July 31, 2011

Another Brick in the Wall

Greetings, all!

This week I spent some time stitching bricks on this house (Elizabeth Easdon from the Essamplaire).

And leaves on the border of Harriot:

And restarted this Halloween quaker by Prairie Moon: "Thine is the Trick and the Treat." The treat for me is having seen the Prairie Moon trunk show a couple of months ago at In Stitches.

This design was stitched on 32 count Camofudge by Stitches and Spice, an Australian company. I can't say enough good things about the color, texture and thickness of this fabric. It's rich. It photographed a bit light, but the fabric is exactly the color of the photo on the chart. I started it when I first got it; it calls for two threads over two of any black floss of your choice, and I was using AVAS noir, and two threads were too thick and fuzzy, so I switched to two threads of NPI silk (993) yesterday.

A certain amount of harmony has been restored to the rabbit family, although I cycle them in and out of cages so the two boys can't get into a fight. Patti is going to help us with a possible rebonding, and I'm showing this photo, Patti, so you can see our current layout. There's a second large dog crate to the right, out of the photo, where Elvis spends his time when it's his turn.

Elvis is spending much less time following Peaches around and humping her, and Peaches is not avoiding him now. Here she's grooming him.

Peaches: "These two are nitwits, but what can you do?"

Oh! I think I'm going to be able to go to Newport, R.I. to see the 50 or so Rhode Island samplers exhibited at the Newport Antiques Show. Is anyone else going? It's on the way to the Cape, and I can visit the samplers and then go on to visit my parents. Many thanks to Needleprint's blog for pointing it out, or I'd have missed it altogther. I'm hoping they'll allow photos so I can share. If I can't take photos of the samplers, I'll take photos of something!

And! I'm over the moon about Blackbird Designs' new book. And I'm excited about Needleprint's new book as well--I can't wait to get my hands on one. And anxious to see what's coming back from the Baltimore Needlework show with Ellen at In Stitches later in August. These are wonderful times for stitchers.
Happy week ahead!

July 24, 2011

Harriot and Peaches

Peaches and I went to the exotic vet yesterday, where she was given a clean bill of health. On the way home, we dropped by In Stitches to view their new wares. While Peaches was parked in her carrier in the framing room, contentedly chewing on hay, I roamed around, checking out the new goodies and samplers, one of which was this: Harriot Redfearn 1830 from Queenstown Samplers. Once home, an immediate start was called for! I'm stitching Harriot with the called for NPI silks on 40 count Lakeside Meadow Rue.

Aren't her colors grand? Harriot is a reproduction; you know, based on her exuberant design and use of color, that she'd have been a fun (12-year-old) girl.

The vet said there doesn't appear to be anything physically wrong with Peaches, although they ran blood tests to rule out any infection or hormonal abnormality. What that leaves us with is that Elvis is just a pistol who has decided that Peaches is his bunny and that Pink represents competition in that area. Since Peaches seems to prefer Pink, we're having to decide whether to allow one of the boys to shop for a new bunny girlfriend at Bright Eyes (rabbits prefer to choose their own mates, and rabbit dates are set up wherein the suitor declares his/her love--generally at first sight--and if the feeling is reciprocated, the newly bonded bunny comes home and joins the hutch, and second bunny household is set up in a separate space). BF, however, is not in favor of adopting a fourth rabbit, so we are at an impasse.

Peaches: I got a mani-pedi, had lunch and went to the needlework shop--it was a girl's day out.

Happy week ahead!

July 17, 2011

Fresh from the Lock-In

I spent today at In Stitches' Lock-In, admiring everyone's projects and working on one of mine ("Elizabeth Easdon" by The Essamplaire). The nice thing about this was that I had outlined lots of bricks and the center window, so I could easily talk and rubberneck at other people's projects and not lose my place.

I put a lot of time into my Christmas project this week. I love the bright colors.

