Sunday, October 7, 2012

Insomnia, oh how I hate it.

But at least I am using the time I have to be productive at least productive enough to finally write an update on this blog. I really thought that this time I would actually get in a good full night of sleep but an hour after I was asleep, my older son was making enough noise to wake me up. I no sooner dozed back to sleep when about a half an hour later the younger son came through the house sounding like a heard of elephants. I still tried to get back to sleep but no such luck. I am awake again. So that being the case, I may as well try catching everyone up on my summer.

We didn't go anywhere so no fun adventures. Well unless you count the wind and rain storms that hit Central Ohio on the 29th of June. It knocked out the power for over 600,000 central Ohio families, with power being out any where from 4 days to 2 weeks. We lost an enormouse branch from one of our maple trees out back and it is still caught upside down hanging wedge between branches. What a sight to see every time I look out the back windows! Our neighbor lost the side of one of his trees taking down his electic line from the pole and damaging our line at the pole as well. We were totally without power for about 50 hours before it was restored to our area however, with the damage at the pole, my home only regained partial power. We called the power company numerous times explaining the situation to them but they kept insisting it was our electric breakers. We spent several more days with this partial power and large orange outdoor power cords running power from the few electric outlets that worked to other areas in the house. We were able to get our refridgerator powered this way but not our oven/stove so we cooked outside on a grill until full power was eventually restored. We were able to power two very small air conditioning units upstairs but not enough power for the new large one we purchased last year for the downstairs. We resorted to using fans. We were able to run the computers but, they added to the heat index and it was extremely hot during this outage. Well sometime around day 5 the power company finally went next door to repair our neighbors downed power line and immediately saw the damage to our power line at the pole and fixed the issue. What a crazy week that was. This was the sum of our summer excitement. The expense of that week, lost food etc., was most unwelcomed to our budget. We also spent the week worried that we would possible have to replace our entire electric circuit board because we found the fuse/breakers for it are outdated and no longer sold. We still need to face making this change but now we can choose a better time for us financially to attend to it. Other then this crazy week, the remainder of the summer was spent with Joe and A.J. working and Jared and I at home every day looking for ways to entertain ourselves.

 I did a lot of cross-stitching and Jared has been tending to me quite a bit. I have had several situations with back issues and I am still having issues with that knee I injured back in April. The hospital did a doppler sonagram test on the knee to check for blood clots and thankfully that came back fine. It just doens't seem to take much to re-stress it and cause it to swell back up. With this being an issue, I spend most of my time at home in the house. So, I cross-stitch and knit and crochet but the knitting and crocheting are causing that stupid bursitis in my right shoulder to flare up so the knitting and crocheting had to be set aside nearly as soon as I started on it. At least I discovered Netflix. LOL! I have really enjoyed having control over what I watch and when I watch it. I love all the programs it has to offer and the variety too. So I sit and cross-stich and watch Netflix oh and I have also been playing that sci-fi computer game I love so much, Anarchy Online. I did purchase quite a few Heaven and Earth Designs for cross-stitch over the summer. I sort of regret doing that. As much as I love the artwork, I strongly dislike all the confetti stitching that is incuded in the charting. They really need to be cleaned up better before being sold. So I really have no clue if I will ever buy any more of their charts or stich half of the ones I bought. Too much confetti stitching takes the joy of stitching away. Also there is a tendancy to make the size of the finished designs far too large for the tiny stitch count they recomend. I have quite a few of the charts already in progress.

Speaking of my needlework in progress, I guess it is time to post a few photos of what I have been working on and some of my purchases.

