Friday, February 25, 2011

Can it be that Spring is coming?

Previously, On Jenny Bean:

And, after Saturday:

Yowza, WAY more than I thought even though it's been so long since I posted! :o

As I close in on the verse I'm pondering what it should be. I decided to change the verse almost before I began stitching; I get that it's Shakespeare, but somehow it smacks of starvation and poverty to me. :/ How Festive.(Love's Labor's Lost isn't numbered among his work's that I've read, so I likely don't *get* it, but...)

I looked into other Christmas quote-ables, but most of the ones I liked were too snarky to be sampler-suitable.

In lieu of inspiration, I considered enumerating the ingredients of a tin of tea I had, as they appeared in French. French is *so needlework*. Names of fruits and spices--it could work!!!

But, this week It struck me that I could just use the lorem ipsum! This seems like a fabulous idea to ME, but that might just be my graphic design roots and lack of sleep talking. lol! Hey, I can even argue that the source text (which was by Cicero, and argued that no healthy person enjoys "pain itself" for its own sake) offers a counterpoint to my interpretation of the original text! :D

But, no-matter-what, the "gingerbread" stays. Because I love ginger and spiced sweets, and the word looks awesome in the font used. :D And it'll all be fine, because the lorem ipsum is gibberish, to begin with! yay!

I've been all about clearing-out and cleaning up lately: I shuffled and un-displayed some things in the bedroom with the result that I was able to eliminate a useless piece of furniture in the bedroom--seems like we have LOADS more space now.

Then, Marc and I celebrated the 6th Anniversary of our First Meeting (on the 20th) by adding this white ikea bookshelf to the living room. Hey, assembling cheap particle board-overlaid with laminate does it for some people, lol! :D :D :D

I am so thrilled to have the PS3 OFF of the should-be-clear shelf beneath the TV!! And, the wires for it (it takes 4! Yes, Four! Can now be stashed behind as intended. I still need risers for the DVDS there, but am thrilled. :)

I don't have a "before" pic, but it was a tall, thin shelf full of those same DVDs, and this Tower of Plastic Power in that corner before.

You probably already knew this, but these plastic drawer bins are hideous: squeaky-creaky, and I'm CONVINCED that no matter what you put in them they'll look horrible--like a pile of JUNK that stays suspended by some mysterious power in compacted cubes instead of falling to the ground in a heap. I don't think there's anything you could put in these drawers which is so pretty it won't look like clutter! The Must-be-accessible wires and accessories I'll put underneath the PS3 in some pretty fabric bins (yeah, gotta make those), and the others are destined for decluttering or the closet! Seriously, don't fall prey to buying these Expensive plastic drawers!

Okay, some spring Needlework stuffs:

Started this biscornu from The Floss Box which I've wanted to do/had kitted up since Myra showed hers last year. I changed the vine and flower colors so far. (Not that it matters to let you know with this picture quality. It's been a Storm-n-sunshine day, but the storm has returned like it means it now!)

It's stitched on some white-running-one-way, pastel-green-the-other (warp or weft, not sure which is which). The other fabrics I'm trying to show are all seersuckers I piced up for myself during the supply run to the city I made for the rumored Original Freebie. One is a natural/neutral tones and the other two pastel (no, really!). I do love a good seersucker. Or a bad one. I think the only other in my heart is a nice eyelet lace. These, and the finishing fabric for Original Freebie came from B and J Fabrics in the city. I first heard of them when my trim store gave me their card, and boy am I glad I did! :o Their site isn't much, but the store is amazing! The backing for my freebie is pretty "normal" considering it came from a store that offers "chain mail", but it's woven not printed and "works" with the design. :)

A scattering of books from my nightstand... accompany my Test Results.

Some of you may remember me rambling and fretting from about the summer on over a language exam which I took at the end of last year. After taking it, I said that I'd done HIDEOUSLY. I predicted I'd have to raise my score to even fail!

This week, the scores arrived, and while yes I did fail, it's HOW that counted with me.

The exam is divided into 2 sections: "Listening" and "Everything Else". Now, you must score 80/180 or higher cumulative to pass, and since I didn't make that (I scored a "60") I failed.

But, there are also minimum requirements for both sections. "E E" required a 38, which I scored EXACTLY, and "Listening" 19 pts--here, I scored a whopping 22! :D SO, I'm feeling (absurdly?) happy that I "passed" the minimums for both sections, even though I failed overall. It seems that the score requirements allow for a weakness in a section as long as it's balanced by strength in the other.

I'm really quite pleased; maybe I'll even try again next time! :D


I'll leave you today with a sneak peek of the previously mentioned "Spider's Web" Trim which will be used in the Freebie kit:

I haven't dyed it yet, but it's going to be fab, I hope! I'd wanted to offer a peek of the stitching, but the light did not cooperate! :D

Happy Weekend, All!


Friday, February 11, 2011

A-Stitching We Will Go!~

This week, I "partied" from my stitching basket. :)

from the November Prairie Schooler Booklet, Before:


Running into some issues with the color changes I made; I feel like working on a PS these days, so rather than fret over choosing more overdyes from within the limits of my stash, I'm going to mix in the recommended DMC. The gourd is 2/3 DMC, and it looks fine so I think it won't be any problem.

I do hear other PS designs calling to me, though. :D I wish I could pick (preferably from stash1) a linen for my "signature" PS design, Fox & Grapes. This is seriously my favorite one ever, as I am fox-crazy, but I have SO many ideas for sizes/finishes/fibers whirling in my head that I never get down to it. I wonder if I could stitch it more than once. It DOES have a beastly quantity of vine, after all.

