Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dragon of Hope

For the past two days I've been stitching this little guy. :)

He was really a lot of fun. The design is "Dragon of Hope" by Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams. The dragon is holding a globe in the pattern, but I stitched the whole ball in Kreinik 192 #8 braid to give it a crystal ball effect instead. I also changed the gold finger nails on the dragon to silver and backstitched with 3799 instead of 310.

This is one of the squares on the blanket I'm doing for my daughter. I'm going to finish it in the same style I did the Noah's Ark blanket for Wendy's baby. I'll back it with fleece and then put some sort of edging on it. 22 more squares to complete before I can finish it though!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Progress Pic

Well, it isn't much, but here is my progress on Alhambra Garden. It really is fun to stitch! :) I'm going to put it aside for awhile now cause I really want to finish English Garden Welcome. It has been a WIP since I first started a rotation back in 1999! I sort of put aside my rotation and just stitched what/when I wanted around the time I got pregnant with Katie - and I'm thinking I need to get back to a more regular rotation.

I also want to quickly finish a few pieces so I'm not sure how I'm going to get a little bit in on everything and finish what I want to with any kind of speed. For now I'm going to do another square on Katie's blanket, then I'm going to do another couple days on EGW. Then I'll probably do another square on the blanket and work on another of my WIPs. I think I'm going to do a three project type rotation. A square on the blanket, a few days on EGW, and a few days on another project of my choice. I'll keep doing this til EGW is finished and make another project a focus and put it in EGWs spot (next will probably be Cottage Garden Fairy). After I finish the blanket (probably at least a year) I'll have to think of something else - but for now I think that type rotation will work for me and allow me to actually make good progress on the blanket and have a few finishes while not completely neglecting all my WIPs.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Chatelaine is my latest needlework obsession. I've been vaguely aware of Chatelaine's existence for some years now - but only as a designer who ran mystery designs. That means you have to buy the chart and start stitching without seeing the finished product. Didn't sound appealing to me, I guess.

I've now seen several of her finished pieces and I fell in love with the Mandala Gardens. These were mysteries at one point, but the charts (with finished pictures) are now available for sale all at once. If you want to see pictures of these beautiful designs you can see them at European Cross Stitch. After selling off several charts I knew I'd never get too - and throwing in the premiums I won at this year's fair - I finally saved enough money to purchase one of the kits. Because they use a lot of yummy silks and beads, the kits are pricey. I chose Alhambra Garden for two reasons - it was among the cheaper of the Mandala Gardens, and the colors looked like it would go well in my living room.

The kit arrived yesterday and like a good little silk stitcher - I rinsed my silks first to make sure they were colorfast. In the old days I might have risked it and just not washed the piece. BUT having a 15 month old sticky-fingered kid in the house who is sure to touch the piece at one point or another meant rinsing the silks so that the piece can be washed before framing. I'm so glad I decided to rinse cause two of the silks bled. The Spanish Moss bled a little bit and the Cranberry Gloriana Princess Perle Petite bled like no tomorrow. I rinsed and rinsed several times last night and a bunch more this morning before it finally stopped bleeding. All the silks have been dried now and put on bobbins in the little floss away bags the kit came with. The kits are very well put together - each of the beads has it's own little container, sort of like the watch maker containers I have for my Mill Hills. The metallics and silks each had their own floss away bag as I mentioned which will be nice for keeping that odd ort that is long enough to use some more. I don't usually use floss away bags - but I might have to start for my specialty threads - makes everything nice and neat and you don't have to toss that 8 inches of metallic you cut off the card/spool.

After all the oggling I did over the directions and the rinsing of the silks etc. I've only finished a tiny bit of the design so far - I'll post a progress pic sometime in the next week when I have more to show. I'm hoping I can finish this one rather quickly (well quickly for a large piece) since I want to enter it in next year's fair.

Crazy me is also considering joining one of those mystery groups. After perusing through all the Chatelaine designs I'm more confident that whatever it is I'll like it at least somewhat. Also I've really liked working round robin pieces because of the group feeling, and I think this will be similiar in that regard. I'm considering the Mystery Sampler II which is supposed to have peacocks and simplicity as the theme! Sounds good to me and in keeping with the samplers I usually like. The materials are also not that expensive (relatively speaking of course) but I will need to save again and maybe by January when the group starts I'll have the funds. Probably can convince DH to kick in the last $20 or something for Christmas too if necessary.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Zoo!

A few weeks ago I was reminded by reading Patti's blog that I meant to take Alex and Katie to the zoo sometime this summer. Today I finally got around to it. It was really a perfect day for it too. The temp was 75 and overcast, but no rain. Just warm enough to wear shorts and normal summer attire, but not hot enough to make anyone uncomfortable or sunny enough to have to get too concerned about sunsceen. I was worried that Katie would poop out on me half way through and we'd have to leave early with a cranky kid, but she did really well and even took a short nap in the stroller as we went through the nocturnal building (which is of course dark).

