Friday, July 31, 2009

Christmas in July at Cards for Heroes

This is a "sticky" for the month of July- for new posts, please scroll down.

Cards for Heroes is starting a new challenge!

Christmas cards need to get to CFH by September in order for them to be shipped overseas, used by the troops and mailed in time to get back here to the USA.

Here are the details:

The challenge: Make winter & holiday cards:

  • secular (snowmen, santas, etc with Happy Holiday type messages)
  • religious (Merry Christmas, religious imagery - nativities etc)
  • general winter (love you, miss you, birthday, thinking of you - that have wintery imagery)
  • special holiday (specifically Hannukkah!)
Deadline: August 15th!

So, why not enjoy a little Christmas in July and get those cards to CFH?

Shipping info for CFH can be found HERE. Don't forget- NO glitter!!!

If you're not ready for Christmas, remember that CFH always needs more "thinking of you", birthday, get well and other such general cards- so how about the "25 + 2" challenge? Link on my sidebar.

Added 7/14/09: Cards for Heroes has received a commendation from the Army! Read the details and the commendation HERE.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to the shore for the last week :(

I'm back from the rapid fire trip to Tampa and back. It was long, VERY long, but lots of fun with Auntie. Then came the weekend with DH and DS, and now, finally, things are quiet around here.

I'll be moving home on Saturday for a 3 week marathon of doctor's appointments, and work on the house. I'm looking forward to the results of the house work, but not what it will take to get it all done.

This month at the shore has flown by. I've gotten no where close to done what I wanted to do, but I've had a pretty good rest.

The picture above is one of the things that didn't get as far as I wanted- Aury's sampler. The main part of this picture shows parts 5 & 6, which have driven me CRAZY! It is totally NOT the fault of the chart, and the stitches are not complicated, but I just made mistake after mistake and had to frog so many times that I finally decided to "adjust" for my many errors. These include using the wrong colors, miscounting, and other similar "duhs". I am almost finished part 6 but got so disgusted with myself the other night that I decided to put it aside for a few days. My friend is coming to visit tomorrow for a couple days of crafty fun, so I hope to get past the bad vibes and make some progress.

I got a little tat
ting done in the airport last week, but none on the plane, so there's not a lot of progress to show for the bookmark. I did take a little time to play with the Pearl Crown Rayon and really liked it. It is a little slippery but the results are wonderful. The little butterfly is my first motif for the 25 motif challenge that I am going to join tonight. (There is a link for the challenge on my sidebar under Tatting Blogs.) The picture is terrible- the part that looks olive green is actually light blue- but I had to choose between clarity and color, so..... Hopefully tomorrow in sunlight I can get a better picture.

I'll do a full book review later (after I finish) but I started Susan Higginbotham's "The Traitor's Wife" yesterday and I am LOVING it!!! This is her first novel and it is interesting and engaging- she really is a terrific writer. I will be heading to bed early tonight- WITH the book!

Now back to watching Jamie Moyer and the Phillies- they have been SUCH a delight to watch this season. (Of course I've been listening while I'm typing!)

GO, Phillies!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

SYTYCD 7/22/2009: Melissa and Ade

This performance from So You Think You Can Dance this week is an amazing tribute and commentary on breast cancer, and a stunningly beautiful dance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm off to Florida to drive Auntie north- see you in 3!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Past the half-way point....

.... in my vacation, that is. Here's a picture showing my (very) little tatting progress.

This week I fly to Florida and drive Auntie (and puppy!) home. This will be a quick trip as I want to get back to the shore. Next month I'll drive her back to Florida, but then we will take our time, make lots of stops, do some sightseeing, etc. We haven't made any special plans yet other than a visit to Arlington to visit Uncle Al's grave. After that it could be Charleston, or Ashville (The Biltmore), or anything that strikes our fancy.

My new threads. Aren't they pretty?

It was a busy weekend. DS arrived for dinner on Friday, DH at lunchtime Saturday. We also had company on Saturday which was a LOT of fun but also a lot of work. I played poker for the first time ever Saturday night. It's an ok game but I still prefer pinochle. We played until 1 AM so obviously we were having a good time. One of the great joys of my life is that DH and I have forged friendships with so many young people and can spend time with them socially without any constraints based on age.

