Wednesday, December 22, 2010
If any of you are Charles Dickens fans you may realize that my blog post title is the same as Chapter 1 of "A Tale of Two Cities" - one of my favorite books. That's how I feel folks as I finally am starting to feel better since my shoulder surgery on Oct 29th. I had a mixed surgery - part of it was done using arthroscopic techniques but the surgeon also had to make a 2" incision to repair a big hole in my rotator cuff, remove a large bone spur in my shoulder that caused it, and do a lot of cleanup around my joint, tendons, etc. I wouldn't wish this on anyone! It's been a very painful recovery as it was my dominant arm - having to sleep partially sitting up and wearing an arm brace for 5 weeks and now I will be doing physical therapy for almost 6 months. At least I am now out of the brace, finally off of narcotic pain pills, and starting to feel like there is light at the end of this long tunnel. Whew! I took 2 weeks off of work after the surgery, then worked at home for 3 weeks and have been off work since Dec 15th until January.
It really puts things in perspective when you can't do your hair, you can't drive, you can't quilt, you can't stitch, you can't bake Christmas cookies, do much shopping or other seasonal activities. My husband really pitched in with the cooking and Christmas decorating and we had little shopping to do this year fortunately. I am so grateful that I eventually should get back full function in my arm and I have a lot more sensitivity to those who struggle with illness and disabilities every day.
So although I don't have any stitching or quilting to share, I do want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season! I have so enjoyed reading all your blog updates over the past 2 months - I haven't commented too much as typing was hard for me using only my left hand. I never was too much into stitching ornaments but next year I fully intend to get started on all the ornament patterns I've collected in past years - you've all inspired me. I found the cutest metal ornament tree with hinged branches and I plan to leave it out in my sewing room all year as I stitch. Not being like a traditional Christmas tree, I can decorate it for any holiday or season. (it's pictured in one of the photo collages below).
Thought I'd share a few photo collages. I collect Olde World Christmas ornaments which are made like the old traditional breakable ornaments. Some of our favorites are pictured here - husband and I have exchanged ornaments every year we've been married and I date them all on the bottom. Many of them have special meaning for us - places we've visited or things we like to do etc. My favorite ornament is one of a mill house - we used to visit the historic Graue Mill in Hinsdale Illinois when we were dating. Also I've added some photos of our yard - we have beautiful bushes with bright red berries - and at the same time the oranges are getting ripe. Our stockings are hung on the mantle and I've been watching my favorite Christmas movies - there's a snap of Judy Garland singing 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' from Meet Me in St Louis.
I am just starting to be able to stitch a little this week and can't wait to really get going in January! I am not going to join the challenge of starting 15 new projects as I already have so much in progress and waiting to start. I hope all of you readers have a festive holiday season whatever you celebrate and wish you good health, prosperity, and a lot of stitching productivity in the new year!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
If any of you don't want to read my rants about JoAnn's you can scroll on past this part...but that place really gets me annoyed! They are always playing coupon games....like putting things at 10% off so you can't use your 40% or 50% off coupons. They used to let you use the coupons against the regular price of things if it worked out better than the sale price but now they don't let you do that either. The lines at the JoAnn's nearest to me are always terribly long and you're lucky if you can find a sales clerk to help you with anything. I recently took this little piece to get framed. I was trying to be economical so I stretched and mounted the needlework myself then took it in with a 60% off coupon for the framing. The price was good - no complaints about that. I asked for spacers and museum-quality glass like I always do. When I got it back I noticed the bottom of my piece looked a little crooked - my fault likely as I'm still trying to get better with mounting the needlework. I thought no big deal - I'll take the paper off of the back, fix the bottom part of the needlework and then put it back together and put new paper on the back.
Stitched on 32-ct Pewter Lugana with Crescent Colours threads
and other news:
I have to take a break from stitching and quilting for a bit. Sniff sniff.....I'm a little depressed about it. I'm having orthopedic surgery tomorrow morning on my right shoulder and since I'm right-handed, I won't be able to stitch or sew for at least 6 weeks. It all depends on what they find to correct when they get in there. I have bone spurs and if there's a tear in my rotator cuff the recovery could be even longer. I don't know how I'll survive without stitching! I guess I'll do more reading and maybe I'll kit up several small things for next year and play around in my stash. I have so many projects crying for attention - I'd like to get several smaller things done next year instead of starting more big projects. I'm taking at least a week off from work and then I can work from home for several weeks until I am cleared to drive again. My job is on a computer all day so it'll be slow typing with just my left hand. I'll still be visiting blogs and making lots of plans though! I had my left shoulder done 3 years ago (same problem) so I know what to expect. It won't be fun but at least when it's all over I won't be in pain all the time.
