More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Goal Review, 2006 Goals and January Goals

Time for me to set down in print how I did for my 2005 stitching goals, what I plan to stitch in 2006 and what I hope to accomplish in January.

2005 Stitching Goals

  1. Noah's Submarine - I finished another page and a half of this during 2005.
  2. Celtic Banner - I only worked on it New Year's Day in 2005 (this is becoming a tradition)
  3. Ottawa Sampler - Finished!
  4. Start Bug Collector - Nope
  5. Start Arabian Woman - Nope
  6. Start Celtic Band Sampler - Started and Finished
  7. Scottish Castle Sampler - Nope
  8. Mini Mandalas 1 - Nope
  9. Dragon By the fireside Stocking - Started and Finished

Now I may of not started a lot of the projects I intended to last year but I did get a lot of stitching in! I'm not going to review everything I did do... you can visit my webpage as of January 1st and see all I got stitched in 2005.

2006 Stitching Goals - A little more modest this year I think.

  1. Finish Noah's Submarine
  2. Finish Celtic Banner
  3. Start and Finish Santa Fly Fishing Stocking
  4. Start and Finish Bug Collector
  5. Start Enchantment of Winter
  6. Stitch 12 Ornaments

Now for my December recap and January goals

December Goals :

Finish Midi Mystery 1 - Finished!
Finish Dragon By the fireside Stocking - Finished!
Stitch one ornament - Stitched two!
Decide on What to Stitch over the Christmas Holidays - Stitch those ornaments!

January Goals :

Stitch on Celtic Banner on New Year's Day
Finish one page on Noah's Sub
Stitch one ornament
Start model for Great Bear Canada when it arrives

A New Blog To Read

Well I don't really push other blogs here but my best friend has started blogging, so stop by Christin's Ramblings and give her an encouraging word or two!

All Caught Up!

Yay! I'm now all caught up on my Ornament Round Robins! Wednesday night I got a very small start on the next round of the JCS Retro Ornament RR, but I finished it this evening at my friend Chrisanne's in Cornwall.

Here's Pointsettia c2002 Amarillys Artworks. Its stitched on 28ct Silver Blue Linen using SNC silks, Anchor threads and Kreinik Braid. I really love this ornament, how it turned out and I've wanted to stitch it since I saw it in the 2002 JCS Ornament Issue. This design had one new stitch to me, the Arrow Head Cross Stitch.

I had a nice over-nighter at Chrisanne's. I headed out to Cornwall on Thursday afternoon despite the freezing rain we had the night before, and the threats of more to come. The highways were just fine and I made it there in good time. We exchanged Christmas presents, Chrisanne loved the Victoria Sampler Christmas Kit I got her. Lindsay of course loved the huge Scooby-Doo. Their gift to me just made me laugh! A t-shirt that says Coronation Street, Rover's Return! (Yes I'm a Corrie junkie). We went out for Chinese for dinner, and stitched the rest of the evening away (Chrisanne couldn't help her self and started her new VS kit).

Today we started out stitching. Went to Alexandria and had lunch in this great hole in the wall resturant that does only breakfast and lunch. Thanks Chrisanne's Dad for lunch! For a while in the afternoon I played video games with Lindsay on her new game system. Then it was time to go see Chronicles of Narnia. Wow what a fantastic movie and they've kept it pretty true to the book! It was wayyyy better than King Kong! This evening we stitched, I had to put some Queen Stitches on Chrisanne's piece as she thinks her's look like garbage, and I finished my ornament. Now I'm back home watching TV with my other half and blogging.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Finally Its Stitched and SBQ

Well its taken me a lot longer than I thought to finish that darned over one ornament... almost 10 hours more stitching to get it done! Its quite nice in the end, and its all very fine work I had to take a two hour nap at one point today my eyes hurt! It was kinda neat stitching this, as I had met Maureen Appleton, the designer this past October and she has so many stunning over one designs.