I do not generally get into Halloween type stuff but I have had this chart since it was published in a magazine back in 1994 and it just sort of caught my attention. I am doubtful that I will have it completed in time to hang up and display for this Halloween but definitely for next year. It is stitched on 14 count Aida cloth.
This is the current completed progress on Diamond Squares design by Handblessings. I did recieve the next 3 squares to add to it but haven't gotten around to adding them just yet.
This is one of my purchases over the summer from Heaven and Earth Designs called "Enchanted Flute"  I love the image of it but wow it will have a lot of "confetti" stitching in it. This is not one I plan to tackle any time soon.
This is my son A.J's cat Galadrial. For some reason she has really taken a strong liking to me lately and is constantly sitting as close to me as she can while I am stitching. She doesn't bother my floss nor attack it while I pull it through the fabric. Nope, she just constantly purrs loudly enough to be heard at least 10 feet away and paws at me to stop and give her a scratch on the head or a stroke down her back. She has become one of my stitching companions.
I was working on using up scraps into these puff stitch granny squares to later assemble into an afghan but have set this aside due to the bursitis in my shoulder.
This is a piece I started that was a free chart. I rather enjoy working on this one as a nice vacation from the busier pieces I have. I replaced the sugested color scheme with some silks in the Caron Waterlillies collection that were left over from another piece I finished last spring.
Two more of the charts I purchased over the summer from Heaven and Earth Designs. "Mini Christmas Wonder" and "Old World Map"
This one is "Mini Fairy Book" and I worked on this a lot during the power outage. This is just 1/16th of the total design complete. I decided to count how many colors were used in a single 10 x 10 grid square and there were over 23 colors just in that one square. That much confetti is just plain rediculous! At least the design is going to be stunning if I ever live long enough to complete it, lol.
And two more Heaven and Earth charts I purchased. I actually have the Sistine Chapel piece in progress but I am somewhat unhappy with this chart as it should have been through some editing in the photo before even begining to be made into a chart. There is a section of the top of the side wall that is included in this chart that really should not be there and is causing a waste of time in stitching as it does look very much out of place. I am extremely dissapointed that this was not both edited better nor was there a test stitching done by the people at Heaven and Earth Designs before marketing this chart. Had they tested the chart first, they would have seen their error right away. I am now debating as to whether I will ever bother to complete the entire design chart.
This is part of the top of the side wall that should not have been included in this design chart. Lots of wasted stitching due to poor charting.
I made this little piece for an exchange that I was in for a Spring theme. It is a portion of a Jeremiah Junction Chart "Live within your Harvest."  The recipient seemed to like it. I wanted to send her something with a cat in it because I knew she loves cats. I also sent some extra goodies of strings of beads and a variety of trims for her projects.
And these are the goodies I recieved from my exchange partner. :) I have really enjoyed that little flower ornament!
I started this piece a few years ago and then came to a screetching hault because of errors in the design chart. I get really upset when there are printed errors. There is a correction page on a website somewhere that I need to track back down and print out. I would very much like to get back to work on this piece as it is a particular favorite of mine.
Now this is a favorite Heaven and Earth chart. I love this piece of artwork, the cross off to one side and the way the king is looking over at it. I was looking up on you tube for videos of people showing thier cross-stitching and found one of an asian women working on this chart. I could only see a small portion of the design as she was stitching but the colors were so lovely and striking that I had to look up the chart and see what the full image was. I did quite a bit of work on this back in August and only just returned to this project 2 days ago. There is some confetti stitching in this piece but not nearly as bad as all the other Heaven and Earth charts I own. The colors were more limited when she produced the chart and I am sure this is what kept the amount of confetti stiching down more compared to other charts.
This is more of "Two Crowns."  I found just a few stitches were off a tad and had to be fixed so I decided to use some bright lime colored serger thread to grid that area where I am working to help me stay on the count better. I will pull the grid threads out when this area is filled in and then grid the next area to be worked.
Well, I think this is enough eye candy for this update. I am sure I will have plenty of other projects to share with you when I next post to my blog. I hope you have enjoyed your visit here and please feel free to leave any comments you desire.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A nice quiet Sunday update

Greetings my crafting and artsy friends. It has been a few weeks since I last posted updates on my projects. I decided to wait a bit until I had a bit more progress on my projects underway before updating. Part of the problem is that I am fervently stitching daily and keep thinking, "Hmm, think I will wait and update tomorrow after I get in just a few more stitches." The problem is, a few more today leads to a few more tomorrow, lol. Before I know it, a week has passed then two weeks and still no update. I am still trying to get my right knee to mend so this is why I keep having extra time to work on my cross-stitching. As much as I am enjoying this, I think I would prefer for my knee to fully mend. There are places I would like to get out visit but with this big swollen lump, it is not very safe for me to be driving since it is on my driving knee and all activity just seems to make the swelling increase greatly. UGH! So here I am sitting with the knee elevated the majority of the time and stitching, stitching, and more stitching. Actually, I also did a little genealogy research through the use of my PC and had a really nice break in my Schreiner side of the family research. I have had trouble with this one brick wall as they say since I started researching in 1997. I managed to find a website on that published a list of names in a biography book printed in 1911 and the email address of the contributor of this information to the website. So I sent the fellow an email to ask where I could obtain a copy of one of the biographies and honestly doubted if anything would come from it but a few days later I received a very welcomed response with the biography transcription of my ancestor included in it! How awesome was that! Through this data from the biography I have new searchable leads and another generation back. This was thrilling for me! Now I just need to get over this stupid knee injury issue so I can get out of this house and get over to the Ohio Historical Society Library and delve into some research. In the meantime, I continue with the embroidery counted - cross stitching, lol.

