Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seeing Red

The Queen and I have been seeing red this week as I worked on her right sleeve - red Splendor and red Petite Very Velvet. The Caswell stitch that Amy chose for the sleeves works up very quickly and very effectively. The Jessicas that are scattered about the sleeves will be filled with a white seed bead and the "icing on the cake", so to speak, will be the Gloriana ribbons that crisscross the sleeves on top of the stitching from one Jessica to the next. I enjoyed working on the sleeve this week and imagine it will take me another week to finished the other sleeve.

Andrew and Anna are visiting for the holiday weekend so yesterday morning, Anna and I headed over to South Carolina to the berry farm and bought locally grown blackberries and peaches and a few tomatoes and some beautiful okra.

Tonight I'll be making a blackberry cobbler - can't wait! I ate one of the blackberries yesterday and it was good and sweet and just a little on the tart side. The peaches aren't quite ripe yet but are beginning to have that wonderful peachy fragrance.

We also picked flowers while out at the farm - zinnias, black-eyed Susans, and gladiolas. We cut three good sized bunches for about $6 - a bargain!

We've had a wonderful weekend just being together and eating good food - barbecue last night, grilled burgers and hot dogs for lunch, and steak and baked potatoes on the menu for tonight. Not to mention blackberry cobbler for dessert tonight. Speaking of which, it's time to go make the cobbler -

Hope you're having a relaxing first weekend of the summer! Happy stitching this week!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thank You Bravo TV

How did I ever get any stitching done before there was Bravo TV? And TLC, for that matter. Today I turned on a marathon afternoon of Pregnant in Heels and, before I knew it, I had finished the skip tent stitches in the upper background of Queen Elizabeth.  This is in complete contrast to the total lack of stitching that was (not) accomplished during this week's season premiere of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I couldn't take my eyes away from the television. I thought that no one could be as volatile as Teresa but we just hadn't met her brother yet. OMG! is all I have to say! The Queen was speechless!

Back to stitching - I am finally ready to begin stitching the Queen's sleeves. They are basically half the canvas. But the stitches are nice, long, straight ones and hopefully the sleeves will move along quickly. I hope I will have a nice completed section of sleeve to show you next week.

I've enjoyed spending time on the patio and in the yard these last two weeks or so. All the pots on the patio are planted and blooming nicely. I've cleaned the grill and have used it quite a bit lately. This evening calls for hamburgers on the grill and some incredibly sweet bi-color corn.

Joining me in the yard and on the patio the last two weeks have been these creatures:

This is a cicada and they only make an appearance every 13 years. They have been underground feeding on tree roots since 1998. They are harmless despite their appearance. They're noisy, too. Last weekend they were all over my yard - the trees, the bushes, the grass. This week I'm not seeing so many and the ones that I do see are doing their best to escape the birds. I imagine no birds have gone hungry around here lately.

Time to get those burgers on the grill! Hope you're having a relaxing, stitch-filled weekend!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Weekend Was Too Short

Did I miss a day of the weekend? How can it be over with already? I accomplished everything I had hoped to on Saturday and Sunday but I would really like to think that Monday is not coming as quickly as it is.

We had a beautiful weekend here in Georgia and I grilled out Friday night and Saturday night. Friday night  I cooked a pork tenderloin on the grill and Saturday night grilled chicken breasts were on the menu. Tonight - and several more nights this week - I have great leftovers and easy side dishes. I can oven roast some asparagus, boil some bi-color corn, re-heat the macaroni and cheese, or toss a salad. I love it when my meals for the week work out this way!

Look what was delivered to me yesterday -

Andrew and Anna sent me this beautiful azalea basket for Mother's Day. I look forward to planting it in the backyard. I missed not being with them today! I hope all of you enjoyed a lovely Mother's Day!

Saturday morning I was out early and went by a local nursery to pick up some plants for the patio and yard. I came home with an interesting assortment. 

I have two new thyme plants, basil, two apricot purslanes, two diamond frosts, a penta, and a New Guinea impatiens. This morning was the perfect time to get these into pots and into the ground. It was sunny and cool with just enough of a breeze to move the wind chimes. I'll try and remember what this morning was like when July and August come around and there aren't any cool mornings in sight!

