Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cars and Stars

It's another good Sunday for stitching in front of the television. Lots of cars at Daytona today and just as many stars in LA for the Oscars tonight. I have actually seen one of the movies for which there are quite a few nominations - The Help. I hope Billy Crystal does well as the host tonight although anyone would be an improvement over the last couple of years. I would rather be watching Downton Abbey at 9:00 tonight but since the season's shows have finished I suppose the Oscars will have to keep me company. Anybody else watching tonight? I almost prefer the pre-Oscar fashion show on the red carpet to the actual award ceremony.

Well, another month is coming to a close and two more pears on the Christmas banner are complete. I enjoyed these two very much but I'm always eager for the supplies and guide for the next two to arrive. Until they do, I'll be working on the background.

One thing you can say about this banner - there's never a shortage of background to stitch. Since the background is made up of three different stitches, it isn't difficult to find yourself needing to work on at least one of them.

As I finished up the S pear this week, I had a little stitching time on my hands and found myself looking for something small to work on. I remembered Hootie Owl needed just a little more stitching to complete it. Hootie has been languishing in the project basket for too long but he is now a finished project.

I've now stitched three of the Creepy Characters from NeedleDeeva and am looking forward to stitching a few more of them. The hard decision has to be made - which one will be next? Actually the next small project will be Kelly Clark's Candy Corn Halloween apple. I'll share a picture of that one with you next week. I just started it on Friday and there isn't enough stitched just yet to be picture-worthy.

In eagle nest news this week, the Decorah eagles now have three eggs in the nest. Mom laid egg #2 early in the week and egg #3 came Friday evening. The Raptor Resource Project which operates the cameras at this nest have shown us some fantastic views from the eagle's perspective this week. The nest is at least 90 feet up in a cottonwood tree on a farm in Decorah, Iowa. The camera operator panned the camera on Thursday to show us the beautiful snowy landscape over which Mom and Dad eagle reign. A fish hatchery, a trout stream, corn fields, and a farm make for an ideal nesting site. We can start looking for the eggs to hatch around the end of March. It is so touching to watch the eagles carefully roll the eggs with their beaks and curl their talons in when they settle themselves onto the eggs. At the Norfolk nest, the eagles are still making additions to the nest and building up the "crib rails". They continue to "enjoy each other's company"but there are still no eggs. In the past at this nest, the latest an egg was laid was in late March so perhaps there is still hope for an egg this year. The female has been sleeping in the nest the last few nights,  Maybe that's a sign - hope so!

May your favorite driver and favorite actor/actress/film cross the finish line first! Have a good week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rainy Days and Sundays

It's a rainy, dreary day in Georgia today. Makes me glad I ran my errands on Friday and Saturday and have no reason to have to leave the house today. A day like this also makes me doubly appreciative of the beautiful flowers Andrew sent me on Valentine's Day.

Don't these beautiful tulips and irises brighten your day? They have certainly brightened my entire week! They arrived here on Tuesday tightly closed - I couldn't even identify the irises but they opened a little bit more each day and by Thursday this beautiful arrangement was in full bloom.

The S pear has been fun to work on this week. I particularly enjoyed watching (and stitching, of course) the 4 waffle stitches come together. It looks intricate but it isn't a difficult stitch. You just need to pay attention to the placement of each stitch. Although now that I look at the photographs, I realize that I did not finish the stitch correctly. The last four stitches are in Petite Very Velvet and the last stitch slides under the first PVV stitch. I didn't do that so now I need to go back and fix it.

The lighting is so poor this morning that my canvas photos are looking washed out. Sorry about that! Yesterday I started working on the periwinkle stitches in the cream colored areas of the pear. I think that's what I will be doing for the rest of today.

In eagle news this week, the Mom eagle in Decorah, Iowa laid her first egg of the season on Thursday night. I was so excited to be watching as the first signs of her labor began. I think it took her about 15 or 20 minutes to lay the egg. It is about the size of a baseball. Dad was in attendance but out of camera range of the nest. I was surprised to learn that they don't continuously sit on the egg. It seemed that the eagle couple let the sun do some of their work yesterday. Fortunately it was a beautiful sunny day in Decorah yesterday. The Mom and Dad were never far away and Dad was seen defending the egg from a curious squirrel who lives in the lower portion of the nest. There are also some mice who live below the nest as well. I hadn't thought that mice could climb 80 or 90 feet up but they seem to have found a good home in the nest. Mom will probably lay another egg today or tomorrow and hopefully a third one in another two or three days.

