Friday, October 31, 2014

Back to the Race

Lots of posts from me this week! First the SAL update, then the Around the World Blog Hop, then the Halloween Exchange, and now this! I haven't been this present in the blogosphere in a while.

So here's my update on The Tortoise and the Hare:

I've started stitching the banner along the bottom. So far it just says "and the." Very exciting stuff. I also stitched the grass and the little flower on the bottom while I was at it.

That's all! Just a quick little update. Gotta make a run to the grocery store now - I'm making a big lunch for my mother- and sisters-in-law today. It'll be my special chicken and spinach casserole, rice, salad, and a side of either black-eyed peas or stuffing. And something for dessert, I suppose. Need to make a list...

Big hugs,

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Exchange

I'm a bit late with this post, but the blame is fully on the international mailing system - it took forever for my package to arrive at my partner! Anyway, she's received it now, so I can reveal all. The lovely Kim over at Wisdom with Needle and Thread organized a Halloween Exchange, and I was paired up with Jill. Here's what I sent her:

I made her a Halloween biscornu. This is a freebie I found on Pinterest, though now I can't for the life of me find the link to it. I used some 16-count fabric that the awesome Lija sent to me a while ago, hand-dyed a dark gray using logwood and aluminum mordant. I had to tinker with the design quite a bit to make it bigger, so I added the words and the border. I stitched a spiderweb on the bottom and finished it off with one black button and one white.

I also made her this little pumpkin ornament (you can find the free chart here). This was also stitched on 16-count fabric Lija sent me, this time hand-dyed beige with turmeric, basil and marigold. I finished it up with some primitive blanket stitches and some cord I made.

I added some goodies to the package: some fat eighths of autumn-y fabrics, a Nikyscreations chart, and a bottle of date syrup (like maple syrup, only made with dates!) I completely forgot to take a picture of it all together before I sent it off, though... Oh well.

And this is what Jill sent me!

She made me the cutest little felt bat ornament, a bunch of Halloween candles (just in time!), some great skull fabric (love it!), and some candy.

I had such a great time putting this exchange together. Thanks, Jill! I loved everything you sent me. And thanks to Kim, who organized this whole thing for us in the first place!

Happy xxx's,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

So today is my turn for the Around the World Blog Hop! Anne over at Doll's Musings passed the baton over to me (thanks, Anne!), and I'm going to be passing it along to a couple more people at the end of this post.

Here goes:

1. What are you working on?
I'm working on a few things right now. First is my Sunday SAL with Lija, Anne, and Kaye. We've been stitching Little House Needleworks' Little Sheep Virtues 100 stitches at a time. So far I'm still working on my first one, Hope. If you'd like to follow my progress, click here. This is the latest photo I posted:

I'm also stitching Prairie Schooler's Fables & Tales. I've completed The Three Bears already and I'm about halfway through The Tortoise and the Hare. If you'd like to follow my progress, click here. And here's a photo from my last update:

And, as always, I'm busy putting things together for a couple of exchanges. I can't show you those yet (sorry!) but pretty consistently throughout the year I've got packages lined up in various stages of readiness. I adore exchanges!

2. Why do I create what I do?
I learned how to cross-stitch in high school. Someone had given my mother, who is not a crafty person at all, some cross-stitch kits. When I asked if I could try one, she told me to go for it. After that I only stitched on and off, as I had moved to Dubai for university and had my plate full with studying.

When I got married a little over three years ago, I moved all my stuff out of my parents' house and into our apartment, including my cross-stitch supplies. And though I was busy with work in the mornings, I found I had a lot of time on my hands at home. And I'm one of those people with a lot of nervous energy. I can't sit and watch a TV show and not have something to do with my hands, so I naturally pulled out my old trusty needles and thread and started creating again.

I love cross-stitching. I love having something to do, yes, but I also enjoy the process of slowly creating something beautiful, something you can look at when you're done and say, I made that. And blogging about it adds an extra dimension: you have the actual process of cross-stitching, all the little moments of irritation and pride, and then you have the opportunity to share your process with an online community of cross-stitchers, people who will encourage you and applaud you and share with you. Honestly, what more could you want from a hobby?

3. How does my creating process work?
I choose a chart that appeals to me - sometimes I have a specific person in mind when I pick it out, sometimes I have a vision of what I want to do with it when I'm done stitching, and sometimes it just looks so cute/beautiful/challenging that I need to stitch it. Then I pick out the threads and fabric. These decisions are often influenced by how much I can afford to splurge, but I also make sure I'm comfortable with the compromises.

And then I'm off! I'd like to say I always stick to the chart, but that's not true. I tweak and adjust if I disagree with the designer, or if it just doesn't suit my needs. There've been a few cases where the biscornu chart I'm stitching only has the pattern for the top half, and so I have to come up with an idea for the bottom, usually a small variation of the top. And there have been other cases where a motif or aspect of a pattern bothers me or doesn't suit my tastes, so I'll replace it or adjust the whole pattern to cover it up. And then there are times when I don't do a single thing different!

Pass it on...
All right, now it's time for me to direct you to your next stops. I only managed to rustle up two people to participate: Ariadne (Ariadne from Greece) is a teacher too and participates in a lot of dramatic productions. She cross-stitches and also creates the loveliest things out of sea glass. Jan (Thread Garden) lives in Tasmania and also cross-stitches. She's working on a beautiful, massive Prairie Schooler design, among other things, and documents her progress on her blog and her YouTube channel. Both of these lovely ladies will be posting for the blog hop next Monday, November 3rd.