I did not work on all of my projects this time around but rather instead I selected just a few of them to focus on and worked on an old project that had been set aside for well over a year as well as started another new projects.

Since I am talking of genealogical stuff in this post as well, I will start the updates with two photos of my great-grandparent's 1899 wedding photo tapestry. My great-grandparents were Louis Schreiner and Evalyn "Eva" Mae McNutt.  I decided to put the tapestry on the scanner to get a better clean image of it but due to size limitation of the scanner bed, I scanned the tapestry into two sections. This tapestry is being worked on 32 count linen fabric working two strands of DMC cotton floss over two strands creating a 16 count image.

Here is Great-grandmother Eva. I completed the side of her and will continue working down to complete her wedding gown. I have more back-stitching to work into it but holding off just yet. I added some faded frosted lavender glass beads into her wreath on her head to better depict the flowers that were in her wreath.

And I have moved over to the other side to fill in some on great-grandfather Louis.
The reason part of his suit is so dark is because it is the shadow in the photo causing the dark shading. The photo was a sepia toned photograph and this is how the computer program I used to create a graph from the photograph interpreted the image for design. 

This next update shows one completed page of the "A Token of Love" sampler. I am already working into the next page and making more progress then is shown in this scanned image. I do love this simple one color stitching as it is a very nice break from my busier projects. This is 18 count Aida cloth using DMC cotton floss working with two strands.

In my last update, I was just barely started on a tapestry of "The Last Supper" which I created the design  chart for myself  from a photo of the painting but I have spent some time on that piece as well. Here is my update for it.This is worked on 25 count Lamb's Wool colored Jobelan cloth working 1 thread over 1 thread. 

I have really made some nice progress on this next tapestry, "Earth Song" whose chart was produced by Heaven and Earth Designs. I am slowly trying to make my way across the entire top of the design. 

This little nativity piece is the UFO project I started over a year ago. Actually the design has a bit of history to it for me. This is actually my second time to stitch this design. It is the symbol of my beginning into the realm of counted - cross stitch. 
I actually received my very, very first cross -stitch kit as a Christmas gift in 1982.  It was sent to me from a sister that was living out in Germany at that time. The kit was very tiny and the image was a rose to be stitched on a very small count fabric with a small wooden frame. I remember when I opened the gift and looked at it, another siblings now former spouse made a comment about, "You actually think you can stitch that?" He didn't mean it in a negative way, he would never do that but when he saw the sheer size of it, he had his doubts. To me, I saw this as a challenge and I welcomed it. I was not quite 18 at that time. So I did stitch it and complete it but not without errors. It was rough going, I will be honest of that. I think it was 32 count, 1 over 1 and not a beginner's project by any means. I kept that piece for many years but eventually lost in in one of my many moves. Okay so that was officially my first cross-stitching kitted piece. I did other types of embroidery before and after that rose. But still had no clue about charted cross stitching designs that you kit up yourself. 
Sometime after entering my 20's I moved across the county (1986), working, living single on a too tight budget with little to entertain myself with. I couldn't even afford a TV, lol. My dad eventually bought a small color one for me just because he could not imagine surviving without a television set. I found ways. I read books from the library! However everyday on my way home from work, I would pass by this store that was called "Spare Time Crafts." Being a crafter/artist type of person,  I decided to stop one day to check it out. It was not a craft store that I thought it would be. It was a cross-stitching store that sold fabrics for embroidering on, lots and lots of cross-stitching design charts and embroidery floss. I had never seen anything like this before, ever. The store clerk was not the most friendly person but she did explain to me about cross-stitching and how to follow a chart, purchase the cloth and floss. I had no clue that there was a thread called DMC with a number coding system, lol. I had very little cash to spare but I saw this chart for a nativity scene that just sort of called out to me so I purchased my very first ever design chart that day of the Stoney Creek design "Humble Stable." I also purchased my fabric and a few of the flosses. Not many as this was about to break my limited budget. So I opted to purchase the colors that were used at the center of the deisgn, the starting point for my stitching to get me going. I later found that the floss was far less pricey at another store in town and slowly began purchasing the flosses each pay day. It meant work went slowly on that design. I set it aside when I met my husband, got married and had the first child. No real time to stitch for a while but I picked it back up when my son was a busy toddler and eventually I finished that design. I discovered I could actually use these stamps we had been collecting from the local Big Bear grocery store over in the Hearts department store to purchase the remaining floss I needed so I basically got a lot of the floss for free that way. :) I made a gift of that finished piece and have been a cross-stitcher off and on every since. I had marked up that original chart as I worked each stitch which I later regretted as I found obtaining a fresh copy nearly impossible. I really wanted to make the design again, this time to keep for myself. A few years ago a friend on one of the yahoo email groups I am in had a great windfall. She received a number of tubs of cross-stitching charts from off of her local freecycle group and decided that she didn't want all the charts and freely offered to share them with others of us in the group. We simply paid for the postage. Well, the Humble Stable chart was among them!!!! I finally had a copy again. I am still so thankful for this. I have nearly half of that design complete now.  I have also since learned to go make photo copies of my charts as a working copy that I can mark on and still have the original design chart to refer back to in he event of a disaster such as having to restart a design. I had that experience on a few projects. 

