Monday, November 23

And then there was that one time that I stitched again!

It has been for*ever* since I've updated, but to be fair, I haven't done a lot of crafting.

I finally did finish Wendy's "Lady" for her RR.   Her theme was... well, Ladies, and I thought I would get creative with mine.  I posted the start, and I had gotten a bit done on the skin when I realized that the skin was way too dark to represent my pale, pasty self, so it took me a bit to get it fixed.

But I really do like the way she turned out.

But what have I really been up to?  I finally finished the LadyCave!   I have a nice little desk area (my laptop fits great on it, though I've been thinking I should go back to a desktop - it would have more power for what I wanted to do, although it would be paired best with a tablet so I can keep on interneting downstairs).   I finally got my wireless printer up an running, I've organized all of my books and stuff, and I even have a litte drop table with barstools that I'm using to keep my TV on.  I just got an AmazonFireStick as well, which is awesome, because while I'm doing genealogy (or whatevs), I can watch TV and when guests stay over, they can also hang with the Netflix of AmazonPrimeTV if they want.

Here it is with the bed down - plenty of space to walk around the bed!:

And with the bed up (the image quality is annoying, either way too much light is coming into that window *or* the overhead light bugs out my camera phone).
That's Mona's pillow on the ground in front of the bed (my first quilt hanging on it), and my yoga mat down (of course) with blocks on it.   I've finished all of the touch ups and now I just need to get a better/brighter light kit for the fan/light combo.

Oh, and re-do the chair.  I'm going to get rid of the caster wheels and reupholster with this print from Spoonflower.

I will probably update the blog next with the games I played at the last gaming con I went to (the weekend after Labor Day, around the last time I updated the blog)

I've also gone on a trip to Phoenix to our National Meeting, where I became a committee member for one of the National committees (woot woot!)

My other big "thing" is that I've started the Genealogy Do Over, led by Thomas MacEntee, and I'm excited that the Do Over (currently in it's 4th cycle) will have a year long "Do Over" cycle next year.  I feel like a lot of the topics don't get the time I want to give them, so YAY! for that.   I will probably start a genealogy blog next year to document some of the things I'm doing, and in the meantime I'm excited that the research and documentation I have is going to be so much better than it was before.

In that picture, the "mess" in the corner (the several boxes and bins) is ALL papers, photos, etc from my family genealogy that I got when my grandmother died.  It all needs to be scanned and analyzed, but because it's been a while since I did my genealogy, I wanted to see if there was a way to make sure what I had was good, which is what brought me to the Genealogy Do Over, which is amazing.  I love the hard core documentation and story telling I've gotten into on that front.

But mostly I'm happy to get back to some stitching.   I have so much stuff on my plate, I always feel overwhelmed and like I'm neglecting my favorite hobbies.  I do get a little dismayed over any renos I do in the house because I know we won't be there for a long time, but the committee I joined is place dependent (I'm representing our District) and for 3 years, so I can reasonably expect to enjoy all of my work for at least that long ;)

My revised (and much more realistic) goal for the year is to get caught up with the Zodiac Mystery.

And (because I have so much free time), I"m threatening to join in Quiltville's Mystery Quilt next year :D

Tuesday, September 8

Labor Day weekend's Labors

First, I'm going to kvetch for a bit.    I've been cranky, really cranky, because I feel like the deadline to get the bed finished (in reality, yes, a friend can sleep on a mattress on the floor, but I want them to have a proper bed) is getting way too close (less than 2 weeks!).

As I was reading/watching the instructions re: the bed, I realize that I needed a 5/8" hole saw/forstner bit.  For some reason I had forgotten that little part.  I had the 1", I had some holes pre-drilled, but I had 4 5/8" holes that had to be done.  

Now, for those who don't know (I didn't!), 5/8" is an odd size and not something your local big-box store is going to carry.  In fact, when I was looking for something, there was a woodworker who happened to be in the same section as me and he let me know that he had to go to a specialty store in Raleigh for it.

So I did what any modern-woman would do.  I ordered it from Amazon.  I paid extra for the overnight shipping so that I would get it on Monday and could finish building the piece, which gave me 3 weeks for sanding and staining, which I believed would give me plenty of time.

And then Monday came around, and I waited for the part.  And waited for the part.  So I just decided "eff it, I'll just skip my Tuesday  night game night to work on the bed", and it still didn't show.  Wednesday, I checked my tracking info, no updates.   No updates for days.  And I called the specialty store, and lo' they did not have that part in stock (it was on the website), but they could order it for me, but it would take a week to get.  And Amazon just issues me a refund, because they're like "um, this is totes lost, we don't know where it is, and oh yeah, there are no more of them in stock."


I did find one online and ordered it in time for the Labor Day weekend.  The Other Half was out of town for the weekend, so, honestly, I just vegged out on Saturday being a lazy introvert, and stitched and binge watched the last season of Once Upon a Time.  And the 2nd forstner bit appeared.

