a close in mid-June, I had more time to attend to personal goals: doing prep work on the stitching room prior to the contractor's arrival, cleaning out closets and declutterring the house in general ... and, surprise, surprise, more stitching. Having the last week of June off didn't hurt either. So let's see how I did:

--Sue Hillis' The Pair Tree. Finished June 10 thus ending the Sue Hillis marathon begun in January.

--Teresa Wentzler's Autumn Faerie. Afraid I didn't get to this one again this month but will make it a priority in July.

--the four Prairie Schooler Santa cards: Kitted up and started stitching June 21 and am about halfway through the 1995 Santa.

--The Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway Projects. Another project that I didn't get to this time around ... deferred to July.

--Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year: Frogged back to my error and completed work on the April, May & June blocks. Somehow, these charts have just sucked me in. I am now working on the Jul-Aug-Sept row even though it wasn't part of June's goals By june 27th, finished the July & August boxes and have started September box.

--M Designs' Name Trees. Yet another project that will have to wait till July.

--Sewing Finishes: I feel really good about this one. During this month, I have sewn up four Christmas ornaments: The Knotted Tree Santa, The Glory Bee Blackwork Noel, The Sue Hillis Spool Tree, and the Pine Glen Jacob's Ladder. Then, I finished the Halloween Cat biscornu, complete with an Olde Brass Pumpkin button from Homespun Elegance. Also finished the Prairie Grove Peddler USA 1776 as a pinkeep.

--Photobucket usage. Well, not quite. But I did learn to post images from my own My Pictures files ... it is wonderful to have some pictures on the blog.

--Blogging at least every other day: This seems to be going well. Have blogged a total of 22 times during the month, exceeding my goal. It is becoming a habit, even a compulsion.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not much stitching going on

Did a bit more stitching this morning before church, finishing the August block of Crabby All Year and starting the solar disc in the 1995 PS Santa. Also cut some antique country cream 28ct linen for the Cattitudes piece for Judi's birthday and for the Tea Time freebie. After Mass, there were visits to Mom and then dinner out with two of our children, Dan and Ange. Will try to post pictures of all WIP tomorrow.
One piece of really good news: there is room for me in the November Stitcher's Hideaway at Mystic, Ct. On Monday, I will download the registration form and send in my deposit. I am really looking forward to this ... Last year's hideaway was a blast and while I am not all that familiar with the designer who will teaching classes at the 2008 event, I expect it will be just as much fun. I intend to bring a bit more in the way of show and tell than I did last year, certainly all my Sue Hillis finishes, and anything else from this year that I am particularly fond of ... and maybe a few items from past years as well ... some of the dragons, certainly.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Kaloo Kalay, some pictures today ... finally

Finally, I have learned to post pictures on my blog... the first of many, I hope. Pictured above is the Sue Hillis Spool Tree ornament from the 2007 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue.
This is the Pine Hill Designs freebie, Jacob's Ladder ornament. I played a little with the colors and the stitching, using a rice stitch in the points of the diamond. I edged it with green and gold beads.

This a European Freebie, Olive Branch biscornu, stitched on Mushroom 25 ct. Laguna with a Homespun Elegance Starburst button


I am calling this my Halloween Cat biscornu. The original chart, a European freebie, had black cats with a red frame on a white field. I changed the fabric to a mushroom laguna and used NN Autumn Leaves for the frame and added a Homespun Elegance Pumpkin button for a Halloween look.

This is the Glory Bee NOEL ornament, a free chart. I added a beaded hanger to this piece.


The above is the Knotted Tree Santa ornament from JCS 2007 ornament issue ... I beaded the edges by whip stitching red and white beads along the edges for a candy cane effect.

this is the Prairie Grove Peddler USA 1776 freebie chart which I finished as a pinkeep. Tomorrow, I shall try to post pictures of the Sue Hillis Santas that I finished earlier this month and a picture of my current WIP, Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year.

