Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2018

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Hello! If you arrived at my blog through Jo's wonderful blog hop, welcome! If you didn't, you might want to visit Jo to see what's going on.

So what's an Easter blog hop without a hopping bunny, I ask you??
This little bunny is hopping past some of my Spring-y temari. The two in the back are from Japan and feature cherry blossoms (sakura), a sure sign of Spring!

Since March is almost over, the SCOD decided to masquerade as an Easter basket.
Hmmm, I'm not sure it's fooling anyone!

The bunny is designed by Just Nan, and her fluffy tail is pink because she just finished hopping through a strawberry patch. But wait, it looks like she's found something else while hopping amongst my temari...
It's your next letter in the blog hop! That's right, your next letter is A.

I hope you have an Amazing, Awesome Easter, and that you'll be singing Alleluia Along with me!

For your next letter, please hop over to Mary's Thread! Enjoy the hop and Happy Easter!

Welcome, welcome! If you're new here, you may be wondering what a "SCOD" is! That stands for "Sparkly Compote of Decree", and every day in March I draw a slip of paper from it, and that tells me which of my WIPs I will work on that day. That's right, a different WIP each day in March! You can visit some of my earlier posts this month to see what I've been working on so far, or come back early next week to see the thrilling conclusion of "March Madness"!

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Break from the Madness: Orchid Daze 2018

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Let's take a break from stitching and look at some beautiful orchids, shall we?
The Atlanta Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Daze is happening right now, through April 8th, so you still have some time to immerse yourself in the piles of orchids...
...mounds of orchids!
There's no "theme" this year as there has been in years past, but that's fine, because it lets the orchids really shine.

One cool thing they did this year is to try to help you tie together which different orchids are part of the same species. I'm not sure if you can see it well in this shot, but some of the orchids are displayed on 3D wireform shapes. Then, throughout both orchid houses (regular and high elevation), there are signs of the same shape (triangle, octagon, etc.) next to the orchids of the same family.
There are hanging orchids, orchids in pots,
orchids peeking out from behind leaves...
Compared to the main display area, it's really like a treasure hunt in the high elevation house.
But your efforts are amply rewarded!

I highly recommend visiting the Garden during Orchid Daze, because not only will you see tons of beautiful orchids, you'll also get the benefit of Atlanta Blooms, where there are literally thousands of tulips blooming.
I know, I'm such a tease, but there will be tulips pictures...right after another March Madness update!

A little break from March Madness with some beautiful orchids!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Madness Marches On...

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When we last left March Madness, I was casting on with some laceweight yarn. That brought us up to March 14th, where the SCOD* went right back to its Moss Creek Designs kick and chose Blackwork Band Sampler (if you follow me on instagram, you've already seen this one):
This was a class piece; the cutwork section was done in class, so I've been working on the blackwork bands and the borders.

March 15th we went to see "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. It was a really entertaining musical (if a little dark). Eight roles were played by one actor, and he was amazing! I went straight to the theater from work, and to bed soon after that, so I didn't stitch at all that day. I was going to try, but the project I pulled out of the SCOD turned out to be missing its tacks!
I gave up. Zzzzzz...

Now if you'd REALLY been paying attention to the picture of the SCOD in my last March Madness post, you might have seen that slip of paper off to the side that struck terror in my heart...Les Rubans Anciennes! (dun dun DUN!!)
I saved this one for a Friday! This is a four-day class with Tony Minieri; you can see a picture of it on his webpage, but not in the colorway I am doing. (Side note: Oh my goodness, I want to do the one with the peacock on it!!) Here is a closeup of the section I worked on...

Sunday the SCOD found my missing tacks...
In actuality, I think the tacks I stole from poor Santa up there are in a different project. But the SCOD was certainly feeling "projects mounted on frames". When I started this stumpwork class, I could not find any "real" stretcher bars, so I bought some artist's canvas stretcher bars. Eh, they seem to be working OK! I kind of dreaded working on this piece, too, but it turned out I had more done than I thought. Here's a closeup, with some 4" embroidery scissors for scale:

This brings us up to Monday (the 19th), where I was determined to overcome my March Monday slump, even though the project was the (HUGE) Peacock Tapestry.
Wouldn't it be nice if I got that all done in one night? (I...did not).

