Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fun, Fun, Fun! (Long and Photo Heavy)

I had so much fun! I met lots of wonderful ladies, shopped til I dropped, took some stitching classes, ate yummy food, was crafty, stitched my little heart out and just had a fabulously wonderful time. The Shepherd's Bush retreat was just plain awesome. Even more so was making new friends...I had a wonderful time hanging out with Katrina, Karin, Natalia and Sara (no blog)!

**ok, now is the time to get your cup of tea because this is going to be a long post...don't say you weren't warned**

Now it's time to play catch-up. Am I the last one to post about retreat?! I came home to 257 posts to catch up on...and I read each one because I couldn't bear to miss out on anything...and 110 work emails. And apparently some huge paper machine threw up all over my work desk! The heck?! Don't you wish you can freeze time a little so it's not so hard to catch up when you get back from vacation? Welcome back to reality, Valerie! Please beam me back to Utah...it was much calmer there.

On Wednesday, I got up at the crack of dawn to begin my journey to Utah. I landed, found my rental car and made it to Ogden in one piece. Thank you to whomever invented the GPS! First stop, Shepherd's Bush which was truly nirvana. It's a beautiful shop! It's cute and homey and just loaded full of treasures. They have a kabillion models and because they know you will fall in love with it, they even put small cuts of fabric nearby so you can just pick up the chart and fabric right there. They are amazingly organized! And the models go all the way up to the ceiling! You can just stand and crane your neck and take it all in. I would have taken pictures but imagine about 70 ladies crammed into a small shop. Shoot...there may have been more! I shopped until I dropped...had to sit down and have a lemonade break. While shopping, I met Terri, Deb, Jolene and Loraine. Right when I was going to step out to take a photo of the shop, there was this torrential downpour. Katrina, Karin and I waited it out and then ran to our next stop. Next stop...Jill Rensel's shop. Can I just say that besides being a wonderfully talented framer, Jill is also the sweetest person on earth? She had a treat table set up for retreat stragglers which included some of my favorite candy! We had a good chat and looked at all the beauties she had framed up that were awaiting their owners. She inspires me to stitch faster so that all the ideas in my head actually become a reality. After that, we had a little walk in the neighborhood, an early dinner and began the journey to Park City. Once there, I was so pooped I just collapsed into bed.

Having lived at sealevel all my life, suddenly being at 7000+ feet had me at a slight disadvantage. But luckily I was surrounded by savvy mountain-living people that they got me all up to speed on how to handle the altitude. I followed their instruction and was good to go. It was the first official day of retreat and we started it off with more shopping. OMG, there was so much cute stuff that I just couldn't resist! Trust me, I was *not* the only shopaholic there! I was in awe of how many people had the same idea at the same time and lo and behold...line! But the cool thing about standing in line is that you meet new people. I found out that there were Bay Area stitchers besides me at the retreat. I was starting to wonder! It was nice to meet Pam, Kim and Lara (all non-bloggers). We had a welcome project which was stitching your initial, finishing it as a button and placing it on these incredible project bags. Isn't it great?!

And a closeup...Karin helped me out in getting it into button form because she's a total pro! It came out great...I was so happy I think I did a little dance at the table!

Then we had a Simple Stitches project.
I didn't stitch on any class projects during class time because I wanted to do it at my own pace and not get flustered. So I worked on my Where My Heart Blooms instead. Well, Alma Allen saw me stitching on it and actually came up and talked to me about it. I practically fell out of my chair! Alma is so sweet and she has a terrific sense of humor! Actually, all the teachers at the retreat do too. Here's how WMHB looks like now. Still lots to do. Funny thing is that I don't do specialty stitches very often (as in almost never) so I had to write myself a cheat sheet.
So even though I've been blogging for what seems like forever but also no time at all, I really kind of think I write into the abyss. I know I have readers because some even comment! But the world is vast...but at the same time...small. So imagine my surprise when I discovered people were on the lookout for me because they knew I'd be at retreat! Wow! People actually know who I am! I met some lovely ladies like Tammy and Lancy (also non-bloggers). It was so nice to talk to them in between classes. They were both so friendly. There were a couple more but I've forgotten their names...but thank you for being on the lookout and saying hi! There was also Melissa who was my seatmate in the classes. Stitchers really are the friendliest people on the planet!

Here's a sneak peek of the class projects.

Jeanette Douglas:
Charland: Large Needlebook (closed)

Blackbird Designs:
I also took some pictures of past projects in the Blackbird Designs classroom...

It was great to see so many of their models and antique samplers in person!

And as I mentioned...I shopped! Here's a couple of photos of my stash haul.
I really like the new Shepherd's Bush stocking called Sadie. I liked it so much that I kitted it up. This is going to be *my* stocking...can't wait to start it.

