Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reviewing August Goals, Setting September Goals

I scaled down my usual expectations considerably this month because I expected to be quite busy preparing for the school year. Instead, I ended up convalescing from surgery ... so perhaps it was just as well that I didn't set myself up for failure with a lot of unreachable goals.

Linda's RR: Twig's Angel themed piece. Originally I had planned to stitch a Prairie Schooler angel with blackwork wings but it didn't fit in at all, at all with the other pieces stitched. Instead, I stitched a Jim Shore look alike angel from the Kreinik site that was much more consistent with the styles and color ways of the other contributions. Mailed on the 21st, a few days late, as seems to be my usual practice. This makes my 27th stitching finish for the year. I have also made substantial progress on the next stage of the round robin: Debra's angel.
Christmas Ornament Exchange: Ink Circle's Christmas Lace from Dec 07 Gift of Stitching. DONE and mailed on the 30th as per rules.


BAP: Still TW's Autumn Faerie. Finish Section 1 and start on Section 2. Got most of section 1 done but not quite finished.

Surface Embroidery: Play a little catch up on the Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square. Didn't get to this one.


September shall be Catch-Up Month

Linda's RR: Start, finish and mail Debra's angel piece by 9/15.
Town Square SAL: Begin work on Val's Stuff's Train Depot.
Bride's Tree SAL: Finish May-September ornaments.

Thanksgiving Ornaments: Finish stitching and assemble PS Turkey Time and Pumpkins, Assemble Krienik Cornucopia, Stitch and assemble two CEC ornaments using motifs from Thanksgiving Circle.

BAP: Finish Section 2 and start Section 3 of TW's Autumn Faerie
Medium Project: Resume work on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler.
SURFACE EMBROIDERY: Continue work on Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square, mastering the boullion stitch.
SEWING PROJECTS:Finish-finish ornaments to date.

Christmas Ornament Exchange

Today's stitching time was devoted to assembling the Christmas Lace [Ink Circles] ornament to get it in the mail by deadline. I backed it with some tea-dyed broadcloth shirting salavaged from an old custom-made shirt of my husband's. It just offended my frugal sensitivities to turn such expensive cloth into dust rags. I am also seriously thinking of actually stitching a few ornaments on this fabric ... I haven't bothered to work out the thread count but it's got to be way up there. It would be a great way to scale down some larger charts to ornament size. I wanted to use a beaded edge finish on this ornament: two Mill Hill gold metallic glass seed beads [00557] framing an off-white antique glass bead [03017]. I really have been longing to play with beads lately, and enjoyed stitching the beaded trim for this little lovely. And,finally, here is a photo of all the goodies I have included in my exchange package: a funky felt sculpture Christmas card for my exchange partner to send to some special someone, two different kinds of bookmarks to be stitched as stocking stuffers, some Christmas-y DMC perle cotton in red and green and a spool of metallic gold cording to trim a package or an ornament. I believe it is safe to post a photo since I doubt my partner even knows I have a blog ... this being one of those very random and wide flung exchanges.

For the rest of the week, I hope to alternate between the Autumn Faerie and the Winter Angel ... at least, spending some time on my own project will go a long way toward mitigating the triple R syndrome [resenting the round robin] which has been troubling me lately.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Progress Report # 34

What little stitching time I have had has been devoted entirely to Debra's Round Robin installment, Winter Angel. I found as I started working on the paler yellows in the moon it became difficult to keep track of my counting. The pale yellow quarter stitches just sort of fade into the white aida. I found that if I wanted to stay accurate, I needed to backstitch the outer edge of the crescent moon as I stitched.
I am getting a little bored with using just good old reliable DMC and am seriously considering contacting the owner of this round robin for permission to use opal blending filament in the wings and a blend of DMC rayon and cotton floss in the lining of the drapery. What with the moon to finish as well as the wings, drapery lining, head, hands and feet to stitch and then all the backstitching to do ... well, I am not quite at the halfway point yet ... but I am still hopeful that I'll finish and mail this piece on time or, dare I hope, early!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A One-sided Conversation

