Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baby Birds and Old Friends

I'm going to start by showing you pictures of our new baby birds! They are adorable and I'm so glad that they are FINALLY starting to look like real birds and less like furry caterpillars!!! Hopefully in a few days they will start venturing out of the nest. I hear that's a very cute stage. While they're learning to fly they look a little drunk because they can't quite aim correctly to land on a perch and so they miss and fall a lot...kind of like kids learning to walk: it takes some practice!!!

Above are Aurora and Finnegan's babies. I'm not sure how old they are because I didn't keep track of their birthdays but they are a few days older than Barbie and Merlin's babies. (below)

So I need a little help from everyone...You can't tell the gender of the bird until they have their first molt in a couple months. So I need some help on unisex names for these little ones. My ideas so far are Petry (from The Land Before Time...remember..."Petry fly?" "No Petry fall..." so cute!), and maybe Omega and Delta, but I'm not too keen on the last two so I need some help! I've got seven babies and only ONE name!

Wow, that was a tangent...back to stitching!

I wrote to the kind people at Dimensions and asked them for the remaining floss that I need to complete my Oriental Fan project but I haven't received anything yet. So that one's on the back burner for a while. HOWEVER, I have started back with The Elegance of the Orient!!! I love this pattern and was jumping up and down when I got it back out again! It was like visiting with an old friend! This one's a little more difficult because it's on 18 ct. instead of the 14 ct. that the previous was eyes are feeling the difference! LOL! Well, here's my progress so far.

Monday, June 23, 2008

So Close!!!

I had wanted to finish this project and be able to show you all but instead it's still a WIP!!! Yet again, I have run out of floss and have to write to Dimensions. This kit has been brutal for running out of floss. So far I've run out of 4 colors! The kind people at Dimensions are going to get to know me very well. I'm so close to completion!!! I'm very excited!!!

As a complete aside, our birds had babies!!! My husband and I have 4 zebra finches and they are lovely! We got birds because we were trying to entertain the cats indoors. When my one cat Jericho goes outside he picks fights with other cats and comes home looking like he got attack by a lawnmower. We decided the cats need to stay indoors if they can't behave themselves outside and the birds have really helped them stay entertained. They have proven to be very avid bird watchers!!! Well, last week I poked my nose into the birds' nests and noticed we had eggs and a few days ago I was snooping again and found babies!!! We have 7 babies!!! I think we're going to need a bigger cage but it's VERY exciting!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daddy Day, Buckets, Updates, and Future Ambitions

First of all let me wish all the Daddy's out there a very happy Father's Day!!! I have been musing over what to get my dad. He's a simple guy who feels uncomfortable when people spend money on him. Also, his birthday is on the 20th and so I often combine gifts. I think I will have my "All is Calm" piece framed and give it to him for his birthday.

He needs some calm in his life; he works very hard and never takes enough time for himself. Also, a few months ago we lost my brother very tragically. My mother was very upset on Mother's Day and I think today may be difficult for my dad. I want to make sure this Daddy Day is as easy for my dad as possible! Please send happy vibes our way!!!

Well, that last paragraph had a sombre tone to it. Let's move on to something more chipper! Last night I watched "The Bucket List". Has anyone seen this? Hilarious and sad all at the same time! The part when Jack Nicholson gets to kiss "the most beautiful girl in the world" had me crying/smiling for about 20 minutes! My only wish was that they made the character of the assistant a little funnier. That actor was the best part of "Will & Grace" and I think his character in this flick could have been HILARIOUS!!!

And finally, an update on my latest project. I have finished the spokes of the fan and done the couching with the gold metallic thread. I love couching!!! It's a touch time consuming but the effect is lovely! Next, I've been working on the next fan in the background. I'm really happy with the progress I'm making. I think the excitement over my next project is giving me the inertia I need!!! My diligence is paying off!

I've been reading a bunch of blogs out there in the ether and I've decided that I HAVE to get myself a Heaven and Earth Design! I am in love with every one that I see! Also, I think I'm due for a Miribilia for the same reason! But my all time favorite that I've got to get for myself is "The Lady of Shalott". You know...that famous painting, by someone whose name escapes me, of her in the boat floating down the river with that soulfull look on her face after she realizes that she's dying. I love that painting and I love that poem! I think I'm getting ahead of myself AGAIN!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The other day I accidentally found myself in my local craft store and then I accidentally found myself purchasing all the necessary items for my Lissandrea project....ooops!!! I am so excited about this pattern and I can't get it out of my head. I've already decided that I would finish Oriental Fan and then complete The Elegance of the Orient before moving on to Lissandrea but the temptation is intense! That pattern is positively screaming to me and now that I have all the necessary materials to complete it I'm having issues with self restraint! I must be strong!

