Saturday, October 31, 2009

Assessing Oct Goals, Setting Nov Goals

October Goals:
Stitch at least one Halloween Project: Esmeralda's House: NOT QUITE finished but moving along nicely, as of 10/31: all the exteriors and outlines, the attic, the bedroom, the back hall and the kitchen were stitched ... only the front parlor and the French knots left to do.
Stitch at least one Christmas or Halloween ornament: YES AND THEN SOME. I finished stitching Prairie Schooler's Partridge in a Pear Tree ornament on 10/18 and MonsterBubbles Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun Halloween ornament and the Stitcher's Hideaway Souvenir ornament were both stitched 10/30
Finish Workbasket's Quaker Sheep: Yes, this was done 10/22.
Finish TW's Autumn Faerie: NO, sadly.
Stitch Prairie Schooler's 2008 Limited Edition Santa: YES. I finished stitching this piece on 10/23
UFO>WIP: let's see, oh yeah, The Peacock Biscornu: NO
Spend at least 5 hours on sewing finishes: Nope, but I am really going to have to get going on this... I need my dining room table back for Thanksgiving.
November Goals
Finish Brightneedle's Esmeralda's House
Finish TW's Autumn Faerie
Start TW's Woodland Angel Stocking
Stitch at least one Christmas or Halloween ornament [Pinecone ornament for Rachel]
Resume work on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler
Make Sara's wedding veil
Spend at least 5 hours on sewing finishes

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Mystic Retreat: The Third Post

I am not one of those persons who has a camera hanging around her neck whenever she leaves home, recording every new sight and person and object, while on a trip. I did bring my digital camera, normally used solely for photographing my stitching for this blog, to the retreat. I even put it into the stitching bag that I carried to the classroom. But did I remember to take the damn thing out and actually use it to photograph all the neat stitching accessories to be found around the room or the wonderful pieces displayed at Show and Tell? No, idiot that I am, I did not! Mine is a verbal rather than a visual intelligence and I guess there is just no conquering nature. Some people automatically reach for a camera when they want to make a record; I reach for a pen or a keyboard. So anyone who actually wants to see photos will have to wait for Sue's Fun Report ... which will, no doubt, be posted relatively soon on .
But there are a few things I'd like to mention.
Three of the ladies made stitching totes just for use at the Spooky Retreat. As an avid seamstress myself, I mentally reconstructed or de-constructed the manufacturing process so that I can use the idea someday myself. Maybe for next year's Halloween Trick or Treat bags for my grandchildren. Here's what I think happened: They started by cutting material for a basic tote but before assembling the pieces, they did some very creative embellishing. They cut out haunted houses, trick-or-treaters, witches, gravestones, etc from some cool Halloween novelty fabrics. I am guessing they used fusing fabrics available at quilt stores to convert these cut outs into appliques. The cut outs were placed on the front and back pieces of the tote to create a spooky scene. Additional door cut-outs were made so the houses would have working doors that opened and closed. Sound cards with Halloween music or spooky sounds were concealed and secured between the layers so that when anyone opened the door, the strains of the theme from the Addams family or creaks and groans would fill the air. Truly grotesque bare trees were made by twisting and couching some very interesting textured ribbons into tree trunks and branches. Other ribbons, braided trims, and even bands of sequins were used to make the ground or spooky skies. Some buttons of bats, moons, owls, black cats, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns were also added to the scene before the tote was stitched together and lined. At least, I assume the lining was sewn at this point, leaving a small buttonhole type opening at one of the upper side edges ... I'll explain this later. Then the fun began: the ladies must have had a ball in the novelty or scrapbooking section of their local hobby or craft shop buying all sorts of appropriately scaled goodies: plastic skeletons, witches, brooms, cemetery gates and fences, strands of tiny colored flashing lights shaped like skulls or pumpkins or bats. The plastic figures were added to the tote scenes, stitched into place. And a strand of lights were blind stitched to the top of each tote ... and again I am assuming this was how it was done: the ends of the strands [with on/off switch] were slipped between lining and tote front/back using the buttonhole opening which was then whip-stitched closed. The totes were passed all around the room for us all to admire ... each tote was similar in execution but different in the details. I am definitely going to have to try my hand at this next year.
Then, there were the Jersey Girls, who arranged their own Spooky exchange with each participant making a different sewing accessory for the group: a needlebook, a biscornu, a scissor fob, an ort bag, etc. But the stand-out was the item made by one of the Jersey Girls: the basket that held all the items. She had gotten an elegantly simple woven bark basket for which she made a lining with pockets using a Halloween print calico.
And then there was the young 20-something stitcher who adapted an idea from Blue Ribbon Designs Coffin Etui and made gravestone needlebooks for her friends.
I promise, next time, I will remember to take pictures.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mystic Retreat: The Second Post

