Monday, December 30, 2013

Surprises Past and Future

First of all I'm happy to report that the little care package I sent to Kaye at Kitten Stitching has been received! Kaye's been going through some hard times recently and I thought I'd show her a little love this holiday season (I'm using her pictures because I've apparently lost the ability to take pictures of things before I send them off! Urgh).

I stitched a teeny tiny biscornu on 18-count Aida with DMC 4130 and 797. I knew Kaye collects thimbles, so I sent her one from Dubai and one from Germany. I added some small charts, a couple of needles, and floss from the Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe.

My second bit of news: a finish! I found this adorable freebie on Cross Stitch Happy.

I finished it off as a stuffed ornament, with lace and a fabric that has what looks like buttons on it.

I've got big plans for this cutie, so stay tuned!

Happy xxx's,

Friday, December 27, 2013

Exchanges with Shirlee

Shirlee (from the Easily Influenced Stitcher) and I decided a while ago to have an exchange. She really wanted something Christmas-y, but I don't celebrate so I asked for something more Americana. So we split the bill and this is what we came up with!

I made Shirlee two little pincushions out of Rosewood Manor freebie charts. I stitched them up on white 18-count Aida and attached tiny little gold beads everywhere. Then I backed them with some great festive fabrics I found:

I also included a Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe chart, some linen fabric, bobbinated DMC flosses, and a Camel Company notebook. I forgot to take a picture of it all before I sent it off, unfortunately.

In turn, Shirlee sent me:

I love it so much! It's the most amazing little primitive patriotic pincushion. And it's backed with this great Pledge of Allegiance fabric:

She also sent me this great Bent Creek Zipper kit and a pretty My Big Toe Designs needle threader. Here's a group shot:

I love it all, Shirlee, thank you so much! :D

Spoiled silly,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Trying Something New

I've taken a break from cross-stitching to pick up my knitting needles again. My mom gave me a couple of yarn balls for my birthday a little while ago, and I decided to play around with one of them and make something I've never tried before: an infinity scarf.

I used one ball of the Red Heart Boutique Midnight in Aura and cast on 20 stitches on 5 mm needles. I found a link on Pinterest here that shows you how to knit a scarf normally and then attach the ends together, which I thought would be easier than learning how to knit on circular needles.

I'm so happy with it! It's cute and warm and I love the color changes in the yarn. I might actually try this again with the other ball of yarn...

Snuggling with my knitting,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Down by the Bay is Done!

Woohoo! This whole down-with-the-flu business has certainly paid off, as I've actually managed to finish Down by the Bay a lot sooner than expected!

All I had left to do was to finish up the border, which is a much simpler version than the original charted version (see left sidebar for comparison). I just felt, since the watermelon was so gigantic, that the border didn't need to be too fussy. Anyway, that's just my style, I guess. We're all free to change our stitching to suit our personal tastes, right?

I thought this would take a lot longer to stitch up! I started it the last week of October, so it took about a month and a half (you can see my start here). It was stitched on 32 count Ivory Lugana using NPI silks, and it was a lot of fun! I bought another great La-D-Da design the same time I bought this one, so I'll probably start on it next.

So now that you see the whole piece, here's how the rhyme goes, for those who aren't familiar with it:

Down by the bay
Where the watermelon grows
Back to my home
I dare not go
For if I do
My mother would say
"Have you ever seen a whale hugging a snail?" (or another equally strange rhyming animal activity)
Down by the bay

I loved this rhyme when I was a kid! I'm so glad I stitched this up - it's so cute and quirky, and it's full of happy childhood memories.

Hope you all enjoyed this too!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cough, Cough, Cough

Good news, I'm feeling much better! I've got this racking cough that literally wakes me up in the middle of the night, but other than that I'm good: no more fever, no more chills, no more runny nose or sore throat. Thanks for all the love and well wishes and happy thoughts you sent my way!

Being sick really helps with stitching progress, I find. Here's the latest on Down by the Bay:

I've finished all the little motifs on the bottom and I've started on the border. I think I'm actually going to be able to finish this sooner than I thought!

