I've Moved!

Come check out my new blog home:

Annette's Acre

Please update your links!!!


Show your Scissors!

On the TWBB there was a call to Show your Scissors by a certain member [Terry]:

Here they are:

1 - Multicolor storks with a homemade fob
2 - Ginghers with a fob made by my buddy Erin
3 - More multicolor storks and purchased fob (bought in Santa Clara at CATS - IIRC, Suz made me do it!)
4 - Hardanger scissors - with a curved tip and homemade fob
5 - Brushed Dovos with another Erin fob
6 - My good Ginghers - fabric cutting ONLY!
7 - My blue steel Dovos
8 - Ladybug Dovos
9 - Multicolor Fish (Nashville CATS purchase)
10 - Purple Victorians - one of my first pair!

Not shown: My first pair - a simple silver embroidery pair :)

My next pair? One of Jo's (Dinky Dyes): See here

Also, I finished off another obligation piece this weekend and it has already been delivered:

For those keeping score, that makes two obligation finishes this month....YES!

Stitching: Sweetheart Tree - By the Sea Fob
Reading: Slay it with Flowers
Listening to (iPod): Tuesday Club Murders by Agatha Christie


Plan B

Way back in January, I sorted through all my WIPs and was bound and determined to get to them all sometime this year.

Even made a schedule.


Well, here's the *revised* schedule for the remainder of the year. I have managed to pick up 4 so far (Dragon Ride, Autumn Queen, Emerald Mermaid and Fortunate Traveler) but if I have hope of getting thru the rest, I've got to keep track!

May (planned):
Fortunate Traveler - TW Done for May!
Quilt Mystery - Chatelaine

June (planned):
Neptune/Poseidon - Lynne Nicoletti
Noah's Ark - TW

July (planned):
Heirloom Christmas Sampler - Victoria Sampler
Christmas Elegance - Mirabilia

August (planned):
Stroke of Midnight - TW
Sampler of Unpublished Insertion Stitches - Martha Schmidt

September (planned):
L'Epoch Nouveau - Dimple Designs
English Garden Welcome - TW

October (planned):
Shiraz Sampler - Dinky Dyes
Santa's Midnight Ride - Dutch Treat

November (planned):
Egyptian Garden - Chatelaine
Edith Wolford - Silver Lining
Medieval Majesty - Leon Conrad

December (planned):
Catch up!

Stitching on: Ornament RR
Reading: Dark Tort
Listening to: Midsomer Murders



Today I received my 8-sided pillow (aka "biscornu") exchange from Anne and it is gorgeous!

The piece I stitched has also reached its final destination so I can show it off!

It's Mary's Pin Pillow by Indigo Rose - but with quite a few modifications - as in a totally different color scheme and I left off the alphabet around the edges and add our initials and date instead.

The button and I had a few disagreements. It didn't want to be in the center and after three attempts, it won.

I did add a few more bits to the package, but didn't take that picture....

I have succumbed to "exchange fever" and have even opened three on the Rotation BB. We're doing a Scissor Fob, Bookmark and Ornament exchange (from the JCS issues - the pending release of the 10th anniversary book was the catalyst). If you're interested in joining the group, please come by and check them out!

Of course....that's not the only exchanges I've signed up for. There's the Friendship and House Exchanges on the SBEBB.....LOL

Stitching on: VS Heirloom Anniversary Sampler
Reading (bus): Last Camel Died at Noon
Listening to: The Amazing Race finale!


As promised....

First, I must show off this gorgeous Exchange I received in today's mail! It's from Karen V and is my "Melanie's Exchange" piece. Paula sent the lovely deep purple threads and two tiny butterfly beads (on the ribbon "tails" on the bottom) to Karen and she stitched this lovely ornament. So gorgeous! She included a lovely ribbon bookmark (she knows me well LOL) that is just too pretty to use ;) Thank you!

This week's "Monday with TW" stitchalong winner: The Fortunate Traveler. I started working on him yesterday and added the "THE", finished the lattice backstitching and backstitched the border (hey, there was a 3-hour Survivor.....*plenty* of stitching time).

This is the *proof*! Chess Anyone? is halfway. 2 knights, 2 bishops, 44 pawns and 16 of 33 squares are DONE! [Extra square is for the white queen - a little stitching to do for that one]


Stitching on: Fortunate Traveler
Reading (bus): Last Camel Died at Noon
Listening to: Braves baseball! Go boys!


Quick Friday Post

Chess Anyone? is officially half-finished! (Pic coming later this weekend)

Heirloom Anniversary Sampler is started!

Answering a comment - Dark Tort is ok. I *really* liked the last one, Double Shot, so not sure how this one will compare!

And finally:

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Redhead Poet.

Where You Lived: Germany.

How You Died: Typhoid fever.


Retail Therapy

There's nothing like a little retail therapy when you're feeling low.

On Wednesday, after throwing up my hands (temporarily) on a work problem (hint: Amazon + ebook + Adobe + firewall = ARGH!) I went to clear my brain with a bit of retail therapy at an LNS (or two). A lovely card of Cranberry GAST, a skein of some nice grass green yarn (baby gift) and a set of #2 DPNs (as I can't find the one "free" set I have in my stash) served to reduce the stress level just enough that I was able to identify a successful workaround upon my return to the office (benefit of having a spouse at home and a secure ftp).

This morning I woke up in a bad state (recurring health issue) and what better pain relief than a bit of retail indulgence? Thanks to the current Stitching Bits and Bobs sale I have on the way to me: Houses of Hawk Run Hollow (I've had this on my wish list forever), Queen and 1797 Ship Sampler.

I *needed* house patterns, ya see. I'm moderating a "House-themed" exchange and need to have some choices! I'm also participating in a "Foldable Book RR" and the theme for my book is "Stitcher's Neighborhood" - there's more bits to stitch than RR participants, so I'll need to stitch several of the remaining sections.

And to finish off the post today - a couple of meme questions.

Stitching Bloggers' Question:

When you stitch from a kit and use the supplied floss do you have leftovers? If so, how much and what do you do with them? If not, do you usually have just enough or do you have to dig into your stash to finish?

I can only recall one instance when I ran short in a kit and that was a class project using only DMC (thus easily replenishable from the stash). I usually have *plenty* of leftovers! As to what I do with them....well....if it's DMC, I usually toss them and if it's specialty fibers, I'll add them back to my stash :)

Stitchers Meme (new!)

Have a case of startitis? What projects are you dying to start? Which would you start today if you "allowed" yourself?

Rosemarkie by LongDog is calling. Also a tiny elephant Lanarte kit came for my birthday and I really want to start it! Hatz Bootique by Brightneedle is softly calling, too.

Too much stash, not enough time.....

Stitching On: Chess Anyone?
Reading: Dark Tort


Mini Finishing Frenzy

I finished-finished a few projects this weekend but I can only show you one! The other two are for exchanges and will have to wait for revealing to the world.

Here is JBW Designs Ready, Set, Go! finished into a small pillow. It's a gift for a coworker's little one that will be a year old on Monday.

I've also finally taken pictures of a couple other recent finishes. The first is Sweetheart Tree's Blue Bargello Fob. I ended up finishing it "square" as I wasn't paying close attention when I attached the heart shaped bead on the one side. If I finished it as a diamond shape, the heart would be wonky, so square looked good to me!

Additionally, the last two JCS 05 Ornament RR pieces are now documented for posterity! The first is Full Circle Designs Christmas Blessing and the second is Erica Michael's Merry Yule.

A very productive Sunday!

Stitching on: JBW Baseball!
Reading (home): Dark Tort
Listening to: Diamondbacks baseball ;)


Back to your regularly scheduled blog...

A little bit of everything today!

First, I finished off the second JCS Ornament RR ornament, Merry Yule. Picture will come this weekend when I catch up with all those listed on the left there. Promise. Really.

I also finished a couple small knitting "things" but no picture as they are due to head to points east of me ;) When they arrive, I'll share.