The class project was Brightneedle's From Ghoulies and Ghosties Etui taught by Ann. Ann is a grand story teller, a fine artist and a very laid back sort of teacher. The combination made for a really good class.
Any difficulties I had ... and I had a few ... were of my own making. The first day of class, most of the participants chose to work on the border of the etui. This was stitched with one strand over one vertical thread and two horizontal threads. Imagine nearly 40 women counting up to 72, up to 72, then to 63, then to 64, then to 71, then to 72, and 63, and 63 ... marking and remarking their counts, muttering imprecations under their breath as sides fail to line up ... resorting to pins at every 10 stitches, or basting lines at every 10 stitches, or a small back stitch in the selvage, every 10 stitches. It took most of us the better part of the first day to finish the border. Sighs of relief going up in full chorus! So far so good ... except that there were problems with the fabric. The fabric chosen for the piece was an exquisite Scottish linen, woven in small quantities only once a year [this information was part of Ann's interesting commentary], a bit stiff to begin with but it softened up to a lovely hand once worked with ... so soft in fact that there was a major fraying problem. This was one of those times when the fabric really should have been sent to the participants ahead of time so it could have been prepped with serging or a zig-zag stitched edge. I swear I lost a quarter of an inch of the fabric before I got back home to my sewing machine. In class, we were plotting to search out a Singer or Bernina dealer and pose as potential customers who just happened to have a piece of material in hand with which to test the machine. We alerted Chris [of Chris' Collection] that she could have made big bucks [enough to pay her motel bill, at least] had she brought her serger with her and offered to serge our fabric for a not unduly extortionate fee ... heck, by the end of the first day, most of us would have paid an extortionate fee. To recap: problem #1 - counting and recounting, frogging, recounting; problem # 2 - fraying. Then came problem #3. There was recently a thread on the 123 message board about design problems/flaws. The pet gripe of most folks on the board was designers who use symbols that closely resemble one another in the same chart. Well I fell prey to this flaw. In this chart, there was a cross symbol for a butter yellow silk and there was a slightly embellished cross symbol for a green silk. On the one page chart, I swear to you, you could not tell the difference ... at least, I couldn't, even with the assistance of graduated lenses and a magnifying lamp. To give Ann due credit, she did point out that she had included an enlarged chart three pages in length at the back of the packet ... unfortunately, she did not explain why she had included the enlarged chart until the morning of the second day when she was moving around through the class and discovered that I had stitched the entire first line of the prayer in the wrong color ... because I prefer to see the whole chart on one page and therefore missed the crucial distinction between the symbols. So there I am with my barely discernible pale yellow lettering on a creamy linen ... feeling like a bit of an ass because of the five or so other people who had started on the letterring, no one else had made the same mistake. Ann kindly offered me another piece of fabric. It took my absolutely no time at all to decide that I would live with my error rather than stitch the border again [I mean I am going to have to stitch it a second time for the back of the etui ... but a third time, for a new front ... no way, no how] I shall use a shadow technique to make my letters stand out, backstitching each letter on its left side in tan or brown. Having stitched the entire first line of the prayer in the wrong color, I abandoned the lettering and moved on to the house at the bottom of the etui and promptly chose the wrong purple for the foundation. Do you see a trend developing here? Happily, I realized my error only four stitches later. Frogging over 1 is a delicate process at best and on this fabric, it's comparable to brain surgery. You will note [see photo] the progress that I made during the entire two day class ... I haven't gotten back to it yet ... can you see the pale lettering? No? Stay tuned to see if the shadowing technique improves matters or if frogging will be the only option!

