Kids presented me with belated birthday gifts tonight in the form of two CD's. The Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack and the Haunted Mansion's Haunted Hits (which includes one of my favorite songs... "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo).
Additionally I've had a few stash additions this week from my Secret Stitcher. She sent a wonderful zipper mesh bag with the last edition of Stitcher's World, some lovely ivory Murano and floss for 2 of the SW designs - Dragon Knots and a Celtic Knot piece. She roped in a co-conspirator for the remaining threads which arrived today. Her surprises weren't done though...two Anagram charts from European Cross Stitch arrived as well! The Four Seasons Sampler (which is simply amazing....) and Crystals designs. I can't say thank you enough!!
And now for another Friday Five from the archive (borrowed from WhizGidget as the archive site is actually in bandwidth-recovery mode):
1. What is your favorite restaurant and why?
Favorite uber-fancy restaurant - Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I've only eaten there once, but it was a memorable meal (and I didn't even eat steak)!
Favorite "family" restaurant - Macaroni Grill. I can't get enough of their Ensalata Blu and Pasta Milano. I order the same thing every time we eat there (which is about once per month...)
2. What fast food restaurant are you partial to?
It would be easier to answer what fast food restaurant I'm *not* partial to (Carl's Jr out here...LOL).
McDonald's fries are the best, but for burgers I'll head to In-and-Out (thankfully in Arizona now) or Wendy's in a moment of desparation. Nachos? Taco Bell, of course! (I grew up in the midwest....for the first 12 years of life, Taco Bell was the only "mexican" food I knew).
3. What are your standards and rules for tipping?
I don't recall ever *not* leaving a tip. I *have* gotten up and left a time or two due to horrendous waits (even when there was *no one* else waiting....I kid you not!). But I have yet to experience service so bad without acknowledgement by the management. I've had my share of free desserts and discounted bills, but after working in a restaurant (as a cashier, not as a server) I can't bear not to leave at least 10%. If I do leave a minimum, I also leave a note as to why.
For good service, 15% easy - usually closer to 20%. If I'm dining alone and the service is good, I'll bump it up to 25%.
4. Do you usually order an appetizer or dessert?
DH and I have a goal to try every version of onion ring/blossom found at local restaurants. We rarely order dessert.
5. What do you usually order to drink at a restaurant?
If they serve Coke, that's what I order. If the answer is "Is Pepsi OK?" The answer is "No, I'll have tea." or "No, I'll have water with lime, please." They rarely get the lime right, usually bringing the more common lemon! ;)
In October of 2000, I spotted a design on ebay that simply sang to me. I had only recently begun stitching again, having visited a local shop in August and starting JustNan's Hummingbead Heaven for my Granny for Christmas. Considering I *started* stitching because I wanted a Granny Christmas present, it was nice to have the same goal revitalize my interest.
The design was Stroke of Midnight by Teresa Wentzler. I paid all of $8 for the full kit ($11 with shipping) and when it arrived in the mail I was simply fascinated by the intricacy of the design. I didn't make the connection with the Fantasy Sampler and The Castle leaflets already stowed away in my meager stash (one small Rubbermaid container) until I did some online searching and found her website TW Designworks. It was like Christmas when the catalogs start arriving in the mail! My "want-to-do" list immediately increased exponentially and I was back on ebay searching out the charts.
I also visited the TWBB for the first time. I was experienced with online chat (having met my husband in an AOL chatroom..LOL) but had not participated in a message board. What an amazing community! I don't remember if my first post was that day or if I lurked for a bit, but I know by the end of the year I was well over 500 posts and Stretch was my work project.
I remember quite well the move to the "new" board on the ezboard network and as I'd found Cross Stitch Corner along the same time as the TWBB, I already had my login created and was ready to rebuild that post count. A few months later I became the moderator of the Tea Scene forum (which I promptly started) and when Egyptian Sampler came out, I immediately started working on it. At this point being a "one-at-a-time" stitcher had long fallen by the wayside!
