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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

My only patriotic finishes.  I need to work on that!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Three New Starts, it's a sickness

No time for a full post today but I wanted everyone to know the following asap.

 I am a failure.  I promised myself  no more starts until I finished Tuscan Rose and what do I do????  I start 3 new pieces and am hankering to start more!  Please. Send. Help.

Take care till next time!

Julie

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Hello and Happy Halloween!

It's going to be a chilly one in my neck of the woods but I hear other parts of the country will be colder and wetter so I guess I best not complain too much.  I wouldn't complain at all if I was planning to stay inside where it's nice and warm but I've been told that is not the plan for the evening. Our neighbors have invited us over to sit in their driveway around the fire pit, cook dinner over the open flame and hand out candy.  Maybe it's just me  but that sounds an awful lot like camping.  I realize it doesn't include sleeping on the hard ground and having bugs crawl all over me but it's still in the realm of camping and in case you didn't know it...I AM NOT A CAMPER!  Dan however told me to suck it up and enjoy it so I guess I'll bundle myself up, grab the marshmallows and some kind of alcoholic beverage, get tipsy and scare all the little trick or treaters!  Gotta be some reward for roughing it...right?  I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!

Last January, I set a goal for myself which at the time I thought was pretty reasonable but with the whole neck thing happening I have to admit to feeling this summer that perhaps I would not be able to meet that goal.  What goal was that you ask?  It was a finishing goal.  Not a finished finish goal, just a finish the stitching goal.  I have a few, okay a lot of unfinished objects (UFO's) wandering aimlessly around the house in various stages of being finished which I am sure everyone out there in blogland can relate to.  So waaay back at the first of the year I quietly, yes I said quietly, (cuz the last thing I wanted to do was announce it to all of blogdom only to have to fess up that I was unable to follow through), set a goal of finishing 2 of my languishing UFO's before the end of the year.  I chose Tuscan Rose by Sampler Cove and Midnight Watch by Blackbird Designs to be the two pieces that I would attempt to finish.  As you have probably guessed, I am thrilled to report that I was able to finish up Midnight Watch just before retreat!  I can't wait to get it framed and hung, probably at the shop so I can see it everyday.

stitched on 40 ct Silkweaver's Moondust


I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this piece except for one thing.  There was not enough space left for my initials which happen to be some of the largest in the alphabet, so I had to finagle quite a bit to make them fit.  I guess you say this is a pet peeve of mine.  Write this down designers...please please leave enough room in the design for the widest 3 letters of the alphabet if you are putting initials into it.  Not everyone is able to figure out how to move things or crunch them together to make the initials fit and having only two initials on a sampler looks funny to me.  Thank you.

Tuscan Rose is coming along nicely also.  I have only the last 2 bands to complete and I am partially done with both of them so I believe I will meet my goal on this piece also.


Since this experiment went so well I think I will set a similar goal for 2015.  Haven't decided which UFO's will be the lucky winners and I probably won't announce it either just in case I am totally unable to achieve the goal I set for myself!  LOL!!  I hope some of you out there will join me in my quiet goal and choose a couple of your UFO's to finish next year too.

Dan has chosen his next piece to work on and it is a beauty!  I love this piece but somehow I just don't think I would ever stitch it so when he said he would do it I jumped at the chance to have it stitched...by someone other than myself!  Yes!!  There is a cross stitching God!.  It's called Scenic Farm and it's a Dimensions kit that is now discontinued.  I have seen it stitched and it is gorgeous!


As you can see he is not very far yet but he'll get there.

And finally I will leave you with a picture I took last week of my lone re-blooming Iris.  You just have to love an Iris that will bloom in October!



Take care till next time!

Julie      

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall Retreat Recap

Happy Last Week of October!

My this month has flown by!  The weather has been so beautiful here in Nebraska that it is hard to believe November is just a few short days away.  Before I know it Amy will be home for Thanksgiving and then Christmas!  YIKES!!

Retreat was last weekend.   I was asked in the comments of my last blog post what retreat was so bear with me if this is old news to you.  The shop I work at has two retreats a year.  A spring "frills" retreat and a fall "no frills" retreat.  Spring retreat includes an exclusive design, swag bags, door prizes, massages, sometimes a trunk show, a make it and take it, swap table, brag table and shop night plus the most important thing...4 days of stitching.   I blogged about our last spring retreat a couple of posts back.  Fall Retreat is no frills.  It's 4 days of stitching, an ornament exchange and brag table. Period.  We may re-think the massages though and add those in for next year.  Our ornament exchange this year was Christmas themed.  Last year it was Halloween themed.  I didn't take too many pictures this year but did manage to snap a few of the finishes that happened and of course the brag table and ornaments.  This fall we had a total of 28 retreaters that were able to attend.  I believe, judging from all the laughter, everyone had a good time, I know I did!

I believe Linda was the first to finish something at retreat this year.  But I have to call her out on it. Having only 3 stitches to put in, while technically a finish, is IMHO Cheating!!!  But we clapped for her anyway and I took the dirty little cheaters picture too!

