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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Another Stocking, and Leaves

I finished Stocking Ornament #24 of 30 on Monday - this one is (obviously) Baby Jesus.

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Isn't the lamb cute?  I love how the designer gave some of these such a subtle stocking shape!  If it wasn't for the decoration at the top, this wouldn't look like a stocking at all, at least to me.

I ran into a problem when I decided to look at the finishing instructions for these - I used the size of fabric that came in the kit, although I swapped the huge piece out for smaller, already-cut bits I had.  However, the template for cutting them, and cutting the felt backing, is tiny.  There are no instructions to increase its size but there is no way they are going to fit.  Even if I had used 18 count instead of 14 count.  Maybe 20 count would fit.

You can just color me completely confused.

Anyway - Wednesday I worked on 'Oops' while I was at work (four extra shifts this week!  Eek!) and I stitched all the leaves.  Today I stitched the wee mousie that's hiding in the basket, and backstitched all the leaves and most of the stems.  I want to get the basket backstitched before I show a picture of that, but here's the leaves all stitched up!

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And for the fun of it, another HAED!  This one is from an old layaway, I forgot to show it:

The Gardener by Alison Spokes

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This is the 'mock-up' in virtual stitches - the detail looks great to me!  The background is sort of patchy, but I'm pondering stitching her one of those fabrics dyed to look like a cloudy sky.  I used to adore ladybugs, and I do love a garden!  So she was an easy pick for me.  (Too many of them are easy picks for me - lol!)

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some Fruits of My Labor

It has rained all summer.

All.

Summer.

Long.

It has been hot and humid and dark and rainy and horrible.  My poor, poor garden!  It did so well at first.

My tomatoes are literally rotting on the vines - they get big and green and pretty, then start to turn red and almost every one rots off overnight.  If they don't rot, blight starts setting in.  It's happening to every single garden around here, so we're all picking our tomatoes green and bringing them inside to ripen on windowsills.  I thought I'd show you yesterday's garden basket.

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There are two cucumbers down in there, too, but I forgot to pull them up where they could be seen.  The zucchini plant is producing like mad; no problems with it!  I only got one in this basket but I usually have two or three.  And my 'winter' squash, like butternut and the white scallop you see here, is just starting to come in and seems fine.  It's mostly the tomatoes - the cherry tomatoes are doing the best but about a third of them go bad.  They ripen so fast it's hard to keep up, though.  You can see some spots on a few tomatoes where they were already starting to turn bad - and one, lone, healthy, almost ripe red one.  Oh well.  They taste just as garden-fresh when they ripen in a sunny kitchen!

That basket was soooo heavy when I was done!  And tomorrow's will be just as full, but it's starting to turn cold at night so I don't think the garden has much longer.  Grow, little squashes!  Grow fast!

Monday, August 19, 2013

IHSW Report for August!

I was sticking strictly to Lovers for IHSW, but I really need to get a half-page done on Nostlagy, so she's my 'new' IHSW project until I have - hmm, roughly 4,500 stitches.  Or thereabouts.  Or, what would be better, an actual half-page of the chart, but I usually jump around too much for that.

I worked on her hair, and since it's been a long time since I've touched her, here's how she was:

QS Nostlagy - April 2013 photo nost4s_zps572242ef.jpg

I had to work, as usual, but here's how she is now:

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It seemed like more than that last night, but I guess it's not too bad.  Got most of the black on this side of her hair done, and started filling in with 3371.  The picture doesn't show much difference in the two colors.  It's subtle, but it is there.

I have an ornament finish to show tomorrow!  Or whenever I remember to post again, lol!  Maybe some Bothy progress, too, if I reach my goal.

I did do something that I've felt I should for a while - I cleaned up my poor WIP page.  I took off all the projects that were barely started - anything with less than fifty stitches or so.  I folded them gently away (mentally, at least) and put them back with the stash.  Can I pretend they were never started?  Lol!  I left the projects that I felt had some real progress - okay and a few that only have a tiny bit but that I want to keep working on!  So my page is all nice and neat, now, with less than half the number of WIPs - and some reserved slots for a few projects that I've been meaning to start.  Those will be shown (and explained!) very soon!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Very Small Finish

I used to carry one of the Sprites from the DorkStitch blog in my purse or bag all the time - they're very quick to finish but I seem to have a mental block about working on them at home.  If I have time to sit and stitch for a while, I think I feel vaguely guilty if I don't work on a large project.  Weird.

Anyway, I started carrying little projects with me again and the first day I put the little baggy with my Sprite stuff in my purse, I finished a Sprite!

This one is Zell from Final Fantasy VIII - he looks like this (and like most FF characters, wears a really odd outfit):
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And here is his Sprite:

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I also put two more black outlines on my Sprite fabric; the Joker (Batman) and Keiko from Yu Yu Hakusho.  She's the one in the corner who currently has no eyes :D  That fills up this bit of material, so I'll be filling in the outlines now until they're all done.  They are not a set - they'll eventually be cut apart.

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So carrying the little projects in my bag continues to work and I don't know why I stopped for a while.  I have a Stocking ornament almost done, too!

IHSW is this weekend, and I had part of today off, so Nostlagy is well-underway for her first turn in a loooong time!