Anyhow, here's Hark c1997 The Heart's Content Inc. from the Just Cross Stitch 1997 Ornament Issue. Its stitched on 25ct lugana using GAST and DMC all over one!

Sigh, I have exceeded my Bandwidth limit again over at so I've posted this at my webspace allotted to me by my ISP. I seem to be running out of bandwidth on a monthly basis lately. So if you can't see any of my other photos at the moment I can assure you they'll all be back on January 1st!

So now that this Ornament RR selection is done I'll be moving onto the next one. It'll be nice to be all caught up again with my RR's. Yesterday I was bad, and did a little online shopping. I ordered from Elegant Stitch their Cube-It Instruction Booklet. I also took advantage of Stitching Bits and Bobs sale and ordered two Judy O'Dell Finishing Books, the Ornament book and the Flat Fold book. I really need to finish some of my finished unfinished projects! While I was there I also ordered the letters E&F from the M Designs Monogram Series, at some point I'd like to have the complete alphabet. So this means I'll now have A-F and S,T. That'll probably be the limit of my shopping for awhile, I'd really like to start making a dent in the charts I have in my stash in 2006.

However, this might not happen right away, as I've just agreed to take on some model stitching work from Great Bear Canada. Jennifer of Dragon Dreams passed my name onto Great Bear as they were looking for stitchers. Its great to get recommended like that! Its been awhile since I've done any stitching and seeing as I have no obligation/deadline stitching in the foreseeable future I thought it would be a good time to do a little model stitching again.

Now onto this week's SBQ!

Q : How do you balance your stitching time with your other obligations such as work, household chores, etc.?

A : I probably don't balance my stitching and my life very well. I tend to give my stitching precedence over most things. My job does come first, my promises and commitments come next and then my stitching. I have to admit I neglect my home a lot... I'd rather be stitching then cleaning any day! When life gets busy to get in my stitching fix, I will stitch during my lunch hour at work, or if I have to hang out in a waiting room somewhere, I always have stitching in my bag. I find I tend to get too stressed if I don't get to stitch!

Stitching Away!

Well the last couple of days have been quieter for me. Yesterday was a day, completely at home I stayed in my jammies and I didn't go anywhere! Today I had an appointment for my hair (it was getting way too long!) and dinner at the In-Laws.

Besides that I've been either online, napping, or stitching. I've been working away on Hark by The Heart's Content Inc. from the Just Cross Stitch 1997 Ornament issue. Its all stitched over one so its taking me awhile. But I need to get it done and out in the mail! Its part of the Retro JCS Ornament RR I'm in and it should of been mailed out the week before Christmas!

Tomorrow is another at home jammie day and hopefully I'll HD this ornament and move onto the next one which I received in the mail last week.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Persistence Pays Off

For years now I've been asking for diamond stud earrings for Christmas. Normally its kinda been a half-assed request. Well this year it was a full on assault. Todd got me a beautiful pair of diamond stud earrings with white gold.

Thanks Toodles!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Well Christmas is now minutes away so I'll take this chance to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas!!! May your day be one of fantastic memories and family traditions.

Today was yet another very busy day for me. I'm starting to wonder if its ever going to stop! Todd, I and my Nephew got up at about 9am this morning. I was straight to work as soon as I got up. My good buddy Jason had asked me if I could frame his brother's Christmas gift to his parents. I got the piece itself late last week, I was able to pick up the supplies last Saturday. However this past week was spent finishing Christmas items for my family. So this morning was spent framing an time that was 35x48 inches! I've never framed anything that big in my life. But its done, Jason has picked it up and everyone will have their presents for Christmas.

The rest of my morning was spent finally putting up my Christmas tree and sweeping the floors. Before I knew it, it was time to take Nick home! Todd and I went and had Christmas with his parents. I think tonight we had the best turkey ever with all the traditional fixings!

