Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a Week!

What a week this has been! We started off the week with an earthquake on the East Coast and ended the week with Hurricane Irene. Irene turned out to be a non-event for us in Georgia but I know that is not the case for so many of you in North Carolina and points north. This morning I had a quick email from my stitching friend, Linda, in New York and she is safe, thankfully. I hope to talk to her later today.

The Virginia earthquake on Tuesday was felt all the way down here in Augusta. I had just sat down to have a late lunch about 2:00 p.m. when I felt a slight back and forth motion. I wasn't sure what I felt until I looked at the mirror across the room and saw it moving. The movement didn't last long but it was long enough to be a little unsettling. We have several fault lines that run through this area of Georgia but I wouldn't have thought we would have felt something that happened as far away as Virginia.

Did you see the Pioneer Woman's new show on Food Network yesterday? I thought it was a great look at a fairly ordinary family working, playing, and eating together. On the menu was chicken-fried steak, some killer mashed potatoes, a breakfast sandwich, and a tomato salad. I enjoyed seeing Ree's family and finally learning the names of her children as well as seeing Walter and Charlie (her Bassett Hounds), Cowboy Josh, and the tons of cattle they raise on their ranch in Oklahoma. Hope you get to catch one of her shows on Saturday mornings on Food Network.

I completed another orange stripe on "boo" this week. I've said it before but I'll say it again - I love these sampler-type canvases. You'll see the latest Grandinroad catalog behind "boo". It's their Halloween catalog and it's just filled with all sorts of fun Halloween decorations. If you don't get the catalog, be sure to check out their website - especially if you are having any kind of Halloween party. So many spooky things with which to decorate.

There's not too much more to finish on the Witches Hat Drizzly Apple. I have just a little more background to stitch (by the way, the background color is not as neon orange as it looks in the photo - it's a rich tangerine color) and I'll finish it off with the beaded edges for the bow. This was another fun, fast project. I am quickly running out of quick-stitch projects. It's probably just as well as I have two large projects that start in October - the Melissa Shirley Christmas banner from Amy's and the Melissa Shirley Flowers & Vases from Pocket Full of Stitches. Can't wait to start both of those!

My autumn clematis was looking particularly pretty early this morning so I thought I would share a picture of it with you. This is such a beautiful flowering vine but it is so invasive. It would take over the yard if you turned your head for a second. I hate to compare it to Kudzu but you understand if I do make the comparison. It's a good thing this vine has such lovely, delicate white flowers because that's the only good thing about it.

We had a nice, mild early morning here. Fairly low humidity and a temperature around 70. The temps have already moved up to the low 90's however and we still have long afternoon of heat ahead of us. My Little Girl was enjoying the early morning coolness and agreed to have her picture taken.

Let's hope this week is a little less exciting than last week! Hope you have a good one!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Revisiting Halloween

My stitching attention this week turned from Christmas ornaments to Halloween-themed projects.  Once I finished all of the compensation on the background of the July Heritage Series Ornament, the rest of the stitching flew along. I finished it earlier this week.

The three ornaments I stitched from Kelly Clark's Heritage series were fun projects - quick and easy (except for the background on the Ruby ornament). I highly recommend them! All of the stitch guides were by Gina Liuzzi.

So, now my attention has turned to Halloween again. I've had the "boo" canvas by & more for almost a year now. I bought it from Amy's last year when I was in the midst of the Halloweenies and couldn't find time to fit it into the stitching schedule until now. The stitch guide is by Amy Bunger.

I like the fact that this design is a nice change from many of the usual Halloween canvases we see, i.e. cute, spooky characters. "boo" is a sophisticated Halloween canvas. Don't get me wrong - I love the spooky characters! This is just a nice variation on the Halloween theme.

The other Halloween project I started this week is Kelly Clark's Drizzled Witchy Hats Halloween apple. Again, I purchased the canvas, threads, and stitch guide from Amy's. I started the bow late in the week and began working on the hats last night. Another fun and quick project. Be sure to check out my stitching friend Linda's finished Witchy Hats apple. It's so cute - finished like a candy apple.

Continuing along on the Halloween theme, please take a look at Jane of Chilly Hollow's blog. She features some wonderful detailed photos of Nancy's finished Haunted House. The Haunted House was another part of Amy's Halloweenie Home Study last year. Nancy had shared a photo of the finished house on Facebook a week or so ago, but it's nice to see more detailed pictures. She really did a wonderful job on this very large, very detailed project. My Haunted House is languishing in its pillowcase, I'm sorry to say. But, one day I'll bring it back out into the light of day and finish it. Nancy provides the inspiration to keep plugging away at it. Thanks, Jane and Nancy, for sharing it with all of us.

I finished two more books this week and was sorry to turn the last (electronic) page on both of them. I finished No Rest for the Dead - a collaborative effort by numerous mystery writers. I also finished State of Wonder by Anne Patchett. I highly recommend both books - very different types of books, but both very enjoyable. Next on the list is to get re-acquainted with Tom Clancy's Against All Enemies which I started a few weeks ago and put aside for other books that more quickly captured my attention.

I'm watching a show on Southern barbecue and my stomach is reminding me that I have some pulled pork in the refrigerator just waiting to be eaten for lunch. Time to eat!

Have a good week!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And the Heat Goes On!

I love the summer but I'm really ready for this one to come to an end. The heat has just been endless lately. Has it been that way for you as well? We did have an unexpected respite last night - it rained nearby and the temperature dropped to a balmy 83 with a nice breeze about 6:30. We had enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay for awhile. I think that was the first time in weeks that I have been able to sit on the patio without being driven right back inside by heat and mosquitoes. It was wonderful!

There has been more reading done around here lately than needlepoint which is why you didn't hear from me last week. I finished several books in the last couple of weeks. I loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett and can't wait to see the movie. The book was excellent and from what I am reading about the move, it will be as well. Hope to see it this week sometime.  I also finished The Dog Who Came in from the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith. I've told you how much I love his books and this one is no exception. Can't wait for the next one in the series. Another quick read this week was Marine One (the author's name escapes me for the moment). It's a legal thriller about the deadly crash of the President's Marine One helicopter. It was one of those books that you can't put down and stay up way too late to finish it.

My stitching progress has come in fits and starts lately. I am currently working on the July (Ruby) ornament in Kelly Clark's Heritage Ornament series. The other two ornaments were very quick stitches but this one has taken more time than I had expected. I have to say that I did not enjoy any of the red lattice background stitches on this piece. It was nothing but compensation the entire time and it took most of the week to finish the background. I'm ready to start the gold stem stitches for the vines and the french knots for the tips.

Despite my feelings about the tedious background, this will be a beautiful ornament when finished and worth the effort on the background. Isn't that always the case?

I'm also still working on Laura J. Perin's Garden Gate project. I've completed the fence and brick walkway portion of the design. The missing fence areas are left open so that the area can be filled with all of the flowers that Laura has planned for us. We won't have to be stitching over already stitched areas of the canvas. This morning I began work on the grass while watching Yard Crashers on HGTV. Appropriate TV for this project, don't you think? I would love to have Ahmed crash my back yard and work his magic. Maybe I need to hang out at Home Depot more often!

Laura has created a lovely summer project in Garden Gate. Her instructions, graphs, and photos are excellent. This has been a fun change of pace from painted canvas.

I was looking through the canvas stash the other evening and pulled out the "BOO" canvas from &More and its stitch guide and threads and the Witches Hat Apple by Kelly Clark. I think those two are next in line once I have finished the Ruby ornament.

Hope your stitching is progressing more quickly than mine these days! Have a wonderful week!