Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Boo, y'all! Hope your Halloween weekend has been a wonderful one - mine has! I just drove home from Jacksonville where I spent the weekend with Andrew and Anna and their kitties, Buddy and Elvis. While I hated to leave all of them, I needed to get home to my own Little Girl who spent the weekend home alone. She (and the house) seem none the worse for the wear. She is an indoor/outdoor cat, so for her to spend the entire weekend inside by herself is quite a change. At the moment, she's happily lounging in the sun on her favorite chair on the patio.

We were an unhappy group Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of the Georgia-Florida game. Our Bulldogs lost in overtime. This afternoon I think I was passed on I-95 by every Georgia fan heading north out of Jacksonville who attended the game. I've never seen so many silver, black, and red cars decorated in everything imaginable that featured a bulldog or the Georgia "G".

W. Herr Wolfe didn't get to make the trip to Jacksonville this weekend, but I took a photo of my progress Friday morning before I left home.

I think I made some nice progress last week. My work schedule has eased up recently so I had more time and more energy to devote to stitching. I love the pumpkins as always, especially the one on the left since we haven't used that stitch before. The darker pumpkin has such rich colors which look great next to the blue pants and green jacket. In Amy's Tips in the stitch guide, she notes that the fabrics are supposed to have a thick, coarse look to them. I think she certainly achieved that look with the stitches and threads she chose for the jacket and pants. Both stitches move along easily. For the pants, once I had stitched the initial dark lines in continental, I chose to start the main stitch for the pants with the continental stitch portion of the pattern. It just made it easier for me to see where I needed to go with the pattern. Tonight I look forward to settling in with the stitching on the upper portion of the jacket.

Don't miss Amy's November newsletter that was just posted. There's lots to read about our Halloweenies project. I must go out and buy the eyelashes for use in the next phase of the Haunted House. Have you bought yours yet? Be sure to check out Colleen's photos of her finished Halloweenies - they look great!

Speaking of finished projects, look what was waiting for me when I returned home:

Marlene did another great job with my "merry christmas" canvas which I purchased from Amy's last year. The fabric is a small white on white stripe with a pale green cording around the pillow. The cording around the needlepoint itself is red, green, and white. It looks so beautiful on my white sofa in the living room but it will be just as pretty on my white bedspread in my pale green bedroom.

Bridezilla and her groom didn't make it into the box from Marlene's. I had not really expected them to but I hope it won't be long until they return home.

Hope you have a great week and I hope no tricks are played on any of us tonight!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Goodnight Dr. Acula, May You Rest In Peace

Say goodnight to Dr. Acula as he prepares to find a nice dark place to rest while his friend, W. Herr Wolff, steps up for his time in the spotlight.

I finished Dr. A on Saturday after receiving some last minute beading suggestions from Amy. I appreciate Amy and Robin trying to help with my struggles with the peyote beading on the coffin handles. But, as you will see from the photo above, despite Amy's attempt to help, I was unable to stitch the coffin handles in the peyote beading technique called for in the stitch guide. I could never get my beads to stack correctly or get the tension correct. After a total of about three hours spent on the beading and being unhappy with each attempt, I finally decided to just go with the string of beads on the two rows. I think it looks perfectly acceptable and much better than if I had continued with the peyote beading. The coffin handles rank right up there with Frank's pants on the frustration meter. Both defeated me!

On the other hand, there was so much I loved about stitching this character. I loved the shading and stitches on the coffin itself and the knobs. I think Dr. A's kitty is adorable in her matching coffin with the green lining. I also really enjoyed stitching the puffy orange lining of Dr. A's coffin. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I was surprised at how prominent the candelabra became in the scene once it was stitched. I was glad we had some previous experience (Haunted House) with the stitch for the candelabra
before tackling it. The other element that I enjoyed was the background stitch. I could have kept going with the X's!

So, many thanks to Kelly Clark for another great Halloweenie design and to Amy for creating a wonderful stitch guide and thread selection!

Now, it's on to our werewolf friend. Despite the fact that I didn't get started on him until after the full moon had passed, W. Herr Wolff is pretty pleased with the moonlit nights we have been experiencing lately. We stayed up late last night stitching the bottom border and waited until this morning to add the moons and stars.

I'm not thrilled with the moons I stitched and the stars are just ok. I think I would have preferred using the moon and stars charms that Robin used on Katt Z. Witch. The second border is moving along very quickly - always a nice thing!

We have had another beautiful weekend here in eastern Georgia. I've spent the greater part of the afternoon on the patio. An added advantage to that is that I haven't had to listen to the phone ring with one robo-call after another from all the candidates running for office. Election day can't come soon enough - in so many respects!

