Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beads Beads Beads

I don't think I've ever beaded this much in all my life! Actually, I know I have never beaded this much. Gus has lots of bling these days with more still to come.

Two more sections to go on the outer sarcophagus case. I finished the green section last night - love the pattern! Then I decided to take a little break from the beading and stitched the floor and part of the purple and teal border. I ran out of my purple thread but have asked Jill at Amy's to send me another skein when she ships Dev L. Mann this week. Can you believe the time has come for our last Halloweenie to be shipped? Where did the year go? I'm pleased that I can look at four completely finished pieces and two stitched pieces waiting to go to the finisher.

I wish I could have sent some of my friends up in the frozen North a little bit of the beautiful day we had yesterday here in the South. It was 70 degrees with beautiful blue skies! Today is pretty much a duplicate of yesterday and I feel the need to go soak up some winter sunshine.

I'm headed outside! Have a great week!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Beading Begins

It has been all about the beads this week with Sarcoph A. Gus. I imagine that will be the story for this weekend and next week as well. I have completed the bottom rows of strings of beads and the lower red section of the case.

I usually keep my beads in/on a Tacky Bob and work from it when beading. But with this much beading, Tacky Bob just isn't doing it for me this time. So, I improvised and laid down a strip of double sided tape along the right edge and sprinkled my beads onto it. It works very nicely and I only lose a few beads to gravity every now and then. I have "lost" a lot of the coppery orange beads to their not fitting through my beading needle. I'm using Bohin beading needles which I love and they seem to work well with the other beads. It seems like every other orange bead I pick up won't fit through the needle and it's a little frustrating. Good thing that there are plenty of beads to choose from.  It's time to move on to the blue section!

We've had a beautiful couple of days and, although it's in the low 40s today, it looks like it should be a lot warmer. My backyard was covered in robins the other day and this morning I saw cedar waxwings swarming all over a bush that was covered in berries. My camellias are about to burst into bloom - a few more days in the 50s and I will see the bushes covered in bright pink flowers. So nice to have some color in the yard in January and February!

Hope your stitching is going well and that you are getting a lot accomplished!  Have a good week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Golden Gus

Well, I'm pleased to say that Gus is moving right along. I think I made some good progress on him this week. I have shifted over from the mummy to the outer sarcophagus case. That's where the real fun is!

Gus's beautiful golden face works up quickly although I confess that I don't like stitching with Accentuate. It gives a very nice effect but I'm glad that there wasn't a lot of the face that required stitching with it.

After stitching his face, I moved on to the red bib and the teal shoulder areas. The actual stitching is very easy. It was deciding where to place the stitches that gave me pause. This painted area of the canvas (the lower part of the hood, bib area, and shoulder area) is a little difficult to figure out what is what. I did a lot of referring to the photo of Gus in our stitch guide. From the way in which my canvas was painted, the black hood was longer on the left side than the right. I decided that I wanted it to look more symmetrical so I extended the black a little further down on the right than what was painted. I know there will be a golden hand in this area later on that holds the crook and the gold stick with the tassel. If I am off on my placement of parts of the bib or the shoulders, I think they will be covered up with these other elements.

I'm glad I took the time to take a close look at the beaded ornament before I began stitching the black hood. That allowed me to place my black stitches where they needed to be around the ornament and still have room for all the beads as the ornament is graphed. I haven't completely finished the ornament - there are a couple of more layers of beads to add on certain parts of the ornament. I'll come back to add those layers later on.

I took some time away from stitching yesterday to go to the movies (too bad you can't needlepoint in the dark). I saw The King's Speech and absolutely loved it. You have to go see it. In case you don't know anything about it, it is the story of King George VI's (Colin Firth) attempt to overcome his stammer with the help of his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). There are some great actors and actresses with small parts in this film - Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom, Anthony Andrews. It is a very touching, uplifting story and one that gives the audience reason to applaud at the end of the movie. How many movies do you see these days that make you want to applaud? I hope this film wins lots of awards at the Golden Globes and Oscars.

The snow and ice are almost completely gone - thank the Lord! We're in the 50s today so whatever is left - even in the shade - won't last for long.

Hope this finds you warm and snow free today!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Noel is Finished!

I am pleased to report that my Noel canvas is finished. I have to thank Beth Gantz (designer) and Ruth Schmuff (stitch guide & threads) for a truly fun project. Noel was one of Ruth's Mystery Class projects for December.

Photographs really don't do the colors of this canvas justice. The reds are a true scarlet and the greens are bright and clear like a Granny Smith apple. I took another photo so that you could see the effect of the beading in the darker green stripes.