Reading - finished Bitten & Smitten today and if you like Mary Janice Davidson's "Undead and..." series, you'll probably enjoy Michelle Rowen's book, too. I'm on the second book in the Belgariad. There's something very indulgent in reading a book you've already read several times in a new leatherbound edition!

I've missed a few Stitching Bloggers' Questions over the weeks....here's a couple to catch me up!

May 4 - Do you or have you stitched with over-dyed threads? (Weeks Dye Works, The Gentle Art Sampler Threads, Six Strand Sweets, etc.) If so, what is your opinion concerning them? If not, why not?

I have stitched with all the ones listed and then some! I like the threads that have a definite color change and have used them for monochromatic designs with good results. I'm not a fan of designers using the overdyes as a "crutch" for not doing the work to put the shading in a design element to add that touch of realism. I'm also disappointed when a designer uses primarily solid colored threads but does not provide a DMC equivalent. WDW and GAST cost roughly six times DMC (at regular price....8-10 on sale) and I will mix DMC and overdyes to keep the cost of a design reasonable.

April 19 - Do you do obligation or deadline-based stitching? Why or why not? If you do, do you tend to get in over your head and why?

As you may notice from this month's goals, I do a tiny bit of obligation stitching. I rarely agree to "hard" deadlines of specific dates and prefer "soft" deadlines that have some give in them. Exchanges don't fit that, but in those cases I usually have plenty of time to work that stitching into my other WIPs and I always keep those projects small!

April 12 - For those of you that stitch while riding in the car or on the train, how do you cope with the bumps and the motion? Do you have any tips for others?

I don't stitch in the car - no place to spread out my tools! I do knit on the bus, though. I limit myself to simple projects with either a simple enough pattern to memorize or one I can refer to just a few times to keep going.

Stitching on: Ready, Set, Go! by JBW Designs
Reading (home): Queen of Sorcery
Listening to: Diamondbacks baseball!


The Power of the Post

Do you know the power you wield with your keyboard? And if you do know (as I know *many* of you do), do you use it wisely?

A few words… in a certain place… at a certain time… read by a certain person… the difference between joy and despair is but a few keystrokes away.

We've all seen examples of this. If you were on the TWBB when there was still a JPC section, there were times it was an unpleasant landscape of folks typing before thinking. Members disappeared rather than call anyone to task for their posts, sometimes with much fanfare, more often with barely a whisper.

The pain inflicted is real, regardless of the "virtual" aspect of an online community. You didn't intend it that way? Well, you might wish to soothe the ruffled feathers - privately. You *did* intend it that way? "Do not believe that you can possibly escape the reward of your action." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my opinion, those that take the opportunity to criticize in a public forum demonstrate more of their own character than pointing out the flaws in anyone else's. I have to ask "Would they say the same thing if the person was in front of them?" Most cases, probably not. And if they did, the results may be more damaging to their own physical health than their mental state. It's the ultimate cry of "Look at *me*! I see something and must tell *you* how to think about it!" Ummm….no, no thank you. I'll make up my own mind based on what I know of that poster…. in both cases.

Think about it - there are plenty of opportunities for perceived slights - we really don't need to add to the list with intentional ones. I know of folks who notice what blogs are listed on a blogroll (and sometimes more cutting, which ones *aren't*). Heck, I've caught myself looking at blogs I read and wondering "What did I do to not make the list?" LOL However, I usually get over that pretty darn quick….usually ;) On the boards it was always "Who responded to my thread?" That one got lots of attention at times and in many cases, I rather doubt there was anything intentional going on (ok, at least on my part!).

Shall we dredge up the ever-flameworthy "in crowd" discussion? How was that ever begun and why does it persist to this day? Because posts give it power. The odd inside joke between those "in the know" will be noticed by many - far more than get the joke. The sense that there is communication among a group offboard - which is fine, except when those discussions bleed into public forums. I've been involved in discussions on other stitching boards that migrate to other boards in the online stitching community. If the discussion gets too cryptic, I'll add a link or summarize the original discussion in order to keep the rest of the folks informed whether they like it or not!

What you see in this blog and in my posts on various boards is me - pure and simple. I do not criticize or point fingers as you are all intelligent folks and certainly don't need me to tell you what to think! Wait…let me stipulate that I do not do that to others online… the rest of the world is fair game ;)

That said, you must realize that there's more to me than what you see online, right? I have a job and a family and other more private thoughts and knowledge that I choose not to share. I've met many board members in the last few years and no exceptions I would happily spend more time with each and every one of them. I've seen more of who they are in person rather than simply what they choose to share online. I feel privileged to call many of them "friend" ;) Yes, there are still several folks that I consider friends that I've simply not met yet in person - someday!

The point of this? Well, as I mentioned to someone recently in an email, "blogging is stream of consciousness on a computer" - and this is where my stream has taken me lately with past members returning to the boards and others disappearing. I sincerely hope that I have conducted myself online in a way that would make my family proud and if I don't, ya'll have my permission to tell me ;)


April Goals

Time to face the music! It was not the best of month for goal stitching, I'm afraid...

Make it to the halfway point on Chess Anyone? - No, probably 35% only
Stitch piece for "Melanie's Exchange" - Yes! This is stitched and ready for finishing.
Finish Ornament RR pieces (two expected) - I did one, the other is waiting...
Finish Kylie's scarf! - Yes!
Finish another "page" on Autumn Queen - Not a single stitch this month
Stitch on L'Epoque Nouveau - Who?

Again, halfway on Chess Anyone?
Finish and mail Melanie's Exchange
Stitch, finish and mail 8-sided Pillow Exchange
Finish remaining Ornament RR - mail both on time
Choose fabric and theme for Foldable Book RR (and mail if appropriate)
Knock off at least two more obligation projects
Start HAS (obligation)
Rework WIP list for rest of year to catch up on goal to stitch on ALL current WIPs this year

Stitching on: 8-Sided Pillow Exchange piece
Reading (Home): Pawn of Prophecy
Listening to: Quiet....blessed, sweet quiet!


Long May She Bake

Multiple bits of fun today - a couple finishes, some stash acquisition and a very yummy recipe!


Last week I finished a couple small things. First was a Blue Bargello Fob by the Sweetheart Tree. Unfortunately I have yet to get a decent pic, so I'll owe ya that one.

The second finish was Shepherd's Bush Long May She Wave Needleroll. You may recall this was part of my recent birthday shopping adventure with DH. I've since "needleroll-ified" it and it's resting happily in a small basket with a few of its kin ;)

I'm busily working on an ornament from the JCS 2005 Ornament RR right now, so no progress on my other WIPs (this month's goals are looking pretty bad....I'll tell ya that right now....)

Stash Acquisition

The mailman loved me today, I'm sure. First, I received Noah's Sampler Reborn from The Silver Needle. I love all things Noah so this was a definite must have! No, I don't know when it will be stitched...but it will someday.

Next, my DH was happy to see the OOP/HTF model chart that he loved at our recent LNS trip. It's Judith M Kirby's Victorian Street Scene (Vol 1 & 2). Essentially if you put both together you get a long street scene (I can't find a pic online!).

Finally, an order from European Cross Stitch. I was expecting Quaker Gameboard from a dear purple someone, but that's not what was in the envelope. There's been a bit of mixup so I'm sending back the chart that I *did* receive but I will admit to a brief thought that I might just keep it instead ;) (It's Sarabande - nice but not quite my style).

In the library department, my uber-fantastic birthday present arrived over the weekend from DH. Leatherbound copies of David Eddings' Belgariad! Pawn of Prophecy is signed by Mr. Eddings and includes a "Certificate of Authenticity" as well. As you can see on the left there, I've already started it. It's been *years* since I read the series and I'm looking forward to questing with Garion and the rest all over again.

This Month's Recipe

On Sunday, I fulfilled a request from K and made her a cheesecake. I found this recipe when she was just a young'un and it's been a family favorite ever since. She's requested it for her birthday cake on more than one occasion and it's a must for many of our family holiday gatherings. I've tried several other cheesecake recipes over the years, but this one is always what I go back to. It's also extremely versatile - I've added mini chocolate chips and toffee chips to the basic recipe with equally yummy results.

