Archive | April 2008

My Cat Has a Myspace Page

I adopted my cat, Mia, about a year ago. I got her from the South Bend Animal Shelter and she was very sick with a severe upper respiratory infection. Her little nose was so stopped up that she was breathing through her mouth, not eating or drinking much, and had ulcers around her poor little mouth. Although she was quite pitiful, she was still curious and playful, and very happy to be at my house rather than the cage with a psycho kitten that seemed furious that Mia had been picked up rather than him or herself. Here she is the day I brought her home, hangin on the couch:

2433944160029744911bUfasp_ph

If you look closely, you can see how dirty her nose was from all of the sneezing that she was doing. The vet got her all fixed up and she was nice and healthy within a couple of weeks.

So, one night, I was doing some stuff on my Myspace page, and I decided that Mia needed her own myspace page…  this was mostly prompted by the exceptionally cute picture I’d just pulled off the camera:

2430684770029744911ECgkkk_fs

So cute! If you’re interested in viewing her page and looking at her human, cat, and dog friends, you can click for Mia’s Myspace Page.

I actually entered Mia into Kittenwar! using the picture above, and she hasn’t won that many battles… I think I should’ve put the first picture instead. In case you’re not familiar with Kittenwar!, it’s a site where they show random pairs of kitten pictures that people have submitted, and you vote on which kitten you like best. They keep stats on all of the kittens, then there are links to the kittens who have won the highest percentage of battles. LOL… I know it sounds silly, but if you’re into cats or kitten pictures, check it out!  You can visit Mia’s Stats Page if you are so inclined.

So, Mia is all grown up now, but she hasn’t lost her fluffiness.  She now has a buddy, named Tater, who is DBF’s cat, and was adopted from Petsmart.  Pardon the glowing eyes….

2926297870029744911YSOhor_ph

Tater is quite athletic. He’s a mighty hunter and can jump to the top of my 7′ bookshelf from either the floor, or from a chair located about 3′ away. If course, once he’s up there, he likes to knock enough stuff off the top so that he can lay down and survey the living room for predators and prey. He loves to play with the various cat toys around the house while Mia lays on the couch or a chair and watches him.

So enough about my cat for now. DBF and I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall last night.  LINK SPOILER ALERT: I’d suggest skipping the trailer on the website if you have any desire to see the movie… it gives too much of the funny parts away (I hate it when they do that).  Anyway, we really enjoyed the movie…  it was much funnier than I expected.  We rounded out the evening with coffee and browsing at Barnes and Noble.

Today I’ve actually spend most of the day stitching!  I feel like a slug for not doing something more active, but I’ve felt quite motivated by my progress on Victoria Sampler Heirloom Family Sampler.  I’d post a progress picture, but I expect it to be finished within a day or two and will post a finish then.  I’m pondering my stash and wondering what I might work on next.  I’ve still got Chatelaine’s Alpine Seasons that needs plenty of work, but I’m thinking of starting a small to moderately sized project instead.  I have a couple of charts by M Designs… I may start the newly purchased “Winter Getaway,” or I may do the “H” Celtic letter design.  I’ve got a pretty purple and blue silk overdye that I think would be perfect.

Advertisements

Tea and Candles

Well, we did go on a really fun bike ride last night. I forgot how much I really enjoy it! It was nice and a lot of it followed a river where there were swans and otters. I’ll have to bring my camera next time! Most of my previous adult riding was in the Northwest (Washington and Idaho), where you are dealing with a lot of hills. Biking is the one of the only things that Indiana’s flatness is good for! There are some hilly areas around that we might travel to. Anyway, we are both definitely suffering with the bottom-soreness that comes with the first couple of rides of the season. That will get better though.

I’ve taken a mini-hiatus from stitching, but got back into it again last night after dinner. The next band on my was a hemstitching one, and I wasn’t feeling motivated to do any reweaving. However, I persevered and got that done last night. 😀 I’m actually really looking forward to doing the hardanger on this one.

I have a couple of other hobby/craft like things that I like to do, and one of them is making candles! Below are some pictures of my early candle-making efforts. I like all of them, but these are molded candles.

2617653030029744911eZMFIj_ph

2563349330029744911StgkdJ_ph

2222420280029744911aevDBx_ph

2601522730029744911akCvYx_ph

I’ve found that I like candles mostly for the scents available and the flame, so I’ve moved to making primarily container candles. They are much easier to do well and definitely take less time. My favorite jars are the half-pint wide mouth canning jars. The size and ease make them great for gift giving – mostly during the holidays.

My initial interest in candle making came when L’Occitaine stopped making my absolute favorite mint bergamot scented candles. I love Earl Grey tea, and bergamot oil is what gives it that nice fragrance. Shortly after they were discontinued, a friend asked me if I wanted to do a candle class with her. They had wonderful bergamot scented oil, which I bought after the class. The next time I went in for more… I was told that the company had discontinued that fragrance! I’ve been searching for a comparable substitute, and most of what I tried had an artificial smell or didn’t smell like bergamot at all! I did find a good supplier eventually though and once again my home is happily scented with bergamot.