And not only did I buy lots of new stash as shown above, Tina and Teri handed out extra little goodies throughout retreat. It was like christmas every single day. I am thankful I had an expandable suitcase otherwise I would have had to make the tough decision between bringing home stash or my trusty pillow! It would have had to be buh-bye pillow!
I had a wonderful time meeting such wonderful ladies. And a very special thank you to Katrina for being party..oh um...retreat planner extraordinaire! She allowed a total newbie, shy, quiet retreat goer (that's me) have a totally fantastic time! She told us what to expect and when to go running for that last "must have" pattern. Serious! Just imagine...she is holding fantastic pattern...where'd you get that...over there, hurry up, they're almost out! What? Almost out? But I need it! Seriously, at retreat, you need everything! Katrina also planned a special meal out each day which I totally appreciated. I am almost always the planner in my circle and it was so nice to have the retreat extras planned. I didn't have to worry about anything other than getting myself there and having a good time. And not only did I have a good time...I had a super fabulous time. Thank you to Katrina, Karin, Natalia and Sara for including me in your group. First retreat = success! Time to start saving those pennies for 2012!

And there's even more fun! I am doing a SAL with Carol R. on the LHN Travelling Stitcher starting October 1st. If you're interested in joining us, please let me know. This is a no stress, no blog SAL. Just stitch along and have fun. Here's what I will be using...called for threads on Lambswool.
*tap, tap, tap*

Is anyone still out there? Wow this was long! I got tired writing it. Be sure to read Katrina, Natalia, Terri and Deb's blogs(links above) because they all have updates on retreat with super fabulous pictures of things other than stitching! Yes, I know...there is such a thing but I had a one track mind apparently. If you are on the fence about the next retreat...just go! It was fabulous fun and apparently just what I needed. I was actually bouncy at work...on Monday! I think my co-workers were about to take my temperature and make sure I wasn't feverish and losing it!

I did return to another heatwave though. Hellloooo, sweet fog...where are you?!

Until next time...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Come Dance With Me!

Hey there friends, put on your dancin' boots and come dance with me. Come dance, come dance, come dance...


Because at 6pm, I sewed on my last button on Boo Club. Yay! I made my self-imposed goal! It's about time I was realistic about something. Here it is in all its glory!
L*K Boo Club
32 ct. Birds of a Feather Meadowlark
Recommended WDW/GAST/DMC

That's kind of hard to see so I here are photos of the top half and the bottom half.
I am *so* happy to have a *me* finish! I haven't figured out how I want to finish it but I am thinking a wall hanging. I wonder if I can kind a spooky dowel holder...like a witches broom. I need to brainstorm and hit the craft stores. I will be offering my charts for sale...for a good price. If anyone is interested, just send me an email. Otherwise, I'll be posting them on my sale blog after retreat.

I put away all the threads and got things together for my next start. I've been following Michelle's progress on her Where My Heart Blooms for a while. Each time I saw her post an update, it only made me want to stitch mine more and more. When I met up with Lisa and Brandy at NiaH last weekend, finding fabric was my goal. Mind you, I didn't expect it to take 2 hours to get there and have a serious case of indecisiveness from being so frazzled from traffic. Thank goodness for them and Mary, otherwise, I may still be there trying to decide...a week later.
The pattern calls for a 30 count R&R but NiaH doesn't carry R&R and I'm really not all that partial to it anyways. I picked out 40 count Lakeside Linens Fawn instead. Which is kind of funny since my Mary Wigham is on Fawn too and I'll be puling her out again after retreat/birthday so I can be a good moderator and at least get through Part 1. The fawn is darker than what is shown in the above photo. On the 40 count, WMHB will be all small and dainty! I can't wait to see it transform. I'll be using the called for GAST/WDW.

A few weeks ago, I came across this blogger who has a fancy schmancy embroidery machine and she makes bookmarks. One of them was a cross which I thought would be nice for my mom since she's super catholic and her birthday is coming up. She's turning 80 on the 24th. She's getting old too! LoriRay was very sweet and said she'd make me some bookmarks for my mom and I got a couple of cross ones and some heart ones. They arrived in the mail this week and they came out great!
Well, that's about it. This may be my last update before retreat. I have laundry and housesitting to do, bills to pay, projects to start (to make stitching easy for plane travel), must pack, plus work (ugh!) and who knows what else in the next three days! I'm going to be a frazzled sleepy mess on Wednesday. But I think the moment I step foot in Shepherd's Bush, it will be nirvana! OMG, I can't wait...so excited!!

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Until next time...

Happy Friday!

I feel chatty but don't really have any photos to share. I decided to bail on the 2nd angel...at least for now. Work has become stressful due to the events of the last couple of weeks and I don't need stitching stress on top of it. Instead, I've thrown myself into Boo Club like you wouldn't believe. I am *so* close to finishing!! SO CLOSE! Can I do it before I leave for retreat? My goal is to be finished by Saturday night. I'd like to start something new to stitch on at retreat plus I have a quick small I want to squeeze in too.

I figured I would answer this month's SBQ from Lee.

Is there anything that you do while you are stitching that is kind of weird or unusual? A quirky habit maybe? Or anything that you do that makes you think, Hey...I wonder if anyone else does this?

I think I'm a pretty mainstream stitcher. I stitch in my stitching nest, using q-snaps, while drinking (coffee, tea, wine, cocktails...not all at the same time) and trying to get the most of my floss. I am not a waster. I watch tv. And sometimes I miss what's on the show and thankfully, I have Tivo and can rewind. How did we stitch before the invention of the dvr?! We were some lost, confused stitchy tv watchers! Sometimes, if I'm really into stitching and am watching a show on the Tivo, I let the commercial run because I just can't be bothered. I'm stitching here! I stick my needles into the upholstery of whatever I am sitting on...and sadly, I impaled Mr. Ex a ton of times because of this. You'd think he'd have learned! I'm a floss licker. Don't "eewww!" because you know you do it too. I try to be as minimalistic as possible with travel stitching. I leave with my project bag filled with linen-loaded q-snap, pattern, flosses and a pair of scissors. I've been lucky enough to never lose or break my needle but I sometimes wonder if I'm due. Maybe I should travel with a pack of needles instead of just the one lonely needle.

I wonder if anyone really does anything strange. I haven't seen any strange answers yet.

I am so happy it's Friday! This week's been a doozy! Happy Friday everyone...I hope your weekend is grand.

Until next time...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Letter C Reveal!!

Just a quick fly by post.

My niece's birthday has come and gone. It's almost been a month. Unbelievable that time flies by so fast! I managed to get Mr. Ex to extract this photo so that I can actually post something since my sister is struggling with photo skills worse than mine. I think we both need to take some photography lessons. Too bad we live so far from each other. That would be a fun sister bonding activity! Here's the photo that Jill sent me prior to shipment.

It's a little hard to see the beads on the bottom of the design. Maybe I can score some super pics when I visit in November. Now, it's hanging on Cristina's super lavender wall. That wall is bright! I may need sunglasses just to look at it!

And as always, I love what Jill did with the matting. She is so talented!

Until next time...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembrance and a Finish

Everyone in blogland is remembering September 11, 2001 today. A day all Americans will never forget.
The past two days have been a tad strange and sad. When you spend a good amount of time in front of the tv with your jaw to the floor in disbelief, it's never a good thing. There was a huge gas main explosion in the town adjacent to where I grew up. 38 homes were destroyed, 4 people perished and there are people still missing. An entire neighborhood gone in flames. It called for a multi-county fire response that went to six alarms. Six alarms is really bad. This is the worst that most of the career firefighters in this county have seen in their lives. And if they've seen anything worse, it was because they went to New York post-9/11 to assist. In my line of work, this causes me to worry for my co-workers who normally drive me nuts and will create a whole realm of paperwork for me. Watching the news coverage just tears at my heart; not only for the people affected but to see and hear the community coming together whether they donate food, clothing, money, donate blood or volunteer to help. Luckily, no one I know lives in that neighborhood or was affected but so many were. It's horrific.


Onto the stitching news. After one week, I finally finished *one* angel ornament. How did I think I could do two in a weekend?! I still have one more to do! :::bangs head on table:::
I do have to say that struggling with the frogs and the black fabric is worth it. She comes to life! There is one little area I'm not happy about due to the cursed frog. I'll ask the ladies at the stitch in what they think tomorrow.

And here is my TUSAL update. The new moon was on Wednesday, which also happened to be my dad's 82nd birthday. Dad's getting old! No cake or party since he's off gallivanting and traveling with my mom.
All that yellow and gold at the top is due to Angel stitching.

And have you seen the new Ginghers?! LOVE!! Black and white swirly mod...these are so me! I'm glad I was able to buy a pair and they will of course go in my frog!

Well, that's it for now. Time to head to the gym so I don't feel so guilty stuffing my face with sangria and tapas later! :)

Until next time...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Canvas for Adoption...Again!

**Pending: This now has a new home**

A couple of months ago, I posted here that my co-worker was moving and she hoisted this lovely canvas on me with the hopes I would find it a good home. I don't needlepoint whatsoever and I really have enough issues stitching what I want to stitch with the occasional knitted or crochet something here or there.

