Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Before-Christmas Catch-Up!

Whew! It has been a while, so I will try to keep it to the photos! Just because it is my treasure, here is the birthday card Marc made for me in its perch with some of my other favorite treasures on my coffee table. Yes, That PS Halloween small is still out. :)

And here it is with the beautifully wrapped gift it accompanied. I adore this card because he drew it, and it uses the darling caricature of me which we developed a couple of years ago. (He rendered, I "art directed": "Okay, have a rabbit making tea. Yes, but the rabbit should be like an eggplant. LIke a waterskin. Yes, okay over here...") Additionally, it induces a neat bit of recursion in the form of a Droste effect when I hold the present. :D :D :D

The darling paper, which is a gift in itself. It is a long story, but the gift inside is not a surprise, and is somewhat "owed". This makes the love and care he put into the packaging the REAL gift, and I adore it. He went above and beyond to order this wrapping paper; it is a good produced using motifs from one of my favorite comics, Ochibisan, which I spoke about here.

Inside the box? Why, it's this mug! There is also a blue version, which I also recently acquired. :) The food shown here is a green tea latte and okonomi senbei.

I was also blessed with other kind gifts. Wonderful Christina not only remembered my day, but sent me a pattern I had admired her finishes of! And, scissor charms, too! Thank you, Christina!

Meanwhile, I decided at the beginning of my birthday week that I would make the "Ultimate Gift" for myself--I would stitch The Chart: PS Fox & Grapes. (Do you have a "The Chart"?) Well, it was "ambitious", shall we say...I wonder if I will finish in the new year. It does have a lot of leaves!

Myra must have really been on the same wavelength (Not that my Fox Mania isn't somewhat legendary)

She sent me this amazing fox project bag! :o She said she got the fox fabric panel from etsy, and this mystic fox has really grown on me! It even has a rabbit! I like the co-ordinating black print she used; though multicolored the confetti dots remind me of pinhole constellations in a magical sky.

Here's a "batman snap" showing the scale and lining of this beautiful bag! About a week later I realized it even has green grapes!!!

I caught quite a cold in November (Right before Thanksgiving; the guys had to make It All!), and I feel like I am still catching up even now!

Okay, On to Christmas! (Somewhat)

I promise to get some better tree shots, but I do like the light quality in this and seeing ornaments from my friends! Don't you just love The Tree? I adore tree pics on blogs. :)

The messy desk layout of all the ornaments I have stitched since the summer--there are 12! (Well, 2 were from last year). I am surprised and glad to have reached part of my goal--more on the goal as I get closer/organized on it.

Some of these are officially for Becky SC's Ornament Challenge, and here follow closer pics of the ones I have worked on since I last blogged:

fr. Prairie Schooler Bk. 151 "Santas and Snowmen"
worked in the recommended DMC

With thanks to Myra for the loan of this OoP Chart! This was the "stitchin'-est" ornament in memory! Does anyone else "forget" that white or light stitching umn, has to be stitched when they are sizing up how much of a BAP a chart is?

fr. Prairie Schooler Bk. 117 "Prairie Stars"
worked in the recommended DMC

I've been pining for this one since I saw Edgar stitch it a year or two ago.

Here is a Mary Garry Santa ornament which I previously stitched for an exchange; I need to get a few colors I am missing to finish up santa!

Now, here is this week's WiP:

Yup, I started PSS Yuletide! I think the overdyes really make this piece, and I am glad I bought the JCS this year! This is another one which has a goodly amount of stitching, but once you figure out how to "work" the townhouses they are a fun repeating motif. :D

Also, I decided I had to have a noro scarf (as seen on Nicole's Blog).

Here is my trial run (I cast on 29 stitches instead of 30-something), and only used 2 balls of yarn. Learning the rib stitch to make this was so irritating, but I was really satisfied when I did.

Okay, friends, this is already overlong! I hope to be back soon with a shorter, stitching update type post. Just in case,

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Christmas Ornament Challenge!

I'm taking part in the 2011 followup to last year's Pumpkin Challenge, the Christmas Ornament Challenge! I thought it was a good opportunity to motivate myself to stitch an ornament I have been wanting on my tree for a few years, but never got around to stitching. More accurately, I stitched it for an exchange, but then it was LOST in the mail (Later UK Post reported it as Stolen, of all things) and I had to re-stitch. I can tell you, I stitched a different piece and I completely lost my mojo for stitching my own!

So, yesterday I started, and today I finished up the last third of the pedestal and did the long stitches--hooray!

I don't have any info on this chart; I was inspired by Anita's finish of this, and wanted to make my own (I used the same thread as her version; I only remember that it is by Threadworx. It is stitched 1/1 on a 28 ct. evenweave; I THINK the color was called Mushroom. I looked around a bit, and I see it listed about halfway down this page as a 2008-2009 free chart.

