Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Theme-a-licious May Memories Wrap-Up

Whew! I am happy to say that the last half of May Memories resulted in more done than the first half, although...maybe it still wasn't that much...and maybe not what I'd planned on...

BUT HEY! Let me distract you from my failure to meet my goals with PICTURES!!

First up, I bought this little kit when I went to Arizona for the Chocolat class. I promptly finished the bee...
...and then got bogged down when I realized I didn't like the skep for the other side. Rather than do the sane thing and leave it blank, stitch my initials or just stitch that darn bee again, I decided to chart my alma mater's famous "GT" for the back! This resulted in me holding the chart over DF Teresa's iPhone while I sketched in the outline..."pinch and pull" works through paper, did you know that??? Anyway! I finally stitched the curved outline of the "G", and I think it's going to work out.

I started on the fun part of the border of Blackwork Band Sampler.
I don't consider the two rows of over-two satin stitch "fun". "Tedious", maybe, but not fun. I can't wait to do more of this border.

Finally, my last old class piece for the month. This is an Ellen Chester class from (*mumble*mumble*) years ago. I really love this and it's very fun to stitch. Each red and white stripe is a different stitch. If you ever get the chance to take a class from Ellen, do it! She is a great teacher (and very patient!) and she gives you lots of awesome history while you're stitching. Her kits also use the most beautiful (silk) fibers!

Les Rubans fans...I'm so sorry to disappoint you. =( I really wanted to work on it! However, I think all of this was done on my Celebration weekend, and I couldn't haul it on the airplane. Double fail: There was a lady there working on it (in the "antique" color scheme...mine's "jewel") and I DIDN'T GET A PICTURE!! I promise you'll see mine again, though.

Let's stampede on to...
Jumanji June
Is it a jungle out there in your stash? Give some love to the projects with animals or birds.

Here are my plans...
  • There's a little cat just waiting for me to stitch on her on Random Thoughts. =)
  • Keep a Secret's peacock needs some love.
  • The reindeer games are waiting for my Lapland Santa's friend.
  • Need...more...squirrels! My Rovaris sampler has quite a few.
  • Dancer!!!
I might also start a little something I've been wanting to start...or drag a dragon out of the stash, who knows? =)

So how did May Memories turn out? Did you complete some reminiscences or make some new memories? Please add your link below (to your check-in post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 15th, when we'll check in for Jumanji June! And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New Stash!

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Are there any two sweeter words in the English language?

Well, yes. Actually, there are. Quite a few, really..."kiss me"..."free lunch"..."chocolate overload"..."with sprinkles"....

Sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes! New stash!

I got quite a lot of goodies at Stitcher's Celebration, including some great door prizes.
That angel is a painted canvas and came with all the fibers and even a stitch guide!! I didn't get a picture of the bag they gave us...I love it because it's completely surrounded with POCKETS! And the most amazing thing is that some lovely stitcher made each and every attendee a hand-stitched tag! You can see other great pictures of the goodies we scored on Lelia's blog here. I was lucky enough to meet her there, although neither of us realized we followed each others' blogs until we got home (or maybe she did and was just too nice to point out my ditziness)!

While we were there, we took a quick trip to a nearby needlework (and knitting!) shop, Needle Craft World. We met the wonderful and very energetic owner, Cathy, who offered us snacks (and wine!) I honestly wasn't going to shop, but there was an Erica Michaels trunk show there...and, you know, I like to do my part to help out small businesses.
Taking one for the team, that's me. You really should visit this shop if you are in Kissimmee (or Orlando). I was astonished by the amount of charts, fibers, models, yarn, accessories and all manner of things stuffed in this small shop! But what really impressed me was that even with the large amount of merchandise in a small space, it was easy to see everything, and it did not feel crowded.

Then, yesterday, a lovely lumpy package arrived from the UK:
ZOMIGOSH YARNIA! I won a giveaway hosted by Rhian at The Crafty Geek. She was kind enough to send all these wonderful colors of sock yarn, as well as a pattern by tiny owl knits (she offered the Bee Keeper's Quilt, of course, but I already had it. =) It was twice as much as I expected...I was totally blown away! They are all different kinds of fibers; I'm so excited to try them all out.

I bought stuff, but really, people gave me more stuff than I bought. That's some kind of progress, right? RIGHT??

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 5/20

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On Friday I headed to the airport...
Nope. I didn't actually go to Zimbabwe. I just had a few extra minutes before my flight, so I decided to take a stroll through one of the between-concourse galleries we have in the Atlanta airport. ART! We have it! (I'm sure that gives us a tax break or something. =)

There's an informative display up front, highlighting the techniques and tools of the stonecarvers. Pictures of Zimbabwe line the walls all the way to the next concourse.
But the main attraction is the sculptures themselves. I love this one!