Annette's Cheesecake

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter

3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Combine crumbs and butter for crust and press into 9-10" springform pan (reserve a couple tablespoons for top, if desired). Cover the bottom and about 1" up the sides. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.

Mix filling ingredients in a food processor with a steel blade or a stand mixer (if using a mixer, let mix for at least 10 minutes) until smooth. Pour into cooled crust and sprinkle with reserved crumbs. (I usually keep a cookie sheet underneath the pan, just in case). Bake for 50-60 minutes until center is set. It'll still jiggle a bit, but it should not be liquid in the center. Let cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

If you want to avoid cracks forming as the cake settles, the only way I've found to successfully achieve a "crack-free" top is to let the cake cool *without removing it from the oven* for at least an hour before putting it in the fridge. Just crack the oven door and let it cool slowly before refrigerating it to let the flavors develop.

Stitching: A Christmas Blessing (JCS05 Ornament)
Reading (home): Pawn of Prophecy
Listening to: Braves baseball!


So cute!

K (DD) needed to scan a picture or two for a school report this week and I couldn't resist showing off my very favorite picture of her as a baby. She's 8 months old here.

Look at that face!

Of course, she's 16 now and while still cute, she no longer wears shirts with little Scotty dogs on them while working on her Advanced Algebra homework ;)


Things I've Learned

Over the last few days I've learned a few things....

The Internet is a big part of our home life.

- On Saturday, our east side neighbor had some yard work done by a contracted party. This happens to be the side of the house our cable is on and wouldn't you know, they managed to cut it. In several places. And didn't tell us. We noticed it Saturday afternoon and called the
cable company on Suday morning to report the outage. They weren't able to repair until today (Tuesday) and it was a loooong weekend. Every time we turned around we thought of something we needed to check...online. DH has been in the midst of researching industries and
jobs and had to abruptly stop. We didn't know the baseball schedule! We'd missed Thursday Survivor and I didn't think to check until Saturday to see who got the boot (I checked from work on Monday). I had agreed to post the winner of the TWBB Trivia contest on Sunday night and I couldn't do that! (I had all the entries downloaded so I was able to pick the winner, at least).

Cell phone + washing machine = new cell phone

- A moment of silence for my old LG cell phone. [pause] I tend to carry my cell phone in my jeans pocket. When I removed said jeans on Friday night, I neglected to remove the phone and when the jeans went into the washer on Saturday morning...well...I spent an hour at the Cingular store on Saturday buying a new LG phone. It's nice, just not what I'd envisioned spending my birthday money on! I suppose given that I've carried a cell phone for 8+ years and never had that happen, I can't complain too much.

If DH accompanies me to the LNS, I spend more.

- As part of my birthday plans, we stopped at the LNS to pick up a chart I had ordered (Moira Blackburn's Green Tree). I left with that chart, Shepherd's Bush Needleroll "Long May She Wave" and Victoria Sampler's "Summer Garden" with accessory pack. The up side of this? DH
paid :D

DH will find the one out-of-print/hard-to-find model in the place.

- Judith M Kirby's Victorian Street Scene. Took me an hour to find a copy online after our LNS visit and I paid too much for it. But he liked it...so....

Not all lottery wins are monetary.

- On Monday I won two "lotteries." The first was the "Random Drug Test" lottery at work. Of course I was notified *just* as I got back to my desk from a trip to the ladies. I had to spend an hour "studying" in the nurse's station with two cups of nasty-tasting water before I could pass the test. The second lottery was for a newly-unoccupied window cube at work. I'll finally have a view!

You should always take your birthday off work.

- I had such a grand time with my family on Friday, I hereby vow to *never* work on my birthday again! It was a wonderfully relaxing day and it was nice to just ramble through the day and not worry about schedule or what I *should* be doing. The Cheesecake Factory was
delicious (especially the Chocolate Coconut Cream cheesecake), the LNS ladies were actually helpful and I found a couple great books at Barnes & Noble (as did K and Z). We also visited the Apple store on a "data gathering" mission which paid off handsomely Monday night with a new iMac and snazzy new printer.

Stitching: Long May She Wave Needleroll
Reading (home): She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
Listening to: Chronicles of Narnia Soundtrack


101 Things in 1001 Days

or..."101 Things for my Birthday" (and the rest of the Mafiosas414 - Terry & Suz)

Now wouldn't *that* be a great day! LOL

Seriously, though, I saw this on my Erin's blog and thought it would make a smashing birthday post. It took me a couple days to come up with the list and eventually it will live on its own webpage, but today is the big debut here. I encourage everyone to give it a try!

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).
Begin Date: April 14, 2006
End Date: January 9, 2009

1 - Learn CSS
2 - Rewrite website using new graphics and layout
3 - Blog three times/week (barring access issues)
4 - Figure out the presets on my car stereo
5 - Become proficient in Dreamweaver
6 - Make a blinkie

7 - Visit the Mesa Southwest Museum before it closes 09/06
8 - Go to the symphony once per year
9 - Go to the theater once per year
10 - Acquire at least one opera soundtrack on CD that I like
11 - Learn the words to Nessun Dorma
12 - Acquire a book on Monet
13 - Hang a fine art print (reproduction) on the wall in the house
14 - Visit FLW's Taliesin West
15 - Become a member of the Phoenix Art Museum

16 - Average 3 books/month (36/year)
17 - Maintain a list of books read each year on my website
18 - Take a Barnes & Noble University class every six months
19 - Write a mystery novel
20 - Create a journal for story ideas (electronic or paper) and use it!
21 - Read the Lord of the Rings trilogy
22 - Read 10 "classic" novels (domain: Easton press editions we receive)
23 - Read the Wall Street Journal daily for 6 weeks
24 - Participate in NaNoWriMo
25 - Subscribe to a new magazine
26 - Publish something
27 - Memorize a Shakespeare sonnet
28 - Find an online writers' community to participate in

29 - Contribute monthly to my savings account (at least $20/month)

30 - Solve a "very hard" Sudoku puzzle (as received from dailysudoku.com)
31 - Email one new person each week to just say "Hi"
32 - Finish Black & White 2

33 - Get a pedicure
34 - Call Granny at least once per week
35 - Have a "date night" with DH at least six times per year
36 - Sell something on ebay
37 - Update Contacts list in my PDA and cell phone (all "common" numbers should be one place or the other)
38 - Acquire 5 new "presentation-worthy" wardrobe items
39 - Post non-stitching pictures on my blog once a month for a year (12 total)

40 - Finish a Pi Shawl
41 - Finish Stroke of Midnight
42 - Finish a Chatelaine Mandala Garden (big one)
43 - Frame a large stitched piece myself
44 - Learn two new finishing techniques (for small projects) each year
45 - Knit myself a pair of socks (that fit!)
46 - Finish all my stitched Christmas Ornaments
47 - Inventory my chart stash
48 - Inventory my fabric stash
49 - Try my hand at dying floss
50 - Finish TW's Wedding Sampler for my 10th Anniversary
51 - Finish all four Mirabilia Seasonal Queens (Winter is done, Autumn is halfway)
52 - Post daily on the TWBB (barring lack of access)
53 - Post daily on the Rotation BB (barring lack of access)
54 - Send a RAK every 3 months (even if it is just a card)
55 - Participate in at least one stitching exchange every six months
56 - Stitch TW's Celtic Cross
57 - Make a temari a year
58 - Knit a Ravenclaw scarf for DS

59 - Try a new recipe at least twice each month
60 - Create a "master" grocery list
61 - Learn to make tiramisu
62 - Make something from every cookbook I own
63 - Post a recipe to my blog at least once per month
64 - Make eggs benedict from scratch
65 - Bake a cake from scratch
66 - Try one new Christmas cookie recipe each year
67 - Make pasta from scratch

68 - Ride my bike at least twice per week (for 3 months)
69 - Take an evening walk with DH at least once per week (for 6 weeks)
70 - Go one week without Coke
71 - Go one week without chocolate
72 - Give up the snooze alarm
73 - Weight less at the end of 1001 days as I do today

