I am so excited to join in Nicola’s celebration this year.  I have been a bad blogger.  And, my stitching has not been as frequent as I’d like because of work and family obligations this past year.  Things have slowed down, and I was already making plans for December’s stitching and 2013 goals, when I saw that Nicola has decided to spur her fellow needleworkers on in a magnificent way.  I’m just excited thinking about the progress updates that everyone will post.

I have three charts from The Scarlet Letter in my stash, and many more on my wish list.  [I need to add that all the photos here are from The Scarlet Letter website.]  The three charts I have are:

American Quaker Band Sampler

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Ann Harding 1821

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The Twigg Miniatures (kit)

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I may start one of the Twigg Miniatures just because they’re already kitted up!  But, I really love Ann Harding.  The simplicity of the American Quaker is calling me too. So, I’ll start one of the three very soon.  I have a few things I need to finish first.

And, of course, this gives me a wonderful reason to pick up a few more charts on my wish list. Here are the top charts on my wish list right now.  Of course, they change almost hourly as I drool over my list and the Scarlet Letter website.

Dorothy Walpole

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Margret Lawrance

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Anniken Christensen Simensen 1768

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My friend, Cheryl (who doesn’t blog), may likely join me in this endeavor this year.  This is the first on her list:

Helen Vertue 1812

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I’m a sucker for alphabets, houses, peacocks… the Margret Lawrance sampler is a newer one from Scarlet Letter.  I also would love to work on a variety of samplers from different countries, especially those countries where my family comes from.  So, that’s why I have the choices I do at the top of my list right now.

I also wanted to mention that I’m now helping out a bit with the Swan Sampler Guild’s newsletter.  If you’re not a member of a guild because there isn’t one in your area, the Swans are a great guild to join, because they are open to anyone in the world.  I’m having a great time getting to know more of the people involved in the guild, and we have some fun things happening.  Here’s a link to the latest newsletter: Swan Newsletter Q4 2012

I’m off to stitch a bit while I watch Harry Potter!  I’m starting to watch the movies again. It’s so fun to see them all so young, and I’ll finish them before the end of the month.  I think that will be a great help to my stitching too!

Okay, on this Valentine’s Day, I’ll just start by saying that my iTunes is shuffling and began with Frank Sinatra singing “Moonlight Serenade”, then moved onto James Taylor singing “My Romance”.  Sheesh.  Can’t a single girl enjoy a quiet Valentine’s Day with something like Aretha singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T?  Oh, and now the thing’s moved to Lionel Richie and “Truly”.  Wow.  I know it’s all my fault that these things are on my iTunes.  I really do.  And, I’ve loved these songs for years which is why I have them.  But, the Apple gods must be playing a joke though and picking these things all in a row. Or someone’s telling me I’m a hopeless romantic hidden beneath the thick skin of a Cupid cynic.

Lest I offend any of you who are celebrating this day of greeting-card days with your soul-mate (or said stand-in until you find him/her), please know I fully support you and am extremely happy that you are!  And, that I’ve had a most wonderful day myself and do NOT long for gooey, mushy stuff.  I did quite enjoy lunch with my brother-in-law, sister and their three daughters.  My great BIL wanted to take us to lunch for Valentine’s Day!  Great guy.  Did I say he’s a great brother-in-law?

I’m now listening to Queen Latifah singing “I Know Where I’ve Been”.  Better.  And a bit ironic after that last tirade, don’t you think?  Okay, maybe you’d think so if you knew more about my life.  Which I’m not going to share on a blog.  Not while I’m sane.  But, I will say that if you think of the princess looking for a prince by kissing a lot of frogs, you’d be really close to knowing a bit more about it. 😉

So, yesterday we had a great time with Cathy B, running around to all the great stitchy spots along the Wasatch Front.  We started at the Craft Center, where my friend Cheryl and I met up with Cathy B, Alice, Lynn, and Brenda.  They had the Homespun Elegance chart in for “Home is Where You Hang Your Needlework”.  I picked that up and after everyone had completed their shopping there, we headed up to the Shrine… the Bush… the place where “the rock stars of stitching” live.  At least that’s what Cathy calls them. And, I quite agree.  Tina and Teri were extremely gracious as always.  It’s so fun to look around and see what they’ve done with new releases.  And, you know even though I make it up there every few months or so, I had neglected some of their shelves with “long lost” designs for a while.  Cathy was immediately drawn to the Mary Garry section… and thanks to her attention to that area, I was able to pick up two charts that are just great.  They are “Friends in the Garden” and “The Ice-Skating Party”.