Loss

The Picture House, the shop that has been framing my work for over ten years, is shutting its doors. It had been run by a husband and wife team who, over the years, had become friends. I would visit the shop every four or five weeks with something to frame. The wife, Diane, was also a stitcher whose favorite designers were Lavender & Lace and Miribilia. Though she had Teresa Wentzler's The Castle framed and hung in a corner of the shop, she always complained about the 1/4 stitches and the outlining in that piece, vowing never again to stitch a Wentzler design. It was one of the few areas of disagreement between us since I love Wentzler and stitch a lot of her designs. Every time I brought one into the shop for framing, Diane would shake her head and revisit the topic. Bruce, the husband shares my passion for dragons and always found just the right frames for them. I remember one afternoon, in particular, when he proudly produced a molding that was incised in such a way that the carving looked like dragon scales. It was always a pleasure to visit their shop ... even after the time-consuming job of selecting the right frame and mats [when required] was done I would linger, discussing all sorts of topics with them: stitching, the job, marriage and children, their extensive volunteer work, even their landlord and the neighboring shops. Then, quite suddenly, last November, Diane died of a heart attack. Bruce was and is devastated ... as he put it, he lost a savvy and companionable business partner as well as a beloved wife. He tried to keep the shop open ... but every time a customer would come asking "Where's Diane?" the wounds would open again ... after all, even his "regular" customers often came in only two or three times a year and many of them hadn't heard about Diane's passing. Every so often he would turn and expect Diane to be there to share a joke or the pleasure of a particularly artistic framing job. For most of us, when a spouse dies, work becomes a temporary haven but for Bruce, the workplace is just one more empty place where he feels Diane's absence terribly. He has decided, if he is to heal, he must move on. I shall miss the shop just as I already miss Diane. Bruce has referred me to a new framer and I've already brought two pieces there but it just isn't the same. I am sure the ladies at the new place are quite nice and I know that they must be competent or Bruce would never have given me their card. But I don't know them and they don't know me or my work ... the owners are artists who make a living with framing and giving art classes ... while they do seem to appreciate textile arts, that don't have the bone deep understanding of it that Diane had and Bruce has. Though raised Catholic, neither Bruce nor Diane were particularly religious. Even so, Bruce had a memorial card made for Diane ... since he felt it would be hypocritical to use the usual "holy" card, he had Diane's card printed with one of her Lavender and Lace angels ... one that had always hung right across from the counter. I'll treasure that card as a momento of them both. I wish Bruce well ... I can't even begin to imagine his pain but I hope he heals without losing any of the beautiful memories of his Diane.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stash Enhancement

I did some ordering yesterday ... it seemed about time ... haven't bought anything for myself in a very long while. First, though, I ordered some kits for my daughter who has finally expressed some interest in stitching some twenty years after she did her first piece as part of a GS badge project. She saw a kit in The Stitchery catalog that she liked called Max's Moon [a kitten trying to swat a moth in the moonlight]. When I ordered this item, I allowed myself to be suckered in by the "buy two more items and get 15% off your order" routine and ordered her a Twelve Cat Sampler and a Wolf Pack kit. I rationalized all this because the kit she wanted in the first place was on black aida and I figured she should start on something with white aida first ... after all, the last time she did any cross stitch she was only 11 years old ... starting on a piece on black aida after a 20 year hiatus might just be a tad too challenging.
Having been the good Mom, I then proceeded to dial The Silver Needle and order Workbasket's Quaker Pig and Rooster, Lizzie Kate's Housework Never Killed Anyone, Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year Jul-Aug-Sep button pack [to replace the lost one which will no doubt turn up two days after the new one arrives], Prairie Schooler's Special Edition 2008 Santa By The Chimney, Just Nan's handpainted Peacock Bead, 1/2 yard of 28ct Cafe Au Lait linen, a 9" square of aqua Jobelan and a 9" square of cream Jobelan, and the three Just Cross Stitch Special Editions: the Christmas Ornament Preview, the Halloween and the Christmas Ornament issues. For me, all for me, just for me ... so very self-indulgent, so very decadent ... but, hey, once or twice a year I can treat myself well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More about compulsive stitching