What kind of Springy projects are in store for me in the coming week?? Only the SCOD knows....

More March Madness stitching, with a good variety of techniques!!

*SCOD = Sparkly Compote of Decree...It can be glimpsed in previous March Madness posts.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness March 2018

What is Gifted Gorgeousness, you may ask? It's the brainchild of the lovely and talented Jo at Serendipitous Stitching, who invites us to celebrate gifts we've been given that we are stitching on (or gifts we're stitching for others). If you're up for seeing more eye candy, click on the graphic above and visit Jo's link up post!

This is my birthday edition of gifted gorgeousness, so it's going to be a little on the gifted to ME side. If you haven't visited me before, I'm currently indulging in my version of March Madness, which means that I stitch a different project every day, as dictated (or "heavily suggested") by a slip of paper I draw from the Sparkly Compote of Decree. One of those projects was a gift from a friend for my birthday *ahem* several years ago...Shakespeare's Flowers:

For my birthday, we went to Disney World, where I got to wear this birthday button:
This is a very awesome thing, as all the cast members wish you happy birthday (and occasionally give you free desserts!)

My wonderful spouse gave me a beautiful card that he drew...
Those flowers all bloom in Animal Kingdom, where he gifted me with a behind-the-scenes safari experience!
Awww! It was an amazing experience. (I'm still going through the pictures!)

While I was at Disney, some socks kits from the Tsarina of Tsocks went on sale (for 24 hours!!)
These socks had always been on my "someday" fact, a lot of her socks kits are on my someday list...but then the designer passed away, and I thought that I had missed my chance. She really was a truly gifted designer, and her designs would come with pages and pages of design notes and inspirations.

I also signed up for Ysolda Teague's yarn club, which I regretted not signing up for for the past two years! Hooray for birthday money!

I'm looking forward to playing with this yarn as soon as I'm done with my assignments for Loopy Academy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March Madness Continues

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When last we left March Madness, I had been to see some lovely tulips (pictures coming, really!) and was about to settle down to stitch. You would think that Daylight Saving Time would mean that I would have extra stitching time in the evening, or at least that I'd be able to get a picture of my stitching with good lighting. But alas, Saturday night and Sunday were rainy, so please excuse this shot of She Maketh Fine Linen, which is a series of smalls by Moss Creek Designs:

Strangely, the Sparkly Compote of Decree chose another Moss Creek Design the next day, Spring Garden Gate:
I'm feeling like this should stay in rotation after March Madness. And after I finish Loopy Academy Senior Year.

Speaking of which, after a Monday where I was too exhausted to stitch (Mondays are definitely not good for March Madness), the SCOD gave me a magic blank slip!
This means I can pick whatever I want to stitch! In an uncharacteristic move, I decided to be responsible and start my third project for Loopy Academy.
Behold, my stunning progress! I spent most of the time doing the gauge swatch with this laceweight yarn, so I only managed to cast on and do a couple rows. Plus, I need to find some beads for this shawl, but I kinda thought it would be longer than 48 stitches in before I needed them.

Three more March Madness projects!

And for those of you who read to the end and are paying VERY close attention, you might notice a slip of paper off to the side in that shot of the SCOD...I might have drawn that one first and freaked out when I saw it...but I'm going to tackle it on Friday...maybe....

Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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Daylight Saving Time began this morning, and just to prove that that lost hour of sleep hasn't totally destroyed the weekend (and that it's sooo worth the extra sunlight in the evening), I'm going to do something I haven't managed to do for months...WRITE A BLOG POST!!

You don't want to hear the knitty-gritty of why I've been missing for months...a (not) thrilling pastiche of being out of town, home demolition/reconstruction, video games, and work woes (so what's new?). No, you are here for pictures of needlework! And possibly fun things I've been doing! Well, today you're ONLY going to get needlework pictures, but buckle up, because I promise that will be enough.

One of the trips was to take a class with my EGA chapter. I joined the duClay chapter in Florida a few years ago, but I've only been down once to a retreat. There was finally a class that fit with my schedule, so I booked a plane ticket! Since my birthday was the day after I would have flown back, I managed to finagle a birthday trip to Disney World out of it (my argument to Michael was that I would be more than halfway to Disney anyway, so he drove down to Jacksonville and picked me up after class!)