Anyway! So, I was on my way to Celebration, Florida, for an EGA stitching retreat. See, I'm actually a member of a chapter in Florida, even though I live in Atlanta. DF Teresa's chapter was in need of additional members, so I joined to "help out". But when I heard that the regional celebration was IN Celebration (the town that Disney built, so to speak), I had to go.

We stayed at the Celebration Bohemian hotel.
This was the view from our room!
Can you BELIEVE I didn't get in that pool all weekend?? NEITHER CAN I!

So this was us most of the weekend, stitching away:
It was great; every few hours you could just get up and walk around and see all the different projects people were working on. And most of the time, they changed every time you walked around!

Speaking of walking, I did spend a relaxing lunch on Saturday strolling around, exploring, and, most importantly...
finding ice cream. Salted caramel, with caramel-filled chocolate cubes. When you're overwhelmed by too many choices, just ask your server. They know their stuff!

When we weren't stitching, we were either shopping (I'll have to post my acquisitions later), or having really, Really, REALLY good food. Friday night we ate at D'Antonios, which had excellent Italian food. Saturday, we we to the Columbia restaurant, which has OUTSTANDING Spanish/Cuban cuisine.
We decided to go for tapas, but the decision was really difficult, because EVERYTHING on the menu looks incredible. Here we had mussels with chorizo (mussels aren't my favorite, but the chorizo was THE BEST I've had), plantains, the most AMAZING scallops in existence (we had to check the menu to review the ingredients and still couldn't figure out why they were so magical...I felt like I needed a moment alone with them), and piquillo (I think?) peppers stuffed with minced serrano, mushrooms and cheese.
NOM. Also, there's lots of fun tableside preparation (salad, dessert a flambé, and SANGRIA). Now, I don't like a lot of alcoholic drinks. I definitely like very few wines (and I've never met a red I like). HOWEVER, slap a lot of fruit juice in it, and apparently, I am good to go (although I found out later that the fruit juice ratio was a lot lower than I would have though). AND our waitress made a Skyrim joke, so that was awesome (as well as her level of surprise when we actually laughed).

Sunday, we went to Raglan Road (in Downtown Disney) for excellent Irish food. Here's my Guinness-laced beef stew, crisp green beans and fantastic soda bread with brown sugar/Guinness reduction.
Also, THE most magical bread pudding EVER (replete with butterscotch sauce and crème anglaise).

Well, I'm out of superlatives. Guess I'd better close this post out!

Nothing like a weekend away right before vacation.

Photo disclaimer: These were all taken with the "old" camera. Boy do I love my new camera!!

Travelling Pattern Is Travelling on to...

Sorry I'm a little late with announcing the winner...time is very short around here right now. I just about fell asleep sitting up last night, so I figured you'd all forgive me for delaying by a day.

To pick the winner, I pressed the SCOD into service again...
My handsome assistant did the draw...

...and the next member of the stitcherhood is...

WOO HOO! Please send me your snail mail address to heather at lottloft dot com...hopefully by Friday. =) If the pattern's not coming your way, go follow Ziggyeor so you know when she's ready to pass it on!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tardy TUSAL al fresco

(What's a TUSAL?)

I had some crazy thought that I was going to be able to take a picture of my TUSAL last night when I got home from my weekend away. BWAHAHAHA!!! I did manage to get home while it was still light tonight, so here's my ort ball hanging out in the stonecrop on the deck.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time to Travel on!

This travelling pattern ("Thankful") is ready to move on! I didn't realize when I signed up that it would be coming along with notes from everyone who had stitched it thus far. That was really cool to see! So far this pattern has been stitched by...
...and me =)

I changed the colors significantly because I'm stitching it as a gift for someone who LOVES purple, so it's worth it to go look at what others did.

If you'd like to stitch this pattern, please leave a comment on this post saying you want to be the next person in the stitcherhood. =) If you're chosen, you promise to stitch it right away and pass it on as soon as you can. I'd like to get this in the mail before I go to Europe for two weeks, so I will pick a winner on Monday, May 21st at around 7pm (1900) Eastern time. Good luck!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Theme-a-licious May Memories Check-in

SoooOOOOoooo...this is the month where I show how GREAT I am at fitting nearly anything into a theme. =) I was not able to work on anything I had planned, since a travelling pattern showed up here that I needed to work on ASAP. So that took up most of my time. However, I did work on one thing in the "Memories" category.

I needed a name tag for the event I'm going to this weekend. I didn't have enough time to stitch something new (what with the travelling pattern and all), so I repurposed an old name tag.