Reading the last paragraph, you might think I had a miserable time when in fact I had a marvelous time. Go figure! And, no, I don't usually spend my leisure hours banging my head against a wall! There is something about stitching, even when things are not going as smoothly as one might wish, that soothes the soul. The linen may have frayed, but it was such a beautiful linen with a soft hand. The floss may have been the wrong color but it was such an exquisite floss, a pleasure to the touch. The design, chart symbols confusion notwithstanding, was and is a delight to the eye. It will be a joy to stitch. And, Ann kept giving us little extras ... a chart for a scissor fob was added to the class packet ... a chart for a tiny biscornu to match the needlebook and etui came in it's own bag ... and as an added bonus, Ann gave us all another Brightneedle chart, from her own dwindling stock. My OOP Brightneedle chart is Blueberry Hill ... not everybody got the same chart, but we all got something. One more thing I appreciated was that Ann very graciously autographed my Esmeralda's House chart, my current WIP ... speaking of which, here is a photo of my continuing progress on that piece. I did use it as my relief piece. At the end of the day, when I couldn't stitch another stitch over one, I picked up my comfortable EH stitched on 32 count linen, 2 over 2 and just relaxed. And as long as I am showing you photos of WIPs, here's a photo of the PS 2008 Limited Edition Santa that I finished in the car on the way to the retreat. And here is a photo of my car project on the way home: Monsterbubbles' Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun. But don't be too impressed: during the 2 1/2 hour drive home on the very hair-raising I-95, all I managed to stitch was the word Ghouls. The rest was stitched Sunday afternoon and early this morning.

Last but not least: here's a photo of the little ornament kit that Sue put together as a little gift for every participant. I am anxious to stitch this... Sue said Deb had it stitched and finished, ready for hanging in a little under two hours. It'll make a nice addition to my Halloween tree. I plan on starting this as soon as I am done with the Monsterbubbles ornament.

Tomorrow, I will post about the Show & Tell and the stitchers. Unfortunately, I didn't take photos ... and I am now kicking myself for not doing so. There were so many neat stitched items to be seen ... scissor fobs, sewing boxes, needlebooks, purses, sweatshirts, you name it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Retreat at Mystic

It's been a wonderful experience. The other stitchers were a joy, the food was grand, the venue was comfortable, the goodie bags fantastic, ditto the door prizes, the project was interesting and just challenging enough, the on site LNS in Room 108 ... well, the less said about that the better ... I have given into temptation wholeheartedly buying charts in total disregard for my vow to limit my stash buying to fiber and fabric. Today, I will show some of the odds and ends. Tomorrow, I will post about the actual project and the stitching.

Pictured on the left is a little kit that was the gift of Chris from Chris's Collection who set up the most fantastic on-site LNS and the other two photos are of my purchases at said on-site LNS: Homespun Elegance's Witches Stitch, Too, La-D-Da's Something Wicked, The Primitive Needle's Witches Hollow [$20.00 - ouch!! - but I love it and couldn't resist], The Cricket Collection's Ladies' Night. The second stash purchase photo shows Erica Michael's Needle Nut and some triangle Tokens and Trifles I wanted to make the needle sheath from Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly, Summer 2009. This puts me way over my annual goal to limit myself to the purchase of just five charts. Such a goal is easy enough to stick to when you limit yourself to on-line shopping as I generally do. But when you are in an actual shop and see things up close and personal, the temptation is ever so much stronger. On the other hand, my wish list shrank as a result of these purchases. It will be so much more manageable for Bill to do his Christmas shopping for me this year. If one is truly determined, one can find the up-side to any eventuality!