Finally at 11pm tonight I was able to settle down with my laptop and some stitching! I don't think I've put in a single stitch since I finished Nick's stocking on Monday! So tonight my latest ornament RR piece has gotten some badly needed attention... I'm sure I mentioned earlier this week... I was supposed to mail it out this past Monday? My only complaint about this ornament is it will not be a quick stitch. It measures 66Hx70W stitches and its done over one! Why do designers put out over one ornaments that big?

So this over one ornament is my must stitch item until its done. Since my next ornament in this same RR has arrived that will be next. Then I can finally pick Noah's Sub back up. If I'm not tempted to pick up something new and small and stitch that up over my holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Finally On Holidays!!!

Well it felt like it took a long time to get here... I've made it to the Christmas Holidays! This school year has been so busy that I'm just exhausted.

Today was yet another busy day. Work wrapped up without a hitch. I drove out to pick up my Nephew who we took out to Lone Star for dinner and to see King Kong. I have to say I wasn't too impressed with King Kong. The mark of a good movie is when you don't notice the time passing. But I kept on wondering when the movie was going to end. It felt long.

Now the boys are playing video games and here I am relaxing, catching up on my Bulletin Boards and Blogs!

I'll probably be Blogging on a daily basis while I'm off work and look forward to an up to date webpage... And of course stitching!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

And The Stockings Were Hung With Care...

Yet again, my Mum did a fantastic job finishing Nick's stocking for me!!!

Final Christmas Present!!!

Well I finished the last present I'll be making for Christmas this year. Todd's Mom asked for a piece of jewelry made by me for her gift this year. Back in October I managed to purchase a back issue of Wirework magazine with the directions to make the Empressa Chain Bracelet. I decided to make this for Todd's Mum. The rings are gold filled (not plated) and I accidentally used a larger gage ring (fatter) than recommended so its quite a substantial piece. And it caused lots of muttering and cursing on my behalf because it was a challenge to thread some of the rings in.

Sooo besides putting my tree up and wrapping the gifts I am now ready for Christmas!

Of course I have one more day of work left first (I know its just wrong).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Stupid Things We Do

Well if there's an easy way to do something, I'll do it.

Every morning at work instead of unlocking and opening the lid of the book drop I reach my arm in the slot and I pull the books out. Well this morning there was a book way back in the corner. So I reach in... way to the back.

I slowly pull my arm out.

I get my elbow stuck in the slot!

I twisted my arm... couldn't pull it out.

I contemplated calling for help. But thought I'd feel pretty stupid and well you know it would be all over the school in no time.

So I yanked hard a couple of times... sweet freedom.

My elbow is sore and I have a small bruise now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas is Coming!

Well I had a nice day of pressies today!

This morning I had a lovely surprise sitting by my computer, a gift bag. Inside was a lovely musical snowman from Patti.

Then this evening I met up with Christin for our Guild meeting. I hadn't brought her Christmas presents with me because we are meeting up for lunch Thursday afternoon (we both got a 1/2 day for shopping from our bosses). She wanted me to have mine so she could explain one of the gifts. She had lots of goodies for me! There was a CD, Big Shiny Tunes 10, a large Toblerone (I love those at this time of year!), a chart
Sewing Seeds of Friendship a collaborative design with Teresa Wentzler, Jennifer Aikman-Smith, and Karen Weaver. I almost bought this chart at the Stitching Bits and Bobs Sale... whew! A skein of Dinky Dyes Silk in Fantasy Blues, some beads, and an ornament. The gift that needed explaining was a gift certificate for my favorite hair dresser! I've been complaining I need a haircut (last one was at the end of June) but couldn't afford it. This is partially my birthday gift as our hair dresser is expecting at the end of March which is when my b-day is.

Tonight's guild meeting was our annual sweets pot luck and ornament exchange. I got a fantastic canvaswork ornament this year! Its gorgeous and its a form of needlework I don't do, so that's really cool.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stocking Happy Dance!!!!