Speaking of tea, I’ve found a brand that I really like. Numi’s Aged Earl Grey has little pieces of the actual bergamot fruit in their teabags, in addition to the oil. Stash makes a nice Double Bergamot Earl Grey too. Of course, there are always my old standbys – Celestial Seasonings Peppermint, Chamomile, and Sleepytime.

Spring!

Even though only a small percentage of trees actually have buds, it finally feels l like spring here in Northern Indiana!

Yesterday we performed a typical spring activity and visited a bike shop.  DBF wanted to buy a bike so that we could go biking together.  I have a “hybrid” bike that I got a couple of years ago.  A hybrid is a combination of the comfort of a mountain bike with gearing and weight more like road bike.  These bikes are meant for paved bike trails or light gravel.  We had wonderful service by our local bike shop and felt good that we were supporting a local business that sold bikes made in the USA rather than a mega-store selling bikes made in China and put together by people who don’t know much about bikes.  DBF ended up with a beautiful Trek bike. I’m a fan of trek bikes, and I’m sure we’ll look very suburban and cute with our color coordinated bikes, but I, in no way, influenced his bike decision. He rode several around Elkhart’s Island Park before he decided. 😀

We did some internet research and found some wonderful bike paths within an hour or two of where we live.  I think we are going to visit the Pumpkinvine trail today, which we’ve walked on before.  The developed part of that trail is pretty short, but hooks into the slightly longer Maple City Greenway.  We also found some much longer trails in Michigan that we’ll visit on future weekends.  Another fun prospect is driving to Chicago and biking along their wonderful Waterfront Bike Path!

Yesterday we also had a chance to visit with Susan and her son, who were visiting the area.  We met at Das Duchman Essenhaus for dinner.  We had a nice dinner and even nicer dessert!  They have 29 different varieties of pies made in their bake shop.  That bake shop is a very dangerous place!

Stichin’ Addiction

In the Beginning….

This obsession with stitching started in when I was 18 and a freshman in college (OMG – that was almost 20 years ago!!!). My grandmother sent me a birthday card with a little cross stitch kit enclosed. I opened it up, read the directions and got started.

Being the very goal oriented person I am, I quickly spent all of my spare time finishing this masterpiece…. on Aida, and from the looks of it, using all six threads of the floss included. Isn’t it beautiful? 😀

15713568UIBvawbsDC_ph

(I wish I could credit the designer on this, but I don’t have the original kit anymore…)

After finishing this masterpiece, I noticed a woman in the student lounge who was cross stitching a giant design. I asked her where she got it and she told me “Hobby Lobby.”

Hobby Lobby!

What was this thing called Hobby Lobby? Well, several months later, I happened to see the store while out and about and went inside. I quickly found a kit that caught my eye! It was big! I picked up a plastic hoop and was on my way. I worked on that for a year, and as of now, have no idea what ever happened to it. I remember that that it was a floral heart. It is the only thing I’ve ever stitched that I do not have a picture of on my Webshots Page.

After college, I was interested again and located another kit….. I think I may have found it at Walmart. It was equipped with stiff feeling, white aida and was beautiful (Betty Whiteaker’s Heart Sampler)! I decided that the lucky recipient of this gift would be my mother. I worked on that, on and off, for at least a year. I finished it, framed it, and loved it so much that I gave it to my mother and promptly located another of the kits to do for myself. (The picture is the one I did for myself… I think my Mom’s is dated 1995).

15713623bbYyXgoezO_ph

(Betty Whiteaker’s Heart Sampler)

My First LNS…

Because it had been several years since I started this kit, I couldn’t find another. I found a cross stitch store in town, called them, and asked if they could order it for me.  The store was called “Stitches ‘n Straw” (no website). When I went in to pick it up I found bins of floss, racks of patterns, models on the walls and an entire wall of fabric… I couldn’t figure out why any one would want to go through all of that bother when they could just buy a kit instead?  My opinion has since changed, of course, now that I know about silks, overdyes, and hand dyed fabric!

My Next Project…. With Evenweave!

Fast forward. I saw a cross stitch pattern in a catalogue I started getting in the mail and thought it perfect for some friends of mine. I ordered the kit, and found that it had “evenweave” included instead of Aida. I wasn’t sure how to approach this. I did a bit of internet research and figured it out and started on my way.

The fabric was so soft compared to scratchy Aida… the stitches sat closer together and I just loved to look of the fabric compared to the canvas look of Aida. I was hooked. I finished, gave the gift to my friends for Christmas and immediately started wondering what I would stitch next!  My first evenweave project:

15713510iIAWBSjSEd_fs

(Donna Vermillion Giampa’s Celestial Medley)

The Obsession Takes Root

I was at a Barnes and Noble, perusing the crafts section and came across The Best of Just Cross Stitch. I bought some coffee, found a comfy chair, and started flipping through the book. I had just moved into a new house and was decorating my kitchen with a fruit theme. There, in its full glory, was Teresa Wentzler’s Fruit Bellpull! It was beautiful and perfect for my kitchen! I had to have it! I looked at the floss list…. Was immediately intimidated, then realized that almost every symbol was a blend of two different colors. My mind boggled….I kept looking through the book at the beautiful patterns, all out of my league… especially the one with fabric that had been cut. I left the book and went home.