Anita is great to work with; just email her if you are interested and I bet she'll set you up!

Too bad she doesn't sell Finishing Mojo; I think I can eek some out of The Challenge, however. ;)
Speaking of setting up, I want to thank everyone who responded to let me know about that PS Chart I asked after last time! I was pleased to learn that the chart, Bk. 63 "Christmas Traditions", also contains the other PS Christmas pattern my heart so pines for--even more than the one I asked about! It contains the verse "O Christmas Tree" and is loaded with rabbits. :D

I am also happy (shocked, but happy) that Sadie was even willing to lend me her copy! :o So, thanks everybody and especially Sadie!


Considering this stuffed squash for dinner; Chef John's recipes are on the whole easy and awesome; but I am still thinking, "Oh, if only this would make itself!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"November" finished already?!

I just put the last three letters into this piece!

But, is it done? I put this one off because I was not sure about the word "nights". I don't think I like the "n", and the "g" looks like a digital display numeral"9". Also, I was pondering how to sign it. Now, I am pondering "if".

fr. Prairie Schooler Bk No. 149 "November"
Fabric: 28ct. Purely Primitive linen by Silkweavers
Fibers: Mostly cotton overdye picked by me; some recommended DMC.

Moving on, "Have You Seen Me?":

Saw this in my wanderings the other day, the stitcher said nothing more than that it was an old PS, and a favorite of the family, and that she stitched it in 1997. I only know that it is amazing, and probably OOP, and that I am perishing to know the title if nothing else! Any stitchers out there with any info? :D

Finally, because I am perishing for want of them, I share with you some Macarons from a City trip several weeks ago:

Feast your eyes upon (from foreground L snaking around to foreground R): Rhubarb (filling too wet and smooshy), Cassis (my favorite!), Early Grey (Too Strong--I know, blasphemy), Pistachio, Lemon, Mocha, Apricot, and Lemon (Marc chose 4, and I chose 4; hence the Luscious Lemon Repetition.).

Yes, these are from the same place from whence came the cast iron teapot of a recent post.

Happy Mid-Week!


Monday, October 31, 2011

A Hallowe'en Finish

Happy Halloween!

Prairie Schooler Bk. 174 "Cats, Bats, & Witches" (Selected Elements)
Fabric: 32 ct. Ivory linen by Wichelt (Walnut-ink stained by me after stitching)
Fibers: DMC as charted excepting bright orange silk overdye.

Falling Cat yowls, "Happy Yowl-o-We'eeeeen!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Merrie Hallowe'en~

It's Snowing!

These were taken about an hour ago, when it had just stared coming down.

Beginning to accrue on the roof after only 5-10 minutes!

I had Marc rush out to get these pics so that you can see our autumn color on the trees through the snow. Insane! It is still falling thick and fast an hour later. It is pretty warm, however, and I hope it melts off fast w/o stripping the trees. We are still at only 40-60% "gone" for our yearly turn-and-fall leaf show, and I don't want to endure extra weeks of barren trees this autumn! :(

I may update later with pics of the snow-blanketed landscape if there is interest.

A wonderful package arrived--a generous loan from Myra of an OOP PS that I really wanted to make an ornament (Or two!) from. She included a pretty scallop-edged fashion plate card AND best of all a fox-themed fabric bookmark which she made herself! She said it was just a little experiment, I say, "WoW!"

A (clearer) view of the other side. Myra said that she printed this design onto special fabric and then made up the bkmark!

Stacy Nash began selling walnut ink crystals, so I decided to take advantage because I have been wanting some for such a long time! Of course, I also had to get the sweetheart tree roll. something in this calls to me, though I don't know I will be making it into a roll!

This is part of the Primitive Betty's pillow I have been working on; I love the whole design, but it was working up too big on that 28 count Antique Tan! So, I grabbed an element from here and there, and added a little pumpkin! It was fun doing the ink dye, I went dark on it because it is a a Halloween piece, and small enough to not be a big risk if I botched it. I also tried dyeing some of the trim I received last time (It is pretty blue for this piece), but I think it still needs another round! :)

To keep us (me) warm in our travels, here is a pic of the tea I had at Macaron Café this week while in the city waiting for my medicine to be prepared. I was amazed when a $3 to-stay order of tea (Wedding Impérial by Mariage Frères) yielded a 2.5-3 cup cast iron pot's serving!

If it looks small, blame the barge of a cup the gave me to consume it from! Now, I really want a cast iron pot. (I want THIS cast iron pot.) lol. MF is my favorite tea house HANDS DOWN. This blend, however, is not. It is okay, but their standard French Breakfast Tea fills my desire for this type of taste better.