I know it is the tail end of summer. Everyone is concentrating on getting the last glorious moments' of pleasure, good weather, special events, etc. So, people are busy. I understand this.
Facebook has supplanted blogging and visiting message boards for many folks. I know this to be true, though I don't much care for the wide-open and anything goes nature of Facebook myself.
Other bloggers I follow have commented on the lack of response ... fewer and fewer people are commenting. So maybe this is a trend.
But how is it that I have more followers then ever before [75] and yet nobody comments? The humbling notion that I have become a total bore has occured to me! I know I have been obsessing about the round robin in which I am participating lately. I thought it would be a great way to interact with other stitchers but the ugly truth is I am not tempermentally suited to round robin stitching. I am a linen snob who dislikes working on aida, I am a design snob who deplores anything remotely approaching cute and I am beginning to resent the time away from my own projects. I fully intend to keep my committment ... it would be grossly unfair to the others to do otherwise ... I have done my best to come up with interesting charts to use in the round robin and have given my best efforts to these projects. But I look forward to the conclusion. Maybe, once I get back to projects of my own choice, I'll be able to generate a little enthusiasm of my own and that, in turn, will prompt some comments.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another but quite different angel

If I had to choose an angel chart that was diametrically opposed to the folk art angel I stitched for Twig's round robin, it would have to be this slender, sophisticated and vaguely Art-Deco style Winter Angel I am stitching for Deb's round robin. The photo on the left is the stitched model photo on page 30, Cross Stitch Myth & Magic and the one on the right is my progress on the piece thus far. This is the very first chart I have stitched from this hardcover volume I have had for decades. In fact, I had forgotten all about it till I was casting about for a design for this round robin and noticed the volume sandwiched between Celtic Cross Stitch Designs and Cross Stitch Designs From India on the shelf in my stitching center [aka, the boys' old dresser and hutch combo]. I am enjoying it and may have to stitch it up again for myself sometime. Having noticed my collection of hardcover cross-stitch books again, I am going to have to make some time to browse through these forgotten treasures ... there are so many interesting charts in these volumes.
Nonetheless, I am anxious to finish it and get back to my Autumn Faerie.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Progress Report # 33

The early part of the week was spent on a Kreinik Angel for Twig's round robin piece, see finish photo here. As you can see, I adapted it considerably to make it work in this round robin. It was mailed on the 21st to Linda. I have received the next piece in the round robin, Deb's, which has an angel or faerie theme.

While at the post office on the 21st, I also managed to mail Dani's blogaversary winning, see photo here. I hope she enjoys using this biscornu pin cushion as much as I enjoyed making it. By the way, I neglected to mention that the title of the chart is Morroccan Tile and it came from a French site the name of which I no longer remember. It was stitched on an off-white mystery evenweave several years ago and has been languishing in storage ever since. I was on a biscornu kick at the time and had made a dozen of them. Having given away a fair number, I am now down to a third of that number.
The middle and tail end of the week was spent on an ornament for the Christmas exchange. All I need to do is assemble it and I should have plenty of time to get that done before the mailing date of August 30. I have selected a number of goodies to add to the exchange and will supply a photograph of the tout ensemble once I know the package has been received by my partner.
What little weekend stitching time I've had has been devoted to my Autumn Faerie BAP. I am making reasonable progress considering all the other demands on my time ... but not quite enough progress to warrant a photo. Perhaps in a day or two.
I also selected a chart for Debra's angel round robin, Winter Angel, from the hardcover Cross Stitch Myth and Magic. I have kitted it up in the suggested DMC. The chart measures 60w x 105h, so it will fill the space provided nicely. It is an interesting and challenging enough piece that I won't resent the time stolen from my Autumn Faerie too much.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

400 Posts: A Little Stash Enhancement/JCS Review

This my 400th post and what better topic with which to celebrate such a milestone than stash enhancement!

As noted in my annual goals on the sidebar, I am limiting myself to five new chart purchases this year ... but I do not include the annual JCS Christmas Ornament Preview, Halloween Ornament or Christmas Ornament Issues in that count. So I telephoned my speedy and well-stocked friends at The Stitchery Row [Endicott, NY] to order said magazines as well as all the fibers needed for Val's Stuff's Train Depot [Town Square SAL] and two 1/3 yd pieces of Picture This Plus linen [one each in Meditation and in Aerial, both of which are blue overdyes, the first dark and the second light]. Everything was in stock ... though I did get their very last copy of the Halloween ornament issue. I ordered on the 17th and was assured that the package would go out on the 18th. It arrived in record time on the 20th.