In Norfolk, Dad eagle and female eagle #3 seem to have settled on each other as mates. Both have been at the nest numerous times throughout the day all week long. I think we will see an egg or eggs soon. They have been "enjoying each other's company" a lot this week - several times a day, in fact! That's the phrase the moderators on the discussion page use instead of "mating" since there are so many school groups of various ages that watch this nest cam and follow along on the discussion.

Time to get some stitching done so I'll say goodbye for this week. Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brrrr! Winter Has Finally Arrived!

I think winter finally blew in to the Southeast last night. The temperature yesterday dropped steadily all afternoon from the low 50s into the upper 20s by the evening. It's a beautiful but chilly morning and I will be interested to see if the buds on some of the trees and shrubbery in the yard made it through a cold night.

I really enjoyed stitching and finishing the I pear this week. It helps that good sized portions of the design area were only lightly covered by threads. Amy's choice of a blackwork design for the leaves was perfect. The painted canvas coupled with the Wildflowers thread in the Kelp colorway is an unbeatable combination.

The green stripes on the S are done in a Kalem stitch. The stripes work up fairly quickly and then you can move on to the Van Dyke variation stitch that Amy has designed for the sides of the green stripes.

Pretty soon I will have to back up across the room to get a full picture of the Christmas banner. It's hard to believe that there will only be a two more guides and thread kits to look forward to in this Home Study. I can't recommend Amy's Home Study highly enough! There are always so many wonderful stitches and stitch combinations not to mention an array of wonderful threads to try. 

I'm looking forward to an afternoon of golf at Pebble Beach - even if it means only being there via television. The views that have been televised this week have been spectacular. What a beautiful location! I hope to get a lot of stitching time in today.

Anyone watching the Grammies tonight? I can't decide if I will watch or not. I would like to see Adele and Lady Antebellum but I don't know if I am interested in seeing anyone else. I'm sure there will be some kind of tribute to Whitney Houston. She had such an incredible voice - too bad she couldn't conquer her inner demons.

How can I be thinking about watching the Grammies when Downton Abby is on for two hours tonight? I hate that this season is almost over! It seems like it just started. I wish I knew where I had seen this article but if you search Google for Downton Abby articles you may find it. The article is about how differently the actors/actresses on DA look in real life compared to the characters they portray. Wait until you see O'Brien and Mrs. Hughes in real life. They are beautiful women! It was amazing to see the photographs.

Hope you all have a good week and enjoy your stitching projects!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Stitching Sunday

I think I'm ready. The food is cooked - slow cooker pulled pork for pre-game lunch and Taco Chicken Chili for game time. The snacks are ready - guacamole and chips. The computer and iPad are at the ready for keeping an eye on my eagle nests. And most importantly, the Christmas banner is ready for lots of stitching attention this afternoon and evening.

Our fourth kit for the I and S pears on the Christmas banner arrived this week. Amy has worked her magic again with the stitch and thread selections for these two pears. I absolutely love the colors that Melissa Shirley used for the I pear and Amy chose the perfect threads to carry out Melissa's vision for it. This pear works up fairly quickly. It was a treat to start with something as simple as basketweave.

The background may be simple but the leaves require some careful following of the stitch diagrams. After some initial frustration with myself for not being able to follow the diagrams, I finally settled into the blackwork pattern that Amy has chosen for the leaves. Amy has given us a really great tip for  couching the outline around each of the leaves. I'm looking forward to working that technique later today.

It's been an interesting week at the Decorah and Norfolk eagle nests. The Decorah eagles have been actively courting each other and working on their nest. Dad brought Mom a rabbit this week and she quickly pulled all the fur off the rabbit before eating it. Now there is a lot of soft rabbit fur lining the nest bowl - a perfect place to lay this season's eggs. At the Norfolk nest this week, it's a different situation.  Those of us who watch this nest have come to realize that Dad Norfolk is quite the player! He has had at least three females at the nest over the last few weeks. The most recent female was ousted by the second female on Thursday evening. I guess Dad is going to let the ladies duke it out to see who will be the next Mom Norfolk. The Bachelor has nothing on Dad! Watching this nest is true reality TV!

I downloaded the UStream app to my iPad and now I can watch the Decorah nest on it. Last night I found out about another browser app - Photon - that will allow me to watch Flash video - the Norfolk nest cam. I love this app because there are so many videos you can't watch on an iPad because of Apple not supporting Flash. The Photo browser app is a great way to get around that.

I leave you with a little bit of springtime in my yard here in early February -

Have a fun Super Bowl Sunday!