Miniature (22") Hawaiian quilt top

I needed to decide on a project to carry this week- the sampler is just too cumbersome with the crutches, wheelchair, etc, that are involved in my traveling. One of the wonderful things about tatting, and also miniature Hawaiian quilt tops, is the terrific portability due to size.

My carry kits for tatting (top) and Hawaiian mini quilt tops. Quite compact, aren't they?

I realized that I have enough thread to finish the current tatted bookmark, but not enough to start another project. So, yesterday DH took me to a local quilting shop which advertised that it also carried embroidery supplies. There wasn't a lot to choose from for tatting, but I got 6 balls of #12 thread ( 5 variegated, one white) from a company called Finca ( a Spanish company) and one spool of a pretty variegated thread called Pearl Crown Rayon from YLI. The Finca is slightly thinner than I have been using (DMC #8) but the colors were too luscious to resist. The rayon should be an interesting experiment- the thickness is good, but rayon is slippery and can be difficult to work with.

So, I'll be taking those two small carry bags- tatting and quilting use the fingers differently, and I want to be able to switch off if the arthritis decides to act up. I'll have plenty to amuse me during both the long waits at the airport and during the flight.

DS went home late last night. DH has now gone home to work this afternoon and tonight, but he has a day off tomorrow and I am really looking forward to spending time with him alone. No specific plans yet, but something FUN and something SEASHORE. Then comes Wednesday and off I fly. One more weekend, 5 more weekdays, then it's home to the city next Saturday morning. This vacation is FLYING by.

Today's plans include RESTING- the foot got very swollen, sore and red again after all the cleaning on Friday and the activity on Saturday and Sunday- and stitching. Back to Aury's sampler, finally. Hopefully, there will be a picture for that tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009

His is the face and the voice connected with all my memories of important events of my childhood.

In a time now when I question everything I read or hear, knowing that "news" is now controlled by the political and/or personal agendas of the reporter, the newspaper or the network, I miss the time when "Uncle Walter" told the straight facts, and we could trust that he told us the truth.

We will not see his like again.


Well, that was interesting- NOT!

It appears that I picked up a 24 hour bug somewhere along the line. Started feeling not so great Wednesday afternoon, slept fitfully and only intermittently Wednesday night, took some meds Thursday morning and went back to bed and slept until 3PM yesterday. Woke up feeling better but with that washed- out, getting over an illness lethargy.

So, no pictures of anything. The only thing I did Wednesday evening was some length on the tatting- it's almost time to turn to the other side. Yesterday's lethargy reduced me to TV and some little reading- more on that later.

There were wicked storms up home last evening, and we got some short but nasty remnants later but nothing like they saw.

Today is house cleaning- we have company coming tomorrow, friends of my DS who we (the "grown-ups", lol) also dearly love. So it is time to dig out the mop and the broom and the vacuum etc. I'm starting early as it looks to be a hot one today.

Hopefully there will be some pictures by tonight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning....

.... even if it is after noon!

Today may be the most
beautiful day down here yet. I think I'm taking a book and/or tatting out to the back yard today.

After too much activity Sunday and Monday, the foot was screaming at me- so yesterday I sat. I read, I played on the computer, I stitched- but I sat. If I do too much, the foot screams. The leg aches from the weight of the cast. The shoulders complain, loudly, about the stress from the crutches. So, sit I shall.

Someone asked about my tatting. I am using a pattern I found HERE which I've done before- it is a pretty little bookmark. The color similarity between mine and the original is strictly coincidental- I just grabbed one of my favorite spools of DMC variegated perle cotton. One of my personal rules about tatting is "thou shalt not bother thine eyes with tiny thread", so it is a #8 perle. I'll go to size 20, which I especially like in Cebelia, but that #80 is for young eyes or thoroughly advanced tatters, not me.

Part 5 of Aury's sampler is also on the agenda today. Hope your weather is as gorgeous as it is here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Doing the Cross Stitch CHARGE!

Although "cross stitch" is not exactly accurate- haven't seen an X in a while.

Here is Aury's sampler, complete now through part 4. YIPPEE!!!!

The old eyes are quite worn out, so I doubt there'll be any more stitching tonight, but I am really happy with my progress.

I am catching up!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quite a night!