I had planned to spend the rest of the month working on my stated June goals: resuming work on the TW's Autumn Faerie, on M Design's Sean Name Tree and on the Mystic Hideaway projects and also starting the five annual PS Santas in my stash. Well, I did start the 1995 Santa and actually stitched him from the waist up and began the rather New Age-y cosmic motifs to the right and left of him ... BUT, then I got pulled back into Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year. It started with adding the buttons to the top two rows [Jan-Jun] before they joined the ranks of the missing like the button pack for the third row. Then the piece just sort of sucked me in and I find I am stitching the third row [Jul-Aug]. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is so unlike my usual stitching habits ... generally, I have 4 to 5 projects going at any given moment and I switch back and forth as the mood suits me. But lately, I simply have to finish a piece before moving on to the next.
I will steal some time away from Crabby to work on a few sewing finishes today and to work on a restoration project for a friend. The piece I need to restore is an heirloom from my friend's Mother who's own mother had stitched it for her. It had been very amateurishly framed using a combination of glue and lacing, a cheap five and dime frame which ... horror of horrors ... had at some point been painted to match kitchen decor without removing the stitched piece first. The piece has also sufferred a lot of environmental damage, having been hung in a sunny spot for many years and then stored in a dusty basement for over two decades. In appearance, it is charmingly primitive [euphemism for very poorly stitched] featuring a house and "Bless Our Home" message. Since my friend lost her Mom as a teenager, it has great sentimental value. I'll start by soaking it in Orvus, and then I'll need to darn some tiny holes in the linen and, finally, stretch and block it to get it ready for a professional framing job. It's amazing that all people have to do is see you working on your needlework, and suddenly they are sharing their own textile art with you. I have had the parents of children in my program bring in antique needlework for me to see: pieces that they have bought at auctions or inherited or bought at craft fairs or, very rarely, something stitched by their own hand. Needlework is a great conversation starter and many people really are interested in the care and handling of stitched pieces, the length of time it takes to finish a piece, the length of time it takes to acquire expertise. Even my own daughter, for whom I have stitched many pieces over the years and who had never shown any inclination to stitch herself, said yesterday that she was no longer feeling intimidated by arts that she had previously thought too complicated. She had seen a chart of a kitten in one of my catalogs and asked me how hard it would be to stitch. She thought the artist had really captured the look of kitten fur, the soft wispiness of it. In the past, she would have asked me to stitch it for her but now she'd like to do it herself. It pleases me to see this art survive into another generation.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Prairie Schooler Santas

I am using a very long narrow scrap of 28ct linen loaded on my scroll frame ... enough to stitch three of the PS Santas. When I measured originally I thought the fabric was wide enough to have a full two inches beyond the design all the way around. Wrong!!! I'll only have one and one half inches on the sides. I accept that I have precious little spatial intelligence but I did pride myself on being somewhat better at basic math than this error would seem to suggest. Anyway, I believe my framer will mutter dark imprecations against me when I bring the Santas in to be fitted up with various dark narrow wooden frames, preferably with some carving details ... in keeping with the Old World Folk Art look of the Santa card series. I want to have all the frames fitted up with easel brackets so that I can use the pieces as table top decorations this Christmas. I have five of the Santa cards to stitch: the Knitter, the Quilter, the Sewer, the Cross-Stitcher [perhaps you detect a theme] and finally, just because I like it, the 1995 Santa which has a Winter Solstice sort of thing going on with a Sun, a Moon and all manner of stars and comets. I enjoy the color way of these particular little guys [DMC 221, 356, 501 and 844 predominate] and the folk art look of the entire series though I don't think I'll be buying any more charts from the series. In addition to these five Santas that I am beginning to stitch, I have already completed the four Sue Hillis Charmed Santas which I plan to finish as ravioli pillows. I also stitch the PS Special Edition Santa for my youngest sister every year ... so I expect I'll have had my fill of Good St. Nick before the summer is out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Prairie Grove Pinkeep