So, my first finish of 2018 was my chapter nametag, which should have been finished eons ago.
I finished it as a mini-flatfold, a technique I made up after reading the (most excellent) tutorial written by Vonna on how to make a proper flatfold. However, I thought a proper flatfold would be too bulky for something so small that I also wanted to wear around my neck, so I figured out how to do it with just two pieces of mat board. If anyone is interested, I can share what I did.

I stayed with my DF Teresa, who is an amazing hostess. The class was great! Here I'll show you our prestitching (the thread keep) partially assembled (as we learned to do in class):
It was very interesting to finish; the eyelets were made by first enlarging the hole in the linen with an awl so that it would be big enough to put some thread strands though and tie in a half-hitch.

I'd share more pictures, but the ones on duClay's blog are much better, so please visit there! The blog is maintained by Jackie, who does lovely stitching and knitting. And she is the one to thank for the rest of this post! A couple people asked if I had stopped blogging, and I was saying that I needed to get back to it, but I had just missed the Olympics when Jackie said, "Well, you HAVE to do March Madness!" Holy Shamoley, I had completely forgotten about March Madness*!!!

At first I thought I was going to have to miss it this year, since I wasn't going to get home until March 4th. But then I realized...with the class piece, the "emergency" stitching project I brought just in case there was a free moment somewhere, and the two knitting projects I had started for Loopy Academy Senior Year and had along...this just might work!

So, on March 1st, after stumbling home from a great day at Hollywood Studios, I pulled out my class piece and did a little more work joining the two sides of the thread keep together.

The next day, following a day at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and a night waiting in line for Flight of Passage in Pandora at Animal Kingdom, I pulled out the "emergency stitching project", which is a hardanger piece. Please enjoy this very blurry picture of it.

March 3rd saw us on a special safari at Animal Kingdom, followed by a night viewing the new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. Every color in this brioche cowl was in that fireworks show, plus some!

March 4th we had to head home, so I got some good knitting time in the car on a cotton vest.
Unfortunately, I have since had to unravel the whole thing and start over, since I gave up on my knitterly denial and realized it was going to come out big enough for Michael instead of me. I'm thinking he wouldn't really want to wear a hot pink mesh vest....

We got home at about 10:30 pm and had to go to work the next day, so I was too exhausted on March 5th to do anything at all. Well, that, and the Sparkly Compote of Decree was being difficult. You see, I knew in advance that due to the upheaval of construction, I wouldn't be able to get to (i.e., "find") all of my WIPs. So, I was just going to draw until I got a project I could actually find. Here's how many draws that took:
After many trips up and down (and up and down) a few sets of stairs, I found one! Castles by the Sea, by Teresa Wentzler (a class piece from a long ago retreat!) The picture on the right is what it will look like when it's finished, although I am making up my own verse.

March 7th found me stitching on Convents Herbal Garden by Chatelaine (or, as it was known when I started it, "Mystery 2"!):

When I found the piece for March 8th, which was Shakespeare's Garden...
...lo and behold, in the same box was the very first piece I drew out of the SCOD and couldn't find! So instead of drawing for the 9th, I stitched that one. This is another Teresa Wentzler piece from a retreat, called "Sewing Seeds of Love". You can see a small picture of the finished piece on her site (I gave away the charts for the other two designers' pieces at some point).

That almost brings me up to today! Yesterday (Saturday), we went to the Botanical Garden to see the thousands of tulips and orchids that are in bloom right now, and I couldn't face downloading all of those pictures.... So, you'll have to wait to see what I stitched on yesterday. Who knows, my instagram feed might get some madness showing up, too. Stay tuned for more March Madness! And let me know if you join in with me!

Hooray for Daylight Saving Time and not coming home from work when it's dark!
Please excuse the sizing of the pictures in this of the "upheaval" things was getting a new computer, which is awesome, but my old image software no longer works on it and I'm definitely in the "making do" stage right now!

*For those of you not familiar with March the United States, college basketball playoffs begin in March, and there are so many crazy games, they coined the term "March Madness". Back when I used to run Theme-a-licious...and actually every March since...I would do my own "mad" stitching March by picking a different project every day! Nowadays the project I stitch on each day is "chosen" by the Sparkly Compote of Decree.

Old Geek-outs