More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Sunday, January 29, 2012

PhotoHunt "Fluffy" & Eggie Progress

Well I was going to blog last night, but I went to a surprise party for my Takewon-Do instructor in celebration of him receiving his Masters back in November.  We had such a good time, that people finally started to leave around 1am!  So it was a little too late for blogging by the time we got home.

This week's PhotoHunt theme is "Fluffy"

I came across this cute, fluffy little fellow (or is it gal?) in June while I was taking pictures in my friend Sheila's garden up in Georgian Bay.

Yesterday I finally managed to wrap up the backstitching on page 5 of Enchantment of Winter.  I've now moved onto page 8, there is a heck of a lot of gold confetti in this one!  Gonna take awhile!

I had stayed up late stitching Friday night, and was looking forward to a nice sleep in Saturday morning.  Well between my friends starting to text message, Todd getting up and not being quiet about it, and Hunter and Zeus deciding it would be a good idea to fight/play with me in the bed I gave up.  However I was treated to a lovely sunrise, I wish I had gotten it a few minutes earlier!  You can see the light shining through the ice on the branches of the willow as we had freezing rain (again) on Friday.

Seeing as its been so mild, we had a lovely set of icicles growing on the house, and I got this shot just as the afternoon sunshine was hitting them.

  I took this portrait of all of our Black Belts two weeks ago, little did my instructor know it was a gift for him.. we made him think it was his idea!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ornament Happy Dance

I have an unexpected happy dance!  I had an opportunity today while I was out and about to work on the ornament I've been carrying around in my purse for some time... and such emergencies when I need to keep busy!  Do you keep a little something with you to stitch at all times?

This another of Sharon's (aka Daffycat) cute reindeer freebies!  As usual when you actually sit down to work on one of these they work up very quickly!  I have one more reindeer left in this series to stitch.

Holly Reindeer
cSharon Bennett
Stitched on 32ct Queen Ann's Lace Joblean
Stitched with DMC

I'm hoping to make some good progress on the big purple egg this weekend.  I'm hoping to wrap up some backstitching and start on the last few pages of the chart that contain the gold filigree stand that the egg rests on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Knowledge and Needles January Timberhouse Retreat

The Second Annual January Timberhouse Retreat put on by Knowledge and Needles this past weekend was a huge success!  We arrived ready to stitch!  We stitched, we ate, we were happy, we were sad to go home when it all ended on Sunday.

 Ann, the owner of Knowledge and Needles showing off the gorgeous table runner her Friday Stitchers made for her

For me the weather was perfect for both the drive down and the drive up.  The roads were clear and there was none of that awful winter weather I recently told you about... but it sure was cold on Friday!  I was relieved to have a good drive, as its 3 hours per way at a fair click in my little blue bomber.

 Lianne's Stitched Pieces

 More finished pieces by various stitchers

This winter piece, was stitched with Clare... lookie, snow in the background (evil snow)

I arrived, eager to make awesome progress on Enchantment of Winter!  However I had trouble settling down to stitch!  Of course I was happy to see everyone and we had to have a good chit chat too!  By the time I arrived I think almost everyone was there!  Already there were fantastic stitched pieces on display.

 Bonnie and Clare waiting for lunch to be served

 We each found these "stitchers loot bags" at our places!

This year's lunch menu

Chef Dan aka Butthead#1 telling us about the menu

Dan, serving up lunch

Wonderful presentation

Maggie, begging for some food

Saturday we stitched until lunchtime, when we headed over to our hostess's house where Ann's husband Dan was preparing a fantastic lunch for us!  We arrived to beautifully set tables with wonderful service by or maitre'd.  As usual the food was fantastic and quite sinful for a girl on Weight Watchers!

 Debbie looking at the Kreinik thread

Leslie & Jeannine... the best way to shop!

Of course eating is followed by shopping!  This time, I wasn't doing any shopping for myself, but for my good friend Tracey who sent me with a .... blank cheque!  Oh the trust!  I could of been really bad... or naughty but I behaved and took care of Tracey's shopping list.

 Judie working on a beautiful Rosewood Manor Table Runner

 Talking about charts!

 Jeannine really enjoy her first time at the K&N Retreat!

 Our Hostess & Shop Owner (aka "our dealer") Ann

Shopping was of course followed by more stitching!  We stitched the afternoon away and into the evening. 

After slaving over a hit stove for so long, Dan needed a massage!

Sunday morning we were treated to a wonderful breakfast made by the Timberhouse staff and we stitched away until noon when we all started to pack up, it was time to go home!

I look forward to next year!

Monday, January 23, 2012

January TUSAL

Yay!  Its the New Moon and its time to show off my ort "jar" (aka vase).

I don't think I did too bad getting this ort jar started for 2012, I'm sure doing the Crazy Challenge helped too!  At the very bottom of the jar is all the blacks from my frog infested Seasonal Mandalas.  Sitting on the top are all the gold threads from Enchantment of Winter.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

IHSW for January

I had a fantastic weekend, but I just don't have the time tonight to go through the pictures I took, edit them and so on to put up a full Knowledge and Needles January Retreat.  I would say... don't expect my report until Tuesday at this point I don't see much free time in my day tomorrow!  I do promise, there will be one.

