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


Lost and Found


As I'm sure you've seen on other stitchers' blogs, we lost one of our own this past weekend. Laura was a wonderful lady on the various stitching boards and I was always thrilled to exchange a few email or find her in one of the "messaging" rooms that I used to frequent. She produced some gorgeous stitched pieces and jewelry and I will miss her dearly.

I was following with interest the progress on her new house and her work on Mirabilia's Royal Holiday. In fact, I changed the fabric I wanted to do that piece on myself based on her WIP photos. I ordered the fabric today, but did I ever tell her this? No, I didn't. I didn't take two seconds to send her a note or comment on her blog and I can't tell you how much I regret that right now.

So, as of this week I pledge to email at least one new person a week to tell them...something. Offer support, share a purchase or inquiry I made based on something they posted or tell them when I thought of them during the day (which happens far more than I have communicated....the silliest things brings online friends to mind!). Some communication so that I make a connection and who knows...maybe even bring a smile to their day. I know when I get a note from someone new, it certainly brings a smile to mine.

Anyone care to join me? This is similar to something we used to do on the TWBB and it's about time it came back!


I found time to stitch this past weekend. Here's one finished ornament - All Hearts Come Home for Christmas from X-Appeal Designs (I'm pretty sure that's it....I've already packaged up the chart for mailing!). It's from a JCS Ornament Issue - but I'm afraid I can't tell you which year!

I made a smallish change to the design. That heart in the bottom right should be lower and there should be a one-stitch wide border around the piece. I left that off (I was running low on thread and patience) and adjusted the heart. I like the results.

I also started a current RR ornament and need only to add a few more beads to call it done, so here it is in its current state.

A more significant change on this one. That garland is done with #8 braid and the fabric is 32-ct. Have you ever backstitched with #8 braid on that count fabric? It isn't pretty.

So, I couched it instead using a strand of 729 - the same used for the stars above. I like the results much better.

Oh, this design is Elizabeth Designs' Christmas Tree from the 2005 JCS Ornament Issue.

Lastly, K (DD) finished off her first three Kumihimo braids I mentioned last week. Here are the results.....

The one on the left is "Kumihimo" style with four colors. The center is "Laramie" style with three colors and the final is "Fill-the-Gap" with three colors. The right one is about the thickness of a tennis shoe lace, to give you an idea of size. It would make *perfect* cording for ornaments and bell pull hangers (in fact, she's doing one for Mom for a recent bellpull finish with 7 colors - the max for that braid). I'm seeing scissor fobs...and bracelets....and key fobs....and cording and who knows what else here. They are SO easy to do and if you'd like more info (there's no website listed on the kits, but there is a name and phone number) please comment or email.

The last "Found" item for my fellow Laurel Hamilton/Anita Blake fans:
Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre

It's coming out June 27th! Woohoo!!!

Stitching on: ED Tree/Dragon Ride (TW Night)
Reading (bus): Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Listening to: Babylon & On - Squeeze (on the iPod)


I'm It!

I was tagged by a Wondering One (sorry - no link, I'm on DH's Apple and Blogger's GUI and Safari don't get along well) so here's my answers:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Living in a tiny town in Oklahoma, working for a manufacturing company and starting back to school to finish my undergraduate degree. My daughter was 5 and in pre-school! Ack!

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Getting ready to start a new job (same company - the job I'm in now) and starting to knit again. I was also rejecting reality here.

Five snacks you enjoy (in no particular order, as all snacks are created equal):
1. Popcorn with butter, parmesan cheese and garlic salt
2. Cracker Jack
3. Extra sharp cheddar cheese and crackers
4. Mixed nuts: cashews & macadamias
5. Ice cold Coca-Cola with any of the above!

Five songs to which you KNOW all the lyrics:
1. True Companion - Marc Cohn
2. Devil in Disguise - Elvis Presley
3. I Want You - Savage Garden
4. Seduces - Celine Dion
5. Yesterday - The Beatles

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Pay off every bit of debt
2. Buy DH a new Jeep Wrangler
3. Add a pool and an extra "play" room to my house
4. Invest
5. Invest

Five bad habits:
1. Procrastinate
2. Too trusting
3. Easily distracted
4. Very picky eater
5. Drink too much soda

Five things you like doing (no particular order):
1. Stitching/Knitting
2. Reading
3. Puzzles (jigsaw, Sudoku, logic, any kind!)
4. Gaming (online, computer, Nintendo DS)
5. Long walks with my DH

Five things you would never wear, buy, or get again:
1. Safeway Select Portobello Mushroom Soup (yuck)
2. High heels
3. Tide detergent (makes me itch)
4. Any book by Piers Anthony (long story)
5. Single-vision glasses (I have learned to love my bifocals)

Five favorite toys:
1. iPod Nano
2. Nintendo DS
3. Computer
4. iPod Shuffle
5. My labelmaker

Stitching On: That knitted scarf
Reading: Sahara (almost done!)
Listening to: Mythbusters!