If I go back inside, I may give in to the temptation of fixing the Betty Crocker Chocolate Molten Lava mini cakes. It was one of the Buy One, Get One Free items at Publix this week. I have had hard time passing up the BOGO items.

Well, that's it for me. Hope you all have a great week and squeeze in some quality stitching time!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Have You Been to the Pumpkin Patch Yet?

Or are you waiting for the Great Pumpkin to pay a visit? It won't be long now!

This is the pumpkin patch at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I would take any of these glass pumpkins home. They were available for purchase in the garden shop - about $200 each. Not surprisingly, I didn't take any home with me!

Night time in my kitchen when the lights are off and only the candle is lit.

I'm off to go work on the last little bit that needs to be finished on Dr. Acula. Check back tomorrow where hopefully we will all see a finished photo of Dr. A. It's too beautiful a Saturday to sit inside and stitch so Dr. Acula is going out into the sunlight one more time. It's really killing him, though. Just kidding, no vampires were hurt in this stitching project.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dr. Acula Caught Out in the Broad Daylight!

What was I thinking taking the good Dr. A out in the broad daylight this afternoon? I was thinking that it was too beautiful an afternoon to spend inside stitching the background for Dr. A! We had the most beautiful weekend and I tried to spend as much of it outside as I could. I had to bring work home again and fortunately it was work that could be done at the table on the patio.

For background entertainment, the annual air show that takes place at the airport about a half mile from my house was in full gear all afternoon yesterday and today. I have seen lots of airplane acrobatics, a precision flying team, and parachutists without leaving the comfort of my own patio. I didn't see this,  but I did hear/feel the jet truck that roars down a runway at 325 miles an hour racing (and beating) a plane flying above it. This is one of those events that always signals the fall season for me. It makes me a little wistful, too, as it was a tradition for my father to take my son to the air show. My father passed away several years ago and my son is now grown and has moved away to Jacksonville. But, the air show keeps on going!

You are probably growing weary of reading that I haven't made much progress on Dr. Acula. I continue to think that my work schedule will slow down but I suppose it really won't until college football begins to wind down. I can't remember if I told you that I work for a company that produces a novelty product for the collegiate market. We're thankful to be so busy, but really! All this work is cutting in to my stitching time!

Dr. A survived his trip outside in the daylight but is much happier to be back in the house. He isn't accustomed to be stitched in daylight hours, especially outside. I'm making progress on the background and would love to think that I'll finish that part this week. I keep forgetting all of the beading that needs to be done for the coffin handles. There are little bits and pieces of other things to be finished - hands, Rhett Reviens, single line borders, and the big spider web in the upper right corner. Nothing major but it all adds up. W. Herr Wolfe is being very patient as he awaits his turn to be stitched.

I spoke to Marlene in San Francisco on Friday about my "merry christmas" pillow. We talked about the finishing and decided to go with a white on white striped fabric and red/green/white cording. We also talked about Bridezilla and the Groom (the honeymoon continues, I hear). They will be coming home from San Francisco soon! She couldn't promise them in time for Halloween, but that's ok.

Another weekend is drawing to a close. Can you believe October will be drawing to a close soon, too? Gosh, that means Christmas can't be far away! Oh, dear!

Have a good week every one!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Closing In

I couldn't decide whether to title this post "Finish Line in Sight" or "Closing In" but finally went with "Closing In" as I am finally closing in on finishing Dr. A. What with great SEC football yesterday afternoon and catching up on The Real Housewives of DC and Rubicon this afternoon, I planted myself in front of the television for the last two days and gave Dr. A my (mostly) undivided attention. Since I last posted I have completed his cape, suit, candelabra, grass, and most of the two bottom borders.

The impact of the candelabra on the canvas took me by surprise. I had not expected it to have such a presence - not that it's bad or anything, but the size of it seems so much larger stitched than it did unstitched. I particularly like the stitch "construction" of the candelabra. The crescent stitch on the candelabra arms had me remarking to Dr. A that Amy is one clever lady. It's a perfect stitch for that area.

I have a little bit of the lavender border to finish tonight and then will work on finishing the spiders and adding their webs. With any luck, I could finish Dr. A this week. W. Herr Wolfe is calling to me to hurry up!

I thought I would share with you one of my other Halloween decorations. This witchy kitty is a Jim Shore Heartwood Creek piece I have had for a few years. She is sitting within the black feather wreath I bought at Target last year. She's holding a lantern that has a small battery operated candle inside. I found some tiny, battery-operated amber colored lights at QVC that work on a timer and so at night she is surrounded by little lights. I love these lights because you can set them to come on when you want and they stay on for 6 hours and turn themselves off. I put the other set on the black branches on my mantle with my other Halloween decorations.