I am reasonably pleased with the JCS Halloween ornament issue and have already determined to stitch five of the charts in time to add to my Halloween tree this October. That being said, I do have a few quibbles with the lay-out. Why place the photos of two stitched models but only one chart on a single page with the remaining chart on the flip side? And, of course, this initiates a discontinuity that mars the first 6 pages of the feature. What were they thinking? Anyway, my top picks: Perched on a Pumpkin by Blue Ribbon Designs [the obligatory owl chart], Winifred Witch by M Designs [in spite of the green skin, this witch has a decided glamour], El Dia de los Muertos by Monsterbubbles [though the construction details are somewhat intimidating ... simplify, ladies!], Halloween Greetings by Plum Street Sampler [but when did sheep become a Halloween motif?], Fleur de Boo by Sharon Crescent [different but pretty] and By The Full Moon by Ink Circles [traditional black cats and pumpkin]. Less impressive were the entries from Casey Buonaugiurio [a square pillow ornament with jack o lantern features], Trick or Treats by Val's Stuff [same old, same old], Boo Bunny by Cathy Coombes [silly rabbit, Halloween is for ...], Trick or Treat Tree by Heartstrings [really cute but too much work for an ornament], Pumpkin Fairy by Fresh Threads Studio [for those who like a little saccharine in their loot bag], Halloween Ghost by San-Man Originals [Caspar is passe], Stitch Witch by Brooke Nolan [stitching this will give you cavities] Moon Dance by Wee Works and Mummy's Boy by Charlotte's Collectibles [conventional Halloween designs but not my cup of tea]. I also like the Fall Mandala design in the issue and will probably stitch that someday as well. There was also a neat chart of a Black Capped Chickadee against Fall foliage that was very lovely.

The Christmas ornament Preview issue was not as pleasing. I'll probably stitch Glory Bee's A Partridge in a Pear Tree as well as La-d-Da's 'Tis Green but the remaining designs leave me cold. Other charts of interest in the issue were Goldfinch in Thistle and Summer Mandala. Not much else to my taste.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I thought I was on my last leg of the round robin but it appears I am only on the second to last leg. Debbie's piece arrived in the mail today, not Linda's. I guess what caused my confusion was that Debbie chose angels/faeries as her theme just as Twig did. And, yet again, the space to be filled is larger than agreed upon in the rules of the round robin, making this a more labor and time intensive stitch than expected. I do wish people would stick to the rules [70w x 70h] instead of expecting a larger work. I actually went smaller so as not to impose too heavily on another stitcher's project rotation. I shall have to locate another chart ... the folk art style I used for Twig won't work here ... I'll need something a bit more Victorian in style. Great gnashing of teeth!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ink Circles' Christmas Lace ornament

The rules of the exchange in which I am participating stipulate "no religious images". I don't care for the secular snowmen, bells, penguins, and ice skaters that leaves ... nor did I wish to stitch one of my favorite but elaborate Heartstring or PS Santas so soon after finishing Twig's detailed folk art angel ... so, I chose an abstract Ink Circles' chart from the December 2007 issue of Gift of Stitching.

This ornament is stitching up rather quickly and looks well in spite of one small miscount which then had to be mirrored in the other three quadrants to keep the symmetry perfect ... thank God I noticed it in time to avoid a mess and that it was a small enough error not to interfere with the overall "laciness" of Christmas Lace.

The original DMC colorway was dark charcoal grey, mauve and antique gold which struck me as pretty but decidedly un-Christmas-like. I substituted Caron Waterlilies Pine Forest for the charcoal grey, Belle Soie Cranberry for the mauve and Caron Waterlilies Tobacco for the antique gold.

I have selected a number of additional goodies to put in my package and will get it off in the mail on Saturday. Pictures will be posted once I know my partner has received the exchange.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One done, one more to go

Well, Twig's angel is done and there is only one more rotation left in this round robin. The last piece I will stitch on belongs to Linda, the organizer of this round robin. Though I have enjoyed many aspects of the round robin, I have to say the very best part of it was starting up an e-mail acquaintance with Linda. She is clearly a woman of humor, verve and wide ranging interests and I hope we will keep in touch long after the round robin is done ... after all, I'll want to know when the baby is born and all the pertinent details. She has chosen a theme of baby animals, or was it cartoon animals? I'll wait to choose a chart after I see what everyone else has stitched ... though I do have a lovely little mother and baby owl chart that might suit.