Have a great Halloween everyone and thank you so much for stopping by. I read every single comment and I appreciate all your kind compliments on my Goode Huswife finish! (You can bet it won't be going to JoAnn's for the framing!)
Thursday, October 07, 2010
This one will go on the framing list ......I've made good progress this year on reducing that list down by 8 or 9 things but I've still got about 5 more to do. The trouble is, while you try to catch on the framing you're still completing things and adding on more! I keep hoping I'll win the lottery and can run (a) to the needlework store or nearest computer to start ordering, and (b) grab all my finishes and run to the framers!
My dear husband and I are heading to Disneyland/California Adventure for 4 days to celebrate. I can’t wait to go. We went there for my 40th birthday and that was when I discovered that I am the same age as Disneyland because of all the special decorating they had in the park promoting “40 years of adventure” for Disneyland. I felt that was an accurate statement on my turning 40! So of course we had to go again when Disneyland and I turned 50 together and we had a fantastic trip staying at the new and luxurious Grand Californian resort. Now we are going again to celebrate me turning 55 and I know we’ll have a great time. We have reservations for dinner at a restaurant at Disneyland called Steakhouse 55 - can you believe it? This is getting very strange – I’m going to buy lottery tickets this week - – since the universe seems to be aligned maybe I'll be lucky! Thank you dear readers for stopping by to visit me!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I got to meet a stitcher who lives near me in Phoenix on Saturday - she purchased some charts from me and we had fun chatting about our obsession. ( Hi Melissa- thanks so much for reading my blog and I enjoyed meeting you!)
Friday, September 10, 2010
"Injun Summer" by John McCutcheon, 1907
Every fall when I grew up in Illinois the Chicago Tribune newspaper would reprint the famous story by John McCutcheon about "Injun Summer".......... I sure do miss midwestern things at this time of year....leaves turning colors, pumpkins, crisp autumn air, cornstalks, gourds, corn mazes and best of all....Halloween! Our summer is fading here in the Southwest but we still have about a month to go before we can breathe a sign of relief that the heat is gone for this year. Mornings and evenings are cooling off and it's such a relief. I've enjoyed seeing some of your posts with your fall decorating... I need to get out those boxes from the garage and pull out some things. I can't believe all the fall and Halloween items in the stores - Michaels seems to have gone all out this year promoting Halloween. Pretty soon it's going to be as big as Christmas just without the gifts!
Goode Huswife's "With My Needle" is coming along - the skirt on the woman seemed to take forever to complete but I'm now feeling like this sampler is really shaping up. I have about 4 stitching projects that I MUST get done this year so no time to waste!
I also did a little framing job on my own this week. I'm embarrassed to tell you that I stitched this likeness of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia home 'Monticello' back about 1990! I picked up a book of patterns called "Historic Virginia" when I was visiting Virginia & Maryland. I just love colonial architecture, Williamsburg, and all that sort of thing. I don't know why I let this little piece lie unframed so long. Since I started doing a bit of my own framing this year I found that this piece fit perfectly into a regular 5" X 7" frame so I found a perfect one at JoAnn's for $8.00. Can't beat framing a piece for that!
I've decided I no longer want my stitched "Mount Vernon" the home of George Washington. If anyone wants it please email me (address in my profile). If I get more than one request I will draw a name - not sure if anyone would want this but I kind of hate to just dump it in the trash. It too will fit into a 5" X 7" frame.
I also picked up this little framed piece by Blackbird Designs I stitched a few years back. I did the stretching and just had a local shop do the frame and glass. It was hard finding a frame that looked good with this as it's stitched on an odd green color linen (R&R's Glen Ellyn?) but I think it's turned out well.
I am getting ready for a new start too (no I will not listen to the little angel on my shoulder whispering to me about all the projects already started..........). I'm joining an SAL with Heidi & Saskia next week to stitch "It's Cold Outside" by Blue Ribbon Designs. I'm so happy they have included me - I love BRD patterns and stitching these is kind of like quilting because each motif is it's own little block and so you feel good each time you get one of the blocks done. I just love the little penguins!
I thank all of you for your wonderful comments on my Pride & Prejudice sampler last time I posted...they're keeping me encouraged to keep going on this big project. Anyone wanting to know the patterns I have been using - I posted a link at the top of my blog to the pattern list. Until next time......hope you are having a great autumn!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Here's a close up look at Mr Bingley at the entrance to Netherfield and his photo from the movie.
