Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Progress Report: February 27, 2011

I have been ignoring everything but my Crazy January Challenge pieces so far this month ... with the pleasing result that The Ice Dragon's Kingdom is nearing completion and the less than pleasing result that everything else is sadly in arrears. This is a serious departure from my usual habits. I tend to be a rotation stitcher, not a one-project-at-a-time stitcher. But something about the Ice Dragon is riveting my attention. Perhaps, because I stitched so many smalls in 2010, I need to focus on larger pieces in 2011. Anyway, as things stand now, I have most of the dragon's body done, some of the trees and a tower or two of the castle stitched and all of the border done, except the corner boxes. For some reason, the first box was easily enough stitched. Then when I attempted to work the second, all I did was frog ... not once, not twice ... but three times. Silly, I know, since it is a really simple motif. I just had a mental block, I suppose. I have two of the necessary flosses needed to complete this project on order from 1-2-3 stitch. I received an e-mail last Thursday that my order was on its way. I hope to find the fibers in my mailbox when I get home from work today.

As last seen, my Dragon looked like this

... but it is now fleshed out so much further

With only one day left in February, it's time to return to at least one of my 2010 WIPs. On Monday, I'll work on the Autumn Faerie, exclusively. But before I do, just a small Ice Dragon-related vent: Anchor Marlitt discontinued their white floss ... I believe I have enough to complete my dragon ... after all, the chart only called for one skein and I have that. But, come on, people ... who discontinues a WHITE floss??!!?? I could understand an exotic shade of purple or some rarely called for shade of apricot or peach being discontinued ... but WHITE !!??!! What is that all about? When the kind lady at 123stitch informed that #800 was discontinued, I was flabbergasted.

However, the rest of my pitifully small goals list remains neglected: Workbasket's Quaker Sampler, the Jacobean Elegance afghan, my own Fertile Circles needlebook and the Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square. There haven't been any sewing finishes so far this month either and this was supposed to be finish-it February. Things are not looking good for the February goals.

On another note entirely: I broke down and ordered my first chart of the year: Blackbird Designs Wild Lilies, one of the latest Nashville Market offerrings. I will continue to limit myself to five purchases a year [as I have been doing for the past two years] in the hopes of maintaining some control of my stash ... as a result, I am being very selective in my choices. I saw two other maybe/somedays among the Nashville Market designs but only this one definitely makes the cut for now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nashville Market Picks

I have noted several times during the past year that I seem to be very much out of touch with the newer trends in cross stitch design. Or perhaps I have just reached the satiation point in chart stash. In any case, I have looked over the Nashville purchases on two sites, 123stitch and ABC stitch therapy, both of which were fairly extensive ... and I found a mere three charts in which I might be interested.
I list them here in order of preference:
1st choice: Blackbird Designs Wild Lilies
2nd choice: Blackbird Designs Gathering Basket
3rd choice: Prairie Schooler's As the Crow Flies
I am not at all sure I will purchase any of them ... I do have plenty of Blackbird Designs and Prairie Schooler charts already in my stash and don't really need more. And to be honest, some of the new designs are pretty close cousins to the older designs. At some point, one just has to call a halt to acquisitiveness. Also, I recognize that at 30 charts or so a year, I already own enough designs to keep me stitching for another 7 or 8 years ... and that doesn't count the charts in magazines and hardcover stitching books.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Living in The Ice Dragon's Kingdom

First, here is a photo of the dragon as it was last seen on 2/6/11 ... you will have to read to the bottom of the post to see a current photo ... or just scroll down, if you wish to ignore my ramblings.

Wednesday: Today was a sick day for me. One of those 24 hour bugs that run rampant through school buildings. So, I stitched The Ice Dragon's Kingdom, on and off throughout the day. Even I am impressed by my progress ... and I tend to overestimate what I can accomplish in any given time frame. The border is nearly done and sizable sections of the picture where it overlaps the border are stitched as well. I am hoping to finish the piece this month. I can't seem to put it down and that bodes well for a quick finish ... even though it is approximately [I don't have the chart in front of me for an exact count] 150 x 200 stitches, with at least 2/3rds of that solidly stitched. Rachel called this piece addictive and truer words were seldom spoken.