I was a bit sad that they didn’t have market releases out yet.  But, that was actually fine, and Mr. Pocketbook was grateful he wasn’t punished like he was expecting to be.  I also picked up the remaining supplies for Mary Peacock, which I had purchased the chart for the previous week.  Cathy had her camera there, and she may get to post some pics, but I have some too.  Of course, we were all looking at Cathy’s camera and not mine…here are Tina, Cathy B, and Teri:

Tina, Cathy B, and Teri

And, from left to right: Cheryl, Laura (me), Cathy B, Lynn, Alice, and Brenda:

Cheryl, Laura (me), Cathy B, Lynn, Alice, Brenda

After our shopping at the Bush, we headed over to Rooster’s for lunch.  Great food and great company.  Cathy, amazing person that she is, presented us all with a valentine… in our cards were hardanger hearts!  Wow.  She even had one there for Cheryl, who was kind of a last minute addition to the group.  How nice and thoughtful of Cathy to do that.  And the hearts are beautiful.

 Then, we went next door to the Needlepoint Joint.  Since I’ve started knitting it was hard for me to make it through the main part of the store and into the next section where their stitchy stuff is.  At one point, I said out loud “I’ll have to get me a sheep.”  I just love yarn.  I contained myself by thinking about the yarn I already have and the three projects that are on the needles.  But, when I caught up to the others in the stitchy section, I was happy to find an old copy of Fine Lines, which has the “Women of the Mayflower” chart in it from Sarah Ullman of Olde Willow Stitchery.  I only have a few copies of this magazine… and they’re mainly just the charts I liked.  I never was able to find this one.  Needlepoint Joint in Ogden has about four more copies if you’re looking.  And, about three other issues were there too.

After perusing some more there, Cheryl and I took Cathy to the airport.  It was a really fun day, and I especially loved the time we had getting to know Cathy.  What a sweet person!  I hope you enjoyed your time in Utah, Cathy.  We had a great time!

Okay, I don’t have any stitching progress to show, because I’ve been finishing an exchange.  But, that’s done, so I just need to wait until Tuesday to put it in the mail.  It’s a tiny bit late for mailing, but not anything that a reasonable amount of postage can’t cure.  I think.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m now listening to David Benoit & Russ Freeman…  love this stuff.  I do have the ability to control this iTunes/iPod thing right?  (In the time it took me to post the pics for this along came Michael Buble singing “Call Me Irresponsible”, and the smooth talent of Marc Antoine.  I’m now enjoying the timeless Ella singing “Miss Otis Regrets”.  Love it.)

Happy day to everyone!  Take some time to stitch and listen to some fun tunes… or whatever relaxes you.

I started Brightneedle’s “Lo, How a Rose” sampler last night. I couldn’t pass up the SAL that Staci and Vonna are doing on it. But, I was a teeny bit behind, and I won’t be able to stitch tomorrow night, so I decided I would work on it last night. I took a picture, but it’s blurry, because it’s late, and when I use the flash, the whole thing is washed out. So, I’ll have to wait until the weekend when I’m home and it’s light, and a picture will turn out.

I will say that I am LOVING it already. I can’t believe I waited so long to start it!  I am using the antique white linen and the weeks dye works threads called for in the pattern.  The colors are wonderful together, and it’s a fun one to stitch.

Vonna asked me if my santa was a Tournicot.  I’m not sure I know what that is!  It is a pattern by Lavender Wings called “Naughty or Nice”.  I’m using the threads called for, which are really fun (you have to love WDW thread named “Louisiana Hot Sauce”), and a piece of overdyed jobelan that was packaged with the pattern at The Craft Center.

