Saturday, November 20, 2010

Full Moon Tomorrow Night - W. Herr Wolfe is on the Prowl!!

Yes, the moon is full on Sunday night and W. Herr Wolfe is off the stretchers and ready to roam. I began Herr Wolfe right after October's full moon and finished him last night just in time for the November full moon. Here he is in all his finished, ferocious glory.

What fun he was to stitch! I miss him already! This week I took care of the small details such as the beading on his belt, his buttons and button holes, and the "X's" background. I enjoyed the "X" background. It isn't a mindless background because it does require careful counting but once you are get into the rhythm of it, it's very enjoyable.

The two friends are re-united and will be cooling their heels in Augusta until after the first of the year when they go to visit Marlene in San Francisco.

Construction begins again on the Haunted House in a few more days. In the meantime, I think I will work on the Fall Tree by Ada Haydon (see the September/October 2010 issue of Needlepoint Now). The bright, bold colors that Ruth Schmuff has pulled together for this project are really calling my name.

I went to an early, 9:00 AM class on Holiday Decorating at Cudos this morning. Got some wonderful fresh ideas for decorating around the house. It's so easy to decorate in the same way year after year. I don't know how many years in a row I have lined my mantle with my collection of Santas. It always looks nice but it's time to do something different this year. I think that for this year's Christmas mantle I'll focus on my mother's Herend green Chinese Bouquet soup tureen. I bought some beautiful red, green, and gold beaded ornaments to fill the tureen and add some sparkle to the mantle. We'll see how it develops.

My Christmas needlepoint is sorely lacking. I have some Melissa Shirley Nativity stand-ups which I will show you at some point during the holiday season. And that's it. Perhaps once the Halloweenies are finished I can turn my attention to catching up on my Christmas stitching.

I'll leave you with a link to a recipe I just tried - Nantucket Cranberry Pie.  It is so simple and so absolutely delicious! It really is a cross between pie and cake. There isn't a pie crust per se but more like a crusty sweet cake on top of the cranberries. The cake batter is flavored with almond extract which is a favorite flavoring of mine. The whole house smells like almond sweetness right now. I wouldn't ordinarily eat a dessert like this in the middle of the afternoon but there was no way I was letting a warm pie that smells this good go without eating until this evening. Thanks to the Pioneer Woman for this great recipe! And, she beat Bobby Flay in the Thanksgiving Throwdown this week on Food Network. If you don't know who the Pioneer Woman is, just take a few minutes and explore her blog/website. She's the best! I read her blog(s) everyday and never fail to find something to laugh about or a recipe I want to try. In fact, I may need to go have another piece of her Nantucket Cranberry Pie right now!

I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Take some time this week in the midst of all the cleaning and cooking and preparations for Thanksgiving and remember to think about all that you're thankful for. I'm thankful for all of my new stitching friends who are stopping by the blog and leaving kind, supportive comments. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fierce but Friendly

I had such fun this week stitching W. Herr Wolfe's face and fur. I loved seeing his face come to life with each color and stitch. I think he's probably more friendly than he is fierce, don't you think?

I'll be finishing up the green French knot ground cover this evening which will allow me to go ahead and complete the bottom straight line borders. I practiced a few of the twisted Lazy Daisy stitches to be used on the pumpkin stems and found that I need to practice a little more. I didn't have a problem with them when we used them on Stirha's logs under her cauldron but, since we are using a different thread this time,  my threads aren't stacking up like I want them to. 

My Autumn Trees canvas arrived from Ruth Schmuff this week. What fun this canvas is going to be! I love the thread kit as much as I love the canvas - hot pinks, oranges, reds, Swarovski  sequins and beads - it's so colorful!

