Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn Private Exchange 2010

How overdue this post feels! I must say I blame how much busier I've gotten lately (Was not at all busy before, and am only slightly busy now, but consider the percentage of increase!) Good "time management" is something I only have when working vigilantly to maintain.

Thanks, everyone, for weighing in with votes and evaluations of the Santa & Friends PS charts I asked about on the last post--BeckySC kindly double-checked her copy: They are indeed foxes! :D :D :D Be sure that I placed an order with Anita the very next day. Of course, I ordered a couple of other charts, too so that Santa (and his friends) won't get lonely in that envelope!

Did I say this post was over-due? "Recent" Stash acquisition from the aforementioned Anita:

Frederika by CHS (she's been on order since before retirement and I'm so glad she came in, uniting The Freds at last in my collection), Homespun Elegance's 2010 Snowman Ornament: "Snowmen 'A Gathering" (I am not a snowman fan, but as I consider this a "companion ornament to "Santa Arrives Tonight" how could I pass it up! Love those colours!), Hallow's Eve by Stacy Nash (Been wanting this one since I first saw it at Valie's--love at first sight!), and finally the Loose Feather that has the final section of the Mystery Sampler.

Now, the point of the post: I was blessed to be invited to participate in an Autumn Private Exchange early in the Summer, and I am just so thrilled by the outcome of the whole thing--beyond words, so, let's let the pictures suffice!

I'll start by showing mine, which I made and sent to Faye, because once you see what I received, you'll have eyes only for it--but as a teaser Edgar made it.

I had such fun gathering the materials for this: charmeuse silk ribbon (oh, I do love taupe!), BoaF Barn Owl 40 ct., WDW Straw 30 ct., stripe ticking, MoP buttons, Acorn Charm...

"Joyful Autumn"
Designer: Homespun Elegance
Fibers: WDW: Red Rocks, Terra Cotta, Indian Summer; CC: Almost Auburn; DMC for finishing.

I wanted to make something "Red and Quaker-y", yet very Autumnal because I read in Faye's blog that those 2 things are favorites of hers. I must say, I like them, too!

The back is a motif, I think, from an Ackworth sampler. I added in the year and Faye's initials. :) I really liked this color combination and may use it again if I ever get around to stitching a larger quaker. :) More (though not better) photos can be seen on my album, and the ones Faye took and put on her blog are just super--I am so pleased that she liked it enough to include it on her tree! As you all know, Faye is such a talented and high-profile blogger--I was rather nervous preparing this exchange. I really enjoyed getting to know her via her blog backlog, and counted this exchange a complete success. I was also beyond flattered when the designer of the piece asked me if she could include it in a blog post--OF COURSE! So, I successfully made my first hanging pillow (all those seams/different count linen were wrestled into cooperation with only one or two noticeably "prim" spots on the finishing), Faye liked it (best part), and even the designer and exchange moderator went out of their way to compliment me. How could it get any better? Well...

A couple of days later, a mysterious box was mixed in with the anticipated vitamin shipments on my doorstep. Plucking it from the pile, I mused, "Ah; that's right, the Exchange for me is still out." A glance to the return direction in the corner--"You're Kidding!!!", I cried aloud. Perching there was Edgar's name! Now, you may recall that I was lucky enough to have him stitch for me in the Valentine's Exchange earlier this year, as well. Lightning DOES strike twice, stitchers!

From "November" by Prairie Schooler
Fibers: Recommended DMC
Fabric: Mystery 32 ct. Linen
Stitched and finished as painted fabric-lined box by Edgar

Is it not perfect? I carried it around with me for several days and talked myself out of sleeping with it beside me on the pillow with great difficulty. :P

Pictures do not do it justice--I never thought I'd be lucky enough to receive one of Edgar's Incomparable Boxes! I've no idea how he managed to part with it.

My favorite part: It has a Red Fox!

Edgar knows that I've been fox-crazy for quite a while, he loaned me a copy of his Fox Forest by Workbasket (which is mere stitches--plus finishing--away from completion and showing off. I really want to find the perfect basket to use with it), and I also got the "idea" of stitching PS's "Fox & Grapes", which is my favorite of the PS Fox designs (and that's saying something!), from him.