While waiting for Linda's piece to arrive in the mail, I'll work on my ornament for the Christmas exchange ... also organized by Linda ... I have chosen Ink Circle's Christmas Lace ornament from the Dec 2007 issue of Gift of Stitching. I have changed out the colors which I didn't consider all that Christmas like and am using Caron Waterlilies PineForest and Tobacco as well as Belle Soie Cranberry. I am stitching this on some 28ct Cashel linen in Country French Latte from my scrap bag. I have also pulled some Mill Hill irridescent green glass and metallic gold beads from my stash with which to edge the ornament once it is assembled. I am starting on this tonight and hope to have it done by the weekend. Once the ornament is stitched and assembled, I'll resume work on TW's Autumn Faerie. I hope to finish section 1 and get a good start on section 2 before Labor Day weekend. Section 2 is the same size as Section 1, though not nearly as densely filled with stitching. Sections 3 and 4 are each half the size of 1 and 2. I have been back stitching as I go along. So, given my progress to date, there is actually a reasonable hope of completing the stitching by the end of September and then the beading in early October. We shall see!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Of frogs, beach glass and other things.

I thought I'd share some photos of recent vacation finds.

First, the frogs: This stone frog [for arranging flowers] will make a perfect scissor stand once I cut and thread a bit of foam through the bottom to protect the scissor tips. And to keep it from being lonely, here is this charming primitive wood carving of a frog. I love wood carvings of animals, especially those done in a primitive or folk art style, and I am always on the look out for one. I have a wood carving of an owl and now this frog. I hope to add to my menagerie on future vacations.

This was a good year for beach glass ... in quite a contrast to last year, which was a good year for oddly shaped shell fragments. Some of this lot of beach glass will be discarded as too new or too sharp edged but an amazing amount of it is older glass [you can tell by the thickness and color] and has been in the water long enough to have the rounded edges and muted colors prized by collectors. I have vague ideas of using my beach glass to make scissor fobs, jewelery or charms to be used in my stitching. I have quite a collection of silver and copper cap fittings in my jewelery making stash. I'll have to play with my collection of shells, glass, charms, semi-precious stones and fittings till I come up with some interesting combinations for fobs to commemorate my stays in Maryland.

It was also a good year for other kinds of glass: depression glass and art glass.

While at Royal Tea, I spotted this amber tea set and was charmed by the oval saucers. I have four place settings. I also picked up four amber glass sandwich plates at Nice and Fleazy. They are not an exact match but then I like to mix and match my tableware.

I fell in love with this purple goblet decorated with, of all things, three grasshoppers. I tried to get a close up of the grasshopper detail, not entirely successful but you get the idea. I think I'll use it as a flower vase or maybe just as an unusual display piece.

And then these small salt bowls in cobalt blue caught my eye. I could use them for salt and pepper but I'll have to get some of those tiny, tiny silver spoons the Victorians used to use with these little bowls. I know where I can get some and will have to make a few calls later this afternoon anyway

And on another topic entirely: In viewing the photo on yesterday's post, I just noticed that the angel I am stitching for Twig's round robin looks like it is giving you all the finger in a most unangelic manner ... I promise that that impression will be corrected once I have done all the back-stitching. And speaking of the angel, I am progressing on her quite nicely. I have finished the surplice, wings and face and have only the underskirt and a bit of back-stitching left to do. I anticipate finishing up the project this afternoon. Next on the agenda is my Christmas ornament for my exchange partner. I have selected Christmas Lace by Ink Circles from the Dec. 2007 Gift of Stitching issue. It is simple but elegant and will lend itself well to a beaded trim finish ... since I am in the mood to play with beads.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Progress Report # 32

I knew it was a forlorn hope to begin with: my goal was to finish Twig's round robin angel in time to get to the post office by closing at 11am Saturday. So, since my next window of opportunity [to run errands] will be Thursday, I have soldiered on and concentrated on giving the vaguely Jim Shore-ish piece a more pronounced Jim Shore look by filling in all the white space with a nice warm ivory ... just like the backgrounds of most of his statuettes. The shades of light rose and medium light rose that I chose for the dress looked to have sufficient contrast on the bobbins but when stitched into the checkerboard pattern of the sleeves, they are barely distinguishable from one another. I believe I'll outline the checks with a single strand of the green for another Jim Shore like touch. This folk art style angel is turning out to be a more elaborate project than I usually do for a round robin but I think the end result will be well worth the extra time and effort.

Preoccupied with this round robin as I have been, I haven't picked up the Autumn Faerie since Wednesday afternoon. Since I have also committed to a Christmas ornament exchange with a mailing date of August 30, it is unlikely that I will get back to my faerie again until late next week. But I am determined to do so as I don't want to lose the momentum I have been building on this project. It is intended as a Christmas gift so I need to get it to the framer in late October or early November.