Yay! Its done, its finished, fini!!! Yay! Yay! Also without much time to spare! Here's Black Swan's Dragon By The Fireside Stocking c2001 This stocking is stitched on 25ct Gold/Sand Metallic Lugana using DMC, Kreinik #4 and Mill Hill Beads. I didn't make any changes to the charting or fibers.

There's really a lot to this design that you just can't see in the photo and as usual it doesn't do the piece justice! Tonight it'll be getting a bath and a press, I'll be showing it off at Guild tomorrow night. Then off to my Mum's for finishing on Wednesday.

Talk about going down to the wire.

So what am I going to stitch yet? Well I've got an Ornament RR to do ASAP... it was supposed to be mailed out today. Oops. I think they'll understand though as I was trying to get a Christmas present finished! Anyhow I'm the moderator... I think I can abuse my powers a little.

Friday, December 16, 2005

SBQ and Musings

Q : Take a minute to reflect on your blog reading habits and preferences. What do you prefer to read in stitching blogs? (Progress, tips, family life, experiences, etc.) How much do you think you are influenced by other stitching bloggers?

A : I like to read purely stitching blogs! I like progress pictures and finished projects, especially when the method to do the finishing is different. Its a great way to gather ideas and to be enabled! I know it sounds mean but I do prefer it when bloggers keep their personal life/family life to a minimum. But I've always been that way when I read my BB's and Yahoo groups I tend to avoid all the personal stuff. I'm there to get stitching information not someone's life story.

Yes I sound quite callus.

Onto stitching talk! I think I might be able to finish my stocking this weekend... so keep your eyes peeled for an HD (I hope). Once that is done I need to take the stocking to my Mum so she can finish it for me. The next item I need to stitch is my Ornament RR which is supposed to be mailed out on Monday. I think I'm going to be late.

As the year comes closer to its end I start to think about what I hope to stitch during the following year. I have no clear plan/goals yet. I do know two things though. That I want to finish Noah's Sub and Celtic Banner!

Now here's a little of personal life stuff I told you I like kept to a minimum in Blogs. Tonight I have discovered that Cuddles (my grey cat) goes ga-ga for pitas and hummus!

Cats are weird.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

In Memory of Daniel B

This morning a wonderful young boy at the school I worked at passed away. He stopped breathing at home this morning. He was confined to a wheelchair, and couldn't speak. But he could smile and laugh and was one bright kid! He showed me that a disability doesn't mean you are stupid and that you still can live life to the fullest.

Though I only knew you a short while you won't be forgotten Daniel.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Finishing Anxiety

Well the deadline is quickly approaching! We're now just under two weeks until Christmas! I've been stitching away on that stocking! Ideally I'd like it finished by the end of this week so that my Mum and I have next week to do the finishing.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Christmas Present For My Readers

Well I have an early Christmas present for all of you! I designed this ornament years ago, and I have decided to share it with my blogger readers.

Diamond Tree - Click on the photo to download .pdf file

I'd love it if you stitch this piece to please share your pictures with me!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

More Mail and The SBQ

I received another parcel today, another one from Australia. This one was from Alison for the Needle and Thread Ornament Exchange.

Alison made me this gorgeous card and ornament! Oh and she included some Tim Tam Balls... oh yummy!

Now onto the Stitching Blogger's Question Of the Week...

Q :Have you done any charity stitching, been in one, or would like to organize one?

A : I stitched once for a charity quilt, years ago. I don't know what happened to the pieces, if the quilt was actually put together or raffled for charity. I will never do charity work again and I have no intention of organizing any charity stitching.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Dance, and a Great Mail Day!!!

Finally, Midi Mystery - Medieval Garden is finally finished. I have to say that yes I'm still Chatelaine-ed out and will be taking a break from Chatelaine's designs for awhile. Now keep in mind I've been working on a Chatelaine in one form or another for two years. So I'm ready for a break and something different for awhile. Yes, I'll stitch some more of Martina's designs in the future just not right now.