I stitched the beading after I had attached the jingle bells and enjoyed the soft "jingle" sound every time I moved the canvas. It was delightful!

While I am happy to have a finished piece during the 2nd week of January, I will miss working on Noel. Not that there aren't plenty of other projects waving their hands to be noticed! Sarcoph A Gus will receive my full attention now. Well, maybe 95% of my attention. I would love to finish my XOXO canvas with Valentine's Day coming in a few weeks. I don't have much more to finish on this one.

The sun is out and it is still only 35 degrees, but that is enough warmth to begin melting the ice. I can't get to the car yet for all of the ice, but maybe tomorrow it will all be gone.

Stay warm and dry and off the ice!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Today is one of those rare days in Georgia when the weather shuts everything down. We started with snow in the early evening last night. It changed to sleet and snow during the night. Then it changed to sleet this morning and freezing rain in the late morning. Despite the fact that there is ice in the trees and on the power and cable lines, there isn't enough to disrupt any of our power or cable services. Here's a view out my front door this morning.

And here's a view of the backyard out my bedroom window.

As you can see there isn't a lot of snow but what there is is covered in ice. It's a pretty sight nonetheless.

I cooked enough food over the weekend in preparation for the snow and ice to feed a small army. The army and I could be snowed in for a week and not run out of food. I've got chicken spaghetti (thanks Pioneer Woman!), white bean chicken chile, curried chicken salad, and chipped pork barbecue and hash. There's a chicken theme here because that's what was on sale at the grocery store. I made a run out to my favorite barbecue restaurant on Saturday and picked up the meat and hash. That's for supper tonight.

In light of all of this cooking, it's a good thing this box arrived this week.

After a couple of hours of relatively easy assembly, this is what was in the box.

It's my new recumbent bike - and I assembled it all by myself! It fits perfectly in a corner of my bedroom so I'll be able to watch the tv while I work out on the bike. It is almost completely silent when you pedal which is a nice feature. It has various levels of resistance and it also has a little computer that has five or six programs in it that gives you different types of workouts. I ordered this from Amazon and couldn't be happier with how substantial and how well made it is. I had such a workout just getting it from the front of the house to the bedroom and putting it together that I didn't ride for more than about 10 minutes yesterday. I'm hoping this will help me get some good exercise without putting any more strain on my already bad knees. As absolutely wonderful my love of needlepoint is, it is such a sedentary hobby and when you tend towards sedentary activities anyway, it's a double whammy. Wish me luck!

I made some nice progress on Gus last night and finished up his satin stitch wrappings except for his arm and hand. I also stitched the beaded gecko that he holds. The gecko is a nice glittery addition to all the beige and brown on the wraps. I'll post some pictures later in the week.

Hope your week starts off bright and sunny,  unlike mine!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Progress Update on Noel and Gus

It has been a week of slow but steady progress on my Noel canvas and Sarcoph A Gus. But, progress nonetheless. Noel has really been a joy to work on. It's such an upbeat, festive design with fun threads. I am still working the scarlet basketweave border across the bottom of the design.

 I love stitching with the Planet Earth silk. It is so soft and lustrous - such a pleasure to work with! It has been a while since I worked this much basketweave at once (not that it is all that much basketweave to stitch) and I am enjoying it. I find basketweave to be very soothing and relaxing. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I can get the border finished.

On the Halloweenies scene, Gus's wrappings are coming along. The wrappings seem to me to be fairly free-form in their design. I don't believe any two stitchers will stitch the wrappings the same way.

There's still a lot of work to do on Gus's wrappings. I bought some instant coffee at the grocery store today to use on the actual cloth wrappings that we will apply to Gus. I'll have to go back and read Amy's description of how she got the right "look" for the wrappings in last month's newsletter and, of course, in our stitch guide.

I've been watching the Weather Channel all morning wondering if their forecasts of snow and ice for Augusta on Sunday and Monday will come true. The snow isn't a terrible thing for us but the ice would surely be. We haven't had a bad ice storm in several years. When we do, we usually lose electricity from falling limbs and trees. I decided this morning to go on to the grocery store/pharmacy to pick up a prescription and a couple of extra items. It was busy, busier than most Saturdays but there was plenty of bread and milk. Why people buy bread and milk when faced with an ice storm, I don't know. If you lose electricity, you can't cook the eggs. I guess you can eat a lot of cereal and use up the milk. After the last time we had an ice storm, I went to Target and bought a small Coleman stove and some fuel. I've never even taken it out of its box and that was at least four or five years ago. I'm glad it's on hand but I hope I don't have an opportunity to use it.

Hope your new year is off to a good start and that you are getting lots of stitching done! Stay warm and out of the snow!