It was a mostly dreary day- cloudy, some light rain, some thunder and lightning. It was an almost totally down evening- the phone kept ringing and each call was more bad news: one of DH's aunts died; Auntie in Florida lost a dear friend this morning, someone I'd met several times while visiting her; one of our lifetime neighbors and friends is in the hospital in very frightening condition; my young nephew called that their beloved dog died today. In between getting the calls was making calls to pass along the information- to DH about his aunt, to my Mom about her dear friend's condition, then again to Mom to let her know about DB's family's beloved pet. ACK- it all lasted about 3 hours and now feels like about 30!

The good news- and believe me, I am focusing on this right now!- is that I finished part 3 of Aury's sampler! I cannot seem to get a good picture without my own shadow near the bottom- any other angle gives a weird effect from the fabric. But, here it is, part 3! I am catching up!

The Copics class last night was wonderful; Heather, the teacher, was terrific! I learned a lot of stuff about using my alcohol markers.

I also learned that, at least right now, investing in Copics is not for me. The effects that you can achieve with these markers are amazing but I am just NOT the type to put THAT much work into an image that is going onto a card.

When I look at the work some papercrafters do with stamps and markers, I am blown away by the results. Having learned last night how to do it- or at least how to approximate it, given my limited artistic talents- I also learned that spending THAT much time on an image that might be one or two inches in size, that will go onto a birthday or Christmas card that will be most likely tossed, and that is, after all, papercrafts not long term art, is just NOT me!

Don't get me wrong- I love making cards. AND, I love working the images, to get them right. But, I can create beautiful images- at least *I* think they are beautiful- in so much less time using other coloring methods. They may lack the detail and realism of a Copic-colored image with three color shading on each part of the image, but I am happy with my watercolors and my pencils and can finish a complete card in less time than coloring the image with Copics would take.

Do I regret taking the class? NO WAY!! I learned a TON and will make use of it in my cardmaking. But I just cannot see me using the Copics as much as others do, or enough to be worth the investment. More essential, while I enjoyed the class a lot- I almost always like classes- I didn't love the process.

Ultimately, for me, hobbies are about the process. I love the activities of stitching and quilting and scrapbooking and stamping. When I finish something, that is terrific, but the process is what calls to me. Stamping and making cards are good because they are quick gratification in terms of finishing something, but since I do these activities to do them, making something is the bonus, not the goal.

I took away from the class a most important lesson- I learned another technique that I like, and will use, but do not love enough to commit a lot of time and money towards. So, I'll continue to use my Prismacolor markers when I think the image will be well served by them, and I might even do a little shading and blending sometimes, but me and my watercolors are still best friends.

Before I quit, let me recommend anyone in the central Jersey area who stamps to check out One Little Spark. The shop is small, but her inventory is delightful, and her samples are WOW! They are having make-it take-its all week and a bunch more classes next weekend. The folks who run the shop are really, REALLY nice and I had a great time there and hope to get back soon.

Time to move on to part 4!!!! YIPPEE!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Can't wait for morning!

Quick post- the thunder and lightning I thought was past is coming back.

I finished Parts 1 & 2 of Aury's Sampler and posted the picture to the SAL board!!!

Details tomorrow after the storm.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Finally some tatting!

So, remember that small piece of tatting I showed you a couple weeks ago? Well, here it is again. Notice I say again, but that is not quite correct. The piece I showed you is now in the ort (needlework discards, floss ends, etc) jar, along with version #2. This is version #3.

The biggest deterrent to tatting is that making a mistake is a real issue because fixing a mistake is, well, let's see- annoying is not strong enough a word, aggravating comes kind of close but still doesn't hit it. It's a major Pain in the Neck!!! Loosening and undoing tatting once you've tightened it is definitely possible and I know some who do it- but unless I am 3 rings away from finishing something, I do NOT!

So when I messed up version #1, I cut it off and tossed it into the ort jar. Sometime after that, the mistake in #2 developed, so it followed its fellow. #3 is still ok so we'll see if I can get through this time.

This is not a big deal for me. I tat because I love the process. I love the feel of the motions; they are soothing and wonderful. IF I manage to finish something, that's a bonus.

So today, while I have not tatted (yet- don't rule out the possibility, the evening is still young!) I have spent some time checking out tatting on the Web. For anyone intrigued or interested by this most portable of lace making techniques (remember, everything you need fits into a sandwich-sized baggie, although I like to be "elegant" and use a small cosmetics bag), I have added a few sites to my sidebar- both a few blogs about tatting and some sources for information and materials.

