Sunday, January 29, 2012

"R" You Ready for Some Beading?

Considering that last week I really didn't have any pictures of the "R" pear to show you (because I hadn't made much progress!), today I am giving myself a pat on the back for having accomplished quite a bit of stitching this week.

None of the stitches that Amy chose for this pear are difficult to stitch or particularly time consuming. The overall effect of the patterns and color reminds me of an upholstery trim or maybe ribbon.

I started beading the R last night and, if I can get a good bit of Sunday stitching in today, I should be able to finish the R before the next lesson arrives this week.

It is a beautiful, if seasonably, chilly morning for a change in Georgia today. Our poor flowering trees have been fooled by the warm weather we have had lately and are beginning to bloom. It's the end of January, for pete's sake! I have a few daffodils in the yard and they have already bloomed. When I was in Jacksonville last weekend, I noticed that Anna's car was covered in a light dusting of pollen. That's at least six to seven weeks too early for pollen to appear. Makes you wonder if winter will arrive in February and March this year or perhaps we'll just have a mild winter.

Hope you all have a great week as we say goodbye to January and welcome February!

Stitch On!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Wicked Weekend in Jacksonville

Yes, it was a wicked weekend in Jacksonville as in Wicked, the Broadway musical! For Christmas this year, Andrew gifted me and Anna tickets for the Sunday afternoon performance of this fun show. We had a wonderful brunch at The Blue Fish before heading to the theatre. The weather was so mild yesterday that the restaurant was able to open the sliding doors to its sidewalk dining area and the French doors to its courtyard. I ordered a fried green tomato Eggs Benedict with cheese grits and Anna had ciabatta bread French toast with bacon. Delicious!

We loved the show - the cast, the music, the story, and the set were incredible! I was familiar with a few of the songs from the show but it was nice to put them into the context of the story. As we left the theatre to head for the parking garage, we could hear a street musician playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow on his saxophone - so appropriate!

No needlepoint photos in this post - sorry! I worked on the R pear this week but didn't make enough progress on it to warrant a picture. I have enjoyed seeing Amy's and Jill's photos of the great canvases they are seeing in Phoenix. I think we will all have some fabulous projects to work on after all our shop owners return from market.

There has been a ton of activity this week on the live critter cameras I watch. Jewel, the black bear, delivered two cubs on Sunday afternoon; the Decorah eagles nest was completely covered by snow twice this week (thank goodness there are no eggs yet); NX (one of the rock star trio of Norfolk eaglets born in 2011) is back on camera again during her recuperation (an unfortunate encounter with a vehicle while eating roadkill) at the Wildlife Center of Virginia; and the two eaglets born last week at Jordan Lake in North Carolina have doubled in size (only a slight exaggeration). It was a busy week in the world of wildlife! I loved it!

I'll be more diligent in my stitching this week and have some pictures to show you next time. This month is moving right along and before you know it, it will be time for the next lesson for the Christmas banner to arrive from Amy's. I'd better get busy!

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two Pears Down, Seven to Go

I think I said in last week's posting that I hoped to have started the topiaries on the H pear by the time I wrote this week's blog post. I guess I underestimated myself! With the exception of the leaves, I have finished the H.

I love the cute little pots the topiaries sit in. The stitches that make them up are so simple and so perfect. There were lots and lots of French knots to be stitched! I stitched and stitched yesterday accompanied by a few television shows I had DVRed during the week and two football games.  With two more football games today, I should be able to finish up the leaves and get started on the R.

Are any of you fans of Downton Abbey that is currently being shown on PBS? I am so happy it's back for the second season! If you haven't watched it but may have been a fan of Upstairs, Downstairs many years ago, don't miss Downton Abbey! From what I read in magazine and newspaper articles, it has a huge following. I'm not surprised at all. I think PBS is repeating last week's 2 hour season premiere tonight before the 9:00 pm airing of the new episode.

Enjoyed my eagle watching this week and my dual monitors. There is an eagle nest (with camera) at Jordan Lake in Apex, North Carolina where two eaglets hatched this week. Dad Eagle has been taking care of Mom and the kids with regular deliveries of duck and fish. He also gives Mom a break and sits in the nest so that she can stretch her wings.