I absolutely love this nativity "Humble Stable" working this on linen.

I know this is a really long post already but I do have one more tapestry piece to share today. It is simply called "Lion" and he is a design I created from my own original painting I did back in 1999. I always felt like this Lion would look so much better in thread then he does in paint but I kept storing him away and debating on whether or not I should try and turn him into a tapestry. As you will see, I finally decided to move forward and have completed the first page of the tapestry. I am working 1 over 1 on 25 count Lugana a linen blend fabric. I have no clue if he will turn out well or not but I do like what I have completed of him so far. 

This is an image of the painting I created the design chart from. I made a few tweeks to the painting in Photoshop to obtain a sharper image in the software I used to create the chart and added a copyright across his face hopefully prevent copy theft. 

Well I think that about sums up what has been keeping me busy with my stitching of late. I do hope you have enjoyed reading up on the progress and seeing the photos. 

Until next time friends.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Monday!

I know, what is so great about Monday, lol. Well today we are having a lovely weather day so it makes it worth getting up and getting the day going. Our temperatures had one of those typical Ohio spring drops over the weekend which included some rain near the weekend making everybody just feeling blah. So waking up to sunshine this morning makes it worth getting up and functioning on a Monday. In addition though to my blah cold weekend I dealt with the beginning of a nasty flare up with my fibromyalgia. YUCK! I should have expected it or seen it coming. I think it was triggered by my fall two and half weeks ago.  Speaking of which. My right wrist is doing much better now. I just wear the brace on it at night when I sleep. However on the downside of that fall.... The day after I fell I went to an urgent care center to get my wrist treated, they also looked at my right knee, pushed around on it but didn't take x-rays and thought it would be fine. In the week that followed, my pain level in the knee began to increase from ouch that sort of smarts to wholly cow that darn thing really hurts and making my blood pressure hit the roof. I ended up in the ER because my blood pressure diastolic number was really getting high, 117 (80 is what it should have been). While I was there I told them about the prior fall and trip to urgent care. They decided to perform a number of x-rays on the knee. When the doctor came back to talk to me he informed me that I had landed on that knee a whole lot harder then I thought. He said  I had to have hit it extremely hard. He told me I have a contusion that is extremely deep down in my knee causing fluid to build up.  They started me on pain meds and made me stay until the meds could kick in and the BP came down to be reasonable and also wrapped my knee up like a  mummy in ace bandaging. The doc was trying to offer me a choice between crutches or a walker. I told him the last time I tried to use crutches I managed to fall 3 more times because of the crutches so that was out. He tried to push to get me to use a walker but I informed him my cane would work just fine. We discussed it for another 5 minutes until he realized just how how stubborn I can be and gave up and consented to my cane while also telling me to stay off the knee. So here I am still hobbling around with a cane a week later. I decided that telling me to stay off my knee and keeping it elevated sounded like a prescription to sit and work on my cross-stitching tapestries. :) So I am working my way through my rotation of cross-stitching projects. I am having fun with this although I am spending more time working on the Earth Song piece designed by Heaven and Earth Designs over the other pieces right now.

Here are photos of the WIPs and SAL in my rotation ATM.

This is a little piece I am doing as a SAL (Stitch a long) through Cross My Heart the needleshop near my home. The charts for it are free so long as I purchased all the supplies for it from the store. It is called "Diamond Quilt" by Handblessings. I love this little piece. It is being stitched on 28 count Jobelan cloth working over 2. The frames around each diamond are stitched with one strand of Watterlillies Nefertiti. I love this thread. The color is gorgeous when you can actually see it being stitched up close. The rest of the threads that are used in the diamonds are all over-dyes. I am all caught up on this projects and nothing really more for me to do until the next three diamonds are released which likely will not be until June. This project really introduced me to Jobelan evenweave cloth and I think this is my new favorite cloth to work on.