Wayyyyy back when stitchers only communicated through newsgroups (yes I am old...let's move on =), we would arrange meetups online, but most of us didn't have fancy-shmancy websites or really any place to post pictures. So, we would make name tags and place an "at" symbol (@) on them so we'd "know" each other in person. This was my name tag from...oh, probably almost 15 years ago!!! (Hush, I said I was old.)
Woo, look at that crazy bright silk ribbon embroidery! That had to go, along with the "@":
Yikes. Those are some scary holes. Now, here's where the amazing part happened...
ALL I DID was give it a little bath. The minute it hit the water, the holes closed themselves up! (It's still wet here; hence the darker color.)

Now I'm not going to lie; I'm not really happy with it. You can barely read my EGA chapter name, but at least it's done. I'll make myself a nice, new, pretty one later. (Sounds like a great Lottlympiad activity.)
I'm attaching it to the bottom of a pin I did to identify myself as a member of the Teresa Wentzler bulletin board. No, it doesn't really go, and it looks kinda hodge-podged together, but at least it 1) has my name on it and 2) is DONE. I'm planning on taking at least one of my planned May Memories pieces with me this weekend, so my wrap-up should be a little better despite the fact that I'm leaving the country four days before the end of the month!

So how is May Memories going for you? Hopefully you got a little more done on your oldest WIP or neglected class pieces than I did! Please add your link below (to your check-in post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 31st, when we'll wrap up May Memories! And don't worry if you haven't posted before...just jump in whenever.

The Geekend That Was, 5/13

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Have I really not posted in a WEEK?? Hoo boy, I guess that tells you how work is still going. Thank you so much for all your kind comments and support. I still have a bunch to reply to, so sorry if I haven't gotten back to you yet. Work is a leetle better...I will be getting a consultant in to help, and my schedule got switched around (including more time!) The only disadvantage is that I now have to complete a smaller project before I go on vacation...and before the consultant shows up. And this project has more new technological challenges that I have to tackle (the main reason for bringing in a consultant)! Doesn't make sense to me, but there we are.

Friday night I got a new toy:
A Kindle Touch! (3G, with special offers...beside my "old" Kindle 2 with keyboard). Target had them on clearance (well, really, it's a $40 gift card with purchase) because they're mad at Amazon, so I decided to take advantage of their middle school girlfight and upgrade. Easier said than done...we went to the Target near us, which had none left, and called the only two stores showing any in inventory. Long story short: There was only one left in Atlanta, so we embarked on an Epic Quest to get it, biting our nails all the way (they couldn't hold it for me because it was on clearance). It was a bit of a pain to transfer my content...I had to transfer EVERYTHING one book at a time, THEN import my collections from my old Kindle. (Importing your collections does not import the books that are IN them. What's worse is that your books don't remember what collection(s) they were in! So the first time, I transferred the collections, then a bunch of books, but none of them went into their proper collections. I had to start over...books first, all 853 of them, then collections.)

Saturday dawned cool and rainy, but fortunately the rain stopped just in time for us to take Michael's mom (and dad) on the Gardens for Connoisseurs tour. We even got some sun in the afternoon (but still with nice breezes...perfect!) We made it to 10 out of the 11 gardens on tour, all in one day. There was a great variety, from the serene...
to the fantastical...

Gardens with beauty...
and motion...

Loose and lovely bursts of color...
and sculpted and shaped greens.

Pools I want to float in...
paths I want to wander along...
and places I just want to sit and stare!
I might post some more pictures later...there really were a bunch of fantastic ideas, plants, spaces!

Sunday after a family dinner (which my dad cooked! *faints*) I finally managed to hunker down and finish that travelling pattern! It now needs a new home...that post will be up tomorrow. I want to get this out before I leave for Europe, so it will have a short entry period. I also (almost) finished my name tag for Stitcher's Celebration this weekend. Thank goodness DF Teresa reminded me I needed one! I want to stitch a decent one at some point; this was a redo of a long-ago nametag (and it is rather pathetic in its current state). But more on that later. =)

April showers bring May flowers, and May showers bring great gardens!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Geekend That Was, 5/6

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So I never did do a weekend summary from last week, but that's because it wouldn't have been pretty. Work has been killing me; I have shed tears there in the past month, which I have NEVER done before, but fortunately it was at times when no one could see them. Last Friday I had to work, and I was so brain dead that I 1) thought a similarly-named coworker who sent a "goodbye" email to everyone was someone on my team, resulting in me IMing my boss and COMPLETELY freaking him out as well, and 2) interpreted a simple shadow as a scary scorch mark indicating that I had destroyed a piece of my china by sublimating some chili. Thusly:
See there in the center of the back of the bowl? Yeah. In fact, that was the most exciting (and only) picture I had to illustrate my bleary state last weekend. The entire rest of it was shopping. Blerg.