And, of course, all the stuff in the goodie bags.
In the photo on the left, starting in the left corner and travelling clockwise: Rosewood Manor's Six Silly Spiders, Cherrywood Design's Smell My Feet, Trail Creek Farm's Grumpkin Patch, Glory Bee's Happy Halloween, Elizabeth's Needlework Designs Jolly Halloween, Olde Colonial Designs' Happy Boo Day, Lavender Wings' Hitchin a Ride and a tiny little Halloween notebook. In the photo on the right are the non-Halloween themed goodies, again starting left and going clockwise: Prairie Schooler's Christmas Tree ornament card, Calico Crossroads' Cheat the Devil, Lori Birmingham Designs' Sweetest Holiday Wishes [with 5 tiny brass charms], 2 skeins of DMC, Calico Crossroads' One is Not Enough, Victoria Sampler's Connecticut State Heart ornament, Morning Glory Needlework's A Victorian Pin Cushion. And the second photo on the right shows the very foo-foo bag all the goodies came in as well as a little beaded fob kit with black and orange beads and a small pumpkin brass charm as well as a complimentary needlepoint chart from one of the retreat participants, Denis McLoughlin: her Mini-Haunted Quilt. She also previewed her own counted needlepoint Mardi Gras quilt. No wonder I have such a deep stash! This is my third Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway and Sue always puts together a great goodie bag.

These are the doorprizes I won: a lovely machine embroidered Halloween themed guest towel and a Monsterbubbles chart: Where's my present? While I really love Monsterbubbles, this is not a chart I would have chosen myself but I find it is growing on me. No doubt, I'll find a reason to stitch it somewhere along the line, probably changing the wording. Next is the Shepherd's Bush Boo Sheep that was my prize in the Spooky Exchange. It is already hanging on my Halloween Tree. It is an exquisite little piece, beautifully stitched. The twisted cord hanger is so fine and delicate ... quite an eye-opener for me ... my twisted cord tends to be a bit chunkier. I am going to have to try making some delicate cording myself. One of the great things about retreats is one always comes away with ideas.
Tomorrow, I shall post a few more photos of the gathering: concentrating on the project from Ann Pettit of Brightneedle and all the charts she generously gave us ... over and above the class project ... as well as the last gift from Sue herself: a little Halloween ornament kit souvenir of the retreat. I did finish the Prairie Schooler 2008 Ltd. Edition Santa on the car trip to Mystic. Though I worked primarily on the class project on the retreat, I did need a few breaks from the over one workon the project. So I got a bit more stitching done on Brightneedle's Esmeralda's House and started the Monsterbubbles Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun ornament on the trip home.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WIP Report

Before getting all involved in the weekend flurry of activity, I thought I would report on my progress on current WIPs:

I can report a finish on Workbasket's Quaker Sheep. I own all the Workbasket Quaker animal charts with the exception of the Quaker Squirrel/Acorn. And I have stitched all the animals I own with the exception of the Owl and the Bear [actually a polar bear which I will be stitching as a brown bear.] Also, the Penguin, but since I don't plan on adding him to the quilt, I am not adding him to my stitching rotation.

I'll probably ask for the Squirrel chart for Christmas.

And I got a bit more work done in the kitchen of Brightneedle's Esmeralda's House

The picture on the left is the tout ensemble and the photo on the right is a clickable close-up of my progress on the kitchen and parlor level. I hope to have this level finished over the weekend. Even so, I don't think this piece will be assembled into a wall hanging for this Halloween ... it'll just have to wait till 2010.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How long has this been going on?

That line from the Van Morrison song of the same name has been running through my head as I put the last stitches in my Fertile Circles Needlebook! I started this project on April 17 after seeing some of the techniques detailed on Pin Tangle. Foolish me, I thought it would be an enjoyable, quick and easy way to use a scrap of linen that was too big to throw away but not big enough for any of the charts in my stash. Well, 6 months has never been my idea of quick, though I have been stitching on many other projects during that time. As to easy, while it hasn't been difficult, it has been intricate. The piece seemed to evolve, which is a politically correct way of saying I made it up as I went along. I used a variety of stitches and materials ... playing with the idea. The first few circles I stitched and filled with beads reminded me of nests filled with eggs and then some beads I placed just below an inverted tear drop area done in chain stitch reminded me of the plumed head of the snake-god, Quetzacoatl. I still need to couch a thicker Carron fiber wending its way through the nests to make the body of the snake. Perhaps my head was too full of a Joseph Campbell series on mythology I had just finished reading but it all came together: the theme would be Fertility and the motifs would be those symbols associated with fertility from primeval times: the circle, the egg, and the snake. The background would contain crescents and curves, referencing moon and sun. The colors I chose were those of the harvest season: the culmination of the agricultural cycle that fired the imaginations of the ancient worshippers of fertility gods and goddesses. Normally, I don't gravitate towards oranges, coppers and golds. My usual pallette is a cooler one of blues/greens/grays/silvers. But for this, I went with sun colors and found I really enjoyed working outside my usual range. I guess you could say that this piece was "designed" in my sub-conscious and translated into reality by the conscious work of my hands. It has been a thoroughly enjoyable project even if my approach to this particular design was somewhat undisciplined. I am still working on the back cover, using some doubled blending filament to fill in some spaces that show up as empty in reality but not in the photo.