In need of a quick finish and the gratification of seeing my 2008 finish list grow a little more quickly, I stitched a little patriotic pin keep that I will assemble in time for the July round of Secret Sister exchanges. Last year I had so very many finishes but looking back I realize that I did an awful lot of smalls. This year I am concentrating on medium to large projects and the number of finishes is consequently much lower. In any case, I started the pinkeep yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning. I also kitted up the Prairie Schooler Santas. When I get back from work I will switch out my frames putting the Santas on the medium doodler and the Mystic Hideaway project on the scroll frame. I'll take the completed Red Snowball Fight Dragon currently on the scroll frame to The Picture House and choose a frame. I'll also be picking up a few projects from the framer so that will be a pleasure. I will need to restitch my Prairie Schooler sewing Santa since I gave the framed Santa to Pam as a retirement gift. It was a bit of a wrench to part with it [especially since I had never even displayed it] but it was well worth it ... she broke into such a grin ... she really needed a little lift. This last week at the school has been dismal with everyone knowing there will never be another.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Another June goal met

The June block of Crabby All Year is done and I shall spend the evening putting the buttons on the heading and the Jan-Feb-Mar blocks ... since I am using a 10 inch tension hoop, I can only put in buttons on a row after I have done the next row to avoid switching to a much smaller hoop in order to bypass the buttons already in place. I'll set this piece aside while I proceed to my other June goals. If I continue to move as quickly as I have been this month I may be able to stitch the Jul-Aug-Sept row this month as well but I really want to start the Prairie Schooler Santas, finish the Mystic stitcher's pocket, do a bit more stitching on the TW Autumn Faerie and finish Sean's Name Tree ornament first. I know it sounds like a lot but I am off all next week and will be spending the time at home.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back in the groove

It's great to be back in the groove so far as stitching is concerned. Earlier this year, I went on a two month long reading jag to the exclusion of all other leisure time activities. But now I am back to stitching for about two hours a day and the steady progress on projects is most gratifying. This morning I finished the May block of Crabby All Year and finished the frame of the June block as well as beginning the lettering in that block. I hope to get to the Mystic Pocket by Friday or Saturday. And maybe over the weekend, I will kit up the Prairie Schooler small Santas ... I believe I can tolerate Christmas colors again if only in small doses. The Prairie Schooler pieces are always a pleasure to stitch.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The last week of school

The last week of school is always crazy but this year it is also very sad ... our parish school is closing its doors after 106 years of educating Catholic youth. For all practical purposes, this Friday, the building becomes mine to run as a catechetical center. So in addition to all the usual end-of-June stuff [Progress Reports, updating Permanent Record Cards, starting the Family Enrollment Database for the 2008-09 year, textbook inventory and ordering, testing, luncheons and dinners to recognize volunteers, collecting all the catechist binders to update for September, parish calendar meeting, etc., etc.] ... I'll be doing a walk-through of the building, noting what equipment and educational "accessories" I want to keep for my programs ... it makes me feel rather like a vulture, feasting on the carcass of our dead school ... I'll have to schedule these walk-throughs to avoid the parish school teachers who are mournfully cleaning out their closets and shelves and packing up ... most of them have not found new positions yet ... they are not only experiencing betrayal, pain, loss and grief but also anxiety, even panic, when they think ahead to September ... only two of the nine teachers have found new positions. And, of course, the diocese is not helping in the least. While the displaced teachers are pounding the pavement looking for work, I'll be spending most of the summer re-fitting the classrooms to my specifications, moving my office to better quarters and converting my old office to a catechist resource room. It's all very depressing and tense. And come September, my secretary and I are going to be rattling around in the building during school hours ... the place will only come alive with the sounds of children after school and only for four days a week when we will be running double sessions from 4:30-6:00pm and again from 7:00-8:30pm on Mon., Tues., Thurs. and from 9:00-10:30am and again from 11:00am-12:30pm on Saturdays.
But even with all this going on, I am stealing time to stitch ... it grounds me and relaxes me ... and I seem to need that especially right now. I have been continuing work on Crabby All Year [which somehow fits with the general atmosphere] and have just a few of the letters in the word "Rabbit" to complete in the May block. I'll probably finish the block today and move on to the June block tomorrow. There's a very good chance I'll be able to get back to the Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway projects by the weekend. So, the June goals are turning out to be very doable.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Moving along at a good clip

