Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Phoenix

Dracolair's The Phoenix
All stitching complete
All backstitching unstarted

I can't wait until it's completely finished! The weather yesterday was a complete bust, as expected, so I spent it all inside and most of it stitching. Rob and Michelle came over in the afternoon for a few hours to visit. It was nice to just sit around and talk with people. And to get the update on their wedding plans and fun like that. Between Friday night, most of Saturday and about 4 hours today, I've finished all the regular stitching on Phoenix. I soooo want to start on the backstitch, but we've got a birthday party for a friend this afternoon. At a restaurant in the same mall as IKEA. Therefore, it's a moral imperative that I arrive early and can make a stop at IKEA! I've been really good and haven't bought anything there in months! Well, except for the nice wooden hangers for the coat closet, now that we actually have a coat closet, but they were a necesity and a quick in-grab-out. Not a wonder through.

Maize Maze

As promised, here are photos from our day out at the corn maze last weekend. Was it really only last weekend?! Man time flies!

Ummm... which way from here?

Zee bunny makes a break for freeeeeeeeeedommmmmmmm!!!!!!!! He had escaped his cage and tried to blend in and hide with his friends the Roosters

The roosters were actually quite beautiful, something I had never expected. They weren't hiding the escapee though, and ran the other way from him.

There was this beautiful flower on a weed. No idea what it actually was, but it was present in several places, and stunningly beautiful.

We had great weather for the day. It was partly cloudy, and mostly just a murky overcast. It gave great ambience to the fields and you weren't quite sure if it was going to turn to a damp mist, adding to the impetus to find your way out.

As we were getting close to getting all our map pieces, the sun came out from behind the clouds. Because it was quite late in the afternoon, it was coming down at a significant angle, mostly illuminating the corn stalks but not the sky. It was a very intriguing light effect. I never managed to capture it exactly, but this was the closest I got.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend and afternoon and I highly recommend it!

Friday, October 27, 2006


I've been RAK'd! Heather in England sent me a gorgeous stitching magazine (with a project I'm itching to start...) and some wonderful chocolate. Including the new mint Cadbury bars. Yum! Thank you so much Heather for sending me such a wonderful surprise! It really brightened my day.

In other news, my treadmill was delivered yesterday! I've been wanting to buy one since before we moved into this apartment, so I'm happy to finally have it. Here's to a big increase in my mileage! On the Walk to Rivendell front, I really need to update my ticker. I made it to Rivendell (458 miles) on Tuesday morning! Now I'm headed out again on the next portion of the journey, and should see much quicker progress now that I can get some in in the mornings before work.

We have no special plans for this weekend. I still want to get out on a good leaf walk, but we're running out of time on that. There is a furious wind storm expected here all weekend (gusts up to 60 mph (95 km/h)) and I suspect by the time it's done late Sunday there might not be that many beautiful leaves left. We had planned to do it last weekend, but went to the corn maze instead. And had so much fun doing it that I won't mind too badly if we don't make a leaf walk this year. I might invite the regular group to come over for a game night and home made lasagna Saturday night, or I might just decide to have a quiet weekend in with Brian. I've certainly got lots of stitching to work on, and need to break in the new treadmill.

On the stitching front, I've been a bad girl. A very bad girl. I think I might have to go "on the wagon". I couldn't resist buying one of the fabrics at Stab and Stash and have a project in mind for it. I also broke down and purchased one from Silkweaver. As it turns out I didn't remotely like the colour when it arrived, so I went to their website to see what would have to be done to return it (if possible). Great, easy return instructions! And they've got Hallowe'en trick-or-treat bags. So I broke down and bought one. I'll have 5 random hand dyed fabrics coming my way shortly. I can't wait to see what I've got! Add to that that I broke down and bought Mirabilia's Autumn in my Garden when I had to call CrossStitch Unlimited for the Kreiniks for Phoenix, and, well... I've been a very bad girl. But in my own defense, I've still managed to remain not signed up to Silkweaver's "Fabric of the Month" club! That's something, isn't it?

And the best news of all is something I haven't really mentioned much about on my blog. My sister has spent the last three years in an UGLY custody battle, which is now settled. In Bonnie's words "I got everything I wanted and then some". I am so happy for her now that this is fully done. No more appeals, no more attempts to change the agreement. Go Bonnie and Madison!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Corn Mazes rock!

On the recommendation of a friend, we went out and toured a corn maze yesterday afternoon. (Thanks Matt!) It was an absolute blast, and a great way to spend a fall afternoon. If there's one near you I whole heartedly recommend it. Ours was in a two acre corn field and had a really cool setup. The maze itself was designed to look like a three masted schooner from above, and you had to find 9 mailboxes while going through the maze to get your map to get out of the maze. Along the way there were a lot of dead ends, and a bunch of them had clues to a crossword puzzle. The crossword puzzle in turn had a bunch of shaded letters that were a word jumble for the final clue for how to get out of the maze. The weather was beautiful (cool enough that you wanted a jacket, but not cold) and the sky was mostly cloudy, so I'm hoping some of the photos turned out as cool as they looked when I took them.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This week's SBQ

I've been answering these lately on one of my mailing lists, and figured I should paste a copy here too!

Which way do you stitch, i.e. do you stitch /// followed by \\\ on top, or the other way around \\\ followed by ///? Are you left- or right-handed and do you think that this affects the way that you stitch?