Time to get back to the lavender border - the weekend is about to slip away and my free time with it!  I want to wish my Canadian stitching friends a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! Eat some turkey for me!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumn at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Andrew, Anna, and I spent some time on Sunday morning at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. We couldn't have had a nicer day - crystal clear skies, a light breeze, and temps in the upper 60's! The gardens were decked out for the fall and Halloween. Their special exhibit right now centers around chocolate - everything from cultivation of the cacao tree to the finished product. When you walk into the Visitor's Center, you are enveloped in the scent of chocolate. That's a great way to start a visit anywhere, don't you think?

Andrew took lots of pictures and I wanted to share a few of them with you.

I was so happy to see the Dale Chihuly piece still in the fountain. It must have been purchased following the Chihuly in the Garden exhibit in 2004.

These pumpkin topiaries (I think that's what you would call them) are so cute and I am seriously thinking about copying them - on a smaller scale - in the two planters at my front steps. I think you could get a piece of iron rebar or something similar at Home Depot and impale (!) the pumpkins and gourds on it and place it in the pot. Don't you think it would last outside until Thanksgiving?

If my knee had not been bothering me, I would have walked over to another part of the garden and been able to see this fabulous cornucopia in person. I'm glad Andrew and Anna got to see it. Look at all the glass pumpkins and gourds! You could buy smaller versions of these in the garden gift store. I resisted the temptation and it was the hardest thing I did all day.

The pumpkin patch featured glass pumpkins as well.

This steel sculpture with the glass pears is another favorite of mine.

I'll leave you with this incredible orchid photo. The color combination was unbelievable. I wish I could tell you the name of this orchid, but I didn't see its label. The conservatory is filled with many exotic plants just like this one.

If I lived in Atlanta, I would surely be a member of the Botanical Garden. It's such a lovely, peaceful place in the middle of the city. It would be a great place to escape when the traffic and the hustle and bustle of the city becomes too much. Hope you enjoyed this little escape with me!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stash Enhancement

I just returned home from a great weekend in Atlanta with my son, Andrew, and daughter-in-law, Anna. Andrew was in his BMW blogging/photographer mode at the Petite LeMans north of Atlanta on Saturday where he spent the day photographing the race and the BMW racing team in particular. Anna and I spent the day shopping at Lenox Mall and had a delicious dinner at The Buckhead Diner (the white chocolate banana cream pie is highly recommended!). If you are shopping at the right time of day in the Neiman Marcus shoe department, you will be served champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. No, we weren't buying - "just looking" at the Manolos. I was wearing my Birkenstocks - I'm surprised they let me in the shoe department there!

This morning after breakfast we made a trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was such a perfect day to visit - not a cloud in the sky, mid-60's - just beautiful. If you are ever in Atlanta, make an effort to get there! I didn't take my camera but Andrew took some great pictures which I'll share with you later.

When I arrived in Atlanta on Friday, my first stop was at In Stitches, a needlepoint boutique in Buckhead. It's located in a cute little house on Shadowlawn Drive. I was excited to discover that they were having a Melissa Shirley trunk show. They had a nice selection of large and small canvases in the show (and in the shop, of course). No way I was walking out of there without an addition to the stash! Here's what I bought -

Melissa Shirley's Gold Pears - one striped design and one damask design. I started on the damask pear with an antique copper Kreinik braid. Each of the designs comes with some "velvet" leaves. Love them! I also picked up a couple of new Zecca magnets.

I couldn't resist picking up one of Melissa's Ribbon Candy canvases with a Halloween theme (imagine that!). The ribbon candy canvases are featured on the cover of the current Needlepoint Now. This is a particularly good issue. I love the projects that are featured this time. Note to self - remember to renew the subscription to Needlepoint Now!

Thanks to the ladies at In Stitches who were so attentive and helpful!

This past Thursday afternoon there was a thumping and scratching sound at the door after the UPS man dropped off a special package at the door. Look who has arrived!

I don't think I'll even put the Wolfman on the stretchers until I have made a little more progress on his buddy, Dr. Acula. The Dr. is already put out with me because I haven't been showing him much attention these last two weeks. I was disappointed to learn that the stitching diagram for his coffin was incorrect. Oh, well, that part has been done for quite a while and I don't think I'll be taking it out. No one will ever know - unless you tell them! You won't do that, will you?

Our W.Herr Wolfe is quite striking with all that fur to be stitched. I love the pumpkins and the moon in the background. Hope I can get back on a regular stitching schedule with him.

I look forward to sharing some photos from the Botanical Garden with you later this week. Hope you have a wonderful week!