Yesterday I finished the April block of Crabby All Year and stitched in the border for the May block. This morning, in my "before work" stitching time, I completed most of the rabbit [just the top of his head and his ears to go] in the above-mentioned May block. Although I probably won't get more than another 1/2 hour of stitching in today, I feel reasonably confident that the May block will be done by Wednesday and the June block by Saturday. I seem to be on a roll. And, rather uncharacteristically, I am also concentrating on one project at a time lately. Normally I prefer to keep four or five different projects in rotation at any given moment. However, recently, I have been compelled to finish a piece before picking up another. It all started with the Sue Hillis Santas and has developed into a trend ... or an obsessive compulsive disorder, depending on your point of view.
Well, except for a 1/2 hour during lunch time, the rest of the day shall be stitch-free: I have a number of reports to complete, a parent handbook to revise and a Catechist Dinner to prepare for. It'll be a long day, I'll get to work at 10:30am and finally crawl home around 10:00pm, after the catechist dinner ... still haven't written my thank you to retiring catechists speeches or come up with a clever little placecard novelty ... but then I always enjoy working to deadline.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

A very leisurely Sunday after a hectic Saturday. Yesterday, I worked from 8:00am-1:00pm and then raced home to clean house, make three different salads and a stack of chicken cutlets for my son's birthday dinner Saturday night. The birthday is actually today but his girlfriend would have been unable to make dinner today. Bill and I spent the day watching movies in the air-conditioned comfort of our own living room ... Ange joined us in the afternoon.
I finished the April block of Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year. It feels really good to be moving steadily towards completing the June goals I have set for myself, especially knowing that starting the 21st I will be on vacation with much more time to stitch ... and maybe even to exceed the monthly goals.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Overload

Got a bit more stitching done on Crabby All Year this morning before work and for half of my lunch hour ... Almost all of the pearl grey 1040 form in the April block. It's sooo great to work on a piece that doesn't have a single Christmas color ... especially since I realize I will have to get started on Liam's stocking within a few weeks if I want to have it stitched, assembled, embellished and stuffed full of goodies for Christmas. I'll be using Teresa Wentzler's Woodland Angel ... so it will be a long and complex process. And then there are all the Name Tree ornaments to complete ... as well as Mary's annual Prairie Schooler Special Edition Santa. So within a month, it'll be back to Christmas colors and themes. And, of course, I want to stitch some of the small Prairie Schooler Santas from the small card series for myself ... the stitching Santa, the quilting Santa, the knitting Santa, and the World Peace Santa ... but they should all stitch up fairly quickly. Once I finish all my Christmas-y charts I'll start stitching Christmas gifts which won't necessarily have Christmas themes: tea towels, bookmarks to accompany B & N gift cards, tote bags, wall hangings, TW's Autumn Faerie for Angela ... and then there are all the Halloween charts I am just itching to stitch. That's the problem: I have too many charts that I genuinely want to get stitching on ... an embarassment of riches, a surfeit of pleasures, a plethora of choices ... and I want to do it ALL ... and I want to do it NOW. And I haven't even mentioned all the Quaker designs, the dragon charts, the country primitives, the antique sampler reproductions, the intriguing freebie collection, etc., etc., etc. Is it any wonder that I have resolved to limit my purchases to ten charts this year?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Selfish Day dedicated entirely to stitching