Thursday morning: Got in another two hours of stitching early this morning but noticed that, although I have been careful with my border stitching, there may be some frogging in my future ... one of the long branches of a pine tree extending into the border should end three stitches from the outer border but, in fact, ends two stitches from said border. I have some careful counting and re-examining to do ... which will probably result in frogging some 60 or 70 stitches. That's what I get for stitching when I am sick!

Even though temps are supposed to rise to the low 50s today, I made myself my favorite winter comfort food. Steel cut oats [2/3 cups] cooked with 1 cup skim milk and 1 cup water as well as 15 raisins [portion control is a Type II diabetic's friend] and then sprinkled with cinnamon. I have a special double-bottomed saucepan [bought at the Virginia State Fair nearly a decade ago] that I use just for oatmeal ... and the occasional poached egg ... one of my many culinary quirks. Technically, it is still winter and I am still not feeling well although I'll be going into work ... so, oatmeal seemed an appropriate breakfast choice. Yesterday, I existed on several mugs of chicken broth, sipped slowly, alternating with mugs of green tea sweetened lightly with agave nectar ... so I was craving something a bit more substantial to start my day today.

Of course, what I'd really like when I am sick is someone who'll do all the tea brewing and broth serving for me ... somehow it doesn't seem fair that after decades of caring for my family whenever one of them was sick ... there's no one around to pamper me. The kids are grown and on their own, my husband went to work [quite reasonably, after all, since I just have one of those viruses that are so common at this time of year] and I am my own nurse. I think wives/mothers/homemakers should unionize and stipulate that provision be made for the pampering of sick female empty-nesters ... a retirement benefit of sorts, if you will. After all, those of us who still have a husband in the mix, tend to them when they are sick: even if we have to go in to work, we make sure that everything the sufferring spouse needs is near at hand [TV remote, handkerchiefs, huge to-go mugs of tea and broth, extra blankets and pillows, lunch already prepared and waiting in the refrigerator]. Though I have to confess that during my own husband's recent illness, I took him at his word that he was good to go for the day and could make his own tuna sandwich or nuke a frozen meal ... only to come home at the end of one of my 12 hour days to find he'd eaten nothing since the breakfast I had made for him. I was suitably guilt-ridden, especially since I hadn't called home once during my very busy day. I lost several Good Wife points that day! I did stay home from work the next day to care for him but I am not sure that covered the first lapse.

Thursday evening: Found the problem, and frogged back to it. The correction has been made and progress resumed: finished the outline and the webbing in the left wing.

Friday: a good bit accomplished today. I am continuing to work on the left side of the chart, filling in the rock in the lower left corner and a good bit of the face of my dragon. I even began to outline him a bit, so I could get a little of that satisfaction in seeing a design really come together.

Saturday and Sunday: Filled in the left wing ... boy, does this design just eat up Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid. I can see I am going to have to replenish my stock before I am through. As it is, I will have to cancel a back-order for some needed fibers with one shop that hasn't managed to produce the needed floss since December and replace the order with another more reliable shop. I never did have the #41 VFB from Kreinik and the #870 Anchor Marlitt I needed ... so I may as well order an extra spool/skein of the #032 VFB and the#800 Anchor Marlitt, just in case I should run out. The clouds in this piece are supposed to be done in half-stitches but I have never liked that effect ... I may do them in full cross-stitches and that will require more floss. By Sunday evening, I had gotten tired of stitching in the white Marlitt which required such careful counting since this chart is difficult to read. The dark sage green card stock on which it is printed is bad enough but the grid is very small and the symbols tend to blur before these aging eyes. I had to move my magnifying lamp constantly back and forth between the chart and my linen, counting and recounting both chart and stitching to ensure that everything will meet up properly when I get to the right side of the design.