I’ve also added some grass here and there around the Bennett sisters’ home and a front walkway you can see below. The trouble with not working from a set pattern is you keep finding more things to add – a bird here, some flowers there, more grass here, etc. I'm still tweaking little things here and there. I am getting worried about fitting in all the rest of the things I had planned for this sampler but will just see how it goes. I’ve sized some of the objects on graph paper and been playing around with the layout but unless you really sit and chart the whole thing out (way too much work!) you aren’t totally sure what is going to work.
The next portion I’m going to be working on the lower right corner where I’m placing Lizzy & Darcy as a couple. Last year I bought a cute pattern on eBay from a lady who has created several charts inspired by Jane Austen themes and I’ll be using Lizzy & Darcy from that chart. I believe this designer only sells her charts on eBay but if you like Jane Austen themes you may want to check them out. http://stores.ebay.com/West-Wind-Cross-Stitch-Designs
Also if are a fan of the A&E version of Pride & Prejudice I recommend this book on the making of the movie. It's not very expensive - got mine on Amazon - and it has a lot of great photos and details about the locations they used for the filming, the costumes, etc. This is my favorite photo of the modern-day actresses taking a break while filming - so unlike the ladies of the era! Note that one of them is doing needlepoint - yeah!
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I got in a 'bag' mood a couple weeks ago and made a whole bunch of project bags with a Mary Engelbreit theme. I love the black fabric with the cherries which I found at Joann's of all places - in fact I went and bought some very similar fabric they had that I'm going to use to make some appliance covers for my kitchen (yet another project waiting for me). I even make little matching labels on my computer - yes I'm kooky! I tried my first 'snap' bag from a pattern I bought awhile back in a quilt store. It's just a fun little bag to make and use. The top has a casing sewn into it, and in there you insert lengths cut off from a metal measuring tapes like a carpenter uses. Then you use the side tabs to pull the bag open - sort of like an old-fashioned coin purse. I had no one here when I was taking photos today to hold the bag open so I propped it open for a photo. I sent a bunch of these bags to my sister who has some Mary Engelbreit themes going in her craft room/office and I kept the rest for myself. You can never have too many bags!
I'm a little late with my monthly update on Goode Huswife's "With My Needle". Heidi and I have been doing an SAL but with no timeframes attached. We are both coming along - this is a great sampler. I'm loving it but starting to get a little dizzy going around and around all the swirls LOL.
I also started Little House Needleworks "My Needle's Work" a little while ago - it's a nice easy stitch - good for TV watching as the count is 32 on this and bigger than my other projects. I decided to give my lady a teal dress instead of drab brown.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
(Click for a better view)
' English Sampler' from Treasures in Needlework Magazine
Stitched on 34-ct Legacy Linen in "Cafe Au Lait' with Soie D'Alger silks
The other piece I picked up was 'Sampler Lady' by Little House Needleworks. For her I picked out a rustic style frame and she is now hanging in my sewing/stitching room. I still love this design and I've started on LHN's "My Needle's Work" as sort of a companion piece.
I've been stitching on all sorts of projects.....I finally felt like I had made enough progress to post another update on Quakers & Quilts. I think I've made it to the one-third milepost now. I started out doing the quilts along the bottom and they are a lot of stitching and back-stitching so I was kind of burnt out on this project and took a break from it for awhile. I'm finding the upper portion goes a lot faster thankfully!
Are any of you "Deadliest Catch" fans? I was so sad when Captain Phil Harris had his stroke in January and died in February. It's been hard watching the show the last few episodes and seeing him pass away - it's like he died all over again. He was my favorite person on the show - you could tell he was pretty much the same guy on and off the camera. I think that's why people liked him so much - he told it like it is LOL. I work for a large international corporation where there are a lot of politics and a "process" for everything! My co-workers and I always say Phil never would've lasted a week putting up with the corporate world. Now when the next piece of corporate nonsense descends on us we laugh and say "What would Phil do?" The show just won't be the same without him next season. RIP Captain Phil!
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit. I truly enjoy each and every comment!
Saturday, July 03, 2010
I don't know why this little kit has been sitting in my stash for years but I finally got it out this week and stitched. It was a little freebie from Sunflower Samplings some years back and fits into a 2" X 3" frame! Not sure what to do with it, but it's done at least.
Today I'm picking up my long-awaited framing that is finally ready at my local needlework shop. Can't wait to see it and will post pictures next week.
Wishing a wonderful 4th of July to all my US readers. Usually we can see some fireworks from our backyard so hoping it's true again this year. It's too hot here to go anywhere and sit outside for hours!