Finally, a day off and I am going to use it to indulge myself. I'll do a bare minimum of laundry, cleaning, shopping and cooking today. Otherwise, it's all about stitching. This morning, I finished stitching the blackwork Japanese Lady from the Rainbow Gallery freebie chart of three ladies [Victorian, Japanese, Mermaid] onto the bottom of a bookmark ... I'll use it in my reveal card for the third round of the Secret Sister 2008 exchanges. Today's project: frogging back to my error on Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year. Okay, so it's not a particularly glamourous or even interesting task but it is necessary. It took two tedious hours to gently pull all of the stitches out of the 40ct Silkweaver overdye I am using for the project but it was a real pleasure to start stitching on this project again. Naturally, I dug out my magnifier clip-ons so I wouldn't have to frog so extensively again in the near future. The good news is that I managed to stitch farther than I had to frog in the first place, finishing up all of the black stitches in the April block. June has been a good month so far as meeting my goals: the Pair Tree is done, 4 ornaments have been sewn up and embellished and now I am back on track with Crabby All Year. I hope to finish the April block by Sunday and then get the May and June blocks finished by next weekend. Then I'll be able to concentrate on my Mystic Pocket and the remaining sewing finishes when I go on vacation June 23.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A stitching and a sewing finish this morning

I put the last star charm on the Sue Hillis Pair Tree at 7:23 this morning, thus ending a Sue Hillis marathon that started in January and included all four of the Santas in the Charmed Santa series to date as well as the Pair Tree. That gusty sound emanating from the banks of the Hudson River is me heaving a huge sigh of relief! While I thoroughly enjoyed these projects, I am ready to move on to another designer and another color way that doesn't have Christmas-y red, green and gold combinations. To finish out my morning stitching, I did the sewing finish on my Cat biscornu that I had stitched as a Halloween piece with black cats and Needle Necessities Autumn Leaves for all the borders ... in keeping with the Halloween theme, I used an olde brass pumpkin button from Homespun Elegance to "center" the little cushion. I am quite pleased with it. And it was a joy to work with autumnal colors. A good thing, too, as it has inspired and invigorated me for my next task ... frogging, frogging, frogging back to the point in my Crabby All Year, the April Block, where I stitched over 1 horizontal and 2 vertical threads, instead of over 2 horizontal and 2 vertical threads in my 40ct Silkweaver Mississippi Mud linen ... must remember to wear my magnifiers when working on that piece. My goal is to catch up to the calendar on Crabby by stitching the April, May and June blocks before June 30. I've either finally managed to figure out reasonable goals or I am really booking since I am making real progress toward my monthly goals this time around.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Approaching a finish

Spent some time yesterday working on the outlining/backstitching of Sue Hillis' Pair Tree ... probably not more than three hours stitching left ... need to work the whole bottom row of mittens and stockings as well as the pot. It is always a good feeling when a piece is nearly finished. It develops a momentum of its own. I will probably finish it by tomorrow evening. And then I will have to take a break from Sue Hillis, much as I have enjoyed the last five pieces I've stitched. It will be back to Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year [on a 40ct linen] and Thea Dueck's Mystic Pocket [hardanger and specialty stitches, silks and overdyes] for a real change of pace. It will also be good to work in a color way that has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas for a change.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Just one more day...

... till my daughter arrives.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two more sewing finishes

Since last posting, I finished all the beading around the edges of the Knotted Tree Santa ... which looks very much like one of the Heartstrings Designer Santa series ... I am going to set it aside for the Christmas ornament exchange for the Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway ... always assuming I can convince Bill to give me that mini-vacation as a birthday gift. I also finished the Pine Glen Jacob's Ladder ornament, putting a slightly less elaborate beaded finish on its edges. In addition, I did a bit more work on the backstitching/outlining of the Sue Hillis Pair Tree. Now, the only ornament left in the pipeline for finishing is the Blackbird Designs Strawberry Emory ornament ... I hope to get some time to work on it over the weekend as well as finishing the Pair Tree and resuming work on Crabby All Year from Raise the Roof. One more sewing finish I hope to get to this weekend is the Halloween Cats biscornu. At any rate, I feel as though the June goals are being met ... even the posting to this blog is more frequent.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Anticipating Angela's visit

