Monday, January 22, 2007


Yes, it does snow in Arizona! Here are some pictures I took this past weekend in Sedona. A few co-workers and I went up to visit a friend who moved there last year. Those of us from Phoenix don't see snow very often so we were totally excited to wake up to a beautiful snowfall on Saturday morning - huge wet flakes that covered the trees and looked just like Christmas Eve ought to. We spent a lovely weekend catching up, eating out, shopping and seeing the movie "Queen". I liked the movie - I've read a few books about the British royal family over the years. The movie certainly did not paint them in a good light as far as being in touch with the real world. I wonder what the Queen thinks of the movie??

Last week I took a knotwork class at my LNS. We could choose between 2 Christmas patterns from Teresa Layman. If you ever have a chance to see a trunk show of hers, go do it! The pictures just do not do them justice. They are like tiny hooked rugs. These finish up at 2" square! They are adorable. The designer had finished them in a couple of ways - some with Whimsi frames from Just Nan (shown in the photo here),

and some finished with a backing and cording like an ornament. It's pretty easy to do and very relaxing. No pattern that you need to watch closely, no counting, all you do is fill in the pattern with the right color of French or colonial knots. I've never like doing French knots but these are done with only one twist of thread around the needle and go quickly. These projects are very portable and inexpensive as well. The patterns can be a bit more because you get not only the instructions but a pre-printed piece of cotton with the pattern already on it. But once you have the pattern all you need is a small hoop and some cotton floss and you are set. We got to see the designer's brand-new patterns that have just come out and they were real winners as well. I had to add at least one to my wish list. :) Here is my meager progress so far.

Lastly, you might notice I've added the Chicago Bears logo to my blog after Sunday's win! DH was scaring the dogs he was shouting so much at the TV. Our Chicago Bears are on to Superbowl 41! We are former Chicagoans and couldn't be more excited about the Bears finally getting back to the big game after a long drought of 21 years. We will be flying the Bears flag at our house starting a few days before Superbowl Sunday!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Musings on the stitching obsession.......

I was catching up reading Melissa’s blog ( today and I just kept thinking “That’s me! That’s me totally!” Sometimes I wish I could back to the days when I started cross-stitching – I liked stitching but I wasn’t obsessed like I am now. I think about stitching way too much! I don’t have much time to actually do it, but I’m always buying stash, recording stash inventory, planning projects, making lists of this and lists of that, organizing UFO’s, making up rotation sheets, reorganizing my stash, making wish lists, planning wall arrangements around projects I haven’t even started yet, etc. I send my UFO/WIP list back and forth between my home and work computers so I’m sure I have the latest one at both places. Like I should worry about my UFO’s when I’m at work! But I do. Sometimes if I have a slow day I’ll check the bulletin boards from work which I really shouldn’t do but I don’t want to miss anything of course. I print out my lists and put them in a page protector with all sorts of promises to myself about what I’m going to get done and when. I kit up projects and they sit in drawers for years. I have a stack of unframed finishes and things that need finishing work like ornaments. I stack up stitching magazines with promises of “someday”. I have probably close to 200 photos on my computer that I have saved from bulletin board posts – ideas of what I want to do or a picture of someone’s beautiful finish and notes on the linen & threads they used. It is crazy! Melissa is right when she says non-needleworkers cannot comprehend our obsession. I used to be obsessed with quilting but the stitching has taken over – I still quilt but not as much. I am envious of some of the online stitchers who seem to complete an unbelievable amount of projects. I try to tell myself they don’t have full-time jobs, have live-in maids and cooks and husbands who do the all the laundry! I’m kidding but I just can’t figure out how in the world they find the time to do it all. My life seems to get busier all the time and I’m not sure why – I don’t even have any children but somehow the days get filled up. My husband complains I don’t spend enough time with him. By the time I get home from work, make dinner and clean it up, give some attention to my dogs who wait all day for us to come home, it is late in the evening. . That’s when I get a little of “me” time and I frequently end up staying up late to stitch. This is a bad habit because the next morning it is all the harder to get up at 5:15 and go to work. Then when I’m at work, I’m thinking about stitching! I think that my obsession is fed a lot by being online – I don’t have any personal friends who really stitch other than an occasional Paula Vaughan or something like that. I have learned an incredible amount from stitching bulletin boards, websites, and blogs. But the more you see, the more you want to have for yourself! I know for sure that being online has increased my stash spending tremendously. My DH has always had a personal computer since I knew him in1989, but a few years after we married he said I should have my own and got me one. I thought it was a waste of money at the time. Now I can’t imagine life without my computer – I’d be disconnected from the International Stitching Organization! I might miss out on something! So technically can I blame DH for this problem I have?? :-)