No, not the Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update”. Although that would be funny. It has been a busy week back at work. I spent the first two days in training all day, while trying to double-task and triple-task, because the new semester started on Wednesday. There are always lots of things to do just before the semester starts, but especially when everyone is coming off of a holiday. It’s pretty amazing that our enrollments have increased so much again this semester, especially in light of recent and looming budget cuts. If you live in Utah, write your legislators. Especially if you value education, both higher ed and K-12!

Okay, off of my soap box and onto some progress pics. First, I have pulled out Mouline Rouge again. I just love this piece, but haven’t made much progress since I first started. So, I have vowed that I will stitch on it once per week, and I have been able to stitch a portion of another motif, which is the motif you see on the far right. I am using Gloriana Rosewood silk, and R&R Park City Blend linen. The colors on these pictures aren’t great, but you get the idea.

Mouline Rouge Progress Pic

Mouline Rouge Progress Pic

Second, I have been knitting.  I have a pic of one of the hats I’ve completed.  These are for my nieces, and were intended for Christmas.  I finished one for my nephew Riley, which was red and gray, and I hear he is wearing and loving it.  The pic below shows all of the colors I will be using for the four total hats.  I will use each color as the main color for one hat, and the remaining three for the stripes.

Lime flap cap

Lime flap cap

I have nearly finished “Naughty or Nice” by Lavendar Wings and I have a pic of that.  I also have LHN’s “Heart of America” and La-D-Da’s “All Our Troubles” in the mix.  I am stitching “All Our Troubles” with the Weeks Dye Works colors called for, on 40 count Meadow Rue.  I really like how it’s turning out. I’ll get pics of those pieces for next time.

Naughty or Nice?

Naughty or Nice?

And, I’m working on an exchange item, which should be fun. Homework has started though, and there are other things to be done around the house as well.  One thing I surely need to do is to get more firewood in from the woodpile.  Our 18″ of accumulated snow in the yard is melting fairly quickly now, so I don’t lose little Chloe when I take her out to do her business.  We did have a nice snow ball fight the other night though.  How do you have a snowball fight with a Schnauzer?  You gently toss big snowballs on them, so that they break apart, and they run around and around in circles.  I’d better leave you now, so that I can get back to stitching and knitting asap!

Sundays are a day of reflection for me.  It’s the only day of the week that I get to slow down and focus on what is important for more than a quick 15 minutes at a time.  I’ve thought a bit about this journey of life.  Okay, don’t leave me now, just because you think I’m going to wax philosophical on you.

I’ve just decided that there are some “baby steps” that I want to take, to insure that I’m finding joy in the journey.  I won’t share all of them with you here.  But, I will let you know that I have once again taken a somewhat serious look at how I spend my leisure time.  I really don’t have a problem with the “how” of it, but I want to be more conscious of those things I’m working on and show progress for my sanity… even if the progress is very small.

I have an attention deficit when it comes to projects.  I have a hunger to learn new things, and yet I love returning to things that are comfortable and easy to work on.  So, I’ve decided that in order to accomplish all that I want to, while focusing on what’s really important in life, I need to at least list all the things that are currently in some state of progress.

So, I’ve added a new page to my blog.  It’s titled “Limited Leisure”.  That’s not to say I’m going to severely limit my leisure time.  Okay, I don’t really have a way to limit it more than it already is.  I’m really hoping to squeeze more out of it.  Not so that I can quickly and efficiently complete things.  But, I want to enjoy the time I spend, yet show the progress I make.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I want to decrease the number of things I work on, or that I won’t start anything new.  I just have some wonderful pieces that I want to get finished.  Sheesh, you were probably thinking I was committing to a diet of “I won’t start anything new until I’ve completed 100 pieces…” or something like that.  Nope.  Tried that.  Doesn’t work.  And, I’m not sure I wanted it to anyway.  I do want to enjoy this journey of needlecraft, and any other hobbies and interests that strike my fancy.