I made the mistake on #2 in the waiting room at the dentist last week. It had a happy outcome anyway. The dental assistant came out and literally gasped "Are you tatting???!!!???" (That's when I knotted on a ring so it woud not slide anymore- must have been the shock, lol, of someone recognizing tatting!) Turns out she has been looking for a tatting teacher for months. Now, I am NO expert, but I have successfully taught the basics of rings and chains etc. I can definitely teach her enough for basic patterns and will recommend the Rebecca Jones book to her for back-up.

Now its back to Aury's sampler- DS is out tonight so there will be no distractions and I WILL finish and post parts 1 & 2!- and then maybe a little tatting before I head to bed with my latest book.

I'll tell you all about the book (I won my copy- WITH author's autograph!) once I've gotten a few pages read- it's "The Tory Widow" by Christine Blevins and set during the Revolution, a period I LOVE to read about.

OK- off to stitch!

Down the Shore

Well, there's already one week gone at the shore. BOO!

It's been a mostly fun and relaxing week. I've played on the computer a LOT, read a couple books, done a little stitching, watched some TV and slept a LOT! I've also been to the beach- JOY!

I am almost done parts 1 and 2 of Aury's sampler. I only have a tiny bit left until I can post to the group- which I'm very excited about. DS brought down my old Rocky Giraffe stand, which I hadn't used in years and it is perfect with my chair here.

I had planned to stitch last night but DS brought down DVDs he wanted me to see. It was a 10 year old British mini-series called "Ultraviolet". It's a police procedural where the bad guys are vampires. Sounds awful? Well, it is really good! I watched the first three of the 6 episodes and it is very well done. It features the actress who played Jane Bennett in THE "Pride and Prejudice" and Philip Quast, most well known as Javert in the Dream Cast of "Les Miserables". I'll definitely be watching the last three episodes tonight.

One of the books I read this week was "Day of Infamy" by Walter Lord- the man who wrote "A Night To Remember", the story of the Titanic. "Day of Infamy" tells the story of Pearl Harbor from both the American and Japanese sides. It is mostly personal stories- he got almost 500 people to write first-person accounts of their memories of that day- and wove them into a fascinating book. Being the daughter of a WWII veteran, and having visited Pearl Harbor in 2004, I thought I knew about it, but this book was a great read. It's an old book- published in 1957- but it gives such an immediacy to that day that I loved it.

Another piece of good news? On SplitCoastStampers last night I saw a banner for a stamp shop near here- One Little Spark- which was advertising for Amuse-a-Palooza. When I checked out the link, they are offering a Copics 101 class on Sunday- and when I called first thing this morning, there was an opening!!! I am VERY excited about taking this class. I don't own Copics but I do have a huge collection of Prismacolor markers and learning more about using alcohol markers sounds great! It's about 30 miles away, but compared to where I've seen other Copics classes offered, that is close!

Well, I think I'll go read or stitch or whatever. With the beautiful weather today, the beach later is definitely on the agenda.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sound of Music | Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)

Here is a WONDERFUL video that shows there can still be joy and whimsy in the world!


There is some great Close To My Heart blog candy being offered over at my CTMH rep's site. All you have to do is leave a comment.

If you sign up for her newsletter, or put a link to her blog on yours, you will get extra entries.

She's put together a really nice assortment of CTMH supplies, so check it out!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vote for Victorino

Help get Shane "The Flyin' Hawaiian" to the All Star Game!!! Click the button and VOTE!

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's finally, TRULY, summer

Here it is- my "little house" at the beach. It is not mine, of course, we only rent it. But I love it. From all the jalousie windows, which create a wonderful breeze almost all the time, DH came up with the expression "living on the porch" which is exactly how it feels.

I am finally getting settled in. We moved in yesterday so there was the packing at home, the unpacking when we got here, the grocery store run (done by DH, so sweet and helpful about my foot!), and all that kind of stuff. DS left for work early this morning and DH left just a little while ago.