JB Christmas Before:


Whew! This week's shots are decidedly un-blogworthy

I'm not putting in the Holly Berries or the Snow yet, and I'm hoping I don't regret it. I'm not a huge fan of stitching little bitsy single exes scattered across the field.


Freebie Update:

The stitching is finally complete, and I think it looks great (hoping you will too!) but I've run into a snag.

This chart will be offered as a freebie with no specific material recommendations to make it accessible for everyone, but I liked my picks SO much, and had access to some extra of the rather unique linen I used that I began plotting to offer some kits in case any readers were really besotted with the model.

*Non-Stitchy Whining-Ahead alert; skip if desired :)*

Really, it started with some awesome "spiderweb" trim I bought in the City, and planned to hand-dye and put on a little pillow. Then this design grew out of that. So, what's the snag? A corporation who decided we could live for 5 weeks on 75% of one week's pay, that's what! :P (Marc's changing his employment status from a paid-weekly freelancer to that of a Salaried Company Man paid every 2 weeks. So, due to their pay-cycle this means that we can expect 1 week's worth of pay 3 weeks after the last time we were paid...then another 2 weeks before we are paid again--but for a full 2 weeks at that time. This is the week we were *supposed* to receive the 1-week check-- but it, again, wasn't in today's post.)

*end Whine-Fest*

So, It means (among other things, of course) that I just do not have the "venture capital" for a yard or two of backing fabric plus the extra linen for the kits right now. But I'm not giving up! Instead I'm trusting that if it's meant to be the the trim and linen will remain available until I can procure them :D If the gridlock continues for too long, I will re-think offering the kits at all and just blog the design, but I really think some of you will want them because they combination is beautiful, easy (yup, it's possible to affect the "ease" with fiber choice on 32 ct! :D) and Fun! And that's not something I say about "filling-in" previously! Also, I'd hoped to debut with a complete-package type design. :D I've also been having fun calculating ways to make it less expensive so that it would be easier to pick it up! :D I do love a good deal on stitching.

So, I really want to thank my loyal and kind readers and friends for your patience and continued interest in my sight-unseen project. I am so touched by your interest. Also, I have heard (and been excessively flattered) some requests for a ~sneak peek~!

I do want to show one, though I'd hoped to have the finishing done first, and I've been waiting for some good light on these Winter Days for photographing.

Well, Please continue to look for Good Things soon from me, and

With my Best to You,

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Update!

I'm pretty strapped for titles here today--and not only blogging but also stitching mojo, as well! But, I'm glad I'm posting here today because I do have a few things to share. On with the blog! :D

I don't know about you guys, but Winter can really take it out of me. These past few years I seem really prone to seasonal insomnia--I still sleep 7-8 hours, but sleeping between midnight and 4-5 A.M.? Not on your life! I did pretty well today, sleeping at about 3 AM and waking up at 8:30, so I'm going to push for turning this anomaly into a trend! :D

Marc needs to get his professional portfolio sorted, but has built it up into a mountain of a task in his mind, so I convinced him to just spend an hour on it a night for the next few weeks rather than living in dread of the time when He'll "have" to spend 3 days on it without sleeping. :)

And, I figured I'd better join him and do some things I technically like to do or want done, but have convinced myself I don't want to actually do right now. (And it's always "Right Now" so if you won't ever do a thing Now, well, then you'll do it Never. Doesn't that sound like Alice in Wonderland somehow?)

Some of those tasks are Finishing, and so Ta-Dah:

My JBW French Apple from Christmas: Ironed, Padded, laced, and framed!

Fiber: DMC 310
Fabric: 32 ct. Vintage Antique Ivory Linen

Wearing a simple off-the-rack frame from Ikea.

Whew, what a lot of lacing! I thought I'd pad it with a layer of batting to give it a nice look and get it off the acid-y board...and then realized it looked a little gray, so I laced on a white cotton layer--is it muslin? Then, finally, my ironed piece.

It's quite thick, so I think I'll need to get some tiny felt-dot sticky "feet" to prop this off the wall a bit. Otherwise the piece will so itself! I'm still pondering about sealing the back somehow as I want to hang this in the kitchen near my workstation.

Also, I worked on JB Christmas Sampler. It felt like I made no progress, but...

Jenny Bean Before:

JB After(!):

Wow! I definitely did more than I thought--these before and after photos are a real shot in the arm. :D

The linen colour here is pretty accurate, at least on my monitor.

The Bonus Round:

• I have not forgotten the things I'm promised to send for my "decluttering" winners. no progress on that, but I'm still planning to!

• I recently made the Christmas Rum Cake Edgar Recommended last fall--if you're longing for those fun Christmas times when the cold seemed cheery and enjoyable rather than stiflingly snowy, I totally recommend you make it! I made it using ginger liqueur (ginger is very warming, lol!) because that's what I had, and I also grated some ginger into the glaze mix before cooking it. Considering that the liqueur is also made with ginseng, it's practically health food, lol! This was a big hit with friends (I made it to take to dinner at their place), and I want to make it again both with regular dark rum and with my alteration. It's so easy, even for "Not-A-Cook"s. If you can make a box cake, you can make this! Hit the first link for the recipe!

• In the final-final stretch of stitching my Freebie--then to the City to buy some finishing fabric, then finish, and then publish! Easy, right? (okay maybe not!) But, it is still coming for those of you who recall its existence. :)

I'm going to have some extra supplies left over from making the model and am thinking of selling a few kits if anyone winds up wanting to make one exactly like it. I tried to make it as simple and universal colorwise as I could, so there will not be any recommended fibers for the design itself. I wonder if anyone will want to stitch it at all--I do wonder a bit if I'm getting ahead of myself thinking that someone will not only want to make it, but with the same fibers and linen as my example--I can only hope!

Pining for a slice of an Already-Devoured Cake,