The Front Cover

and the

The Back Cover

This whole experience has caused me to think more carefully about the Creative Process: Usually, when I get an idea for a design, I note it in my stitching journal and then just let it simmer in my sub-conscious, often for months and occasionally, even for years. As the idea takes definitive shape [re: materials, motif, size, colorway, motto], I add notations and sketches to the original journal entry. Sometimes, when I design, I chart everything down to the last stitch but more often I start with my journal entry and then I sketch it out using fabric and fiber instead of paper and pencil or computer program ... which is probably why I will remain an amateur till I can no longer stitch. But then an amateur is one who loves or has a passion for a particular pursuit. That can't be bad, now, can it?

I am curious about how the creative process works for others. If anyone who designs needle art projects, either professionally or as an amateur like myself, reads this post and cares to describe their own experience ... well, all I can say is that I would be fascinated by such comments.

And, here are a few other photos of my weekend stitching:
The Prairie Schooler Partridge in a Pear Tree ornament from JCS 2005 ... obviously, with a date change ... and my current progress on Workbasket's Quaker Sheep, very nearly done.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lots of Business

The winner of the Prairie Schooler Ltd. Edition Santas is dani [tdchick] ... and my apologies for taking so long to announce a winner ... I had forgotten that the 10th of this month fell during the Columbus Day Weekend when I was not planning on being near a computer on a regular basis. I will be e-mailing dani and asking for her snail mail address and hope to have the charts in the mail by the end of the week. I do admit that I am surprised by the fact that last month's giveaway of Halloween charts had 42 entries while this month's giveaway had only 18. Is the stitching community at large embracing Halloween with the same enthusiasm once reserved for Christmas? Or, perhaps, are Prairie Schooler charts an acquired taste with a limited audience? I will have to come up with something special for November. I had been planning to give away more Christmas charts but I may have to rethink that strategy. We shall see.

I spent most of the Columbus Day weekend working on PS Ltd. Ed. Santa 2008 and managed to finish everything but filling in the CC Baby Spinach in the fireplace and the stockings. I'll save that for my car stitching while on the way to the Stitcher's Hideaway in Mystic CT. It'll be just the easy sort of travelling stitching I like: only one color which means I can keep the floss in my blazer pocket; no chart to consult since I'll just be filling in an already outlined space; add my scissor keep necklace to the mix ... and even stitching in the "navigator's" seat will be a breeze. I'll be bringing along my Teresa Wentzler Autumn Faerie and my Brightneedle Esmeralda's House for additional stitching during the retreat, just in case ... though I understand the retreat project will be a lot of fun, it's always nice to have a change of pace piece on hand.

I also got a little more time in on Workbasket's Quaker Sheep. I am hoping to have him done by the time I leave for the Mystic Stitcher's Hideaway, since I plan on showing all the Quakers I am sitching for my queen size quilt on Show & Tell night ... though I may bring some of my framed samplers or framed dragons for Show & Tell as well. I really haven't decided yet. It'll depend on how I am feeling the day I pack. I am looking forward to this trip quite a bit. Sue Donnelly always puts together a great retreat but this one promises to be especially good: a great Halloween project, a spooky surprise field trip and the usual good food and fine company.