This Sunday, my daughter will be coming home from the West Coast to spend 5-6 weeks house hunting & setting up a new regional branch of the Mad Science franchise just an hour from the old homestead. She'll be staying with us, with one of her cousins and with friends while house hunting and getting the office up and running. Soooo ... the next few days, there won't be much time for stitching what with getting the house ready for a guest and just keeping up with the job. I'll still try to keep the hour before getting ready for work sacrosanct for sewing finishes and will continue working on the Sue Hillis Pair Tree during my lunch hour. But I don't think I'll be able to squeeze in much more time with the result that things will slow down a bit. This morning, at least, I did some more of the beading trim on the Knotted Tree Santa ornament ... only about a third more to do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sewing Finishes

This morning, before work, I continued work on the ornament finishes started yesterday. The Sue Hillis Spool Tree and the Glory Bee Blackwork Noel have been closed and given beaded loops for hanging. The Knotted Tree Santa seemed to call for a more elaborate finish, so I am in the process of beading the edges in white and red seed beads, using a "spiral" of two white, one red, two white for each repeat around the outer edge. So far, I have beaded approximately one-third of the way 'round the ornament. Finally, I took the time to put the Homespun Elegance large fluted brass button on the Olive Branch biscornu. All in all, I am pleased that there is some movement towards finishing goals, at long last.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sewing and other non-framing finishes

I made my little blackwork mermaid into a reveal card for my latest round in the Secret Sister exchange through 123-stitch ... I hope she enjoys it, she did say mermaids were among her favorite things. It was a very quick stitch ... just a little over two hours. I think I'll get a bookmark ready for the round that starts in July and I'll include it in the very first stage with the floss and card.

Otherwise, this morning was devoted to housework, laundry and finishing up a few Christmas ornaments ... working 11am to 8:30pm today so my morning can be devoted to personal concerns. I sewed backs onto four of my Christmas ornaments and stuffed them: the Sue Hillis Spool Tree, the Pine Glen Jacob's Ladder, the Glory Bee Noel Blackwork and the Knotted Tree Santa. Hope to close and trim them this evening . The fifth ornament in the pipeline for finishing, the Blackbird Designs Strawberry Emory, is a little too complex to work on in a assembly line fashion. I'll save that for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when I can devote my full attention to all the fine details. Anyway, this morning's work is a good start on the June goal of working on sewing finishes. If I can continue to devote the mornings before heading into work to an hour or so of sewing finishes, I may actually catch up by the end of the month. Then it would just be a matter of staying abreast of the finishing. Well, one can dream!
Also on the agenda for today is some of the backstitching on Sue Hillis' Pair Tree. Once that is done, I'll bring it to the Picture House for a stand-up frame, either a triangular frame or a Christmas tree frame if there is one available in the appropriate size.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Setting June Goals

Since a number of the May goals will be moving forward to this month, it is clear that I haven't quite mastered the skill of setting achievable goals. In any case, I seem to be ignoring the Sewing Finish Goals in favor of the stitching goals. Therefore I shall try to make June the month of sewing finishes with just enough cross-stitching to keep things interesting. So, it may be time to scale down my expectations. On the other hand, I'll have two weeks vacation this month and the professional load of an educator/administrator always eases up over the summer months. The classes will end June 13 and the bulk of registration for September is in. Maybe, I can strike a balance here:
-- catch up on sewing finishes
-- finish Sue Hillis' Pair Tree - backstitching & outlining to do - probably about 4 hours more stitching
--frog back to error in April box of Raise the Roof's Crabby All Year and then complete April, May and June boxes
--resume work on Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway Projects - finish stitcher's pocket
--resume work on Teresa Wentzler's Autumn Faerie
--resume work on M Design's Name Tree ornament for Sean and start Christina's
--stitch a bookmark to include in introduction card for next round of Secret Sister exchange
--turn mermaid blackwork piece into a reveal card for current round of Secret Sister exchange
--time permitting, begin work on Prairie Schooler card Santas
--learn to use Photobucket