Monday: In between chores and cooking, I managed to get a good deal more done. To give myself a bit of a break from the mind boggling white Marlitt, I switched to one of the lighter green pine trees at the upper left of the design ... an easier count ... and once done with it, I can backstitch the left wing for a little more instant gratification in really seeing the picture. Being snowbound yet again, kept distractions to a minimum and provided even more time than usual for stitching. Only seven more days of stitching if I am to finish him this month, as hoped ... and I am still awaiting the delivery of some flosses needed to finish my dragon ... it is no longer looking good for a February finish, especially since I'd like to meet a few of my other monthly goals vis-a-vis the Autumn Faerie, The Quaker Sampler and the Jacobean Elegance Afghan. Well we shall see!

Looking forward to Tuesday: I'll give the Dragon another day of stitching before switching to my other WIPs, which isn't really as impressive as it sounds since Tuesday is one of my 12 hour workdays. A half an hour before work and another half hour at lunchtime is probably all I manage to squeeze in.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend Progress Report: February 20, 2011

Crazy January Challenge Project: Dragon Dream's The Ice Dragon's Kingdom. This was all I worked on this past week but a photo will have to wait till Monday evening. Since Monday is a day-off [President's Day], I will have additional stitching time and I want to wait till I can show the greatest progress possible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Here is my Valentine's Day display in my entryway. At this point, I have only six cross-stitched heart ornaments. The remaining five are sewn rather than stitched. I intend to gradually increase the number of cross-stitched ornaments with each succeeding year.
Please note, the larger than usual photo is for Barbara of Mainely Stitching ... normally I use smaller photos that can be enlarged by clicking on them ... but in a comment on the 2/4 post, Barbara suggested using larger photos ... which I will do every so often.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Progress Report, Feb. 13, 2011

Crazy January Challenge Progress:I know several of my blogging friends are outstripping me with three or four or more Crazy January Challenge finishes, while I am still working toward my third finish. I started my list with a largish and very detailed project, the Sue Hillis Cookie Baking Santa, and am now tackling the really large Ice Dragon's Kingdom from Dragon Dreams ... while the others jump-started their lists with ornaments and other smalls. Don't get me wrong, I have four ornaments on my list [one of them, the Day 7 Connecticut Heart ornament, is already finish-finished and up on the ornament tree] and further salted the list with some medium to small pieces ... I just didn't start that way. I am trying to do the projects in chronological order and, as a result, scattered my smallish and less complicated pieces throughout the list ... rather like water holes in a desert ... to help me keep the momentum going.

All that being said, I am making steady progress on this, mainly because I can't seem to put it down ... I am usually a rotation stitcher with 3 to 5 projects on the go at any given time. You might even call me fickle, picking up something different every day or so. While I still have five projects in my current stitching bag, I seem to be focusing on my Crazy January Challenge projects exclusively. Proof positive that the projects I chose for the challenge really were calling my name and quite insistently, at that. I have a few quibbles about this project, though, not the least of which is the fact that this is one of the older DD charts, printed on a dark sage green card stock that makes reading the chart somewhat difficult for my aging eyes. There's been a bit of frogging going on as a result. On the other hand, I have mastered the Marlitt thread. I will never like working with rayon floss but I have found that maintaining greater tension while laying this floss tames it quite nicely. I have three sides of the border done and a wee bit of the "picture" where it overlaps the border stitched as well. I am reasonably confident that I will be able to finish this piece this month. That would make two Crazy January Challenge projects finished in one month ... not bad, considering both were on the largish side. But that will be it for the challenge projects this month. The Day 3 project will just have to wait till March 1st. My 2010 WIPs need attention lest they turn into UFOs.
I'll post a progress photo on Tuesday, at which time I hope to have the entire border done.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Winners

Not a particularly imaginative title but accurate enough:

I honestly thought this would be my most popular giveaway ever but, at 22 entries, it fails to match the number of entries for last September's Halloween Chart Giveaway which had 32 entries. I suppose the fact that I didn't advertise the giveaway on the 123stitch mb as usual had something to do with it. But I really wanted this giveaway to be a token of my appreciation for my regular visitors, the ones that come on their own and don't visit only when lured by promises of a prize.

