Monday, February 25, 2013

First Finishes of February

I've got my first 4 finishes this month to share with you!  I made a real effort this weekend to just wrap up those small projects I was working on this month.  So far so good.

First up, Mill Hill Ice Skates.

I just love the bead laces on this - such a nice touch to the skates.

Next, also from Mill Hill, the Love Stitching ornament.

This one was a lot of fun.  It was nice to have the extra stitches on top of the base of cross stitch rather than a million beads for a change.  There are still a few in there - red and gold - but considerably fewer than some of the other Mill Hill kits.  The charm is just adorable too.  I did decide to use the beads for a hanger at the top as the finish instructions suggested.  I'm a bit worried about that string breaking and having 100 little beads rolling around, but I guess this one just needs a little extra care when out.

Next up, Lizzie Kate's Be Kind to Animals.

I only have a few of these Green Flip-Its since I intended to finish and frame them separately.  I'm so pleased it looks fine without the additional border on the left.  I had considered adding the left side border and moving the right side out one stitch, but decide to leave it as charted.  I think it will look just fine once framed.

And, last but not least, in honor of the month of February...

                                           Lizzie Kate Flip-It February

This picture really is pretty sad - blurry and dark, but the project is just beautiful.  I stitched this one on the recommended 28 ct French Cafe Mocha Linen but I have to say I'm not a huge fan.  The Green Flip-It series above uses Light Mocha Cashel Linen which I much prefer, but this was still a very quick stitch.  I typically take pictures as I progress so that I can see the change over time on the projects, but with this one I just realized it went so quickly, the first picture I got was the finished project!

Now, on to finish some of the other larger projects I have in process.  I'm beginning to despair that I can ever finish a large project.   It seems I'm easily distracted by these smalls and just need to finish them before I return to my larger projects.  Anyone else have that problem?  Of course, once I get started on the big project and really get into it, it's hard for me to put down.   I guess we'll see how it goes.  I will be sure to post an update by the end of the month - can I finish a few more and make it a bit closer to my goal?  I sure hope so...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Long Weekends!

I just love long weekends, especially when they lead right into school vacation week.   I must admit since I didn't grow up in New England, when I learned about the week off in February and then another week in April, I thought that was excessive.  However, I think now I'm coming around to appreciate at least the February break.  Even though it still feels like the holiday break just ended, this week is such a nice break from running around to swimming, girl scouts, skating, boy scouts, etc.  We never manage to get away on a real vacation, but just not having some place to be every single night is great.  I even managed to make some good progress on my February project over the weekend since I didn't need to worry about cooking, cleaning and prepping for another week of insane chaos.

Let's see, there must be quite a bit to report seeing as how I haven't posted for over a week! Yikes! My poor blog must be feeling quite neglected.  I promise to make it up to you.

I'm quite pleased with the progress on Mirabilia's Easter Fairy.  Although this picture leaves her looking quite sad with no head and only the beginning of one leg, it's much further along than last week and I'm feeling quite confident that this can be finished this month.

And in honor of the month of February, here's my first "heart" project, well on its way to completion.  This is another of the Mill Hill bead/stitch kits - Love Stitching.  I thought this was an appropriate project for this time of year.

This is such a quick stitch on the background and beading.  But this is the first Mill Hill kit I've come across that has a ton of specialty stitches on top of the cross stitches - Smyrna crosses, long stitch, back stitch - there may be others.  I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.  It's got the cutest little scissor charm to hang off the bottom of the heart.

Now, to memorialize my progress on the Permin Three Shops (Tea Shop), let me just show you where I left things yesterday.  This one is a month and a half in and I really, really hope I can finish this month.  The pattern has two other shops - a baby shop and a flower shop and I would love to get them framed for my library later this year.

It's such an easy pattern to stitch and it's on Aida so I really thought I'd be finishing this faster, but I guess it's just a lot of stitches.  I was reading another blog the other day talking about the average number of stitches per hour and how many hours go into a large project.  So, looking at this one, it has about 21K stitches.  If I can manage about 150 stitches per hour that means it will take a mere 140 hours to finish just this first shop.  As I told my kids, this one should really be an heirloom.  After all if I was making $8/hour to finish just this piece, it would be worth over $1,000!  They weren't impressed....ahhh well.  Glad I'm finding some joy in my accomplishments at least.

I hope that's enough of an update to entertain you for a bit.  Since I'm nearing the end of the month and (did I mention) it's school vacation week and I have some time, I will get some more updates here in the next few days.  There are 11 projects in the works currently after all - I'm sure I can find some to share with you.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February TUSAL

I think I'm pretty close to on time this month for the TUSAL photo post.  It's not a great picture - the lighting was terrible during the stormy weekend, but at least I managed to get a photo! Not much progress from last month - some dark threads in there - the remnants of the Ballet Silhouette during the second half of January and my starts on Frederick the Literate.  On many of my new projects I've been using the thread right down to the end so those bits are only accumulating slowly.  We'll see what March has to show since I've got several projects going right now that are very light threads.