Alex and I really had a good bonding time I think. Katie was sort of contained in her stroller and thus did not take away too much of the attention from the activity or from us talking about all the cool animals we were seeing. Alex loved looking at all the animals and even rode the glider swing that goes across the park on cables (not sure if I'm describing that right).

When she was awake Katie had a great time too - she loved looking at the large aquariums of fish and she also got to pet a goat which is apparently very exciting for a 15 month old.

I'm a little pooped from all that walking but it really was a perfect day and a nice capper for our summer. Alex goes back to school on Sept 1 - a week from today - so I'm glad we got it in before then.

Monday, August 22, 2005

My Box :)

About 10 days ago now I found a box at Goodwill that would work perfectly for stitching something for the top. Since then I've been obsessed with stitching and completing this box. It was a lot of fun! :)

First I needed to pick the right pattern to stitch. After considering a few other options, I remembered Just Nan's Common Ground. I have been wanting to start this pattern for awhile, but didn't really want to add another large piece into my already large pile of WIPs. The top inner band was perfect - and the best part of the design in my opinion. This would satisfy my wanting to do the pattern and make it a small, quick, design rather than a large time-intensive one.

I stitched it on a piece of ivory 40ct linen that had been languishing in my stash for years. I knew it would be perfect for something one day - today was the day. I had some left over silks in my stash from when I stitched Indigo Rose's "My Son" a few years back. Some of the colors were similiar enough to the ones used in the design to substitute so I did. :) The text and the border around the text are Au Ver Soie silks. And the satin stitched outer border is Slate Waterlilies which I just happened to have in my stash.

I finished the inside of the box with some blue tafetta I had left over from when I finished the inside of my scissorcase several years ago. Now they match! I think I'll keep the scissorcase in there and the box next to my stitching chair to hold odd bobbins, spools, and stuff I'm working with at the time. There is no tight clasp (I might find one for it later) so I'll have to keep it up though when Katie is about.

Funny the little things we get all excited about - huh? This little box was so much fun and I used all stuff I had on hand except for the box itself which was $.99 at Goodwill and the glass I put in the top which I had to have cut to fit the opening for $2.30. Pretty good entertainment for 10 days for $3.29.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

10 years ago today

I think today is harder than my 30th birthday. I cannot believe I've been a mother for 10 years - and that my little guy is heading into 5th grade and the tween years! I'm so sad cause he is growing up so fast and soon he won't even want me around anymore - moms are so uncool ya know. He's always been the sweetest boy in the world and I guess I'm just afraid of losing that as he grows into a teenager.

I'm so proud of him though, he is such a good kid and has a heart of absolute gold. He is a wonderful big brother to Katie and loves to make her smile. He is always the peacemaker in the family and cannot stand to make anyone unhappy or sad. He's the kind of kid who'd give up any of his treats or possessions to someone else if he thought they needed it, or even just if it might make them smile. He loves space and math and playing Star Wars at recess with his friends. I told him no more of this birthday stuff - 10 is it - I'm putting my foot down - no more growing older! "Ya right mom (rolleyes) " was his response.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I called the fair office again this morning and although I got forwarded to a bunch of different people, all of whom were a bit snippy (yeah, I probably deserved it for not picking stuff up on the day I was supposed to), I was finally told I could pick my stuff up this morning at 9am at the expo building - there would be some people still there cleaning up.

So I rushed over there and there were my pieces as pristine as I'd left them. Whew!

Monday, August 15, 2005


I've always been forgetful. I don't know why - I just am. Today was the day I was supposed to go over to the fair grounds and pick up the entries that had been on display because they won ribbons. I *totally* spaced and forgot to pick them up. I remembered yesterday and even this morning that I needed to do that this afternoon. This afternoon came and went and I just went about my day and totally forgot. By the time I remembered it was 7pm (time to pick up was between 11:30a and 5:30p). I called the office as soon as I remembered, but of course they were already closed for the day. I'm hoping and praying that I can call up tomorrow and they'll let me come down to the office and claim my items. They have Katie's Baptism dress and my Lady of the Flag, so I'm just sick wondering if I'm going to be able to get my items back. Why, oh why do I forget things so easy!

In other news, my sister's baby shower was yesterday. It was the first and only baby shower I'll probably ever throw, so I was real nervous about it. It seemed to go quite well though, and the Noah's Ark blanket I did for her got lots of ohhhs and ahhs so that was kind of nice. Maybe that is why I forgot the fair stuff. After stressing about that shower for the last few weeks I was just looking forward to relaxing today and totally spaced on picking up my items. *Sigh*

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


We haven't been getting real professional pictures taken of Katie as we are low on funds these days - but I have been snapping away with the Digital camera. Here are a few recent ones of our little cutie.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Woo Hoo!