74 - Let DS read to me at least once per week for 15 minutes
75 - Spend time with each of my kids alone each month
76 - Play video games with my children at least once a month

77 - Join a professional organization and attend 3 scheduled meetings
78 - Ride the bus to work at least 12 times/month
79 - Update my resume 4 times per year
80 - Finish the Facilitator Certification program at work
81 - Get a promotion at work
82 - Volunteer at a work-sponsored event once per year

83 - Play a hand of blackjack in Las Vegas (with a real dealer, not a video game!)
84 - Go out of town for a major holiday
85 - Go to an Atlanta Braves baseball game in Atlanta
86 - Visit the Georgia Aquarium
87 - Visit Atlanta
88 - Visit Tennessee
89 - Visit Canada
90 - Obtain a passport
91 - Visit somewhere that requires I *have* a passport to enter

92 - Buy a new bedspread and matching curtains
93 - Buy a set of wine glasses
94 - Use the china that's gathering dust in my pantry
95 - Get a better china storage system
96 - Tear down the wallpaper in the master bedroom and paint
97 - Buy a new bed
98 - Acquire a food processor
99 - Clean out my closet

100 - Update this list monthly
101 - When 1001 days are up, update this list and make a new list.


Odds and Ends

I think I see a pattern here...

No posts for a few days and I come back with a slew o' pictures.

Well, at least you know I'm doing *something* with all the extra time, right?

First, a surprise finally made it around the world:

It's a soft baby afghan for the impending arrival of the one-in-a-million Small.

Here's the latest chessboard pic.

I've got a method now.

For each quadrant, after working the grid (which is involving less and less counting each time...thankfully), I work the knight and then * two squares and then half the pawns on one side. Repeat from * until complete for that quadrant. Stitch bishop.

I am really enjoying this! So much I might just have to do Leon Conrad's Queene Besse Chessboard or the recently released Quaker Gameboard (which is on my wish list ;))

I did put down the chessboard on Monday night to stitch with TW. While I could have sworn I heard faint ballroom music coming from my stash (indicating Stroke of Midnight wanted to come out for a spin) what it actually was was travelling music and so Fortunate Traveler jumped in my hand.

I added the top viney bit on the border and that inside border line as well. He's fighting going back in the WIP bucket, so I might just keep him out again next week.

Oh! I forgot two items on my Obligation list. Two quilt squares due in September.... I guess the coming summer heat just baked them off the list for now ;)

I've also been reading a bit....

I finished Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris today. The series is getting even more interesting though Ms. Harris has the annoying habit of introducing new characters that usually turn out to be the bad "guys" no matter how nice they seem. Gets kinda predicatable...

I also finished Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Well, let me clarify. I finished *reading* the book, but I've since ordered some yarn for a few of the projects in the book so I guess I'm not truly *finished* yet....

This came in the mail this week for my upcoming birthday:
Inspired Cable Knits: 20 Creative Designs for Making Sweaters and Accessories
Inspired Cable Knits: 20 Creative Designs for Making Sweaters and Accessories

I've said many times I have no interest in knitting sweaters in the desert but there are *quite* a few temptations in this gorgeous book. I need to spend a bit more time looking at the inspiring pictures....yeah...

Stitching: Back to Chess Anyone?
Reading: Writing Mysteries


Obligatory Stitching

I was tallying up the impending "obligation" stitching this past week and the list is a bit longer than I thought....

One quick note - I don't consider "obligation" stitching negative in any way. I've either chosen or agreed to work each of these on a set schedule. "Obligation" means there's a deadline...be it hard or soft...there's still a deadline!

That said, here's the list:

Chess Anyone? - I'm borrowing the chart and those pieces always get high priority. I'm about a quarter complete, so a summer finish should be no problem.

JCS05 Ornament Round Robin - so far each ornament has been a quick stitch with mailing on time (if not early). I've got 3 more in each round and I don't see any trouble completing them in the same fashion. I *do* plan to take a break from RRs though until next year.

Victoria Sampler Heirloom Annivesary Sampler - this was chosen by a coworker as part of a fundraising auction last year. The irony? It's my former boss' wife that won the auction....which is probably why I haven't started it yet (though I've had the stuff since November). May. It's got to be a May start.

Enchanting Lair model - She's about 25% complete. I've *got* to finish her by the time I see Laura again and that will be October at CSNF.

Melanie's Exchange - This has a mailing date of May 10th. I know what I'm going to do...just need to get it started!

8-Sided Pillow Exchange - Same as above! Ack!

Seasonal Exchange stitched piece - I know what I'm going to stitch but "technically" it's a July mailing (I say technically as it's a "soft" deadline....I could push it a few weeks). The piece won't take long...just need to start it!

(That's it for exchanges and I won't sign up for any more until after these are out the door!)

Wedding piece - a couple dear friends at work got married last month and took a Hawaiian honeymoon. I'm thinking Monsterbubbles Mele Kalikimaka ornament (2004, if I remember correctly) would be a *perfect* start for a small wedding piece. Remove the stockings and gifts and add a few words, names and dates and *poof* - it's done! I haven't actually pulled the magazine out and verified this, though. Might oughta do that.... I do know I'll be doing it over-2 to make it a little bigger.

JBW Ready Set Go - I picked this out for a coworker's new baby last year. He'll be 1 on May 8th.

JBW Baseball - For a dear friend's baby boy that's pushing 18 months. (And since I know Mom reads this - no, I will NOT take this off the list. I need to just get it done!).

Baby hat/booties (knit) - This baby isn't due until June and won't wear these until at least October here in Arizona. Have pattern, needles and yarn.

Ravenclaw scarf for DS (knit) - as I was making K's Gryffindor scarf he asked for one. Thankfully it's gotten a tad warm for wool scarves, so I've got a few months extension....

Stitching - Chess Anyone? (finished the upper left and moving on to the lower left section)
Reading - Knitting Rules - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Listening - Atlanta Braves baseball!


Lots of Pictures!

It's been a few days with lots of picture opportunities!

First, I received my Spring Exchange from Svenja and it is lovely....

Next, the Spring Exchange I stitched made its way to France (finally!):

It's JBW's Spring Bouquet finished into a biscornu (or 8-sided pillow)

Here's a picture of K's finished Gryffindor scarf:

And here's the replacement project for my daily bus commute:

It's coming along nicely...though that edge roll *really* annoys me! I will add a knitted edge on one side and then the top on the other, so it will get straightened out....eventually....

Lastly, my latest Chess Anyone? pic:

Tomorrow....a roundup of my impending obligation stitching....I've dug myself into a rather sizeable hole I'm afraid...ack!

Stitching on: Chess Anyone?
Reading (bus): Master of the Moon - Angela Knight
Watching: Survivor


Jukebox Hero

I spotted this on an alternate blog and thought I'd play along as DH recently reloaded my iPod.
Instructions: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question.

How does the world see you? : Give a Little Bit - Supertramp
I take this to mean I'm a generous soul

Will I have a happy life? : Of Crime and Passion - Duran Duran
I certainly have the passion....is that a crime?

What do my friends really think of me? : Funny Vibe - Living Colour
I like to *think* I'm amusing. Do you all really think so? LOL

What do people secretly think of me? : I Got The Six - ZZ Top
Six of what?

How can I make myself happy? : Song for Love - Extreme
Hmmm...I have love. And I'm already happy. I guess I got it right!

What should I do with my life? : She's All Right - Otis Redding
Thanks, Otis! I think I'm doing all right, too.

Will I ever have children? : Simone - Boz Scaggs
I am *not* having another child! And "Simone" was never considered as a name for the ones I have.

What is some good advice for me? : The Nearness of You - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Nearness of Who?

How will I be remembered? : Desafinado (Off-Key) - Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto
(Click the title for info on this song genre....and this song in particular). Wow. Off-key. Me? Really?

What is my signature dancing song? : Middle of the Road - Pretenders
Not a bad dance tune....but there are *much* more accurate selections on my iPod!

What do I think my current theme song is? : Isn't it a Lovely Day - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
I couldn't agree more!