As for my snowy weekend progress, well, I thought I would have more to show for the time inside.  Unfortunately, my target project - Mirabilia's Easter Fairy - was visited by the frogs this weekend.  So, what would have been a great update on progress has significantly less to show.  Sigh.... I've been reading some other folks comments on stitching by color versus stitching blocks.  I just can't bring myself to stitch the blocks.  I have to work through an entire color strand.  This is what bit me on this project. I counted and recounted, but still got it wrong when I was completing the right side of the dress.  You would think this is a lesson learned for me, but nope. I was right back at it stitching by color again.  At any rate, here's where I'm at on this one for now.

It's one of my goals to finish this in February.  Before last night, I was confident that was no problem.  Now...I don't know.  I think I need to take a little break from this for a couple of days and return next week.  Here in Massachusetts next week is school vacation week for the kids so I'll be home with them for a few days.  Perhaps I can recover a bit to wrap this up then.  We'll see.

Also, a few other starts this weekend that I'm pretty excited about.

                                                    Eva Rosenstand's Peach

I love these patterns.  They are so easy to stitch and when I have the set of four fruits I know they're just going to look beautiful framed in my kitchen.

                                                    Lizzie Kate Green Flip-It Be Kind to Animals

Another super easy quick stitch.  I just love the floss used here.  Such great colors and you really can't be those hand-dyed flosses for texture in the project.  I only opted to stitch three of the patterns from this series, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just done all of them.  Perhaps later this year when I finish the first three.

And, some good progress on the Ice Skates from Mill Hill for my daughter.

I should be done with all the stitching this week, then just the beadwork left.  Isabella (8) has high hopes of attaching this to her skate notebook as a decoration.  Although the kit comes with a magnet, I think that's a much better use of the finished project!

I hope my fellow stitchers in New England are staying warm and have power back to their houses.  We were fortunate not to have to deal with that issue, but it was still an awful lot of snow to move.  My girl scout troop bravely went out to hold their cookie booth sale yesterday despite the huge piles of snow!  Kudos girls for your great efforts!

For those of you who don't have the joy of snow in winter, here's a little taste of the piles in the parking lots around our town.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Preparing for the Blizzard

I hope all my stitchy friends in New England are able to stay home and watch the snow pile up for the next two days.  I know I've got my current projects all lined up and ready to stitch.  I'm hoping to make some good progress this weekend thanks to the 2+ feet of snow they say we'll be getting.  Sadly this week has been a bit of a disappointment on the progress front.  I've been a bit distracted by some issues at work and the need to do a bit of straightening up around the house plus a little bit of reading.  Do any of you use Goodreads?  Is anyone else doing the 2013 reading challenge?  Last year I found myself reading a lot to escape from the stress of work so I set myself a challenge of 150 books this year.  So far, I think I'm doing pretty well despite less time in hotels, planes and airports where I tend to get quite a bit of reading done.

I'll post a bit more later as the storm progresses - maybe a few non-stitchy pictures to mix things up a bit and show you what Storm Nemo looks like from central Mass.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

STNA Blog Hop #15

Hello Fellow Stitchy Friends!

I'm going to attempt to participate in the blog hop to try to get this blog up and running.  I'm new to this so bear with me while I attempt this.

Here's the prompt for this round:
Eventually there comes a time when you’re not feeling well, whether it’s the flu or a cold or something else entirely. The question is, do you manage any stitching when you’re under the weather or does it just have to wait for better days?

Most of the time when I'm under the weather I find myself doing more stitching!  This has to be because I finally have a little quiet time to sit and stitch when I have the excuse of not feeling well.  Otherwise I'm working, running the kids around, cleaning the house, cooking, too many things to even begin to talk about.  I try to make an effort to get a little stitching in every day even when I'm feeling fine, but some days I'm just so exhausted the last thing I can do is look at 32 ct linen! 

As a matter of fact, I look forward to those days when I'm feeling cold enough or just "off" enough to warrant staying curled up with my stitching, a cup of tea, and a good book or movie.  I know once summer comes around and the outdoor activities are calling to me I will see my stitching slow down.  

So, yay for the winter season and a few stay inside and stitch days, even if it does come with a little bit of a cold or viral bug.  Let's just hope it stays away from full-blown flu since that might actually put an end to my productive hibernation time.

Thanks for reading! Until next time...

Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Finishes!!!

Welcome February 1st!  It's official.  I finished my first month of 2013 with a successful round of finishes.  Everything that was targeted ended up in the completed pile.  So, without further ado, happy dances for....

                                         Field of Sunflowers (Permin)

                                            Through the Woods  (Mill Hill)

                                         Trio of Penguins (Lanarte)

                                                   Cherries (Eva Rosenstand)

                                                   Herr Drosselmayer (Mill Hill)

                                                    Ballet Silhouette #2 (Vervaco)

And, now it's on to the next month of projects.  It's so exciting to have some new starts looming.  Let's see, what's on tap for this month?   Well, I'll be starting Mirabilia's Easter Fairy.   I'm hoping to do all the holiday fairies this year in time to have them on the wall for the holiday season.  I'm also hoping to make some progress on the Three Shops from Permin.  The Tea Shop is well under way and I'd love to have that finished this month.  And at least get the Baby Shop started.

Some of the other starts that are planned include Mill Hill's Mouse King ornament, Mill Hill Ice Skates, Mill Hill Opera House, Eva Rosenstand's Peach and Thea Gouverneur's Jam Pots.   Definitely an aggressive plan, but I think I can make some good progress on these.

Till next time...