This weekend was a little better (VIDEOGAMES, I GOT TO PLAY THEM!) and a bit more relaxing, despite more shopping. It's not that I mind shopping, by the way, I just mind it when I am looking for something specific (I almost never find it) or it's rushed. But I digress.

We saw The Avengers on Friday night, and It. Was. AWESOME. This is one of the best superhero scripts ever...funny, managed to treat six separate heroes as distinct characters with their own issues and weaknesses, but didn't weigh them down with those issues (thank GOODNESS. If there's a pet peeve I have with superhero movies, it's when they're too "emotionally damaged" to fight. Just let them kick butt, kthxbai.) And the action sequences were filmed so you could actually tell what was going on. Imagine! Paying to choreograph a great fight scene and then actually letting us see it without close-cropping or smash-cutting it to death! Genius!! (Hang on a second while I wipe up my dripping sarcasm.)

Not too much else of note happened. My laptop contracted a virus (a particularly nasty and insidious one at that), so I'm late in my WIPocalypse posting along with the eleventy-billion other catch up posts I planned! I'm also still working on a surprise gift, so I have no WIP photos. I did start to turn that scary pile of yarn back into something, and it's going well. One of my blogiversary winners let me know that her package arrived, though, so I'll share my pictures of what was in it.

Pinkundine at Misadventures in Craft won my blogiversary Atlanta giveaway. I had a lot of fun shopping for this, and I may have...overdone it...a little...but I really wanted her to love it! I tend to worry about these things way too much, LOL! You can see her take on it here.

My intent was to send Atlanta-themed or Atlanta attraction logo items that would also be useful (or yummy). Erin guessed some of the things I was going to put in the package (and may have inspired a few, too! =) First, I went down to "the local fish tank," as my hubby calls it, and picked up a cute little tin with a friendly otter on it (his name is Oz =). He comes bearing mints, but I thought it would make a great "tools" tin later on. The Georgia Aquarium is only a few blocks from my house.
Also pictured here: Vidalia Onion Cheese "Grits Bits" (well, I couldn't send creamy cooked grits), a vintage Atlanta postcard magnet (which features some Atlanta landmarks: the Capitol with its dome of gold from Dahlonega, the Cyclorama, Stone Mountain, Georgia Tech...and...I forget what else!), an Olympic pin from the 1996 Centennial Games, and a nail file from my alma mater, Georgia Tech (The Georgia Institute of Technology). I was amused by this item because in my field of study, the ratio of men to women was about 10:1!

I already hit the "salty" category, but that was honestly just to balance out the "sweet" one:
Peach taffy, because Georgia's nickname is the "Peach State", a praline because it contains fine Georgia pecans and it's one of the best things EVER (although I am worried most overseas peeps would think it's WAY too sweet), and a pecan log (keeps better...I wasn't sure the praline would make it...and less sweet, but very unique to the South). None of these are technically "Atlanta" things, but most Atlanta foods wouldn't survive the shipping...we have fantastic local ice cream, but I can't really send that!

Of course, no package from Atlanta would be complete without some of The Real Thing:
Coke Is It, and it was invented, and is currently headquartered, right here in Atlanta. That why I get all the best billboards first. =) It turns out I may be psychic; out of all the available Coke swag, I picked a bottle opener and it turns out pinkundine had just broken hers.

Finally, I had a needlework surprise in mind, but when my winner turned out to be a knitter and fledgling spinner, I knew I could find some nice local fiber to send to her.
This is hand-dyed by Gale's Art. That's a link to her Etsy shop, but I got to meet her in person at Stitches South. She lives and works in Stone Mountain, just outside Atlanta.

And now I go to backdate a WIPocalypse post!

Eventually, work will get better and there will be lovely WIPs to ogle. This is what I keep telling myself.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de WIPocalypso

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Let's pretend I actually posted this on time, so my title is super-clever rather than really random!

I'm afraid I once again have not very much new to show...or really nothing at all! I continue to blame work. And here I thought I'd be blaming things on black holes created by the Hadron Collider for years! So here is your re-hashed, re-boiled, and slightly re-formatted recap.

I finished up one section of a ribbon on Les Rubans Anciennes:
And now the whole thing looks like this:
That's a lot of blank canvas. But I'm getting there!

Random Thoughts is 5% more random now!

Visit Measi's blog to see more earth-shaking WIPocalypse posts by clicking the graphic at the top of this post!

Friday, May 4, 2012

May the Fourth Be with You...


Happy Star Wars Day!!

Laugh it up, fuzzball.

Old Geek-outs