As an aside, I'm not sure if I felt worse for the cashier or the grumpy person behind me in line when I was having my items rung through. The poor cashier had to individually scan all five million skeins of floss while the woman behind me tapped her toe, huffed a lot, and looked at her watch every other second! I thought crafty people were more patient?!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Oriental Fan Part 6 and Dimensions Came Through AGAIN!!!

I love this border but it is taking FOREVER!!! Since last week I have completed the top portion of it and the gold flecks within it along the left side. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I really dislike stitching with metallic thread but I love the effect it provides; it's a love-hate relationship! I got a bit bored with the border and so I moved on to the spokes of the fan. I'm SO happy with how quickly they are forming!

I went to the mailbox the other day and found that Dimensions had sent me the floss I need to finish the back stitching for the leaves on the face of the fan. YIPPEE!!!I haven't done it yet but am excited to do so. I've had very positive experiences with Dimensions so far. They have sent me a replacement for the pattern that was lost and now they have sent me some more floss because I ran out. I wish I'd known how easily they send you replacements because I never would have bought extra thread from my local craft store when I've run out in the past! My only qualm with their otherwise GREAT customer service is this: when you send them an email letting them know what you need all you get is an automated email in return saying that they have received mine. Thus, I never know if they are going to send me the item until it shows up in my mailbox. I wish they could send me a quick email letting me know that they are sending it so that I would know if I need to take a trip to my local craft store or not. It's a small thing but I think it would make a big difference. Am I being too picky?

What can be my useful tip for today??? Well, I was talking a few days ago about how I kept making mistakes on the border and had to unpick it. The reason for this was because I lost my pencil. Lost my pencil? Yes, lost my see as I stitch an area I shade in the squares I've stitched so that I know I've stitched them. I'm certain A LOT of people do this but most people tend to use a highlighter. I like using a pencil because I can erase it if I need to. Also, I use my highlighter to color the back stitching lines on the pattern that I have completed. I've found this is a useful tip. I remember the first large pattern that I stitched because that was when I started doing this. I'd lose my place on the pattern but not realize it and end up stitching the wrong colors in the wrong places. I must have unpicked at least a third of it!!! LOL!! Then I started shading in what I had done and it made ALL the difference. The only thing that you need to be careful about is getting pencil on your hands and then getting it on your thread. If you do it's not a big deal because it will wash out. I made this mistake while stitching the snow in "All is Calm"; I kept wondering why my snow looked dirty until I looked at my hands and gasped!!!

Well, it's 30 degrees outside today and about 40 with the humidex. Too hot for doing much outside so I think I shall curl up next to the air conditioner and stitch to my heart's content!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rainy Day Musings and Fights with the Cat

It's a rainy day here and I LOVE IT!!! I think the universe sends you dreadful weather to force you to have a lazy day! I walked over to the grocery store to grab some bits for dinner. I had to walk because I lent my car to my Dad. His is on the way out of this world and I work from home and don't really need mine. So, he's borrowing it indefinitely. I'm actually really enjoying walking everywhere!

When I came back I realized that I had forgotten to put my cross stitch away. My cat was asleep on it!!! He woke up and continued to clean the dirt off his paws! I've been spot cleaning paw marks out of it for the last hour. It's my own fault for leaving it on the couch! Lesson learned though!!!

I realized that I never posted pictures of what my projects will eventually look like. You can basically tell what Oriental Fan will look like but here is what Elegance of the Orient will look like when completed:

I also mentioned a few posts ago about the pattern that I got in the mail. It is a Mystic Stitch design and she is called Lissandrea:

I think she is absolutely stunning! I have NO idea where I'm going to put her when she's done because she really doesn't fit in with the rest of the house but I'll deal with that one later!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oriental Fan Part 5

Yet again, I am a day late in my post. Yesterday I took my nephews to Black Creek Pioneer Village. They had a great time and I think I've found my new vocation in life. Throughout the village they have people in traditional costume pretending to live in the era and answering questions. In one of the houses was a woman who sat by the fire all day working on her embroidery. Where do I sign up for that job!?

Anyway, during this past week I have completed the background for the top area. Next I moved onto the border. I like to finish the left hand side of the pattern first because I am right handed and it's a little more awkward to complete. The border has proven to be a slight nightmare. Granted it is a very simple pattern but somehow I was still able to make a couple of mistakes! I had to unpick portions of it twice! Never stitch while enjoying wine! LOL! Now, I am trying to be extra careful to avoid having to unpick again.

Next, this border uses 5 strands of floss to create the weight of it. It is SO uncomfortable! Not only is it a nightmare every time I try to thread my needle but I feel like I'm stitching with yarn! I'm so glad I used the stretch bars on this project because if I hadn't the fabric would have invariably been quite warped! The pattern also calls for cording along the border. I now understand why: to mask any warping in the fabric!!!

I seem to be grumbling a bit in this last post. Sorry, next post will be more chipper!

PS - It is my photography skills that have made the pattern appear crooked and not the actual pattern.