Sunday, August 26, 2007

Way, Way, WAY Too Close For Comfort!!

OK, so DH and I ran a few errands late yesterday afternoon, and as we turned to start going up the hill to where we live, DH said "There's smoke behind the house." OK, panic time! When we got home, I ran into the house, got the cat carriers out and then grabbed the camera. This is the picture I took from right outside our garage.

It hadn't been going for very long - the Fire Department hadn't even shown up yet - and I was a "tiny" bit nervous until they got there. Pretty soon I could hear sirens, but it seemed to take FOREVER for them to actually get up to the fire. I felt SO much better once they were there!! DH was out on the deck taking pictures and I started gathering clothes in case we had to leave. We were lucky that the winds seemed to be blowing away from the house and up the hill, and I was actually able to relax a little. It was really interesting to watch the fire fighters work - and I REALLY appreciate them!!!

We stood out there for almost two hours - I even made a snack that we ate out there while we watched - LOL When the wind changed, the smoke started blowing towards us and we were able to joke about how it smelled like a camp fire and we should have brought some hot dogs to roast.

There were still a few fire trucks out there 'till after midnight - and some trucks were back in the morning too.

All in all, everything worked out fine - they had the fire under control and were able to get it out pretty quickly under the circumstances - but it's something I NEVER want to have to watch from my deck again!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Visit from the Yarn Fairy!!

Today I got a huge package of yarn from Jodi! A week or so ago she sent me the one in the middle and I showed her a scarf I wanted to make using this, but I'd need additional different yarns. The scarf was featured on Uncommon Threads on DIY Network. It's basically just crocheted chains of different yarns that are gathered and tied in a knot at each end - very fun and funky. And since I don't really crochet, being just a chain stitch, it'll be easy too! LOL Anyway, Jodi was able to find me three other wonderful yarns that coordinate with this first one. I think these will make a great scarf! From left to right: Carron Jewel Box in Moonstone, Moda Dea Dream in Nutmeg, Yarn Bee Hollywood Special Effects in Leading Man, and Moda Dea Zing in Chestnut. All such warm and wonderful colors! And the Dream is SO soft - it would make a great scarf all on its own.

Jodi also sent another skein of Lion Brand Fun Fetti, this time in Firecracker Red. And she found the cutest ornament for my Halloween tree while she was in Iowa! I just love it! Is it too early to start decorating for Halloween? LOL

Thanks for the wonderful package Jodi! I can't wait to make that scarf!

And an update on the two wool scarves I knit with yarn from my neighbor - she picked the Elongated Brick one! That one seemed to be a favorite with those who saw the pictures. I might have to make another one - LOL.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Birthday Package Received!

Today I got word that Dane in Germany has received her joint birthday package from Jodi and me. It was sent a little late, then Dane went on a lovely long vacation (lucky girl!), so her birthday was about a month ago, but I can finally share the fun stuff we made for her! Dane loves orange, and Jodi found this wonderful orange and pink batik fabric and we worked off of that. Jodi stitched this bird by Gwen R Creation using DMC Color Variations and I finished it into a piece to go on one of her dad's stands. I used something a little different on the edge, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. It's a flower shaped satin ribbon and I stitched a pink bead in the center of each flower as I attached it to the piece. The funniest thing about this is the trim came to me in an Easter exchange - from Germany! So, it's gone back home - LOL.

I stitched a coordinating piece by the same designer, but using a slightly different color - and I made it into a pinkeep/scissor pocket.

I got this idea from Romy's blog - I thought it was a wonderful way to finish something!

I also made a beaded scissor fob and a beaded bookmark to coordinate with the set. The idea for the bookmark came from Leigh - she made me one for my birthday last year that I just love! The charms were from Juli from our bead exchange - they matched the set too well not to use them!!