What does everyone else think my current theme song is? : Jamie's Cryin' - Van Halen
Who is Jamie? And why is he/she crying? What did I do now?!?

What song will play at my funeral? : Middle Man - Living Colour
"Just an ordinary middle man..."

What type of men do you like? : Simply Irresistable - Robert Palmer
Well, yeah. Though I prefer men without red lipstick and mini skirts ;)

What is my day going to be like? : Love is Like a Rock - Donnie Iris
I do come home to my "rock" each and every day.... :)

So, what does this say about me? Well, of the 977 songs on my iPod, I got a decent shuffle and I have *very* eclectic taste in music. ;) Other than that......

Stitching (bus): This (I said it was my next project!)
Reading (home): Knitting Rules
Listening to: The Big 80's on Sirius Radio!


Goals and a Framing Waltz...

I finished-finished Hob Nobb Designs "Chocolate - Need I Say More?" this afternoon, adding the chocolate buttons and doing the stretching and framing. I'm rather pleased with the results. What do you think?

Monthly Goal Review

Finish K's Gryffindor scarf - I've got 55 rows left to do. Hope to finish this weekend....
Stitch Autumn Queen's head - Yes!
Stitch Ornament RR pieces - Yes!
Stitch Spring Exchange piece - Yes!
Stitch on L'Epoque Nouveau and Heirloom Christmas Sampler (WIPs o' the month) - Ummm...they didn't even make it in the house


Make it to the halfway point on Chess Anyone?
Stitch piece for "Melanie's Exchange"
Finish Ornament RR pieces (two expected)
Finish Kylie's scarf!
Finish another "page" on Autumn Queen
Stitch on L'Epoque Nouveau

Stitching On: K's Scarf!
Reading: Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Listening to: 4 16-yr-old girls here for DD's birthday sleepover...LOL


The Joys of Working from Home

Today, I am officially working at home.

I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon and rather than drive in and leave really early, we have the option of claiming a "telecommute day" and putting in our eight hours at home on an "adjusted" schedule (I logged in a bit earlier than normal).

Just so you can see I really am working - this is my home office wall:

These are reporting requirements for some work I'm doing. They've been transcribed into Excel (thanks to DH) and now I'm expanding them with technical and application requirements....

The point is that yes, I'm really working.

But as I had the camera out anyway....and there's some decent light coming in (not great light being that it's overcast today) why waste a picture snapping opportunity?

This is Autumn Queen's head. You *should* be able to click on the pic and see the full WIP picture. She's coming along. I've now completely finished the two sections "above the top fold"

Next month's goal will be to finish her neck and shoulders and continue to work down filling in wisper, beads and all.

Finishing AQ's head allowed me to start a "loaner" chart that arrived in the mail on Saturday. I fell in love with this design (DH is a chess player) when it was being worked by a couple of board members, but by then it was already unavailable from EGA (It's a Group Correspondence Course design). I was absolutely thrilled to get an email from a purple someone earlier asking if I'd be interested in borrowing the chart for awhile. You bet!

Fabric is white murano (like I mentioned...overcast day) and I'm using DMC 300. As I plan to have it framed in a cherry frame, the floss color is brown with just a hint of red tone.

This is one-quarter of the grid (upper left) complete in regular crosses (chart suggests Smyrnas....if I was using a 25-ct or lower fabric, yeah, I could see that for coverage. Thankfully I'm not as I really hate Smyrnas). I've got my six little pawn fellows up there (stitched so they are reversible....not that that is a priority but the directions were easy to follow and memorize that way). First blackwork square is started.... it's #32 of 32. Why start at #1 and be predictable? LOL

A few other working-at-home benefits:

A trip to the bathroom doesn't lead to several mini "hallway meetings"

"Business casual" takes on a new dimension - t-shirt, sweatpants and socks. Dogs are curled up under my desk so my toes stay nice and warm.

Lunch is "free" - no trip to the cafeteria today!

One heck of a short commute (bedroom to office. Done.)

Phone doesn't ring as much and only one person (DH) to "drop by" with the odd question or request.

I can have multiple cups of fresh brewed Irish breakfast tea in my favorite mug and DH will even make it for me.

I have an assistant (DH transcribed the charts for me into Excel).


No bus commute means no progress on K's scarf.

Tomorrow, though the calendar will say Tuesday, it'll feel like Monday.

I'm missing today's Sudoku puzzle on my desk calendar.

Temptation to stitch a bit or play a game or two is pretty big.....but I'm holding strong....

Stitching On: Chess Anyone?
Reading (home): Memoirs of Cleopatra
Listening to (Nano): Beatles' One


My next project....and a meme or two

Still no good stitching pics, so instead I thought I'd show you my next knitting project. I've got 4.2 repeats left on K's Gryffindor scarf which I think is actually doable this month. This is the next project:

The yarn and needles are from my Secret Stitcher and it's *perfect* for that hat.....so a hat they shall be.

I've not done many meme's lately....and a couple have caught my eye, so here we go...

From Booking Thru Thursday:

Do you have any books that are signed by the author?
K and I each have two.

Do you have a story behind the autograph? K was in the midst of reading the Redwall series when I learned that Brian Jacques would be at a local book store for a signing to promote his new series. She got her original copy of Redwall signed.

Her second signed book is Christopher Paolini's Eldest. I blogged about that one here.

Last November I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for Diana Gabaldon and I had a fresh copy of Outlander signed - trade paperback size.

Just recently a BB'er in Oklahoma attended a book signing for Laurell K Hamilton and she was kind enough to have a copy of LKH's newest, Micah, signed for me.

I've hinted to DH that a *grand* birthday present would be a leather-bound set of David Eddings' Belgariad series offered by Easton Press. The first volume (Pawn of Prophecy) is signed by David.....I'll let you know in a month if that hint took root ;)

Stitching Bloggers' Questions

Do you stitch "over one?" If so, describe your experiences. If not, have you considered it?

Oh my, yes. I've stitched over-1 on everything from 25-32 ct fabric, both evenweave and linen. I prefer evenweave 25-28-ct, though with my new little magnifier, 32-ct isn't that bad. The more I do, the more I like it. There are some designs that just cry out for those tiny stitches - Silver Lining flowers and Brightneedle designs come to mind.

Stitching On: Autumn Queen
Reading: Celtika
Watching: Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel



As I can't show off my last two stitching finishes (Spring exchange and a gift), I've resorted to showing framed pieces instead.

I picked these four up on Saturday from my framing boys...

First is Just Nan's Witch Way - taking a picture of a black frame in a black chair wasn't the *smartest* thing I've done lately, but you get the idea. The mats are (bottom to top): black, rust, gold.

Next up is TW's Tropical Dream. The undermat is dark blue and no matter what color combination we tried for top mats, none looked quite right so we left 'em off. Looks good to me!

Next is a matched pair. Both are done with white mats and frames for a "shadowbox" style to keep the butterfly happy ;) Butterfly Lace has a blue undermat and Please Don't Eat the Daisies has a dark pink.

I had hoped for a fifth finish to show, but my search for a suitable frame at Michael's turned up nothing. Thanks to Jenni's recent success with PictureFrames.com, I've ordered one from them instead of searching the town for a brown frame with a 6x6 opening! The cost was what I was prepared to pay anyway and with this I get the foamcore cut for me. A Good Thing.

Another happy surprise while at the framing shop - one of the owners used to stitch (in fact, he's done The Last Supper - a huge piece!) but due to his eyesight failing (macular degeneration) his stitching days are over. He asked if I would be interested in giving his threads, fabric and such a good home.....of course I said "yes!" One of the main reasons I take them the majority of my needlework to frame is how wonderful they are with it - both in selection of frames and mats and how it's treated and mounted (pinned). I am thrilled to inherit T's stash and will use it with great respect.....

Now I'm off to post a "tease" on the TWBB......come on over and see what excitement April is bringing!


A Day Off

Thanks to some last minute delays on one of my biggish work projects, I was able to take today off.