Friday, August 13, 2010

An Angel for Twig

I am currently working on an angel chart for this month's round robin. I had intended to stitch a lovely Prairie Schooler angel with blackwork wings but it is oriented horizontally and all the spaces in this particular piece are oriented vertically and are exactly the same size. I tend to make my spaces different in size and orientation when I grid out a piece combining many designs. It adds more interest to the piece and allows the participants in a round robin a bit more leeway in choosing a design. Though all the stitching on this particular piece is top-notch, the choice of designs is so divergent [canine angels, a little girl angel, a countrified angel, mere wings with a quote about angels] and the size of each design so different [some filling the space and some not at all] ... that any sense of a unifying theme is pretty much lost. It is probably best that I am not stitching the Prairie Schooler angel. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

Unable to stitch what I had chosen, I went to one of my go-to sites for when I need a complimentary chart quickly, Kreinik's website. My other go-to site is Rainbow Gallery's website. I found a vaguely Jim Shore-ish angel meant to be stitched in silk mori which I changed out to DMC as per the round robin owner's preference. I'll have to shorten the very long skirt by a few rows to fit the space but otherwise it works well. And the style doesn't clash quite so much with what is already stitched as the Prairie Schooler angel would have. It just clashes terribly with my design sense: lots of rose tones and bordering on cute. And, to make matters worse, I shall have to stitch on it the better part of today in the forlorn hope of getting it done in time to get it to the post office before 11am tomorrow. Given the post-operative prohibition re driving, I have to rely on my husband who will be available to run errands on Saturday and then, not again till next Thursday. Since the target mailing date is the 15th [Sunday] that leaves me in a bit of a bind.

For the most part, I have enjoyed being a part of this round robin. However, in the unlikely event I ever join another, I'll probably do it through one of those boards that set up groups based on compatible tastes. It was interesting to be part of a random group and to stitch designs I would never have chosen otherwise ... but once was enough.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #31

This post is quite late since last week alternately dragged and flew, mainly because the beginning of it was spent in pain and the end of it was spent in the hospital. The upshot is I am now gall bladder-free.

But to the bemusement of the hospital staff, not to mention my husband, I did have the presence of mind to pack an "in-case-the-doctor-sends-me-to-the-hospital" bag that contained my current BAP, extra needles and scissors, a few books to read and my Big Book of NY Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles. Oh, yeah and fresh underclothing and nightgowns, slippers and robe and the usual toiletries. But first things first: crossstitch.

You know you are addicted to cross-stitch when it's the first thing you pack for a hospital stay though your eyes are crossing with the pain of what turned out to be a porcelain gall bladder. I have heard of porcelain skin but never a porcelain gall bladder.

Anyway, I was able to make some small progress on TW's Autumn Faerie in the hospital ... see photo. It was gratifying to have a new and appreciative audience for my craft: the nurses and PCAs and even the doctor from my primary care practice [Dr. Lisa F was the one making the rounds this week] all commented positively. There were the usual "I haven't the patience to do that" and "how can you tell where to put your stitches?" remarks, but Dr. Lisa admired the piece's intricacy saying she had never aspired to anything beyond a simple birth announcement and even commented "so that's what it looks like when you organize your floss properly!" She speculated that I must have had all the DMC colors with me and I simply said that no, my complete collection of DMC took up three bobbin cases each twice the size of the small case she saw on my bedside table ... I didn't mention all the other fibers with which a true fiber queen surrounds herself. The only comment made by my male doctors was that it was a good thing I had brought something to keep my mind off the pain.
The other issue I need to address in this rather late post is the winner of my blogaversary gift: Dani. I'll be e-mailing her and asking for a mailing address later this evening.
Tomorrow, I shall have to set aside my Autumn Faerie and start work on an angel for a round robin that needs to be mailed on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Third Blogaversary

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to write and that I love to stitch. So blogging about stitching is right up my alley. I find it amazing and somewhat humbling that I now have 71 followers, some of whom comment regularly. Since I don't have any stitching buddies nearby, no LNS at which to attend GTGs and can only go away on one carefully selected stitching retreat a year ... the blog I write and the blogs I read have become my stitching community. I have decided as a way of celebrating this year, I'll be giving away a small stitched piece. The piece I have chosen is this biscornu, stitched in various shades of melon and peach on white linen and secured with some antique celluloid buttons circa 1930 [from Farm Fabrics, a great surce for interesting buttons.]

Though the actual blogaversary is the 27th, I'll follow my usual practice of doing the drawing on the 10th of the month.

It'll be a little different from my usual monthly giveaways inasmuch as there will be no PIF requirement [obviously] and that I'll be asking you to comment about why you read my blog, what you like/dislike about it? The thing that will remain the same is that this giveaway will be open to international, American and Canadian stitchers.