And after Dane said that she really liked the watch I made Jodi for her birthday, I decided to make one for her too. Imagine how surprised I was to find a bracelet kit in orange!! We sent some other orange goodies as well, but I forgot to take a picture of everything together. I'm really glad that Dane enjoyed her package - it was fun to work with a color that I don't use very often! Everything was SO bright and cheerful!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pin Exchange Arrived at Partners!

I just got word that my Pin Exchange package was received by Cheryl today! I stitched her the Scandinavian Pin Cushion from the June 2007 issue of Gift of Stitching Magazine. I changed the colors to purple and white on two different shades of lavender linen. This issue had a whole article on pin cushions with six different ones to stitch - I had a hard time narrowing it down to just one - LOL. I still want to make the Assisi one someday too.

In addition to the pin cushion, I made Cheryl two pins to wear. The tree looking one is called Stemwear by Mia Gofar from Beading Basics - The Essential Techniques by Bead & Button Magazine. It's a really fun and easy pin to make - this is my second one. The first was in the same colors and went to my step mother for her birthday. The stick pin is just a pretty heart-shaped bead glued on a blank stick pin.

I also made some bead headed pins for use in pinkeeps, and I added a tuck pillow ornie and a Victoria Sampler kit along with some leaf pins I found at JoAnn's. She seemed pleased with everything I sent, which makes me happy, especially since this was Cheryl's fist exchange with this group.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Pin Exchange Arrived!

This afternoon I received my Pin Exchange piece from Laura!! She made me the most wonderful pinkeep/scissor pocket/needlebook with the Prairie Schooler design E is for Embroidery. I just love it!!! Isn't this a clever way of finishing? It will be fun to take this to classes for holding my scissors and needles.

The ribbon holds the scissors in the pocket, and the other side unsnaps to reveal a place to put my needles. Thank you so much Laura!

Now I'm feeling even MORE guilty about not getting my pin exchange package out on time, but I finished up everything at 10:00 last night and mailed it out this morning. Hopefully the recipient will forgive me ;).

This week I also got my book for my EGA Group Correspondence Course To the Acorn by Pat Krahn. Isn't it a pretty piece? Hopefully I can keep up with this one. I don't have a very good track record with GCC's, this is the fourth one I've signed up for so far and I've only finished one. I'm going to have to make a considered effort on this one - LOL. The first GCC I tried to do, almost five years ago, was Crewel Confidence by Judy Jeroy. I got as far as getting all the materials, but I never started it. The second one was White Queen by Carolyn Standing Webb, and that one I actually finished, and I loved it!! You can see my finished piece here. I still need to fix the two marked mistakes and attach the pearls on the crown, then I can frame it. Last year I signed up for Tiramisu by Dakota Rogers, and I actually started it, but I didn't get past the first band - I had such a hard time making it reversible. I had picked a lovely pallet of greens from Hand Dyed Fibers, and I hope to join this class again and finish the piece. Oh, and I forgot, I signed up for a another one soon after I moved here - Finishing With Flair by Marion Scoular - on that one, all I did was read the book! Jeez, I really am bad with these - ROFLOL. So, I'd better finish this one!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Retreat Report!!

Well, I came back from my Stitchin' Station Retreat yesterday afternoon, and I'm still recovering! LOL

Friday morning I picked up Loraine and Kristin on the way to Ogden. Our first stop was Shepherd's Bush!

I was a very good girl there and only picked up two colors of the new Crescent Colors Belle Soie silk, Collard Greens and Cranberry. But while I was waiting in line, there were some cuts of new Zweigart linen waiting to be packaged - I just couldn't resist and bought a 13 x 18 cut of Cashel in a color called Shadowbrook - it's gorgeous! I think I'm going to stitch JBW Designs French Country - Love with these.

We grabbed lunch and headed on to Salt Lake City and went to the Stitchin' Station. I had a full punch card which got me $20 towards my next purchase, so I picked up the Crescent Colors needed for the Mirabilia Christmas Elf Fairy. I'm trading my Halloween Fairy Pattern for this pattern when I'm finished with it, and now I have all the materials!