For me it depends entirely on the piece, and on where I'm starting it. I can stitch either way, and will often rotate a piece in 90 degree increments to get it into a comfortable working position for the section I'm working on. By default, I'd guess I'm a /// then \\\ stitcher. I know once when I offered to teach a beginner's class at my old guild some of the ladies were horrified (and actually filed a protest) because I had the students starting out going \\\ because it was the easiest way to show them where to start stitching on that little piece. I was asked to provide references that either way was acceptable so long as they all went the same way (which I did, out of the guild's own library) and still had people complain. I was so ashamed to be part of that guild and never offered to teach again.

Because I rotate as I go and don't have a presumed preferred orientation, handedness really doesn't seem to apply to me. It's where I start a piece that will have the biggest effect on stitch direction. I never seem to start in the very center of a piece, but where I do start depends on the design itself. I like to start with a little bit of a single colour stitching to set up a 'reference point'. Sometimes this is in the middle of the fabric, since that's *really* easy to find, and sometimes it's along one edge/corner of the design. Then I usually measure out my border allowance (and then measure again..) then start along a corner or the middle of an edge. On Fantasy Triptych I actually did the border itself first because there *was* no other solid section to do! Which direction the stitches are formed in seems to depend on the shape of the area I'm starting stitching with. I'm rather (ahem) uptight about trying to make sure stitches are formed so the needle is coming up into empty fabric and the needle is going down into the holes that already have stitching through them. It's not always possible, but as much as it is I try to follow this. I think it makes the stitches look better and I seem to have less problems with fuzzies on the top of the piece.

Phew! Was that a long enough answer?

Quick Photo Update

I finally got a photo of the finished first panel of Fantasy Triptych uploaded! She's now been put away until I finish Phoenix, and I should have a significant update photo on that soon. I've ordered the last of the specialties I need for it, and will be finished the majority of the regular stitching this weekend ('though I'm not sure about all those feathers!).

My Percy before he went to the groomers last week...

And after...

And this time he was used as a "training cat". I know the poor cat has to be "not quite right" to have lived happily with us for all these years, but the dude is so okay with being shaved he is now being used for training! Percy-dude, have some cat dignity!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Playtests are fun

especially when they involve some interesting moral decisions for the players, but when they make Sam take 4 hrs to run a mod, wow!  I'm looking forward to the mod coming out and seeing other's reactions to it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  
And I threw 41 pennies at Helen!  {giggle, giggle}  She ordered something online for me and their tax estimater was off by a bit, so when she emailed me to let me know, she said I owed her 41 cents and she wanted it all in bright shiny new pennies.  The best part was her laugh when she finally realized why I was throwing pennies at her.  She's had a very bad week and it was good to see her just release some of it by laughing like that.
Nothing exciting planned for today.  Jen's coming over with her computer for us to attempt to de-virus (have I mentioned I love my macs?), then we're going to go out for a nice walk to see the fall leaves.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I have a new toy

Courtesy of some expiring stock options at work. I forsee a large number of changes to my blog in the future, including probably a move since I should be able to use iWeb to produce my own blog and host it on my website. Who knows, maybe even the website will get updated once in a while that way! Nothing much else happening though. Work is insane, and I've only had a little time to play with the new toy. I'd say I'll dig into it this weekend, but I know I won't have time then either. On the fun front, I have a date tonight with Brian, and he has no clue what we'll be doing. Other than that the date will start with me in physiotherapy for 45 minutes! Ah the joys of a one car household!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stitching Update

Hello, hello! Well, I've managed to actually get all three of my stitching goals accomplished, and it's not even the middle of the month! I finished the first section of Fantasy Triptych, I've put the tail on the Phoenix, and I've managed to work some more on Frog Prince. I was very good and put FT away once I was done with it and photographed it. I then spent the rest of the evening getting ready to work on Phoenix, and tonight I stitched. And boy did I stitch! No photo yet because I want to stun everyone with the amount I got done tomorrow night for stitch-n-bitch tomorrow night. Apparently, my computer and camera don't want to get along, so I don't have a photo to show. I PROMISE to upload it as soon as I can convince the things to talk to each other!

Nothing exciting happened over the weekend. I did go to NJ for a game, but it was pretty bad, and then we spent Sunday at home and quiet and got caught up on TV. I still haven't made up my mind about the new Dr. Who. But it's early yet, so I'll give it a while.

Now, if only I could get my walking jump started!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oh My!

And I won't even get to see her in person until Christmas at the earliest! Becky and Sue did a phenomenal job choosing the framing, and the mat work is why I'm more than happy to send my pieces home to Canada to my old framer and let them do what they want!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Busy fun, quiet weekend!

Stitching Goals

September recap:
Finished all of Maiden panel except face (over 1)
Didn't work on the Phoenix
Did work on Frog Prince

October Goals:
Finish maiden panel including backstitch
Work on Frog Prince
Work on Phoenix
Don't start anything new!

Saturday was wonderful. We hosted a birthday bbq for our friend Gabe, and got a chance to better get to know his new boyfriend David. It was a wonderful quiet evening spent playing cards, eating good food and talking with fun people. I need to do things like that more often! So Gabe, when are you coming out again!

Sunday we went to the Yankees-Blue Jays game in the city. We had a blast! The photos below show the progress of the afternoon!

Okay, so blogger won't co-operate and post my photos, but the Jays won! The game didn't matter in regards to the post season so everyone was just out to have a good time. Then we followed it up with dinner at Bubba Gump's before catching the train home.

We even made it home in time for me to watch my Formula One race. It was quite a race and I'm glad I watched it before picking up my news headlines this morning which would have ruined it for me!