Katie actually slept after my post about naps yesterday! Yippee! After 5 napless days something finally clicked and she went down for her usual nap yesterday. And today too! Hope I'm not speaking to soon and she continues to do so. Whew! That was a close one.

On the stitching front I've been stitching away on a RR piece that arrived yesterday. Gives me an excuse to avoid my Angel of Summer. I decided to stitch Angel of Summer on MGC Textiles linen. I know it isn't an exact evenweave, she will come out a little fatter than if she were on a true evenweave. I kind of like that though - makes mine a little different from everyone else's. I used MGC Textiles for my Fairy Idyll resulting in a much more square pic than a long rectangle, but the design still worked very well and didn't look distorted at all unless you had seen the original. Of course I'd never use this linen for a piece that was meant to be an actual square or circle cause it would look distorted - but for pictures of people it actually works quite well. Adds a little character and full-figuredness. :)

Monday, August 08, 2005


Normally at this time I would have just put Katie down for her afternoon nap and I'd be able to look forward to 2 - 3 hours of uninterupted relax/computer/stitching time. Unfortunately Katie has severly rebelled against her napping schedule and I don't know why. So she is playing here next to me while I attempt to write in my blog. We'll see how long of an entry I can type before she gets into something.

She obviously still needs the nap cause by late afternoon she is soo cranky. She refuses to go down at all. We had a hard time when she was a little baby getting her to take naps at all. She was a catnaper who would sleep 10 min. here or 20 min. in the car but try to put her in her crib/bassinette and she'd be screaming to be picked up. At about 4-5 months we finally had to put our foot (feet?) down and let her cry it out a bit. I hated to do it, but once she got in the routine of taking a nice nap in the afternoon life was so much better for the whole family. She was way less cranky every day and so was I! From that time until the last few days she has always gone down after lunch with maybe a token fuss but then slept for a good 2 - 3 hours. I'm not sure what changed but suddenly it is cry and scream the minute she is put down with no relief until I pick her back up. I've tried letting her cry it out again - but that doesn't seem to be working and I have to admit to going in there to calm her every so often cause I cannot bear to hear her cry. Today I'm going to wait an extra hour to try to put her down and see if that helps any. Maybe if she is sleepier she won't protest?

Bedtime at night has been hit or miss, some nights she crys and won't go down for hours (she had been on a strict 8pm bedtime, with no problems) and others she is her old self and goes down with no more than a token fuss.

I don't know what to do and the whole thing is really stressing me out. I guess I'm spoiled, but that 2 hours in the afternoon to do my own thing was really helping me deal with being full-time mommy the rest of the day. Now that I don't have it I have to admit to being a much grumpier mama both with Katie and with Alex. :(

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Yikes! I've never seen Katie so enthralled. With Alex we let him watch as much TV as he wanted when he was little. As a result we now have a very TV addicted almost 10 yr old. So with Katie we haven't been exposing her to much - we're hoping she'll have other interests first and we won't be always battling how much TV time she gets like we've ended up doing with Alex.

Today I turned on the TV while I was reading the BBs and figured if it was going to be on - might as well be something she'd like. So I turned on PBS and there was Teletubbies. Now I've done this from time to time in the past with Barney or Sesame Street or Mr. Rodgers and she'll watch for a few seconds and go back to playing and then watch a few seconds here and there but not really sitting down and watching the whole thing. Apparently La La and Dipsy are far more fascinating than any of those other shows. She was not only watching, she was laughing and dancing and swaying to the music and singing 'La La, La La'.

Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I guess I'm glad she enjoys the show and is old enough to actually participate in what they are doing on the show. BUT - have I addicted her already in the short half hour stints she's been watching TV?

On the stitching front I'm feeling kind of conflicted. I've finished all my fair projects, I'm caught up and even ahead on my RRs, and I've widdled down my rotation of 10 projects to 4 over the past 2 years. I had been telling myself I'd start a new project after the fair and after my RR stuff was all ready to go. Well, I also told my mom I would do MLI's Angel of Summer for her. She is the family member that seems to appreciate my stitching the most - so I don't like to deny her requests. She also knows it will be a few years probably before the project is done. I'm just not crazy about this project though - I think because I recently got into Just Nan and Chatelaine and would rather start one of those. *Sigh* I think that Angel of Summer will be more fun than I expect because there is a lot of pink - and I'm embarassed to admit that I'm one of those girly girls about pink. I just love it. I just need help getting into it I guess. Oh well, I don't think it'll take me too long to finish Cottage Garden Fairy, so I'll get to have a new start again when that is finished.