26 April 2011

What a week.

I moved into my new house last Sunday (holy crap I'm officially for real a homeowner now - it didn't seem quite so real until I moved in for good!), and it's been one insane day after another.  I STILL don't have cable or Internet access (I'm writing this on my lunch break at work) -- I plan on calling Comcast today to see about getting an appointment for that -- so I've been unable to do much of anything other than tidy up my house and....tidy up my house.  B O R I N G.  Haha.  I at least have a radio so I can listen to my Phils as I sit in the living room and stitch.

On Easter Sunday night, however, I decided to retreat to my craft room to relax after the day of festivities (Yes, all of you crafty people out there, I'm fortunate enough to have a designated craft area in my house!  It's the entire third floor!).  Even though it's been relatively cool still, as the weather warms up, so does the third floor.  The fact that heat rises is no joke.  It was pretty warm up there that night.

Anyhooter.  As I sat at my project table with my sweet sweet Ott Lite, I hear little paw pads climbing the stairs to the craft room.  Then, I hear a huge flop.  (It's amazing how quiet and agile my monster cat can be...and then how loud and ungraceful she is when she flops down on the floor...) 

She follows me all over the house, and when she realized I was sitting up high at my table, she decided to take a lil' snooze.  She's obviously exhausted from all the creeky floorboard dodging she's been doing.  Yep...she's figured out where all the creeky hardwood floorboards are, and can avoid every single one.  Animals are amazing.

I hope to get reconnected to the 21st century by the end of this week, but until then, I'm enjoying this gorgeous weather we're having by opening all the windows and blasting the Phils on the radio.

Ahhh....the sounds of summer :-)

20 April 2011

Holy Creativity, Batman!

This is just a short post to give a shout out to my friend, Angela.  She's an amazing baker, and is quite skilled at cake decorating.  Today at work we had a baby shower for another coworker, Erin, and Angela volunteered to make the cake for the occasion.  This is the masterpiece she created --

How A W E S O M E is this cake?!?!  Erin has painted an argyle pattern on the walls of the nursery, so Angela took that theme and ran with it!  I love this.  LOVE.

I mean, look at those baby blocks on top (yes, they're made of cake, too!)!! How amazing!  And the argyle around the cake layers.  Incredible.  I won't divulge how long it took dear Angela to make this cake, but suffice it to say, it took her a long time.  I think it was totally worth it, since the entire office was ooo'ing and aaah'ing over it all morning, and Erin was totally floored that Angela did this for her. 

I also hear it was beyond delicious...a vanilla and chocolate swirl pound cake.  To die for.

Thanks for letting me share these pictures, Ang -- your cakes are A M A Z I N G!!!

There is a Season

Cricket Collection has some of the coolest designs out there.  Most recently, the designer has created four designs - one for each season - that are just SO cute.  I've already completed three of the four, and you've already seen my Winter, so I figured I'd show you the other two which I've completed but not yet framed.  I actually haven't decided as to whether or not I'll be framing them or making them into pillows...but that's a decision for another day.

Here's my favorite so far - Autumn.  I know we're all trying to get into the spirit of warmer weather, but I just love love love this pattern and the way it turned out.

I stitched this on 32 count Desert Sand.  I think it's available from Wichelt, but I can't quite remember, so don't hold me to that...

How freaking awesome are these colors!!!  I love fall colors, and they all just pop off of this fabric.  LOVE.

The apples in the "U" might be my favorite on the left side...but...the "T" is the absolute COOLEST.  The twisted tree trunk!  The leaves (which are stitched in a varigated silk)!  The crow!!  So darn COOL!!  And the Jack-o-lantern in the other "U"!  Love it!

And then, of course, there's the marshes with the cattails in the "M".  The turkey and the acorns are just the best final touches to this totally cool pattern.  I love everything about it!

Now...onto fresher colors...SUMMER!!  This pattern was the first of the series to be released, so I finished this in no time.  My favorite in this pattern are the chairs - one on each end.  I wish I was in one now, on a beach, sipping an umbrella drink.  I can't remember what the name of this fabric is, but I know that it's 32 count Jobelan.  If I can remember the name, I'll post it later.  I know this picture came out a smidge dark, but the fabric is an overdyed, and looks very much like a cloudy summer sky.  Totally cool.

I just love the radishes and carrots...and the grapevine on the "M"!  It'll be wonderful when those lazy, hazy days of summer come rolling in once again :-)
And look at that totally adorable birdbath in the "E"!  OMGosh!!  I love these patterns! 
I'm in the midst of making the final trips for my move and trying to complete some baby gifts, but next on the list is the final in this series, "Spring".  I will be stitching it on a 32 count Silkweaver fabric called Buttercream.  It's a beautiful fabric, and I can't wait to get started!!!