But as of Sunday, all of the components of the bed are built!  Now just staining and assembly are left.

I'll have my bed done, I'll get my garage back to park in, AND I'll be able to finish the lady cave! (I'm waiting to see where exactly the cabinet fits, since it has to be anchored, before putting up the wall shelves).  Now I'm back to happy :)

And I stitched some this weekend, too.

I worked on Wendy's RR.   Her theme is "Ladies"  So of course, this is how I interpret it ;)
I did stall out after doing a bit more than this.  I had converted and played with a pic I found online, and I'm not happy with the skintones.  They're entirely too dark, IMO (especially if it's supposed to resemble my pale Eastern European self).

When hobbies collide...

And since I was binge watching TV, a bit lazy, and wanting to work on something mindless that would give me a palate cleanser before I go back to fighting with my Lady, I started this piece.  One color down, 4 to go:
This one is a mystery until I get it done.
But it will go in my office, because I find it inspiring in a hilarious way.

And just for the sake of completeness, here's the update on the bed!
I labeled a bit (you'd have to click and get the bigger size to read it, I'm sure).  The cabinet should take the rest of the week, and hopefully I can get the bed over the weekend?

The worst part (haha) is that I want something plain, so I was not going to decorate or trim out the murphy bed, but I did see some simple trim ideas that I did like.  I think I can go ahead, and finish the bed, and then just stain the trim and attach it after it's in place (so it won't kill my deadline to get the bed moved in and functional).  Why do I have to have ideas?!?!?!

Thursday, August 27

Throwba... Oh wait, I have a "finish!"

I've been neglecting this blog again, but then again, I've been neglecting a lot.  I blame it on the nice weather.  There are so many things that can get done outside right now.

But I finally(!) finished the next installment of the RR I'm working on.   I've said before that I'm one of the stalled spots, but it looks like I will un-jam, soon!

I already have charted out my next bit for the next RR (I was actually halfway done with it when I realized how much I hated the colors - oops!).

In the meantime, I finished Lynne's RR - she included books with blackwork and Assissi designs to choose from if we were "stuck", and I found something PERFECT, but the shop owner/designer was "on vacation" (on Etsy), and as long as I procrastinated, they still haven't come back, so I went back to the googling-board and found and adorable Blackwork Wine Bottle piece by Cotton Season on Etsy.

The cobalt blue is ThreadGatherer's SNC Texas BlueBonnet... because Texas, and it's the color of the local meadery's bottles (I tend to mead it up much more in the winter, when I warm up their Spiced Apple and chase away the chills from me bones).

The green is Bejeweled from Crescent Colours, and has a lot of variation to it.  It reminds me of the prettier green bottles that some of the red wines (my usual go to) come in.

The red is Vikki Clayton Dragon's Blood, so that it actually looks like the red wine that lives in that green bottle.

And the aqua is DMC (3766? Gah, it's written somewhere) because I didn't have an overdye/silk/whatever that was the right color to represent Vinho Verde, which is the bulk of the white wines I drink.

Because the pattern was a little tall, I chopped off the stem of the glass and everything at that level.  I actually was super happy with that idea, because I use stemless wineglasses at home, so it continues to be more "me."  I added another row just to keep the relative dimensions right.    I shortened the necks of the bottles (except the Vinho's) to also help keep the proportions straight.

Blackwork Design by CottonSeason Finished 08-26-2015
I have a hard time with blackwork, for some reason, and I spent a lot of time frogging.  Once I could figure out a good pattern (like working the green in vertical rows, or working the circles in rows in the blue bottle), I did a lot better, but it did take me a bit to get rolling.  I'm very happy with the outcome, though :)

And of course, when I went looking for this pattern in Etsy, I run across an adorable Blackwork pattern of wine glasses I think I need.  Hah!

And just for fun, I'm throwing some pictures in of what I'm really working on right now - the Murphy bed I want to put in my lady cave.   Essentially, I will be building the bed & the cabinet as separate pieces, taking them back apart (well, some of it anyway) and staining it, putting the components back together, and then assembling the two pieces together in place.   So far I'm *almost* done with the bed.  I have to put the panels on the bottom of the bedframe (the panels will face you when the bed is closed) and then start staining that.   While those are staining/drying/whatevering, I'll assemble the cabinet (The part that the bedframe folds into) so I can stain that.   With the limited space of a one car garage, I'm trying to do this in serial so that I'm not bumping into myself constantly.

This is my set up before I really get started.
I cheated and had the lumber place cut my wood for me ;)
My requisite "I work better when lubricated with alcohol"
Though, really, I was too hot and busy to actually drink anything.
The frame all done.  It just needs the plywood/veneer face panels put on.