This is a current update on my progress of the 1899 Wedding photo tapestry I started three years ago from my great-grandparents wedding photo. I decided to include the original photo in this picture for some comparison. It is really coming along nicely. I am working this on 32 count linen working two over two making the stitched 16 count. I have always said that I wished I had chosen to use silk instead of DMC floss for this project but it is looking good. I am also slowly becoming a fan of working 1 over 1 on 25 count (more about this later) and now wish I would have done that for this tapestry.

Now this is my absolute newest start. I found a really nice photo of the Last Supper painting and turned it into a chart for my own personal use. I am working this on 25 count Lamb's Wool colored Jobelan working 1 over 1 and loving it. It is much easier working 1 over 1 on this evenweave fabric. The last time I worked 1 over 1 it was on linen and the linen had too many blurps (thick areas in the strands) and created a nasty uneven look. The Jobelan evenweave is all precise strands keeping this tapestry uniformed, neat and tidy. I have also found that I love the thickness and softness of the Jobelan cloth.  I think it will be lovely when it is completed. I am limiting my stitching time on this to one day a week for now. I still need to finish gathering all the floss I need for this piece.

This is another SAL that I am spending about 1 day a week on. It is called "Token of Love" and I am working on this through the Yahoo group I changed the color scheme to suit my own taste, dark blue DMC floss #823 on sky blue 18 count Aida. It is a fairly easy stitch and a great take along project.

And here is the early stages of the "Magnolia Tree" tapestry I created from a photo of my own tree. There is a great deal of "confetti" stitching involved in this tapestry so it is very slow going. There are 100 different DMC floss thread colors in this chart. I am limiting my time to one day a week on it.

I guess you could call this my main project here. It is "Earth Song" by Heaven and Earth Designs. I am working this on 18 count Aida using two strands of DMC floss. You will also notice that I am actually using one of my q-snap frames to hold it while I am stitching it. I have never been a q-snap fan, ever. LOL, but I do pull them out from time to time and try to get used to handling them. I just really dislike the weight of them, trying to hold them up high enough to my face to see what I am stitching. I have found that if I tuck pillows around me, I can rest my arms on those to help support them while holding the frame close enough to my face to see to stitch. I have strange eyesight. I wear bifocals but I cannot see well enough through the bifocals to stitch so I take them off to see my stitching then I cannot see the TV to watch the programs. I end up listening to TV more then watching as I prefer my stitching over watching the TV anyhow. :) The thing I will say that I do like about this particular q-snap set up is that I am able to work across the top of several of the pages of the chart at a time and it does hold the fabric at the sides nicely taught verses when I used my table scroll stand. And my table scroll frame also creates issues with my eyesight. I find I have to really lean in over it and then this creates very bad back issues for me. Stitching/embroidering should not be painful so I try different things to try and get is comfortable as I can.

I have set aside the "Old Friends" piece I was working on. I accidentally got yellow highlighter on the fabric and have tried a few things to get it out but not having any luck with it for now. I decided to set it aside for the time being.

I recently made another purchase for my design chart stash. I took advantage of a 30% off sale that Heaven and Earth Designs held a few weeks back and purchased a design I have longed to get. It is the Purple Dragon. I love the look in his eyes as that little bird is sitting on the end of his nose. It always makes me chuckle!

Purple Dragon by Heaven and Earth Designs

This is it for now my friends. Until next time. Peace!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just a few finishes and one of my new starts

I am really pretty happy to be making progress on finishing a few of my projects. I always have such a hard time at finishing my cross-stitching pieces. I really need to get better at it. I have to say it is a wonderful feeling to finally see some of this work on display in my home. In the past, my finished needlework seemed to always get gifted but of late I am finally keeping some goodies for myself. I finished the SAL from 2010 called "My Little Heart" designed by Sylvia Kuhnert. I  love the way this looks. I did some subtle changes here and there in the design. I even managed to frame it. The night we were out shopping for the frame and floss for a new projects was quite eventful. It was stormy when we left here but everything seemed fine when we entered the Hobby Lobby store and did all our shopping. I was accompanied by the hubby and my son Jared. When we were exiting the store, rain was pouring down and the tornado sirens were blaring. They had sounded out while we were in the store but we NEVER heard them because of the store music being played. I don't know about anyone else but I find this very scary to think we could have been swept away and killed in a tornado because of store music taking a priority during a storm! Scary stuff to think about. The other issue was that it was closing time when we were leaving the store and the employees were pushing to get everyone out in spite of the fact that everyone should have been trying to find shelter until the warning was lifted. Traveling home in total blackness was most unpleasant. So anyhow, once we were home safe and sound I did proceed and framed the SAL.