I made some nice progress on Queen Elizabeth this week. She now has her emeralds, sapphires, amethysts, and rubies stitched around the border. Fyre Werks threads make a nice substitution for the real gems!

I need to add a gold edging to each gem but for now, I'll go back and work on the right batwing and complete the ribbon rosettes and the diamond eyelet outer area of the batwing. My night time stitching this week has been a balancing act. My cat, Little Girl, who spends most of the day outside now that it's nice and warm, has insisted on sitting in my lap every night as if to make up for the lack of "lap time" during the day. So, I have tried to balance her in my lap and pull my canvas on the stand up and over her. It isn't comfortable (for me) but it works for her and she's a happy kitty.

I meant to mention long before now that De Selby, the editor of Spool, sent me a complimentary copy of her new, quarterly needlearts magazine. De wanted me to see her own Queen that is featured in the Winter 2011 issue. De's Queen proclaims "Off With Your Shoes!". This is a counted thread design and it's as cute as can be. If you love anything that is stitched with a needle, you will thoroughly enjoy Spool.  I thought the layout and design of Spool was very current and fresh. While there were not many articles or projects devoted to needlepoint (in this issue), it was fun to see the many projects for knitters, crocheters, cross stitchers, sewers, and embroiderers. There are some fun-filled projects to be had in this magazine.  Even though I have put down my knitting needles, it was inspiring to see the wonderful knitted projects that were in the winter issue. You can check out Spool online and, while you're there, enter your subscription. You may just find Spool in your local needlework store. 

I hear some leftovers in the refrigerator calling my name. I must answer the call!

 I hope you have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

By Special Request

Susan requested a photo of the Halloweenie family. She has her own Halloweenies ready for the finisher. Hope these help, Susan!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The British Theme Continues

It's been another week of all things British at my house, particularly in the television and needlepoint areas. I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the programs leading up to the royal wedding, the wedding itself, and the recaps of the wedding. I've watched wedding coverage on the news channels, TLC, E!, and followed the wedding online at the Daily Mail Online. Did you get up early to watch the wedding live or did you sleep in and catch it later in the day? I got up at 5:00 AM, fixed my tea and settled in for an early morning of wedding festivities. I thought Kate's dress was so elegant and so perfect for her. Did you know that the lace appliques on her dress were stitched at the Royal School of Needlework located at Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace? Sarah Burton, who designed Kate's dress, was set up with a secret, temporary studio at Hampton Court where she and Kate held top-secret fittings. I read where the part-time embroiderers (aged 19 to 70) washed their hands every 30 minutes while stitching and changed their needles every 3 hours to ensure that they were sharp and clean. Their efforts certainly paid off. This dress has become an instant classic and their fine stitching will be preserved for generations to come.

I have to admit that I haven't taken that much care with my Queen Elizabeth while stitching her this week - no changing needles every three hours, anyway. I worked more on her bodice this week and, for the most part, finished that area. There is still a lot of work to do in the batwing area on either side of her head.

I started on the diamond eyelets in the "lacey" areas of the right batwing. It didn't take long to grow tired of tiny white stitches so last night while watching the last two episodes of the new Upstairs, Downstairs (I told you the British theme continues) on PBS, I worked on the gold ribbon rosettes around the red Rhodes stitches. I am using Gloriana 4mm ribbon for the rosettes that is gathered and stitched in place around the Rhodes stitches. It takes a while to do each one but I love the dimension it adds to this area of the canvas. I would love to think I might move on to the sleeve area this week but I think that this week will still find me stitching the batwings.

I took a look around the back yard this morning and was amazed at how many of my perennials are ready to bloom. My Easter lilies from last year are ready to bloom and some of the hydrangeas are starting to show some color. My Stella d'Oro daylilies are all starting to bloom as of this morning. A perfect way to start a beautiful May Day!

Hope your May is off to a good start! Enjoy your Sunday stitching!