Sleep in....read boards and blogs at my leisure (and actually *post* to them). Play a game or two on the computer (Black & White 2 is calling). The perfect work-unwind day.

Kids are finishing up their spring break, so it's a long weekend for all of us. Nothing special planned other than recharging of batteries for us all.

You might think that since I haven't been posting much, I've been busily stitching. Partially true. I finished the stitching on my Spring Exchange and plan to do the finishing this weekend. I finished the stitching on my Hob Nobb piece, but until it gets buttons, it doesn't look like much (again, on the agenda for this weekend). I started a "surprise" project that is yarn-related (that's all I'm saying) and as that's where the majority of my stitching time has been going....nothing to show. Again, I'm hoping to finish it this weekend and while it'll be awhile before it's ultimate unveiling here, at least it'll be done!

I have been working on something fun for the TWBB that will start next week. I'm working out the final details with TW and hope to post it on Sunday....so keep an eye out! Trust me, if you are a TW fan, you will *definitely* want to be in on this ;)

And finally - I am planning my trip to the Toronto CSNF in October :D Still not sure of details (as to when I'm arriving/leaving) but I can state positively that I am going!

Stitching On: It's a Secret!
Reading: The Treasured One
Listening to: Quiet....shhhh....


And the Rain Came Down...

On Day 144 (of no measurable precipitation), Phoenix got rain.

And more rain.

And even more rain.

In total, over 1" was measured at the airport (the official rain-measuring spot in town).

It started late on Friday night and continued all day on Saturday and into the night. A beautiful bright blue sky was seen this morning, so I think the rain is done for a bit.

Personally, I love spending a day like that curled up on the couch with either my stitching and a good movie or a good book with a bit of music in the background and a cup of tea on the end table.

Sounds good, right?

I spent yesterday in almost the exact opposite way. I was out running around all day. In the rain. And I don't own an umbrella...I live in the desert after all!

I visited the LNS (yes, list to follow), had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (chocolate mousse cheesecake...yummm), browsed Barnes & Noble (no purchase) and Michael's (a few skeins of perle cotton for K's braids).

I wasn't all alone, though. P, a TWBB member from Germany, was my shopping companion for the day (or I was hers....lol). She was visiting for a work conference and had an extra day to enjoy the retail sites ;) We discussed everything from stitching topics to German school systems and the conversion to the Euro monetary system. Even with the rain, it was a great day and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and spending the afternoon with her!

So, if anyone else has a Phoenix-area destination on the calendar, let me know.....I'm sure we can find *something* of interest around here...

As for the LNS list.....

Moira Blackburn's Time & Season Sampler - this was a new model in the shop. I have said many times that I don't "do" reproduction samplers. They are too muted and "blah" for me. This one, in person, is wonderful (this picture is too washed out and yellow). It's intricate with a rainbow of colors used and I can easily see it hanging in the house. It's also fairly large (12 x 18 on 18-ct). I have a bit of Murano on its way to me....I'm thinking this might be a candidate for the fabric and possibly even done over-1....

Just Nan's Garden Maze (with the lilac charm) - The lilac charm did me in. They are my absolute favorite flower.

Shepherd's Bush Thankful Sheep - To go with my completed Spooky Sheep.

Several other things really wanted to come home with me, but I was able to block their cries....for now...

To close for today, another favorite recipe! In fact, K made a batch this morning and I've just polished one off still warm...

Lemon Poundcake Muffins from Taste of Home Feb/Mar 06
Makes one dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (we leave this out)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking sode
1/2 cup sour cream

3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and extract(s); beat well. Combine flour, salt and baking soda and add to butter/sugar mixture alternating with sour cream. Mixture will be rather thick - don't over mix!

Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan before moving to an open rack to finish cooling.

Combine lemon juice and confectioners sugar for glaze and drizzle over muffins. Enjoy!

Stitching On: "Chocolate - Need I Say More?" (Hob Nob Designs)
Reading: Catching up on boards and blogs
Listening to: Midsomer Murders on the Biography Channel


Feast or Famine

It's been that kind of week.... I'm either so swamped that my brain just shuts down when I get home from work, or life is so dull I have nothing to blog about.

At least, that I think you might be interested in reading.

A few odds and ends for today, then....

First up, a finish! This sweet little kitty is the Brittercup Ornament from last year's Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. It's done on 28-ct white linen with Weeks Dye Works and is over-1. Surprisingly, it took only a couple nights to finish and is just under 2" square. It's the latest finish from my JCS05 Ornament RR.

Very cute. And I'm not even a "cat person." [Yes, I like cats, I just don't own any....]

I'm in the midst of stitching my Spring Exchange piece (which is coming out quite nice if I do say so...) so no more pics. Truthfully, I've not even picked up a needle this week (well, ok, I did pick up a *knitting* needle and added a few more rounds on K's scarf...) so no progress on anything else to show, anyway.

More book finishes...

Sebastian by Anne Bishop. No, it's not the Black Jewels Trilogy, but it is pretty darn good. A whole new world with some interesting twists and turns.

Micah by Laurell K Hamilton. (Many thanks to JH for getting me an autographed copy!) This latest release is a bit on the short side for LKH but it has something that recent Anita Blake stories have been missing: a plot. Yes, folks, there's an actual *plot* in this one! We see AB once again in her role of Animator/Federal Marshall. It's a nice change. Yes, there's a bit of...umm...*that* in there as well, but it doesn't overwhelm the story.

I spent some quality time last weekend playing Black & White 2 . I've made it to Land 7 and won each level by being Good. Big surprise from me, eh? I have this block against playing as an Evil god. Maybe after I finish it and start a new game....

Anyway, if you love epic struggles and a bit of strategy, this is an awesome game.

However, if you tastes run toward more pen & paper games, try The Greatest Dot-to-Dot Book in the World (there are three volumes available). I know...I know....I hear you "I did those as a kid!" Yes, but it's amazing to look at a bunch of scattered dots and numbers on the page and be able to draw something recognizeable with just some straight lines. The kids and I do these and we try to guess what the result will be before we start...and we don't always guess correctly!

Lastly, Sunday's dinner recipe from Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals

Cashew! God Bless you Chicken

1 box jasmine rice

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
Combine chicken in a bowl with:
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced and mashed
2 Tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
A shake or two of crushed red pepper
Black pepper, to taste
-Set aside and let marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large carrot, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 can (7 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained and sliced
3 heaping Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1/2 - 1 Cup unsalted cashews
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Prepare rice per package directions.

Heat vegetable oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add carrot and stir fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the coated chicken and cook another 3 or 4 minutes (until chicken no longer pink). Toss in the bell pepper and chestnuts. Heat through (a couple minutes). Add the hoisin and toss evenly. Server over bed of jasmine rice and top with cashews and green onions. Feeds 4.

Enjoy! We really liked it....

Stitching On: K's Gryffindor Scarf
Reading (bus): Celtika
Listening to: Mythbusters!


Monthly Goals

Time for the review:

Finish coworker's scarves - Yes!
Participate in the Knitting Olympics (Branching Out Scarf) - Yes!
Stitch any Ornament RRs that arrive - Yes! (Half done with the one that came Monday...cutting it close! )
Finish Please Don't Eat the Daisies - Yes!
Stitch on Emerald Mermaid (WIP o' the month) - Yes!

Finish K's Gryffindor scarf (this is going to be a stretch...)
Stitch Autumn Queen's head
Stitch Spring Exchange piece
Stitch on L'Epoque Nouveau and Heirloom Christmas Sampler (WIPs o' the month)

I've also finished a couple books recently....

Diana Gabaldon's Voyager - this was a re-read but as it's my favorite of the series, it was still wonderful.
Mary Janice Davidson's Undead and Unappreciated - Might just be the best of the series so far!
Rosemary Edghill's Murder by Magic: 20 Tales of Crime and the Supernatural - as usual a mix of good and bad, normal for any short story collection
Terry Pratchett's The Color of Magic - finished on the way home tonight. Not bad...nicely irreverant and entertaining!

Stitching on: Britty Kitty Ornament
Reading (Home): Sebastian
Listening to: Quiet!