I am glad I went with a simple frame for it. I also manage to download Sylvia's newest SAL which is being released at the turn of each season being that the new SAL is all about the different seasons of the year. I completed the first Season "Spring" on an old piece of rough looking linen and then turned it into a simple flat fold. I have never tried this method of finishing before but I have to say, I love it!

This is just such a simple sweet little piece. It makes me happy and smile just to look over at it. I think the whole thing only took me about two days to stitch and then just a few hours to make it into the flat fold. It could not have been simpler!

Since finishing these items, I have since started a number of new projects. I did work some on my Great-grandparent's 1899 wedding photo piece. It is coming along but I think I will wait until I have more progress to show before I include a new photo of it. I took one of the photos from my magnolia tree and imported it into PCStitch 10 and created a chart and have started work on it working on size 18 count Aida cloth in a sky blue color. Speaking of the chart, I was asked if this was something I could share. I thought it over and I have decided to share the chart freely. Please understand though, the Magnolia Tree is in the process of being tested so if you choose to download it, just understand, it is not fully tested. Also, please do not attempt to upload the PDF to any website nor attempt to sell my chart for profit. I ask that you play fair. You can access the PDF by clicking the title here: Magnolia Tree ©Copyright 2012 By Andrea C. Heslin I will be posting a progress photo of the Magnolia Tree in my next update. As I said, I am working on a number of new projects or rather trying too. I recently put in an order for my very first Heaven and Earth (HAED) design chart. I have to say I was really getting antsy and impatient for my chart to get here. I got my fabric, got all my floss and I even got all the floss wound onto bobbins and organized into it's own project floss caddy and then I waited. I waited and then I waited some more. I called the company and found out that they were having issues with a dead printer. So I waited some more, lol. Finally on the 10th I received notice of it being mailed. Yehaa, so exciting. The morning of the 11th.......... I slipped and wiped out all over the floor while racing to let the dog outside. Banged up my right knee and landed hard on the palm of my right hand. I ignored my hand and was being careful with my knee. I even made sure I walked with my cane to play it safe. I went over to the koala sewing cabinet to retrieve something and when I went to close the door, it fell off the hinge and landed against my left knee. Later when the hubby came home from work, he walked in and saw the koala cabinet door resting against my PC desk and me sitting with both knees elevated. He was cracking up laughing at his wife the klutz! Now this was bad enough but later in the evening, I hobbled to the refrigerator for a drink but when I swung the door open, the rail that went across the lowest shelf in the door flew out followed by all the condiment bottles. What a day! Joe did come in and pick everything up for me. I did have to go to an Urgent Care facility though last night to get four x-rays and a look at my right hand and wrist from the fall. I wound up with this.....
So the doc says I sprained the ligaments in my thumb and wrist area and need to wear this for the next 6 to 8 weeks. WHAT!!!!!  I cannot fathom wearing it that long. I have cross - stitching to do. So......... guess what was in today's mail. Yup, my new design chart I ordered from HAED! Talk about karma biting you in the butt! I decided I would stitch anyhow. I can stitch some left handed. I had the fabric all set up already in my scroll table frame so why not give it a try, right. I tried. It worked until my back started hurting from me leaning in close over it to see what I was doing. I wound up taking it out of the frame and decided I would give my q-snap frame a try. So far not so bad. I figure it will drive me crazy though enough to eventually just move back over to using a hoop. But for now I am going to try and keep using the Q-Snap.  This photo below is my beginning progress on "Earth Song" in 18 count on Aida cloth.

I nearly forgot, I have one more tiny finish to post about. I finally made a biscornu. I have admired these funky little decorative pincushions for a few years now and have always wanted to make one. Well I finally did it this week before the injury, lol. I think it took me two days to complete it. I made a very small one using up some scraps of 18 count Aida cloth for it.
Isn't that just so dainty looking?! I love it!

Well that is about all I can think of to share at this time. I hope to share more about the other new projects I have started in my next posting. TTUL for now.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Productivity with Cross-stitching and Yeah, it is spring.

Wow, I went for over a year without posting in this blog and now I have a second blog post in less then a week. Good things happen when you try to avoid FACEBOOK. LOL!

I am really making some great progress on the "Old Friends" piece. I am really loving this bear and she will look even better when she has all the outline stitching completed on her.

I really love the accidental lavender shade in the Aida cloth. It really seems to make those floss colors shine.

