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."