Sometimes I think maybe I’ll get tired of stitching and move on, but so far it’s going on about 6 years of the obsession stage and it’s not lessening. I’m also like Melissa in that I am not good with decorating – just don’t have “the knack”. I have a friend who loves antiques and decorating – her house is like a mini-museum – everyone loves it. She has many of her walls filled top to bottom with things and it looks great. If I tried that, I know it would end up looking like a flea market. Not to mention that DH stresses over every nail hole in the wall! I tell him “what are walls for if you can’t hang things on them?” I admit that I will hang things when he’s out of town because if I decide it’s too high or low after putting a hole in the wall, he gets all upset. If I do it while he’s gone, I can patch up any errant holes myself and no one is the wiser . Then you have the problem of not having enough framed pieces to really do what you want on the walls – I don’t have a lot of wallspace in my home as it’s a very open plan, but some of the walls that do exist are big and you just can’t place one little picture on a big wall because it looks silly. So then you wait because you have plans to have this whole group of samplers, or Quakers, or whatever it is you like, done so you can hang them all up together. I also am trying to decide what to do about glass on my pieces- I have some older ones framed with glass. My LNS is discouraging of putting glass on needlework (even with spacers) so the last 4 or 5 things I had framed there I didn’t put glass on them. Now I have a mix of glass and no-glass. I have to pick one way or another. I am leaning towards museum glass –that would mean taking some existing framed pieces in and having them add the museum glass. I want a uniform look. I live in the desert southwest where it’s very dusty and we get lots of sunlight. I’ve read everyone’s side of the glass story and there are good points on both, I just can’t decide which way to go. Plus there’s the problem of seasonal stitching pieces and how to hang those so you don’t have to put extra holes in the walls just for a month at Christmas or Easter. Another one of my plans is to have a set of seasonal finished pieces for different times of the year that I could swap out – I’d try to do similarly-sized pieces and therefore making use of the same space & nailhole on the walls.

Well as you can see by reading this, I’m full of stitching plans and thoughts, if I could just somehow get them all done! I have not even addressed my quilting issues - I have 10 years of quilting stash in my stitching/sewing room. We won’t even go there…….not to mention the 11 kits to make Gail Wilson dolls ( and a rughooking UFO. I just hope I live a long time and am healthy enough to make use of all this!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm still out here - Happy New Year everyone!

Well I cannot believe it’s been so long since I last blogged but life has been very busy. I was chasing my tail all of December between work and the holidays. I thought I would have all sorts of free time during my December vacation from work for 10 days but between hosting 2 holiday parties, getting together with relatives etc, it seemed to fly by. I had about one day really to myself to sit and stitch and relax a bit.

I thought I probably should post a couple of pictures as I have none of myself on my blog and it's nice to put a face with a name. So here's one of myself, husband Dave, and our 2 dogs Buster (the Sheltie) and Abby (who would only stay still if she was in her bed). Also I've attached a picture of my holiday table - I love setting the table a bit different each time and I did blue and some lime green this year. And of course another picture of the dogs in their Christmas collars - don't know why dog eyes so often look weird in photos but they do. Abby eye's always come out blue in photos but are really brown. She's a very funny dog we adopted last year from the animal rescue society.

The bad news is I did not get my Christmas stocking finished! I still have some backstitching to do and then the finishing work. I put it away on Dec 23rd and told myself to face reality and not be stressed about it. So I have gotten it back out now and plan to finish it up – DH says he’ll fill my stocking for Valentine’s Day instead!

So there hasn’t been much time for stitching in quite a while and work is keeping me pretty busy as well. DH and I have started a new diet plan this week. We are trying to learn to eat better as we both have poor eating habits and are overweight. The first 6 weeks have a very strict food plan and it takes time to prepare the food to bring to work the next day – no grabbing a Lean Cuisine as I run out of the house anymore. I hope it helps both of us as we really need to get on a better path for our health.

I started a new project by Brenda Keyes – “Plymouth Sampler”. Here’s the pattern and my little bit of progress so far (excuse the poor scan but it's late and there's not much to see anyway). I’m using Lakeside Vintage Meadow Rue with NPI silks instead of the DMC called for.

I have had this kitted up for about a year ever since I saw the model at my LNS and fell in love with it. Not that I needed another WIP of course but I indulged myself for the new year. It’s my first major project done on 40-ct Lakeside Linen. So far it’s a bit tough – I use my big Daylight magnifier all the time anyway but even with the magnification I find it is so small – and even though I am using a petite needle it almost seems too big when stitching with it. I wear transition bifocals and although I love the look of 40-ct I think in the future I will do most of my work on 36-ct instead. I find it easier to stitch on – hate to admit I am getting old but my eyesight is just not what it used to be. I look at things I did years ago and sigh because I never needed any magnification back then. Those were the good ole days!!

Again this year I have stitching resolutions to finish up old UFO’s, decrease my number of WIP’s and reduce stash spending. I did cut down on spending last year but not enough. I am still acquiring at about 6 times the pace of stitching things! I recently picked up Lizzie Kate’s “Love Crazy” pattern.
I really like the bright happy colors on it and it reminds me of the ‘Love’ stamp that used to be out. I won’t get it done for Valentine’s Day this year but it should be a fun and easy project.

I also picked up the last of the seasonal patterns I’ve been collecting for awhile from Rouge du Rhin. I love these hearts – one for each season but they run $20 apiece so to spread out the $80 I have been buying one every now and then.

If there's anyone still out there reading my blog, do you know what happened to Blogroll? It used to work nicely but lately it's broken. I liked knowing who had updated their blog.