Picture Parade

It's time again....for the picture parade.

Today it's mostly WIP pics. I admit, I'm in a scanning mood tonight (overcast skies mean dark digipics) so I took the opportunity to slap everybody on the scanner that had recent stitches added....

First up, the current Dragon Ride pic (click here for a bigger version):
Dragon Ride as of 2/28
That second wing is coming along. I will admit that I have a mental block against one of the DMC colors in this piece. My kit is missing one color (I'm assuming I stole it for something else...but heaven knows what). I keep thinking it's 3809 - in fact, I've bought that color three times now. It's not. It's 3807. Maybe I'll get it right this weekend at Michael's....

Next up, DH's favorite, Autumn Queen (yes, click here for a larger version):
Autumn Queen

She's on 32-ct white Jobelan. All the seasonal queens will be on that fabric. See that purple square at the top? That's her neck. I'm headed north and once I make it to the top, I'll start working back down adding beads as I go. Treasures and bead ropes will wait until after she's completely finished and bathed, though.

Next, an update on this month's "WIP o' the Month" - Emerald Mermaid (click here...you know the drill):

Lovely bit of tail, eh? Her fabric is from PicturethisPlus - DaVinci Cashel. It's stunningly appropriate for all the greens! She is a joy to stitch and since my March goal list is on the short side....well....let's just say I'm not putting her back in the WIP bucket quite yet ;)

Last, my finish for the Knitting Olympics:

(I did say I was using the scanner, right?) It's done, but I'm not happy with the result of the blocking, so I'll be reblocking it this weekend before I take a proper "modelled" picture.

Whew! Tomorrow I'll do February Goal results and the plans for March..

Stitching On: Britty Kitty Ornament
Reading: Sebastian
Watching: Amazing Race 9


Another new Acre Product!

We at the Acre Product Company are always looking for new ways to improve your life. I mean, that's our motto: "Improve Your Life."

This week we'd like to announce the release of a new product! The combination of the popular "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and the new "Do You See What I See?" has opened up a myriad of new uses!

We've been testing in a secret Mesa, Arizona neighborhood and have some interesting results...

Background noise of an ancient Clint Eastwood movie called "Firefox" - closer examination shows a less-than-stellar picture and mono sound...and...are those commercials?!

Father: Come in here, son and watch this movie with me.
Son: What are you watching? Wait! I'll look....
Son picks up videotape box near VCR
Son: What movie is "Memorex?"

This next scenario evolved over several hours....

Husband seen sending email to wife in the late morning hours. We can make out what looks too be song lyrics in the body of the email (not uncommon in this household we've found). Here is what was sent:

Nessun dorma, nessun dorma ...
Tu pure, o Principessa,
Nella tua fredda stanza,
Guardi le stelle
Che tremano d'amore
E di speranza.
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
Il nome mio nessun saprà, no, no,
Sulla tua bocca lo dirò
Quando la luce splenderà,
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
Che ti fa mia.
Il nome suo nessun saprà
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir
Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!

Phone rings a few minutes later....

Wife (on phone): Ok, I know it's Italian....
Husband: You don't recognize this?!?
Wife: Ummm....not offhand. Let me check with my good friend, Google.
Typing heard faintly in the background
Wife: Ok, found it. It's an Italian opera about a woman who lures men to their death. And you sent me this because....??
Husband: It reminds me of you...well, not the "lure men to their death" part but the "Prince overcoming the Princess' emotional barrier" part.
Wife: (smile heard on the phone) Thank you, dear.

Later that day....

Wife: So, do you have the audio version of the opera piece you sent me?
Husband: Of course, listen....
The sound of Pavarotti singing "Nessun Dorma" fills the room.
Wife: I know that! He sang it during the Opening Ceremonies!
Husband: Of course! Didn't you realize that from the lyrics?!?! It's his signature piece!
Wife: Ummm....
Husband: Wait. Silly question.....

This explains some other curious results we had heard the last few weeks. It appears that Wife has a problem matching artist/song title to the actual song. Given that the household has Sirius radio (that displays artist/title on the receiver for each song) it's quite common to hear "Who sings *this*?" especially over the dinner table......and much amusement when Wife cannot identify artist or title, though she can usually *sing along* with they lyrics.

The conclusion? She's missing a gene.

Finally, this was heard on Thursday evening.

Husband: How was your shopping trip?
Wife: Great! C [aka caronslillies on the BBs] and I had a great time. She's definitely fitting in a bunch of activities during her visit, I'm glad she had time for a bit of stash shopping. Want to see what I bought?
Husband: Sure.
Wife displays a few tempting stitching bits. Like Mary's Pin Pillow and Quaker Accoutrements and some lovely flosses
Husband: Nice. Does this mean I have to wait even longer for my Queens?!?
Wife: Uhhh....

Stitching On: Autumn Queen
Reading: Voyager (only 40 pages left)
Listening to: Beatles One (on the Nano)


Where Did the Week Go?

Busy week...as you probably guessed from the lack of posts. Given my schedule for next week, I make no promises....

But what I lack this week in reading material, hopefully you'll forgive with a few pictures!

First, a finish. This is my square for Laura's quilt. It's a slighty modified version of a Stitch'inspiration freebie called Celtic Spinner. I used DMC 550 and cut off the outer border to keep within the size limits.

Next, I picked up a piece from the framer this week:

It's a Tuscan landscape design from JCS in 2003. I seem to recall it only took about 40 hours to complete, but it's been sitting in my "finished" bag for over two years......anyway, it's hanging on the wall now :) I've used this same frame on two pieces hanging in the house....and of course, it's now discontinued! Argh!

I've been knitting feverishly today on my Branching Out scarf. In fact, I have only 7 pattern repeats left before I can block it and call it Done! Seems like it wasn't quite the challenge I had thought it was (though there are a couple mistakes in it...which I left to keep me humble). I did snap a pic of K's Gryffindor scarf.

Thanks to our trip downtown to the Art Museum yesterday, I'm actually beyond that gold band at the top and well into another large burgundy band. I foresee lots of feverish knitting on the bus this week....

And the Art Museum was a great trip. I saw Monets (a favorite of mine) and Renoirs and Ansel Adams (a photography exhibit) and some incredible daguerrotypes. Kids enjoyed it as well....

On the baking front, two items.

Last night, K and I prepared a batch of cinnamon rolls found in the Every Day with Rachael Ray mag. These were by no means "30-minute" rolls, but they were *very* tasty for breakfast this morning. This is the third recipe we've made out the very first issue...so I'd give it a thumbs up.

Tonight's dinner was homemade chicken pot pie. You can find the recipe here: AllRecipes.com - Chicken Pot Pie IX. This is a staple in our house and I make it at least twice a month and there are rarely any leftovers ;)

Stitching On: Branching Out Scarf

Reading (home): Undead and Unappreciated

Listening to: Poirot on A&E


Ahhh! Stash!

Yesterday was a gooood day for stash.

I got this: Summer's Big Book of Finishing

And I got this:
Undead and Unappreciated
Undead and Unappreciated

And this (though admittedly it's more for the braid-crazed daughter):
Beginner's Guide to Braiding: The Craft of Kumihimo
Beginner's Guide to Braiding: The Craft of Kumihimo

And the "Knitters' Book of Afghans" but I can't find a pic online....it's from White Birch Press and there are several that look *very* intriguing!

I'm also working away on my Branching Out scarf and have a total of 12 repeats (27 total to do) so finishing before the flame goes out is definitely possible. I won't say it'll happen for sure because life might through me a curve ;) I've also finished two repeats on DD's Gryffindor Azkaban scarf, so there's an outside chance I'll have that one complete as well. It isn't technically challenging just a whole lot of knitting (13 repeats of 38 rows of 90 stitches).

Lastly, in my strolling through the blogs today I found Clioratha's Johari Window and made one of my own. Please feel free to click away and let me know what you think of me :)

Lastly, DH has solved my issue with posting on the Mac laptop at home! The Safari browser we were using didn't give me the formatting buttons in the "New Post" window and made link creation and adding pictures a pain....