The above mentioned Christmas and Quaker projects notwithstanding, I am in a Halloween frame of mind and got back to working on Esmeralda's House as well. Pictured here is the progress over a three and a half week period. I am trying to complete a room a week: I finished the outline, foundation and exteriors during the first week of stitching; the attic during the second week [enlargeable photo posted Monday 9/28], the bedroom in the third week and started the kitchen last week which was the fourth week. It is deceptively detailed. When you first look at the chart, it looks like such a wide open design with loads of white space ... hence an easy, quick stitch, right? Not quite! Look at the tiny portraits or the quilt on the bed. It is an easy stitch, to be sure, pretty basic cross stitching, precious little back-stitching and just enough specialty stitching to avoid boredom. But it's all in the details and that makes it time-consuming. I have the day off tomorrow and will spend a good part of the day stitching. With luck, I will finish the kitchen, which according to my original plan should have been finished last Friday but life does have a way of getting between me and my stitching. Since I expect to spend the better part of my morning sitting in the NYDMV office waiting for a new copy of my lost registration, I should have plenty of time to complete the kitchen. And, with luck, I'll finish the back hall on the first floor during the weekend, leaving only the front hall to complete next week. Then all I'll have to do is head down to the Happy Quilter to get fabric, batting and some Sulky quilting thread to turn it into a wall hanging in time to display at Halloween. Well, one can hope ... can't one?
I have also kitted up the Halloween ornament from Monsterbubbles Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun from the recent JCS issue ... I plan on stitching this twice: once for me and once for my daughter. These will be my next starts, once I have finished Workbasket's Quaker Sheep and Brightneedle's Esmeralda's House. Also, on my stitching horizon are two Christmas ornaments from the JCS 2005 issue, each featuring the partridge in a pear tree motif, and Sue Hillis' Cookie Baking Santa. That along with my BAP, the Teresa Wentzler piece, should keep me nice and busy this month. I hope to have all these kitted up and in my stitching bag for Mystic ... I always think I will stay up later and get more done than I actually do ... but the one time I don't have loads of stitching on hand will be the one time I want it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A miscellany of stitchery related thoughts

Just read that the mainely stitching blog [follow the link on my sidebar] has reached the 1000 post mark ... she is having a lovely giveaway to celebrate. I immediately had to add up my numbers: 242 posts ... since August 2007 ... which works out roughly to one post every 3.5 days ... very roughly, since this is an add-divide-in-the-head estimate of a math-challenged English teacher. Snarky corrections may be posted in the comments!
I have checked out the Online Needlework Show and have come to the conclusion that either ...
I already have such a deep stash that, most often, I already own something similar to the new charts that attract my eye and therefore don't need to buy the new piece
... or ...
I am getting less acquisitive as I grow older and begin to worry how much my kids will hate me when they are stuck with the chore of cleaning up my estate.
Where once I would draw up a wish list of at least 25 items, this year only three designs found their way onto the list. There are two pieces inspired by Celtic illuminated manuscripts: Arelate Studios' The Owl & The Wyvern and Ink Circles' Tanglewood. And then there is an elaborate pumpkin design from Ink Circles called Zucca. If I ever get around to purchasing any of these charts, it will be the last. I'll probably be content simply to admire the Celtic pieces from a distance.
In a related trend, I find I no longer automatically order the next chart in a series that I have been stitching. An example: I definitely did not care for the new direction taken with the Prairie Schooler Limited Edition Santa 2009 chart and did not bother to purchase it. I have given my youngest sister the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Santas over the years. Her set will end with the 2008 Santa which I am currently stitching with the intent of getting it to the framer by Oct. 30. Another example: I didn't bother to purchase the JCS Christmas ornament issue this year. After reading the review by Stitch Bitch and seeing scans of the ornament photos at another blog, I knew I wouldn't stitch a single one of the ornaments. I used to subscribe to chart series, usually because I was all too easily influenced by the marketing mavens over at The Silverneedle. I have subscribed to and stitched the Secret Needle Night series for 3 years, as well as a number of LHN and Homespun Elegance monthly or seasonal series. But I haven't done that in quite a while though I recently, in a rare moment of greed, made an exception for the Bent Creek's Branch series. The goal now is to stitch from stash ... which should keep me busy for 4 or 5 years.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The October Giveaway

In time to stitch one or two of these charts before Christmas, I am giving away the Prarie Schooler Limited Edition Santas [not the small card annual Santas] for 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. These will be charts only since I have already stitched the projects, using the materials and floss included in the kits.