Dear Marc also REALLY likes this one; he's mentioned points about it on several occasions and even brought it up himself out of the blue--he said it's "beautiful". His favorite part is the stark, twiggy branches of the trees with their last leaves clinging.

There was, perhaps, a slight issue, however...this design has Canadian Geese. Three of them, to be precise. Marc was born and raised in Canada (the child of parents recently immigrated from the Philippines), and he famously (half jokingly) loathes The Canada Goose. Something about them being the playground scourge of his youth--where they go destruction (and defecation) follow in their wake. I suspect it's also a bit of homesickness; If the best of Canada isn't to be had here in the States (Coffee Crisp bars by Nestlé) why is the worst?

So, when I saw the geese, I wondered if it would put him off the whole thing. "Surely he can't be so unreasonable...." I dubiously assured myself.

He did love it, though, and (true to form) commented with several sure-to-become humorous Marc-isms of family lore.

"*aggressive breathing from throat* What are they doing here!?! Interlopers!!! They are in my house!!!"

"That Giant Owl should just eat them!!" (Previously the programmer in him had been musing on how the too-large owl wouldn't fit inside the house, so this plan showed a shift in sympathies--an alliance with the Oversized Owl.)

Generally, it was a 10 minute performance of his usual trash-talk for them; his usual epithets and geese-centric threats. My favorite has something to do with "kicking them in the bitch-head", and is a well-established Marc-ism with roots in a particular roadside altercation with a few of their species. Something about their aggressive posturing makes Marc want to respond by running right up and punting them in the head with the flat of his foot. Perhaps it's the way their heads sit upon their necks like golf balls upon an oversized tee. Anyway, with apologies for the language, one does not just kick them, no--the proper way to "bring the pain to" or "open and can on" a goose is by kicking him in the "bitch head". It's worthy of noting that neither pregnant female dogs nor human ladies of any state of being have "bitch heads"; only Canadian Geese do. :D

The interior is lined and slightly plush. The novelty print is just perfect!

Spoiled with goodies, to boot: Hallowe'en pop rocks, Great Pumpkin Hot Chocolate, candy corn ribbon, fallen leaves novelty shank buttons, and "B" stationery set comprised of stickers, magnet, and notecards.

Thank you, Edgar, for absolutely making my season! :D I will treasure this beautiful work you made always.

Stop in and enter Edgar's 3rd Annual Birthday Hobbit Drawing! I know he included a piece of his stitching in this super event last year, so if you win you might even get to own your own piece of his work!

So, for now I'm finishing up a secret project and that PS Santa, too, preparing to mail out a trade/loan, contemplating whether or not "When Witches Go Riding" is done, considering the making of a present, awaiting a stash order from Anita--that's just stitching!

I'm also contemplating the change in season, fretting about the state I've let the house descend to while sick, and perhaps most "important" of all preparing to take an exam the first week in December. It's a foreign language exam, and I have wanted to attempt it for many's been reformatted and so no one is entirely certain how to study for it anymore. Between that and my perfectionism I must be careful not to disappoint myself by letting the opportunity to "really try" slip away from me. I have a regrettably entrenched MO of waiting for the "perfect time" to "do it perfectly" before I get anything done. Or, I expend the time fretting about trying to make the planets align perfectly before doing the thing instead of actually doing it.

My wisest teacher always used to advise that we must "Plan your work and work your plan." So, now I'm just trying to "forgive" myself, relax, and get on with doing that piece by piece.

I hope all is well with you this fall, and that you've exciting (and slightly challenging) stitches and events waiting to take you through to the end of this year.
I do hope to step up my blog reading a bit, though I might be a somewhat absent until after the exam is held.

Happy Almost-Autumn, Stitchers!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday's Desk

Good Afternoon, Friends! My desk is rather clear today (and even my computer one!) so I decided to toss my WiPs on for you to see.

Already There (from L to R): Stack of Fabric w/Ribbon (AKA Being-Finished Autumn Exchange), Fibers from Santa Arrives Tonight (but I'm using one to finish the aforementioned...), and a long print-out of the candidates for the When Witches Personalization.

This was going to be 2010's "Us Ornament", but Dear Marc has indicated a tangible hostility for "Santa's Mu-mu(sp?)". I tried telling him it's "European Santa", but he is unmoved. SO...already considering what I'll stitch to "replace" it. This one will get an regular no-dedication-to-marc sort of finish, lol!