After about 18 months on the BB, I finally made my first visit to CATS (Dallas) and met my first BB'ers. Then came Riverside that same year and I was well and truly hooked. I've managed at least two CATS shows for the last 2 years and have 2 scheduled for this year as well (Santa Clara and Hershey).
In 2003 I had a simple goal: meet Teresa. I missed her at the Riverside show by one year and she only attended the Hershey CATS show in 2002 (Dallas & Riverside for me). Hershey CATS was the most likely place and plans began in late 2002 for Mom and I to make the trip.
I was incredibly nervous, I must admit, to meet Teresa! As luck would have it, I ran into Fiona (another BB'er high on my "gotta meet" list) first who then proceeded to literally *drag* me to the Fantasy Crafts booth! I have a couple pictures from that moment and I must say that my nerves definitely show...I'm smiling *way* too big! LOL
I had a secret to keep after leaving Hershey, but luckily only for a few days when Teresa announced that Kay and I were the new admins. I feel incredibly lucky to have found the BB and to have earned the trust of both Teresa and the membership to be readily accepted as an admin. Life is good for me on the TWBB!
....now if ezboard would just bring it back up!!!!
1. Which do you prefer, Kits or Charts?
Freedom to substitute materials and if I run out of something I don't have to worry about matching dye lots or even colors.
3. How do you organise your materials before you stitch
Depends on the piece. If it's very small, I just gather all my bobbined floss in a small recloseable bag and toss everything into a big recloseable plastic bag (Ziploc-type). Medium-sized pieces I use a small bobbin box for floss and such and then toss it all into a zipper or recloseable bag. For some of my larger WIPs I dabbled in flossaway bags and they are all organized into either a plastic shoe box or photo box. Some of the older, larger WIPs have their own full-size floss box and a fabric project bag (Granny-made).
4. Do you do anything to the sides of your fabric before starting?
I usually zigzag the edges. On small pieces I'll leave them "au natural" ;)
5. What do you do with the leftovers when your done?
Kit leftovers - cotton floss is usually pitched out. Really I only save specialty floss - and then only if there's a decent amount leftover or I don't have any already in my stash.
Finished late Saturday night! Here's Dimples Designs Thyridia for Nicole's Wee Beasties RR:
1. List your five favorite beverages.
IBC Root Beer
2. List your five favorite websites.
The TWBB, of course
Ezboard for all the rest of my many BB's
Atlanta Braves Baseball
Zone at MSN.com Zuma! Mozaki Blocks!
3. List your five favorite snack foods.
Popcorn (with butter, garlic salt and parmesan)
KC Masterpiece Lays Potato Chips
Sunchips (original only!)
Banana with *crunchy* peanut butter
..any variety of chocolate...LOL
4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
Pinochle (card game)
5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
Pandora's Box (the best computer game *ever*)
Populous (old Electronic Arts game system version - computer version isn't as fun)
Black & White
This goes into effect once three criteria have been met -
1 - Finish Wee Beasties RR (down to 2 colors and b/s)
2 - Finish Ornament RR piece
3 - Finish "Two Hearts Unite" for May 1 wedding (won't finish the design by then - but soon after!)
Goal #1 - Reduce overall number of WIPs to below 30
Given the number of small pieces with less than 20 hours to finish, this won't be too difficult. Here are the candidates for the "Finishing Frenzy" or as Angela dubbed it: May Management Month (though with the amount of stitching time I'm getting, it'll take a good chunk of June as well).
JustNan's Witch Way (15-20 hours to finish)
March VS Needleroll (less than 10 hours)
Snowman Bag (less than 10 hours)
Textile Heritage Bookmark (less than 10 hours)
Apple Cloisonne Ornament (30 hours max)
Chatelaine Mini Mandala #3 (30 hours max)
TW's Castles by the Sea (30-40 hours)
Chatelaine Mini Mystery E (considering that by this time the final installment would *probably* be released - it's due out June 1)
At this point I'll be down to 29 (providing no new starts - always a risk!) Also I'll have another round of RRs to complete.