They were out of their divine Cassis Macarons, but I was able to make do with a Rose and Litchee. :) After the Niçoise salad I ate, it actually didn't matter (Shocking, I know!)

Well, I am off; Marc has planned a surprise for me this afternoon (Before you get jealous, let me tell you this is a First--and apology-related--but I am still so excited!) Wish me luck!

With Spooky, Snowy Wishes to you,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yesterday's Three Finishes

How did I manage this? It is almost cheating, but technically true...

Day 11
fr. Prairie Schooler Bk. 127 "Santa's 12 Days of Christmas 9-12"
Fabric: 36 or 40 ct. Days Gone By
Fibers: Recommended DMC

Shown with Scissors for scale, here is M.F.H. Santa in all his gear on the field. The fox seems to be popping up; "You called?" or maybe "You Mad, Bro?" I did change the white to B5200 to make it show up better on the linen. I DID rip and replace the the red after reflecting on Vonna's advice particularly. It seems that life's trick is knowing what "moving on" in life means in each situation. I will say that I thought the previous red was prettier on the linen; too bad I don't know what color number it really was.

I am beyond thrilled by this Autumnal Hunt themed Ornament. But...I couldn't figure out what the fox was doing. Their paws are actually white, so I though he was pointing. Is he telling the chasers to run the opposite direction from what the Huntsman is calling? That's awfully goofy for PS. After comparing the cover image, the graph, and mulling it over, suddenly I knew! That appendage is his brush! Oh.

I like the idea of fox hunting, though I only know reports of it as given by Rita Mae Brown. She portrays it as a noble game which the fox naturally always wins, as he is so sly. Recognized American clubs never kill the fox.

fr. Prairie Schooler Bk. 159 "Fall Fields"
Fabric: 28 ct. Wichelt Antique Tan (?)
Fibers: Recommended DMC

Have you seen this before from me? Well, I added in the ring around his eye, finally, so that now he doesn't look like some sort of soul-less carcass! :)

A Visit
fr. Prairie Schooler Bk. 48 "A Christmas Visit"
Fabric: 28 ct. Wichelt Antique Tan (?)
Fibers: Recommended DMC

Though I am quite vocally sour about The disease of Early Christmas brought on by our American Marketing Machine, this one had me singing Jolly Old St. Nicholas all week. Though I only know the first two sections, I somehow love this old song; perhaps one of the reasons is because aforementioned Machine hasn't worn it out for me. I can't recall the last time I heard this one; can you?

The colors seem quite different from the model picture, particularly the chimney/window. This publication is from 1994 (eep) and I think perhaps the dye lots are that different now. I decided to just go as charted, however, because I fell in love with the version seen on Mary Katherine's blog. If possible, I'd like to find some green gingham ribbon just like this to finish this piece! :D

This roof-haunting santa wound up with a bit of a smirk. :]

I started this goody from Primitive Betty on big, big 28 count wichelt...and I don't like how huge it is. But...It looks so good in the picture that it makes me want to finish it rather than moving on as I had planned. Hurmn. I think this will be a good candidate for the walnut crystals I have on order from Stacy Nash. :) Maybe I will stick with the plan to make it a smaller pin pillow...but will I re-stitch the whole design after that? This calls for over-two stitching on 35 count, which I find tortuous! Even some tight 32 counts I hate to stitch over two. What do you think about the 35 or 36 count 2/2 practice?

Speaking of my love for this pic, I almost love photos of stitching more than the real piece. (Does anyone else concur?)
Here are some Stitchy Still-Lifes; I just love this stuff when I see it in blogland!

Three Culprits

I love the floss toss for Santa's Days! Why is only poor languishing JB in focus? I found the fill text I want to use for her, now I need to decide what image editing software I want to use for charting now that I have moved to my new computer. Any suggestions. I had macstitch and it was an abomination.


Previously, I wrote that I was struggling to "Get My Autumn On", but I have been making strides:

Do you remember "My Tree"? It is one of the first in the neighborhood to turn its leaves and loose them, so I was happy to catch this photo recently.

I made Oxtail Stew twice last week! Chef John is my modern american cooking source. I made this with a friend using his pressure cooker (50 min meat and etc., + 5 for the veg), and subbed thyme for the rosemary. We made it again adding Guinness and some mustard powder, and while both were good I would prefer Chef John's italian style with a pint for drinking!

Oh, also! I did not add any potatoes but instead did roast veg (cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes) in the oven and served it in the same bowl. This is an amazingly delicious, incredibly healthy collagen-rich (woo-hoo; youthful skin!) way to eat red meat. A small amount of meat is incredibly satisfying. I really want a pressure cooker now!