Using my usual on-line Randomizer, I came up with Hillery's and Carol's numbers ... I would have loved to gift all those who visit frequently and share my love of stitching ... but these two lovely ladies shall have to represent you all. I'll be e-mailing these ladies later today.

And just an aside to Nancy of Glory Bee: because of all the snow and ice [with my consequent fear of falling, having broken bones in icy weather before] and because of being sick for a full week, the January Giveaway is only getting mailed this week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Commenting on the Comments

In my giveaway celebrating my 500th post, I asked people to suggest things I could do to improve and develop my blog or to ask a question.

The most frequent responses involved photos: more of them, larger photos, adding slideshows, etc. Now, I thought I used a lot of photos but that appears to be a minority opinion. So I shall try to add more in future. As to the size of the photos, I have always used the small size [gotta leave room for my golden prose] but they are clickable if you want the larger version. However, I will start using the medium size every so often, especially for finishes. As for a slide show: that's something I have really wanted to try for ages now. Maybe this will be the year!

Rachel asked about my favorite finish ... I tend to live in the moment and usually, I can claim that my favorite finish is the most recent finish. I have done some lovely samplers and some Teresa Wentzler Faeries that have been wonderful stitching experiences. But for the most part, I just love whatever I am doing NOW. There have been some very rare duty stitches [two spring to mind] that bored me to tears and were true labors of love undertaken solely to please my husband. But, for the most part, I only buy what I really want to stitch ... so it's all good. But if I had to pick just one thing, it would be a Halloween wall-hanging that I stitched years ago ... very much as an impromptu project ... because I had seen a very retro poem [typical of my 1950s childhood] in one of the library books in the Catholic school where I was teaching at the time. On impulse, I stitched the poem freehand and then stitched a border of Halloween motifs from Prairie Schooler and Homespun Elegance around it. I then sewed it up as a banner for my office door. Very rustic and quite simple really but rather nostalgic. And at 60, I am allowed to be nostalgic.

Requilt wanted to know about a piece that held a particular significance for me ... and the one piece that holds deepest significance for me wasn't even stitched by me. It was stitched by my daughter when she was a very young Junior Girl Scout [she's now a lovely young 30-something]. At the time, I was both her GS leader and a docent at the local historical society. I assisted the education curator in putting together a local council badge called Little Women of Early Rockland and one of the activities was stitching a small sampler I helped to design. It was one of the very first pieces I had professionally framed and it has hung in my bedroom for two decades now. Ange will have to wait till I die to reclaim that piece of her own past. It is one of my treasures.

Dani suggested that I broaden my range a bit and share photos and thoughts that reflect both my day-to-day activities and my surroundings. I guess I should really take some photos of my surroundings ... I live just three blocks from the western shore of the Hudson River ... a more beautiful spot would be hard to imagine. The birds are amazing, the shoreline is breath-taking in all seasons and the smells are so fresh and clean and invigorating. And I am just 40 miles north of NYC [I was born a city kid in Brooklyn] and that's a very different but equally exciting venue for photographs. The problem is I am just not a very good photographer. I blame this on a physical oddity of mine: my green eye is near-sighted and my brown eye is far-sighted which gives me a somewhat skewed persepective when I look through a lens. As to my day-to-day activities, I run a religious education program for nearly 500 children in a suburban Catholic parish ... a very satisfying career but not exactly the stuff of drama. And, a word of warning, be careful what you wish for ... I might start posting some of my poetry ... based on religious themes seen from a feminist perspective ... and not particularly photo friendly!

Hillery wants me to design a spot sampler of my Bride's Tree ornaments ... frequent visitors will remember that I stitched my set using Quaker designs exclusively ... but not all of them were my own designs. I only charted my own designs when I couldn't find something to suit one of the monthly themes. And I just don't think I'd be happy with a sampler that involved such a mixture of my own amateur designs and the designs of true professionals. And, of course, there is the been there, done that element of the whole thing ... I don't know that I'd want to revisit those charts anytime soon. I am flattered that Hillery thought so highly of my work but I have so many other projects calling my name ...