Once I'm at a more reasonable "less than 30" it'll be time to start pulling the bigger pieces back in - probably a 5 "slot" rotation schema. Whether I switch by hours or weeks will depend on how much stitching time I'm getting. I anticipate an increase once school ends (June 29th!!!) but you just never know.....
I'll define what lives in each slot when we get a bit closer - for now it's Finish! Finish! Finish!
Those were the days! (Progress pics for most of the pieces can be seen here: Annette's Acre)
Without further ado....here's my list:
Pannini's Picture Gallery**
TW's Magical Night
TW's Dragon Ride
TW's Celestial Dragon
TW's Noah's Ark
TW's Fortunate Traveler
TW's Stroke of Midnight
TW's English Garden Welcome
TW's Under the Evergreen **
TW's Castles by the Sea
TW's Apple Cloisonné ornament
Ok, I knew I had a *ton* of TW's started, but didn't realize how many others!
Mirabilia's Lady of the Flag
Mirabilia's Autumn Queen
Mirabilia's Christmas Elegance
Victoria Sampler Butterfly Lace
Dimples' Le Epoch Nouveau
Dracolair's Midnight Hunting
Dutch Treat's Santa's Midnight Ride
Silver Lining's Peace
Silver Lining's Edith Wolford
Conrad's Medieval Majesty
Chatelaine's Mini Mandala #3
Chatelaine's Mini Mystery E
Chatelaine's Misty Morning Vineyard (Mystery IV)
Chatelaine's Mystery VI
Chatelaine's Christmas Mystery
Chatelaine's Quilt Mystery
Textile Heritage Garden Bookmark
Just Nan's Witch Way
Wee Beasties RR - into next year
Ornament RR - thru this year
In the drawer at work:
VS March Needleroll
Mill Hill Bead & Button kit - Honeybees
Stitchworks Snowman Bag
**Candidates for "WIP Cleansing Day" on May 1st. The Pannini is just too darned big - maybe when I retire. The fabric is so stiff and awkward that I can't hardly stand more than an hour or two at a time. Under the Evergreen is simply not my style. Not sure if I have enough done to put it up for "adoption." What do you think: Under the Evergreen Pic?
That will still leave me 37 and not including the wedding piece that must be done (after the two RR's are finished for this month) and the wonderful birthday stash received. Of course the fact that my stitching time has been greatly reduced for the last 3 months has taken its toll and I'm not sure I'll see any great improvement for another 10 weeks - when I finally finish school and can "reclaim" my Tuesday nights and weekend mornings (traditionally homework time).
Tomorrow - the final chapter in the "State of the Stitching"
**edited as I forgot one! Witch Way is about half complete - I wonder what else is lurking in my stash that my brain hasn't keyed on yet!
Last night I finally finished "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini. I have to say I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to based on several friends' enthusiastic recommendations. It was good, but it was very easy to put down (thus why it took weeks to read a 500 page book - I can usually do that in 5 days or less) and I have no desire to read the next book.
This isn't to say it isn't good fantasy. It's a fantastic beginning for Mr. Paolini (he started at age 15) and I'm sure his writing style and plot development will mature the more he writes. I've simply read too many other wonderful books lately for this to make the top 10.
Next up is an old friend - Evil Under the Sun with Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie). This was a birthday gift from a dear friend and one of my favorite Christie stories. I still have Glen Cooks' Garrett Files going (I'm between the second and third book there) and Weis/Hickman's Dragons of a Lost Sun (received the next two in this trilogy recently, so now I can finish the first one).