Andrew and Anna were here for the weekend and are, sadly, on their way back to Jacksonville. Anna and I had fun yesterday attending a Christmas tree decorating workshop at a local store, Cudos. Their head buyer/store decorator gave a great hour-long demonstration of different tree decorating techniques. It was pretty amazing and so interesting to see how all of those "professionally" decorated trees in the stores get that way. Here's the top one third of a tree that we were shown how to decorate yesterday -

There are no ornaments in this upper part of the tree - just floral picks with either sparkly greenery or glittery green and red stars and balls. The bright green object on the upper left is a lighted top hat. There were some color co-ordinating lighted gift boxes scattered throughout the rest of the tree. The decorator's advice was not to "overthink" the decorating - just go for it! He told us that he lives in a small 2 bedroom bungalow and has a total of 13 Christmas trees decorating his house. Can you imagine?  He has one Christopher Radko tree that has about 300 ornaments on it! All of the decorations used on the trees in Cudos are available for purchase but it's a little overwhelming trying to decide which ones to add to the decorations you already have. I'll have to go back when the store is a little less crowded. Andrew brought all of my decorations down from the attic so I can begin the decorating process any day now or at least the planning process. When do you start your Christmas decorating? Or have you already decorated?

Hope you all have a great week and find some time for stitching!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween Isn't Over, Is It?

Well, the calendar says Halloween is over, but in my little stitching world, Halloween never ends. There are still three Halloweenie characters to finish and a Haunted House as well. Then there is my "boo' canvas waiting in the wings and the autumn trees from Ruth Schmuff that will arrive any day now. Can't forget the two Halloween-themed ribbon candy canvases by Melissa Shirley, either. One of these years I will get around to a Christmas theme - my Christmas needlepoint is severely lacking!

I put away the Halloween decorations today and had the same feeling that I usually have in January when the Christmas decorations are packed away for the year. The house looks so empty! But, just for a couple of weeks and then I can decorate for Christmas. Poor Thanksgiving gets lost (decoration-wise) between Halloween and Christmas.

I may try to remedy that situation in part by signing up for Amy's 2011 home study featuring Melissa Shirley's Thanksgiving banner. You can see the Thanksgiving canvas here. Very cute!

In the Halloweenies world, W. Herr Wolfe is pleased to have the major work on his pants and jacket finished and his tombstone, too. This afternoon I'll get started on his face. The stitching on this character seems to be moving along more quickly than some of the others. Hope you're finding the same thing in your stitching as well. Here's the werewolf's latest photo:

Why is it that you take a photo of your stitching and all of your mis-stitches (for lack of a better term) immediately pop out at you? Is it the different lighting? Or is it a case of looking at something so much while you stitch it that you really don't see it anymore? Does that make sense? There are a couple of places in the stitched areas that bother me (but not enough to make me want to rip them out and start over) that I didn't notice until I took the current photo.  I suppose we are our own worst critic!

That's it from a chilly Augusta - 33 degrees and a light frost this morning! Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Bride and Groom Return Home and Other News

Bridezilla and her Groom returned home yesterday! What a wonderful surprise! They're sorry they missed Halloween but it was a low key one around here anyway, so they didn't miss much. But, I'm thrilled that they are back! Marlene worked her magic again and they make a lovely couple.

They were anxious to see Stirha and Frank and renew their longtime friendship. Everyone posed on the mantle for a family portrait.

Seeing the four of them together made me realize that the mantle will be a crowded place once all of the Halloweenies are finished.

The UPS man has no idea how happy he made me yesterday! Not only did he bring me the wonderful package from Marlene, but he brought me a package with this in it from Amy's:

I resisted this canvas as long as I could (which wasn't very long if the truth is told). I'll finish the XOXO canvas first before starting this one, I promise. I love these striped canvases by & more. So much fun! Check out the snazzy zebra print tissue paper that my goodies were wrapped in!

The other highlight of my day was finding out that Pat Conroy has a new book - My Reading Life - and that he will be in Jacksonville (Neptune Beach, actually) on December 7th for a book signing. Guess where I will be? My Reading Life is a work of non-fiction for Conroy and is about the books and characters that have influenced him in some way or another. I downloaded My Reading Life onto my Kindle this morning and am looking forward to a nice cup of Tazo Chai Tea as I sit down to begin reading it this afternoon. Conroy says that he will never own a Kindle - he likes the way real books feel, look, and smell. I do, too, but I wish he would give it a try. Even though I have downloaded the new book, I'll be buying the hard copy as soon as I can get my hands on one.

I think I should probably go do some work. Too many needlepoint and book distractions today!

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