Monday, July 31, 2006

Silkwood Manor

I finally started this one! It is on forget-me-not blue 28ct Joblean, and so far I really like how it is coming out. I bought the silks for the satin roses so that I could get the crinkly look for them, but the rest I'm doing in DMC. Although I did substitute a Silk Mori shade for the lettering at the top and probably will use the same color for the lettering on the bottom. :) This is my progress for the weekend, I would have gotten more done except that I also did the outlining of my layout for the Just Nan RR that is coming up in October, so that is ready. I think I will do the stitching for that next so that it is ready to go. Next weekend, I'll have to do the same for the Sweethear Tree RR. :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Fair!

Yesterday was the judging for the Wisconsin State Fair. :) Always a wonderful, relaxing, me day, and this year was no exception. The weather was beautiful, but not too hot, which was important because they don't run the A/C in the expo center on judging day (for some dumb reason!).

The only thing that was a little annoying was that they made an announcement at the start of the day saying there would be no lunch break this year - the judges would stagger their lunches in order to keep going and get done with all the categories as soon as possible. So I left at about 11:15 to go eat lunch at the McDonalds across the street from the fair grounds. I rushed the whole time because even though I was confident they were going to do all the categories I entered at the end of the day, I like seeing all the other stuff people enter in the Home Furnishings categories that are judged in the same area earlier in the day. I got back just as they were beginning the cross stitch "original design" categories. I'm so glad I rushed, cause I really wanted to see that category. Then at 12:30p, they broke for lunch just like they have every other year. So there was no need for me to leave and miss anything. That was really annoying - but I don't think I missed any of my favorites, so whatever.

Oh, and another rant - the woman who won the 35sq. in. or smaller category in "original design" did not really complete an original design! The design was Lanarte's Day Butterfly Fairy. She did it OVER ONE on MUSLIN! Very impressive and tiny - but not an original design. She could have easily won the blue ribbon in the 50 sq. in. or less from a pattern category - and that is where it should have been entered. I suspect she entered it where she did because the original design categories usually have far fewer entries - but as I said it was very good and she very likely would have won the pattern category. The judge explained that the state fair allows you to enter in the original design category if you change at least 3 design elements in the piece. Because she changed the size so dramatically and changed a color or two and added some blending filament, technially she was within the rules to enter it in that category. I just don't agree with that - but whatever. The local EGA chapter awards a best of show every year chosen from all the first place winners in the needlework categories and she would have been a contender for that - but I suspect several of the judging members were sour on her entering it in the original design category and picked something else without really considering her piece. Had it been entered in the pattern category, there wouldn't have been ruffled feathers about it and they might have given it more consideration.

So how did I do? The best I've done so far, and I'm so tickled! Emma's Garden took 3rd place in the 50sq. in. or less category. First place went to someone who did an exquisite job on Indigo Rose's "Catherine Agnes". There were a lot more specialty stitches and they were all done to perfection - so it was a clear winner for the category. 2nd place was a well executed bouquet of flowers that used a few metalic threads in the pot the flowers were sitting in. In my mind it wasn't anything special and I liked mine better and thought it was more difficult - but what do I know! I was very pleased to come in 3rd anyway! :)

Some of you will remember that I completed a box top using a portion of Just Nan's Common Ground awhile back. I entered this in the "counted cross stitch, anything other than a framed picture category" and took 2nd place. 1st went to the same woman who stitched "Catherine Agnes" and hers was also a boxtop, but I didn't catch the design - it was a sampler type, might have been another Indigo Rose.

AND Drumroll please!!!! Chatelaine's Sampler Mystery II took 1st place in the 150sq. in. or greater category. I have never won the large category before and only placed one other year (3rd), so I was just thrilled. 2nd place went to someone who did Lavender & Lace's Angel of Mercy without the child. I was too excited and happy to remember who won 3rd and 4th. :)
I was beat out of the EGA Best of Show by the winner of the Counted Canvas category. I don't know the name of her design but it was all creams and whites with lots of different stitching techniques and was quite beautiful.