Hillery also suggested adding a labels gadget to my sidebars ... done.

Kittycat wanted to know my most significant job of stitching ... I don't know that I have done anything significant ... I do have some ambitious projects in the planning stages ... but I'd have to say the only thing significant about my stitching is that I have been at it for over three decades now and have enjoyed myself thoroughly and have given some small pleasure to others by sharing the talent through gift-giving. One of the most satisfying gifts I ever gave/made was a series of seasonal classroom banners, one for each month of the school year for my niece and god-daughter who teaches a middle school special education class. I used a lot of Secret Needle Night kits for that project and some Erica Michaels free charts from the Rainbow Gallery website ... so there was a lot of texture and color and plain old metallic glitz. I gave Sara the gift when she qualified for her teaching certificate and got her first job. But what gave me the most satisfaction was that she later told me her students really loved the banners, stroking them and doing an awful lot of oohing and aahing over them. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to know I helped to brighten the day of some kids who deal with academic challenges in this often intolerant world. Significant, maybe not ... but certainly satisfying.

Kimberly R wanted to know about my stitching dream: My dream stitch if time or money were not an issue would be to go on the next Sue Hillis Stitch Ahoy cruise ... but my real dream stitch would be to resurrect the Mississippi Queen [alas, impossible, since I believe it was sold for scrap] and organize a two-week stitching cruise up the length of the Mississippi River on that lovely steamboat having three or four of my favorite designers teaching classes, stopping at the Quilting Museum in Paducah and any other stitch-related museums along the way. I'll have to check and see if any real steamboats are still plying the Mississippi and maybe suggest to Sue Hillis that she think about that instead of an ocean cruise.

And to all those who commented that my blog was fine as is ... thanks so much for the kind words. I have a fairly healthy ego/self-esteem but it is always nice to know that others enjoy my stitching and writing.

On another post, the recent weekend progress report, several people commented favorably on a frame I am in the process of customizing for a mermaid piece I stitched last year ... Rachel went so far as to say she envied my ability to incorporate so many textures in my work ... all I can say to that is I seem to have a quirky perspective that was further sharpened when I did a 4 year stint as an Art teacher back in the early 90's. [Just an aside: I taught in Catholic schools. And anyone who has experience with them knows that it is perfectly in accord with the internal logic of a Catholic school that I, trained to teach literature to Grades 6-12, was assigned to teach art to Grades K-8. It's a holdover from the whole Sister Superior mentality.] When you have to create a curriculum for such a broad range of ages and abilities, with a very limited budget and still meet State guidelines ... well, you just start seeing possibilities everywhere. Very often creativity is just a matter of opening your eyes and using what is right in front of you! However, I'll take the compliments happily ... you are all much too kind but I enjoy the positive reinforcement.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend Progress Report, Feb 6, 2011

Well, Mother Nature continues to give me additional stitching time ... three more snow days this week, or more precisely, two ice days and one snow day. This gave me time to make some progress on my various goals for the month.

Sewing finishes: I did a bit of assembly-line ornament finishing Friday as part of my Finish-It February program. My husband insists that I give him credit for all his help, so here goes: thank you, Bill for holding the end of some floss for all of thirty seconds [albeit, the process was repeated three times] while I, at the other end, used my hand drill to make twisted cord. Yeah, I think that about covers his contribution. But, seriously, he is very patient with my stitching obsession. Only last evening, he murmered in a slightly bewildered tone, " I think you'd do that 18 hours a day if you could." Well, almost ... but even I have to allow time for bathing, eating, reading, exercising, working, housekeeping ... preferbly in that order.

First, The Victoria Sampler State Heart: Connecticut, which was my Day 7 Project for the Crazy January Challenge. This went up immediately on my wrought iron tabletop tree ... in time for Valentine's Day. Though I live in NY, I stitched this lovely little bit of out-of-state frippery as a souvenir of three Stitcher's Hideaway Retreats in Mystic, Ct. I know I have raved about these retreats before, but it can't be said often enough how well run and enjoyable these events are ... kudos to Sue Donnelly.