Next we went on up to Park City and did a little shopping at the outlet mall. It was PACKED! The only purchase I made was at Harry & David's, I got a great deal on some clearance truffles & chocolate covered cherries to share with my room mates and a package of one of my favorite guilty pleasures - chocolate covered espresso beans! LOL

We went to the Washington School Inn at 3:30 to check in. We we given a suite to share with two friends we met at the previous year's retreat, Kim and Kara, who are sisters. We had so much fun last year staying up late and stitching in our room - we were asked to keep it down - LOL - so this year we asked to be put together on the third floor where hopefully we wouldn't disturb anyone else. Kristin was in a single room on the first floor because only four are allowed in a suite. All of the rooms are named after teachers who taught when this place was a school, and we were in the Mrs. Thompson room. When we got into the room, we were greeted with some sweet little gifts. The hem on the doll's dress is stitched with the words "Washing School Inn 2007" and the little box has some chocolates in it - YUM! We went down to the common room and I was able to get a little stitching done on my "pin exchange" piece before Cynthia's class started at 5:00. The class piece was this representation of The Washington School Inn with a bunch of different specialty stitches for the flowers. Looking at the size, I made the decision that I was going to finish it before going home - LOL

After Cynthia went through some instructions, we decided to go out on the patio to stitch - it was beautiful out there!! We spent almost the entire weekend at this table - LOL. We had to go back in for dinner, but went back out after and stitched until it got too dark to see well. Then we walked into town, which was only the next street over, to get some goodies at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory - I LOVE their caramel apples, and I got a Key Lime one! Then we went back and stitched in our suite 'till after midnight.

In the morning we were treated to a wonderful breakfast including the best oatmeal I've ever had - they have all kinds of goodies to sprinkle on top - and some wonderful zucchini bran muffins! After breakfast, it was back to the patio until our class with Taylor Hartman. You can take the personality test at his site - I'm a White with quite a bit of Blue, which interestingly enough, was also what Loraine and Kristin were. The class was fun and interesting and he was a very nice man. Of course, it was back to the patio after the class for more stitching - until I got a coffee craving and some of us took a run to Starbucks - LOL.

At 5:00, we had our special "surprise" class, which ended up being a crystal and silver bracelet in our Color. I love the dangles on it! We also received some more fun gifts - a little recipe book and a beautiful book where we can record some information about ourselves. The pages are all so clever, and I'm definitely going to have to take the time to fill them out. I SHOULD have done it while I was there, but I had that goal to finish my class piece - LOL. The last page of the book had a pattern with our initial, fabric & floss so we could add a sample of our stitching. What a lovely idea!

At about 9:00 that night, we "snuck" out and drove to Salt Lake City for the Gardner Village Moonlight Madness Beach Party. I swear, I felt like a teenager - LOL - I stay up late, but I'm never OUT late! The place was really hopping, all kinds of booths on the sidewalks and a DJ playing fun music. The only problem was that half of the village had their power out, and that half happened to include Pine Needles, which was the very reason we went down there! They were still open though, with flashlights and a car with headlights on at the back door. It was heartbreaking to be in a stitching sore and not be able to see anything!! I have a tiny flashlight on my key chain and was using that to look at what I could - I knew I needed two more overdyed flosses, and was able to find them fairly easily. We were just about ready to leave, and the lights suddenly came back on! I was SO happy! LOL I had a $30 gift certificate that my boss had given me in December for taking care of her kitty, and it was burning a hole in my pocket!! Now that I was able to see things again, I found a bunch of stuff to buy!
I saw a model on the wall for an adorable Button Band Sampler by Sue Hillis Designs. This will be a wonderful way to use some of the antique buttons I've collected. Of course, I'll have to stitch mine in a different color - LOL I also picked up Stocking Stuffers by Full Circle Designs, which should be a very quick stitch! Then I found the bargain bin, and OMG, what bargains!! I got Britty Bunny by Brittercup Designs for only .50, and it came with the charm! Everything else I got were kits that were discounted 50% - 80% - The Trilogy HOP, Heart in Hand Wool Whimsy March, Shepherd's Bush Brave One and Happy Day Roll and my favorite of the day, Little House Needleworks Americana Sampling, which is a 2005 Limited Edition and one I've never seen before. I ended up with about $115 worth of stash for $54! When we were done with Pine Needles, we went to the Christmas shop and I picked up a few little things for Halloween exchanges. We didn't get back to the Inn until almost 12:30 a.m. - LOL

The next morning, we had another lovely breakfast, this time with strawberry/peach crepes and assorted mini French pastries. Doesn't that look yummy!