First, a birthday stash report:
In additon to the Convent Herb Garden kit and Michael Powell Tuscan Gardens III kit ordered/received for my birthday, a couple surprises found their way into the mail box. Nostalgic Needle's Pinball arrived and a chart and kit from Paw Printings: Blueberry Basket Sampler and Blackwork Beginnings: Acorns kit (chart is on its way). Additionally the appropriate "Stitcher at Work" lapel pin - someone knows me well - was in that box! Another day brought Bleu de Chine's Mer with fabric that I've had my eye on for awhile.
A huge thank you to those that sent these amazing birthday surprises!
Next, a WIP update:
Not much to report. I'm down to the last 4 colors of stitching for the Wee Beasties RR. After that only the backstitching (including bug name and my name) remains. It's going to be lovely when finished, but I will be OH SO GLAD to have it done! This bug has taken *way* longer than anticipated!
Next will be finishing off my ornament for the inaugural Ornament RR starting on May 3rd.
I'll save future plans for the "State of the Stitching*" post to be covered later this week.
Rotation BB Doings
A couple recent developments on the Rotation BB will be impacting my stitching plans in the near future. Thought I'd share them here to see if we can snare some new folks.
First Annual WIP Cleansing Day - May 1
Junette's the instigator on this one! She discovered that there was a design in her rotation that she really didn't like working on - bad instructions, kit contents and just general "blahs" for this WIP. So she pitched it. In fact, she danced on it (and we had pictures!) and tossed it in the bin, never to be worked again! Several members were so inspired by Junette's stellar example that we've declared May 1st as "WIP Cleansing Day" and plan to pitch the most un-loved piece in the WIP box. I actually have 2 candidates - and you'll have to wait to see what they are....
Heather's StRIP Club
A new side of Heather (hankj99) came out this week with the founding of the StRIP Club - "Stash Reduction Implementation Plan." Club motto: "After all, the point of StRIPping now is to allow for more S.E.X. in the future."
Essentially, the goal is to have fewer WIPs January 2005 than one has today. I can buy into this one!
The first step in the process is a full and complete WIP listing...that's going to be tomorrow's entry! It's taken a few days to recover the shock....
*"State of the Stitching" is admittedly stolen from Ann. All credit for the phrase goes to her!
1. Do you like to use specialty stitches when you stitch?
For the most part, yes. They have to enhance the design, though, not just be there for their own sake!
2. Can you do a perfect french knot?
Yup :) I was taught young! I'm one of the few that *like* french knots.
3. What is your favourite stitch?
Any of the "Rhodes" shapes - heart, butterfly, etc.
4. Are you currently working on any projects with specialty stitches and if so which ones?
Various Chatelaines, Victoria Sampler's Butterfly Lace, a few TW's - lots of specialty stitches!
5. Name a specialty stitch you would most love to learn how to do.
Buillion knots. The couple attempts I've made have been less-than-presentable. I'm hoping to get some tips at Santa Clara CATS from Martha Schmidt. I'm taking her "Second Sampler of Unpublished Insertion Stitches" class there.
Next posts will be some recent happenings on the Rotation Stitchers' BB, a full and complete WIP list (I was shocked!) and some thoughts on where I go from here....
Are you Addicted to the Internet?
The Are you Addicted to the Internet? Quiz at Quiz Me!
So here's what I chose for today:
Jan 23, 2004
At this moment, what is your favorite...
True Companion by Marc Cohn (I'm feeling romantic today and this reminds me of my Dear Husband)
Cold Stone Creamery's Cake Batter Ice Cream with chocolate chips and macadamias mixed in
3. ...tv show?
Monster Garage on Discovery
Lilacs (and thanks to my Mom, I have some at work for my birthday)
"A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized." - Fred Allen
Notable events on this day:
1828 - first edition of Webster's "American Dictionary of English Language" published
1865 - Abraham Lincoln mortally wounded (note: he didn't die until 4/15)
1902 - JC Penney opened his first store in Wyoming
1912 - The Titanic hit the iceberg (note: it didn't sink until 4/15)
Today's *other* birthdays:
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Happy Birthday to me!