Friday I struggled to settle down and really get any stitching done.  Saturday it took me until later in the afternoon to finally get in the groove with EOW.  Today, I got right into it and didn't want to stop for my 3 hour drive back home!  Which actually once I got home, and unpacked I settled back into stitching!  I could see the possibility of getting all the gold filigree finished on my current page so I powered through and took me until about 11PM to get it done... but the gold is all done, just have to fill in some purple, backstitch then it'll be onto the very bottom of the egg and the filigree stand the egg sits on!

I might not of really hermited while I was at retreat but I did a darned good job of it once I got home this evening, so I would say mission accomplished!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

PhotoHunt - Bliss

This week's theme is "bliss"

This is my cat Hunter and there is an absolute look of kitty-bliss on his face as he enjoys a patch of warm sunshine on a winters afternoon.  Oh to have the life of a cat!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pre IHSW, Gridding & More

The January IHSW is here!  That's the International Hermit and Stitch Weekend!  The idea is that when and if you can from Friday-Monday you ignore the world and stitch your little heart out and get a serious case of stitcher's butt.  You can read all about it here and sign up for the January edition here.

So here is Enchantment of Winter BEFORE the IHSW, its seen a little needle time but not as much as I'd like.  Its been a very busy week for me, lots going on.  As I type this I've spent my evening getting ready as tomorrow evening I'm joining up with about 18 other stitchers for a weekend away in a quiet country B&B to stitch our little hearts out!  Hopefully I'll make some great progress on EOW, if I don't spend too much time chatting and visiting!  Of course I have my camera all packed, so I will share with you here after the weekend.

On my busier nights when I was either tired or didn't have much time to stitch I pulled out Polar Friends - Night and made a little progress on that too.

I've received several comments asking about the gridding many of you saw in one of my earlier posts this month.  I love e-mailing my commenters back when the comment warrants an answer but so many of you don't have an e-mail address linked to your profile!  I have my comments e-mailed to me and if you have an e-mail address linked to your profile when you hit reply, it pops in your e-mail address and whoila I can send a personal note to you!

So here's the information... I gridded my Ink Circles Seasonal Mandalas after so many mis-counts and encounters with those damned frogs!  There was no specific distances between my stitches, I just did a running/basting stitch, making sure that each vertical or horizontal line was exactly 10 stitches apart.  I wanted to mimic the darker grid lines on the chart that mark out 10x10 blocks of stitches.

Most of you were curious about the thread I used because I called it my "special gridding thread" (or something along those lines).  Really it isn't special, nor is it specifically for girdding but it is THE perfect thread!  I received a spool of this years ago from another stitcher.  Its by Sulky and its their Silver Metallic thread.  This is a thin, flat, ribbon-like metallic thread you'd probably find it in quilting stores.  The main reason I like to use this compared to a conventional thread or cotton floss is that when you are cross stitching if you happen to leave your grid in as you're stitching you won't be able to pierce the gridding thread with your needle as you stitch... unless you happen to use a sharp one!  This makes removing the gridding thread later on SOOO much easier.  It usually just slides right out.  I haven't had to grid often in the past but sometimes I've used it to put in a basting line down the left hand side of a sampler so that I know the beginning of my rows match up.  Its also been great for gridding blocks for Round Robins for the participants to stitch in.

So, there you've got it... one of my little stitching secrets!

Non-Stitchy Stuff

The snowploughs rolling out to hit the highways

The weather has been just brutal lately!  The temperature has been up and down like a yo-yo its either -5c or colder than -20c.  When its not brutally cold, its either snowing like its the end of the world, or we're having freezing rain.  I've had to drive to/from work in really bad weather twice in the last two weeks.  Its very stressful!  On Tuesday night we had rain, which apparently froze on contact.  To get in my car the next morning, we had to pry the door open with a putty knife!  After starting the car and letting it run with the defrost on at full blast for over 20 minutes... I still had to spend over 45 minutes chipping ice off of my car and windows so that I could safely drive!  If another person who lives in a warm climate that doesn't have winter... and I mean TRUE winter with sub-zero temperatures, snow and freezing rain says they LOVE winter, think snow is so PRETTY and would love a WHITE Christmas I'm going to slap them up side the head!  When you live with winter the way us folk in norther climes I can tell you that winter can be quite miserable, and downright dangerous, you stop seeing the pretty very quickly!

I was also asked if I'm still going to Weight Watchers.  Yes I am, I think I will forever be going to Weight Watchers, just to maintain my goal weight takes a lot of work and vigilance on my part.  Sadly I'm not one of those people who can eat what they want and not exercise.  If I don't live by the 80/20 rule and exercise on average 4-5 times a week I WILL gain weight!

What do I mean by the 80/20 rule?  Be good 80% of the time and just do your best 20% of the time.  There are times, moments, events that still trigger bad choices in anyone who has ever been overweight.  No one can be perfect, and imagining that you can be perfect and perfectly loose weight turns your journey into an incredibly stressful one.  Its all about checks and balances, if you know you're going out for a nice dinner on Friday you can balance that out by eating right and moving more a couple of days prior to and after that dinner out.  I also make a point of making sure all of my other meals are low point and earn some activity points.