See that maniacal look in her eye?  She knows she cheated and she doesn't care!  Mwah!  Linda you know I love you.

Doreen had a finish from the Hometown Holiday series.



Stacy had a finish in the monthly Cottage series.  She might have had more but you actually have to bring your stitching with you to retreat if you intend to stitch.  Sadly, Stacy remembered her homework but forgot her stitching!!  We had quite a few chuckles at her expense.  Luckily, another gal that was coming on Friday was able to bring it with her and so Stacy just worked on her homework for the first 24 hours of retreat.



Carole had a finish, although unless you know her and recognize the hair you wouldn't know it was Carole.



Deb had a finish too.  When I went over to take the picture she had already balled it up and stuffed it in her bag.  I say that's abuse of a finished cross stitch and she should have to forfeit the piece.  Do you agree?


Mary Ann had a finish while at retreat too.  But she hid behind it when I took the picture.  Possibly another reason for forfeiture?


The following were displayed on the brag table.  Kudos to all for the gorgeous pieces we got to see!  Pictures just don't do them justice.  Especially mine this year as I thought I should behave and not climb up and down on chairs to get a better shot.  I apologize for the quality.













 
 The ornament exchange was fun and everyone did a wonderful job again this year.









Finally, I will close with a couple of WIP's that I thought you might enjoy seeing.

It's not often I see anyone working on a Hawk Run Hallow piece and this one is stunning! Elaine said she hasn't stitched on it since last retreat so I challenged her to have it finished by next fall's retreat.


The last piece I will share is a Prairie Schooler masterpiece being stitched by Patty.  I believe it measures somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 x 55 on 40 count.  This one got several people's attention. So much so that a couple of them went on ebay and bought the charts!


And there you have it, retreat in a nutshell.  I hope you enjoyed seeing all the wonderful projects stitched by the awesome needleartists that attended, and keep in mind this is just a small sampling of the beautiful pieces the ladies were working on.   A big thanks to all of you for supporting our retreats, without you we couldn't have them!

Take care till next time!

Julie

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Another Dan finish and some Julie stitching too!

Happy October Everyone!

The weather in Nebraska turned chilly Friday so I have been starting my days with some hot chocolate in my favorite mug!  I have to say I love everything about this mug.  The weight of it, the color, the way the handle fits in my hand, the size and lets not forget the saying!  It's perfect!


Dan is off in Kansas City having a Nascar day.  Up to this point he has not really been a fan, he'd watch it some if it happened to be on but he could take it or leave it.   I am however, predicting that after seeing it in person he will be a convert.    *UPDATE:  Didn't even get this posted before he called to say he bought a Danica Patrick hat and she autographed it and he is a huge fan now! Silly predictable man!  LOL!

In my last post I promised to share his latest project.  I didn't get a chance to blog this past week though and now instead of a WIP I get to share his finish!

this will be a gift for a friend of Dans
When he started this project, Dan informed me that he will need a matching "man" fob for all his stitching projects and could I please make him one for this project.  He already has a ship fob which I thought would work just fine but noooo, he wanted a lighthouse fob.   I told him I didn't think there would be a lighthouse charm anywhere in the stores here. We live in Nebraska, why would we need a lighthouse charm?  So what did he do??  The man trotted his happy azz off to the store and came home with a lighthouse charm just to prove me wrong.  I then had no choice but to make him a fob.  If only it would stop there.  But I can see the writing on the wall already as hints are being dropped left and right about how he only has one pair of scissors.  Seriously dude, they don't make "manly" embroidery scissors!!

I am not sure what his next project will be.  He keeps telling me to choose his next piece and I keep telling him to choose his own.  It will be interesting to see what he comes up with.  

I have eased back in to stitching and am doing well.  I take frequent breaks and do my exercises and and so far so good.  I finished Blackbird Designs Midnight Watch last week but forgot to take a picture and I left it at work.  I was almost done with it before my neck went to pieces so I didn't have much left to do and I am beyond thrilled that I finished it.  I had set a goal to finish it  and Tuscan Rose this year and was shooting for before Fall Retreat.  One out of two isn't bad considering.  We're having a Christmas Ornament Exchange at Retreat this Fall and I was thinking I would be able to participate but I was wrong.  I stitched up a piece this week and now I just need to finish it.  I will have to wait to show you that one after retreat though.  And I dug out Tuscan Rose last night and put a few stitches in it but not enough to take a picture.   Which leaves me with showing a couple three pin pillows I stitched well over a year ago and finally put together a couple of weeks ago although I am still debating trims on them.

L- Jeanette Douglas,  R - Blackbird Designs 

 And a Lizzie Kate that I stitched right around Mother's Day last spring but haven't decided what to do with it yet.    


If I remember correctly, I switched up the colors a bit on this one.

Quick update on the kids,

Adam and Marcia are doing well and looking forward to finding a town house when their apt. lease is up.  We've seen quite a bit of Adam the last few months as work has brought him to town and Marcia popped in for a weekend before my surgery.  Both will be here for Christmas this year and we are very excited for that!