1. What is your favourite theme to stitch (i.e. primitive, fantasy, samplers, etc)
Fantasy - though color seems to be the biggest draw. I like good color composition.
2. Has this always been your favourite theme (i.e as your tastes change)?
Pretty much. That's always what drew me in, though in recent months my tastes have grown more eclectic and even a few samplers have wormed their way into my stitching.
3. How many WIPs/UFOS do you have currently in this theme?
11, though if you count the Chatelaine Gardens (what garden grows in a square? That's fantasy, right?) 15
4. And how many finished?
3 large and uncounted small pieces
5. Name three favourite designs in your overall favourite theme.
TW's The Fortunate Traveler
TW's The Stroke of Midnight
Mirabilia's Autumn Queen
1. What do you do for a living?
My official title is Senior IS Project Analyst. However, this is a holdover from my original job here at APS. I transferred out of that department almost 2 years ago and into a brand new position...which has yet to be officially created. In the meantime I get to pick my own title - officially: Data Warehouse Administrator. Unofficially: Warehouse Goddess
Essentially I support the two primary applications associated with our five data warehouse projects. The tool to get the data from the source systems to the warehouse (Sagent) and the tool for the end users to get the data out of the warehouse and into a usable and useful format (MicroStrategy).
2. What do you like most about your job?
I make other peoples' jobs easier using technology.
3. What do you like least about your job?
Explaining that while each project team thinks *their* project should be my highest priority, the fact is that they all have to share the common environment - me included!
4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____...
...I've found a significant bug in one of the applications. I then spend time trying to minimize the affects on the users while poking the vendor for a fix.
5. What other career(s) are you interested in?
I've recently been approached about learning some SQL database administration functions which sounds interesting (and will be *great* for the résumé). I love working with data, so any associated career is within my area of interest - database modeling, data analysis, etc.
Now if I could start from scratch again - I'd go into engineering or architecture :)
I've officially ordered Convent Herbal Garden and Alhambra Garden along with beads for Taj Mahal. I also went for a Michael Powell kit (Tuscan Gardens III) rather than the VS. I'll probably wait on those for a bit.
Book-wise I've ordered Dragons of a Lost Star and Dragons of a Vanished Moon, Seeing a Large Cat (Elizabeth Peters - forgot I didn't have that one yet) and Fortress Draconis.
I'm also getting the usual jitters about the upcoming birthday. 39 is a milestone I'm not sure I'm ready to reach. I remember taking stock at 35 and cataloguing the items that were "missing" (degree, stable job [I was contracting] and a level of comfort with my life). This time I have the degree (12 weeks from my MBA, actually), have had my current job for over two years (a record for me) and I'm definitely content in most areas of my life. Adore my husband, my kids are doing well in school and aren't *too* much trouble at home, and while my "hobby life" is chaotic right now (too much "obligation" stitching!), I should have it under control soon.
What's not quite there is the self-confidence right now. Too much going on that my usual anchors feel loose. Dear online friend is having a rough patch. I hope I'm providing enough support and bolstering her confidence. Connections with other online friends have been slack and I apologize....I've retreated some lately and I sincerely hope I can get past that soon. Just have patience with me, it's just my normal "confidence cycle" hitting a low point....
I'm hoping I can leave these periods of doubt behind as I get ready for my last year as a "thirtysomething"!
1. When did you first start stitching?
My mother did crewel embroidery when I was growing up. I remember stitching a small piece (crewel) for my Granny when I was 12 (a golf bag - she and Grandad were big golfers after they retired in 1977).
I started cross-stitching in 1987 when I was once again on the hunt for a gift for my Granny!
2. How long have you been stitching?
Cross Stitching - 17 years in August
Any kind of needlework (crochet, crewel, etc) - maybe 30 years? I remember Granny teaching me to crochet quite young.