The usual rules apply:
  • post a comment in the section below about why you would like to receive this giveaway
  • all stitcher's [international, Canada and USA] may participate
  • you will receive a second chance if you include a link for this giveaway on your own blog.
  • include your e-mail address if clicking on your name will not lead me to a profile that includes that information
  • please commit to passing these charts forward or donating them to a women's shelter or prison when you are through stitching them ... this is unenforceable, I know, but my goal is to share my love of stitching and not to fatten someone's pay-pal account ... and I ask all participants to honor that goal
  • a winner will be chosen on October 10

Good luck to all who enter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Weight Loss Journey ...

... has stalled a bit currently. No losses for two weeks and for very good reason. I haven't exercised with my walking tape or my TaiChi dvd at all these past few weeks: the plan was to use the tape on my lunch hour at least every other day and to use the Tai Chi dvd daily before going to work. Pressures at work have had me eating my lunch at my desk and working through my lunch and dinner breaks. I have also ignored my daily morning exercise because I just don't want to give up early morning stitching time when I know it will be my only stitching time in a given day because of the workload at home and at the parish. I have got to learn to take the time for my healthy exercise plan no matter what the daily pressures are. Then, there have been two restaurant meals and the regional luncheon complete with dessert and a couple of off-program take-out lunches and two pizza nights when I was too tired and lazy to prepare a proper meal. At least, there haven't been any gains. I wouldn't be surprised if that sort of thing showed up at the next Thursday weigh-in since my actual weight loss/gain seems to lag about a week behind my behavior in real time.
I need to get back on my program ... people who haven't seen me in months have been very complimentary about the difference they have seen ... I don't want to give that up. I also have to buy a few new winter wardrobe items, including a dress for my god-daughter's wedding and I want to buy the smaller of the two sizes I am teetering between at the moment. I will be buying only two dresses and two pairs of slacks in the hopes that by spring I will be down yet another size. In this interim period, I will make do with my old blazers being a bit too large and will accesorize with shawls rather than blazers when the size discrepancy becomes too noticeable. I don't want to invest too much in my professional wardrobe until I am much closer to goal.
Well, I am off to put in the Tai Chi dvd for this morning's routine.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Assessing Sept Goals & Setting October Goals

The September Goals:
  • Stitch at least one Halloween Project: DONE!!! Since I needed to order quite a few of the flosses for Brightneedle's Esmeralda's House, I stitched Glory Bee's Halloween Trio for my "at least one" chart this month, finished stitching these on 9/5. The threads for Esmeralda's House arrived in record time [one day], so I started stitching on 9/12.
    Stitch at least one Christmas or Halloween ornament: DONE!!! Stitched Glory Bee's Oct. 31 from JCS. Also, stitched Homespun Elegance's Cat & Pumpkin ornament.
  • Stitch Christmas Snowman Bell Pull for Sarah: Begun on 9/17/09 and finished 9/21/09.
  • Finish the Fertile Circles Needlebook: Sadly, NO! I got too involved in my various Halloween projects.
  • Put in at least 4 hours on Beach Find Pansies: Again, NO ... see explanation above.
  • Finish Workbasket Quaker Cow & Sheep: Just the Quaker Cow ... will have to add the Quaker Sheep to October goals.
  • Make some progress on other WIPs: TW's Autumn Faerie and Erynne Chard's I Am in the Garden. Finished EC's I Am In the Garden on 9/6. Unfortunately, the Autumn Faerie languished virtually untouched this month ... again Halloween projects took precedence.
  • UFO>WIP: the perennial Peacock Biscornu: No and this has been on the list for four or five months now giving a whole new depth to the UFO classification.
    Spend at least 5 hours on sewing finishes: A total of 3 1/2 hours. 2 hours finishing the three Halloween ornaments from Glory Bee's Halloween Trio. Put in another 1 1/2 hours finishing Glory Bee's Oct. 31 and Homepun Elegance's Cat & Pumpkin ornaments.

The October Goals:
  • Stitch at least one Halloween Project:
  • Stitch at least one Christmas or Halloween ornament:
  • Finish TW's Autumn Faerie:
  • Stitch Prairie Schooler's 2008 Limited Edition Santa:
  • UFO>WIP: let's see, oh yeah, The Peacock Biscornu:
  • Spend at least 5 hours on sewing finishes: