Saturday, December 31, 2011

And We Say Hello to Another Year!

It's that time of year where we look over the goals we set and see how well we did. I feel like I did terribly in the stitching arena but I did well on personal goals

2011 Personal Goals

~Be more positive and happy. - Yes, slowly getting there. I feel 100% better now than this time last year.
~Lose 10 pounds and exercise regularly. - Not really.
~Continue to save money - Not really, getting a new car but a wrench in my saving plans.

2011 Stitching Goals

~Finish Mary Wigham - No, but I got up to Part 5. I've deemed her an UFO.
~Finish BBD Where My Heart Blooms - Yes! I finished!
~Stitch one design per month on the BBD Anniversaries of the Heart Series - Um no. I stitched 3.75 blocks.
~Start two Mirabilias - No
~Stitch 12 Christmas Ornaments - Only stitched one! Big fail!
~L*K Christmas Rules - Yes and it graced my wall this year. Yay!

2011 allowed me 15 finishes...3 less than last year. I had hoped for more stitching time but things got in the way. My focus for 2012 is to enjoy my stitching and get some major projects up and on my walls. So my goals for 2012 are short and simple.

I'll stick with the same personal goals for 2012.
2012 Personal Goals

~Continue to be more positive and happy.
~Lose 10 pounds and exercise regularly. I;m hoping the fancy scale I just ordered motivates me.
~Continue to save money.
~Continue efforts of meeting new people and being social.

2012 Stitching Goals
~Mirabilia Fairy Moon
~Chatelaine Taj Mahal
~Seasonal stitching (Easter, Halloween, Christmas)

If I can get Fairy Moon and Taj Mahal done and framed (or at least to Jill for framing), I will call 2012 a successful year.

Happy New Year my friends. I wish you the very best. Smiles, happiness, love, health, prosperity and lots of stitching time.

Much love,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Fly By

Just a quick post today to show my progress on the Shepherd's Bush stocking. It's really coming along!
This is the first time I've used 18 count linen and perle cotton. It kind of feels like I am pulling yarn through burlap. The "x's" are huge! It's a fun stitch though. I've been jumping around a little because filling in the dress is a little tedious. I will work on it through tomorrow and then have a new start on NYE. Well, at least that's the plan!

Yesterday was one of those lazy days where you wake up early but still lounge around in bed for hours afterwards. You know, complete with tv remotes, laptop, a book and the phone nearby. When I finally felt a surge of energy, it was too late to run my errands since I had to meet up with some friends for afternoon tea, english style. It was nice to see each other, catch up and stroll around my old neighborhood of 10+ years ago. Some things really don't change that much! All the important things were still around.

I'm off to get ready for another urban adventure. I'll tell you all about it in the next post!

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Last TUSAL of 2011

Hello my lovelies...I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Thanks so much for the comments on my last post. I was happy to survive another holiday but I tell you, next year I think I need to save myself the hassle and drama and just plan a trip somewhere. It always ends up that when I show up, I have to save dinner from overcooking, set the table, heat up all the food, serve everyone, clear the table, serve everyone dessert, clear that and then be told I need to lose 25 pounds and be attacked by a 3 pound chihuahua. Just call me Cinderella! Next year, maybe I can be in Fiji instead. Somewhere warm where some cute guy brings me tropical drinks! Pina Colada anyone?

In the last couple of days, I caught up with a dear friend, saw Young Adult, had pho on a cold, bitter day, bought Christmas cards at 50% off, hiked to Chinatown for delicious dim sum, egg tarts and fresh fortune cookies. Continued up into North Beach for a cup of strong coffee and further into Fisherman's Wharf to say hi to Laughing Sal. Then I walked back to Union Square to see if I could find a casual warm jacket on sale with no luck and I started my journey back home. It was a long, fun day but let me tell you, my feet ache from all that walking! But I guess that was all in lieu of a gym workout on the elliptical. I am trying to enjoy my vacation to the fullest. I know that as the week progresses, it will get quieter and I will be able to focus on stitching and goals for the new year.

I have been putting some time in on my stocking and I am happy with my progress. I will show a photo in my next post. This post is about TUSAL...the last one of 2011! I've already emptied my jar since this photo was taken and am starting all over for 2012. I will use this years orts for stuffing something. They are good orts...not like last they'll help plump up an ornie or something or other. I did pretty good progress but didn't quite reach the top of my jar. I didn't have as many finishes this year as I hoped and I suspect I'll have less next year. All this socializing takes up a lot of time and I hope to focus on 2 big BAPs next year.
You all can join in on the TUSAL fun. Just sign up on Daffycat's blog!

Until next time...

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Special Christmas Message

Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. ~Francis C. Farley

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry and joyful Christmas. I am incredibly grateful to the friendships this little blog has allowed me with people that I would not otherwise have met. In times of great sadness, heartache and disillusionment, I shared my true thoughts and feelings and was always met with encouragement, hugs and support. I know most of my readers found me because of my stitching but to those that stuck through the personal posts and rallied, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your encouragement kept me plugging along, allowed me to regain my footing, put myself out there, fight for and find myself again. I couldn't have done it without you.

And even though I don't have a man in my life to ring in the New Year, I am amazingly content in the knowledge that I am the Valerie I want to be (+10 pounds and a couple of other things but whatever) and am looking forward to the adventures and friendships I will make and encounter in the coming year.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May it be everything you wish it to be.

Much love,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

IHSW Update

Well, I had grand plans for my weekend. I think I jinxed myself saying it would be quiet but the best laid plans oftentimes go awry. I had a little bit of a floor stand malfunction.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I decided to baste my fabric to my scroll rods so I could start my Shepherd's Bush stocking. I didn't want to do qsnaps since I can't really hold one larger than 8" for long because my neck and shoulder will lock up. And it took me two days because I've been so busy!

So on Thursday night, I finally attach the sidebars and clamped it into my Stitchmate and wouldn't you believe scroll frame fell right out of the clamp and onto the floor! Since I don't use rods often, this was the first time I tried to use scroll rods with my Stitchmate since I got it and I didn't realize I needed to use Stitchmate rods/bars or have some ADP adapter. The only size Stitchmate rods I had were 16" and I needed 19" rods for the fabric. Ugh! Oh yea, and as I was doing all this, the band that keeps my q-snap adapter in place snapped so I couldn't even pull the fabric onto bigger snaps since the adapter wouldn't stay in place.

It put a complete halt to my plans! So I switched gears and just pulled out Shepherd's Bush Merry Be and got a few stitches in. I think I prefer the look of two threads instead of the called for one thread over 2 on 30 count. I am debating whether to continue with two or switch back to 1 thread for the daintier look. I always have this dilemna with their kits! Here is my small start.
But I didn't stitch on it long because my friend Mary came to my rescue! She said I could borrow whatever rods/bars I needed to help me stay on track with my projects. I passed by her house, got what I needed and of course, in my excitement put the rods into the sidebar backwards but whatever. It works, the frame stayed in the clamp and I was stitching. Here is my small start on Sadie's Stocking which will soon become Valerie's Stocking!

Since so much time was wasted, I didn't make much progress on my starts. I don't know how you serial starters do it. I can't stand everything you need to do to start a new project. Once it's started, I'm fine but I'm a spazz case before that.

Oh and here is my Hallow Eden finish. I love it!
I did run into a little issue when I took the qsnaps off. I was lazy and never took them off or put felt between the clamps so I have qsnap marks and the fabric got grimy where I was holding it. Since it's Lakeside Linen and Crescent Colors, I am worried about getting the fabric wet. So I'm debating what to do and how to get it finished. Snug frame...or cube finish. I guess no matter what, the scuzzy section will be hidden or cut off since it's not the stitching itself that is dirty. Any suggestions??

Well, that's it for today. I haven't had much stitching time so far this week but once Monday comes along, I plan to have a few "stitch ass" sessions since I will be off until January 3rd! Happy dance....happy dance! Woo!! I plan to relax, do things I don't get to do on the weekend and stitch my heart out!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bringing Home the Tree

After being Ms. Scroogette for the past couple of years, I decided early on, even before Thanksgiving, that I was getting a real Christmas tree this year. This was my year and gosh darnit, I'm having a tree! No little 5 foot fiber optic this year either. So I planned ahead and tried to pair my schedule with a friend of mine who I knew wouldn't balk at the request of carrying a 6'+ tree up 50 stairs and decorating it with me. You know...those types of friends are rare! Since our schedules are opposite, I took the day off during the week and we made a big day of it.

So, on a Thursday, after a yummy breakfast at an old-style pancake house, we headed to Home Depot. It's the most cost-efficient place to get a tree around here and I'm trying to do holidays on a budget. The bad thing about this plan is that Home Depot kind of piles up the trees and it's hard to take a gander without pulling trees out of the pile. Lacking upper body strength, especially after not being diligent about the gym, I about toppled over a few times. Wow, some of those trees were really heavy! I found a tree that we both approved of, as did some shoppers near us. After that, I was kind of scared to let go of the tree! No lady, you can't have this's mine! They did their fresh cut and wrap it in plastic bit and we somehow managed to get it to fit inside the CR-V and away we went.

My friend managed to get the tree up the stairs, without my help or being out of breath! I have no idea how he does it! In my excitement to have a real tree...I forgot what a biyatch it can be to get the tree to stay up straight in the tree stand! It took about three tries and a lot of cursing. Thank goodness for the Christmas carols on the radio because it's hard to stay mad when you're also trying to sing along to carols! The problem was that the trunk was cut too short so it wouldn't hit the sharp edge on the bottom to help hold the tree steady and the trunk was so soft because the tree was definitely fresh...and sappy. And I didn't want to cut the branches on the bottom since they created a lot of the fullness to the tree. It took some doing and we made it work. I thought it was a success when it stayed up the first night since it almost toppled over while we were decorating it. Ack!

Lights, ornies and star! Ta-da!
I am in love with my tree. I am oftentimes tempted to leave it on overnight but then I remember I live in an old building with old wiring and don't want to tempt the fates. So I enjoy it as much as possible when I'm home. I also uncovered some treasures when going through my Christmas boxes. Here are a few things I hold dear.

Fat Santa. Dear Fat Santa, I've been a very good girl. Can you please send me the winning lottery numbers? NO!? Well, it's a good thing you're cute.
Some ornies that have been gifted to me...

Mirabilia's Christmas Elf Fairy
Some knick knacks
Santa Snoopy and Reindeer!
The stocking my first boyfriend made me by slipping away from me at Albertson's to buy it and glitter gel to add my name many, many moons ago and a little reminder that this is my christmas and I'll make it merry in my own little ways.
And a splotchy pointsetta to adorn my very cluttered kitchen table. Don't look too closely!
There you have it. My pretty tree and modest decor. All these little things make me happy and smile. I'm very happy I decorated...even if the tree almost killed me! But I think we have a truce and she is certainly adorned and loved.

Until next merry and bright.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fun-Filled Saturday!

Hello my lovelies! I've been having a couple of "Calgon Take Me Away" couple of weeks and am all wrapped up (ha! no pun intended) in all the christmas happenings. But I had to yank myself away from the card writing to just catch up a little. I probably have glitter in my hair and on my face but at the moment, I'm oblivious to all that. I've got so much to share and will have to spread it amongst a few posts. I've had some friends emailing me to make sure I am ok. It's been a much longer absence than I thought but I am well. Thanks so much for worrying about me.

Saturday the 3rd was my fun day. I'd been looking forward to it for months since my stitching group was planning our Christmas Shindig for that day. I went about getting my things together the night before and had grand plans to eat terrific food and get loads of stitching done.

I had hoped to be finished with Hallow Eden by Friday so I could start something Christmasy for the holiday party but as usual...I think I can stitch much faster than I actually can! Ha! As the weekend got closer, I decided to just take my time since Hallow Eden is small and portable anyways and I only had two more colors left to stitch.

As I left home in the morning, I noticed the postman on my block and asked him if he had any packages for me as I was expecting a package of finishing from KarenV. If I didn't get it that day, I'd have to wait until the following Saturday to get it from the Post Office. I was lucky because he had it! Yay! Since I was heading to the party, I put the box in the car and off I went. Once I arrived to the venue, I debated bringing the box in but when I mentioned it to some of the stitchers, they all urged me to get my box from the car and share. They all wanted to join in on the fun.

Karen did a wonderful job, as usual. She finished my Christmas Rules into a bellpull just in time for the holiday. She did say there were issues with this hardware so if you decide to buy it, be careful! However, Images Stitchery does guarantee their products and will take care of you.

And I found it's special spot!
And this is the backing fabric used. A fun, simple polka dot.
She also finished Tweet Gift but Full Circle Designs. I love this ornie. The cardinal is so cute and I plan to stitch it's companion soon.
Here is Almost Halloween by The Drawn Thread finished as a little pillow with the most perfect backing fabric and jumbo rick rack trim! And lastly, she sewed my Traveling Stitcher and matching needles piece onto it's pouch and needlebook for me. If I wanted to do it myself, it would have sat in the closet forever!
And the fun backing fabric for the Halloween pillow...

I am thrilled with the finishes and the fact that they will be displayed this year instead of gathering more dust unfinished in the closet. Thanks Karen!

The rest of the Christmas Party was great. We had a wonderful lunch and cake and I enjoyed a glass or two of wine along with chatter with some lovely ladies I only get to see a couple of times a year. It was so nice to catch up and share some laughs, stories and stitching with one another.

The Clubhouse was decorated very nicely with many trees and nutcrackers and some ladies brought some wonderful projects to show and tell. Here are some photos.
My dear friend Mary's French Alphabet Sampler. It's gorgeous! The picture doesn't do it justice and sadly I caught a glare from the windows behind me.
Narita's completed Flower Power. It's stunning and massive! It's almost the size of the loveseat!
Naomi's almost completed Mirabilia Winter Queen.

It was a fantastic day! I still have lots to share. My "bringing home the tree" story and the end result and I finally finished Hallow Eden! will all have to wait another day.

Oh and before I leave, sign up for Joyzse's IHSW! It's this weekend and it actually looks like a quiet one for me (famous last words) and I plan on starting something Christmasy! I can't wait! Of course, that will only happen if I finish my cards, wrap gifts, head to the post office finish picking up the last of the gifts by the weekend. Oof...doesn't it seem like there's 5x more things to do because of Christmas!?

Until next merry and bright!