Here it is in all its glory :

Now I can totally focus on Nick's stocking until its finished! Which I will move back to once I'm done here online.

Today was an AWESOME mail day! I was surprised to find three parcels waiting for me at the post office, none of which were things I ordered! So that was awesome I love surprises. Two of the items were from the
Teresa Wentzler Bulletin Board Annual Ornament Exchange (this was my third year participating).

I received Dragon Dream's Centaur Ornament from Marilyn in Australia, and TW's Father Christmas Ornament from Paula from the UK (with some delicious choccies!)

The best surprise was the RAK (Random Act of Kindness) I received from Junette in Australia. She sent me two charts from my wish list. Moody Blues Teenie Tweenie #67 from The Sweetheart Tree and The Cat's Meyow by The Drawn Thread!!! What a way to brighten my day!!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

U2, SBQ, Goals and a Lack of Stitching...

Well finally here are the promised U2 pictures from the concert in Ottawa on November 25th. These were taken with a regular camera (aka one with film) by one of the ladies I met up with from work at the show. I wish I had the forethought to grab my digital camera that morning before I left for work, but then I also had no idea they were letting them in!

Now onto the more mundane...

This week's SBQ which I'm late in answering (of course it helps if you're home to use the computer which I haven't been this week!).

Q : Do you have rules in the way you stitch? (i.e., Do you start in the middle? Do you determine which blocks to stitch first? Do you always start from the top or the bottom? Do you have special paths to prevent wasting thread?)

A : Yes I do have rules when I stitch, or preferences if you'd like to call them. Actually they're probably my OCD tendencies showing through.

First I always like to start at the top left corner of a project... if there's an obvious one. If there's not a top left I'll start at any other obvious corner of the design. To do this I figure out (or I know because I cut it) how much extra fabric I have I measure in from that corner and down that amount I've allowed for extra on all sides. I like to give myself 4 inches all around. Once you measure in and down that amount... you have your starting point! Easy as that. If the piece doesn't have an obvious edge I'll start in the center.

Now how do I determine what I stitch first, that depends. If the piece has an obvious border, like many Teresa Wentzler designs do I stitch that entire border first before I allow myself to get to the main image of the design. If there's no border I start with the first colour at that corner or centre point. I like to stitch as much with that colour as possible, or even do all the stitches in that colour if I can without having to count too far away from the stitches I've put in. Then I move onto the next symbol/colour that was right next to that first stitch I put in and so on. For some larger designs I will stitch one page at a time working in the same fashion as above using one colour at a time. Or, with the current piece I'm working on where there are obvious parts I'll stitch one element at a time. With the stocking I stitched the top/cuff first, then the fireplace and gifts, next was the tree, and finally the dragon.

As I stitch I like to be able to celebrate landmarks. Such as completely finishing with a paticular colour, page, or section.

Now since its December its time for those monthly stitching goals!!!

November Re-Cap

Midi Mystery part 5 - Yes
Work on Dragon By The Fireside Stocking - Yes, Lots of Progress
Stitch one ornament - I actually did two!

December Goals

Finish Midi Mystery 1
Finish Dragon By the fireside Stocking
Stitch one ornament
Decide on What to Stitch over the Christmas Holidays

Perhaps you fellow stitchers can help me decide what to work on while I'm off of work for two weeks for Christmas (this is an important decision of course!). Do I pick Noah's Submarine back up? Do I work on Celtic Banner which I barely started two years ago and I've worked on it for two New Year's Days in a row? Or do I start something new that I could stitch in two weeks?

Now as for this week I've not made a lot of progress on the stocking, a little filling in on the dragon. But as of this point I've not stitched since Tuesday. Which is odd for me. For the last three evenings its been late when I've gotten home. I normally stitch during my lunch hour but I haven't been doing that either. I think after all I got done last week I needed a break, of course I'm on a tight deadline now, there's three weeks until Christmas.

This weekend I'm hoping to finish Midi Mystery 1, we got part 6 on Thursday.