Someone told me that they were interested in the canvas but after chasing them down for over a month now, I give up. It shouldn't be that hard for me to practically give something away. All I ask is postage for a huge canvas, stretcher bars and threads. Honestly, this is a bargain! Shipping tube/postage within the US would cost just under $13. But I'd be willing to send this anywhere provided the postage is paid for.

Here are a couple of photos to refresh your memory.

I know most of my readers are cross stitchers like me and not really needlepointers but if you have needlepointer friends, please direct them to the blog and have them take a look at the photos. All they need to do is pay me for postage. It's really that easy. Why this is still sitting in my closet is beyond me!

And to whine for a moment...I am sad to see the weekend end. Having 3 days off was fab but it ended on a sad note. Today would have been me and *the boy's* anniversary. Despite moving on, little things like special dates hang me up. And despite it being a holiday and people shouldn't be labouring...damn DPT was in full force and gave me a $55 ticket for an expired meter. Really...that's equivalent to a pair of shoes thankyouverymuch! Goes to show that even though it's a holiday, parking in the city is never free. Ugh...just burns me! I've been ticket free for a good eight years! There goes that track record!

Whine over...seriously...some nice needlepointer out there...please adopt this canvas!

Until next time...

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Lots to Share...But Must Stitch!

The title says it all! Let's see...where do I start?

First of all, thanks for all the kind comments on Grandpa Glenn's passing. My sister appreciated them and even showed my BIL. My sister peeks in to make sure I stay out of trouble but she's forgotten her logon and can't comment. That's ok. I'm happy she's reading my blog.

It took me a couple of days to get used to the sight of my new huge recliner. Then I finally sat in it and let me tell you, it kind of takes a lot of motivation to get out of it now! I love it! I'm a little worried since I picked a cream on cream pattern but it was the color/pattern that worked the best for my room.
I still need to situate my stitching lamp a little better and test out the floor stand. I didn't realize that the recliner has a wide metal frame at the base so I am a little worried the stand won't fit very well but I'll figure out something to make it work! So far, it's been a very comfy stitching nest.

The recliner replaced this chair and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I stuck it in the bedroom for now while I decide if I want to keep it or sell it. It was never the comfiest chair but it was cute and stylish for my living room. Now, it can be a catch all for the clothes I don't feel like hanging right away. Uh, yea...clothes never get hung right away!I've gone and squeezed it in a corner of the bedroom. You can see I have a little pillow on the chair. Deb did the finishing for my QFRR from a couple of years ago. Simple but elegant. I love it!
The other day, I was surfing on etsy for pincushions. I have no idea why. I should have stayed away because when I saw this, my finger did beaucoup clicking and next think I knew, pretty pumpkin was winging it's way to me!
Here is it next to my blue one that everyone else in stitching land seems to have or covet. I love the felt one so much, I want to try my hand at making my own. You know...when I have time which may be never but a girl can dream once in a while. I love the orange and white pumpkin! I would have preferred that the black ribbon not be all frayed as it is but that's easily replaced.

The stitching has been slow in areas where it needs to be fast. How come that's always the case too?! I managed to finish Monster...because you know...let me work on anything other than what I should be doing! lol
And the obligation stitching. This is all I managed yesterday. Not nearly enough and I have yet to pick up the needle today. I had hoped to finish two this weekend. Apparently, I will be lucky if I finish one! What was I thinking?!

The weekend so far has been a mellow one. I went to my favorite restaurant ever which I've already touted on the blog so many times. Nopa was wonderful! We missed our normal server though...and our normal table. We were heartsick for both but we still managed to stuff our faces and leave smiling. Now, they serve brunch! Be still my heart...must go back soon!

I also dragged myself out of the recliner and my pj's yesterday to try and meet new people. It wasn't so successful. There were about 100 people crammed into a little wine bar that maybe fits 60. I get way too claustrophobic and shy for crowds of that magnitude. I met up with Mr. Octopus instead to see if he understood what I mean by "friends". I don't think he does. I had fun out all the same. The interesting comment of the evening was when a very buzzed girl came up to me and told me I look like Tina Fey and then invited us to some picnic tomorrow. Uh...yea. Tina Fey...I don't see that but considering I like Tina Fey, I'll take that as a compliment.

Has anyone else been watching the "Labor of Love" marathon on the USA network? Holy cow, they don't want me to leave the house! I've watched more chick flicks in the last 36 hours than I have all year! I also watched "The Back-Up Plan" via netflix. It was pretty funny aside from the scary/bizarre/traumatizing childbirth scene.

Ok, time for more chick flicks and stitching. Maybe, just maybe I can finish up one of these angels!!

Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

Until next time...