And Mona being ladylike... just because.

Thursday, August 6

Late Late-July WIPocalypse

Oooh!  I haven't had one of these for a while... but I have progress!

Last WIPocalypse (March!), this was Celtic Ferret:

I had just started filling in the gold in the neck and had done a bit of the brown in the fore-arm.

And here he is now:

I took him with me to a GTG and pretty much just worked on him because it was mindless and I wouldn't mess anything up while I was talking, laughing, or engaging in any other shenanigans.
I finished all of the arm cream and brown, the rear leg brown, and got a lot done with the fill in.  I'm pretty confident I'll be able to finish him this year.   He's been my go-to easy stitch whenever I don't feel up to a challenge (which seems to be all the time these days ;) )

And here is the before for Thanksgiving Fairy by Mirabilia (technically not part of WIPocalypse, but really should be):

I finished the outlines in the other colors and just need to fill out the lightest purples, get the beading in and I'll start moving up the dress to the head... I always seem to do these fairies the same - below waist then above waist/head then wings.
(and I won't go into how much I hate the change to google photos editing, oh well).

Since that was my first WIPocalypse since March(!), I'll get caught up with the other months' questions, too.

April: Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects? Which do you dread?

I love specialty stitches in general.  I actually adore french knots, which everyone seems to hate.  The only stitch I really hate is backstitching.  I think I'm not alone in that one.

May: I would like to know if you look for LNS’s when you travel. What is the favorite shop you’ve ever found?

Yes.  Always.   I've even been poking about the DC area (though I don't consider that "travel"), and I'm threatening to go to one in SC next time I need to go down to Charlotte.   So far my favorite is Stitcher's Paradise in Las Vegas.  They're SO well stocked, really nice, and have a fantastic fabric room.  I love those ladies!

June: Do you find yourself more productive with stitching in summer or winter?

Definitely in the winter.   When it's cold I don't seem to have as many activities going on, and I'm not doing as many house projects.  Just sitting on the couch, bingewatching TV or movies and hanging out.  The holidays help, too!

July: Reality or Fantasy. Which do you prefer to stitch? Figures or Abstract?

Fantasy.  Abstract.  I love bugs and fairies and (nevermind the Mirabilias), for the most part, non-human subjects or patterns (samplers, mandalas, etc.)

July 31 – Topic: What makes you pick up a long-abandoned UFO rather than beginning a new piece? 

Honestly, it's looking at pictures, especially online, especially other bloggers.   I think that's why I've made my own blog so image heavy.  I like looking at things that I'd like to get back to - seeing progress by others is a HUGE, HUGE motivator, and just looking at mine, the progress in the past, where I'd like to go, and what made me fall in love with it in the first place.   Although I adore having readers and commenters, I have this blog for me, to keep me going and keep me motivated and see my progress.  

Thursday, July 30

#TBT - Shroomhilde

Shroomhilde is a design by Terrence "Terry" Nolan of Dimples Designs fame.   While I adore his WeeBeasties (which I should probably get around to posting), he also had a few other small series.    This one was part of the Shrooms, of which I think there were four (Magic of Mother's Love, Mushroom Tabernacle Choir and The Bride and the Shroom).   I thought they were all adorable, but Shroomhilde was the only one that spoke to me enough to stitch.

And if I recall correctly, I really did enjoy stitching her.    There are a lot of silks involved, and more than a few beads, and it was just fun.

A lot of the time I was stitching her, I had Kill the Wabbit running through my head, keeping myself pretty entertained.

The border was stitched in Waterlilies, if I recall correctly, with kreinik back stitching, and was very pleasant to stitch on that 32ct Platinum Linen (not the kreiniks... never the kreiniks!).

The Valkyrie horns on her shoom cap kept cracking me up.  I loved the spear and the shield.  I love the gill ruffles around her neck.  Seriously, the detail on this is just too fun.

A close up of some of the silks and backstitched kreinik.  I do remember not being very enthused about all of that backstitching with metallics.   But it was too pretty to not incorporate.

Confession:  I did not realize that she was wearing armor/a breastplate at first.   To be honest, at first glance I thought her bosom was actually paws.   I had a few people laugh at me pretty well over that, but I still don't feel all that embarrassed about it.

The beads!  So cute. I liked how the beads accented this piece, but did not overwhelm it.  Sometimes they can do that, but this was just right - from the ridges in her stalk to the swirl in the background.   It does go very well with the piece overall.

Hrm.  I think I know what piece I'd like to have framed next now.

She was finished on June 21, 2002.  I know I picked her up at a stitching show, though I can't remember which one. I know I didn't stitch on her there, but in my favorite apartment where I lived in Houston.  She was pretty quick, lots of fun, and I still adore her.

Wednesday, July 29

#WIPWednesday - I have a WIPWednesday!

It's not much, really, but it's better than nothing!