In addition to working on this "Old Friends" piece, I also found all my supplies to another unfinished cross-stitch that is actually very close to being completed. I started working on a SAL (Stitch - a- long) that was designed by Sylvia Kuhnert out in Germany and whom provided the design project freely for anyone who was interested. Sylvia's Kreuzstichliebe is the website and she has a new SAL that she has started for this spring. Be sure to check it out. The one I am working on was for the full year of 2010. Each month she presented a new part of the design and she called the project "My Little Heart."  It was a year long calender. Each picture in the grid represents a theme for each new month. I was doing quite well staying on top of it until the bursitis situation developed in my shoulder.

Here is an image of where I am at in this project. I have made a few little personal tweaks of my own, changing colors at times and adding outlines for each picture. I have also adjusted a few changes to the border.

The months start left to right with January. I added the September scarecrow yesterday and played with the slight additions to the border.  It is hard to see in the scan of the image but I have added gold metallic thread in the border. In person it really adds that simple touch of regal bling to the piece. I am still trying to decide what I will do with the finished piece. Framing will always be lovely but I am considering turning it into a small quilted wall hanging. 

Spring has really been roaring through Ohio this week. We spent part of our Sunday ducking down in the basement from Tornado warnings and endured three different hail storms. The hail was about the size of hazelnuts. It was insane. The area where all the backyards meet became instantly flooded as did a large corner of the yard across the street from us. By Tuesday all the water was gone and our temps were crazily in the mid 80's. We actually had to turn our AC on for a while by Wednesday evening. Rain came back through last night and cooled things down to be more reasonable today. We even have sun shine again. One of the things I really look forward to every single spring is the blooming of my magnolia tree. I LOVE that tree! Joe has threatened to cut that tree down nearly every year too because of where it resides so close to the driveway and has to be dodged when turning the cars around in the driveway when trying to get out on the road. I did not plant that tree in that spot. Joe's mother planted that tree there. In the years after she planted it, that tree would never bloom for her but in the spring we lost her to cancer.... that tree went into full bloom. As long as we live here, it will never be cut down unless it dies on its own accord. I managed to go out the other day while it was still so warm and take quite a few photos of the tree in full flowering. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eeeeek! Has it truly been over a year since I last posted on my blog?!

I am telling you, 2011 was a blur and so far 2012 is becoming one too. I have been so lazy about keeping up on this blog. I am so sorry. We just seemed to be hopping through 2011 so fast. It was our youngest son's last year of school. Preparing for this new big change for Jared and for us as well was very hard I think for all of us. It was a time to be making several decisions. We thought he would go on to college but in the end he didn't quite feel ready for this big leap just yet. Maybe next fall he will feel differently. Jared did quite well though during his senior year. He received several awards through the school year. Here are just two of them...

Honor Roll and an award for his work in Web Publishing.

Graduation in June was a big deal of course. He was so happy that Joe was doing well enough to be there to see him graduate. He worried and still does about his dad's health all the time and was so afraid Joe would not still be living by the time graduation rolled around especially since Joe had a close call back on New Years Eve just 6 months before graduation. Joe "the Iron Man" wasn't about to let anything stop him for seeing his son graduate.

June 4, 2011
Joe and Jared outside the Nationwide Arena after the commencement ceremony.

The time stamp on the photos is wacko. The day is correct, but the time itself is not stamping properly.

He was so happy that day! We all were and so proud of him. One of his accomplishments was completing 5 math units during his high school years and later after after graduation received a certificate recognizing him with a specialization in mathematics. Jared also completed as one of those math courses the college level Calculus course and received credit for it from Kenyon College. Not to shabby for the kid whom the pediatrician claimed would never learn to read, write or due simple math calculations because of having autism. Boy was she wrong, lol!

Here are a few more photos of Jared and his older brother A.J.

Jared has developed a passion for the color red.

If I didn't know better I would say the boys color coordinated, lol! A.J. is camera shy so it took some effort to get him to pose for me to take this photo of him.

I caught Jared and the dog lounging just the other day and could not resist!

I think this about has my guys all up to date. I did work on a lot of projects in 2011 and already into 2012. Some projects were started new while others are/were older projects I decided to try and put time into. I did so many that I am posting here so they may be out of order somewhat as to the timeline but trust me, these are what I worked on while not blogging. LOL!

This little doily simply named "Simple Doily" came from a free pattern I found online somewhere. It was an enjoyable small project and it now resides on a lamp table in my family room.

This large maroon doily is also another free design. You can find the pattern here: 
This is a very large piece and resides in the center of my dining room table.

This oddity in knitting is also from a free pattern called the Chullo Hat. If I ever finish it, there will be a tassel at the top that flips over to one side and ear flaps. I started it in 2011 for my great-niece and worked on it until I realized the hat would end up being far too large for her when finished so I am not sure that it will ever get completed.