3. Did someone teach you or did you teach yourself?
Self taught all the way! Including hardanger and drawn thread work.
4. Describe your first project (if you can remember!).
My first cross stitch project was a carousel horse design. I was looking for a Christmas present for my Granny (in August, I was planning ahead) and knew that a handmade gift would be the most appreciated. I found a local needlework shop in San Diego and stopped in after work one day to see what I could find. The chart had about 30 colors (no blends), very few fractionals and just a small amount of b/s. I couldn't have chosen a better first project! Bought the fabric (16-ct ivory aida), the chart and all the floss for under $30. I did finish it for Christmas that year and it still hangs in my Granny's house :) You can see a picture here: Douglas Designs Carousel Fantasy
5. When did you first realise that stitching was for you?
When I returned to that same LNS and bought TW's Fantasy Sampler and The Castle! It started a hobby that I continue to enjoy more and more each year....
Chatelaine's Alhambra Garden (full kit)
Chatelaine's Taj Mahal (beads only, I have the rest)
Chatelaine Mini Mystery F (chart and kit)
Chatelaine Convent Herb Garden (full kit)
Victoria Sampler Heirloom Family Sampler (chart and acc pack)
Victoria Sampler Seaside Garden Sampler (chart and acc pack)
Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman - Dragons of a Lost Star (#2 in a series started recently)
Weis/Hickman - Dragons of a Vanished Moon (#3 in the series)
Janet Evanovich - Ten Big Ones (preorder for new Stephanie Plum)
Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody's Egypt
Peters - The Ape Who Guards the Balance & The Falcon at the Portal (Amelia Peabody Mysteries)
Simon Hawke - Much Ado About Murder
Michael A Stackpole - Fortress Draconis
What a whirlwind two weeks! I spend a wonderful week in Washington, DC for work. Well, the work part wasn't wonderful, but the time spent with friends certainly made the trip a hit! I must express my sincere gratitude to Jenni & Sue who took time out of their busy schedules several times that week to fetch me from the airport and allow me to spend an evening stitching with them during my trip. Also to the DC BB'ers who joined me for a delicious dinner: Jenni, Carol, Katie, Debbie, Nicole and Tom! I love getting to put faces to online friends....
During the trip I did manage to finish a replacement Round Robin square for Jenny (in MA). Strength was completed and shipped out during the trip (thus no picture as I didn't take my camera!). I spent some time on the third Chatelaine Quilt Square and TW's Myrtle Beach piece as well. No stitching on the plane, though, no elbow room and some decent movies being shown in each direction (School of Rock on the eastbound flight and Something's Gotta Give on westbound).
I also started and finished The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown) during the trip. Wow! What a wonderful book! I couldn't put it down and snuck it into class one day (we were covering parts of the application I'd been working on for almost 2 years - a little surreptitious reading in the back of the class wasn't noticed by many ;)). Like many before me, I'm on the hunt for a good picture of DaVinci's Last Supper to test a few things mentioned! LOL
Once back home I started on the first installment of the Wee Beasties RR I'm participating in and chose to stitch Thyridia for Nicole. About halfway thru and I'll make the April 26 mailing date with ease! After that I'll need to get going on a wedding sampler for a coworker (wedding is May 1). I've chosen Enchanting Lair's Two Hearts Unite but with a color change to deep blue to match the wedding colors. It'll probably be a bit late due to framing time, but I'm sure the couple won't mind.
Otherwise this has been a hectic week both work and home! Daughter Kylie is now 14 and we've got multiple birthday celebrations planned thru the weekend. She's added to her own book stash (well, I've added to her book stash...lol) receiving the first three Anne MacCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern books and Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman's first three Dragonlance books. That should hold her partway thru the summer when I'm sure I'll have to pick up the next books in each series! She certainly takes after her mother in her voracious reading habit!
That's it for now - enjoy the day!