So I have a conundrum: I'm the eldest of four sisters, and my second-eldest sister is getting married in March. As she's the first of my sisters to get married, I'm really not sure what to get her as a wedding present. Her bridal shower is in February, so I've got a little time. I don't want to get her a vase or set of plates or anything impersonal like that; she'll have plenty of other people giving her house things. Any ideas on something personal I could get her? What do you guys usually go for with family weddings?

Browsing through Etsy as we speak,

Friday, December 6, 2013

Under the Weather

Oh, man, I am really not feeling well. I've been under the weather for days. I had to call in sick to work a couple of days ago, but yesterday I felt well enough to get up and teach my classes. I thought I was finally getting better, but nope - I had a hard time going to sleep last night because of all the coughing, and today I seem to have lost my voice!

One good thing about being home sick for days is plenty of time for stitching! I made a lot of progress on Down by the Bay:

I've FINALLY finished stitching that watermelon, the word "go" underneath, and the motif in the corner. I've got a few more motifs along that bottom line, and then the border.

Hope you're all healthy and happy!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Birthday Report and Stash

Whew, what a weekend! I think we went a little overboard - I'm exhausted, I have the beginnings of a cold, and I am covered in bruises.

Our double birthday weekend started off with a massive laser tag war with a bunch of our friends (his, mine, and mutual). During said war, I proved to the world just how big a klutz I am by continuing to trip, fall, inexplicably break my equipment, and bang my knee really badly into a wall. I was limping for two days afterwards. But it really was a LOT of fun. Then we all had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which is delicious.

The next day we had dinner with my sisters-in-law at The Butcher Shop and Grill (also delicious) and then out of the blue decided to go play mini-golf. Hilarious fun, considering I scored the worst! At midnight we exchanged presents and opened everyone else's gifts too. I got so many lovely goodies, mostly clothes and books, but I wanted to show you all some goodies delivered to our house, birthday presents from my mother overseas:

Look at these beauties!  She sent me two Dimensions kits, Fredrick the Literate and the Savannah Birth Record (this may be a hint for me to get going on the baby front). She also sent some Charles Craft 14-count Aida fabric and two balls of yarn, the Red Heart Midnight Boutique in Aura and the Lion Brand Tweed Stripes in Woodlands. They're such beautiful yarns and I can't wait to knit them up!

Happy December, everybody!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Counting Down the Days

More miniscule progress on Down by the Bay this week. I know it's probably boring to watch me stitch so little, but it's really all I can manage to do!

You can see I'm sooooooo close to finishing that watermelon! I added more stitches on it and the word "not" underneath it.

It's back to being bright and sunny here. No sign at all that it was raining so hard last weekend. They say it'll start again in a couple of days, but I'll believe it when I see it!

My birthday's next week! Next Monday, December 2nd, to be exact. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my husband's birthday is the day before mine. He is almost exactly twenty four hours older than I am, which is pretty cool. And it makes the lives of our families a lot easier, since we can celebrate both our birthdays at once and they don't have to worry about presents/cakes/plans for another year. No idea yet what we'll be doing, but it's going to be a great weekend.

Lots of love,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Break in the Downpour

Made a little more progress on Down by the Bay the last few days. I'm really taking my time with this one, aren't I? Life is just so insanely busy that I've been setting small goals for myself. That way I'm not disappointed that I'm not making huge progress, and I can really savor this great piece. So, here it is!

I stitched some more on the loooooooonnnnnngggggg watermelon, and then I added the little star underneath with the words "I dare."

I actually had to wait for the sun to break through some really dark clouds to take these pictures. It's so great to be able to say that! It rained all weekend, which I loved, but it caused so much havoc all over the country. This is what happens when it only rains a couple of times a year: people have no idea how to drive in the rain! They think they can just drive the way they normally do and then wonder why the accident rates spike so high. But aside from that, I like sitting at home with an actual excuse for wearing a sweater and listening to the rain. I love that smell after it rains too.

Hope you've all got someone to snuggle with!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Mother Would Say...

I've managed to get a little more stitching done on Down by the Bay!

I put in some stitches on the (very long) watermelon, and the word "home" underneath. And here's your latest rhyme: "Have you ever seen a dog riding a hog?"