At the Decorah, Iowa eagle nest this week, winter finally arrived. I tuned in to the nest cam on Thursday to find the nest completely covered in snow. Mom and Dad were no where to be seen although someone captured on video Dad attacking an intruding adult eagle who had come to check out the nest. The intruder hasn't been back and Mom and Dad are bringing a new covering of dried grass to the nest despite the snow.

The other cam I am following closely, especially this weekend, is at the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. This cam is placed in the den of a black bear, Jewel, who is showing signs (as of yesterday) of going into labor and preparing to give birth to her cub. There is sound with this camera and you can hear Jewel's heavy breathing. The biologists studying the bears say that bears are usually in labor for 22 hours or so and they think Jewel went in to labor around 5:00 pm on Saturday. If you are interested in seeing Jewel's den and maybe her newborn cub, here's the link

Well, there are lots of cameras to watch and stitches to be stitched today, so I had better get to it. Sending you wishes for a great week ahead!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to Stitching

Hope you all had wonderful holidays over these past few weeks! I know I did but it is sort of nice to get back to a more regular schedule. I stitched very little over the holidays and I am looking forward to getting back to some serious stitching.

The third kit for the Christmas banner arrived from Amy's just in time for the new year. This kit will cover the H and R pears. I worked earlier in the week on the third step of the background stitch. It is definitely the more time-consuming of the three stitches that make up the background. We use a silvery Kreinik for this step that adds a subtle sparkle to the background. Very nice!

The last few days I have worked on the background of the H pear. I really like the striping and the topiaries. Once I had finished the light green striping I was ready to start the Rice Stitch for the areas between the light green stripes. I realized very quickly that my canvas had been painted differently than Amy's because I only had three threads between the stripes and the Rice Stitch that Amy calls for in the stitch guide uses four threads. A late night email to Amy for stitch suggestions for three threads brought a new stitch to my Inbox on Thursday morning (Thanks, Amy!). Now I am working a 3 x 3 cross stitch with a strap stitch over it. If you are stitching the banner, count the threads between the light green lines and if you have only three threads between them, give Amy a call or email her for the stitch or send me a message and I will send it to you.

The new stitch works perfectly. The Kreinik we use for the strap stitch is so colorful, hence the name "Confetti Gold". You see flecks of metallic greens, golds, and sometimes turquoise depending on the light. I've made good progress on the background this weekend and can hopefully finish it up in the next few days. Maybe I will have started the topiaries by the time I post next weekend.

While I was in Jacksonville for Christmas, I stitched on two of my Melissa Shirley candy canes. I have had these for a few years and just needed to add the beading to both of them. It was easy and quick to finish both of them and didn't require a lot of concentration.

You might remember that last year for Christmas, Andrew and Anna gave me a gift certificate for a Rent Amy day. What a great gift it was! This year they gave me an equally wonderful gift certificate from Amy's that will cover the cost of the canvas and stitch guide for Susan Roberts' Christmas Parade.

Susan Roberts - Santa Parade

This is the canvas I will be stitching at Amy's Needlepoint University in May. I am so excited to be going and to be stitching this canvas. I haven't even stitched this one yet and I already want to stitch the others in this series. Did you see the July 4th Parade canvas in Amy's January newsletter? There is a big eagle leading the parade and seeing the eagle sealed the deal for me on this canvas. I've got to call Amy's this week and have them order one for me.

Speaking of eagles, the eagle nest cam at the Norfolk Botanic Garden (Norfolk, Virginia) will be going live in the next couple of weeks. The male eagle (Dad Norfolk) and his new mate (no name for her yet) have already been busy renovating last year's nest. New cameras have been installed and all of us in Eagle Nation eagerly anticipate the cameras going live. The new female has been photographed sitting in the nest as though she were trying out her new home. Educated observers think that she is a young eagle (4-5 years old) and that this might be her first nest. Fortunately for her, she has chosen a mate who has raised 15 eaglets at the Garden. Hopefully, we'll see some eggs in late January or early February and little eaglets in early March.

In preparation for the eagles' nesting season, Andrew and Anna gave me her computer monitor which she doesn't use any more and I have set it up in my office so that I can view two monitors at once. One monitor for the Norfolk nest cam or the Wildlife Center of Virginia Critter Cam and one monitor for work. I am addicted to the live cams and I am not ashamed to admit it!

Time to get back to some stitching now! Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I just want to wish you all the best in 2012! Thank you so much for visiting the blog! We have a lot of stitching ahead of us this year and I welcome your company!