Do something creative today!! :-)

15 April 2011

Old Glory

As spring and summer rapidly approach, so do the major holidays which remind us Americans of the freedoms we have and those who have fought and died and continue to fight for these freedoms.  Too often we get caught up in our own lives to take a minute and remember those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, or who are separated from their families for months at a time on deployment.

In these uncertain times, no matter what your political preference, remember to support our troops.  As the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and the granddaughter of a United States Marine during WWII, I hold high respect for our military.

Hang your American flag high and with pride this year and all year long.

Pattern from Stoney Creek magazine

14 April 2011

Live Simply.

This is one of my favorite patterns, not just because of the colors, but because they're words to live by.  I recently read an article that, in general terms, stated that the mindset of the country is that we all have to have it bigger, better, faster.  The idea of instant gratification in this world filled with overwhelming amounts of information thrown at us and available to us at our fingertips (literally, thanks to smartphones) makes most people forget to slow down and enjoy the world around them. 

I often joke with my friends that I was born in the wrong era.  The idea of simpler times is so appealing to me, that I often wish I didn't have a smartphone, or a computer, or even a tv.  Shocking statements, but it's true.  I prefer the radio to tv, although I love old movies and will often watch a musical or an old black and white to take me away from the hustle and bustle of our lives in this day and age.  The elegance and graciousness of the women in old movies (Grace Kelly, just to name one) and gentlemen (Cary Grant is one of my favorites) make me long for a time when people respected and cared for one another.

I'm trying to shed all unwanted negativity in my life as I move onward and upward.

Pattern from Lizzie Kate

13 April 2011

Hippity Hop!

Ok so last night I posted a picture of a Christmas ornament.  Now, I know it's a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, since we just got rid of all that daggone snow, but I couldn't resist posting those two pictures.  That ornament is too cute, if I do say so myself :-)

I thought I would redeem myself this morning by posting a little Easter-y small that I finished up last night.  Between moving and doing Katie's baby gifts, I didn't have much spare time, but I wanted to do a little something that I could finish and bring into work to brighten up those battleship grey walls I'm surrounded by every day.

This is the Lizzie Kate April Flip It! I stitched it in the WDW she calls for in the graph.  I chose a little piece of gingham linen I had, which I believe is either 28 or 32 count.  I'm not quite sure which, and I forgot to count before I started - it was a scrap and I'm not quite sure where the packaging got to.  I love the adorable little umbrella charm that goes in the top square with the Easter bonnet :-)  So cute!

I apologize for the shadow in the bottom right-hand corner...I'm not quite sure where that came from.  Must be a ghost. Wait...ghosts can't make shadows...anyway...

The move is going slow but steady.  This past weekend, my family helped me paint the living room and dining room, with the exception of the woodwork.  It looks fabulous, and I can't thank my family enough for all their help.  My sister and I will be at my house on Friday to paint the den (which is just off the living room), and my furniture is getting moved on Sunday!  I'm so excited to finally be living in just one place, and in my own house no less!!  Yay!!!

Now, if someone could just tell this little bugger that being INSIDE the box does not help with the packing, no matter what she thinks...

Chilling on the closet shelf isn't much help, either...but she sure thinks it is...

She must think she's getting some of the tuna that's on the shelf behind her...she's got another think coming, though, if she thinks I'm opening them just for her...

12 April 2011

Today is just one of those days...

I just wish I could've stayed in bed snuggled under the covers.  It's been raining for a good part of the day, which has cooled down the temperature considerably.  Yesterday was sooooo warm for this time of year and it was glorious :-)

I found these pictures on my phone this morning while I was distracting myself from reading standard operating procedures for file management (I know this makes most of you want to stab your eyeballs out, but I live for this kind of thing.  It also makes the creative side of my brain really kick into gear when I leave work.), and even though they're Christmas (I know, I know!  Easter is right around the corner!  I get it!), I had to share them.

This is the Baby's First Christmas ornament that I made for my friend Becky's daughter, Olivia.  I haven't seen her since before Christmas, so I'm hoping I can give this to her soon so it can be on the tree every year from now on :-)  Becky hasn't even seen this yet, so this may be her sneek preview!

 Isn't this cute!!!  It's a JBW pattern from (I think) 2009.  I could be wrong on that date.  The pattern actually has 3 graphs, and I chose the lil' bear in the stocking for the front, and the one with the gingerbread man for the back.  I didn't want the back of the ornament to be plain, and I also wanted to be able to have her name stitched on there with the date, which is why I chose to stitch and finish it like this.  I used 32 count linen for the stitched area.  I charted her name and the date stitched over 1 (yes, I am that crazy).

I hope Becky and Andy like it!  I think it turned out super cute, just like their lil' Livvy ;-)

Tonight's a "snuggle under the big throw blanket with a good book" kinda night, so I'm gonna head into the other room and do just that!  Maybe I'll even have my furry black purr box to keep me company ;-)

11 April 2011

Oh, how I love my coffee.