The TWBB

Later that same year, I kept thinking about the fruit bellpull and went online and did a search for “fruit cross stitch.” This lead me to Teresa Wentzler’s website, then her bulletin board (aka TWBB) where I learned all about blended threads, fabric, blending filament (had no idea what it was), beads, washing your stitching, how to frame, various stitching tools, Qsnaps, etc. I purchased the Fruit Bellpull with an ebay user who I later learned was a fellow TWBBer.  My first TW!

23384734oVwjxmzzNj_ph

(Teresa Wentzler’s Fruit Bellpull)

I looked at all of the designs… they were all so beautiful, colorful, realistic! I immediately started purchasing leaflets and started frequenting an LNS in Portland, OR, called Acorns and Threads, recommended to me by a BBer who happened to live nearby (and who is now a published author!) I fondled fabrics… Jobelan! Lugana! Different stitch counts… endless colors!

I found the TWBB in about 1999 and have been through several migrations on bulletin board servers…. There are still several people who’ve made all the migrations with me. I consider some on the boards to be among my closest friends. They’ve been with me from stitching newbie through all of my life ups and downs. I’ve made a point to meet several of them in my travels for work and in the various areas that I’ve lived.

Hardanger and Band Samplers

I discovered Victoria Sampler though a fellow BBer who was posting these elegant, sparkly, lacy beauties on the BBs. I happened to be in Victoria for a work function and in a day of shopping happened across the Button and Needlwork Boutique.  The walls were filled with what I believe were original models of several Victoria Sampler designs. I spotted the Beyond Cross Stitch Kits along the wall, saw that they were “teaching” kits for hardanger and bought all ten and raced through those, then went on to cutting away on larger pieces.

54841474kbWhvB_ph

(Victoria Samper Beyond Cross Stitch Kit 5-8 )

To this very day, Teresa Wentzler and Victoria Sampler are my very favorite designers. I’ve always got something to stitch and have even built up a very modest “stash.”  So… in 20 years of stitching, I have 81 finished projects!  80 of them are photographed and published on my Webshots page!

If you’re still reading… you must be as addicted as I am!

Something New and Future Vacation

At my weekend shopping trip, I picked up M Designs Winter Getaway (scroll down designers page to see it).  I was actually searching for a different design and came across this one.  I have an affinity for trees and snowflakes and that design has both.  I also love the little house in the center and the star and moon beads.  I’d love to start it, but have committed to finish the Heirloom Family Tree before I start anything new. 

I am counting down the days until my vacation.  I haven’t had a vacation day since last July when Rich and I went to Alaska (best vacation ever!).  We are meeting my parents and staying at a camp on Lake George in Upstate NY, near my home town.  I haven’t seen my family since last July, so I’m looking forward to it. 

The camp:

and… the view!

Of course, these pictures were taken on a dreary winter day earlier in the year, and the lake appears semi-frozen and doesn’t look very appealing right now, but it’ll be beautiful in July. 😀

I’ve always fantasized about living on a lake, and I love this lake as its the one I grew up on.  Right now, I have a view of a larger-sized, natural pond through the sliding glass doors, and that does the trick for now.  Canadian geese and ducks swim around during the summer and it won’t be long before I have to stop the car for the lines of little goslings and ducklings following their mother to the pond.

Anyway, we have some hiking that we plan to do while on vacation and I’ve been working on the stairmaster for the last couple of months in preparation.  What I really need to be doing is preparing my feet for some long walks, however I hurt my left foot about a month ago and limiting my walking to every day type stuff until the end of April.  Then have two months left to work up to longer walks.

Works In Progress

Both of these have been in the works for at least 2 years… maybe longer.  These are my two large projects… when I get tired of working on them, I’ll switch between them, or start and finish another smaller project.

Here is Victoria Sampler’s Heirloom Family Sampler.  I’m pretty close to finishing this one, and will probably work on it until its finished.  This isn’t the greatest picture (click on the link to see a better picture!), and doesn’t show the colors very well, but it gives a good idea of my progress:

2935235170029744911sKCmPI_ph

The other WIP is Chatelaine’s Alpine Seasons.   I last worked on this over the holidays and burned out on the backstitched flowers…  There’s just a few more flowers to stitch before I can move onto the next section:

2705726850029744911vAXnZM_ph

My Most Recent Finishes

This morning I got around to updating my Webshots page with my latest finishes and WIPs and I wanted to share.

This first pic is Teresa Wentzler’s Miniature Autumn Sampler.  This is my absolute favorite finish ever.  Fall is my favorite season and I love leaf images… these multicolored maple leaves are what attracted me to this chart:

2427564660029744911bKFvod_ph

This is my most recent finish – stitched for DBF, who is a fan of pigs.  I think this one needs to be a fridge magnet!

15713328kGZktyJOiy_ph

And finally…  The 2004 Mirabilia Cherub.  I actually finished this one sometime last spring, but just now got around to taking a picture of it.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this one yet

2564854140029744911OenxaE_ph
Thanks for looking!