Here's another HAED from my most recently paid-off layaway:

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Cascade by Johnathon Earl Bowser  - she used to be a retired pattern; when I saw her for sale again I grabbed her! I've seen her stitched up and she's gorgeous!  Luckily there was a 45% off sale at the time and I was planning a layaway, sooo.....  And there is, by the way, a 50% off sale right now!  Just in case anyone feels the need to bulk up their stash :D

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bella

My darling kitterling, Grizabella, is two years old (give a day or two) today!  We decided that today is her birthday when my sibling and I adopted her and her brother.  His name is Muenster, and he is twice the size of my dainty little, um, hellion.  We chose today because it is also my sibling's anniversary (happy anniversary, Tavi!) and they were six weeks old when we got them exactly six weeks after their first anniversary.

So.  This is Bella-Cat then, when I was told she was a boy and did not check - I should have known better! - and named her Munkustrap for about two weeks until I thought I had better check!  I still occasionally call her Monkey.

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That's the best pic I could get of the little rat-fink when she was tiny. The rest were usually of her bottom or the end of her tail as she ran out of the frame.  She was one of those kittens that never stays still, and she has also never outgrown that.  Mostly.  I can occasionally catch her being all lazy and indolent, usually in the sunshine.

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Didn't she grow up pretty?
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My favorite story to tell about Bella is when she was at my parent's pool while I was swimming - she leaped for a bird and almost caught it - then fell in the pool!  She actually seemed to like it, weird kit!  She is tiny, dainty, eats like a little horse, and is thin as a whippet.  Her tail is a mile longer than it should be and has a sharp bend at the tip.  Her mother was a pure-bred Russian Blue but she got out, so there is no clue who the father is!  Muenster looks pure-bred, but Grizabella has a definite tortoiseshell look going on!

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Showing off her chin-patch!

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This is one of my favorite pics of her, just because of the silliness - those teeth! lol!

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This is the Cat that my Bella is named for (Munkustrap is in there, too - he's the gray male at the beginning) Grizabella the Glamour-Cat!


Hope that worked - never tried to embed a video before!

So anyway - Happy Birthday, Glamour-Cat!  May you have as many years as your older 'brother', years of keeping me awake all night, eating 10 treats to Audio's one, and leaving dead mice 'presents' for me.

Audio's 'birthday' is in November - wonder if I can find kitten pics?  He'll be either 18 or 19!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

I finally got around to working on my Princess Palace!  It's for a SAL that I've hung on to - the Bothy Cut-Thru SAL.  Info here with Debbie and here with Linda!

Here's how it was:

BCTPP - May photo bothypp4_zpsd309798e.jpg

And how it is now:

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I'm nearly done with the left side of the throne room - I have the metallic champagne bubbles and a teeny bit of princess hair and dress to go.  I've already started on the wallpaper stripes of the right side.  I stitched a cake and most of the princess this time round; so I thought - there is cake! and headless royalty! and thus I had my blog post title.

I like it when that works out :D

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Face for YOTA!

I should have found one of those little sound things and put a drum roll on my blog!

Because -

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Wufei's face is done!  YAY!

I think this may bring him up to 1/3 done - perhaps even beyond it, I don't know.  I see some math in my future to figure it out!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rotation, and Other Things

My 'day or two' is really long, isn't it? Lol!

I scraped and scrapped and arranged and rearranged my rotation - I still had to give up a few projects (temporarily!) that I would have rather kept, but this is the main one for now:

1. Frederick the Literate - so close to a finish!
2. Chang Wufei - I want to finish him, and he's so much fun!  Plus he will allow me to stay in the YOTA SAL.  I'll show you an update soon (is tomorrow YOTA?)
3. Cut-Thru Princess Palace - I refuse to give it up, lol!
4. QS Nostlagy - I'm going to work her instead of Lovers for IHSW, until she's got the equivalent of a page finish, for the HAED BB SAL.  Then it's back to Lovers.
5. Oops/Stocking/Sprite - whatever small project that I happen to put in my purse on that particular day.
6. Open - I will be rotating other projects through this spot - it may be enough to keep me in the Turtle Trot SAL but I'm not sure.

Some other things:

Since I've had to cut down on my crochet time, I've picked up a few older crafts that I used to play with a lot - one is kumihimo braiding - I used to do this before it became popular in those friendship bracelet kits - I used to make my 'wheels' out of old cardboard.  I have to admit, buying a kit and using the 6-8 wheels they come with is a lot easier! (They wear out pretty fast, though - my best record is five braids on one wheel)

I've done all the basic designs before - hearts, flowers, diamonds and stripes, but I never once thought of a picture.  I also used to make up designs - not easy with just pen and paper, but now there are several online sites that give you a visual of what your pattern will look like.

I make my braids into keychains - and yeah, okay, they can go around your wrist.  They're pretty loose, though.  Here's a burgundy and white one in the 'heart' design I'm making for my mother - all the designs for a 16 strand braid (called Kongoh-gumi, usually) are spiky.  There are no real curves, but it does look sort of like hearts.  You can see how worn the wheel is getting and this is the second braid I've done on this one. (Ignore the printed colorways; I'm doing my own thing, lol!)

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And this is one of my own ideas - I call it 'Ember'.  I was trying to make it in flame colors.  It's four diamonds in red, orange, yellow, and black.  White might have been better but I didn't like the way it looked.  Here's the tiny start, front and back. When it gets a little longer, you roll it between your hands to make the pattern lay 'straight'.

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These are pretty easy, if you're interested - they sell the beginner's kits at Hobby Lobby, I know, already threaded for a single-diamond pattern.  Be warned, though, every kit I've ever found that comes pre-threaded has the knot facing the wrong way - take it out and make sure it's behind the wheel.  Or you'll get a very short, knobby, inside-out stump of a braid.  The beginner kit with one wheel is two dollars.

I'll be back soon - off to check and see if YOTA is tomorrow!