We are part of four households that host a game night on Tuesdays.  Last Tuesday was our night to host, but I went home early with a migraine (I think it was weather related, because coincidentally I could not get a hold of my supervisor to tell her that I was going home early with a migraine, because she had already gone home early with a migraine).

I had crashed out and woken up at 6:15ish (people start showing up at 6:30), and I was trying to get tea, drugs, etc downstairs before people showed up for game night, letting my partner give out my excuses (I'm a coward, but it feels weird to say "hi, I'm up and about, but I don't want to game with you guys").

I wasn't quite ready to crash back out, and one of the very few things I can do with a migraine is stitch (if the light's right).   I wanted to work on Thanksgiving Fairy, but realized she was downstairs.  And I definitely didn't want to go downstairs and say "yeah, sorry, I have a migraine, and I can't play with you guys, but I'm totally going to work on crafts," so I needed to start/work on something else.

So I grabbed Desert Sunset II, because it's small, took no brain power, and was kitted up already.
It's an older design by Fireside Originals, and this is what it'll look like finished:

But here's where we are  now:

It came as a partial kit - there are three different custom overdyes in it for use in the sky when blended with DMC/Anchor.  No name brands, no getting extras if I run out, so luckily I hadn't lost any of the threads and hopefully I will have some left overs for when I pass the pattern along so the next stitcher can color match at some level.    I started at the top left of the design, because I'll put Sunset I on there as well.

It calls for Feather Blue (? something like that) aida, which is what I did Desert Sunrise with back in the day; this is the closest evenweave I could find, and while definitely greyer, it should work fine.  I want to keep the size consistent so that I can have all 3 framed together.

Tuesday, July 28

Future's Vision - framed! And a tale of framers.

So first off, I got Future's Vision framed.  It's one of my favorite pieces and it's already up on the wall in the lady cave.   I decided to test out a new framer (more about that later), but here it is...

I totally forgot the non-glare glass, so I had to go with extreme angles because there's a nice big window with a lot of light that was reflecting all over the place.  The mats are the colors from the sky and the star, and the frame has a lot of red which brings out the colors in the bricks.

I definitely loved this frame for this piece.

When we were trying out the colors of the mats, I told the framer that I wanted it over the edge of the design, up to the backstitched outline to the whole frame of the piece.  He said he didn't recommend it, and we looked at mats with more space around the piece, and then he framed it up to the edge anyway.  Which.  Ok, I think the yellow should have been a little brighter then, but whatever, I'm still OK with the color.

I'm mostly happy with it.
And this guy advertised on his website that he frames needlework, and when I was chatting with him, apparently it had been his proverbial bread and butter through the 80s and 90s, tapering off in the last 10 years or so.  So he obviously must know what he's doing right?

Which is why it kinda caught me by surprise to find out that he did most of the pieces dry-mounted.

Wait.  What?  I even asked him about lacing/pinning, etc.  No, he dry-mounts small pieces and tapes larger ones.

So I'll never be back there.

Since Nick (the guy that I had frame my other pieces last year) is retiring/has retired, I figured I'd look into local framers.   This guy, well, he was someone I found while googling, specifically looking for needlework framers, and when a Groupon showed up for his shop, I figured it would be a good time to go ahead and try him out.   So at least I got it at a "discount", but I still think he was pricey for what I got.

I have used two other framers in the area, but not for my needlework.  I have plenty of smaller pieces to try out, and they did a great job with some of my other stuff, but now I'll have to put them to the cross-stitch test.

I've heard several stitchers (online) use one of the local framers.  They're a small chain (SC, NC, VA, I think?) and I've liked the several things of mine they've framed.   They've done two small prints and the photo of my grandparents' wedding.  They were even nice enough to use the original mat that the photo came with:

The other framer is a guy that owns a franchise?  He's really nice, and he's actually an artist, so he's really good with color while letting me express my own ideas if I have something I really want.   He's done two prints (one of them several feet long), and my other grandparents' wedding photo (the original tinted). 

He is REALLY good at preservation work (old letters, photos - he's shown me the stuff he's done), so I kinda want to take my stitching to him, wholesale, but I have to test run him.  I'm sure he'd be more amenable to actually learning the correct way to frame needlework since he's an actual artist.  But, the downside is that he's expensive.  

So, yay for getting something framed.   Boo for having something not framed well (boo to myself for not asking better questions first).  I'm not going to take it apart, it's not like it was the best piece in the world and I doubt it's going to become any sort of heirloom anyway.  I'm happy enough with it for me (I still have a couple of early things framed on sticky mat).

Soon I'll have something test run at the Expensive-but-I-love-him framer.  Maybe even my Immaculate Hart.

Too bad the French Knot is out of business, I really liked the framing they did for me.  They closed before I had a chance to take any needlework to them...

framed by The French Knot