A disquieting development in our rabbit family: Elvis has been pestering Peaches, following her around to mount her, although all of the rabbits are neutered. Pink, perhaps to protect Peaches, whom he shields and grooms, has been fighting with Elvis, so the three bunnies who used to sleep in a cozy little heap, now have to be separated. Patti, of Bright Eyes Sanctuary, who was Pink's foster mom, and has seen a ton of bunnies come and go, thinks that Peaches may have an illness that she's been concealing, and that Elvis may sense her weakness--humping among rabbits is about power and domination. So little Peaches is scheduled for an appointment at the exotic pet vet this week. Crossing our paws that all is well with her and that someday the rabbit family can live cozily together once again. In the meantime, Peaches and Pink room together in a large cage while Elvis is out, and Elvis spends time in a cage while they are out. Not perfect, certainly. Elvis is despondent and spends hours lying next to their cage sadly. Of course, when Pink gets close enough, the boys pull each other's hair through the bars. Sigh.

Uncle Ernie: "I can't help myself. But I wish things were the way they used to be."

Happy week ahead.

July 04, 2011

Cool as a Cucumber

Greetings, all! Long time no post! The last week has been pretty busy, as I accepted a short-term (4-6 month) contract job that started Monday. While the work and experience are good, the commute around the Beltway is not, so I head out of the house by 5:30 to hit the high occupancy vehicle lanes before they shut them down to solo drivers at 6 a.m. The good news is that I get to work almost 2 hours early (and save myself an hour or so of idling in heavy traffic), so I have time to stitch in the morning before work. The company where I'm working has an enormous dining room where I stitch until they serve breakfast at 7:30. After I eat, I go back to stitching. The bad news is that I have to go to bed really early and I miss my days of dancing (or stitching) to my own tune.

It's hotter than heck here, so here's a shot from my garden, where even in the 98 degree sun, the cucumbers are fairly cool. So far it's been a great year for cucumber production and the vines are sprawled everywhere. Cucumbers until recently have been close to $1 apiece (although they've fallen to about 50 cents recently) and I love them, so I'm thrilled. My tomatoes aren't so great; I neglected them somewhat after planting them a bit late, and now the cucumber vines are growing all over them, hard as I try to train them the other direction.

Not so thrilled with this. In fact, it's downright horrifying how quickly they can suck the juice out of a nice firm summer squash, leaving the poor thing deflated and brown. Certain parts of tending a garden are shockingly gross, including pulling a nice tomato of the vine and having it goosh in your hands because the underneath part is rotten or eaten away; then there are the tomato worms and the biting ants, all manner of spiders and creepy crawly things. I try not to reach under leaves and vines without looking. Then there's the massive poison ivy case I got ("gee, I wonder what this vine is; I'll just pull it out and throw it away.")

Since it's so hot, it's been a pleasure to sit in the house with the air conditioning on and the ceiling fans whirling away. I started something new and chilly looking!

I love traditional Santas and have always wanted a few large ones framed and hanging. I was inspired years ago--and about 4 jobs ago--by a co-worker who stitched nothing but elaborate Santas. When they were done and framed she hung them and left them up all year 'round. It sounds weird, but the Santas looked just right, even hanging there in the summer. This is a Dimensions chart (and I love the photograph, which is as clear as can be). I'm stitching it on 34 count white legacy linen using the called-for DMC and Kreinik shiny gold thread. Later there will be gold beads as well.

I spent some time working on Sarah McPhail (made progress on the rose and leaves in the top right corner).

Devoted some time to the border on Catharine Metcalf (Scarlet Letter). I don't like this border, but I love Catherine, so I'm doing it. Granted, it's pretty, and it will look good when it's done, but it's very elaborate with the leaves and the double vine and the sticky-out twiggy green things. It's what short-circuited my progress originally, so I am trying before work to stitch a little on it every day, otherwise, I will just put it way and never work on it again, which would be a shame, because I love the bottom half of this sampler in particular with its duck pond, sheep and brick house, and even like the verse, the birds and the trees.

Just to refresh your memory on what Catharine looks like:

Someone else is cool as a cucumber and having a nice afternoon nap.
Pink: "The end."

Happy Fourth!