So, for all of you out there that think you have the most WIPs or the oldest UFO, watch out!  I’ll be updating this page a bit at a time with a list of all the things that I want to use my limited amount of true leisure time on.  (Because really, do you think I want to inventory everything all at once?  And, take all that time out of my stitching time in one big chunk?)  And, you just might notice that I’ve marked something as “complete” every once in a while.

But, lest you think that I only want to spend my time in these pursuits, be assured that I have plenty of more worthwhile things on my to do list.  I call them “humanity things” and not “sanity things”.  I prefer to be anxiously engaged in a good cause and most times that’s not one of my personal hobbies.

That’s it for now.  I haven’t even listed the books I want to finish and/or start to read.  Maybe that will have to be another page.

As promised, here are some pictures. These are pieces that have been completed for a long time (one has 1998 on it!) but I just got the frames made and the pieces stretched. 

Seasonal Samplings

Seasonal Samplings

In Virtue's Ways

In Virtue s Ways

Dutch Sampler from Beardie Designs

Dutch Sampler from Beardie Designs

Shepherd s Bush Utah Sampler

Shepherd s Bush Utah Sampler

Night Before Christmas by Prairie Schooler

Night Before Christmas by Prairie Schooler

It’s a nice feeling to have all of these in frames.  I still need to put the acid free backing paper on them, and the hangers.  But, they are under glass now (I took these photos prior to that).  My friend also stretched four pieces, which I’ll post later.

I’ve been a busy beaver for the past several days.  Well, that’s usually the case.  But, I’ve found time to stitch a bit, even if it has been in the middle of the night.  I’ve put in a few more stitches on “She Tends” and on LHN’s “Heart of America”.  I also got the alphabet and most of the flower vase motifs complete on DT’s “The Riddle”.  I also stained and varnished six frames and stretched several pieces that are completed.  Now I just need to stretch the rest and get them into the frames.  I finished stitching Ewe and Eye and Friend’s Christmas Sampler, and wish I still had some Brazilian Cherry wood to make a frame for that.  The two frames I made from that turned out really nice.  The wood is very hard, and so it was harder to work with, but I put a couple of coats of varnish on them, and they are really pretty, I think.  One is for Chessie and Me “In Virtue’s Ways”, and the other is for Hillside Samplings’ “Seasonal Samplings”. These are both pieces I’ve had completed for a while.  I also stained and varnished three oak frames, using a walnut stain.  They are nice, and there’s one more that is larger, which I just varnished for my DT “Teaching Band Sampler”.

I spent a few hours last night exploring Adobe Web Creative Suite 3.  The hosting company that we will most likely use for the Swan Guild uses Linux and therefore allows PHP, CGI, HTML, MySQL, etc., but no dotNET stuff.  That’s fine, I have the tools available to create something that will work on their servers, and I’m excited to work with PHP.

I have new responsibilities in my church, and those will keep me pretty busy.  The summer was really busy as I tried to attend each youth activity while I had a break from my heavy school load.  And, for a while I really felt a change was in order.  I’m just amazed at how long it takes me to catch on sometimes, and to understand that what I want isn’t always what is needed. So, I will be serving again in the Relief Society .  It’s interesting that I’m back so soon, but I know that this is where I should be right now.

Now that fall has come, I’ve tried to get things done as quickly as I can, but there is still much to do.  I did spend the greater portion of the day on Saturday in my yard, from early in the morning until late at night off and on.  I had some great help from some neighborhood guys, who chopped down some old lilacs and helped me pull up my tomatoes.  I really appreciated the help, and was able to mow the lawn one final time before snow came on Saturday night!  It’s been COLD.

So… I’ll post pictures soon, I promise.  I have really made some progress on all fronts, including my Linux class.  I finally had to switch to a different external hard drive.  It’s a “brick” to carry around, but the file system was already set to NTFS, and it works with VMWare Player in the lab where my class is taught.  The other HD worked with every other computer but the lab computer.  Arghhh!  Now to catch up and study for a mid-term that I’ll need to take next week.

And, I’m still thinking about and planning for my “Stitching Blogger Birthday Club” effort, and the “Me, Myself, and I Neighborhood Round Robin 2” community development plans.