The last week and a half have been very tough for me.  I've made a lot of bad choices (chocolate and lots of it), salted peanuts, crackers, lots of very yummy things.  Oh and a devine slice of a "chocolate bomb" when we went out for dinner on Saturday to celebrate my Mum's birthday (which it was -25c without the windchill that was fun to be out and about in).  I was very shocked when I weighed in at my WW meeting on Wednesday and the receptionist told me I had lost this week!  Wow!  So I lost 1 lb!  I started going back to WW the previous week and between my last weigh in at the very beginning of December to the second week in January I put on 3lbs... it could of been worse.  So I'm back on the road to getting back to goal 9lbs to go.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Survived The Insanity!!!

Today, is the day!  Its DAY FIFTEEN of the Crazy Challenge the final day of madness, starting a new project every day for the first 15 days of the month.  I have collected quite a pile of WIPs now that this is over which my good friends know is quite unusual for me... I'm usually a one at a time stitcher and that's what I'm heading back towards.  Tomorrow I will re-focus all my stitchy energy on Enchantment of Winter.

The Big Red by The Silver Lining
Stitched over one on 25ct Summer Khaki Lugana

I saved my biggest new start for today, the final day of the challenge!  Today's new start was The Big Red by The Silver Lining.  This piece is 274 stitches wide by 440 stitches high!  I'm stitching it over one on 25ct and the design uses a combination of DMC and Anchor threads giving you a wider pallet for shading.  Since I've  had so many mis-haps during this challenge I decided to start in the very center of the 16 page chart.  From the center point I worked my way up and to the left, so that I would be in my "happy place" the top left hand corner which is where I prefer to start.

Does it look like a bunch of poppies yet?  Nope just a purple blob, a red blob, and a pink one!

I wont' be finishing this piece this year, I'm not sure if I'll get back to it any time soon either... but I had been dying to start it for a very long time!  Now its started.

Crazy Challenge Day 14 (Almost Done!)

Saturday was the second to last day of the Crazy Challenge (15 starts in 15 days), today is the last and I've got my final start (and my biggest) well underway.  I'll either blog about it before bed tonight, or tomorrow after work.
Sun Dragon by Teresa Wentzler the colours aren't very rich in this picture
Stitched on mystery fabric using DMC

My last "small" piece to be started was Teresa Wentzler's Sun Dragon.  I can't remember if this was a class or a freebie we were given one year at the Creativ Festival in Toronto.  This one was a companion to Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dream's Moon Dragon which I had stitched some time ago, back in 2007.
Moon Dragon by Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams
Stitched on mystery fabric using DMC floss and Kreinik #4 braid
Companion to TW's Sun Dragon

Zeus was being a cutie again, so let me share some pictures with you!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PhotoHunt - Circular & Crazy Challenge Day 13

First of all its Saturday which means its PhotoHunt Day!  Today's theme is "Circular"

I took this picture back in 2007 I think its looking down the stairs at the National Arts Center in Ottawa.  Not only do I love how the stairs go round and round as they go down but the sculpture that echos that circular motion.

Friday the 13th was day 13 of the Crazy Challenge and turned out to be a good day for me.  Yesterday evening I started this cute little sheep Mill Hill kit that Dee sent me as a gift (thank Dee!).  Surprisingly with even a break for a run on the treadmill I finished it before 11PM last night!  So this is my 13th start, my 2nd finish for the year, and my first ornament!

Christmas Ewe
c1995 Mill Hill
Mill Hill Kit, beads attached with DMC floss onto perforated paper

Today will be my 2nd to last start before this challenge is over!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crazy Challenge Day 12

Welcome to the final days of the Crazy Challenge.  Last night I wanted to work on something small but not beady so I pulled out Teresa Wentzler's Delightful Dragon Fob.  This is a class I took a few years ago at the Creativ Festival in Toronto.

I really love TW's stuff, the complexity and her use of colour is wonderful.  Not much of a dragon yet is it... and yes he's stitched over one!

I'm looking forward to the weekend and wrapping up the Crazy Challenge I'm saving my biggest start for Sunday, the final day where I can work on it the longest!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

WIPocalypse Full Moon Update

As you know from yesterday's post, I decided to jump in with both feet and join the other big SAL going on out there in Stitching Blogland, WIPocalypse!  Definitely something I need to do since I'm on the verge of completing 15 new starts plus I already had 2 LARGE projects on the go!  I'll definitely need to do some WIP-busting once the Crazy Challenge ends this Sunday!

So let me show you the progress I've made on all my WIPs to date :

Enchantment of Winter - this will become my focus piece again once the Crazy Challenge is over, first on my WIP-busting agenda!

The Accolade - this is one of my long term WIPs with no rush or plans to finish it in the near future, its over one and 12 pages long!

Seasonal Mandalas - these will be my second focus piece once EOW is finished

Snowman 2010

Polar Friends Day & Night

Snow White
French Country Scardey Cats

Gone Fishing

So this is the most current up-to-date progress on all of my WIPs to date!