Second, Aury's 2010 Red, White and Blue Quaker Heart. Another piece that went onto the Valentine's Day ornament tree, though I will pull it out again for the May/June/July patriotic holidays.

Third, Wild Heart's Designs' Fire Station [for the Indy 2006 Town Square SAL]. This was my December 2010 piece for the SAL, the stitching finished up in January and the assembly/sewing finish in February. I really do know how to drag a small project out!

Also a crafting almost-finish: a frame I have customized for one of my mermaid stitching finishes from last year ... I figure what with the high cost of framing, I should try my hand at framing my more casual pieces myself ... the heirloom pieces will still go to the professionals, but the day to day home decor will become do-it-yourself projects. The frame was painted a peachy sand color and decorated with oyster shell fragments, polished by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay which I gathered during two recent Western Shore [Md] vacations. I am thinking of giving the piece a high shine with multiple coats of clear varnish ... perhaps even painting in some appropriate quote from Edgar Allen Poe or TS Eliot or Homer between layers of varnish to give the words the appearance of floating between sandy bottom and watery surface ... I'll have to get out my handy-dandy Bartlett's Quotations and look up mermaids to see what I come up with.

And Some Stitching:

Crazy January Challenge, Day 2 Project: Dragon Dreams' The Ice Dragon's Kingdom . Got a bit more of the border done ... not the most exciting part of the project, to be sure ... but I enjoy watching the piece take shape in my hands. I am stitching a bit of the picture that overlaps the border ... it helps to keep my count accurate and to avoid the disappointment of stitching areas that don't meet up properly. Rachel, with whom I am doing a very casual SAL on this piece, chose a different route ... starting dead center and working outward.

All in all, a very satisfying and productive stitching week ... my Crazy January Challenge, Day 1 Project finish may be seen on the Feb. 3 [Thursday] post ... and that project was the sole focus through the early part of the week.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Giveaway

This is my 500th post. To celebrate I will be giving away two 123stitch gift certificates. I had thought about giving away 5 $10 gcs or 1 $50 gc. Most of those who read my musings came down on the side of 5 small gift certificates ... but ... a fair number of my giveaway participants are international stitchers and a $10 gc would actually end up costing them more than $10 in postage and customs fees ... which kind of negates the whole purpose of a celebratory gift certificate. So, I'll compromise by giving away two $25 gift certificates ... just in case one of the winners turns out to come from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK or Europe. If two US stitchers are drawn, well, they will just have to deal with the broader array of choices available to them ... a terrible burden, I know, but those are the breaks. Since I am celebrating a blog landmark, I will be limiting this giveaway to those people who have shared the blogging experience with me, i.e: my current followers and those who comment regularly even though they are not followers. I have made a list of those folks who are already followers and and those who, while not followers, visit and comment regularly. I don't normally have exclusions for my giveaways but for this one ... well, I just want to share it with those who have "shared the journey" with me.

If you wish to enter your name for this giveaway, this will be a bit different then usual:
-- open to stitchers as noted above
--in the comment section, make a suggestion as to one way I could improve my blog or mention something different I could try [e.g, more stitching memes] or ask a question you'd like me to answer
-- include an e-mail address in your post if clicking on your name will not lead me to an e-mail link
-- two winners will be selected on the 10th of the month and informed by e-mail

Good luck to all who enter.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Crazy January Challenge Finish

What with the Tuesday and Wednesday Snow and Ice Storm here in the Northeast, I had additional time for stitching ... even though I had planned ahead and brought home a satchel of work ... grading all the 7th grade quarter finals.

Imagine a flourish of trumpets for this, my first Crazy January Challenge finish of the month:

Sue Hillis' Cookie Baking Santa: admittedly, not the best photo I have taken but we must make allowances for an aging camera.