But today he found the Camino browser and all the buttons are back! SO much more convenient! Thank you, dear :)

Summer - I get Taste of Home (have for years! and Every Day with Rachael Ray

Stitching On: Gryffindor Scarf
Reading: Voyager
Watching: Survivor (in about 20 minutes)


Soup's On!

While reading Shannon's blog lately, I realized my blog is missing information on another of my hobbies. There's a *ton* of post fodder undiscovered!

I like to cook. I love to bake. I love to read cookbooks and not necessarily for finding recipes, but just to see what's inside. I get a monthly cooking magazine (I don't get any magazines delivered for stitching *or* knitting).

Granted, I cook/bake primarily on the weekends. During the week I plan menus and DH and DD usually do the actual preparation. OK, actually, we all plan the menus on Saturday before my weekly grocery run and then they do the preparation during the week and I enjoy the spoils (and make notes of "yes, do this again" or "no, let's not do this again"). We've got a set of menus we use over and over but do try to test out some new stuff each week....and many times those get added to the "standard set."

I'm thinkin' I'll post the odd recipe here (a la Shannon) and if you care to try it, then let me know how it comes out. Most will be ones I've used successfully but now and then I might post one I would love to try but my family's preferences make it impossible (we are a family of picky eaters, I admit!)

Without further ado....here's our favorite vegetable soup. It was on Sunday night's menu along with a pan of cornbread. No pic this week...I'll try to remember to grab one for future posts...

CrockPot Vegetable Soup

1 lb beef stew meat (or round steak cut in bite-size pieces)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 14 oz cans beef broth
1 cup carrots (bite-sized)
1 cup chopped onion
3 small-medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (red or white work best)
1/2 - 1 cup frozen corn
1/2 - 1 cup frozen peas
3-4 cloves chopped garlic (or to taste)
1 teas salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teas pepper (or more to taste)
1 cup pearl barley (optional)

Additional vegetables you could use: sliced mushrooms, leek, green beans (fresh, frozen or canned), etc. Adjust to whatever your family prefers!

Throw it all in a large Crock Pot (I think mine is 6qt) and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours. Leftovers are great!

Stitching on: Branching Out & Gryffindor scarf
Reading: The Color of Magic
Listening to: (training class.....shhhh)


Pictures Galore!

Lots going on today, so a "special edition" full of photos is here!

First, a finish! I put the finishing touches on Please Don't Eat the Daisies - A Victoria Sampler cyberclass that came to me as a Christmas gift from a dear friend... (click for larger version)

(The fabric is white...so imagine it a tad brighter) If you'd like to see the butterfly closeup, click here. He'll be off to the framer next weekend. When I took in Butterfly Lace on Saturday, I had them order a second set of mats and frame for this one, too.

Speaking of, I'd promised a pic of my framed Tuscan landscape piece after I picked it up....well, I won't have it until next weekend. As I was leaving, I noticed a hair caught under the glass, so it'll be taken apart and cleaned (*very* unusual for my framers - this is a first in over three years!) and I'll have it next weekend.

I've also been working away on my Branching Out scarf:

Looks pretty good, eh? This is 7 repeats of the pattern and there are to be 27 total. DD is assisting in the "pseudo-blocking" for the pic as lace looks like a rat's nest until it's been blocked.

I've learned one thing in the knitting so far....this isn't going to be done on the bus ride to and from work. Even sitting quietly in my living room I've come perilously close to serious counting errors on two occasions. On the bus, there's no way I'll be able to focus on the chart as much as I need to as a "new" lace knitter, so it's a home-only project.

Which means I need a new one for the bus.....and that will be DD's Harry Potter "Azkaban-style" Gryffindor scarf....for when I'm not reading, of course.

I've decided on a fiber for Long Dog's Rosemarkie. Ooooo.....ahhhh.....I know, the excitement is freakin' overwhelming! I have cream Belfast, so I wanted something warm and regal-ly with definite color variations. The winner? Needle Necessities MacAulvey Manor.

And in the "new appliance" category....we have a new dishwasher on its way Monday. Maytag Jetclean III in Black....(and we didn't pay anywhere near the price listed at that link! Yikes!)

Stitching On: Branching Out Scarf
Reading (home): 20 Tales
Listening to: The Olympics!


Another Valentine!

These stunning roses arrived at my office this afternoon as an early Valentine from my DH (this is my dining room, by the way, luckily I drove to work this morning and was able to transport them home).

See, next Monday and Tuesday I'll be in a training class (Microsoft Sharepoint) and even though my coworkers *promised* to take good care of any floral delivery, DH decided to send them today instead ;)

I'm told there will be an additional something or another next week....but thought I'd share these gorgeous flowers with you today. I've never received roses that were already opening....or such a deep dark red!

Yeah, I will admit I've got a pretty fantastic DH. As someone I work with said recently, he's my personal "ray of sunshine." LOL

Today marks the beginning of the Olympic games and I officially cast on my entry for the Yarn Harlot Knitting Olympics at noon (to coincide with the opening ceremonies in Torino). I didn't get too horribly far but the night is young!

This is the Branching Out scarf from Knitty.com. It's my first lace project done in Knitpicks Cornflower Merino Style yarn. Well, technically not the first cast on, but it will be the first one actually finished....and I'm hoping it'll gain me a bit more confidence to go back to the two shawls I have kitted and ready to go....

What's up for the weekend? Mine is a bit more hectic than normal as I'm planning a visit to the framer's to choose mats and frames for TW's Tropical Dream and JustNan's Witch Way and pick up a framed Tuscan landscape piece (yes, pictures will be posted). I'm also shopping for a new dishwasher... ours is on its last legs.

Enjoy your weekend!

Stitching On: Branching Out Scarf
Reading (home): 20 Tales
Watching: Winter Olympics


A Valentine Received

This, dear friends, is a wonderful Valentine Exchange package all the way from England!

Tammy stitched this lovely heart and finished as a soft heart ornament (braver than I to try something odd shaped LOL). She also added the Dragon Floss and Fabric and to put the whole thing over the top...yummy Cadbury chocolate and an adorable handmade card (which I cut off in the pic...ack!).

I am a happy exchanger! Thank you Tammy!

Oh, the funny thing? I sent Tammy a "Random Act of Kindness" today and I had no idea this was waiting for me at home.....LOL (A gift certificate to PatternsOnline to acquire TW's Tropical Dream was sent).

In other stitching news, I finished the mother/daughter scarves for my coworker, S, at 11:15 last night (everyone say "YAY!"). As I immediately put them in a gift bag for transport today, the camera never had a chance to capture their soft and lustrous beauty....you'll have to trust me on this. S loved them and I'm waiting to hear her daughter's report tomorrow ;)

With that done and out of the way it is clear sailing for my Olympic knitting! I have needles, yarn and pattern ready to go tomorrow. As the "official" opening ceremony will be around 10AM my time, I'll be casting on at lunchtime and knitting on the bus ride home ;)

Finally, something fun I blatantly stole from Melanie. I love it!:

Stitching On: Autumn Queen
Reading (bus): Voyager
Listening to (on the Nano): In the Shape of a Heart - Jackson Browne


An Older Happy Dance

My Valentine Exchange was received safe and sound across the pond so I can show it to you. (Click the pic for a larger picture)

It is Victoria Sampler's Love Blooms freebie design that I modified to fit my recipient's (Outi's) tastes in darker colors. I swapped out the pastels for a lovely deep burgundy and dark green silks and burgundy and gold Delica beads. Everything else is the same (bands, perle, words, etc).

I finished it into a small pillow and added the tiny gold buttons in the corner to bring out the gold beads. I think it came out quite well :)

I am so thrilled to see that I hit a cord with my previous post! I have seen an increase in my own inbox traffic and have even taken to sending the odd note from work (shhhh) when I just didn't want to wait until I got to my personal email in the evening.

And I can honestly say that *no one* has "been a bother" ;)

Stitching On: Those blasted scarves! Almost done...
Reading (bus): Voyager
Watching: Mythbusters