The weather finally got cooler over the weekend, and it finally rained today! I had to give myself a refresher course on how to use my windshield wipers this morning before work. I haven't used them in a year! Nothing makes me happier than waking up to the sound of rain. But this might be a case of "be careful what you wish for" - we get insane traffic whenever it rains because all the streets flood. This country was not planned out with rain in mind, that's for sure!

I hope it's nice and cozy where you all are,

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Stash Infusion

Whew... Haven't been on the blogosphere in a week! A lot's been happening here: My mother came to visit over the weekend - I've been married for two and a half years and she'd never been to visit, so this was a momentous occasion! And my mother-in-law has been in town for the last month. We had a lot of fun going around the city, eating, shopping, catching up, but it wasn't exactly a relaxing weekend. And my husband's back to working in another city this week, which is definitely stressful.

But back to the stitching front! I haven't had time to stitch, but the mailman did bring me a bunch of goodies. I broke down a while ago and went a little nuts on 1-2-3 Stitch. Here's my latest stash:

Stitching Down by the Bay has really put nursery rhymes on my mind. I love these - The Prairie Schooler's Fables & Tales, and The Cross-Eyed Cricket's The Princess and the Pea. They look so cute and should be fun to stitch!

And I got two of SamSarah's Farmer's Market series - Berry and Melon. I've been itching to stitch those 3D models, so I ordered the fabrics and threads to go along with them. So excited to make these!

That's all the damage this time. I'll have a stitching update in a few days, and hopefully I'll be able to catch up to all your blog posts too!

Happy xxx's!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

For if I Do...

Hi folks! Hope everyone's doing well and enjoying their stitchy projects. I'm personally loving Down by the Bay.

I added a section of stitching to the watermelon and the word "my" underneath. And I realized that I forgot to include a rhyme in my last update, so here's a double dose:
"Have you ever seen a whale drinking some ale?"
"Have you ever seen a cat with a bright yellow hat?"

On a personal note, I've been having trouble with this recurring rash on my right pinkie and ring finger. Every couple of months or so it comes back to drive me crazy. I've spoken to a doctor about it, and it's apparently contact dermatitis. I'm allergic to something I'm touching (which could be anything), and until I figure out what it is, it's just going to keep coming back. I've changed my soap, my hand lotion, my shower gel, my shampoo... I've even started wearing gloves to wash the dishes, which I never used to do. And I'm still getting the rash.

Itchy stitching,

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I Dare Not Go...

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a great weekend so far. I've been enjoying the peace and quiet and have managed to get my daily dose of stitching. Here's my progress on Down by the Bay:

I stitched some more on the watermelon and added the word "to" underneath. I like to go back and forth like this just so I don't get bored of filling the watermelon in. Do you guys prefer to just stick to one part until it's done?

My mother-in-law is in town for the foreseeable future, so I'll probably be spending some time with her and her daughters. What are your plans for the weekend?

Lots of love,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Back to My Home...

Last night, after I came home so tired I could barely speak a coherent sentence, I sat in my little stitching corner and picked this piece up. My husband asked me how on earth I had the energy to stitch, and I had to explain that this was my stress relief. Whenever I need to decompress, I stitch. The husbands don't seem to understand that, do they? I think they assume if we have the energy to stitch, we have the energy to make food and tidy up. Nope. Two very different things.

Here's the progress I've made on Down by the Bay (sorry, I keep forgetting to iron it!):

I got some stitching done on the watermelon and the word "back" underneath it. And I have another rhyme for you! "Have you ever seen a seal making a deal?"

Thanks for staying tuned!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Where the Watermelons Grow...

I've managed to get some more stitching done on Down by the Bay, which is a small miracle. The new job is definitely interesting, but it's taking up soooooooooo much of my time. I'm still trying to get used to that, not having as much time as I used to.

I've stitched the little diamonds in between the words and started on the watermelon. The watermelon is going to take a while, but it's so much fun to be playing around with these silks.

So here's another line for you: "Have you ever seen a bear with a polka dot chair?" I'm trying to remember all the other lines we used to sing when we were kids. Hopefully I'll be able to entertain you with more!

Happy xxx's!