... note the optimism, I am implying there will be at least one more Crazy January finish this month. I'll begin working on the Crazy Challenge Day 2 project, Dragon Dreams' The Ice Dragon's Kingdom, tomorrow though I am still lacking one of the Anchor Marlitt flossesneeded for the body of the dragon. I expect I shall have to substitute a similar shade of DMC Satin [rayon] floss but I will cross that bridge [or should I say, stitch] when I get to it. The piece is not quite a BAP, though moderately large and involving the use of the rather unwieldy rayon floss, so it should take the whole month. But it is followed in the queue by two medium sized Homespun Elegance pieces that ought to work up very quickly, The Stitcher and Witches Stitch, Too. I set up my list knowing I'd tackle the projects in chronological order and I tried to mix it up a bit as to size and complexity.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finish-It February

Recently, while reading Rachel's blog, What seems like crazy on an ordinary day, I ran across a reference to Finish-It February. I had never seen that term before though I have been following stitching blogs for nearly eight years now and blogging myself for a little over three years. I am still a little unclear as to whether it refers to finishing the cross-stitching on a piece or doing the final finishing, i.e.: sewing and assembly or framing. But I am going to observe this practice as if the later definition applies and focus on doing some final sewing & assembly finishes this month. I'd like to do one or two finishes a week. I have a tote bag that just needs straps and a lining, three ornaments that need to be assembled and an emery strawberry that needs to be finished ... as well as another 18 projects in the finishing basket, but we won't go into that at the moment. I may have to follow up with a Finish-It March, April, May ... well, you get the idea.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Goals Assessment/ February Goals

I thought this year I would do something a little different when posting these monthly reports. In the past, they have been rather dull looking, without photos ... so I will now head the post with a photo of my Ort jar ... as a visual symbol of progress made each month [or not]. I will not be participating in the official TUSAL since that would require posting an ORT jar photo on the day of the new moon, something that I don't really keep track of. In any case here is the photo, no particular color or group of colors dominates, probably because the Crazy January Challenge has had me all over the color pallette with a wide variety projects.


CRAZY JANUARY 2011 CHALLENGE: Start a new project each day from January 1 - January 15. Then starting on January 17, pick up the Day 1 Project: Sue Hillis's Cookie Santa. DONE. This has been both a wonderfully exhilarating and intensely frustrating challenge. While I was thrilled to pull and start a fair number of charts that have been calling my name for a very long time, it has been difficult to put each one down and move on to the next. I feel like one of those bratty 13 year old princesses who has a new best friend every day. I have made substantial progress on the Day 1 project ... it's one of the larger pieces on the list ... so I am not too upset about having to carry it into early February. I do see a finish in the very near future, though.

BAP: Continue work on TW's Autumn Faerie: NO. Just two hours worth of stitching all month but I suppose that's better than nothing ... I got caught up in the Crazy January Challenge.

Surface Embroidery: Continue work on Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square. I didn't have time for this what with all the Crazy January stuff going on this month. I shall make time for it in February.

Sewing Finishes: Keep up with current finishing and finish two items from backlog finishing basket. NO.

And though, it wasn't part of the monthly goals, I didn't entirely abandon my 2010 WIPs and UFOs. I resurrrected the Jacobean Elegance afghan from the UFO sidebar list and stitched one of the Flower blocks. I completed another motif and two more letters on Workbasket's Quaker Sampler, stitched the bee charms on an old Heart in Hand piece called Wee Bee and stitched my Quaker Santa Bride's Tree ornament as well as the Town Square Fire Station ornament, The Victoria Sampler Connecticut Heart ornament and the Aury Quaker Red, White and Blue Heart ornament.

Crazy January Challenge: Continue work on projects in chronological order, as much as possible given the back-ordered thread situation.
BAP: Continue work on TW's Autumn Faerie
WIPs: Continue working on 2010 WIPs and UFOs: Workbasket's Quaker Sampler, the Jacobean Elegance Afghan, the Fertile Circles Needlebook and the Beach Find Pansies panel
Surface Embroidery: Continue work on Encrusted Quilt Square, moving onto the purse strap once the purse front is done.
Sewing Finishes: Keep up with current finishing and finish one or two items a week from backlog finishing basket.