Have I mentioned lately that I have the GREATEST DH in the world? He did most of the packing and unpacking. This morning he made another store run for a few forgotten items. Then he went out crabbing- and although the general wisdom is that you don't usually get crabs big enough to eat from the river until August, he came home with a dozen good sized ones. Then he cooked and cleaned them, and left me half. So, I will have a WONDERFUL dinner tonight of fresh caught and cooked crabs. YEAH!

DH is also most wonderful because he pays for the little house, even though this is basically *MY* vacation. He gets here on Saturday afternoon and leaves again Monday afternoon. In between I get weeks of wonderful solitude- time to rest, swim, stitch, read. I can do anything I want whenever I want- it is SOOOO re-creational.

I remember a talk at the end of the school year several years ago where we were told to remember that the word recreation and re-creation were really the same word. We can "re-create" ourselves as people and teachers each summer. It is a beautiful idea and one I have taken with me each year when I come down here.

I read until the middle of the night last night- finished a 400+ page book I started when we got settled last night. It's an OLD book, a novel of the life f Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's last queen, called The Ivy Crown. I (obviously!) really enjoyed it. So far today I have done a chapter in my SPanish book, had breakfast and a nice lunch, and got DH organized and out of here.

Now it's time to go get my daily intake of vitamin D- i.e. to go sit outside.

Nothing crafty to post yet- I'll be getting back to work on Aury's sampler later today.

I hope your weather is as beautiful as it is here!

Friday, July 3, 2009

What will you be stitching in September?

I just recently re-connected with a friend from many years ago. She was just starting out as a needlework designer back then. Her work has progressed from cute to pretty to SPECTACULAR!

In September she will be releasing a new chart, Fairy Garden Mandala, which you can see HERE.

I will not be doing the fairies because I am being SOOO good and sticking to my pledge to not start anything new until I finish at least one of my three SAL WIPs. When I *do* finish one of them, my next start will be her magnificent Hawaiian Mandala, which you can see HERE.

For anyone interested in seeing her whole line, check out Chatelaine Designs.

And, even though I am being very good about what I am actually starting, you can be sure I have been doing a LOT of stash building- I am collecting Martina's charts with a new one every few weeks. Her designs are truly stunning!

Time to get back to getting organized for the trip to the shore on Sunday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Today's Daily Medical Report ;)

The trip to the retinal specialist for Mom was all good news.

I now have a complete front tooth again, although it is temporary until the crown next month.

At least today's medical report is better than yesterday's!

DH and DS will have to do most of the actual packing for the trip to the shore. The foot is feeling better already from the cast, but *I* get very tired, very easily, dragging this thing around and using the crutc
hes. So, I am making careful and thorough lists so all they will have to do is bring the stuff to me while I sit in the recliner and then I can direct how it is packed. There is still more list making to do, but I am in good shape for a (hopefully) quick and efficient pack marathon on Saturday.

As for MY stuff for the shore.....

This is as far as I have gotten on Aury's specialty stitch sampler SAL. What you see is mostly week 2 with a little of week 1 done in the corner. Everyone else is on week 10- who knew Mom was going to end up in the hospital the day after the group started? (Or that life in general from then til the end of school would become total insanity?) This will be the only piece of needlework I take to the shore- although there will be a bag all packed with the Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler ready (for DH or DS to bring down to me) if I do get caught up on Aury's project.

And, what about papercrafting?

I can only take as much stuff as the car can hold, and that has to include clothes, linens, kitchen stuff, etc as well as the more important crafting supplies. ;) If you check my sidebar you'll see a link for the Cards for Heroes 25 Cards for Heroes challenge. Since I am trying to economize on space, I'm taking my watercolor crayons, and about 30-40 prestamped images, all images that would work for CFH card fronts. I hope to come home with enough good finished images to put together a bunch of cards to send to CFH.

How about you??? Could you make 25 cards this summer to send to our troops overseas? Check out CFH and think about helping out with this terrific program.

One quilt top to work on if I get "stitched out" on the sampler, a bunch of books to read and that's about it. Yeah, who is believing that? I know that at the last minute I'll throw in some tatting stuff, maybe some Teneriffe lace supplies, more books, and who knows what else? Oops- see, I already thought of something I forgot to list here- AND have to add to the packing list- my Spanish books!

Well, I've had my feet (yes, cast and all) propped up on the desk long enough- time to do a little while I can. Off to make lists and check things out.

For those celebrating tomorrow, Happy 3rd of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009