Abby is still dating Joe and they are doing well.  Joe just bought a house so Abby is busy trying to figure out how to decorate as Joe says she can do what she wants within reason with the main living areas as long as she doesn't touch "the man cave".   No girly stuff though.  Abby starts her new hours at work this week and is looking forward to seeing more of Joe.  Grandpuppy Lola is a spoiled rotten little ball of fluff but we adore her!

hard to find a pic where one or both of them
aren't making a silly face!  Sorry Joe!
Amy moved to Ohio for grad school in June and is doing well although busy doesn't quite cover it.  She was told grad school would be entirely different from college and they weren't lying but she is thriving and making new friends.   She calls almost every day and fills me in on what is happening but to be honest, most of it goes over my head!!  We miss her constantly and are looking forward to seeing her at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Amy is on the far right
And with that I will call it a day.  I hope you all are having a great weekend full of stitching!

Take care till next time!

Julie
 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More on what Dan did this summer


Happy Hump Day!

I'm so pleased you all were impressed with the Mr's stitching.  I've chosen a wonderful frame for it and am just trying to decide on whether to mat it or not.  I'll share when it's finished.

Some of you might remember a few years back when I had my Achilles Tendon surgery.  To keep me entertained Dan remodeled the kitchen while I was convalesing.  Every day I would make my way downstairs and find that he had worked on one thing or another.  It was almost like Christmas!

Dan did not disappoint this time either!  It all started with the fireplace.  We had a lovely orangey oak surround that neither of us liked and since I had nothing but time to think about things, and the sofa faces the fireplace, it became the pea underneath my mattress until finally I couldn't take it and I begged him to do something.  We put our heads together and decided to paint it the same color as the kitchen cabinets but keep the mantle itself stained, just darker. It took him the entire 3 day 4th of July weekend but he got it finished and we both were thrilled with how it turned out.

Fireplace before

fireplace after
Meanwhile, the upstairs toilet leaked leaving stains on the kitchen ceiling, we got the toilet fixed but the stains remained and they bothered me every time I saw them.  So...he painted the ceiling and since the kitchen ceiling is open to the family room ceiling he had to paint the whole thing.  Dan watches HGTV  and he sees how they always empty out the room completely when they paint and remodel.  However, as much as he will moan and groan about having to work around the furniture the man will not empty the room.  Nope, he'd rather complain the entire time and this time he had to work around me since I was flat out on the sofa 99% of the time.  But in spite of the cursing and stumbling over things he got the ceiling finished and it looks quite spiffy.  But he didn't stop there.  We had been talking about how badly the walls needed painting for at least a year.  It's been over a decade since the last paint job and since it was suede paint we hadn't been able to touch it up because you can't touch up suede paint, it looks worse than the holes and black marks if you do.  But I loved my suede paint and didn't want to paint over it  with regular paint and Ralph Lauren,  the suede paint we liked, had been discontinued many years ago. However, as it so happens, with some research I discovered that Home Depot had just re-introduced Ralph Lauren's suede paint this past June!!! So Dan trotted his happy self to the store and brought home every last paint chip color in the line for me to look at.  And ponder.  And then ponder some more.  And then choose one color only to change my mind the next morning.  And then I would ponder some more.   I finally had it narrowed down to 2 colors, a brown, similar to what is in the kitchen or a sage green.  I went back and forth and back and forth between them so much that time passed.  Lots of time passed.  I had my surgery and still hadn't decided.  In fact it wasn't until I was somewhat mobile after my surgery that I finally chose and then it was at the store when we were getting the paint!  I intended to get the brown paint but at the last second I went with the green and I am so happy I did!!  It looks fantastic!  It looks so fantastic that Dan couldn't stand to keep the carpet in there.  He said he didn't spend all that time painting the suede paint (not the easiest technique) just to keep the ugly carpet when we both really wanted something else.  I wanted a medium colored hardwood and he was leaning more towards a dark laminate wood and in the end I let him have his way and we went with the laminate.  Again it was an interesting process since the man wouldn't completely empty the room.  He emptied the smaller pieces into the kitchen but left the entertainment center, sofa, recliner and the love seat.  He did half the room and then had to shift everything over to do the other half.  It took him over a week to finish and almost as soon as he did he said it was a mistake,  3 dogs, dark floor...lots of upkeep and I can't do any of it yet.  But it does look really nice.   We found an area rug at Lowe's and a clearance ceiling fan at Menards and with the exception of needing new furniture at some point (it's also a decade old and my lounging on it for the last 4 months didn't help it out any) the room is finished and we are both thrilled with it!

Family room before

all the many holes that needed to be filled.

north wall looking towards the kitchen
 .
nw wall

west wall/sw corner

sw wall again
 
sw corner

se corner.  we removed the top of the entertainment center

south wall

new rug

new laminate floor
I think  we're done doing any further remodeling since it seems like the only time we do it is when I have surgery and quite frankly I don't want to have any more!  I'm sure you can understand that!

Dan has started a new small project that he intends as a gift for Christmas so I will share that with you next time and  will also share some pin pillows I had stitched before things with my neck happened.  

Hope you enjoyed seeing the remodel!  

Take care till next time!

Julie