I love presents; especially giving and wrapping them! So, here is Edgar's Birthday Card.

And some of the two spliced together with a few already-wrapped packages in the background!


Thanks everyone, for your visits and comments! I am behind on reading last week's, so please excuse me while I catch up.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Stash, Startitis, and Sweet Mail!

I have these:

This would be complete; but the top large snowflake at right is one stitch too high. I can't decide to change it because stitching on this 18 count aida with two threads was beyond punishment (Not a fan of the ol' Stab-and-Yank!) I picked up a piece of 35 count black linen that Nicole was clearing out, so now I am actually thinking of stitching another from this leaflet, Santa's Night.

Homespun Elegance's House on Pumpkin Hill, from their A Halloween Year series. The spider and tiny cat need legs. And I need to learn how to do colonial knots for the tree. Wonder how they compare to french knots (which I am fine with.)

I even have this one; which I was supposed to Reveal to You All Finished this time on the blog. It lacks only the cat's body at Top Right. :/

These are only a few. November Nights (remember that PS?) is just as close. Jenny Bean Christmas needs only her words charted and snow and berries stitched. And the signature area added (okay, more to do on this one).


So, I started these:

Not sure I like the linen/thread combo I chose for this one.

Day 11 from Santa's 12 Days of Christmas. This is the second of the charts I chose from Kathy A's gift; an important one for me as I love (and want ALL the PS Foxes! :o)

Stitched 1/2 on 36 count Days Gone By, this is an easy one due to to thread laying (non-existent) but a bit of a plodder due to small-size finish making the progress less appreciable. Also, I have run into a problem with Huntsman Santa's coat. It is supposed to be DMC 815. The last skein at the shop had the number tube shoved back on, and only one of the adjacent colors was in stock. I bought it anyway, and thought it looked dark at home. I went through my DMC stash to look for it, and did not find it, but DID find 814 and 816. I decided I thought the one I purchased fit in between them. So I went ahead with it. Yes, it looked too deep in comparison to the cover photo, BUT PS covers are generally washed out/yellowed up (as a former film processor, I call it the Kodak Effect!), so I wrote it off. But, when it was time to lay in the 902 browny pants, UHoh! They are pretty indistinguishable from The Coat.

Should I: Frog, Find, and Change the coat? Frog the pants and choose a more brown color? I would obviously take the second choice, BUT the fox is supposed to Match Santa's coat, and I don't think want to make him this pseudo 815. Also, I think I want to stitch 1-3 more of this series. How much will it bother me if they are different in their Brightest Christmas Red. Since this is a Prairie Schooler Fox(!!!) Piece, I don't want to see only error and disappointment when I spy it on my tree.

Ah, DMC; the low-hanging fruit of my childhood is now more rare than hens' teeth! The Michaels I went to for it (atrocious parking; never go there but in desperation) had less than half my list. Six facings of Blanc--ALL EMPTY. So, I inquired about the back room. Was told it was all out. "But Really?? No White?!?!?" "Okay, I'll (pretend to) check for you." Even my ONS has to be cajoled into selling me DMC. "Yes, I have it, but you should buy it from Michael's. Mine is 6X cents per skein. You really don't want to buy mine." Umn, yes. I do. That's why I asked for it. And I don't care if I have to spend an extra $2.47. Cost/Benefit reveals it as a bargain: Gas, fighting nightmare parking, never-my-complete-list-in-stock/Definitely Getting What I need. My kingdom for a skein of 815! (And 437, one of those 5200 whites... Oh, and there is the supplies for my new stash...)

Thanks, friends, for listening to my DMC rant. I should also say that my ONS does totally send it to me, when pressed.

Isn't this floss toss pretty, though? And I think this is a new record in away waste knots for me.

The Stash:

I am forever coveting "Hallows Eve" finishes, so I figured it was time. Mary Katherine's beautiful "A visit from St. Nicholas" still tempts me all these months after I first saw it. At first, I did not like this New PS Halloween, but when I saw it again on Kathy A's blog, I thought, "Okay, I do need this" I can envision some nice smalls made from it. :D I also bought a skein of GAST's new Otter Creek. It is lighter than I expected.

Perhaps best of all is this giveaway I won from Marjorie! She offered a Halloween Goodie to anyone who could guess the title and designer of her new Halloween Start! Of course, I knew right away that it was Primitive Needle's Ouja Board. :D I think of that piece as a sister piece to Kindred spirits. Thanks, Marjorie--the BBD pin pillow and finishing goodies will be enjoyed!

Thanks for visiting and all your kind comments,

P.S. Any other Downton Abbey Season 2 watchers out there? We are following it with avid interest over here.