I work in an office for 9 hours a day, which starts every morning with my cat wanting to be fed at 4am.  This is an inappropriate time for her to have breakfast, so I always throw her out of my room until a more appropriate time, like when I'm supposed to get up for work - 5:45am.

This morning, however, for some reason she decided that 2:30a was an appropriate time to start looking to be fed.  Ahhhh, NO.  Out she went.  I think a new rule for the new house is that she's not allowed in my room EVER, since she's seriously disrupting my sleep pattern.  Today, to add to her torture methods, she also seemed to have figured out a way to make my phone freak out at the time she wanted to get fed, so I almost threw my iPhone across the room because of her.  Oh, and somehow my clock got set back 2 hours as a result of this nonsense.  Not cool.

Thankfully, in my office desk drawer, I have this waiting for me when I get to work --

Pleasant Morning Buzz (nevermind my messy desk).  Isn't that what we all expect from our freshly brewed coffee?!  This is a great blend from Whole Foods.  I've already gone through the entire pound, so it looks like I'll have to take another trip to Whole Foods in the near future.  Darn the bad luck ;-)

Happy Monday!  Get outside and do something today if you're in the Philly area -- it's supposed to hit record highs of temps in the low 80's!!!!

06 April 2011

Just Real Quick...

My computer is NOT being user friendly right now, so I've about had it with sitting in front of this monitor at the moment.  BUT, I wanted to put up a very quick post to let my readers know that I added a "Stitching Gallery" page.  This page has a bunch of my finished work - some recent, some not - and will be updated regularly as I finish my pieces.  Check back often to see the new stuff that's been added!

01 April 2011

April Showers

This winter just does NOT want to let go.  Quite frankly, I'm straight up sick of it.  I'm not a real big fan of spring, since the weather just cannot make up its mind.  Winter has its act together -- always cold with a splash of blizzards here and there.  Summer's job is to be hot and humid (at least in Philly), which it does quite nicely each year.  Fall's job is to hang onto that summer warmth for as long as possible before winter finally kicks it away.  Spring, however, is trying to be everyone's friend.  It's staying cold for winter, since it's not ready to give up its job for the year, and it's trying to be warm for summer's job to start.  I'm over it.

Today, in the Philly area, it's cold and rainy.  Some areas even got SNOW.  Earlier in the week they were talking about a Nor'easter.  Thank GOODNESS that didn't happen!!  I might've made good on my threat to flee to Costa Rica.

To brighten up my day, I took a little trip to the nail salon to treat myself to a "beginning of spring" pedicure.  Pedicures never fail to brighten my spirits :-)  Next stop: Joann Fabric.  Hoooo boy that store is dangerous.  I went in to get a ruler to use with my fabric cutting board, and came out with two pieces of fabric, a fabric marking pen, some scrapbooking stickers that were on clearance, and Easter ribbon.  Good news, though, most everything was on sale, AND, what I didn't get on sale, I had a 40% off coupon, so it all came to around $26.00.  Woot!

This is the ruler I got for my cutting board - I apologize for the glare, but this is the best pic I could get.  It's pretty awesome.  It's 6.5" x 24.5", and will be perfect for cutting linens for stitching projects and other fabrics for backing and finishing.  Who knows...maybe I'll take up quilting or sewing and it'll be even more useful than I anticipate!

This dark blue fabric caught my eye as I searched through the remnants stack, and I'm hoping it'll be perfect for the Sticks baby gift I made for my friend, Katie.  The starry night it portrays should be perfect :-)

No matter what time of year it is, I'm always on the hunt for fun holiday fabric, Whether it be for fall or Christmas, I'm always looking.  I haven't been able to find any fun spring fabrics yet, but my eyes are peeled.  This fun Christmas fabric caught my eye, so I picked it up to throw in my stash for Christmas project finishing.  I love the shiny green squares :-)

After all the fun I had in the fabric section, I thought I was about done for the day.  As I approached the checkout, I saw this totally cute reusable tote hanging on a fixture, and just had to have it!  I love that the handles are rulers!!  I will definitely make sure this is in my car at all times in case I have to make an unplanned "I have to go in here" stop at Joann's! :-) 

Now, that old saying "April showers bring May flowers" may be true, but there's one other thing it brings...OPENING DAY OF BASEBALL.  I cannot even tell you how excited I am for the baseball season to finally begin.  I do feel bad for anyone who went to today's game at Citizens Bank Park, since it's downright nasty outside.  HOWEVER, those who did go, saw an awesome game!!  Our Phillies pulled out a win in the 9th!  Down 4-2, they tied the game, and John Mayberry, Jr. singled to bring in the winning run!  A walk-off 9th inning run at the season home opener is a great way to start the season!  GO PHILS!!!!