I just love going to the judging each year. The judge tries to comment on as many pieces entered as time allows and she always has good constructive criticism as well as nice praise when warrented. I've learned a lot by going and it gives me a chance to meet others in the area that stitch and see what they are working on and what they like. Of course I get to do that on the internet with all of you too - but it is even more fun to do it in person - albeit for only one day a year. :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Disney Trip

My latest obsession has been planning for a Disney trip for the family to take place spring or summer 2007. We still have a bit of debt to repay from when I was a SAHM - but the plan is to completely repay that before we book the trip, and provided nothing unforseen comes up that shouldn't be a problem.

So far we've decided to take a 7-day land/sea vacation which will consist of 4 days on land visiting the parks at WDW and then get on a short 3-day cruise to Nassau and Castaway Cay. We are so excited! This is going to be the biggest/best vacation we have ever taken, and likely will ever take. We are splurging, but trying to be economical where we can - so if you have any tips about where to eat or how to save a bit on the little stuff that seems to add up on vacations - please share! :) Also DH has trouble with anxiety in stressful situations, so any tips on convenience about Disney in particular or vacations in general are also welcome. Of course I've already consulted the stitching community's WDW expert, Erin - and she was very helpful!

The package we are purchasing includes the cruise, the hotel during the land portion, and our tickets to the four major theme parks, so you'd think there would be little else to plan. You would be sooo wrong! The devil is in the details and we are still trying to decide when to go, whether to fly or drive, whether to rent a car, etc.

When to go is the biggest sticking point right now since we cannot officially book the trip until we decide that part. Of course rates are higher when the kids are out of school, so although I'd rather not take Alex out of school for a vacation - we probably will because the price difference is huge and with the crowds being a bit smaller and the weather a bit cooler that will help DH cope better. On the other hand, if we wait until summer, Katie will have turned 3 and will be old enough to participate in a lot of activities on the ship she cannot participate in while she is under 3. That will have the added benefit of allowing DH and I to do things on our own while she (and Alex) are busy with the kids activities. We wouldn't ship her off to the "kids club" for the entire trip anyway - but it would be nice to have an hour or two of alone time 2 or 3 times during the trip. :) Decisions, decisions!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It Just Ain't Gonna Happen

That's the conclusion I've come to on getting "Waiting for Ships" done in time for the fair. I spent all of my stitching time the last two days working on this and only accomplished the bodice and the flesh above her bikini. I just wasn't enjoying her anymore either - too much of one color I think. I will finish her for next year and will enjoy stitching her much more if I don't have to do it all in one large chunck.

Sooo after making that decision I spent the rest of the afternoon happily stitching on my scissor fob for an exhange. I can't show any pics til the recipient gets it in several weeks, but I'm really liking how it is turning out so far. :) Once I finish that I'm going to try to get a few days in on Alhambra Garden and by that time I'll probably have gotten the next Foldable Book RR in the mail and I'll stitch on that. Gosh that sounds so much more appealing than WFS right now!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mirabilia RR finished

I finished my last section for the Mirablia RR. This is obviously part of the Summer Maiden from Maidens of the Seasons. :)

Now I'm going to attempt to finish "Waiting for Ships" for the fair judging on 7/25. I'm probably totally dumb for even trying, but I'm going to stitch only on this in the hopes that it will be done in time to enter it. Anyone have any blazing needle vibes to send my way??

Friday, July 07, 2006

For Terri

Terri wanted a close-up of just the lace - if you click on this picture it'll bring up a full-size, more detailed version. :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Emma's Garden

Here she is .. Finally! That last bit seemed to take forever. She is on Twilght Blue Linen from Wichelet and I changed the blues in the dress to yellow shades. Otherwise she is as charted - well I wouldn't guarentee the lace is exactly as charted - but as best as I could tell it is as charted. ;)

She just needs a wash and press and then framing. I will enter her in the fair this year and then she will be a gift for my niece's 1st birthday in Sept. :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Getting ready for another HD. :)

I have to just say I'm so tickled to have so many comments on my last post. I didn't think 12 people ever read this blog, so that is really nice to have so many people comment on my SM2.

I'm almost done with Emma's Garden now. I got in some good power stitching over the weekend, so a happy dance is looming in my near future. I was a bit intimidated about the lace on the bottom, which I'm about half way through and is all I have left. I think it is turning out pretty good though. :) I had intended to just stitch in the flowers on the right and then leave the lace for the next time I work on her - but with the fair coming up soon I wanted to be sure to have her done in time, so I'm plowing through.

Look for another happy dance in the next few days. Then it will be onto the last installment for the Mira RR!