Thanks for sticking with me! As a reward, here are some pictures of Dubai:

Palm trees!
Burj al Arab
Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) made up of flowers at the Miracle Gardens
Lots of love,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hope Sheep Update 8

Whew! It's been a crazy few days. The engagement party was on Friday, and it was a huge success. Photos are still pending from the photographer. I had to take a sick leave from work on Thursday so I could help organize and run last-minute errands for everyone. I was also at the airport literally every six hours (midnight, dawn, and noon) to pick up family members coming in. Friday involved a lot of running back and forth from the venue to finish decorating and then home to get ready and then back at the venue early to greet people. It was a lot of fun, but I woke up yesterday feeling like I'd been hit by a truck!

My parents-in-law have been staying at our little one-bedroom apartment with us during this insanity, so I haven't had more than a few minutes to myself. I did manage to squeeze in some time to finish another 100 stitches on the Sheep Virtues SAL I'm doing with Lija, Kaye, and Anne.

This is what Hope looks like after 800 stitches. Nearly done with the border along the left-hand side. Riveting stuff, I know.

My few minutes are up. My husband's leaving on another business trip tonight, so I need to get some laundry going and make sure he's got everything he needs.

Big hugs,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Tortoise Joins the Hare

Engagement party update: sister-in-law has given us all lists of instructions to do before Friday. In-laws have started to fly in. I had to pick up my mother-in-law at the airport at 6 am yesterday morning, coming in from Spain. My father-in-law is coming in from Tokyo tomorrow morning, also 6 am. My grandparents-in-law are coming in tonight from Yemen. The groom's family have already flown over from London. It's turning into a crazy international affair!

Stitching update: despite the insanity shown above, I've had a lot of time on my hands. My husband's in Saudi and Qatar on business trips this week, so it's been quiet at home. Here's where I am on The Tortoise and the Hare:

As you can see, I've stitched the tortoise. I really like how he turned out - he looks like quite a happy guy, doesn't he?

That's all I've had time for! I'll try to find stitching time during the next few days, but the insanity around here may only get worse. I know someone's going to have to stay here in our apartment, but I'm not sure who yet. Anyway, wish us luck!

Happy xxx's,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hope Sheep Update 7

Hi everyone! I hope you're all doing all right. It's been a crazy whirlwind of apartment viewings and extended family pouring in for my sister-in-law's engagement party next Friday. They're going to keep coming in throughout the week, too, so I might as well become best buddies with airport security, huh?

So it's Sunday, which means it's time to report on the Sheep Virtues SAL I'm doing with Lija, Kaye, and Anne:

This is what Hope looks like after 700 stitches. I finished the border along the bottom and started the one along the left side - not very exciting, I know.

Sharp eyes will have noticed that I still haven't stitched the sheep. I'm leaving it for last, because I think I have an idea to make it special. We'll just have to wait and see!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Next Prairie Schooler

Hi everyone! How's it going? It's pretty quiet around here, but I feel like it's the calm before the storm - everything's gone back to normal now that the Eid holidays are over, but one of my sisters-in-law (my husband's the oldest child, he's got three sisters, and so she's the oldest girl) is getting engaged and the party is in a week and a half. She's been pretty good at getting everything ready - the venue, the food, the music, the decorations - but it feels like she's been simmering and she's about to boil over the closer we get to the party. Family members are going to be coming in from abroad, too. My husband's family is Yemeni/Spanish, and she's marrying a Pakistani/British boy she went to university with, so it should be an interesting mix of people!

Anyway, on to some stitching news. Since finishing The Three Bears last week, I've started another Prairie Schooler Fables & Tales. Here's my start on The Tortoise and the Hare:

All I've done so far is stitch the hare. I was worried about the red eyes at first (does it make him seem a little possessed?) but the rest of the colors go together really nicely.

Yep, that's all for now! No classes today, so I'll be cleaning the house and trying to think of engagement presents.

Big hugs,

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hope Sheep Update 6

Hey everyone! Well, life has finally gone back to normal here. Eid week is over, so my sisters-in-law have gone back to the university dorms. My husband and I are both juggling work and apartment viewings - we're really hoping to move before the end of the year. And I've been stitching!

Here's my update for the Sheep Virtues SAL I'm doing with Lija:

This is what Hope looks like after 600 stitches. I've finished the word "Hope" and started the border along the bottom.

It's really hard to believe this is a 100 stitches a week, isn't it? I have to double-check every time I put up the pictures, even though I keep track while I'm stitching. It doesn't look like much!

Happy xxx's!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Three Bears is Done!

The first of the Prairie Schooler Fables & Tales is done! I managed to squeeze in a couple of minutes here and there to stitch on The Three Bears - my sisters-in-law are still with us and I've gone back to work, so between shuttling them around to different malls and teaching my students, I haven't had much time on my hands.

All I had left to stitch was the line of leaves and flowers along the top. And I've ironed it, finally! Woohoo! I need to decide which Fable I'm going to stitch next...

Lots of love,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hope Sheep Update 5

Super quick update! It's still Eid here and my sisters-in-law are staying over at our place (4 people in a small one-bedroom - it's bedlam!), so I don't have a lot of time. I just wanted to post my update on the Sheep Virtues SAL I'm doing with Lija.

This is what my little Hope project looks like after 500 stitches. I finished the snow along the bottom and started "Hope."

That's about all the time I've got right now. Things are going to calm down in a couple of days, I hope. See you guys then!

Big hugs,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Just Right

More progress made on The Three Bears!

I've finished the banner along the bottom by stitching "Bears," and the I backstitched the word "Right" on the top. Now I've only got the flowers along the top to stitch.

My husband's away on a business trip to Bahrain, just for the day. And it's my day off work. I wish I could say I had something fun planned, but it's just cleaning, cleaning, cleaning for me! Saturday is our Eid al Adha (to celebrate the end of our pilgrimage season - literally means the day of sacrifice). Since our families are scattered around the globe at the moment, we've decided to take it easy and have a little stay-cation.

Happy xxx's!