I have had this baby "Bobbles Cardigan" pattern since, well since before I had Jared and he is 20 now, lol. I decided that I would knit a baby layette to keep on hand for last minute baby shower gifting. I am still working on the matching blanket, hat and booties. Below is the blanket in progress.

This yellow table runner is something I crocheted using size 5 crochet thread for a mother's day gift for my mother. It took me longer to make it and get it to her then I would have liked. She seemed to really love it though when she did receive it. I also made her this large yellow doily with the left over thread. I just barely had enough to finish it.

I decided to try my hand at going green and recycled our plastic grocery bags into something called "plarn" and used some of it to crochet into a tote bag. I found working with the plarn to be too harsh though on my shoulder and wrists. I am going to donate the remainder of my plarn balls to church. The ladies in church are working with plarn and crocheting it into mats for the homeless to place on the ground and put their bedding on.
I think this is a wonderful thing that they are doing!

While sorting through many of my older projects I found this small collection of maple leaf quilt blocks and quickly found myself arranging them into a wall hanging. This is one of the rare times that I actually did the actual quilting at my sewing machine to speed things along. Even though the seasons have changed and it is now spring, I still find myself keeping this wall hanging up on my living room wall. I just really enjoy the colors from it. Working on this quilt helped to get me motivated into completing the hand-applique work on this Hawaiian applique Sea turtles wall hanging.

I even began work on hand-quilting this turtle piece. I think it is now just over halfway finished on the quilting. My shoulder started to be an issue again so I had to put this piece away for a while but I bet I will have at it again in a few months or maybe even less. Below here is a closer photo for you to see my hand-quilting skills.

This pink doily was part of a crochet along in a yahoo group I am a member of. It was designed by a member of the group that calls herself "Cille." I made a slight change to the pattern on the very last edge round and changed the picots that were in the pattern to white pearl beads.

I purchased this pillowcase with the printed design on it years ago and was thinking about how I would like to get this out and work on it but wasn't quite sure exactly where it was. Well about a week after having that thought, Jared was digging around in the storage room and found it while looking for something else. I think I finished the embroidery work in about two days then I crocheted an edging for it. I think it came out quite nice. Now if I could only find the mate to it......

This next doily is quite a pleasure to look at. I found the design in a Thread Crochet magazine and the doily is titled "Posies on Parade." I worked the piece using size 20 Lizabeth brand crochet/tatting thread.

Last October I dug in my heels so to speak and learned how to tat with a shuttle. No, I am not talking about putting tattoos into people's skin, lol, I am talking about a very old form of lace making also known as knotting. It took me a while to get the knack of it but I am now doing a pretty fair job at it. I find it quite relaxing. This doily below is my first finished tatted doily which I just finished a few weeks ago from a free design I found at

I enjoy tatting so much that I decided to start a second blog and I am just going to talk about my tatting learning and adventures in it so if you want to follow along with me on that journey, be sure to visit the new blog.

Believe it or not, I almost have all the projects caught up here. Just a few more to post about, whew!

I have my cross-stitching mojo back! I actually managed to put in quite a few stitches on my 1899 wedding photo project. It is the piece I created by scanning my Schreiner great-grandparents 1899 wedding photo and importing it into PC Stitch to create a chart to work from. I just ordered the new version 10 of that software so looking forward to getting that and playing around with it when it gets here. :) Anyhow, here is the most recent progress. I am really loving how this piece is looking! It is being worked on pure linen in the photos original sepia tones.

And now for the very big surprise...........
after 15 long years......... drum roll....................................
I finally finished the "Fairy Idyll" piece!  See the before and after framing photos below.

I became so overjoyed for having finally completed the fairy that I became motivated to get another of my colorful unfinished cross-stitch pieces out and work on it. I have had this chart "Old Friends" since it was first published in 1990.

I am working the piece on 14 count aida that I hand dyed. I love it and find it to be very cheery.

I really had not been motivated to do any cross-stitching at all after having so many issues with my right shoulder but I think that enough time has gone by without stitching that it was able to heal better. I only got my stitching mojo back after attending the monthly ladies craft group at church and as I sat there working on my tatting, I was watching three friends working on their cross-stitching and thinking hmmmmm, that looks like just what I need to be doing too! They definitely inspired me and got my motor going again. I am having a ball at it and I am so loving walking past my living room sofa and seeing that finished fairy piece residing where I hoped to someday see her settled in. She really changes the entire feel of my living room. I love it!

Until next time my crafting friends. :)