A close-up; feels like I'm "ALMOST DONE"...but I've still got the over-one initial. And all that fill in. And what about the moon. ;)

So! Again I beg help from blogland--A question for you Prairie Schoolers out there: I've been eyeing PS Book 110: Santa And Friends, which has four Snowy-Woods Nighttime scene Santa ornaments. What ARE the animals in the ornament in the top/North position? Is there a Fox???

The East features geese and cardinals, elk and more cardinals to the South, Rabbits and, umn, squirrels at west, But the North? The animal on the sleigh; the one running alongside...they could both be young deer...or...could one be a fox??? I have googled and googled, but just can not find a picture to clear up the mystery. Thanks so much to anyone who can help--I am fox-crazy, so this might be the one (if it really has a fox...)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Arrives!

I'm an Autumn Baby (November 12th), which may explain why I start to feel like all's right with the world when this, the first of the "BER" months, rolls in.

Or, maybe it's because I was raised in sweltering Tulsa, Oklahoma by my dear Gramma who spent the best years of her youth in Bath, Maine. She may not have gotten back there, but the "Bers" were the closest she got. All summer she'd be counting down the days until September. "If I can just make it to September, Heaven can Wait!" Of course, that was also a bit of a farce as September is often so hot in OK that it makes you wonder if it's actually hotter than August was. You start to question yourself; searching back though a hazy memory (possible symptom of a season-long case of heat stroke?) of the month before. This bit of info might solve the mystery: She was born on September 17th.

So, the purpose of this blog:
To thank everyone who responded with offers, info, and sightings for my chart quest!
I am thrilled to announce that I've arranged a combination of borrow and buy that should make this project possible!
You, stitchers, are just the best around! I can't believe I got so many replies, help, and well-wishes about my "little problem".

And because a blog isn't a blog without pics, here are some I've been hoarding up:

I tried making (read: became obsessed with) a Treacle Pudding with Custard after eating at Tea & Sympathy. Boy, was that a hunt for Lyle's Golden Syrup! It was okay, but "overbaked". Custard covers (smothers) a multitude of sins.

I visited Savannah, Ga February 2009, and here's my choice at the Back in the Day Bakery. A buttercream cupcake and ENORMOUS curried chicken salad sammich. This induced the most major food coma/subsequent crash I've Ever experienced. Paula Deen put it on her show; you should put it on your Bucket List. Yes, that's a tall glass of milk lurking there; ah there were days I ate not only cupcakes, but milk, too!

From my bundtpan discovery days; the main feature here is the Mariage Frères tea I was also discovering. Oh, Tea! The best tea ever. EVER. The salt and pressurized butane, while pictured, did not make it into the cake.

From The Limelight in NYC; which was once a church, then a flamboyant gay bar/club, and now a "unique shopping experience" guarded by a very cheerful and friendly doorman in white gloves. If you're running low on that Olive oil scented with Meyer Lemon, it's only $48/bottle here! ;)

That bread or what-have-you wrapped in paper looks holy enough to grant absolutions!

This is my cell wallpaper.

Let's talk about how much I love this font. And wooden signs with inlaid gilt lettering. Or not--that's a Pandora's box.

I did take a photo of those cups (at the store before purchasing) after all; the one on the site was smallish, so here ya go.

These are from Gencarelli's Italian Bakery right here in Bloomfield, which holds the Essex county voted-favorite spot for several years now. I weep for those almonds--they are that beautiful. It's the sort of crying an atheist does watching the children sing at Christmas Midnight Mass.

Well, folks, I've got more, but let's call it a night. I hope you'll drop by next time to see the Not Food section of My Miscellaneous 2009 Roundup.

Thanks to you all, my good friends, for your friendship and support, and especially to Edgar and Carol, whose BBD Mystery samplers I posted here last time with neither permission nor Credit! Friends, I am sorry; I let my haste to just get up my nerve and ask for a loan let me forget to add the links!

I'm working with trepidation on the finishing of my Autumn Private Exchange--it's for a very talented, prominent, and well-liked stitcher--boy am I nervous! What if she doesn't like it? What if it's not "Grand" enough? (Pretty much anything I can make is paling next to the chest of goodies Patty just sent. And Christina, too, for that matter. :/) I know I like it so far, at least...

Until Next Time,