Good luck to all who enter and, of course, thanks for reading.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Round Robins and Exchanges

The next installment in Linda Stouch's Round Robin was supposed to arrive while I was on vacation. But it wasn't among the letters and catalogs in the hefty batch of mail when service resumed. I'll have to go to the local post office and see if it was held for any reason or worse yet, returned to sender. But there wasn't any postal notice about a package in all the stuff I went through. I do believe I am under a cloud so far as this round robin goes: all the problems seem to land at my doorstep ... or more accurately, NOT land at my doorstep!
There has been quite a variety of themes and styles involved in this round robin, giving it more than the usual interest. I am undecided as to whether I prefer round robins where all the stitchers are known to each other and have similar tastes and skill levels or one like this where we are all strangers and have wildly varying interests. Each type has its advantages just as each has its down sides. I am enjoying this one and am grateful to Linda for starting it. So far I have stitched a snowman, a mini-quilt that I designed myself, and a Prairie Schooler squirrel ... a nice mix.

Linda also organized a Christmas ornament exchange. I haven't decided if I want to stitch something elegantly simple like Sue Hillis' Spool Tree or something a little more ornate that I could edge with beading. Though I love the Spool Tree and have stitched it many times, I think I'll look for something a little more Victorian and, dare I say it, girly. I am in the mood to play with beads and it will be weeks [or even months] before the Autumn Faerie is at the beading stage.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #29 & 30

I've been away from my computer for two weeks, so will be combining these two reports.

While vacationing on Maryland's Western Shore, I spent a lot of time doing touristy things:
**a boat trip out of Anapolis Harbor to the Bay Bridge.
**a trolley tour of Anapolis.
**a very lovely three course tea at the Reynolds Tavern, a beautifully restored inn from colonial times, now a restaurant with B&B accomodations on the third floor and a pub in the basement. Highly recommended. Marvelous location at the Church circle in downtown Anapolis, cozy period interior, nicely decorated with plants and antiques and reproductions.
**a four course tea at Royal Tea in LaPlatta. Even more highly recommended. The location is rather unprepossessing, but once inside the 19th century building, the environment is superb. We were unfortunate enough to be seated in a small room with a large and somewhat loud multi-generational group of women who seemed intent on trashing my native NYC when they weren't bragging about their own accomplishments ... a bit annoying and distracting. Why can't people use their "indoor" voices when out in public places. It's a skill set mastered by most kindergarteners ... a pity it doesn't survive into adulthood for so many. Still, the service and the food were wonderful and things improved when the group left halfway through our own meal.
** a daily morning walk along the Herrington Harbor Beach looking for and finding a good bit of beach glass.
**a self-guided two mile nature walk round the Herrington Harbor marina where I say my very first red-winged blackbirds [ a real high] and my first muskrat [not so much].
**shopping in the antique stores and specialty shops and dining in North Beach and Cheasapeake.
**buying fresh sweet corn and cooking and eating it the same day ... and enjoying the local melons and peaches.
**rocking on my front patio enjoying the gardens and watching the butterflies and birds at the end of the day. The highlight one night was watching a parent bird play a complicated game of hide-and-seek with its fledgling in an effort to coax it into flying. I should have brought my Field Guide so I could have identified all the birds I saw in the gardens and on the nature walk.
Even so, I managed to squeeze in some stitching on TW's Autumn Faerie. When last seen [left photo], the border was only half-stitched and section one was barely begun. But after the vacation stitching [right photo], the border is finished except for the beading and section one is filling in nicely with most of the left wing filled in, the apple and leaves in the lower left of the section done. I still need to fill in the left wing completely, start on the right wing and stitch the faerie's skirt before moving onto section two. I tend to backstitch as I finish a section or motif within a section because I like the immediate gratification of seeing parts of the picture become distinct as I go along. So I'll have some back-stitching to do as well before moving onto to section two.

Poll results

Thanks to all who voted. I haven't decided to go with the majority decision which was the Mystic Seaport Needlework Accessories from Victoria's Sampler, choosing one of the projects tied for second runner up instead: The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler since that is the piece nearest to completion and most likely to yield satisfaction ... a point made in one of the comments on the post announcing the poll.

I choose to renege on the plan to make it part of my August goals as well, deferring it instead to September. A quick review of my July goals [see previous post] indicates that summer time with its warm weather is not an optimum stitching time for me. So I have severely curtailed my August goals to reflect this fact.