After breakfast, it was back, where else, to the patio. Cynthia joined up and signed our patterns for us. She is so much fun! I kept working on my class piece and I was able to finish just before we left at a little after noon!! Ta Da!!

We stopped for lunch on the way home, I dropped of Kristin & Loraine and I got home at about 5:00. Boy was I wiped! LOL We had a wonderful time though - and in a few more days, I should be fully recovered!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ready for Halloween!!

I finally finished my house on Leigh's Drawn Thread House RR Sunday - I'm the spooky one in the neighborhood! LOL I jinxed myself by saying earlier in the month that I was going to be on time with this and ended up being almost a week late. I'll have to watch that next time!

Here's a close up of my part. In addition to shortening the house, I had to move the ghost over. I started stitching the tree and realized I was taking up WAY too much room - there is just a little over half of the fabric length left and four houses to go. I'm anxious to see how this looks when it's finished!

Over the weekend I also started a Halloween scarf using the Zig Zag pattern again. This is some of the yarn that Jodi sent me a few weeks ago. It's really soft and I love how it's turning out!! Its got a strand of shiny rayon-like thread woven through it too. I've almost finished one skein and I think I'll use half of another one, so I should be able to get two scarves out of the three skeins!

And I have to share this - we've been having some wild fires in the county and I live right up against the side of a mountain with a big field in back - not a good place if a fire breaks out back there! Anyway, just to be on the safe side, I've packed up all of my stitched items from around the house and put them in a 100L tub placed by the front door in case we have to evacuate. Looks like Ellie is all ready to go too! ROFLOL

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Two Scarves and a Wing!

Wednesday DH took me down to Salt Lake City to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on IMAX , which was totally cool! On the drive, I was able to finish the Zig Zag scarf and put the fringe on the Elongated Brick scarf. I'm betting my neighbor will pick the Zig Zag, but I can easily make myself another! It was so much fun to knit!

And I made great progress on my fairy Friday night - I got the whole left wing done, even after I filled in my "required" one length of Dandelion Stem. I just couldn't put her down - LOL - I wanted to see how the different colors would look. I think I stitched for about six solid hours! I'm seeing the end in site and starting to dream about the next fairy, which will be Christmas.

Next Friday, I won't be able to SAL because I'll be at a stitching retreat - what a great reason! LOL This retreat is sponsored by The Stitchin' Station in Salt Lake City and I'm SOOOOOO excited to go. This will be their 4th year, but I only started going last year. The shop is owned by Zim's Crafts, and they use a lot of really cute scrapbook stuff to make things for the retreat.

Here is my invitation for this year. Isn't that cute? They are bringing in Dr.Taylor Hartman, the author of this book The Color Code, to speak to us, and they sent us the book to read before the retreat. It's been very interesting and I'm looking forward to hearing him talk. The guest teacher for this is Cynthia Zittell of The Drawn Thread and she's one of my most favorite designers.
Last year, she taught a design called 26 Stitches, which hasn't been published yet, but hopefully will be soon. I was able to finish my piece right before midnight on New Year's Eve, including the framing! I was thrilled! LOL I'm anxious to see what this year's class piece will be! The retreat is held at a Bed & Breakfast in Park City called Washington School Inn and it really was an old school house. We'll have the whole Inn to ourselves, and it's a great place to stitch. They also make wonderful food for breakfast, which doesn't hurt either - LOL